Archive for December 4th, 2010

December 4, 2010

Pakistan government urged to halt anti-Christian hate campaign on television

by admin

Related Article: Blasphemy law and the attitude of journalists and anchors -by John Bosco


Pakistan’s predominantly right wing media’s hostile propaganda against Non Muslims and misrepresentation of events and interpretation of discriminatory laws serve as a breeding ground for extremist aberrations in the society.

Journalism is a gentleman’s profession, but here in Pakistan, newly born liberalized media seems to be working up mob hysteria especially against Non Muslims and the democratically elected parliament. Media and its self-puritan anchors are continuously encouraging a pseudo-religious approach to life, society & politics -and its hostile propaganda against Non Muslims, which is very much suitable for extremist aberrations.

Mostly, TV talk show hosts and Ziaist brand analysts are seen to be duty bound to peddle anti human anti democracy conspiracy theories and bash parliamentarians -they are infect inciting hatred and violence among the country’s citizens and especially against those having different or ‘unpopular’ views and thoughts.

While extremist groups are primarily responsible for denying space for pluralistic thinking and limiting the scope for democratic development, some newspapers in Pakistan are themselves involved in promoting intolerance in society. TV channels were guilty of providing the oxygen of publicity to the extremist ideology and in a mad race for breaking news many channels reported events without verifying the facts and often exaggerated the events.

In the ‘talk show democracy’, political actors are, through their illogical and fact-less narratives, irresponsibly spreading confusion, conservatism and abhorrence. There are flawed assumptions and speculations – misuse of the religious, political and national narrative by the hosts is the leading cause of extremism in the society. These political actors want a clash among the various sections of society for their own ulterior motives.

According to the Pakistan Christian Post, Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK, has written to the government of Pakistan about his concern over the increasingly grave situation surrounding Aasia Bibi’s death sentence and ongoing discussions about an amendment to the blasphemy laws, the underlying issue and the main source of persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.

The death sentence imposed upon Aasia has provoked a renewed debate about amending the blasphemy law to stop its misuse. The impassioned debates on television channels, online and print media about amending the blasphemy law reveal how contentious and controversial the laws have become. Almost every Pakistani directly or indirectly is affected by this ongoing situation.

Mr Saeed said: “I have seen how some of the participants become almost hysterical and as they are in the majority of the population, this could result in devastating consequences for the country and minorities in particular. I fear that this situation could be exploited by extremists and may lead to other serious incidents against Christians.”

Mr Saeed has said that the situation has become very tense and there is now a need for all concerned to understand the sensitivity of the issue. The government, he said, must take appropriate steps to avoid any bloodshed and any other serious incidents occurring. For peace and harmony in the country, any incitement to hatred during TV debates must be either halted or moderated as soon as possible before the majority reacts violently on the strength of their stirred up and heightened emotions, as fundamentalists have already threatened to kill.

New developments have see matters turn yet more serious as a new alliance of the religious groups has been formed against the release of Aasia Bibi and to stop any amendments in the blasphemy law. Lawyers have submitted a petition to the High Court to bar the president Asif Ali Zardari from pardoning Aasia. The High Court has accepted the petition and has barred the President from exercising this authority.

The High Minister for Minority Affairs has issued a statement promising to bring about changes with the consultation of religious leaders, Islamic scholars, politicians, rights campaigners and members of the minority communities.

Mr Saeed has said that the situation has grown increasingly serious and, in view of the history, heightened tensions and the necessity to safeguard the peace and reach a just solution, any public incitement to hatred must be curtailed whether it is on television or otherwise.

He said: “I never expected such a horrific situation to arise out of the issue of amending the blasphemy law but we don’t want bloodshed in the country. We will continue our struggles for the release of Aasia Bibi and changes in the blasphemy law with the help of the international community and through diplomatic channels.

Related Videos:

News Beat with Meher Bokhari Sep 10 , 2010 SAMAA TV: Meher Bokhari inciting violence against Pakistani Minorities. She and Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi provoking and suggesting Muslim community to take law in their own hand.

How dangerous propaganda is being made to justify the Blasphemy Law.

Hamid Mir is showing his true colours of being a leading religious extremist anchor as he has invited two other guests of his own denomination and breed in his TV talk show about Blasphemy Laws. Justice (Rtd) Tariq Mahmood is the only voice of enlightenment, demythologization and sanity in this programme, which both other guests are finding difficult to bear.

Mushtaq Minhas another prominent hate campaigner.

December 4, 2010

The Arabs and us

by admin

By Ayesha Siddiqua Agha

One was always concerned about President Asif Ali Zardari’s rule but never expected that it would get so bad that even King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia would remark that Pakistan’s president was leading the country to disaster. If a monarchical state, which oppresses its people, refuses to do justice and is historically a lackey of foreign governments, this suggests that Pakistani leadership is bad — it means things are really gloomy.

For many Pakistani leaders, Abdullah’s words seem to give ‘holy’ sanction to their own displeasure of Zardari. And though we may be the guarantors of Saudi security against a nuclear Iran in the future, Riyadh is perceived as the primary partner in our bilateral relationship. We never even complain about the treatment of our citizens in Saudi Arabia. It is influential to the degree that a lot of Pakistani politicians are seen constantly running to Riyadh for both consultation and dictation. It certainly happened a lot more during the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s. It is perhaps that the current regime does not run to Saudi Arabia so much that provoked Abdullah to make the statement. The Kingdom has been an important interlocutor between Washington and Islamabad.

It’s a little known fact that relations between the two ‘sisterly/brotherly’ Islamic states have been less exciting, especially since Islamabad put its foot down over the previous Saudi ambassador’s alleged involvement in dolling money to militant outfits in Pakistan. He was packed off from the host state after he did not adhere to its sensitivity. The WikiLeaks also pointed out diplomatic chatter about Saudi Arabia continuing to support some of the militant outfits or individuals. The grapevine in Islamabad also suggests that bilateral relations might be less pleasant due to Zardari diverting greater concessions to some of the Gulf rulers versus Saudi Arabia.

On a more serious note, the Abdullah related WikiLeak cable raises the fundamental question of how the Pakistani state tends to welcome all forms of imperialism including Arab imperialism. If it is not Saudi Arabia then it is one of the Persian Gulf states whose rulers silently intervene in our politics. The favours they seem to do are not for our people, but for our corrupt leadership that tends to use these states for its personal ends. The ordinary citizen is shown no respect and is treated as some would treat those from a lower cast, or even worse.

