“…people do not take arms, in an organized fashion, against the might of the state, or against fellow human beings without rhyme or reason. Guided by an instinct for survival, and according to Thomas Hobbes, a fear of lawlessness that is encoded in our collective conscience, we seek an order. However, when that order comes with the price of dehumanization, of manifest injustices of all forms perpetrated against the weak, the poor and the deprived, people revolt Supreme Court of India
For the last few years Pakistan has experienced a lot of debate on the doctrines of liberal democracy, the role of judiciary and civil society. These tenants were repeated in the form of mantra again and again by the network of corporate controlled media monopolies and a section of western funded NGOs who have chosen the label of civil society for them. The major emphasis of their resistance model for Pakistan was strengthening of a section of Pakistani establishment represented by superior judiciary. Instead of focusing on the new “democracy in transition” these groups choose to support an institution which had a long history of collaboration with military junta in Pakistan. Over-emphasizing the cleft which emerged between Chief Justice of Pakistan and the ruling section of Pakistani establishment as “change of heart”, they put their full force behind the unelected institution which had a clear right wing agenda. As the “Black Revolution” took hold over Pakistan things started moving in the direction which was being predicted by a minority of analysts including our selves. The superior judiciary instead of attacking the legal barriers which prevent the subalterns of Islamic Republic from achieving the status of “equal in front of Law” re-affirmed those very legal standards which form the basis of legal and cultural apartheid in the Islamic Republic. This was made clear by their re affirmation of Objective Resolution, Two nation theory and infamous and murderous Blasphemy law. In a move highly unusual for British legal tradition the superior judiciary even restrained the parliament from reviewing the infamous Blasphemy law. The total lack of interest in the state sponsored reign of terror in Balochistan clearly defines the superior judiciary of Islamic Republic which was presented as Liberal Messiah by the liberal spokespersons of establishment. The court has never questioned the colonial and post-colonial policies of Islamic Republic in Balochistan, her continuation of Divide and Rule the province applying on the Pashtun section of the population especially the Frontier Constabulary which has been accused by Independent Human Rights groups and Left wing activists of implementing a silent genocide of the Baloch people. “Dr. Nandini Sundar In comparison the supreme court of India has recently passed a judgment which is land mark to say the least. In the judgment of “Dr. Nandini Sundar and others Vs State of Chhattisgarh and Union Government” The supreme court of India declared the state government sponsored “Salwa Jadum” as unconstitutional. The honorable court also prohibited the deployment of local tribal community as SPO (special police officers). The Indian state of Chattisgargh was deploying the British policy of divide and rule and arming the local tribal as militia against the Nexal and Maoist rebels to stop the Left Wing insurgency which is affecting many states of the Union. These Left wing insurgencies have been declared as “single most important threat to Union of India by the Union Government” and multiple operations have been launched. Despite this the honorable court has disregarded what which judiciary of Islamic Republic considers as “National Interest” which prevents them from interpreting the law in “pro-people” way. The Supreme Court of India remained within the scope of Law unlike our Judiciary which has been criticized by president of Supreme Court Bar Association for exceeding its mandate in giving decisions which only have political implication and no pro-people value. The Indian Supreme court in one of its best decision compared the situation in Dantewara, portrayed in Joseph Conrad’s classic “Heart of Darkness”. It then squarely contextualizes both the neo-colonial nature of the Indian state and the fundamental tenets of classical liberal democracy, all the while sticking to the law in its entirety. There is a lesson for Pakistan especially the activists, to understand the difference between the “real” and the “fake”, one cant carve out an Independent pro people judiciary from core of a totalitarian state , it can only come from a process. The difference is the stated objectives of two states, one committed to liberal secular and socialist state and other to an Islamic utopia. “What is important but obviously outside the scope of a judicial review is the cause of violence, the paramount question in the discussion on violence is “exclusion”. Its exclusion which leaves no other option for a human other than violence. When one is reduced ans dehumanised to extant of non human and non entity he transforms to what he is being “described as” the monster, the lesser being the evil incarnate. This is true for the Nexilite, the failure of communist party of India to address the question of revolution and its persistent failure to distance itself from the discourse of Indian Bourgeois and the failure of development of a genuine revolutionary socialist party in India pushed new untouchables of Indian Union to depths of heinous violence. But the Irony is that even the most deplorable violence committed by these groups testifies the genuine need for change. The desperate cry of the people for solution to emerge from the very heart of darkness!!. The very fact that a superior court which in final analysis is nothing but an instrument of state build to maintain the rule of the privileged classes hints at the cause of violence must be seen as signal to ruling classes of India that India is not as shining as portrayed in global posters! But for some one who is used to judiciary of the Islamic Republic its very refreshing. The case of Baloch resistance is similar, the despicable violence being committed against the immigrant working class in Baloch areas, the murder of Punjabi, Siraiki and Kashmiri labourers and chokidars is clearly the result of dehumanisation which Baloch has suffered. The failure of Bloch nationalist leadership, their ambiguous stand on right of self determination, their alliances with Punjabi chauvinists and Islamic Republic’s ruling elite had left no option for these young men and women to loose human Essences! I say human essence because Emanuel Levinas in his post-Holocaust studies has recognised the “first philosophy”, the duty to protect the other, and the first thing human perceives before even cognition is to recognise the need to protect other! , Baloch are killing because