Shaheryar Ali

It’s a very sorry state of affairs. For more than 2 years now I have been writing about the dangers of “intellectual hegemony”, “selective radicalism” and “double discourse on Rights” being prevalent in Pakistani corporate media as well in Pakistani blogging community.  The Pakistani blogging community though is generally better than the media corporations but unfortunately is plagued by the same myopic intolerance when it comes to any dissenting views regarding the myths about Pakistan, its origin, its democracy and its national interests as defined by Right-of center media guru or a section of ex-Stalinists now turned liberals or centrists intellectuals.

 

The freedom of expression always is the freedom to express views which are deemed controversial. The demand for freedom of expression always arises for the marginalized opinion, one which is not acceptable to the state, rulers, moral vanguard of the society etc. It’s precisely this very right to differ, to challenge the dominant views that creates the issue of freedom of expression in the first place. Its so because, any other opinion one which operates within the realms of what is “acceptable” to the society or state in never in danger of suppression. Noam Chomsky for example points out that if we conceive freedom of expression as something for opinions which are acceptable than even Hitler was in favor of such freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is explicitly the freedom to be able to differ; to express opinions deems offensive, those which challenge the “fashionable conformities” weather political, nation or social in origins.

 

hamid-mir-media-bullyFew days back we saw one of the most heinous witch hunts in intellectual history of Pakistan. It started with attacks on the section of Pakistani columnist who have a Left wing background and who took a stand in support of democratic transition in Pakistan and tried to put forward a different perspective on Judicial Movement, war on terror and media activism. These people are a very tiny minority within Pakistan’s booming media business. Their view by no stretching of imagination can be called a dominant view in Pakistani media. The friction between these intellectuals and their opponents on the right side of political spectrum are ideological tracing its roots in the right-left polarization in Pakistan during 60s and 70s. The few left wing intellectuals who have survived the McCarthyist witch hunts by state and owners of media houses are now being put on media show trials by Pro-Taliban and Pro-Army TV anchors and columnists. Every abuse and every allegation from being an alcoholic to being a traitor have been put on them.

 

What these people themselves have been doing in media is nothing but shameless propaganda in name of news coverage. Mr Haroon Rashid who is on the forefront of this witch hunt against the tiny progressive element in Pakistani media , has been distorting facts and history in his columns but with a shameless face gives lectures about “modesty” and “tolerance’ to the victims of these witch hunts. I can go on and on about his academic honesty but I find it waste of my time. Simple two things can expose his dishonesty. In one of his Mccathry inspired columns against the socialist/ex-socialists intellectuals he shamelessly wrote that “Reds opposed Pakistan, once it came into being they never get out of shock”. It’s a shameless blatant lie. Communist Party of India and the Progressive Writers Association supported the demand of Pakistan. They even collaborated with Jinnah, the election manifesto of ALIML in 1946 elections was written by a communist Danial Latifi and many communists joined Muslim League as policy. Ironically it was the mother party of Mr Haroon Rashid Jamate Islami opposed Pakistan and Maudaudi compared it to “cooking of Pork” but Pakistani right forgets these historical details. After that I remember reading one of his columns against the great Urdu poets Ahmad Faraz. Every abuse and every label that Mr Rashid could think on was put on the great poet who recently died. In order declare Faraz infidel and traitor Mr Rashid quoted a verse which questioned the validity of divine revelation. Taking on the verse Mr Rashid went on and on to condemn Ahmad Faraz to great extant. What was ironic was the simple fact that the verse was not of Ahmad Faraz but of another progressive poet Mr Zaheer Kashmiri. Mr Aser Chohan wrote a column to clear the facts but Mr Haroon Rashid never had the decency to either apologies or retract the defamatory remarks.

 

Hamid Mir, who sadly has become a stain on the name of his great father, Prof. Warris Mir who was himself a victim of Jamate islami sponsored witch hunt in the 80s has taken this witch hunt to new heights. On his popular programme The Capital Talk he and Mr Ansar Abbasi , the pope of pro-Taliban media establishment  took on the blog “Let US Build Pakistan” and put baseless allegation on it without any evidence. The language they used rings bells of alarm to anyone who is familiar with these crooks and their methods. It was said that the “blog is trying to create misunderstandings between Army and Media”. This is an open threat. It was said the blog is being run from presidential palace .etc etc. This is the most absurd thing which I have ever heard. Who has given these people the right to put baseless allegations without giving any proof? Let US Build Pakistan for the whole period of Lawyers Movement kept supporting the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, even when the PPP government was using delaying tactics. The photograph of his lordship the most honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Chuadhry was prominently and permanently on display on side bar of the web site with explicit declaration: “This blog supports the restoration of deposed judges”. I bet this also came from the presidential palace?

 

Will Mr Chief Justice take any interest in the law of Press council and rules of engagement by the media barons? Or every ones name, reputation and character is at the will of this anchrocracy? The Pakistani blogging community had previously suffered the attack by state during the 3rd November emergency rule by General Pervez Musharaf . No one knows better about “right to dissent” than the lordship who himself exercised it in front of General Pervez Musharraf. Let Us Build Pakistan is a blog which openly supports Pakistan Peoples Party; it has never claimed to be an “independent news source”. They have explicitly mentioned their ideological ties with the largest and the only federal party of Pakistan. Last time I checked right to support Pakistan Peoples Party was not declared a crime in Pakistan. Anyone has the right to disagree with “Let US Build Pakistan” and “Pakistan Peoples Party” but no one has the right to spread disinformation. What was done on Geo TV was libelous defamation. People of Pakistan have a constitutional right to support and join any political party and to express views in its support. I would appeal to all people of conscience to support right of Let US Build Pakistan blog to express their opinion in a threat free environment

 