But then why should one expect the Saudis or Gulf rulers to be sympathetic when they do not show concern for their own people? I am reminded of a book written during the 1990s by a Saudi, which talked about the short-sightedness of the royals.

Our Arab friends, who we look up to, are totally given to their own interests. One of their key interests is in our military capacity which they hope we will provide one day to counter Iran, if trouble ever erupts. Not surprisingly, WikiLeaks also talk about Riyadh encouraging Washington to fight Iran. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Read some of the older books by Henry Kissinger and there is discussion of Riyadh under Shah Faisal being unhappy with the Arab attack on Israel in 1973. The main concern was that Egypt, Syria and others might then replace Saudi Arabia as prominent leaders of the Islamic world.

From Islamabad’s perspective, what is truly criminal is our inability to check Saudi and Gulf imperialism that represents itself through funding of militants for the sake of fighting a cold war with Iran. Pakistan’s governments hardly react to the fact that all militant organisations received funds from our Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf friends, and continue to do so. While we are more critical of Iranian money, any criticism of others is brushed under the carpet. Not to forget the fact that we are always keen to provide all sorts of ‘strategic’ help in the name of the Muslim Ummah, which probably exists in our mind but not in the minds of the leaders of many Muslim states.

The WikiLeaks have done nothing beyond filling details on what we already knew. Perhaps, we may be wise to rethink our options.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2010.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/86006/the-arabs-and-us/

December 4, 2010

In Pakistan, Christianity Earns a Death Sentence -by Omar Waraich

by admin

Governor Salman Taseer’s wife Amina Taseer and daughter Shahar Bano listening Asia Bibi's sad story and expressing concern and sympathy to her.

It all began a year and a half ago, with a quarrel over a bowl of water. A group of women farm workers were suffering in the heat near a village in Pakistans Punjab province. Aasia Noreen, an illiterate 45-year-old mother five, offered them water, but was rebuffed. Noreen was a Christian, they said, and therefore her water was uncleansadly, a common taunt hurled at Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians. But rather than swallowing the indignity, she mounted a stout defense of her faith.
Word of the exchange swiftly filtered through the village of Ittan Wali, in Sheikhupura district. The local mullah took to his mosque’s loudspeakers, exhorting his followers to take action against Noreen. In a depressingly familiar pattern, her defense of her faith was twisted into an accusation of blasphemy, according to her family and legal observers familiar with the case. As a frenzied mob pursued her, the police intervened, taking her into custody. But far from protecting her, they arrested and charged Noreen with insulting Islam and its prophet. And on Nov. 8, after enduring 18 months in prison, she was sentenced to death by a district court, making her the first woman to suffer that fate.

In the ensuing weeks, the case of Noreen, popularly known as Aasia Bibi, has sparked a national furor. Human rights campaigners and lawyers have denounced the sentence. Religious fundamentalist groups, usually at odds with one another, have suddenly coalesced around a campaign to defend the blasphemy law and attack its critics. One politician who called for Noreen to be pardoned now faces a fatwa for alleged apostasy. Another politician, who is trying to have the blasphemy laws amended, has been warned that she will be besieged. On television, religious scholars have disagreed among themselves over the law’s merits. Divisions are also being seen within the government, with powerful figures taking opposing sides. And there has even been global outrage, with Pope Benedict XVI last week calling for Noreen’s freedom.
Noreen’s case has spurred the first genuine debate over some of Pakistans most controversial laws. The original blasphemy law was drawn up by the British, in the Indian Penal Code of 1860, aimed at keeping the peace among the subcontinent’s sometimes fractious diversity of faiths. Not only did Pakistan inherit the laws after partition, but it added to them. In the 1980s, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq’s military dictatorship introduced a slew of elastically worded clauses, including a death sentence for those deemed to have defiled the sacred name of the Prophet.

Before Zia, there were only two reported cases of blasphemy. Since the death sentence was inserted in 1986, the number has soared to 962 — including 340 members of the Ahmadi Muslim sect, 119 Christians, and 14 Hindus. Close examination of the cases reveals the laws often being invoked to settle personal vendettas, or used by Islamist extremists as cover to persecute religious minorities.

Vague wording allows the blasphemy laws to be used an instrument of political and social coercion, says Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. And they give the state a sectarian character.

No conclusive evidence has been presented against Noreen, say people familiar with the case. The district judge relied on the testimonies of three other women, all of whom bore animus toward her.

Noreen had long been under pressure by fellow farmworkers to convert to Islam, her family says. And the district judge ruled out any possibility of her innocence or mitigating circumstances.
Christians are subject to vicious prejudice in Pakistan, where there beliefs are said to make them “unclean.” Municipalities routinely advertise jobs for cleaners with a note saying they would prefer Christian applicants. And defending their rights is not popular.

When Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, visited Noreen in prison and urged her release, he was branded an apostate by fundamentalist groups. And in the fundamentalist view, apostasy, like blasphemy, is punishable by death.
Liberal lawmaker Sherry Rehman who has called for amendment of the blasphemy laws and removal of the death sentence clause was warned this week that she would be “besieged.” It is a measure of the state’s impotence in the face of extremist groups that such high-profile public figures can be openly threatened for merely advocating human rights, says Hasan, of Human Rights Watch.
Rehman insists that she won’t be cowed by the threats. “I really can’t be coerced into silencing myself like this,” she tells TIME. “It’s my freedom as a legislator to do as I do. If they want to talk, there’s no issue. But to use coercion is unacceptable.” Taseer, a notably outspoken politician, is phlegmatic. “It doesnt bother me,” he tells TIME. “Who the hell are these illiterare maulvis to decide to whether I’m a Muslim or not?”

Rehman’s reform effort is unlikely to succeed, because few politicians have dared to support it. Indeed, Babar Awan, the Law Minister has vowed to oppose any move against the blasphemy laws. What’s more, the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who had last year suggested the laws should be reviewed after the killing of nine Christians in Punjab, now seems to be distancing himself. “It is not our party policy,” he told a news channel this week, when asked about Rehman’s bill. But Rehman, who spent years fighting laws that discriminate against women, says its mere submission is an important first step: “The first stone has been cast. It’s not a taboo subject anymore to be taken up by legislators.”