it’s what we want them to do. Its what we demand from them, They are the Jew, RAW agent, Infidel , the Jahil out of religion of peace out of the reign of submission , the rebel of Islamic Republic , Rebel to cause of Islam. The sons and daughters of Ignorance. Their daughters are not worth anything, Shazia Marri can’t be Aafia Siddiqi. If brother of Marri take up arms its heinous, it’s despicable yet its understandable! When a court of law recognises the plight of those who are abandoned to violence its heartening, its a living experience like creation of Adam from clay!” If only we can open our eyes and start the process unless it will be a never ending series of black revolutions which but the results will be counter revolutionary. Below is the report by Asia Human Rights Commission on the said judgment An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission. INDIA: Supreme Court – ‘Salwa Judum’ is unconstitutional by Rolly Shivhare “People do not take arms without reason” — Supreme Court Salwa Judum The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of India in Dr. Nandini Sundar and others Vs State of Chhattisgarh and Union Government indicates that the country’s judicial system is alive, and a citizen can hope for justice from it. In the decision rendered on 5 July 2011, the Supreme Court declared the Chhattisgarh government sponsored Salwa Judum to be unconstitutional. The Court prohibited deploying members of tribal communities as Special Police Officers (SPOs) in any counter-insurgency operation by the state against the Naxals or Maoists, or against any extremist leftist groups operating in the state and/or region. The Court’s decision to prohibit civil militias is a landmark step in protecting marginalised communities from ongoing human rights violations. In essence, the judgment underlines that certain duties of the state cannot be subcontracted out, and further, that the state has the unalienable duty to protect its citizens. The Constitution of India mandates law and order to be the state’s responsibility. When the protector becomes the violator however, it is a threat to democracy. This is exactly what is happening in Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh is one of India’s three states–the other two being Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir–where the government formed private militias to combat anti-state movements. When this was challenged publicly as well as in the court, the government argued that it is its constitutional privilege to adopt modes it sees fit to deal with Naxalite and Maoist activities within the state. In essence, the government was arguing that it has a right to perpetuate, indefinitely, a regime of human rights violations, by adopting the same modes deployed by Maoist and Naxalite extremists in combating them. It is this argument that the Court has thrown out, holding it as unconstitutional. The government of Chhattisgarh had deployed 6500 tribal illiterate people as SPOs in the state. The government provided arms to these men and women and let them fight the leftist extremists, an act which within days turned neighbour against neighbour. The state took refuge in the century-old Indian Police Act, 1861, which provides for the appointment of SPOs to perform duties as guides, spotters and translators. SPOs can work as a source of intelligence, and sometimes are also allowed to carry firearms supplied to them for their self-defense. However, in Chhattisgarh, the government appointed SPOs to fight Maoists and Naxalites. It must be noted that the government even recruited minors as SPOs. In actual fact, the government created a division in the community. By identifying persons as either with the extremists or with the government, neutral space in the community was reduced. SPOs, like the Naxalites and Maoists, used their new power for everything, from settling private disputes to silencing political opposition. According to media reports, the number of cases of rape, murder, and other atrocities increased. The Supreme Court judgment noted that the Chhattisgarh government was appointing SPOs without following any legal process, and without evaluating the capacities of appointed tribal youth in undertaking counter insurgency activities. In 2010 the number of SPOs was 3000, but this year it increased to 6500. Unfortunately, these are the persons who become the first target of the Naxalites/Maoists. The Court also held that appointing a civilian as an SPO was a threat to his life, and in violation of article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to life, with dignity. It must be mentioned here that this is one of the best judgments of the Supreme Court. It begins with a comparison of the situation in Dantewara, portrayed in Joseph Conrad’s classic “Heart of Darkness”. It then squarely contextualises both the neo-colonial nature of the Indian state and the fundamental tenets of classical liberal democracy, all the while sticking to the law in its entirety. As far as Chhattisgarh is concerned, it is rich in natural resources, with 32 percent of its population made up of tribal people, who believe the trees and rivers to be their Gods. These tribal people are forcibly evicted from their ancestral land however, so that their land can be given to private companies and state interests for their gain. When such communities resist eviction, they are tortured to the extent where the only choice left for them is to take up arms. This was humanly acknowledged by the Court when it stated that …people do not take arms, in an organized fashion, against the might of the state, or against fellow human beings without rhyme or reason. Guided by an instinct for survival, and according to Thomas Hobbes, a fear of lawlessness that is encoded in our collective conscience, we seek an order. However, when that order comes with the price of dehumanization, of manifest injustices of all forms perpetrated against the weak, the poor and the deprived, people revolt. A milestone in Indian democracy, this heartening judgment sees the Supreme Court render a brilliant exposition of the rule of law in the context of the violence unleashed by the Maoists, which has completely distorted the mindset of the state administration. Moreover, the judgment does not end with Chhattisgarh; it has wider implications where similar myopic and irresponsible tactics are employed, like in Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir. About the Author: Ms. Rolly Shivhare is a staff member of Vikas Samwad, a partner organisation of the AHRC, working in Madhya Pradesh. The author is currently interning at the AHRC’s office in Hong Kong and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Courtesy: Asian Human Rights Commission About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong based group was founded in 1984
July 24, 2011