What was most insensitive was the reaction of the Pakistani blogging community. Nothing of solidarity was observed. Pakistan Peoples Party and its support many be “out of fashion” in the class which blogs but let me tell my community that if right to have an opinion became focus of media witch-hunting none will be spared, not even the self proclaimed secular nationalists of Pakistan who are rabidly anti PPP and anti Left. The right may be busy focusing on PPP and a wider anti-PPP ideological alliance appears to be in place but as PPP govt goes many of you will be the target as well. Let US Build Pakistan is remarkable blog in many respects. It has shown remarkable strength on issues on which many of us shy away

1)      This blog has took a early and bold stand against Talibanization and sectarianism

2)      This Blog has took a conscientious stand on rights of Pakistani Miniorities

3)      This blog showed a remarkable strength of conviction and conscience when it supported the restoration of judiciary against wishes of many in the Party whom they support. [I for example who is writing this article to support Let Us Build Pakistan was and is critical of lawyers movement and judiciary but this never came in way of either me or Let Us Build Pakistan]

4)      This blog is pioneer in “Media Criticism” and has frequently demonstrated the “ideological biases” of Pakistani media hence upheld the fundamental right of people of Pakistan to un biased and/or alternative news and opinions

5)      This blog has taken a democratic stand in support of marginalized groups and nationalities of Pakistan

6)      This blog has covered the silent anti-Shia genocide taking place in Pakistan which finds no coverage any where,

I want to tell that I am proud of Abdul Nishapuri and the team of Let Us Build Pakistan, for being brave and for writing what they believe in. I also congratulate them for openly declaring them to be supporters of Pakistan Peoples Party unlike their detractors the Hamid Mirs, Shahid Masoods and Ansar Abasais who don’t have the moral courage to openly declare their political allegiance and wear the masks of being “independent” analysts and doing overtly political propaganda. I will only say to them what has been declared “greatest punch line in history of America”, it was in one of the “anti-communist hearings during McCarthy’s witch hunt. “Have you no decency Sir—-”

I would like to salute the bloggers who raised their voice in support of Let Us Build Pakistan,  Rabia Shakoor, Umair Wasi and Pakistan Media Watch.

To my fellow bloggers who are indifferent and silent at plight of a blog which they don’t like because it supports PPP and Zardari and is critical of Army and agencies etc I will just say dear friends, today it is Nazir Naji and Lets Us Build Pakistan, who will be next think about it——–

Ode to Pakistani Bloggers, the poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller the poem which has become the greatest indictment of inactivity of German Intellectuals during Nazi regime

 

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me”

The links to various articles on this issue can be reached here, here and here. here

Geo TV and Selective Freedom of Expression.

To what extant these Media Jihadis can Go and scale of abuse read this article in Saudi Gazette.

Shaheryar Ali

091028125531_mast_fm226Today is the third day of censorship being imposed on the BBC in Pakistan BBC news goes on air throughout Pakistan via a series of privately owned FM networks. With the explosion of private TV channels in Pakistan, the standards of journalism have a suffered a great deal. An ideological media fuelled by militant Islamism and Pakistani nationalism is on an ideological crusade in Pakistan whose first victim has been “objective reporting”.

Pluralism and democracy has been completely lacking in the local free media of Pakistan. All the news papers and TV channels have exactly same editorial policy. One gets the feeling he or she is reading sameBBC-Urdu news again and again. Most of it is objectively incorrect. Most of this media has been fiercely loyal to the policies of Pakistan’s ruling oligarchy. It may take sides on different issues which represent the interests of different factions of oligarchy depending on the Right wing and Pakistani Nationalist dominated press’s opinion of whose “patriot” and whose not but when it comes to broad general interest of the oligarchy inform of the ideological boundaries of state, the media is wholly partisan without any significant exception. The mania against India, denial on state involvement in nuclear proliferation and Islamic fascism, denial of existence of anti colonial struggles like those in Balochistan and Pakistani occupied Kashmir [written and Azad Kashmir or Free Kashmir in all Pakistani media] are to quote few examples where all Pakistani media has exactly same opinion to express, the opinion of Pakistani ruling elite and its state institution

Censorship_Press_Obey2Pakistani authorities always had a problem with the BBC. From the day BBC had collaborated with the local FM radios to increase its coverage in Pakistan; it is being opposed by Pakistani authorities in one way or another. There is usual bureaucratic red tape which always comes in handy when Pakistan wants to censor the BBC. This contract is incomplete and this rule has been violated bla bla bla. The real reason is that Pakistani authorities are fearful of objective reporting. Being a Lefti I am no fan of BBC, but unfortunately the standards of journalism have been deteriorated to such an extant in Pakistan that BBC appears to be the most objective news source in Pakistan. That’s a pity but that’s a fact!

The real crime of BBC is not what is officially being cited, i.e. violations of laws and procedures because if “Rule of Law” was such an important issue in Pakistan, it would have checked the local news channels as well. According to the society for Alternative Media in Pakistan, all news channels in Pakistan are in violence of PEMRA law through which they were granted licenses. None of them have deposited amount fixed in law of their annual income in treasury which they were bound to do so. These news channels do not go off air because they are doing state propaganda to a vulgar extant. BBC does that too, but it tries to maintain at least an illusion of objectivity, even that is not acceptable to Pakistan. The crimes of BBC are:

 

Reporting on Balochistan:  The coverage of BBC Urdu service on Balochistan cannot be called pro-people or pro-Bloch by any means, its crime is that its “reports” about Balochistan: Which no one else does in Pakistan. It tells that people are dying, some people are demanding freedom. Its will give opinion of the resistance as well that of government.

Coverage of Divergent views on Judiciary, Army, Nuclear Issues and Taliban: This along with the views of state institutions and other parties

 

Like laws apply differently to two chief justices who broke the law and took oaths of loyalty to same military dictator, depending on whom Jamate Islami and the Right supports, Laws apply differently to BBC and Geo in Pakistan. What’s going on Pakistan against BBC is a hideous press censorship. Even more hideous is the role of Pakistani media which cries foul every time it’s touched but is silent on the continuous censorship of Baloch press and the BBC. Same goes to most Pakistani bloggers, the stalwarts of secularism and Jinnah’s vision who also don’t see anything which is on the wrong side of this Post-colonial state. None wrote any thing against continuous harassment, closure and censorship of Baloch press and now of BBC.

