This appeal is from “Citizens of Pakistan”. I have always raised my voice on Baloch issue, my readers know about it. I have reservations on the ideology and working of SACW . First of all Pakistan has got no “citizen”, an Ahmedi is not citizen a woman is not citizen.  I think we dont need to be apologetic, Muhammed Ali Jinnah was not a “champion of  Kalat’s freedom” that is not right. The facts given are right but context is not clear. Mr Jinnah did plead Kalat’s case. He was attorney of Khan of Kalat and was receiving fee for that. It was Muhammed Ali jinnah who annexed Kalat once he received a telegram from Commonwealth office in London warning Pakistan about dangers of “independent Kalat”. Apparently Jinnah didnt see any conflict of interest in his role as attorney of Kalat and later Governor General of Pakistan when he adopted the same policy against which he fought on behalf of  Khan of Kalat. we dont need to make Jinnah champion of  every thing , especially not of Baloch cause because it simply will alienate Balochs further who know these things on their finger tips. The appeal can be reached here.

Shaheryar Ali

We the citizens of Pakistan must express solidarity with the people of Balochistan

Dear friends,

Balochistan is burning and needs our special and urgent attention. For the fifth time the people of Balochistan have been forced to take up arms as an expression of defiance against their continued exploitation. Each time the state of Pakistan embarked on military action to crush the resistance rather than to seek a reconciliation with the Baloch.

The state atrocities on the people of Balochistan have now reached unbearable proportions. So many have faced extrajudicial killings. Thousands of young men have disappeared at the hand of state agencies. Common people are being humiliated everyday by the Pakistani law enforcement agencies. Most young men in Balochistan have become totally alienated from Pakistan. If we continue to keep quiet we will commit a gross injustice to our Balochistani brothers and sisters. We must speak up now.

We the citizens of Pakistan must express solidarity with the people of Balochistan. The enclosed statement is meant to do just that. It also suggests steps that we the citizens feel the government must take in this regard.

We are approaching you to seek your help in this campaign.

A web-based signature portal is also being created. But we are all aware that as a vast majority of Pakistani citizens do not have access to such portals. Hence a need for signatures on a printed statement. The statement is in both English and Urdu, and we would deeply appreciate if some friends translate and print it in other languages, and get signatures.

Please join the campaign by collecting the maximum possible number of signatures on the statement, beginning with the members of your organization but also reaching out to as many others as possible. After obtaining these signatures, please mail the signed copies of the statement to the address printed at the bottom of the statement (P. O. Box 3395, GPO Islamabad).

Please read below some facts about Balochistan that highlight the reasons underlying the intense resentment among the common people of Balochistan.

Economic Deprivation of Baloch People

  • 18 out of the 20 most infrastructure-deprived districts in Pakistan are in Balochistan.
  • The percentage of districts that are classified as high deprivation stands as follows: 29 per cent in Punjab, 50 per cent in Sindh, 62 per cent in the NWFP, and 92 per cent in Balochistan. If Quetta and Ziarat are excluded, all of Balochistan falls into the high deprivation category. And Quetta’s ranking would fall if the cantonment is excluded from the analysis.
  • The percentage of population living in a high degree of deprivation stands at 25 per cent in Punjab, 23 per cent in urban Sindh, 49 per cent in rural Sindh, 51 per cent in the NWFP, and 88 per cent in Balochistan”.
  • Province’s 48 percent of the total population lives below poverty line whereas 26 percent in Punjab, NWFP 29 percent, and 38 percent urban and 27 percent rural population in Sindh.
  • The national literacy rate in Pakistan is 50 percent, the province has 23 percent literacy rate with only 7 percent female literacy rate.
  • Only 4 out of total 30 districts have gas supply while the province has been a major producer of gas for the total domestic, commercial and industrial needs of the country from early 50s. The capital of the province, Quetta, was provided gas in 1986.
  • 78 percent population has no electricity.
  • 79 percent has no gas facility while the province has a very low gas consumption of the country especially as compared to 64 percent of Punjab.

Mega development projects

  • The local population remains largely deprived of the benefits of mega development projects such as Gwadar port, Mirani dam, Kachhi canal, coastal highway, cantonments, and Pasni oil refinery plant etc.
  • Mostly outsiders benefit from such development schemes. The province has witnessed an influx of more than 5 million people to Gwadar port and other development areas.
  • Non-Baloch technicians and workers are hired while Balochs are only hired as unskilled workers.
  • Out of 1200 employees at Saindak copper-gold project, only 50 belong to Balochistan. Similarly, 130 engineers from Balochistan were trained at Karachi to be employed at Gwadar Port but they were denied jobs.
  • Land developers and investors from outside Balochistan are allowed purchase of Balochistan land.