More worrying is the fate of Noreen. The Lahore High Court has taken the controversial step of saying that it won’t allow President Asif Ali Zardari to issue a pardon, a move that legal experts have said is unconstitutional. Her family is now hoping that the higher courts will strike down the death sentence, or that she will eventually secure a pardon. And the fear doesn’t end there. While no one has been executed for blasphemy yet, 32 people — including two judges — have been slain by vigilantes. At Friday prayers this week, Yousef Qureshi, a hardline cleric from the Mohabat Khan mosque in Peshawar, offered a reward of 500,000 rupees ($5,800) to “those who kill Aasia Bibi.”

Even if pardoned, Rehman notes grimply, Noreen will no longer be able to to live in her community. For her own safety, she will have to be moved — simply for defending her right to choose her own faith.

Source: TIME

December 4, 2010

Wikileaks and the 'ghairat' of jokers of military establishment – by Rauf Klasra

by admin

December 4, 2010

Wikileaks on Lashkar-e-Taiba

by admin

Pakistan Today

Zardari revealed Sharif-Jihadi nexus to Patterson: Wikileaks
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) already knew about the United Nation sanctions after the Mumbai attacks through Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who had advised them to withdraw their money from banks, President Asif Ali Zardari had revealed to former US ambassador Anne W Patterson, Wikileaks reports have alleged.
Sharif had “tipped off” the banned outfit LeT to help them evade UN sanctions, Zardari allegedly told Patterson, adding that earlier he had done the same for the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), LeT’s parent organization, “resulting in almost empty bank accounts,” Wikileaks have claimed.
US diplomats were unable to confirm the allegations which have come at a time of rising political tension between Zardari and Sharif but they conceded that JuD did appear to have received a warning from somewhere. “Information from the ministry of the interior does indicate that bank accounts contained surprisingly small amounts,” said the cable in January 2009.

Earlier this year, Punjab government was criticized in Punjab assembly and National assembly for giving funds of  Rs.82 million to   LeT charity organization Jamat -ul- dawah .

“Giving an outright grant to the JuD, when it has been banned, tells us that some elements in the Punjab government are still not committed fully to the idea that jihadist outfits like the LeT, with known leadership and cadre links to the JuD, must be rooted out and that their activities shut down,” said Sherry Rehman.

Blaming only  Punjab government for  supporting LeT  would be highly unfair ; During recent floods Nawai Waqt published  advertisements of charity organization related Laskhar-e-Taiba despite UN ban  .

Dawn

PPP information secretary Fauzia Wahab accused the Punjab government of facilitating the operation of Jamaatud Dawa despite a UN ban on the organisation as an alleged front for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group and condemned publication of what she called advertisements about their relief work in two national dailies.

December 4, 2010

People’s Poet of Balochistan: Commemorating Mir Gul Khan Nasir

by admin

5th December is the death anniversary of People’s Poet of Balochistan, Mir Gul Khan Nasir. He was a prominent progressive poet, politician, historian, and journalist of Balochistan, Pakistan. Born on 14 May 1914 in Noshki. His father’s name was Mir Habib Khan. Habib Khan belonged to the celebrated Paindzai subclan of the Zagr Mengal branch of the Mengal Tribe.

Naseer in defence of Nationalism

Mir Gul Khan had been doing poetry since the age of eight but it was during his time in Lahore when he began writing Urdu poetry which was of a revolutionary nature.  This poetry of his became very popular and was published in the newspapers under his pen name Nasir which he chose as a tribute to Mir Nasir Khan The First (The Ninth Khan of Kalat, also known as Noori Nasir Khan). These Urdu poems of his, like Nawab Youzaf Ali Khan Magsi and Mohammad Hussain Anqa’s poems, were aimed at raising the political awareness of the Baloch people, especially, the youth. During his time at Lahore Mir Gul Khan played an important role in the students organization “Baloch aur Balochistani Thalbaa kee Anjuman” (B.B.S.O) which was formed by Mureed Hussain Khan Magsi and other Baloch students on the advice of Mir Yousaf Ali Khan Magsi.

He participated actively in student politics and was a part of various progreesive parties and alliances as Anjuman-i Ithihaad-i Balochaan, Anjuman-i-Islamia Kalat, Kalat State National Party, Muslim League(for a short period), Usthman Gul(Balochi fot “The People’s Party), Pakistan National Party and finally National Awami Party(NAP), He served as the first education minister in the NAP provincial Govt in Balochistan. When NAP Govt was dismissed by ZA Bhutto, His brother Mir Lawang Khan  martyred in military action after the imposition of Governor Raj, he was imprisoned along with other NAP leaders and was imprisoned along with other NAP leaders and was facing trison charges in Hyderabd Tribunal case.

Mir Gul Khan Nasir was arrested on several occasions from 1939 to 1978 on many different charges, all of them pertaining to politics. He collectively spent almost 15 years of his life in jail.

Mir Gul Khan Nasir was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and passed away on 5th December, 1983 in the Mid East Hospital, Karachi. He was taken back to his village, Noshki, in the form of a huge procession. On 7th December, 1983 he was laid to rest in his villages’ cementery.

Literary Works

Gul Baang (1951) was his first collection of Balochi Poetry.

History of Balochistan (1952) (Urdu) Volume 1 – After much research Mir Gul Khan published this book which consists of 340 pages. It is a history of the Baloch Race and removes many mis-conceptions about the Baloch which were prevalent at that time.

History of Balochistan (1957) (Urdu) Volume 2 – This volume consists of 15 chapters and deals with the history of Balochistan from Khan Khudadad Khan to Khan Ahmedyar Khan until 1955.

Daastaan-e-Dostain o Sheereen (1964) is considered to be one of the best books of Mir Gul Khan Nasir. In this book he has penned the classical Balochi Love Story of Dostain and Sheereen. In the preface of this book the famous Baloch poet Azad Jamaldini called Mir Gul Khan “The Greatest Poet of the Balochi Language”.

Koch o Baloch (1969) was a book in which Mir Gul Khan, through intellectual reasoning proved that the Brahvis and the Balochis actually came from the same race.

Garand (1971) is an important collection of Mir Gul Khan Nasir’s poems.

Balochistan Kay Sarhadi Chaapa Maar (1979) is an Urdu translation of General Dyre’s “Raiders of the Frontier” by Mir Gul Khan Nasir.