We have not learned anything

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On April 22, 2009 i wrote an article in my blog on the “thuggery” which was being declared a revolution. “The Black Revolution” a clown called it. Ignorant of the movement of history and the socio-cultural compulsions, many people in Pakistan adopted a dogmatic stand citing ideology and principle in supporting the lawyers movement. They completely disregarded the “evolution” which took place in lawyers movement , from a liberal movement, it became an instrument in hands of Jamate Islami and the reactionary retired generals. In the article, “Delirium: My name is Black” i tried to relate fate of such “movements” in a societies which are in grip of anarchy. In such situations, are the rhetoric of “order” results in “disorder”, i utilized the example of “black shirts” of Italian Fascist movement which also took control in name of “order”, “law” , constitution and “national honour”. Today Nadeem Farooq Paracha has taken a similar line. I am really glad that some people in Pakistan are aware of the dangers

Shaheryar Ali

Nadeem F. Paracha
Sunday, 09 Aug, 2009. With Thanks: Dawn

Recent incidents remind one of the antics of Mussolini’s notorious gangs of rampaging thugs. — File Photo

Recent incidents remind one of the antics of Mussolini’s notorious gangs of rampaging thugs. — File Photo

Thanks to the entirely lopsided media coverage in favour of the lawyers’ movement and the somewhat nauseating superlatives used to decorate the stand of the deposed CJP and his merry band of lawyers, there was always a danger of the lawyers’ community at large seeing themselves as gallant heroes who were above the law — a law which, to them, now meant nothing more than an ugly ogre to be constantly attacked, insulted and spat upon.

Harsh words indeed for a community which played its part in making the country’s last dictator announce his resignation. But the truth is that the lawyers would have remained nothing more than a loud little tassel if not for the overwhelming help they got from an adoring media and mainstream political parties such as the PML (N), and earlier, the late Benazir Bhutto’s PPP.

The recent spat of incidents in which groups of lawyers unabashedly abused and physically attacked former ministers, police officers, journalists, low-grade bureaucrats and civil judges while still in their black coats reminds one of the antics of Mussolini’s notorious gangs of rampaging thugs called the ‘Black Shirts,’ who, too, after tasting populist applause, started considering themselves above the law, eventually becoming one of classic fascism’s most animated expressions.

Isn’t this not what has happened to a movement that (unlike Mussolini’s fascist spurring) actually stood for the rule of law, democracy, constitutionalism and justice?

Well, did it really?

To begin with, there is absolutely no doubt that in spite of the fact that the CJP had agreed to take the oath in 2001 under Musharraf’s controversial PCO, his decision to stand up against what he considered were unconstitutional moves by the General was a laudable act. But a democratic and progressive protest movement by the lawyers bemoaning the CJP’s removal by the dictatorship started to change colour the moment it was turned into an anti-Musharraf bandwagon by the PML (N) and the PPP.

Now, there is certainly nothing condemnable about this, because active mainstream political parties are supposed to make full use of such openings. However, this did turn the movement into becoming a lot more political in nature which in itself created another window, this time for fringe parties such as the Jamat-i-Islami and Tehreek-i-Insaaf and parties from the peripheries of Sindhi and Pukhtun nationalism to tumble in with all of their political myopia and cornered, reactive attitudes.

Add to this mix the overwhelming coverage and praise the movement got from the media, and you have in your hand an explosive breed of highly politicised lawyers with cringing delusions of grandeur that have now emerged in full flow months after the movement officially came to an end with the restoration of the honourable CJP.

The saddest part in this respect is the way even the sanest and most democratic

instruments of the movement have largely tried to simply mumble out their reaction to the acts of violence and harassment perpetrated by some of their colleagues.

They are more than clear and ear-splitting in their condemnation of Musharraf and Zardari, but even after the many acts of violence involving lawyers have been captured on camera and repeatedly run on mainstream TV channels, these once glorified harbingers of justice and rights have at best sounded sheepish or simply decided to ‘vanish’ from the radar of the media.

The leading lights of the culminated Lawyers’ Movement must realise that their movement without the participation of mainstream political parties and the media would have amounted to nothing more than a fly-like nuisance for the dictatorship.

And the (electronic) media, much of which is now rightly questioning the many shameful post-Movement acts of the lawyers, should learn a vital lesson from these episodes. Its over-enthusiasm for sensational coverage and the space that it gives to cranks whose ‘analysis’ are nothing short of hateful fatwas against those they dislike and superlative praises for those they adore, has merely created monsters.

These include certain religious extremists in the NWFP, the Lal Masjid terrorists, and now a big, bad batch of lawyers whose delusions of grandeur — that the media helped create — seem to have made them lose all contact with democratic decency and maybe even reality itself.

Adam Paul speaks the rare truth, which Pakistani Liberals and “free media” want to hide. He ask simple question/. Why our great Army can’t defeat few thugs? Most of the information comes from the socialist activists [the region is very progressive, despite what our liberals think! No one supports Taliban there] in the region. A bold act for which we must salute Pakistani section of IMT who are raising Red Banner in Swat and Tribal Areas even in these circumstances

Sherry

With thanks : International Marxist Website

Pakistan: Malakand/Swat – a vale drenched in blood and misery, but whose war is it?

The media make out that the Taliban have genuine mass support in Pakistan, but in this article we see how they are actually promoted by forces within the state that see them as a useful instrument in terrorising the local people and as a means of maintaining their own corrupt rule. And we shouldn’t forget the role of US imperialism in promoting them in the first place!