Conflict-generating history

  • The current military operation in Balochistan is the fifth in the series. The first one was in 1948, the second in 1958, the third in 1962, the fourth in 1973. All the operations were to curb resistance to interference from the Central Government.
  • Historically, Balochistan or Kalat has never been a part of Indian state.
  • After the British conquered a part of the State of Kalat in 1839, the British pledged to respect the independence of Kalat and also gave it subsidies to maintain local loyalty for protecting British interests.
  • Mir Ahmed Yar Khan and the people of Balochistan supported the movement for the creation of Pakistan but at the same time they envisioned Kalat as a separate, independent and sovereign state after the departure of British from India.
  • Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself was the champion of independence and sovereignty of Kalat. In 1946, Mr. Jinnah pleaded before the Cabinet Mission for complete independence and sovereignty for Kalat as it existed before the agreements and treaties of 1841, 1854 and 1876 with the British. The Marri and Bugti Tumandars also joined the plea demanding their regions to be included with the Kalat federation. Quaid-i-Azam won the case.
  • Thus Kalat and Pakistan signed a standstill agreement on 4th August 1947 in which Pakistan recognized Kalat as an independent sovereign state, while future relations between Kalat and Pakistan regarding defense, external affairs and communications were to be negotiated later.
  • While Pakistan announced its independence on 14 of August 1947, Kalat announced its independence on the very next day, 15 August 1947.
  • But soon after independence, Kalat was pressurized to merge itself with Pakistan in the ‘interests of both’.
  • The Khan of Kalat refused to agree and tabled this desire of Pakistan in the Kalat State Houses of Parliament, Dar-ul-Umra and Dar-ul-Awam, which unanimously refused to merge Kalat with Pakistan. However they partially agreed to have an agreement with Pakistan for having a joint currency, defense and external affairs while keeping Kalat an independent and sovereign state.
  • The members, however, pledged to strongly resist any coercive action from Pakistan even with force.
  • Pakistan illegally annexed Kalat’s sub-states Makran, Kharan and Lasbella.
  • Pakistan ordered its garrison commander to invade Kalat and keep the Khan under house arrest until he signs the document of annexation.
  • Khan eventually went to Karachi and signed a controversial but conditional merger document with Pakistan on 27th March 1948 in his personal capacity despite strong opposition of both Kalat legislators.
  • This forced annexation gave birth to this conflict erupting in a low-scale resistance in Kalat led by the younger brother of Khan, Agha Abdul Karim, who was governor of Makran that had been part of Kalat for 300 years. However, the rebellion was overcome by military as the resistant leaders were arrested over a deceptive agreement on Holy Quran but were imprisoned as well as fined. Agha Karim spent seven years in prison.
  • In a personal meeting in 1958, President Iskandar Mirza asked the Khan of Kalat to mobilize sardars for the restoration of the Khanate of Kalat., and then on the pretext of this activity, sent in Pakistan Army under the command of Tikka Khan. The army arrested the Khan and sent him to an internment in Lahore. As soon as Ayub Khan took charge, he sentenced Prince Karim to another 14 years of jail term. In May 1959, Nawab Nauroz Khan Zehri came down from mountains on assurance of amnesty on Quran. He was immediately arrested together with his sons and grandsons and sent to Hyderabad jail, where they were tried for treason. Seven of his associates, including his sons were sentenced to death and hanged in Hyderabad. The ninety years old Nawab Zehri died in captivity in Hyderabad.
  • In 1962, Ayub Khan sacked Ataullah Mengal, Nawab Khair Bukhsh Marri, and Nawab Akbar Bugti from their hereditary positions as sardars of their tribes. This led to resistance, which was again quelled with an army action, arrests, long incarcerations, etc.
  • From this resistance emerged a movement (1962 to 1968) which resisted the one unit regime imposed by Ayub Khan in West Pakistan to provide population parity between the two wings of the country. One unit was finally disbanded in 1969 and Balochistan gained the status of a province in 1970.
  • Another resistance started in 1973 when the federal government of Z. A. Bhutto sacked the elected government of Balochistan on the flimsy charge of conspiracy against the state. The Army again went in to crush the resistance, but this time with the help of the Shah of Iran, and using most sophisticated equipment including helicopter gunships. It was the bloodiest conflict. The resistance ended when General Zia ul Haq’s military dictatorship announced a general amnesty in 1978.
  • The current resistance and military action started during the military dictatorship of General Musharraf in response to the assassination of Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Sultani-e-Jumhoor ka aata he zamana