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February 22, 2009
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This blog has long been critical supporter of Baluch Liberation as well as the other oppressed nationalities of Pakistan. We have been writing against the injustices , murder and torture of the Baluch people. A large number of Pakistani progressives hold the Baluch nationalist cause very dear to their heart. A whole generation of Pakistani progressives have been trained in NAP where they have worked closely with Baluch nationalists and Marxists. We have also been writing about the “post-nationalist” turn of Baluch resistance and its unfavourable implications on Baluch cause. This blog has showed its concern on kidnapping of Mr Solecki and the disturbing aspects it may represent for Baluch cause. The fact that Vetran Baluch leader Mr Kher Bux Marri has appealed for the release of Mr Solecki and so far it hasnt been given a positive response : our fears about the “real captors” of Mr Solecki are slowly gaining grounds. Asian Human Rights Commission has now appealed for the release of Mr Solecki. We want to remind the Baluch resistance that Asian Human Rights Comission has been a friend of Baluch people. They have highlighted the plight of Ms Zarrina Marri and other Baluch Captives , we appeal that Baluch resistance must listen to its friends. Acts of individual terrorism have never been hallmark of Left wing liberation struggles. The Baluchs have always been democratic progressive people, we appeal to them to release Mr Solecki and save Baluch cause from a bad name. It will have serious consequences on Baluch cause. We also appeal that Pakistani authorities should unconditionally release thousands of Baluch political prisioners from their torture cells. We condem in strongest possible terms Pakistan’s colonialism in Baluchistan, we strongly condem People’s Party’s government’s lack of interest in these cases and the foolish denials by Interior minister Mr Rehman Malick.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AHRC-STM-038-2009 February 20, 2009
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Appeal to the abductors for the release of UN officer Mr. John Solecki, who heads the United Nation’s refugee agency UNHCR’s Quetta office in Pakistan, was abducted on 2nd February, 2009, by a militant group, fighting for political autonomy of the Southern province, Balochistan. He has still not been released. The group, the Balochistan Liberation United Front (BLUF), is demanding the release of 6,000 disappeared people by the state intelligence agencies including 141 women who, according to the group, are still being held in Pakistan military torture cells in exchange for Mr. Solecki’s release. During the period from the 2nd February to the date of preparing this statement, the Pakistan authorities have not made any serious efforts to secure his release. Instead, the advisor of the prime minister on interior affairs, while holding the position of federal minister on a visit to the capital of the Balochistan to meet with the provincial authorities, has refused to meet the demands of the group. He claims that there is only a list of 800 missing persons, and that it is incomplete, with only 200 names verified as officially disappeared. The minister in question has also challenged the claim of the captors that 141 were in custody of security agencies and has rejected the list of the women as unrealistic. After two days of the statement of the federal minister, on Monday the 16th February the group, BLUF, gave 72 hours for its demands to be met before the UN official would be killed. But due to an appeal from Mr. Harbiyar Marri, a Baloch nationalist leader seeking asylum in England, the captors have postponed their deadline indefinitely. In the meantime, on the 13 February, a local television channel, the Dunya News, telecasted footage of Mr. Solecki, blindfolded, in which he asked the government of Pakistan to meet the demand of the captors. Almost 18 days have passed since his abduction but the government has not made any moves to talk to the parliament of Balochistan, nor to the nationalist groups who are seeking provincial autonomy according to the constitution of Pakistan. The newly elected government is following a similar policy to that of the former military dictators with the Balochistan province, by making it a colony of the federal government. During the one year the elected government, there have been reports of more than 500 persons arrested by the state agencies and their whereabouts are unknown. After the kidnapping of the UN official the security agencies have arrested about 150 persons and their whereabouts remain unknown. The government has promised several times to initiate probes into the matter of military operations in the province and the cases of disappeared persons, but nothing has been done to even start a dialogue with nationalists groups or political parties. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to secure the release of the UN official and immediately start a dialogue with the militant group holding him captive. Denying the legitimacy of the missing persons list will not help in securing the release of the UN official. The government should also announce the formation of a high powered judicial commission, which will probe the cases of missing persons, and in particular, allegations of Baloch women held in military torture cells and used as sex slaves. The AHRC appeals to the BULF to release Mr. John Soleck, head of the UNHCR, based at Quetta and provide him with medical facilities. Any harm to him in captivity will not serve any purpose, for the cause of legal and constitutional movement, or for the fundamental rights of the Balochi people. The AHRC hopes that Mr. Soleck will be released immediately and that the government will take a rational approach to the matter of the rights of small and neglected nationalities.
# # # About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984
Asian Human Rights Commission 19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building, 998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R. Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367
February 14, 2009
“Strange Fruit” is a song which has always inspired me, it has made me cry, it has motivated me, it has aroused passion in me, and it has made me experience sorrow and grief all at the same times. Result is that it has become a strong inspiration for me. Sung by the legendary Billie Holiday based on the lyrics of a Jewish school teacher who was member of American Communist Party, the song is one of the strongest Artistic protests against Racism and Fascism. The bodies of young Negro lads hanging on tress after being lynched by God fearing, patriotic white Americans became allegorical symbols for poetic expression as “strange fruits”.