Today fear and terror reign in the beautiful valleys of Swat and Malakand. After destroying the peaceful valley of Swat, now terror is creeping downwards at steady speed and has now engulfed all the nine districts of Malakand Division. Encouraged by the victories of vigilante hordes in the garb of the Taliban, the fundamentalist elements are harassing ordinary people in all parts of the region and beyond.

Malakand (in yellow) in the north western provinces of Pakistan. Map by Pahari Sahib.

Malakand (in yellow) in the north western provinces of Pakistan. Map by Pahari Sahib.

But who are the Taliban and what is the secret behind their success? The Taliban are actually the criminal elements of society joined together by the armed forces and secret agencies of Pakistan. With the complete support of the ISI and local administration they are marching forward without any real resistance.In Malakand if you ask a street hawker, a bus driver, a car mechanic or a college student “who are the Taliban?” He would first smile at your question and then would say that they are in fact nothing and that it is the agencies that are playing games here.

Why the one million-strong Pakistan army, equipped with the most sophisticated weapons, cannot lay hold of a few hundred miscreants is now an open secret in Malakand. They just do not want to capture them; rather they support them covertly.

In the army’s Operation Rah-i-Haq, heavy artillery and gunship helicopters were used but not to destroy the Taliban but rather to harass the local population which has fled in big numbers.

All this terror, bloodshed, curfews and civil war have brought upheaval to the people of Malakand, whose first real wish is for peace at any cost. In the last election, the people of Malakand rejected the Mullahs and voted for the PPP and the ANP (the Pushtoon nationalist party) in the name of peace and for a solution to their basic problems, but no solutions have been forthcoming. Meanwhile, the locally elected MPs never return to their hometowns and are living in luxury in Peshawar and Islamabad while the people suffer.

All this has become intolerable and the people of the Swat and Malakand areas came out in big numbers in mid-February to protest against this civil war. In small towns people came out in numbers of 10,000 to 15,000 and protested against the brutalities of the Taliban, the Pakistan Army and against imperialist aggression.

In Batkhela 15,000 people came out on the main road and demanded an end to all this brutality. In Swat and Shangla there were mass rallies during the curfew in which people rejected all the forces of black reaction. The Pakistani media, which is playing the most counter-revolutionary role, presented these rallies as being in support of the Taliban, which is a blatant lie.

The people of Batkhela reported to us that Jamat-i-Islami (JI), a neo-fascist Islamic fundamentalist party, tried to hijack these rallies as there was no leadership from either the PPP or the ANP present at that time, but in spite of this the people refused to follow them. The activists of the JI raised slogans of Jihad through their megaphones but not a single person in the rally of thousands answered them. The people present were fed up of the games being played out by the agencies at their expense and wanted to put an end to this madness and devastation but there was no leadership. These spontaneous mass rallies continued for several days, due to which the Pakistan Army and the ISI came under immense pressure.

On February 16, in order to provide a face-saving device to the Taliban and also to present these rallies to the wider public as pro-Taliban, a peace deal was brokered between the provincial government of Pushtoonkhwa and Sufi Muhammad, who is a leader of a banned outfit, Tehrik e Nifaz e Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM). Sufi Muhammad – who was living an isolated life in Amandra in his madrasah – was suddenly brought into the limelight and presented as some saviour of the world. He was given the responsibility to talk to the Taliban and “persuade” them to stop fighting.

The “drama” of the negotiations and the so-called “peace deal” thus unfolded and the media was used as a tool to promote it as the best way of solving the problems. However, due to the fear of the people’s resistance, a mock peace deal was finally brokered on the terms and conditions of the Taliban and the Pakistan Army and State capitulated. The Taliban came out of this appearing as all-powerful and victorious.

The National Assembly in a hastily gathered session approved this deal unanimously, which strengthened the false notion of this “power of the Taliban”. President Zardari could do nothing but to sign that agreement. But what is the result? Is there now peace in Malakand? No. Are the Taliban weaker than before? No they have regrouped and strengthened and moved on.

According to the deal the civil courts will be replaced by Qazi Courts. What are Qazi courts? Nobody knows what they are, neither the President, the Army nor Sufi Muhammad; nobody knows what they are except for the fact that the judge will be called a Qazi. Nobody knows and nowhere is it written how they will function. Actually similar deals were brokered in 1994 and 1999 and the same regulations were then imposed. Those regulations didn’t solve a single problem then and neither will they solve any now.

In the bourgeois media we see intellectuals and analysts discussing for long hours about the so-called differences between the regular courts and the Qazi courts and they are manufacturing a false conflict between the two, when in reality the Qazi Courts are essentially the same as the filthy and stinking corpse of the regular courts in Pakistan.

On Sunday, April 19, after the deal Sufi Muhammad held a public meeting in Grassy Ground in Swat which was attended by nearly 30,000 people. People came in such big numbers for two reasons. Firstly due to the terror methods they were forced to attend this meeting. Secondly, they were hoping that now that the deal has been struck Sufi would announce peace and lay down his arms. But he disappointed the people and said nothing about peace or laying down arms, but said that the fight would continue.

The speech was broadcast live on all TV channels and everywhere people keenly listened to it. However, it revealed the real face of an ignorant Mullah, the real face of fundamentalism to everyone. Cyril Almeida wrote in the Dawn on 24 April:

“With one speech Sufi has done more to galvanize public opinion against militancy than a hundred suicide bombings and beheadings.

“Suddenly, people have woken up to the fact that the great soldier of Islam is a dangerous kook. ‘He thinks we’re what?’ ‘He wants to do what?’ Yes, he thinks the rest of us are sick and what we really need is a dose of Sufi’s medicine.”

In his speech he declared Parliament, the Supreme Courts and High Courts as un-Islamic and also that democracy was un-Islamic. He went on to say that everything is un-Islamic except for himself and his sect.

