Though it has become a general fashion in the liberal intelligentsia to curse Marxist analysis , it’s simply astonishing to note  that it has been very accurate in explaining the complex perspectives totally missed and unresolved by liberal analysis. Global Economic Crisis and Arab Spring are just two most outstanding examples, while BBC published a leading middle east expert testifying that Egypt will not follow Tunis on the road to revolution , the masses were flexing their muscles as Marxists were telling us since last year. While a lot as been said about the politics in the Islamic Republic , the text unfortunately has a Derridian flavour of  ever “said” is “unsaid”. Whatever has been said for past few years by our great anchors, intellectuals, key opinion leaders turned out to be simply rubbish. One really feels in awe about the job description of these great men and women who get paid in million for saying and writing rubbish. On the contrary it’s again astonishing that since the day PPP government took office , Pakistani Marxists have been very successful in explaining the complex perspective with a relative ease. They were accurate in their description of nature of judicial movement, the futility of black revolution , the coalition between PPP and PML N, the imperialist nature of war on terror ,and the ” relationship of mutual deception between USA and Pakistan military establishment. The parent descendant relationship between establishment and Islamists,  the sharpening of national question by establishment etc. Now that every one is talking about the great vision of Imran Khan i had the pleasure to read this great piece on him by leading Marxist intellectual Lal Khan. The article explains in concrete terms the phenomenon of Imran Khan and so-called civil society. If one reads carefully it will be a treat as it provides one with tools needed to analyze the fluid political perspective of Islamic Republic. Whats he says explains Khan superbly:

Imran Khan is no Oedipus in this crime infested politics of a rotten state and system. His odd admixture of Islamic crusades, western liberalism and a redundant nationalism can only add to the prevailing political confusion. The ideology of Pakistani national chauvinism he propagates withered away in the paddy fields of East Bengal drenched in blood forty years ago. The justice he vows to impart is unaffordable in market economics. The corruption he decries is not the cause of the crisis but the need and product of debilitated capitalism. Black money and corruption run the economic cycle that is prodding the country. The British parliamentary system he espouses is still a monarchy and increasingly facing revulsion by the British masses. The Pan-Islamism he idealises is in contradiction with the Pakistan nation state that he harps upon. The American police system he wants to impose has bred more crime than anywhere in the advanced world. The US he wants to befriend on an “equal basis” will not stop leeching off Pakistan as long as capitalism exists here. (LK)

Shaheryar Ali

 

Pakistan: Passions without truths – the myth of Imran Khan

Lal Khan. www.Marxist.com

It is often said that history repeats itself, but the truth is that it never does so in exactly the same way; it repeats itself but on on a higher plane. The general consciousness of the masses in any society is neither static nor eternal. It is in a state of constant change, flux and motion. Betrayals and defeats push it back but with the new resurgence of the class struggle it rises to new heights.

However, the temperament and moods of different classes in society can vary according to the conditions and the epoch through which it is passing. In general terms the social psychology of the middle classes or the petit bourgeoisie is empirical and suffers from bouts of impatience reflecting its social and economic base. This, in times of crisis, puts it in a state of permanent insecurity, discontent and unrest, swinging from one extreme to the other – trying to ape the bourgeoisie in ordinary times and jump into the proletarian bandwagon in revolutionary situations.

While the toiling classes can endure hardships for long periods of time and from an empirical outlook sometimes they seem to be infinitely dormant and docile. There can be decades of lull and yet these working classes can explode into volcanic eruptions that can transform the politico-economic systems and change the course of history through revolutionary insurrections. Such periods are historical exceptions. Most bourgeois experts and intellectuals cannot contemplate these tremors in advance as they are mentally blocked from doing so by their philosophy of logical positivism and methods of so-called pragmatism.

At the present moment in time, apart from some sporadic struggles, Pakistan is passing through a period of relative lull as far as the mass movement is concerned, yet society is immersed in a terrible social and economic crisis that has pulverised it. This contradictory state of affairs gives rise to a political vacuum where there is no visible force on the wider political horizon that can present an economic and political way out of this misery and distress. Nature abhors vacuum, however. Hence we see peculiar phenomena that arise to fill this vacuum with rhetoric that touches upon the burning problems but has no real solutions to avert the impending catastrophe. The ostentatious nature of the petit bourgeoisie or the so-called civil society makes them feverishly attracted to these “liberators”. As a class it is the petit bourgeoisie that provides the social base for religious fundamentalism, vulgar liberalism, national chauvinism and other metaphysical and sentimentalist tendencies in periods of social stagnation. The latest episode of this series of petit bourgeois binges is the “rise” of Imran Khan.