Seenai Keechaga (1980) is a Balochi translation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s “Sar-i Waadi-i Seena” by Mir Gul Khan Nasir.

Mashad Na Jang Naama (1981) – Mir Gul Khan Nasir completed this Brahvi book when he was a student in the 8th grade but it was published in 1981.

Shah Latif Gusheet (1983) is a Balochi translation of that part of Shah Abdul Latif Bhatai’s poetry which concerns the Balochs.

Posthumous Compilations

Gulgaal (1993) is the ninth compilation Mir Gul Khan’s poetry.

Shanblaak (1996) is Mir Gul Khan Nasir’s tenth collection of Balochi Poetry which also includes Urdu translations by himself.

Poetic Skills

Gul Khan Nasir wrote poems in Balochi, Urdu, Farsi (Persian), Brahvi and English. Most of his poems are in Balochi language. He was good friends with Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Once Faiz Sahib offered to translate Mir Gul Khan’s poems in Urdu but Mir Gul Khan turned down the offer. Most of Mir Gul Khan Naseer’s Urdu poetry was written between 1933 – 1950 and there has bee no publication of his Urdu poetry to this date. Mir Gul Khan’s poetry is filled with revolutionary and anti-imperialist themes and it reflects his progressive nature and socialist ideals. Mir Gul Khan Naseer was very much against the class differences that prevailed at that time, and still do. He wrote many poems against the Sardari System and their bogus institutions like Jirga and tribal traditions of injustice and discrimination.

He opposed Sardars for playing in the hands of miliatary establishment, criticized the clergy for his retrogressive tactics and religious doctrines and thethe Jirga syatem, a tool of oppression in the hands of Sardars against their peoples whom they treated as sub-ordinates.

While speaking to the Mullah in his poem titled as “Man O Mullah”

English Translation of Balochi poem

The Mullah getting ready to deliver his sermon,
Stroked his beard proudly,
And started preaching:

“One is a Master, One is a Mir (a leader or chief)
One is a Ruler, One is a Pir (a saint)
One is sad, another is happy

One makes heaps of wealth
One is starving, One is fed
One’s faults are visible, another’s are hidden

One rides his steed,
Wears only the best
His galloping horse kicks up dust

While another Bare-footed,
Naked and hungry
Miserably drags himself through life

Without a doubt it’s God’s will
It is written in the Righteous Book (Quraan)
That the path is narrow and quite tough

Five fingers can never be equal
God himself has made it that way
So, you should accept this as fate”

Waves of anger rising in my heart made me interrupt him
I said: “May you be smitten O Mullah!
Don’t lie so much

Evenings of begging have left you blind
The Devil has over-powered you
Why are you hiding the truth like this

Humans of every kind are alike
Men and women, both, are equal
Just as Honour and Dignity are the same

Humans aren’t high and low
O Moron! Just read the Quraan
You’ve been misled by the Satan

These Mirs, Masters and Sardars (Tribal Chieftans)
These Pirs, Clerics and Zardaars (the Wealthy)
These are the real roots of evil

They are criminals and pimps,
Traitors of humanity,
Blood sucking Leeches and Poisonous snakes

They travel in cars and planes
Their houses are furnished with velvet carpets
And they eat from golden plates

I know you’re mouth is watering
You’re living off loans from the Rich
Mullah! Now just think

From where did they get this wealth?
How did they amass this fortune?
How did they become our masters?

Mullah! Now stop making excuses
The mother’s womb didn’t provide them with all these riches
Nor did the sky rain money on their heads

Listen to my words,
Open your eyes which have been blinded
The answer is right infront of you

They have stolen the rights of the weak,
They have looted the property of the poor
And disrobed everybody in sight

Who has told you this is fate?
It’s an argument not thought out,
A serious blow to faith

Mullah! Now don’t you mislead
Don’t stray people off the path of God
Just to satisfy the affluent

Don’t sell your faith for cash
Don’t present the lies as truth
And stop your incessant gibbering

The times have now completely changed
You’re going to vanish alongwith the rich,
The aristocrats and the powerful monarchs

A better age will dawn on us
When no one will be worried for food
And there won’t be wars for money

Mullah! It’s time you woke up and smelled the air
Because in this new world your obsolete teachings won’t work
There won’t be anymore killings in the name of religion

Humanity’s liberation is inevitable
Mullah! If there’s any doubt in your heart
Then you ought to be taught a lesson

Mir Gul Khan Naseer, G B Bizenjo, Attaullah Mengal

He was a nationalist but with progressive ideas believing in the contemporary political thoughts and institutions and for his whole life struggled for the cause of getting social, political and economics rights for his people. He complained his countrymen for their Criminal Silence over the Genocide of Balochs and crying in solidarity with people of Palestine, Kashmir and other parts of the world.

He mocked at the feudals, landlords, Waderas, Khans, Peers, Sardars and Bourgeoisie intellectuals raising the slogans of Socialism, hence playing politics of Deceit with the emotions of the masses.

Socialism-i-Amal

English Translation of his Balochi poem

Today, the world is changing fast

Socialism’s charm is in full swing

Sindh’s Wadera, with a bank balance of millions

Is telling Lenin how socialism should be

Punjab’s rich and pompous Chaudary

Is twisting and twining socialism

Khan Sahib (of The Pashtuns), whose pockets are full of cash

Is (pretending to be) trembling in agony [like the strings of a violin]

On the pain of the proletariat

Mir Sahib (of the Balochs) is looting the impoverished Baloch farmers (not the big landlords)

On pretext of enacting land reforms (like Mao)

Even as I am uttering these words

The fire burning in my heart is barbecuing it

The dacoit has donned the mendicant’s garments

The murderer’s thoughts are of earning rewards from God

The defendant wants to be the judge

Thieving pigs desire to be compared to friends of the Prophet

The wolf yearns to be made the shepherd of the sheep

The cat dreams of getting pieces of fresh meat

The mouse is craving for flour

The jackal is impatient to get its hands on the hen

The rich and powerful are asleep

The black snake (the bourgeoisie) is burning

The bosses’ brains are located in their heels

The ship of their thoughts is sailing towards a mirage

These Mirs and Waderas fail to realize

That imperialism is about to leave (its foot is in the stirrup)

The poor labourers and farmers

Have their loins girded, and are ready for a revolution

The age of flattery has gone

Now things will happen as they do in the books

The public have become their own masters

The bubble of the aristocrats is about to burst

Take a look at the tides of change

Nasir is moving forward with the red flag

It was the reason when Habib Jalib said about him,

“Had Mir Gul Khan Nasir been born in Punjab he would’ve become Faiz Ahmed Faiz and if Faiz had been brought up in Balochistan, he would’ve become Gul Khan Nasir”.