This exposed the reality of the “Islamic System” which the fundamentalists have been harping on about for the last 60 years. They say that the Islamic System should be imposed on all Pakistani society, but they never actually what that is in practice. Zia ul Haq, the most brutal dictator of Pakistan who ruthlessly ruled for 11 years, was never able to chalk out a detailed plan for such an Islamic System. All the previous attempts to impose one have done nothing but change the names of a few posts and offices and the rest remains a capitalist system and a bourgeois state. All attempts to chalk out anything outside the bourgeois state have failed.

Now once again they stand exposed. Various fundamentalist parties and right wing politicians such as Nawaz Sharif scoffed at Sufi meekly and defended the bourgeois state institutions.It was said that after the restoration of the judiciary all the problems under the sun would be solved. Price hikes, unemployment, the civil wars in Pushtoonkhwa and Balochistan, and all the other problems would be solved The person who led the movement of Restoration of the judiciary is trying hard to balance between the conflict over Qazi courts and regular courts. .

In reality, nothing has been solved and the judicial system of Pakistan also stands completely exposed in the eyes of the public. In actual fact, the judiciary as a state institution has always supported reactionary forces to terrorise the working class. Ayesha Siddiqa a strong supporter of the lawyers’ movement wrote in the Dawn on April 4:

“The judiciary must show more resolve than it did after the introduction of Zia’s draconian Nizam-e-Islam regulations. Then, barring a few judges… the majority happily applied laws that trampled on all norms of justice and human rights. And let’s not forget that the legal community in general did not really resist Zia’s laws. None of the bar councils protested against laws that ultimately resulted in an increase in homicide and injustice.

“As the county confronts an expansion of the Taliban, the legal community seems unable to muster the courage to launch a movement against what has happened in Swat. It is surprising that some lawyers place a higher value on the restoration of judges than on questioning the Malakand agreement which poses a greater threat to the state.”

Efforts, albeit only in words, are being made to rescue the disintegrating state structures, but the rapidly deteriorating economic situation leave no ground for this rescue operation to succeed.

Meanwhile, the ISI and Pakistan Army are using the Taliban threat to terrorise the people of Pakistan and to continue their plunder. After the “peace deal” the Taliban have emerged strengthened and now they face no resistance before them. And the local administration on the instruction of the ISI is giving them complete support.

Tha administrative head of Malakand has strong links to Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah. Photo by salimswati.

Tha administrative head of Malakand has strong links to Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah. Photo by salimswati.

The main link in this game is the commissioner of Malakand, Syed Muhammad Javed Shah. He is the administrative head of all nine districts of the Malakand division. In 2005 during the Mullah’s (MMA) government in the province he was appointed as the administrative head (DCO) of Swat but the leadership of the ANP in Swat approached the then chief minister and requested his transfer. They complained about his close ties with Maulana Fazlullah and said that he is actually living in his Madrasah. Fazlullah, also known as “mullah radio” is the head of the Taliban in Swat. Ironically, now that the ANP is in power in the centre and province, this man has been reappointed as commissioner. The recent intrusion of the Taliban in Buner was actually due to his help. Buner is a strategically important district of Malakand. It is on the border of Swabi and Mardan and is also nearer to Attock Bridge, the bridge that separates the Punjab from Pushtoonkhwa. This district is also close to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route from China to Pakistan.

The people of Buner had formed a militia to counter the Taliban attack and were up in arms. Commissioner Syed Javed went to the people who had gathered in Kanda, on the border of Buner and Swat, and said, “It is my responsibility to stop the Taliban. You people go and rest in your homes.” After persuading the squad to dismantle he imposed a curfew and then during the night invited the Taliban to capture all key positions in Buner. In this way the Taliban achieved another victory without firing a single bullet.

On April 17, the Friday prayers in Fazlullah’s Mosque in Swat were attended by the DIG (the Chief of Police), the DCO (the district administrative head) and the Brigadier who is in charge of the Army in Swat. All these people came in the car of Commissioner Syed Javed. The spokesperson of the Army has denied this news.

On April 3, Commissioner Syed Javed came to the Anti-Terrorism Court in Batkhela where a few Taliban were to appear for trial. before the “honourable court” “He ordered the police to unlock their handcuffs and took them with him  without any procedure or signatures.

All this shows how the ISI dominates the state institutions, Parliament and the provincial and federal government. He has now brought a new banned outfit, Lashkar-e-Tayyba to Malakand, where they have opened a new madrasah in Khar near Jolagram in the Malakand District. This fundamentalist organisation was formerly mostly present only in the Punjab and Kashmir.

Through the “peace deal” they have once again dashed the hopes of the people for peace. The Taliban, which is actually a gang of criminals, are now on a looting spree. Various mafia organisations related to smuggling of emeralds and rubies from the Swat mines, the timber mafia, gangs of kidnappers, drug smugglers and other criminal fugitives are using the Taliban militias for their protection. Abductions for ransoms have increased manifold since the so-called “peace deal”.

The Taliban have now increased their influence in Batkhela and other important cities and towns. At night they march through the streets in proper formation in groups of 60 to 70 with the most sophisticated weapons ever seen in the area. Their faces are covered and they can enter any home or beat anyone and sometimes abduct innocent people just for the purpose of terrorising the local population.

The complete support of the Army and State for these criminal gangs has left the people helpless in front of these beasts. The people are living a life of hell. With price hikes on the rise and unemployment and poverty increasing they cannot raise their voice for demands such as healthcare, education, food, clothing and shelter.

The recent release of Maulana Abdul Aziz of the Red Mosque in Islamabad clearly shows what the State and Army want. They want to spread this terror to the whole country. Already criminal gangs in the garb of the Taliban are grouping in the Punjab. In Lahore they have sent openly threatening letters to the Kinnaird College which is a top ranking girls’ college. In letters they have said that girls should not wear pants and they must obey the Islamic code otherwise they will spray acid on their faces. In Dera Ghazi Khan in southern Punjab they have pasted posters inside police lines stating that that they will take revenge against the police if it takes any action against them.