He has been hyped up by the media and sections of the ruling oligarchy and the state as a substitute, in a situation where yet another attempt by the ruling classes to attack the working classes through a democratic façade is being foisted onto the masses. After the failure of direct rule and the loss of the cohesion of the army’s apparatus that would permit it to impose its rule once more, this weary and weak attempt to salvage a redundant system, shows the pathetic state of Pakistan’s ruling elite.

Looking at the democratic political circus in Pakistan one is reminded of the celebrated words of the 18th century British conservative politician Edmund Burke: “The tribe of vulgar politicians are the lowest of our species. There is no trade so vile and mechanical as the government in their hands. Virtue is not their habit. They are out of themselves in any course of conduct recommended only by conscience and glory. The calculators compute them out of their senses. The jesters and buffoons shame them out of everything grand and elevated. Littleness is the object and in means, to them appears soundness and sobriety.”

Imran Khan is no Oedipus in this crime infested politics of a rotten state and system. His odd admixture of Islamic crusades, western liberalism and a redundant nationalism can only add to the prevailing political confusion. The ideology of Pakistani national chauvinism he propagates withered away in the paddy fields of East Bengal drenched in blood forty years ago. The justice he vows to impart is unaffordable in market economics. The corruption he decries is not the cause of the crisis but the need and product of debilitated capitalism. Black money and corruption run the economic cycle that is prodding the country. The British parliamentary system he espouses is still a monarchy and increasingly facing revulsion by the British masses. The Pan-Islamism he idealises is in contradiction with the Pakistan nation state that he harps upon. The American police system he wants to impose has bred more crime than anywhere in the advanced world. The US he wants to befriend on an “equal basis” will not stop leeching off Pakistan as long as capitalism exists here.

He is playing the part of a right-wing populist trying to console a beleaguered people with the rhetoric of reforms that the system has no room for. The Balouch and other oppressed nationalities he wants to negotiate and patch up a deal with, have  since long rejected the two nation theory that Imran Khan is trying to resurrect as its new Messiah. He may be the establishment’s black horse, but who can be in the ring without the blessings of the hierarchy of the state.

The Chinese alternative of time tested friendship is a hoax. Whenever have they made a policy not coherent with their interests? China is today the biggest exporter of capital. And capital is invested to extract profit, not to be eulogised. The workers’ rights he talks about can only be slashed in the present day investment that is capital intensive. Revolutionary parties and leaders are not built by media “exposure” and pampering, but conversely the revolutionary victories are snatched from the jaws of the hostile and belligerent media by rousing the masses against it.

Imran Khan is offering everything to everybody, that means that the status quo is retained and the rich will get richer and the poor will be impoverished even more. That is the only possible fate under capitalism in decline. But the most insidious aspect of the mobs around Khan is that as in the lawyers’ movement the ideological differentiation is being scorned. The ideological divide between the left and right is not a theoretical synopsis. It stems from the nature of the class divisions in society and the struggle for the surplus of labour that is in the last analysis the struggle of life and death. As long as class exploitation exists the ideological fight will continue to rage on. It is a line drawn in the blood of the generations of the toilers. Imran khan is rousing the petit bourgeoisie with passions sans truth. Once the mass movement erupts again, no deception will suffice. Class war will have to be fought to the finish.

Advertisements

Written by John Pickard Wednesday, 23 December 2009

with thanks: International Marxist website

Many of us know that the origins of Christianity have nothing to do with silent nights or wise men. So what are its true origins? John Pickard looks at the reality of how this religion came about – from the standpoint of class forces and the material developments of society, rather than by the pious fictions fed from church pulpits.

Foundations of ChristianityMy late father had a very wry sense of humour. At Christmas, whenever there was a reference to church services on the television, he would tut and shake his head. “Look at that”, he would say, “They try to bring religion into everything!”