Jo Naqash-e-kuhan tum ku nazer aye mita do

Sindhies come out in thousands to demand freedom! The oppressed nationalities of Pakistan are now demanding their rights. The ruling elite and its allied middle classes are devoting all their energies to destroy PPP, but their acts are bringing the moment of liberation nearer—-

With thanks : Daily Times

Hundreds of Sindhis march into city from Sukkur…

Staff Report

KARACHI: Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) chairman Bashir Khan Qureshi has appealed to the United Nations Organization support the “freedom of Sindh”, saying that it was necessary to eliminate religious extremism and terrorism from the subcontinent.

He said this while addressing a mammoth gathering outside the Karachi Press Club that was organized at the end of its “Paigham-e-Sindh March” (Message of the Sindh March). Party workers and supporters started the march in Sukkur on March 18 and entered Karachi on Wednesday evening.

The nationalist leader said that Western countries posed as moderate and liberal forces but the fact was that Sindh had been a symbol of religious harmony for a long time and had never been extremist.

He said that the mosques and temples in the province had stood wall to wall and if anyone doubted this they just needed to look at the examples in Sukkur, Rohri and other areas of the province.

He said that the West was engaged in a war against religious extremism but when the founder of the Jeay Sindh movement had talked about religious harmony some 40 years ago he was called an infidel at the time. Qureshi said that the “Paigham-e-Sindh March” could be the foundation stone of a freedom movement in Sindh.

He warned that such a march could be launched for Islamabad and the UNO also. Giving an ultimatum to the rulers, he said that the party would announce a movement against them on April 25 if the government did not release the political workers of Sindh and Balochistan, including Dr Safdar Sarki and Asif Baladi.

JSQM leaders Dr Niaz Kalani, Sajan Sindhi, Sagar Hanif Burdi, Aziz Phul, Ilahi Bux Bikak and others also spoke. Dr Kalani warned the electronic media, especially the Urdu media, to avoid ignoring pro-Sindh activities.

The Story Covered by BBC Urdu can be reached here

The Story covered by Indus Asia Online Journal

 

 

Shaheryar Ali

Violent riots have erupted in Baloch areas of Balochistan as well as in Karachi after mutilated bodies of 3 Baloch nationalist leaders who were kidnapped by Pakistani agencies from the office of their lawyer were discovered near the Baloch city of Turbat.

One policeman has been killed in Khuzdar , 3 have been injured in Quetta, the violent riots took place in Quetta, Mand, Khuzdar, Gawadar, Karachi, Kushmor, Mastong and other cities. Dozens of cars have been set alight. , banks and offices including those of UNHCR have been ransacked.

Shuda e rah e wafa

Shuda e rah e wafa

What has happened? Almost 6 days old mutilated bodies of 3 well respected Baloch patriots were discovered today. Mr Gulam Muhammed Baloch was president of Baloch National Movement, Mr Sher Muhammed Bugti was a leader of Baloch Republican Party and Mr Lala Munir was also a famous political activist. All 3 of them were kidnapped in broad day light from the office of their lawyer Mr Ali Kachkol . Speaking to BBC Mr Kachkol said “All 3 of them were sitting in my office because I was their lawyer and had just secured their bail when agency people stormed my office. They came in cars which they parked outside of my office. They had ropes in their hands; they tied those leaders like animals and took them away. I told them that you can’t arrest them like that because they are on bail. But they asked me to keep my mouth shut. BBC: Did you saw them? Yea I saw them, they were in my office, and they were so relaxed one of them polished his shoe there. They also arrested one fellow lawyer of mine but later released him when he told them that he was a lawyer Responded the lawyer. BBC: Did you inform the authorities? Yes I went to the police station and gave a written application to authorities to launch FIR against the Chiefs of ISI, IB and MI , but the police refused to note my FIR. I wrote to higher courts but none took any action. Mr Ali responded. BBC: Balochistan high court took notice of the killing today. Yes they took notice when they have been murdered. If they would have taken notice earlier their lives could have been spared.” Ali Kachkol advocate.