It’s not just a piece of music, or a piece of history which gives liberals kick thinking romantically of the “struggle” and than being grateful to American democracy which has defeated racism. The song and what it represents is some thing greater. When these crimes were being committed people were silent. Those were killing blacks were ordinary people church going people who thought they were doing a service to community. It was all being done in the name America, its values, and its national interest. When Abel Meeropol wrote the lyrics, he used a pseudonym Lewis Allan. Billie Holiday who sung it had to face persecution. Columbia refused to record this song. But these people persisted. They had to defy their country’s law and perceived interest to bring change. They dissented, they resisted and they protested.
Pakistani society is slowly giving in to Fascism. Our intellectuals are so obsessed with state and its interest that they are blind to the crimes being committed. In 71 they remained silent on Bengali Genocide. I have written about this before as well, here. All this was in the name of “national interest”. Now Baluchistan is the “scotoma” in Pakistani consciousness. Pakistan’s colonialism in Baluchistan is reaching its final oppressive stages. The case of Zarrina Murree was still fresh and no outrage was noticed in public opinion and now young student activist Qambar Baluch has gone “missing”. Malik Siraj Akbar of Daily times says here:
“There are confirmed reports that Qambar Baloch, a student of the 8th semester in Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) department at the Balochistan University of Information Technology and Management Sciences (BUITMS), has gone ‘missing’. He ‘disappeared’ on 12 February from Quetta city where he had been invited by some officials ‘to come for investigations’. Bold enough to face his investigators, Qambar had fixed the district compound area for the meeting with the ‘unidentified caller’ where he would meet him. Since then no one knows about his whereabouts.”
Unspeakable crimes are being done in Baluchistan, extra judicial killings, torture, dispossession of whole population, a slow genocide of a sort but no news comes in the media. The simple sleeping pill our intellectuals have is “RAW” being involved in Baluchistan. With this Pakistani state gets right to do any thing it wants and no one will say a thing. Our collective “Big Bad India Syndrome”. Baluch anger is now out of control. The Nationalist, whom Pakistani establishment has been suppressing since day 1 and who despite that have remained pro Pakistan are now becoming irrelevant in front of angry young Baluch who are now fighting for “freedom”. A clear “Post nationalist” turn is visible in Baluch resistance. Unlike Baluch nationalists who were Marxists, Socialists and modernists. The post nationalist resistance is racist, violent and increasingly adopting International terrorist paradigm. This type of terrorism was virtually unheard of in Left wing military insurgencies. John Solecki’s kidnapping clearly indicating the influence of tactics of Al Qaida . Even more disturbing explanation could be that a part of Baluch
resistance has been infiltrated by Pakistani agencies that have long track record of this kind of terrorism in collaboration with Islamists. Baluchistan is a Bengal in making and Pakistani intellectuals and liberals are once again guilty of silence.
President Zardari today spoke about a “Taliban Take over” this too falls on deaf ears, though he himself is contributing to threat of Fascism by refusing to distance himself from imperialism. Islamic Fascism can never be defeated by USA’s war on terror which as empirical proof suggest has only helped increase it. Ahmad Rashid’s seminal work “Descent in chaos” explains it brilliantly as how United States policy is only causing “failed states”. Taliban’s reign of terror is continuing but it because the theory of “strategic depth” remains in place: Pakistani state keeping its links with groups and playing them against each other. All the networks and infrastructure remains intact. In the state of despair I listen to “Strange Fruit”. I want to believe Faiz Ahmad Faiz but I am loosing hope
Aatay Aatay yun hi dum bhar ku rukki hogi bahar
Jaatay Jaatay yun hi pal bhar ku khizan theri he
(If Autumn is here could Spring be far away?)