I imagine much the same complaint may have been made by ancient celts, annoyed that the Christian priests were taking over their traditional Yule festival, celebrating the winter solstice. Or perhaps by Roman citizens, peeved at the Christians taking over their annual ‘Saturnalia’ festival in the last weeks of December.

Those complaining would have been right, because in the absence of an identifying date anywhere in the canonical gospels, Christians grafted their celebration of the birth of Jesus onto the existing pagan festivals. In one stroke they absorbed the pagan rites into the Christian tradition and softened opposition to the new creed.

Many practising Christians today are completely unaware of the pagan and sometimes arbitrary origins of important elements of their religious beliefs and practices. Many seriously believe the origin of Christianity lies in a ‘silent night’ in a barn visited by quiet shepherds and several awe-struck ‘wise’ men. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Materialism

For Marxists, who base themselves on the real, material world, there was a completely different reality. Last year marked the centenary of the publication of ‘The Foundations of Christianity’ by the German Marxist theoritician, Karl Kautsky. This was the first attempt to describe the rise of that major western religion from the standpoint of class forces and the material developments of society, rather than by the pious fictions fed from church pulpits.

Karl Kautsky’s book was deficient in many respects, but the main lines of his argument still stand the test today. What was especially significant about Kautsky’s book was that it was the first comprehensive attempt to describe the foundation and rise of Christianity using the method of historical materialism.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels used the method of historical materialism and applied it to social and historical developments. In his book ‘Anti-Duhring’, Engels summarised what this meant:

“The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or estates is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in man’s better insight into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange. They are to be sought, not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch.”

Karl Kautsky, therefore, rejected the metaphysical myths behind Christianity – the miracles, supernatural events, and so on – and attempted to describe its origins and rise through the social conditions that existed in the Roman Empire.

The classical description of the origins of Christianity is as outlined in the New Testament. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are taken as historical accounts of real events in the first thirty five years of the first millennium: how Jesus was born miraculously, how he performed miracles and preached alongside his twelve disciples, how he was crucified for his preaching and how he arose from the dead. The gospels are taken to be eye-witness accounts by four of the disciples.

Karl KautskyKarl KautskyDespite harassment, persecution and innumerable martyrs, the superior ideas of the Christians – and particularly the offer of life after death and the redemption of human sins by the crucifixion of Jesus – led to an increase of support for Christianity until it became an unstoppable force eventually recognised by the Roman Emperor Constantine. The rest, as they say, is history.

This is the ‘official’ history of the Church…and most of it is a fairy-tale. For Marxists the question has to be asked, what were the conditions in Palestine in the first century? Karl Kautsky alludes to the fact that the Roman Empire was a slave-based system in which the vast majority of the population were impoverished and lived from hand to mouth for most of their lives.

And it is true that Palestine was a society riven with bitter class conflicts and contradictions. The characteristics of the entire period were turmoil, upheaval and revolt. Overlying the class struggle was the additional factor of the national oppression of the majority Semitic population by the Romans. Within Jewish society, the priestly caste and the nobility were propped up by the Roman regime for the greater exploitation of the mass of the population.

“The fundamental conflict was between Roman, Herodian, and high priestly rulers, on the one hand, and the Judean and Galilean villagers, whose produce supplied tribute for Caesar, taxes for King Herod, and tithes and offerings for the priests and temple apparatus on the other.” (Horsley, ‘Bandits, Prophets and Messiahs’ )

The Temple priests who were paid tithes (church taxes) by the local peasantry were not a small group – some scholars number them in the thousands. The Jewish King Herod ‘the Great’, who died in 4 BCE [Before the Common Era], left a country economically exhausted from the earlier Roman conquest and subsequent taxation.

“The Jewish agricultural producers were now subject to a double taxation, probably amounting to well over 40 per cent of their production. There were other Roman taxes as well, which further added to the burden of the people, but the tribute was the major drain.

“Coming, as it did, immediately after a period of ostensible national independence under the Hasmonians (Jewish kings), Roman domination was regarded as wholly illegitimate. The tribute was seen as robbery. Indeed it was called outright slavery by militant teachers such as Judas of Galilee, who organised active resistance to the census (record of people for tax purposes) when the Romans took over direct administration of Judea in 6 CE.” [in the Common Era] (‘Bandits, Prophets and Messiahs’)

Revolts

The only contemporary account there is of this history is that of Josephus, a Jewish general who fought against the Romans during the revolt of 66 CE and who subsequently changed sides. It is clear from his histories that this whole period was one of great upheaval. There were many occasions when revolts of peasants were led by popular anointed kings (or ‘messiahs’), all of which were viciously repressed. It was not uncommon for whole towns to be razed and their inhabitants sold into slavery.