Courtesy: Mir Gul Khan Naseer official Site

December 4, 2010

American diplomacy of contempt – by Shiraz Paracha

by admin


The mastermind as well as the motive behind the WikiLeaks release of US diplomats’ official correspondence with Washington is not known yet. However, the material released so far shows that George W. Bush was not the only mediocre with inferiority complexes. The whole State Department and policy makers in the United States have IQ problems.

Electronic letters and emails of U.S diplomats are symbols of bad taste and indicate that writers were carried away by prejudices and even anger.
Diplomats are supposed to be objective and measured in their assessments and analysis. But U.S ambassadors have been writing  low quality sloppy assessments of very crucial and sensitive international issues and situations.
Such information is supposed to be evaluated and written by serious and responsible professionals; however, U.S embassies emails confirm recklessness and irresponsible behaviour at the very heart of the U.S foreign policy. There is a pattern of ridicule of other cultures and an arrogance that exposes shallow U.S pride.

A much serious issue, however, is that information gathering processes are not very sophisticated and developed at the U.S State Department. A large volume of the so-called classified information is not well sourced and well evaluated. Most of the material is based on hearsay, rumours and careless personal opinions of the officials.

It is obvious that the depth required for dealing with delicacies and sophistications of diplomacy is lacking among the vast majority of the senior U.S foreign policy officials.

Another important point is that U.S ambassadors have been acting as spies. Spooks do use diplomatic cover but ambassadorial level positions are different. Ambassadors have access to places and information which spy agents do not have.

Ambassadors are symbols of trust between two nations. They cultivate friendship and goodwill on the behalf of their states. Some U.S ambassadors, however, have not been meeting the minimum standards of decent and professional behaviour.

Anne Patterson, a former U.S ambassador to Pakistan, for example, was involved in the wheeling and dealings of the Pakistani politics. She was engaged in activities that were beyond her scope and job as a neutral envoy.
And in the opinion of the U.S Ambassador to Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is a weak person with personality disorders. Let us not that forget the U.S had imposed Mr. Karzai on Afghanistan after the removal of the Taliban.
The U.S diplomats see the Russian government as a mafia. The current Russian leadership is the most popular among the Russian public and the United Russia Party is in power since 2000 as the Russian voters have shown full confidence in the Party and its leadership but U.S diplomats see them as corrupt criminals. One can only feel pity for the low calibre of U.S diplomats. The U.S Ambassador to Kazakhstan is said to have communicated derogatory remarks about politicians of the host country and the same was done to people and leaders in other countries.

It is worrying to realize that the United States foreign policy and key strategic decisions are based on such childish assumption and analysis. It should not be surprising why the U.S is hated around the world. The United States uses military means to maintain control because of the inefficiency of its diplomatic corps and insensitivities of its political leadership.

Diplomacy means cultivating friendships and the truth is that United States has failed the test because the U.S believes in master-salve type of international relationships, while friendship is earned by treating others with equality and respect, not contempt.

Shiraz Paracha is a journalist and analyst. His email address is: shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com

December 4, 2010

New LUBP Poll and poll results

by admin

Please vote in our new poll, submitted by Saad Mansoor (the poll will also be available in our sidebar for the next few weeks)

LUBP Poll

What should Pakistan do if Khadim ul Harimain Al sharifain Shah Abdullah asks Pakistan to endorse an Arab-American attack on Iran?

View Results

Here are the results of our last poll:

Who do you think is responsible for suicide bombings in Pakistan?

  • Taliban: told you not to support America (57%, 75 Votes)
  • RAW and CIA agents (Taliban are innocent) (22%, 29 Votes)
  • Pakistani Agencies (17%, 22 Votes)
  • No clue! (4%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 131

December 4, 2010

Leaks disclose secrets of in-camera sessions; is Pakistan really playing double game?

by admin

“It’s a bombshell,” says the historian Timothy Garton-Ash in a Guardian video on the released of the cables. “It’s the most extraordinary window into how American diplomacy works.”

Founded by secretive Australian Julian Assange, Wikileaks was originally based in Sweden and garnered 1.2 million leaked documents in time for its launch in January 2007. It taps in to the world’s web users’ desire either for justice or revenge on former employers or acquaintances, but its most significant stories have been held up as largely in the public interest.

The leaks are actual transcripts of messages exchanged among various governments. The founder of WikiLeaks did not conceive, concoct or formulate them. WikiLeaks are based on actual facts and ground realities and we including our military and civilian leadership know this very well.

According to recent dispatches from WikiLeaks besides its diplomatic disclosures, has also disclosed the secrets of in-camera sessions of the parliament pertaining to Kashmir and extremist elements in Pakistan, Geo News reported on Saturday.

In its disclosure, WikiLeaks, citing an anonymous source, has stated that ISI informed the parliamentarians and senior officials of the government about some qualities of Taliban elements. The spy agency also informed them about real extremists.

In the briefing, it was stated that some elements in the extremists’ groups would be useful in Kashmir or operation at some other places. The source said that there was difference of opinion among the participants of the in-camera session over this.

Earlier Wikileaks reveals Pakistan’s support for Taliban and the videos and report’s findings accuse the Pakistani establishment for playing double game, now a question is whether the Pakistani Establishment is playing double game? Or we believe on state’s stance that Pakistan is not supporting Taliban and it is a wrong notion.Let’s see one video(Wikileaks on the Pakistani double game) and related reports and try to examine what Wikileaks and foreign media really suggest and claim?

The revelations by WikiLeaks emerged as Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of greater NATO casualties in Afghanistan as violence mounts over the summer.

It also came as the Taliban said they were holding captive one of two U.S. servicemen who strayed into insurgent territory, and that the other had been killed. The reported capture will further erode domestic support for America’s 9-year-old war.