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black body swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
February 12, 2009
“The heart which aches after an evening lost in glasses of cognac, longing for a lost lover, the acute awareness of dispossession in Multani Kafi’s of Khawaja Farid: dispossession of Lands of Saraikies , of Baluchiis of Palestinians , the Natives who have lost Love and Land to Migrant states with civilizing missions”
Longing is common between Love and Palestine, lover longs like I am longing for him and Palestinians long for Palestine. They are Palestinians without having Palestine. The thing which define them, gives them identity, give them a name; they are deprived of it. This is alienation and dispossession. This is the point where politics merge with Art. “Firaq” is the continuous state of existence for a lover and for a Palestinian. Loss of the lover; heart aches, eyes cry, soul rebels. Every thing else seems meaningless, the cosmos focuses on a single being “the beloved”. The evening is hovering in a cool grey mist and I remember his green eyes, his olive skin , cognac seems to burn my soul , the universe seem to rock on to the Lover’s Lament emerging from Ustad Salamat singing Kaafi of Khawaja Farid :
Sanwal Mor Moharan
Ro Ro mein waat Nihara’n
Sanwal Mor Moharan
[O my handsome [Baluch] lover turn your camel around, I am crying, my gaze is fixed on the burning desert, Return o my Handsome [Baluch] lover]
The voice of the master strikes like a dagger on my heart, every thing seems to cry “Sanwal Mor Mohara’n” “Sanwal Mor Mohara’n” Return o my lover, Return. First Sassi died in desert and now Rohi [Romantic name of Saraiki Cholistan desert] is dead. Rohi is raped everyday by the Arab sheiks that have been given the land by Islamic Republic of Pakistan to hunt our deers, our doves, our little girls and our little boys. With poisonous dagger of Islam they have cut our land into small pieces .Our land our goddess is now a form of bribe given to Mullahs, retired Army officers, Punjabi politicians. Saraiki native wander in Rohi: slaves dying of thirst and hunger, drinking water along with animals. Our lovers, our lands lost for ever— Sanwal Mor Mohara’n. . Return my lover—- Pakistanis don’t understand these things, what is loss of land, what is loss of love , they have been taught to grab the land with sword Like Muhammed Bin Kassim who robbed Sindh and took daughter of Dahir , land and love both taken with sword
Mahmoud Darwish understands this. He is one of the dispossessed, he speaks of Love or does he speak of land, its Art or Politics. I am not sure of it but I am sure of one thing, its Love and it’s longing
Her eyes and the tattoos on her hands are Palestinian
Her name, Palestinian
Her dreams and sorrow, Palestinian
Her kerchief, her feet and body, Palestinian
Her words and her silence, Palestinian
Her voice, Palestinian
Her birth and her death, Palestinian
“The Lover, Darwish”
This powerful love which natives have gives them strength to resist, this land than becomes mother, goddess and beloved life giver against the colonizers, their symbols and discourse. State of Israel and State of Pakistan both have brought hegemonizing religious beliefs , YHWE of Bible and Allah of Koran Jealous deities who want lands, temples and submission. The land of Israel is given to Israelis, the natives are slaughtered, and they have to in order to grab the land. Anat the goddess of Canaanites emerges as soul of Palestine to give them strength against those who destroyed temples of natives and grabbed their land in the work of Palestinian artist Abdel Rahmen al Mozayen . Al Mozayen’s pen and ink drawings have become synonymous with Palestinian liberation struggle. Palestinian embroidery, their historical tradition and stylized figures give his work a kind of sublimity. He focuses on Palestine’s Canaanite heritage to demonstrate longevity and steadfastness of Palestinian culture and to counter the Israeli efforts to co-opt local culture and erase their historical roots in line with Bible. These four drawing [Pen n Ink] are his work in response to Jenin’s massacre when Anat emerges as soul of Palestine who rises with the city which will re assert it self.
Imagery of goddesses has emerged as an important artistic expression of resistance especially against Catholic Church, Orthodox Judaism and fundamentalist Islam. Salman Rushdie’s most original protest against colonization experience and resultant dualism of identities found the artistic expression in discourse involving Arabian Prophet’s efforts to “divinize” and “co-opt” the 3 native Meccan goddesses Al Lat , Al Manat and Al Uzza. The act of humanism later attributed to Satan by fundamentalist transformation of Islam [event recorded by earlier muslim Imams but disputed by later scholars during establishment of Arab imperialism] Satanic Verses thus “in its effects” becomes an act of resistance against censorship imposed by Islamic fundamentalism, states and other institutions of control and transformation. With imposition of wahabi Islam by Islamic Republic the dispossessed natives of this migrant state have re-discovered the “feminine goddess imagery” of this land. “Maaa’n” or mother thus becomes the point of worship in Punjabi mystic poetry instead of Allah of mullah. The “bad-women” of romantic tales are heroines of native intellectual as opposed to the state and its patriotic intellectual. For the native Sindhi Poet Sheik Ayaz , the daughter of Dahir is heroine, for Pakistani state his molester the Arab invader of Sindh Muhammed Bin Kassim is the hero. The Sindhi resistance against Kassim and later Islamic republic finds artistic expression in female heroines Sassi and Marvi which have now merged with imagery of Benazir Bhutto the daughter of Sindh murdered in Kufa of Islamabad.