These revolts reflected the material conditions and class conflicts of the time, but they were invariably dressed up in terms of messianic revivalism and religious aspirations. Given the tradition and scripture of the Jews, these movements inevitably adopted the mantles of scriptural leaders, including, notably, Joshua. There were, in fact, many ‘Joshua’ sects at the time. (‘Jesus’ is a Romanised name which wouldn’t have been recognised in Palestine at the time). Many of these cults had a ‘communist’ outlook with property shared in common within the community.

The writings of Josephus are the only genuine surviving works written by a participant of the events. He describes what he sees as the evil influence of seers and prophets on more than one occasion, such as: “…Imposters and demagogues, under the disguise of divine inspiration, provoked revolutionary actions and impelled the masses to act like madmen. They led them out into the wilderness…” Josephus (‘Jewish Wars’) mentions by name several of the seers, ‘prophets’ and revolutionaries who stirred up the Jews, but the Joshua described in the New Testament does not appear at any point in the voluminous work of his supposed contemporary, Josephus.

The revolutionary-minded force in this period was the peasantry, which strove time and again to throw off the national and class oppression under which they laboured.

A small selection of commentaries from Josephus illustrates the turmoil of the period:

“Many [Jewish peasants] turned to banditry out of recklessness, and throughout the whole country there were raids, and among the more daring, revolts…”

“…the whole of Judea was infested with brigands…” (‘Jewish Wars’)

“Felix [Roman governor, 52-58 CE] captured [revolutionary leader] Eleazar, who for twenty years had plundered the country, as well as many of his associates, and sent them to Rome for trial. The number of brigands that he crucified…was enormous.” (Josephus , ‘Antiquities’)

Nothing could be further removed from ‘silent night’! The revolutionary upheaval spilled over into a generalised uprising in 66 CE, against the Romans and their collaborators, the Jewish ruling class the high priests of the Temple. “…hostility and violent factionalism flared between the high priests on the one side and the priests and leaders of the Jerusalem masses on the other.” (‘Antiquities’)

Siege of Jerusalem

The siege of Jerusalem, 70 CEFor the next four years there was a bloody and protracted guerrilla war followed by a prolonged siege of Jerusalem, during which the masses, fearing betrayal by the Jewish aristocracy and high priests effectively took power into their own hands in Jerusalem. One of their first acts in the revolt was the storming of the Temple and the burning of the deeds and documents relating to the debts and taxes of the peasantry. It was not surprising that the aristocracy and the high priests fled the city to the safety of the Roman lines – including Josephus himself.

Even before this revolution, Palestine had been a whirlpool of different cults and religious sects, most based loosely on traditional Jewish scripture, but often coloured by the widespread discontent with the collaboration of the priesthood and the parasitism of the Temple culture. Among these would have been the ‘Joshua’ and other messianic sects organised by a variety of charismatic leaders.

Following the bloody suppression of the revolution and the capture of Jerusalem (during which the Temple was destroyed) in 70 CE, tens of thousands of Jews fled the region and many thousands more were enslaved. Such an enormous disaster could not fail to affect the huge Jewish Diaspora, who fled from their homeland, spread round every major city in the whole Roman Empire, including the larger cities like Rome, Alexandria and the big cities in the East.

Long before the revolutionary events, all manner of sects had taken root in the Jewish Diaspora communities in parallel to those in Palestine itself. Within this lively sectarian milieu was a Joshua cult developed by Paul, with a policy of converting non-Jews as well as Jews. This sect, in effect, became the mainspring of modern Christianity by, among other things, simplifying Jewish ‘Law’ to remove the need for circumcision and strict dietary taboos.

All of the early Christian works, which were circulating from the middle towards the end of the first century – including the letters of Paul – were significantly missing any historical narrative connecting Joshua to a real-life biography. It was only later that the gospel of Mark (on which Matthew and Luke were based) was written as an allegorical description of a life, composed to match the Joshua doctrine that was becoming established. It was an expression of the growing confidence and numerical strength of this particular sect. But it was also an expression of the growing class division within the Christian community itself as it accommodated to Roman society. Of the original communistic ideas of the Joshua cults, there remain only a few hints and suggestions in the New Testament today.