Listening to these lines on BBC Urdu “shub nama” my mind went numb. The farcical drama which pro-ISI political parties and a section of opportunist de-generated left conducted for more than year of “restoration of Justice” stood in front of me as a monstrous deviation which was carried out to eclipse the real issues. These extra judicial murders in Balochistan and criminal attitude of higher judiciary in protecting the rights of these people who couldn’t get their FIR registered is a sharp slap on the faces of Ali Ahmad Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan. Baloch political parties should arrange a sit in front of Ali Ahmad Kurd’s home and demand that he take this case to Mr Iftikhar Chaudhary who is doing Umra in Saudi Arabia and get FIR registered against Major General Shujja Pasha and Major General Asif of ISI and MI respectively.

Listening to the BBC reporting was a very painful experience for me, It seemed like Quetta has some how being converted into Dacca of 71. The murdered leader Mr Baloch was a famous poet of Balochi language, he also served as chairman of BSO the most popular and revolutionary Baloch student organization. Other two were also grass root political workers who have worked in masses. Mr Baloch was part of the “peace committee” which was formed to get the release of John Solecki . Mr Baloch gave evidence to the United Nations on Baloch genocide being conducted by state of Pakistan. It’s just like Bengal of 71. “ Hum le ke rahen ge Aazadi—- He Haq Hamara AAzadi” “We will take our freedom , its our basic human right” I could listen to slogans of Baloch activist in front of Karachi Press Club in back ground of BBC’s report.

The main lead on BBC Urdu website is “violent riots erupt through out Balochistan” and the news has photograph of 3 leaders in form of a poster of Baloch resistance with the caption “Heroes of Freedom”.

It was just like 71, Pakistani media and intellectuals have maintained same arrogant denial and apathy which they demonstrated in 71. What was left of hope died out when I listened to the press conference by Mir Hasil Bezinjo . Newly elected into senate of Pakistan Mir Hasil Bezinjo is son of Mir Gus Bezinjo , the most moderate and most pro federation Marxist of NAP. Soft spoken and one of the most refined pro-democracy activist Mr Bezinjo said

“Pakistan Army and its agencies are responsible for this crime. I want to say this loud and clear and Major General Shujja Pasha and Major General Asif , the chiefs of ISI and MI are responsible for these murders. We want the FIR to be registered against them. Time has come for the Baloch nation to unite under one flag, with Pakistani agencies doing this to the Balochs what option we have left if not to take up Arms?”

My torment was still not over , ex chief minister of Balochistan and leader of BNP Mr Akhtar Maingal , one of the most “pro- Punjabi” Baloch leader [He entered into a political alliance with Nawaz Sharif against wishes of many Baloch leaders] was next to be heard on BBC

“Pakistani state and its agencies have brought us to closer to the “point of no return”. This country could no longer remain united. Those who broke the country in 71 are now doing it again——–”

There is now no doubt left in my mind that Balochistan has been reduced to status of a colony, we have the same choice in front of us which we had in 71, to keep our mouths shuts in name of “patriotism” and “national interest” and let this genocide continue as we did in Bengal, or we tell our Baloch brothers that we stand with them in their war of liberation. Its not that long when Punjab sent its sons to Balochistan during the revolution. Punjabi and Sindhi youth fought alongside the Baloch revolutionaries against invading Pakistani Army. Those were the days of Pakistani Left. Najam Sethi and Rashid Rehman were two of those Punjabi revolutionaries who fought in Balochistan during the 70s. Thousands of Balochs remain in state custody, dead or alive no one knows. Baloch women are being abused as sex slaves. Should we all remain silent on that?? Alas Punjabi mothers have stop giving birth to revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. Its time to raise the flag of resistance and to launch a people’s resistance against the oligarchy. Punjab holds the key. I hope Punjabi mothers once again hear the demands from their sons to colour their shirts with the colours of spring —- “Mera rang de basanti chola mai rang de——”

The revolutionary song   associated with Shaheed Bhagat Singh , i dedicate  it to all Baloch revolutionaries.

Long Live Baloch People

Long Live People of Pakistan

Long live People of India

If one looks at the cultural history of Muslims in India, its hard to ignore the festival of Nowruz: The spring festival of Persia and central Asia which marks the start of spring of the start of Persian New Year. For more than a thousand years Nowroz was an official festival of the imperial courts in Dehli and Agra. Later it enjoyed the support of the princely states like Awadh and Hyderabad. Most Indians may remember K.Asif’s epic Moghul e Azam , which shows Jashen e Nowruz of Moghul court.