When Islamic Republic poisoned the Saraiki heartland with fundamentalist Islam, Jhang the romantic town of Heer the romantic heroine of Punjab became the ground zero of sectarian violence. The late Saraiki poet Sarwar Karbali invoked the feminine imagery of Heer to resist Talibanization
Jud tuk Jhang Heer da Jhang hai
Maakhi, Makhan, Kheer da Jhang Hai
Aj kul Jhang Islam da Jhang he
Jhang de vich Islam di Jang ae
Goli te barood di dhoo’n ae
Adam boo ae Adam boo ae
[There was a time when Jhang was town of Heer , than Jhang was town of Life, of honey, butter and milk, these days Jhang is city of Islam, Jihad of Islam is going on in Jhang, every where there is smoke of TNT and bullets and smell of charred human flesh—-]
My glass is empty and my heart aches for lost love for lost time and for lost lands, the lament continues Sanwal Mor Mohara’n——–, or my lover return——
January 24, 2009
Famous Pakistani academic Dr Robina Saigol has written an influential critique of Nation State from feminist perspective. It is known as “Militarization, Nation and Gender: Women bodies as arenas of violent conflicts”. The study explains quite brilliantly the ideological structures which lead to crimes against women during violent conflicts. Pakistan is the specific focus of this study. I am reminded of it after I discovered the fate of Miss Zarina Murree a Baluch woman who went missing along with 429 persons since December 2005 according to Asian Human Rights Commission Report. She is reportedly being abused as a “sex slave” by Pakistan Army. I came to know about her, thanks to the inspiring blog “Grand Trunk Road” which writes about the duality of response on the predicament of two women. The suspected Islamic Fascist terrorist Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Miss Zarina Murree. The entry can be read here .I will deal with this problem at multiple levels trying to deconstruct the hegemonious discourse on Terrorism. Why a poor school teacher like Miss Zarina Murree would be abused as a “sex-slave” by Mujahid army of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Dr Saigol explains this phenomenon in general term:
“Recent feminist theories of nationalism have pointed out that the Qaum (nation) is essentially feminine in construction. The nation is narrated on the body of women who become an emotionally-laden symbol of the nation, self, the inner, spiritual world and home. One’s motherland or maadar-e-watan, as it comes to be called, becomes invested with the kind of erotic attraction felt towards women, especially in the figure of the mother. The country comes to be appropriated, represented and contained within words which have strong romantic, erotic as well as maternal connotations. The desire for this land/woman/dharti is constructed as masculine desire; the desire to possess it, see it, admire it, love it, protect it and die fighting for it against rivals.
Since the desire for women gets transferred on to the nation and women’s bodies come to signify the nation, communal, regional, national and international conflicts come to be played out on women’s bodies. These bodies thus become arenas of violent struggle. Women are humiliated, tortured, brutally raped, and murdered as part of the process by which the sense of being a nation is created and reinforced”
Thus by kidnapping and than sexually molesting a poor Baluch teacher, Pakistan’s Army is trying to reinforce the ideology of “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. This a reply to the traitor Baluchs. The ironic fact is the history of Islamic republic taught at school traces the history of Islamic state from the invasion of Sindh by Muhammed Bin Qasim, the Umayyad , who as the myth goes invaded Sindh to defend the “honour” of a Muslim girl. Like all other myths of Islamic Republic’s ideological history this honour laden justification of Arab imperialist assault on Sindh is deconstructed by great Sindhi poet and famous conscientious objectors to 1965 Indo-Pak , Sheik Ayaz in his poem which is the lament of the native girl of Sindh abused by invading Arabs. When Yvonne Ridley, former Taliban prisoner and now a pro Taliban activist and Respect Party affiliate who could very much be suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome” broke the news of Dr Aafia Siddique being sexually molested at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, ritualistic drum beating started. The fact that its very hard to dismiss Dr Sidiqque’s links with Al-Qaida and Islamic fascism was ignored. There is a case of abuse of Dr Siddique’s rights and all extra judicial punishments, torture and abuse must be condemned but this is clearly a case of “double discourse”. All the discourse of civil rights, human rights, woman rights, good governance etc in Pakistan favors the ideological interests of Islamic Republic. Thus suspected and alleged sexual molestation of Dr Siddique, an Urdu speaking girl from middle and upper middle classes who is involved in Jihad is the drummed up at all levels in Pakistan from media to text messages on mobile phones asking the young muslim men to follow the example of Muhammed Bin Qasim and deliver the “daughter of Islam” from infidels. Liberals and progressives follow this ideological discourse bound by their ethos of “human rights” and “civil rights”, the fact that Dr Siqqique if was successful in her Jihad would result in a system which doesn’t recognizes even the concept of human rights is ignored by most lefti human rights activists. Whilst they must raise a voice against state abuse they must make sure that their interest is only in the fact that Dr Siddique be brought in a court of Law where she gets a fair trial. Just as Ajmal Kasab has the legal right to fair trial. Nothing more than that. Unfortunately we saw Iqbal Haider becoming party to the the emotional drama created by the Right. He should have kept in mind, what image they created of other abuse victims. Mukhtar Mai, the Saraiki woman raped on orders of village counsel is a “whore” according to moral punjabi middle class. Dr Shazia Murree, the Baluch doctor raped by Captain Hamad was declared a “slut” and government narrated the stories of “condoms” in her home with a question why did a good girl had “condoms” in her home??
The great respect to woman, civil rights and human rights expressed by Islamic Republic and its ideological apparatus the media and the chattering class in cases of suspected Taliban and other ideological allies clearly vanishes when such atrocities are done to “others” of Islamic Republic by establishment. Thus the documented use of rape as a war tactic by Pakistan Army and Jamate Islami in 1971’s Bangladesh’s war of Liberation is dismissed as “Indian propaganda”, similar use of rape as a tactic to curtail MRD in 1980s in interior Sindh and Saraiki region of Punjab is never spoken of. The rape and genocide of Baluch people by Pakistani state again fails to gain any mass support or even media attention. Why this happens. Dr Rubina Saigol writes in “State and the Limit of Counter-Terrorism: The Case of Pakistan and SriLanka”
“The foundational myth of Pakistan is the two-nation theory, which
posits Muslims and Hindus as two mutually exclusive, separate and
irreconcilable nations. This ideology divided the freedom struggle
against British rule as early as 1909 with the Morley-Minto Reforms in
which the principle of separate electorate was acknowledged by the
British government. It subsequently remained the main slogan of the
Muslim League and led to the division of independence by religion.