It was largely in polemics with their former co-religionists, the Jews, and against the plethora of rival proto-Christian sects that the early Church elaborated its doctrine in the first decades of the second century. In parallel with the elaboration of doctrine, the Church established an apparatus to maintain itself. The evidence of the existence of a huge variety of early Christian sects has only come to light recently precisely because this apparatus, once having established itself, did its best to eliminate all others as ‘heresies,’ in the process removing most of the evidence that other strands of the Joshua cult even existed.

The question has to be asked as to why Christianity grew over the next two centuries. It was not an anti-slavery movement: slavery was ubiquitous throughout the Roman Empire and Christians possessed slaves like anyone else. There is evidence that even bishops just like well-to-do Romans owned slaves throughout this whole period.

Theological considerations were secondary. The rigid and self-perpetuating bureaucracy which had grown within the Church reflected the class divisions in society and had become an important bulwark of the class system.

“In time the discourse and sermons of the Christian leaders came to incorporate not only the formal aspects of aristocratic status concerns but also the values and ideology of the late Roman upper class.” (Salzman, ‘The Making of a Christian Aristocracy’)

Conversion

This comment refers to the period following the so-called conversion of the Emperor Constantine in the early fourth century, but long before this the Church was playing a key social and economic role on behalf of the ruling class. Many officials of state were Christian bishops or leaders. More importantly, they play a key role in the management and organisation of local government.

In so far as it meant anything in a Roman Empire facing terminal decline, they were the local government. Bishops and Church officials collected tax, distributed alms (church-based charity) and supervised local legal and land disputes. They were an unofficial ‘civil service’ on behalf of the Roman bureaucracy long before Emperor Constantine gave them imperial sanction. The Church fulfilled a social and economic function, in managing and containing an increasing proportion of the poor and dispossessed and for that reason, not because of a ‘spiritual awakening’ within the ruling class, it was allowed to grow and develop.

The Church was able to fulfil this role because it offered a safety valve for the aspirations of the masses. It gave the peasantry their only opportunity to sit in the same building with landlords and bishops (if not the same pews) and even if there was limited hope in this world, they were at least offered the promise of equality with the rich in the next. The Christians offered a messiah and ‘life after death’, in contrast to the aloof and indifferent gods of Greece and Rome.

The Church bureaucracy consciously developed policy (and theology) in its own interests, increasingly identified with the interests of the ruling class. But in its structure and outlook, it also anticipated the development of feudal society better than the decaying slave-owning state. The Church didn’t campaign for emancipation, but offered a new arrangement for exploitation.

As for the peasantry and city poor: as long as they knew and accepted ‘their place’ in the rigid class structure, for the poorest it offered a structure of alms, and support which provided respite to the worst of their poverty and insecurity. Even if watered down, it offered a sense of community. Almost uniquely in the Roman Empire, it had a limited welfare structure, moreover one that offered belonging to a national and even international church. For these reasons it had disproportionate appeal to the poor and the oppressed; indeed it was ridiculed for being a movement “of slaves and women.”

Persecution

Once it was backed by the power of the state the Church destroyed its opponents. Roman persecution of the Church in the first three centuries is greatly exaggerated, but it pales against the terrible persecution that the Church visited on all the unorthodox sects once it was backed by imperial power. Books and heretics were burnt. Theological history was re-written. Myths were piled upon myths, century after century. So much so that today even so-called ‘scholars’ treat the New Testament like a true historical narrative and not as they should as a story, no more true than ‘The Iliad’ or ‘Beowulf’.

Within a few hundred years any evidence of the existence of other Christian sects, including their pre-history in Palestine, was all but eliminated. The Church became – and remains to this day – a powerful conservative force, politically, financially and diplomatically (and at one time, militarily).

In his introduction to ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’, Marx referred to religion as “the sigh of the oppressed”. He explained that it is not spirituality, or the lack of it, which breeds support for religion. It is the alienation of the mass of the population from the class society in which they find themselves.