Nowruz was not just a fashion of muslim elites of India, rather it had a multi-dimensional character. After the Arab-muslim conquest of Persia, the festival of Nowruz became the symbol of a cultural resistance against Arabization and Arab imperialism. With the alliance of the sunni clerical establishment with the Caliphate in Baghdad after the initial resistance of the great Sunni Imams like Abu-Hanifa , Imam Malik and others , the Persian metaphysics and culture came under increasing attack from the state in name of Islam.

imamalishahadat07kr8 The resistance movements in the conquered and converted lands of Arab empire took shape of an “alternative” understanding of Islam, one which was radically different from vision of Abbasids and their supporters the Sunni clerics. The converted people looked towards their traditional philosophies, mythologies and cultural symbologies to understand Islam. Result was development of mysticism and different shades of Shia Islam. It must be understood that the political movement of proto- Shia was predominantly an Arab phenomenon with no theological differences with the proto-sunnis. The theological shia emerged quite later just as the their sunni counter part as the result of looking at Islam through the rich metaphysical tradition of Persians, Coptics, Nestorians, Arians and Pagans. The constant friction between the Ismaili Fatmid and Abbasid Empire played a great role. Its easily forgotten today that what is today dismissed as “heresy” was once the official Islam of half of the Moslem world and its continuous dawa in Abbasid lands made it “people’s religion” in other. Many “sanits” or Sufis could very much be Ismaili dais. Sufism shows a great resemblance to Ismaili theology esp in its understanding of concept of “beyond”. An account of this process with the resultant dissent in Islam is explained here and here.

Haft Sen

Haft Sen

In this environment Nowruz, the ancient festival of Persia was re-invented by the Shia and Sufi theologians as a potent symbol of resistance against Arab cultural invasion as well as against the rigid and loyalist Islam. Since most of the resistance against Arab imperialism was surrounding one or another Alavite cause, Nowruz was linked with the Holy House of Muhammed, whose status was under attack by the Arab rulers, Against the de-mystifying attempts of Abbasid and their loyalist clerics against Muhammed and Alavites, the Sufis and Shia trends merged both of them with the ancient Gnostic metaphysics with which the conquered people were very familiar. Nowruz became the day when Ali was awarded the “wilayah” in time before Time began. It was the day of Muhammed’s declaration of prophet hood in the zone beyond time, it was the day universe was created, and the day when Mehdi will deliver humanity from tyranny

Through Sufi teaching and its accompanying Ismaili dawa the festival reached the Sunni lands of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakhtoonkhawa, India, Turkey, Albania and Bosnia. Kurds also adopted the day due to the esoteric mystic tradition which mostly had Ismaili relations. With formation of Pakistan and its increasing Arabaization and State sponsored Anti Shia militancy, festival of Nowruz has virtually gone into obscurity. Its not that Nowruz is not celebrated in Pakistan, it is widely celebrated but is ignored. Even Pakistan’s self pro-claimed progressives and secularists who have a mantra of tolerance and pluralism on their lips 24/7 are insensitive to an “alternative cultural expression”.

Shias make a sizeable population in Pakistan and they celebrate Nowruz as an “Eid”, special ceremonies and prayers are offered in the Imam Bargahs , sweets, fruits, perfumes, flowers usually mark the offerings of Nowruz. The Aga Khani Ismaili community also celebrates Nowruz in Pakistan. In certain Northern areas of Pakistan which have Shia and Ismaili majority Nowruz has a very potent cultural expression. All of this fails to find any representation in mainstream Pakistan, result is an average educated Urban Pakistani simply doesn’t know about Nowruz. The Pakistani intellectuals are usually busy lecturing India on tolerance and pluralism on issues like Varun Gandhi etc etc and usually don’t care about such small things. The Shia holocaust in Pakistan also goes un noticed by most of our secular-progressive-sufi- Elitist intellectuals. Thanks to them no one in Pakistan knows whats going on against Shias in Parachinar and other areas. A fellow blogger Abdul recently spoke about this criminal silence by those who have a claim to Alternative media in Pakistan. Here is the article by Abdul and other links about Anti Shia holocaust going on in Pakistan. Here , here and Here. Most of our protests on these issues are also met with the same response. Indifference

Pakistani Shias celebrated this Nowruz with an increasing awareness of Talibanization. Yet another Pakistani community celebrates Nowruz. It’s the Bahai community. Scattered through out Pakistan, the Bahai community leads life of invisibility due to “cultural holocaust and apartheid” which is order of the day in Pakistan. Bahai’s through out Pakistan celebrated Nowruz.