Within the two-nation paradigm, two states emerged, a Hindu India and
a Muslim Pakistan, although Indians generally see their country as secular.
The emergence of Pakistan within a struggle divided by religion meant
that religious identity came to be the defining characteristic of Pakistani
citizenship. This implied that other, sometimes older, sources of identity
in language, region or culture had to be suppressed if not entirely erased.
The construction of Pakistani identity as Muslim required the forgetting
of the identities of Bengali, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pathan or Baloch”
This is the root of all the double discourse in Pakistan. This is the bases of Bengali Genocide, this is base of failure of democracy and this is the base of Rape of Zarina Murree. Dr Saigol is one of those few academics from Pakistan who recognizes the fact that most of the problems of Pakistan like failure of democracy and Islamic Fascism are result of the “state” itself. She also traces the roots of Taliban terrorism in two nation ideology of Pakistani state. Just have a look at the report of Asian Human Rights Commission here .
“The Asian Human Rights Commission has received further details in the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, who has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province and used as a sex slave, please see our statement; http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1843/——–“
Sanakhawan e Taqdees e Mushriq Kahan hein?
SanaKhawan e Taqdees e Mushriq Ko Lao——–
December 13, 2008
Pakistan is not a democracy; it’s a country in democratic transition. After a long military rule, the oligarchy which has been ruling this country since day one has agreed to share some power with politicians. This arrangement is being hailed as “democracy” in Pakistan and which is also being blamed for every thing, from incompetence to corruption, two of the most frequently used charges which have been used by oligarchy to take power directly in their hands. Whilst corporatization of media is being hailed as “freedom of media”, aestheticization of radicalism is going on, the anti-establishment slogans of democratic forces are being converted into mantras chanted by every one from Jamate Islami to General Hameed Gul, and no one bothers to understand what the values of oligarchy were and what the values of democratic forces in Pakistan were.
With a country in democratic transition, we often forget that policies of post-colonial states especially those like Pakistan which had taken Neo-fascist turn some time in their history [Zia era], cannot be reversed in few months. It needs a structural reform within the state itself. With a few months of PPP-ANP coalition such a structural reform has not yet occurred. Attempts to do such reform have been severely criticized by dominant classes in Pakistan and hence have to be abandoned. Attempts by PPP to bring ISI under political control were converted into a scandal by corporate media and its allies. Similar campaign is going on with the Pakhtoonkhawa issue where Right wing has openly come up in arms against government. These two issues represent the core issues when it comes to challenge the oligarchy. ISI has been blamed by almost all political forces in Pakistan for its attempts to control democracy and for spreading Jihad. [Jamate Islami and PML-N joined this anti-ISI campaign during Musharraf era, once he has gone both of them have again joined the so called “patriotic camp” as opposed to Socialists and Nationalists who were historically considered Indian agents and security risks].
Mumbai attacks have once again exposed this paradox in Pakistan. In the name of Patriotism, public opinion in Pakistan is again being mobilized in favor of certain values of oligarchy. Every where we are listening to media , liberal and right wing intellectuals condemning “blame game” and “India’s knee jerk reaction” against Pakistan. We are being reminded of the geographical remoteness of Fareed Kot and other “holes” in Indian propaganda. In all this patriotic discourse, what we are forgetting is that it’s Pakistan not India which has more at stake. The first victim of this sort of patriotism, which subscribes to values of Oligarchy and its State and not to the values of people, will be democracy in Pakistan and this time the state may not recover from its consequences. When Mr Manmohan Singh talks about “certain elements within Pakistan” being responsible for the attacks we are fast to condemn it. But are we that naive or suffering from collective amnesia. Have we forgotten that our agencies along with CIA supported insurgency in a country against a government which we recognized as legal government and had diplomatic ties with. For all the period of Afghan Jihad, our government at all international forums shamelessly maintained that Pakistan is “not interfering” in Afghanistan and our support is strictly moral and humanitarian in nature. Then any one who tried to warn oligarchy against it was termed as a “soviet agent” or “RAW agent”.
Did our denial do us any good? Today we are facing the consequences of our denials. The holy warriors we created with help of USA are now the greatest security threat our nation has ever faced.
Now lets come to India, we for the last 50 years or more are saying again and again at every international and national forum that Pakistan’s support to Kashmiri cause is “strictly moral, political and humanitarian”. Who are we trying to fool? India, the world or our selves? Have we not seen in our colleges and universities “Kashmir chalo” and “Jihad e Kashmir” programmes of Jamate Islami and Lashker e Toiba etc. Have we forgotten the money boxes at our departmental stores to fund “Kashmir Jihad”. Or have we forgotten the slogans of “ Sabilina Sabilina Al-Jihad Al-Jihad”. Have we forgotten the press conferences of Sallahuhdin of Hizab ul Mujaideen. Have we forgotten the CDs and DVDs of Kashmiri mujahideen , the messages of mothers that “if I had another son ill send him to Kashmir as well”. Was all this very far back? Most of these organizations were allowed to operate by different names in General Musharraf’s time but were they were destroyed? Have Mureedke and Mansoora been shut down? Hafiz Saeed and Molana Masood Azhar serving time in prisons?.