The crisis of capitalism is at root the crisis of a rotten economic system, but it manifests itself also as a crisis of ideas. For millions of people their hopes and aspirations are so stunted by the limits of the capitalist world that they project their hopes on to a life after death. And just as in the first decades of the first millennium, so also in the age of capitalism, new religious and messianic movements reflect the intellectual and moral impasse of a failed and failing society. Marx continued:

“…To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”

Thus he made it clear that it is not a question of religion being “abolished”. The idea is absurd. To combat superstition and ignorance, the task for socialists is to struggle against the material conditions upon which these things grow – and that means above all, a struggle against capitalism.

“The Invisible NRO”

 

Source: Dawn News

Sharif brothers accused of money laundering

Thursday, 12 Nov, 2009

Senator Ishaq Dar, while accusing Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering, also implicated himself by confessing in the court that he had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks. – File photo

ISLAMABAD: Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif have allegedly indulged in money laundering, according to one of their close associates and a high-profile PML-N leader, Ishaq Dar.

NAB Court documents have recently emerged which show that Senator Dar made some interesting revelations in an accountability court in April 2000.

The court was hearing the famous Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif brothers.

The 43-page confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded on April 25th 2000 before the District Magistrate Lahore. Dar was produced before the court by the then Assistant Director Basharrat M Shahzad, of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Dar, in his statement had admitted that he had been handling the money matters of the Sharif family and he also alleged that Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif were involved in money laundering worth at least $14.886 million.

The statement by Senator Ishaq Dar is irrevocable as it was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Senator Ishaq Dar is a high-profile PML-N leader and has always been considered close to the Sharif brothers as his son, Ali Dar, is married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Asma.

But in April 2000 the top PML-N leadership had hit a rough patch by then and some of their loyal lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for General (retired) Pervez Musharraf after his October 1999 military coup.

In this context, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

Interestingly, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in the court that he – along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood – had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of Hudaibiya Paper Mills Limited.

Senator Ishaq Dar was the main witness against Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif in the case.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.

Since the statement made by Dar was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the statement has become a permanent part of the case against the top PML-N leaders.

If the case is opened again, the Sharif brothers may discover that the tightening noose around them was originally prepared by one of their own family members and trusted lieutenant Senator Ishaq Dar.—DawnNews

 

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.

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

3533542872_4f7b8b27cf

Ziauddin Sardar. With thanks from New Statesman

According to some Muslim scholars, everything from genetics to robotics and space travel is described in the Quran. What nonsense

Science has acquired a new meaning in certain Muslim circles. When classical Muslim scholars declared that “whosoever does not know astronomy or anatomy is deficient in the knowledge of God”, they were emphasising the importance of the scientific spirit in Islam and encouraging the pursuit of empirical science. But today, to a significant section of Muslims, science includes the discovery of “scientific miracles” in the Quran.

The Quran does contain many verses that point towards nature, and constantly asks its readers to reflect on the wonders of the cosmos. “Travel throughout the earth and see how He brings life into being” (29:20) is a piece of advice we frequently find in the Muslim sacred text. “Behold,” we read elsewhere, “in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding . . .” (3:190).

But these verses do not have any specific scientific content – they simply urge believers to study nature and reflect on the awe-inspiring diversity and complexity of the universe. The emphasis in many of these verses, such as “The sun and the moon follow courses (exactly) computed; and the stars and the trees both prostrate in adoration; and the heavens He has raised high, and He has set up the balance” (55:5-7), is on the general predictability of physical phenomena.

It requires considerable mental gymnastics and distortions to find scientific facts or theories in these verses. Yet, this height of folly is a global craze in Muslim societies, as is a popular literature known as ijaz, or “scientific miracles of the Quran”. Islamic bookshops are littered with this literature, television preachers talk endlessly about how many different scientific theories can be found in the Quran, and numerous websites are devoted to explaining the phenomenon. It can seem as if ijaz literature has taken total control of the Muslim imagination.

“Almost everything, from relativity, quantum mechanics, Big Bang theory, black holes and pulsars, genetics, embryology, modern geology, thermodynamics, even the laser and hydrogen fuel cells, have been ‘found’ in the Quran,” says Nidhal Guessoum, professor of astrophysics at the American University of Sharjah. Whereas centuries ago, Muslim mathematicians discovered algebra (and led the world in countless fields of knowledge), some of today’s believers look to the Quran for equations to yield the value of the speed of light or the age of the universe, and other bewildering feats.