Bahai star

Bahai star

The Persian speaking people of Pakistan [this is yet another information for an average educated Pakistani, that there exist people in Pakistan whose mother tongue is Persian] also celebrates Nowruz. Darri speaking [Afghani Persian] Hazaras of Baluchistan also celebrate Nowruz. [Yet another victim of state sponsored holocaust]

Yet another Pakistani community which celebrates Nowruz is the Zoroastrian community commonly known as the “Parsi community”. The community is trying to preserve the ancient pre-Islamic heritage of Iran. Geographically Nowruz is celebrated with greater enthusiasm in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawer, Northern Areas of Pakistan especially Hunza valley, Gilget and Baldistan , Multan and Kashmir. In Pakistan the customs of Nowruz are different than those of Iran.

In Pakistan Nowruz is mostly celebrated as “Alam Afrouz” or the new day. People dress up and visit each other. There are special ceremonies and “aamal” and prayers in Imam Bargahs and Jamat Khanas. Hina, bangles and eidi are also part of Nowruz celebration. In villages the practice of burning wood logs and jumping over it was an established practice on Nowruz but now has almost died. Special sweets like “laddo”, ”rus malai”, ”gulab jaman” “cream rolls” and Suhan Halva are made on this day. These sweets plus roses and perfumes replace the tradition “Haft sen” of Nowruz,

Since in mystic and Shia theology Nowruz is the day to celebrate the wilayah of Ali and house of Muhammed , I have selected a “Ginan”, which are the mystic lyrics wrote of Saints of Indo-Pk , many of them were Ismaili dais [as the Ismaili history is slowly being de-mystified] in praise of the Imams who were in occultation in those days. Shamas the mysterious mystic was also an Ismaili dai who introduced Rumi to “Batin”, what lies beyond the words of Quran.

This particular Ginan is being offered by none other than Queen of mystic music Abida Parveen and it speaks about the “Raj”, the Millennium when charismatic Imams, the continuation of Koranic symbology of Noor-un-ala-noor will rule the humanity. The start of this was affirmation of Ali in realm of spirits an act which is symbolized in day of Nowruz. In modern times this Ginan is specially recited on coronation of the Aga Khan the “Hazir Imams”, the continuation of Ismaili Imamat and the most philosophical rich movement in Islam whose metaphysics contributed a lot in development of mysticism. The devotion of Abida Parveen is worth seeing, a truly spiritual experience. HE Prince Karim Aga Khan, the Hazir Imam can be seen enjoying the Ginan.


shalome1

Shaheryar Ali

We live in strange times when it is easy to hate and difficult to love. The spirit of enlightenment, the goddess of liberty is now under attack in Universities of France herself. We live in the age of “Late Capitalism”, this is the age of rampant capitalism, the age of extreme alienation. With the extreme alienation things start loosing their “corporeal beings”, concrete ideas take the form of ghostly phantoms, and reality seems to merge with fantasy. The expression of this phenomenon can be seen everywhere, Salman Rushdie’s most original protest against colonialism, the hegemonic dualities created by the immigrant experience, the identity crisis, the de-humanizing experience of disillusionment from both cultures, the old and new, the very division of self brought about by modernism, through colonialism and immigration, the lament and cry of pain and anguish became the object of hostility of those for whom it was done. The ghostly or hallucinatory expression termed as “magical realism” represent this epochal phenomenon in literature.

Extreme fluidity of the narrative, the interplay of contradictory streams of meaning, the nauseous experience of existence in the hostile universe is not the monopoly of literary giants; rather it has become an everyday experience of life. The monstrous war between two illegitimate children of Capitalist imperialism Zionism and Islamic fundamentalism is one of such events. While some want us to believe that heartless fascists, the prophets of Gaza are champions of progressive cause others wants us to believe that the blood thirsty child killers , the Zionists are fighting the war for the very survival humanity against the forces of darkness. The people are being killed. They are victims of this age of confusion. The Islamic Republic, just like the Zionist state was a “liberal” act of British imperialism to provide the national homeland to “Muslims” in India. The “ideological” state has been one of the most loyal allies of United State’s imperialism rivaled only by its distant cousins Israel and Egypt. The Pakistani middle classes who take these ideological fallacies of state quite seriously have got a new hero in recent times, Adolf Hiter. Angered by the scenes of Zionist barbarism in Gaza and fuelled by the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Pakistani Islamist and Liberal dominated media the middle classes are chattering about the “great vision” of Adolf Hitler in his recognition of “Jewish evil” and his great efforts to save humanity from it.