Contained in more than 90,000 classified documents, the Wikileaks revelations could fuel growing doubts in Congress about U.S. President Barack Obama’s war strategy at a time when the U.S. death toll is soaring…

Pakistan was actively collaborating with the Taliban in Afghanistan while accepting U.S. aid, new U.S. military reports showed, a disclosure likely to increase the pressure on Washington’s embattled ally.

The US military has launched an inquiry to find the source of tens of thousands of classified American documents on the war in Afghanistan that were leaked to the media (they’re from the US military, duh!) .

Wikileaks reveals Afghan civilian deaths – Thousands of secret military documents have been leaked, revealing details of incidents when civilians were killed by coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The cache contains more than 90,000 US records giving a blow-by-blow account of fighting between January 2004 and December 2009.

Wikileaks documents show Pakistan and Taliban link , Afghanistan war logs: our selection of significant incidents
and Key findings from the WikiLeaks “Afghan War Diaries” -

•The C.I.A.’s paramilitary operations are expanding in Afghanistan
•The Taliban has used portable, heat-seeking missiles against Western aircraft
Americans suspect Pakistan’s spy service of guiding Afghan insurgency

Mapping US drone and Islamic militant attacks in Pakistan
Daily View: WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan war logs
Wikileaks Afghanistan files: every IED attack, with co-ordinates
Wikileaks founder defends war files leak

Explosive Leaks Provide Image of War from Those Fighting It

Obituary:Benazir Bhutto – Benazir Bhutto followed her father into politics, and both of them died because of it – he was executed in 1979, she fell victim to an apparent suicide bomb attack.
Her two brothers also suffered violent deaths. Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world’s most famous political dynasties. Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.
His government was one of the few in the 30 years following independence that was not run by the army.

Report: Bin Laden Already Dead and Who’s keeping the terror myth alive?

Guardian.co.uk – one of the titles that was given access to the files before publication and collaborated with WikiLeaks in interpreting them – has a wide range of text and video coverage, a comprehensive map and a snappy video of the Frontline press conference.

What Taliban leader could tell about ISI: Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b) (d) Feb 26, 2010

American anxiety over the fate of Mullah Brader, a Taliban leader captured in Karachi in February 2010. A court decision preventing Brader’s extradition to Afghanistan comes amid renewed anti-American hostility in the media. The Americans speculate that the Pakistanis might swap Brader for a Baloch nationalist leader hiding in Kabul, but feel he ‘knows too much’.

The Beradar arrest was raised at a February 24 tripartite meeting of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Minister Rehman Malik of the Pakistan Ministry of Interior, and Minister Atmar Hanif of the Afghan Ministry of Interior in Islamabad. There was no agreement from either side about the transfer of “wanted persons.”

In the meeting, Malik provided a list of Pakistan’s Most Wanted to Atmar, and requested the same from Atmar. Malik named one of the Most Wanted, known Baloch separatist Bramdagh Bugti, and asked Atmar to assist in locating the individual and returning him to Pakistan. Malik also stated that both countries had expressed interest in passing prisoner lists naming the nationals of one country being detained by the other country. Atmar said his government did not know where the Baloch separatists were located and would need more information from the GOP (Government of Pakistan) to find them.

December 4, 2010

Mubarak ho!

by admin

Muhammad Yousuf was once an impure Pakistani before he saw the light of Islam.

Related articles:

Christian boy Muslim girl marriage forcing Christians to flee Karachi

It’s ok if a Muslim boy loves a Christian girl but….

جملہ اہل اسلام کو مبارک ہو – لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کر لیا

امیرالمومنین آف افغانستان ملا محمّد عمر اور امیرالمومنین آف پاکستان میاں محمّد نواز شریف کو مبارک ہو شیخ اسامہ بن لادن ، حضرت مفتی تقی عثمانی، حضرت مولانا فضل الرحمان ، حضرت منور حسن ، حضرت عمران خان و دیگر تمام اسلامیان ہندو پاک و افغانستان کو مبارک ہو

لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کر لیا

اس سے پہلے بھی ایک لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کیا تھا – نام نامی اسم گرامی تھا یوسف یوحنا ، مشرف بہ اسلام ہونے کے بعد محممد یوسف بن گئے

کبھی اس مملکت خدا داد میں آج تک کوئی مسلمان بھی مسیحی یا ہندو یا سکھ ہوا؟ ہے نہ جیتا جاگتا معجزہ – تبھی تو ڈاکٹر اسرار احمد فرماتے تھے – ستائیس رمضان المبارک کے دن جنم لینے والا یہ پاک وطن  جیتا جاگتا معجزہ ہے -  ہمیشہ ہمیشہ کے لیے بنا ہے – کچھ ناپاک ہم نے انیس سو اکہتر میں خارج کر دے ، باقی ناپاک ہم مسلمان کر کے پاک کر رہے ہیں – جو پھر بھی نہ مانے تو جہادی جیکٹ اور توہین رسالت کا قانون موجود ہے

اب لیجئے پڑھیے آج کی تازہ خبر، عروس البلاد کراچی سے

………

لڑکے نے اسلام قبول کر لیا‘

بلدیہ ٹاؤن میں ایک اندازے کے مطابق تین ہزار کے قریب مسیحی آبادی ہے

پولیس کے مطابق کراچی کے علاقے بلدیہ ٹاؤن میں مسلم لڑکی کے ساتھ گھر چھوڑنے والے عیسائی نوجوان نے اسلام قبول کرلیا ہے، جس کے بعد علاقے میں کشیدگی کم ہوگئی ہے۔

بلدیہ ٹاؤن پولیس کے تفتیشی افسر بلال رضا نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ لڑکے نے فیصل آباد کے ایک مدرسے میں اسلام قبول کیا ہے، جس کی سند اور لڑکی سے نکاح کا بیان انہیں موصول ہوگیا ہے۔

انہوں نے بتایا کہ لڑکی کے بیان اور ذوہیب کے مسلمان ہونے کی سند کی تصدیق کے لیے انہوں نے مدرسے اور وکیل کو خط لکھ دیا ہے جو کوریئر کے ذریعے روانہ کر دیا گیا ہے۔

پولیس کا کہنا ہے کہ جب تک ذوہیب کے مسلمان ہونے اور نکاح کرنے کی تصدیق نہیں ہوگی، مقدمہ ختم نہیں ہوگا، اس سلسلے میں لڑکی انعم کا مجسٹریٹ کے روبرو بیان قلمبند کرانا بھی لازمی ہے۔