Many new groups are emerging and more will emerge as the state structures are collapsing day by day. But who is organizing and financing them and is holding them united so that they do not fight among themselves? It is the same drug cartels and mafia groups set up by the CIA during the imperialist sponsored insurgency against the left-wing government in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and 1980s. The Americans abandoned the region after the withdrawal of the Soviets but the hefty business of drugs and arms has continued.

In an appearance before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on April 24, Hillary Clinton for the first time publicly confessed that the Taliban were created by the US. She explained how the militancy in Pakistan was linked to the US-backed proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. She said the following:

“But the problems we face now to some extent we have to take responsibility for, having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan,

“Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union.

“They invaded Afghanistan… and we did not want to see them control Central Asia and we went to work… and it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea… let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen.

“And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.

“And guess what… they (Soviets) retreated… they lost billions of dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“So there is a very strong argument which is… it wasn’t a bad investment in terms of Soviet Union but let’s be careful with what we sow… because we will harvest.”

Gen. Hamid Gul, the former head of the ISI, created the Taliban out of the madrasahs in Pakistan with the collaboration of the American CIA. He is still one of their chief patrons.

The US imperialists are raising a hue and cry about the relations between the Pakistani state and the Talibans but there is little that they can do about it. Photo by Eric Draper.Although there is currently a conflict between the two agencies, they agree on one thing: that these fundamentalist outfits should be kept in some form in order to use them as reactionary forces in situations of revolutionary upheaval, so that they can use them for their own vested interests. The ISI wants them in order to continue with its own loot and plunder and America wants them as an excuse to continue their so-called “war on terror” and maintain the profits of the Military Industrial Complex in the USA.

The US imperialists are raising a hue and cry about the complicity of the ISI with the Taliban insurgents but they cannot do much about it and have to finance the Pakistan army in this war of attrition. They have no choices left. In this shadowy war friends may be foes and foes may be friends and sometimes both friend and foe at the same time.

The corrupt regime in Pakistan is weak and already admitting the “deal” has been a failure. The army chief has called it an “operational pause” and has vowed to take on the militants once again. This is mainly due to the outrage against the introduction of the ferocious Sharia laws, supported by the liberal, democratic and secular leaders of the PPP and the ANP. It is also to appease the Americans who are in a hypocritical conflict with the Taliban. But the army chiefs know all too well that they in no position to resolve the internal conflicts within the army and the state. Hence they are hoping against hope. This conflict between black and “white” capital will continue to pulverize the region and spill more innocent blood of the oppressed peasants and workers, as long as the rule of capitalism remains.

However, the people of Malakand and Pakistan as a whole will not surrender without a fight. They have risen before and will rise again to counter these black forces. Their leadership has betrayed them once again. The PPP-led government has imposed a deal which even Zia could never have done. But this has exposed the true character of the leadership.

The masses are looking for an alternative leadership; they are open to ideas and seeking answers to their hundreds of questions. Nothing within the limits of this capitalist system can satisfy their needs. They have concluded one thing: that capitalism is horror without end. All the institutions of the capitalist system now stand exposed before the masses.

The comrades of the IMT in Swat and Malakand are patiently explaining the ideas of a socialist change to the masses and are beginning to get a response from the youth. They are working in extremely dangerous conditions, receiving death threats, but they have refused to yield and the struggle for revolutionary socialism continues even in these atrocious conditions of war and bloodshed.

The masses cannot afford food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education under this exploitative system where poverty and deprivation are rising by the hour due to this war. Without a socialist transformation not a single issue of the masses can be solved. Here barbarism is presently brutalizing society. Socialism or barbarism are immediate options, not ones for the future. This is the message of the revolutionary forces which are building their base in Malakand and throughout the whole of Pakistan. They pose this message at great risk to their own lives, especially in Malakand, Swat and Waziristan. The masses will inevitably rise once again as they did in the revolution of 1968-69 even in these areas, and the path they will follow will be none other than that of revolution. A genuine Marxist leadership can lead them to a socialist victory.

This is according to BBC Urdu’s New York’s correspondent Mr Hassan Mujtaba , that the spokesman of United Nation’s secretary general in his press briefing expressed “great concern” on the recent killing of the 3 Baloch leaders. United Nations demanded from the government of Pakistan that an impartial inquiry be conducted into these murders.  It should be noted that Chief minister of Balochistan Mir Aslam Khan Raisani has already ordered a judicial investigation.

090410073444_baloch_protest_283Today the 3 day mourning period started in Balochistan. A complete general strike was observed in the provinces. All the educational institutions were closed and traffic on the roads was minimal.

What is happening in Balochistan the Pakistani corporate media is maintaining its usual silence. Largest Urdu news paper Daily Jang censored the press conference by Mir Hasil Bazinjo an act of complete professional dishonesty. It was ironic to read the statement of Pakistan Army’s spokesman denying the charges but “charges” being denied were no where to be seen. Once again Pakistanis are forced to listen to BBC like old times to get news.

Please watch this chilling video from BBC Urdu on the events in Balochistan. The video contains the clips from Mir Hasil Bezinjo’s press conference demanding registering the FIR against chiefs of Pakistani agencies. You can also watch the scenes from Karachi where slogans of Azadi are being chanted [This is not Indian occupied Kashmir, its Balochis demanding freedom in front of Karachi Press Club]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/multimedia/2009/04/090409_baloch_protest.shtml

Use the link to watch the Video. Please copy paste the link in your browser and watch the video.  Most of the “news” about Balochistan was censored by Pakistani free media.   Many educated middle class Pakistanis must be wondering [it can be yet another of my wishful thinking they still retain this ability] that what has happened since our great leader  Nawaz Sharif, our great intellectuals, and ofcourse our great Leftists Aitzaz Ahsan and Ali Ahmad Kurd etc proclaimed “revolution”. The claim of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan was that after the restoration “state” of our beloved “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” will assume the character of a loving mother. [Riyasat ho gi maa’n ki jesi].