The Jewish evils of course being the good old theories of Jews controlling “all the banks” and “state institutions” of USA etc.: their inherent “racism”, “their intolerance”, “their non acceptance of our great holy prophet” etc. In this discourse Pakistan and Islam becomes the “greatest, best and most tolerant and humanist ideologies and state which ever existed in this cosmos. The ideological paradise of the Islamic Republic in which the Pakistani middle and chattering classes live and play the eternal victim of every thing which exists in this universe ; Big bad India, USA, Jews all the cunning, evil enemies who want to destroy humanist and tolerant Pakistan, the “divine land”, the “land of the pure”. We who are the critics of Islamic Republic occasionally remind the chattering classes about the things which don’t fit in their “ideological paradise”, things lost in the “collective amnesia” of divine state and Pure of pure. We are so much threatened by perceived “Indian hegemony” that we find our selves permanently scarred by “Gandhi, the Movie” but we don’t bother 3 million Bengalis butchered by us and thousands of Bengali women raped by our macho Jawans

“Where are the Pakistani Jews?” I just ask this question. The picture you see above is that of “Magain Shalome Synagogue”. The synagogue was built by the small but vibrant Jewish community of Karachi in 1898. The Jews of Karachi enjoyed tolerance and acceptability as British subjects in India. In 1936 one of the leaders of the Jewish community, Abraham Reuban became the first “Jewish councilor” of the city corporation. The city also had a number of “support organizations” like “Young Man’s Jewish Association”, the “Karachi Bene Israel Relief Fund” and “Karachi Jewish Syndicate”. In 1947, Jinnah got his laboratory of Islam and for Pakistani Jews the clock started ticking. As the people, who have been victim of tyranny for thousands of years Jews knew the warning signs. Partition of India on religious lines and formation of a “Laboratory of Islam” was a bad omen. The Pakistani Aliya had started. Jews started leaving for India and Iran. The “night of broken glass” for Pakistani Jews was a night in 1948 when State of Israel was proclaimed. Karachi which was home to Jews for decades suddenly became hostile. The anti Jew pogroms started. The mob attacked and torched the “Magain Shalome” synagogue. Every thing was broken, the windows, the ornaments. The Mujahids also desecrated the Holy Ark and Bible.

The community still tried to live with the illusion of “Jinnah’s words”, “you are free to go to your temples and your mosques—” , the anti Jewish pogroms and anti-Semitic rhetoric intensified with the Arab , Israeli wars, the synagogue remained the point of hatred of the mob. 1948, 1956 and 1967 were the periods where small Bene Israeli community of Pakistan faced the rage and hatred. The Magain Shalome resurrected itself after every fire till nobody was left to pray. Those who called themselves anti-Zionists pushed Jews from every land which was their home, pushing them to look for their mythical homeland, The Zion. Peshawar had a Jewish community as well, with two synagogues. Along with Bene Israeli community, “Bukharin Jews” also called Peshawar their home. Now none is left. A whole community vanished , along with their language, culture, art and most important their ‘stories”. I once read a novel which had a haunting line, “You scratch a Jew and you will get a story”. I have now no one to ask too; all that is left are few graves and Stars of David on certain buildings in both cities. The Magain Shalome Synagogue was finally demolished in 1980 when Fascist General Zia ul Haq was ruler of Pakistan to make a shopping plaza. The Jews from Karachi now live in Ramle, Israel. They have made a “Magain Shalome” there. 200 or so Jews still live in Karachi; they have disguised themselves as “Parsies”.

Such are the fascist societies where people are forced to live as some one who they are not, weather Jews or Homosexuals.