دوسری جانب انسانی حقوق کمیشن کے مقامی رضاکار ڈاکٹر مقبول نے بتایا کہ لڑکے کے اسلام قبول کرنے کے بعد علاقے میں کشیدگی ختم ہوگئی مگر لڑکے کے والدین اپنے گھر کو واپس نہیں لوٹے ہیں۔

کراچی سے بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار ریاض سہیل کے مطابق دس روز قبل بلدیہ ٹاؤن کے علاقے غوث نگر کی رہائشی مسمات انعم اور ذوہیب عرف نومی گھر سے نکل گئے، لڑکی کے والدین کا الزام تھا کہ ان کی بیٹی کو اغوا کیا گیا ہے تاہم اقلیتی رکن صوبائی اسمبلی سلیم خورشید کھوکھر کا کہنا ہے کہ یہ محبت کا معاملہ ہے۔

غوث نگر میں ذوہیب کے والد مزدوری کرتے تھے، جبکہ لڑکی کی والدہ علاقے میں بیوٹی پارلر چلاتی ہیں۔ اس علاقے میں ایک اندازے کے مطابق تین ہزار کے قریب مسیحی آبادی ہے۔

واقعے کے بعد علاقے میں کشیدگی پیدا ہوگئی اور چرچ پر پتھراؤ کیا گیا، اس صورتحال میں مقامی سکول بھی بند رہا جس کے بعد انتظامیہ پولیس اور رینجرز کی بھاری نفری تعینات کردی گئی تھی۔

Source: BBC

December 4, 2010

Asia Bibi, lawyers working to expose the false testimonies

by admin

To expose the false witnesses, highlighting the “castle of liars” that accuses Asia Bibi; to demonstrate the failures of the police and the conditions suffered by the judge who in the first instance issued the death sentence. Lawyers of Asia Bibi told Fides that this is the defensive line they are adopting in preparation for the appeal process, pending the first hearing in the High Court of Lahore.

The new investigation sponsored by the defence, lawyers told Fides, will demonstrate that the two female “eyewitnesses” for the indictment of Asia, were not at all present at the time of the controversy when the blasphemous insults would have been generated. Moreover, the trial papers, which Fides had the opportunity to consult, show an imaginary “public confession” that Asia Bibi would have released, upon which the verdict of the death sentence is based. This, too, notes the defence, “is a gross untruth” to be denounced in the appeal process. Investigations conducted by law enforcement officers in charge of the case were also “driven” and “in one direction”.

On behalf of the Masihi Foundation based in London and Lahore – the only NGO that is truly giving legal assistance and taking care of Asia Bibi’s family – lawyers are proceeding with charges of false witness against those who contributed to the conviction of Asia and asking for substantial damages.

Today, on these dynamics that characterize the accusers of blasphemy, Rana Sanaullah, Minister of law of the Province of Punjab, spoke publicly, stating that “in cases like this of false witnesses, once proof of bad faith has been established, the same penalty should be imposed as that suffered by the innocent victims of false charges.”

Meanwhile there is now another victim of the blasphemy law. It is young Muslim, Muhammad Amin, a Pakistani blogger in the city of Bahawalpur, province of Sindh. The young man had posted material considered blasphemous to the Prophet Muhammad on his blog and exchanged it with a friend, who was also charged. A police officer noticed it by chance, and thus the complaint and the arrest were triggered.

The incident confirms that the controversial “blasphemy law” – the subject of intense debate in Pakistani society – has spread its tentacles even to the web. Back in June, the Ministry of Information Technology had expanded the crime of blasphemy to the Internet, placing at scrutiny Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Youtube, but also Amazon, MSN, Hotmail, and Bing, causing a storm of reprimands and imposing very strong restrictions (see Fides 26/6/2010). A task force of inspectors is responsible for monitoring the web browsers available to Pakistanis, who may be accused and arrested for blasphemy.

Source: FIDES

December 4, 2010

Blasphemy law and the attitude of journalists and anchors – by John Bosco

by admin


I watched a programme on Asia Bibi and the amendments in Blasphemy Law on 30th November at News Beat and the programme host was Mehar Bukhari of Samaa TV. It is interesting to note that she has invited 2 senior journalists Saeed Chaudhry and Haroon Rasheed to justify that Blasphemy Law is right, and to criticize the people who are helping Asia Bibi. It is the duty of Anchor to ensure that the defending party should be given equal opportunity to speak his/her point of view. Nevertheless it seems she was failed to provide enough time to Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti to clarify the questions, even her character was more critical than others. It was not hidden she favoured her fellow journalist. Don’t you think this is yellow journalism? Biased Anchor?

Secondly Haroon Rasheed doesn’t know how to respect to the most respectable person amongst the Catholic Christian, (POP) and he is also the head of the State. How many times he or any one from you speak about any Muslim leaders? I would salute to Shahbaz Bhatti who listened patiently. I am sure if the similar remark comes from him you would have involved him in another blasphemy case or might be possible he would have killed in the studio.

Prove yourself to be a real Pakistani journalist, understands the realities. Haroon Rasheed said the pardon initiative is taking place under the pressure from Human Rights and Foreign Call. However he forgot the history, all the important issues whether it was a matter of justice to Mukhtarian Bibi, issue of Burning Quran, war in Iraq or Afghanistan are all raised by the foreign countries and NGOs. None of the Muslim countries involved? How many times Saudi Arabia stood with you on any of the above issues? You have to be thankful to the West atleast they help you raise your voices.

As far as raising the voices against Iraq & Afghan wars are concerned, I believe they both do not read English newspapers and watch English news channels, the western countries protested and agitated more than any Islamic Countries. Can anyone give us an example of Saudi Arabia – How many times they have raised these issues? How many Muslim countries raised voice for Afia Siddique’s release? This is only Pakistan who takes the responsibility of whole Muslim countries and these Muslim courtiers do not care what is happening with them.

Mehar has raised 3 or 4 times this question that why the blasphemy matter always raised in the PPP Government. The question is very simple who had the guts and courage to raise the voice at the time of Nawaz and Zia’s government, who were architect of these clauses. As far as Musharaf’s government is concern 75% people were from PML & MMA who were the part of its implementation at the time of Nawaz and Zia’s government.