He was not their but his comrade-in-arms Ali Ahmad Kurd was present in the ceremonial and symbolic last rites of this case of “infanticide” by our mother state. I wished any one could have asked Mr Kurd about “free judiciary” will the free judiciary order the registration of FIR against Intellegence chiefs??

For more than a year these criminals, these ISI sponsered stooges created the most effective smoke screen of our times to discredit the democratic transition, paralysing them to stop their initiative against ISI , Islamic fascism and Balochistan. PPP and ANP themselves are responsible for their reckless compromises with their existential enemies USA and Pakistani establishment. There refusal to take stand on their own issues has resulted in this day. Its time to resign and take the battle to the streets or everything will end. Asif Ali Zardari will have to break his jail of presidential palace , he has to fit in shoes of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

Chief of Sarawan , Mir Aslam Raisani is a great man , he is son of a great man, time has come that he realizes that the puppet regime he is chairing in Quetta has become a threat to the prestige of whole of Sarawan. We dont want to remember him as a traitor. When its certain that PPP has no power. Its time to resign .

How bad the situation really is in Balochistan. As most of the middle class was in grip of the ISI sponsered rotten radicalism of “free” media and “free” judiciary , they couldnt know the facts. One such fact was today exoposed by Ansar Abbasi , a journalist who himself his suspected of strong links with the “islamist” section of Pakistani eastablishment who today “confirmed” how General Kiyani called our great democrat Aitzaz Ahsan and informed him about restoration of Chief Justice. What we always were saying that it was Army doing all this. I can only say Aitzaz Ahsan shame on you. These poor Balochs cant pay your fee so they cant buy justice from this “free-as-a-farce” judiciary of yours.

The following video is of 2008 and its shows activists putting flag of free Balochistan on a busy square of Balochistan. Now it is 2009—– Riyasat Ho Gi Maa’n ki jesi—-Adal bina jamhoor na ho ga——-.


These are the days of unprecedented decline of Journalism in Pakistan. The rapid capitalization of the Media Industry has snuffed out the already feeble Journalistic standards in Pakistan. These are the days where one of the most highly paid journalist who has the reputation of being a scholar and “researcher” does programmes on end of days, which are nothing but a nauseating combination of sensational Hollywood movies, the Evangelicalmillennial fever and half baked conspiracy theories linked with Islamic Apocalypse . These are the days where we read personal columns full of ideological rant, wishful thinking and petty sensationalism and conspiracy theories as “Lead News stories” on front pages of Urdu Dailies . Ansar Abbasi, Rauf Kalasara and Saleh Zafar being on top of this “great journalism” In this situation its really pleasant to have Nadeem F Paracha around. At least he talks about “old fashioned politics” which has completely died in Pakistan and is replaced by “de-politicized trade unionism” like Lawyers movement, journalist movements etc. The moral buffs of journalism and academia are lamenting the decision of lifting the ban on student unions saying it caused “violence”. Nadeem.F.Paracha has remind them the forgotten history SA Dawn ,Pakistan

SMOKER’S CORNER: When doves cried

BY NadeemF. Paracha

The violence that made the Zia dictatorship ban student unions in 1984 was not due to student unions, but rather the handiwork of the dictatorship. I’m afraid those bemoaning the revival of student unions in Pakistan have only little knowledge of the subject’s history; especially when they suggest that student unions and student organisations were the root cause of violence in colleges and universities. The truth is that violence that made the Zia dictatorship ban student unions in 1984 was not due to student unions but rather the handiwork of the dictatorship. The early roots of the violence that gripped the country’s student politics in the 1980s can be traced to a crucial event that took place in 1979 at the University of Karachi. The year’s student union elections saw an alliance of progressive student groups, led by People’s Students Federation (PSF), National Students Federation (NSF), Liberal Students Federation (LSF) and Baloch Students Organisation (BSO) defeating the powerful Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT) on a number of important seats at KU. This is when the first ever incident of students using AK-47s at the university occurred when soon after the 1979 union elections, some IJT activists opened fire on a progressive students’ rally on campus. Emboldened by its mother party, the Jamat-i-Islami’s growing influence during Zia’s martial law regime, the IJT started devolving from being a democratic-conservative student group into a group with increasingly violent tendencies. The PSF, under tremendous pressure from arrests and harassment by the Zia dictatorship, too became a lot more violent, but for different reasons. Many of its members were jailed, tortured and even flogged, sometimes simply for raising a Jeeay Bhutto slogan. However, it was at the Peshawar University that some PSF leaders saw IJT members receiving AK-47s and TT pistols from Afghan traders who had started to arrive into the NWFP after the takeover of Afghanistan by Soviet forces. These IJT members then got the same traders to meet the IJT workers arriving from Karachi. And since arms from the United States had also started to pour in for the so-called anti-Soviet mujahideen groups, many of them were sold at throw-away prices by Pakistani middlemen and related Afghan traders to the visiting IJT workers. The pressure-cooker situation then saw the PSF activists getting in touch with the same Afghan traders in Peshawar who had been supplying arms to the IJT. A group of PSF activists from the University of Karachi bought themselves a cache of AK-47s and TT pistols as well. This group was led by the notorious PSF militant Salamullah Tipu, a former member of the NSF, who later joined the PSF. Then in 1980 an NSF worker was killed in a clash with the IJT. When a major’s jeep arrived at the University of Karachi, members of the PSF, NSF and the BSO, aggravated by the military regime’s support for the IJT, set it on fire. The next day Tipu and a group of PSF militants emerged on campus, roaming in a car with a PPP flag (a crime of sorts in those days), and shouting anti-Zia and Jeeay Bhutto slogans. A senior IJT leader whipped out a TT pistol and fired at Tipu’s car. He fired twice, but missed. Tipu braked, rushed out of the car with a recently bought AK-47 and fell the IJT member with a burst of bullets. In response to growing IJT violence and government harassment, a senior NSF leader, Zafar Arif, pleaded for a new alliance of progressive student groups. In 1981, a meeting was held at Zafar Arif’s home and the United Students Movement (USM) came into being. The new progressive coalition included the National Students Federation, Peoples Students Federation, Democratic Students Federation, Baloch Students Organisation, Pashtun Students Federation, and the newly formed, All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation. A two-pronged strategy was chalked out by the USM. The first involved the alliance to work as a new united electoral group against right-wing student parties like the IJT in student union elections. The new alliance also decided to take the IJT head on in other matters as well and for this the USM planed to arm itself as much as the IJT had already done. Whereas the IJT was aided in this pursuit by its Jamat-i-Islami connections with mujahideen commanders like Gulbadin Hykmatyar, the USM had to struggle to generate funds. Groups of the PSF, NSF and the BSO travelled to the NWFP and Balochistan again and brought back caches of AK-47s and TT pistols. The USM’s strategy also included working against the government which was believed to have let lose intelligence agents suspected to have been working with certain IJT members. Then, as expected, unparalleled violence erupted on the day of the 1981 student union elections in Karachi that saw the progressive student groups sweeping the elections in most Karachi colleges. Advisers to the Sindh government under the governorship of General Abbasi warned the regime that even though the Jamat-i-Islami had been supporting the Zia dictatorship, the 1981 and 1982 student union elections proved that the IJT’s influence was receding. The advisers also warned that student violence may turn outwards against the government.Just before the 1984 student union elections in Karachi, the government announced the banning of student politics, citing violence. The truth was, the decision was based on reports that anti-government student alliances like Punjab Progressive Students Alliance (in northern Punjab) and the USM (in Karachi) had gained great electoral and political momentum and might in the future be in a position to initiate a students’ movement, the sort that helped topple the Ayub Khan dictatorship in 1968-69. The regime’s plan to repress progressive student groups and its encouragement of the IJT had successfully managed to generate the reasons the regime wanted to use to prove the “violent nature of student unionism”. In reality it was a resurgence of progressive student groups which became the reason to clamp down on student politics.