Picture: Naveed Riaz Karachi

Magain Shalome was built by Shalome Solomon Umberdeker and his son Gershone Solomon; Karachi’s last synagogue was demolished in 1980

“This was not the outburst of crazed men or uncontrolled barbarians but the triumph of a belief system that defined one people as less human than another. For the men and women who comprised these mobs, as for those who remained silent and indifferent or who provided scholarly or scientific explanations, this was the highest idealism in the service of their race. One has only to view the self-satisfied expressions on their faces as they posed beneath black people hanging from a rope or next to the charred remains of a Negro who had been burned to death What is most disturbing about these scenes is the discovery that the perpetrators of the crimes were ordinary people, not so different from ourselves – merchants, farmers, laborers, machine operators, teachers, doctors, lawyers, policemen, students; they were family men and women, good churchgoing folk who came to believe that keeping black people in their place was nothing less than pest control, a way of combating an epidemic or virus that if not checked would be detrimental to the health and security of the community

Leon F Litwack , on lynching in USA

History is a unique experience, one that fully shakes you up. It can enlighten you into a revolutionary struggle by by exposing the texts, or it can cause frustration, anguish and pain when it keeps on repeating itself. you know what is happening, how it can be changed and whats going on but you are utterly powerless to stop or intervene. The pain it causes isun imaginable.

In these circumstances when nations are pushed into certain kind of manias in the name of Religion,Race,Nationalism,Honour,and other higher ideals, all the discourse become hegemonized. This does not necessarily happens through the use of brute force or censorship alone as force alone can never eliminate “dissent”. What is done is to create an idea so serene, so pure and so passionate that questioning it itself becomes treason . In 1933 Martin Heidegger in his notorious pro Hitler declaration stated “Truth is the revelation of that which makes a people certain,clear and strong in its action and knowledge”. This is the intellectual spirit of all fascism which subjugates truth to some higher idea , revival of nation etc. In simples words in order to motivate a nation any lie can be spoken and it becomes the truth. These are the moments when speaking the truth becomes most difficult because doing so means being a traitor in eyes of almost every one. but not doing so makes you a traitor in History.

In 1930s USA was in a similar situation, winds of change were threatening the old order of prejudice and bigotry. To save their skin they created a madness in the South in name of order, morality and humanity. They started lynching the blacks. Whole city gathered and watch the young black lads being beaten, hanged and burned. People posed with them for post cards. All this was believed to be for the sake of keeping the society clean, for maintaining law and order. The blacks were accused of being rapists, thief, magicians,kidnappers etc The whole society united in this great deed.

Abel Meeropol a Jewish school teacher who was member of the American Communist Party saw a picture of two black men hanging from the tree and he wrote a poem “Strange Fruit” which became the most important statement against American Racism. He published it under a pseudonym Lewis Alan. Billie Holiday sung it and it became one of the most influential songs ever sung. Holiday’s father died of pneumonia when “white hospitals” refused to treat him [doing so was against the segregation laws]. She could relate to all the injustice which formed the bases of this poem:

Strange Fruit – Lewis Allan

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies 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 magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then 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 the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop

I am listening to Billi Holiday singing Strange Fruit and in front of my eyes is the picture that became inspiration for this song, but in my mind is another south and another lynching. Lynching of 22 years of Hindu boy in a Karachi factory bymoslem mob for the crime of “Blasphemy”. The true crime was being Hindu in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The personal grudge that was settled in name of Blasphemy. The mob of Sunni Tehrik fanatics who worked in his factory killed him in the most in humane way. He was asked to stay, than the gates of the factory were closed, he was beaten to death by the mob, his eyes were gouged out using iron rods, than his body was thrown out on the road to save the name of factory owners. His body was about to being burned when police arrived. His family escaped to their ancestral village in interior Sindh where his father has locked himself in the home. Why because when he comes out he listens “Any one who commits blasphemy against Muhammed should be killed. He should be killed too”

There is no help there is no support. Pakistani society has maintained a criminal silence on these “strange fruits”. Minorities are accused of blasphemy and lynched and its “no news” in Pakistan. The lynching even take place in jails obviously under police supervision. No one accused of killing a blasphemer has ever been sentenced.

All the media in Pakistan is responsible for creating this mania of blasphemy by propagating the “caricature scandal”.All the humanist intellectuals are busy debating judiciary and human rights of Taliban [Missing Persons]. Poor Jagdeesh Kumar couldt find any Alan Lewis or Billi Holiday and the Pakistani Communists are busy restoring democracy and Justice with Jamat e Islami , General Hameed Gul and Roidad Khan. “Bol keh Lub aazad hein tere” [Speak as your lips are still free] , voice of Tina Sani is illuminating TV channels adding spark to movement to restore Judicial bureaucracy .

Speak and get lynched. Silence is criminal . In a lecture on Forgiveness in Paris, Levinas famously remarked ” One can forgive many Germans but it is very difficult to forgive some Germans, it is difficult to forgive Heidegger”

For every Pakistani to think esp Pakistani Heideggers.

“Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!”