The tendency to read science in the Quran has a long history. In the 1950s, for example, when the US and the Soviet Union were competing to put a man in space, pamphlets appeared in India and Pakistan in which Quranic verses on the all-powerful nature of God were quoted to “prove” that manned space flight would never happen. However, for the current manifestation of ijaz, we need to thank not writers from the madrasas of the Middle East, but two western professors – neither man a Muslim.

It began in 1976, with the publication of The Bible, the Quran and Science by Maurice Bucaille, a French surgeon who had served the Saudi monarchy and acquired his basic knowledge of the Quran in the kingdom. He set out to examine “the holy scriptures in the light of modern knowledge”, focusing on astronomy, the earth, and the animal and vegetable kingdoms. His conclusion was that “it is impossible not to admit the existence of scientific errors in the Bible”. In contrast: “The Quran most definitely did not contain a single proposition at variance with the most firmly established modern knowledge.” Many Muslims embraced Bucaille’s thesis as proof of the divine origins of the Quran.

Ijaz literature received a further boost almost a decade later with the publication of the paper Highlights of Human Embryology in the Quran and the Hadith by Keith Moore, a Canadian professor of anatomy who was then teaching in Saudi Arabia. Moore illustrated certain verses from the Quran with clinical drawings and textbook descriptions. For example, the verse “We created man from a drop of mingled fluid” (76:2) is explained by Moore as referring to the mixture of a small quantity of sperm with the oocyte and its follicular fluid.

He was quite a performer, and stunned the gathering at the seventh Saudi Medical Meeting, held in 1982 in Dam mam. He read out the Quranic verses: “We have created man from the essence of clay, then We placed him as a drop of fluid in a safe place, then We made that drop into a clinging form, and made the form into a lump of flesh, and We made the lump into bones, and We clothed these bones with flesh, and We made him into other forms . . .” (23:12-14).

Moore then shaped some Plasticine to resemble an embryo at 28 days and dug his teeth into it. The chewed Plasticine, he claimed, was an exact copy of the embryo, with his teeth marks resembling the embryo’s somites (the vertebral column and musculature). He displayed photographs to show that bones begin to form in the embryo at six weeks, and muscles attach to them. By the seventh week, the bones give a human shape to the embryo; ears and eyes begin to form by the fourth week and are visible by the sixth. All these developments, Moore claimed, fit the Quranic description exactly.

Both Bucaille and Moore played on the inferiority complex of influential Saudis, suggesting that the Quran was a scientific treatise and proof that Muslims were modern long before the modern world and modern science. The Saudi government poured millions into ijaz literature. The Commission on Scientific Signs in the Quran and Sunnah was established. The first international conference on the subject was held in Islamabad, in 1987. Moore’s paper was included in an illustrated study: Human Development As Described in the Quran and Sunnah. The field has been growing exponentially ever since.

Guessoum, who is about to publish a book on ijaz literature, says that most works on scientific miracles follow a set pattern. They start with a verse of the Quran and look for concordance between scientific results and Quranic statements. For example, one would start from the verse “So verily I swear by the stars that run and hide . . .” (81:15-16) and quickly declare that it refers to black holes, or take the verse “[I swear by] the Moon in her fullness; that ye shall journey on from stage to stage” (84:18-19) and decide it refers to space travel. And so on. “What is meant to be allegorical and poetic is transformed into products of science,” Guessoum says.

These days, the biggest propagator of ijaz literature is Harun Yahya (real name Adnan Oktar), a Turkish creationist. He has published scores of pamphlets and books that are heavily subsidised and sold very cheaply. The latest, Miracles of the Quran, explains the verses of the Quran “in such a way as to leave no room for doubt or question marks”. The author suggests that the verse “We have sent down iron in which there lies great force and which has many uses for mankind” (57:25) is a “significant scientific miracle”, because “modern astronomical findings have disclosed that iron found in our world has come from the giant stars in outer space”. The verse “Glory be to Him Who created all the pair of things that the earth produces” (36:36) is claimed to predict anti-matter.