The greatest paradox of our times is the paradox of Reality, the dichotomy between the primitive “individual” senses, and the collective sensory experience that is hyper real in nature. The press, the multi-billion dollar media empires that insist on being named as “Mass Media”. They have taken over as our original empirical modalities . Kierkegaard , the great Philosopher first noted the above Phenomenon , he describes modern society as a network of relations in which individuals are leveled into an abstract phantom known as “the public” that is created by the Press.“In historically primitive societies like Pakistan , this dichotomy is often overlooked especially during time of crisis .

Journalists are on streets protesting on streets, dying heroically in line of duty. Black days are being observed. This is a genuine struggle that every “working man” does at such a time.But what is being aired by the Media corporations is not for which their is a Protest on the streets.
The Media is a business empire whose interests are firmly rooted in with this rotten system! These business empires have denied those very rights to the working journalists that General Musharraf has snatched away from people of Pakistan. For 50 years “Wage Awards” for working journalists have been resisted by Media Empires [Almost all of which are Right Wing partisans”]. Journalists are kicked out from their jobs , not a single news comes in Media, that is greatest irony.

Even today when these media empires are supposedly at war with “General Musharraf”, the “agenda” of these media empires is “depoliticization” of the nation. Why “Benazir Bhutto is insisting on a rally in Pindi, when we know their are security threats.” Mr Kamran Khan asks . “That is a Political maneuvering” replies a defense and political analysis Mr Akram Segal.
“But Why” Mr Khan is not satisfied, yearning to get a answer that should sound like ” They have no concern for people’s life and want to do bloody politics”. Such an answer couldnot be given but the message was exactly the same.

When London was bombed every day by the Nazis , Churchill was on air every day that the Londoners should not stop their morning walk! and we didnt. When Islamists thugs blew up bombs in London Underground , next day whole London went on Jobs by Tube! But Bhutto should call off every political activity, than what the fuss is all about? two Petty trade Unionist demands of restoring the jobs of fellow comrades and Air time rights in Pakistan???
Pakistani Media empire is doing what Noam Chomsky calls “Manufacturing Consent” , for a legality obsessed over bureaucratized non Political regime of Professionals that takes over the Cooperate interests of Pakistan Army. This is a clash of Pakistan Army’s corporate interest with emerging Business and Professional class. Both despise the People who are the legitimate ,masters of this land. So Politics has to be destroyed.

But today the “corruption” and “rapidly loosing popularity” fame Party revived “Street Fighting” in Pakistan, Pindi was sealed , but the workers of Pakistan Peoples Party fought with the police in tiny lanes of Raja Bazar.Tear gas, batons, rubber bullets, the fight does on. Unlike Qazi Hussein Ahmad and Mr Imran Khan who obediently respect detention order, Bhutto was able to break the law , get out of her home and drive the car till APC blocked her and managed to give a speech, calling on the “Uniform wearing workers” the police to show their loyalty to people of Pakistan and not a dictator. The Politics has returned to Pakistan.

In the “Movement” that is now going on for months , first time Police today had to use “Rubber Bullets” on the PPP workers at Committee square in Pindi. This is in sharp contrast to the reaction of the party which Mr Segal calls “Most popular party of Punjab” on deportation of its leader! Not a single shop in Lahore closed the next day, the popularity that couldn’t translate into a single successful strike in Lahore in 8 years. Very Objective journalism!!!

The BBC is reporting the only shutter down that has happened in Pakistan since all this mess was in Interior Sindh. Street Fighting has returned , Politics is returning back to Pakistan, the only good news in a long time.

On the situation in Pakistan ,i leave you with this Sonnet by Shelley called “England”, it can be named “Pakistan.” Historicism had some merit!!

Sonnet: England in 1819

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, –
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, -mud from a muddy spring, –
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow, –
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field, –
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield, –
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless -a book sealed;
A Senate, -Time’s worst statute unrepealed, –
Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day. ————