Have we forgotten Kargil as well? Didn’t it happen when Pakistan had a “democratic government.” Isn’t it a fact that the then Prime minister who was chief executive of Pakistan , with far more powers than PM Gilani, to this day maintains that he was “not aware” of this operation at all. Have we forgotten as well that once again we maintained that those at the Kargil peaks were “Mujahideen” fighting Indian occupation, and than we accepted it was our regular Army troops and we had the audacity of giving our martyrs “Nishan e Haider”, those very officers whose corpses we were reluctant to accept a few days back. Have we forgotten all that? Have we forgotten that Right wing till few days back was calling to hang General Musharraf, for Kargil operation? So what great revolutionary reform Pakistan has done in her security establishment that they are now completely following political authority? What have been done to counter the Fatwas telling us about the great gifts in paradise for engaging in “Ghizwa e Hind”. Have some of our political parties and patriotic generals offered Toba for their ambition of putting “green flag” of Red Fort. Have we really forgotten all this?
Our great patriots through out 1990s kept vehemently denying reports in Indian and United States press regarding nuclear proliferation. We also kept denouncing Pervez Hoodbhoy , Munno Bhai and others who pointed fingers at Dr AQ Khan. Then one day whole world knew. Did our denials help? We had to bring “Mohsin e Pakistan” on TV to confess to his crimes. Now our patriots want us to believe that “only AQ Khan” was involved. Iqbal’s Merd e Momin use to load tonnes of equipment himself on planes and than use to fly it himself. Have we ever looked at our denials?
With this track record is it fair to blame India for a “knee jerk reaction”?
If we don’t have such “elements” in Pakistan, who are we fighting in FATA? Who are we fighting in Swat? If Pakistan does not have such elements then who is blowing these bombs in Pakistan? Or have Osama Bin Ladin, Bait ullah Mehsood and Mullah Omar signed a decree that India is not their target? Or have they declared Kashmiri Jihad invalid? Let’s take this argument that India is our professed enemy and threat to our state [Which Zardari denied in his interview], so she blames us for every thing. Who is killing Chinese persons in Pakistan? People’s Republic of China has similar complaints. Russia, Iran and Central Asian Republics all have at one time or another blamed these “elements within Pakistan”. So is every one our enemy? Is this paranoid and schizoid mentality with overt narcissism an expression of Patriotism?
The result of all these denials and non critical approach toward every declaration of oligarchy as patriotic values Pakistan’s very existence is now at stake. We find a strange pleasure in reminding ourselves that there are 17 insurgencies going on in India. Though we never bother to know about these insurgencies, most of them are Maoist insurgencies, which have very different character than Islamist insurgency [we can look at Nepal to see how these insurgencies work, how politics is always the base of such insurgency or one can read Eqbal Ahmad’s studies on Vietnam and Algerian resistance and Left wing guerrilla warfare to differentiate it from Islamist terrorism] or let it be A, B or C insurgency. We have 4 provinces, and we have insurgencies in 2. The third one is in midst of ethnic conflict between Mohajir and Pathan and a possible Mohajir-Sindhi conflict. Punjab has a deep conflict with Sariaki region, which is strongly becoming hub of religious extremism. Many suicide bombers belong to Saraiki South Punjab. Ghazi Brothers of Red Mosque also belonged to southern Punjab.
Furthermore, Linguistic chauvinism of Pakistani establishment has resulted in deep conflicts in all nationalities of Pakistan, Bengali, Sindhi, Baluchi and Pakhtoon. The Oligarchy’s refusal to resolve the Nationalist Question has pushed Pakistan to the limit. The disillusioned Pakhtoon Nationalists are joining ranks of Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Asfand Yar Khan is loosing legitimacy fast in Pakhtoonkhawa because nothing promised to him has been delivered yet. On the other hand a vicious campaign by Oligarchy against ANP is going on. Targeting Pakhtoon population in Karachi by a party with close ties to GHQ is yet another pressure tactic to discredit and break Asfand Yar Khan. How long ANP can withstand the rapidly growing deep resentment in Pakhtoon population living across both sides of Durand Line and keep insisting on doing politics of federation, [ANP opposed other nationalist parties position of converting Pakistan into a loose confederation of nationalities and on this issue didn’t joined PONAM. It kept supporting a strong federal system with genuine provincial autonomy] is a matter I leave to history. But if ANP stopped federal politics it will be a tragedy similar to Awami League’s.
The same is happening in South Punjab. Baluchistan is already at a very advance level of chaos. One only has to observe what happened in Baluchistan on the death anniversary of Shaheed Ballaj Murree to see the real situation. Mir Raisani’s puppet government has no legitimacy within the Baluch population. Oligarchy’s policy of divide and rule when it comes to national question has pushed Pakistan on verge of collapse.
With Karachi riots time has come that we should stop looking at others “knee jerk” reactions and first put our own house in order. For us this is an existential question. We need to reform our state structure; resolve the National question; redefine our provinces and undertake constitutional reform to make Pakistan a secular democracy. Ritualistic chanting of progressive slogans and cursing mullahs will not do us any good. We need to see what the progressive values were and who is behind the Mullah