But these inanities are not limited to crackpots. “Even respected university professors believe this nonsense,” Guessoum says. “In my own university, around 70 per cent of science professors subscribe to the view that the Quran is full of scientific content, facts as well as theories.” Indeed, many respected scientists have contributed to the literature. Prime among these is The Geological Concepts of Mountains in the Quran (1991). Written by the Egyptian scientist Zaghloul el-Naggar, who held the chair of geology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the book has gone through numerous editions. It was so successful that el-Naggar gave up teaching to become the chair of the Committee of Scientific Notions in the Glorious Quran, established by the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Cairo. Today, he lectures on “geology in the Quran” and CDs of his talks sell out.

The latest tome on the subject is The Computer Universe: a Scientific Rendering of the Holy Quran by P A Wahid, the former dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Kerala Agricultural University. In the book, he develops a model of science in the Quran and purports to explain the existence of angels (“intelligent robots in Allah’s kingdom”), the Divine Master Plan, and how the Quran predicted the advent of chemistry and biology. Ehsan Masood, who writes on science in developing countries for Nature, recounts how he “once met a former chief scientist to a defence ministry who told me excitedly he was refining a research paper that would use mathematics to prove the existence of angels”.

All their own creation

The underlying message of these books is that all the science you need is in the Quran – no need to get your hands dirty in a lab or work within mainstream theories. But there is an overt message, too: works such as those of Wahid and el-Naggar are aggressively anti-evolution. Many more Muslim scientists, says Guessoum, are “scientists by day and creationists by night”.

Creationism is not at all a natural Muslim position. In the early 10th century, Muhammad al-Nakhshabi wrote in The Book of the Yield: “While man has sprung from sentient creatures, these have sprung from plants, and these in turn from combined substances.” In Life of Hai by the 12th-century Andalusian philosopher ibn Tufayl, evolution is strongly emphasised. Hai is “spontaneously generated”, emerges from the slime, evolves through various stages and discovers the power of reason to shape his world and to understand the universe. In contrast, creationism has taken hold over the past decade in Muslim societies – Turkey, for example, came last, just behind the US, in a recent survey of 34 countries on public acceptance of evolution.

Ijaz literature goes hand in hand with creationism, though Masood says that Muslim creationists are strongly influenced by their American Christian counterparts: “The two groups genuinely believe that the destiny of Islam and Christianity is to work together to defeat evolution and that this alliance is the answer to the clash of civilisations.”

Yahya’s lavishly illustrated tome Atlas of Creation is widely distributed. In Turkey, it anonymously turned up in numerous schools and libraries. Last year, it was sent unsolicited to schools across France, prompting the education ministry to proscribe the volume. The Atlas blames everything, from Nazism to terrorism, on evolution. “It contains lie upon lie upon lie,” says Jean Staune, visiting lecturer in philosophy of sciences at the HEC School of Management in Paris, who has made a special study of Harun Yahya’s works. “It denigrates the faith which it purports to support.”

And we can say the same about all literature, popular or academic, that purports to discover “scientific miracles” in the Quran.

Prince Harry says he is extremely sorry for using the term “Paki” about a member of his platoon.

The soldier referred to as a Paki by Prince Harry is thought to be Ahmed Raza Khan who won an award at Sandhurst for being the best overseas trainee.

Khan, from Pakistan, was presented with the Overseas Sword at the military academy by the Queen.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence declined to confirm Ahmed’s identity.

A statement from St James Palace said Harry used the Paki remark three years ago as a nickname about a friend and without any malice.

The Prince had reportedly been caught on video while he was an officer cadet at Sandhurst military academy.

It was filmed in front of other cadets at an airport departure lounge as they waited for a flight to Cyprus to go on manoeuvres.

In a separate incident, Harry is heard in the video calling another officer cadet a “raghead”.

A statement from St James’s Palace said: “Prince Harry fully understands how offensive this term can be, and is extremely sorry for any offence his words might cause.”

It continued: “However, on this occasion three years ago, Prince Harry used the term without any malice and as a nickname about a highly popular member of his platoon.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: “Neither the Army nor the Armed Forces tolerates inappropriate behaviour in any shape or form.

“The Army takes all allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously and all substantive allegations are investigated.

“We are not aware of any complaint having been made by the individual.”

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, added: “This might have been said in a light-hearted manner but ultimately it’s offensive to a lot of people.

“He needs to understand that this is not acceptable, especially in light of the office that he is going to hold in the Army and as a member of the Royal Family.”

Thanks: Yahoo News