Asia is a Pakistani and no matter what religion she has?. This is state’s responsibility to protect her. I would like to remind you that 295 B & 295 C were not included in the Pakistan Penal Code until 1986 and Christians live together with the Muslims like brothers and sisters before Pakistan came in 1947. There was no problem until 1986 and since 1927 till 1986 only 7 cases were reported of blasphemy.

It is not hidden from any one that 295 B, 295 C and such clauses were deliberately included in the Pakistan Penal Code to achieve the political support. Pakistan’s late dictator, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq in order to maintain his Govt, he created Federal Council (Majlis-e-Shura) consisting of such persons as the President may, by Order, determine. This Shura consisted of like minded people as they were selected not elected. As I stated above he needs to protect his seat thus he was on the mercy of their decisions, and the blasphemy law and other Islamic clauses included in the Pakistan Penal Code to gratify them.

In 1986 General Zia revised it again to be more strictly in accordance with the Sharia, and finally in 1992 it was revised again when the death penalty was made mandatory under the democratically-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. History also showed that his successor Mian Nawaz Sharif ex Prime Minister of Pakistan followed his footsteps.

The October 1990 elections brought the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) into power. In addition to a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the alliance acquired control of all the four provincial assemblies and enjoyed the support of the military and the President. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, as leader of the Pakistan Muslim League, the most prominent party in the IJI, was elected Prime Minister by the national assembly. He emerged as the most secure and powerful Pakistani Prime Minister since the mid-1970s.

The Pakistani Islamic Blasphemy law, Section 295/C of the Pakistan Penal Code, is vague and susceptible to abuse, but carries a mandatory death penalty, with practically no right to bail and is, therefore, inherently oppressive, unjust and unethical. It is widely abused as an instrument for terrorizing political opponents and members of religious minorities, and for settling political, sectarian and petty rivalries. This is nothing less than religious terrorism through the abuse of the state apparatus and the civil law.

Pakistani Christians thought after the Gojra incident false blasphemy cases should be stopped henceforth. However, this is not the case as the culprit behind such pictures never punished? Why they are not punished because of biased anchors and journalists who are behind them.

How can we return Asia’s 2 years which she spent in the Jail?

John Bosco, Independent Writer from London
john316bosco@gmail.com

Related Video:

December 4, 2010

Zaid Hamid on Wikileaks: yahoodi bandar, amreeki haathi (and khaki gidh)

by admin
December 03 - PM Gilani chairing the meeting of DCC in Islamabad. The most powerful man present in the meeting is hardly visible in this picture.

December 03 - PM Gilani chairing the meeting of DCC in Islamabad. The most powerful man present in the meeting is hardly visible in this picture.

Related articles:

Wikileaks on General Kayani and his ‘democratic’ puppets

WikiLeaks unmasks who are our real puppet-masters?

Who is behind Zaid Hamid’s crush India brigade? – by Kamran Shafi

Two apparently unrelated pieces. The first one is a TV interview by Zaid Hamid in which he terms Wikileaks as an Israeli conspiracy which is as threatening to the US as it is to Pakistan.

The second piece is a news report about a recent meeting of Pakistan’s high level Defence Committee of Cabinet which blasted the Wikileak cables terming them as a conspiracy to tarnish Pakistan’s (in fact Pakistan army’s) image.

First the video:

Brasstacks 270 – Dirty secrets and Plans of WikiLeaks – Zaid Hamid

Now, the news item:

WikiLeaks reports attempt to harm Pak image: DCC

ISLAMABAD: The Defence Committee of Cabinet termed the release of WikiLeaks diplomatic cables an attempt to harm the image of the country, a private TV channel reported on Friday.

The DCC affirmed the government’s and the public’s commitment to defend the country’s honour, dignity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The committee reviewed the security challenges faced by Pakistan and expressed satisfaction on the defence preparedness.

The committee rejected the WikiLeaks disclosures and termed them a conspiracy against Pakistan. The meeting termed the leaks false and unauthentic and an attempt to malign the political and military leadership of the country.

Gilani welcomed the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Wynne, and also wished General Kayani success in his new term.

The Committee reaffirmed that Pakistan’s defence forces and its strategic and conventional capabilities would continue to be strengthened. (Source)

The Defence Committee of the Cabinet decided on Friday to convey to the US authorities the government’s reservations over the disclosure of confidential and secret information by WikiLeaks, reliable sources said.

A meeting of the committee, presided over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, denounced the leak of sensitive information and warned that its continuation would endanger friendly ties among countries.

The DCC meeting was attended by ministers for defence, interior, finance and information, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the three services chiefs.

The sources said that a formal stance of the government on the problem caused by the whistleblower website would be handed over to the US authorities through proper channel at an appropriate time.

Some TV channels reported that after the DCC meting, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called on President Asif Ali Zardari, but neither the Presidency nor the ISPR confirmed the report.

Although the Prime Minister’s Secretariat issued a press release of over 1,000 words on the proceedings of the committee, it did not say a word about the much-talked about leak of loads of top secret information about the country the US embassy had been sending back home through confidential cables.

“There are so many important issues than this (WikiLeaks disclosure) and whatever we have discussed at the meeting has been mentioned in detail in the official handout issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told Dawn.

He kept quiet when repeatedly asked if the DCC, which represents the top civil and military leadership, had deliberated upon information released by WikiLeaks over the past few days.

But sources privy to the proceedings confided to Dawn that the issue was very much discussed by the participants during the four-hour meeting. Initially, they said, it was decided to include one paragraph about it in the official statement, but it was later dropped on the instructions of a ‘top official’.

Some participants, according to the sources, wanted that a clear stand should be taken on the WikiLeaks issue in the official statement, but others advised that it should be played down for the time being. (Source)

December 4, 2010

Adeyzai lashkar ends cooperation with govt – by Farhat Taj

by admin

What is becoming of the Adeyzai lashkar is precisely the story of almost all anti-Taliban lashkars in FATA. The lashkars were encouraged by the authorities with promises of help. The promises never materialised

Leaders of the anti-Taliban lashkar in Adeyzai, a Peshawar village on the border with FATA, are preparing to hold a press conference in Peshawar to announce the termination of their cooperation with the provincial Awami National Party (ANP) government and the security forces of Pakistan in the war on terror. Following the press conference, the lashkar leaders will approach the Taliban for an agreement whereby they (the Taliban) will assure no attacks on the people of Adeyzai inside the village or outside, and the villagers would allow the Taliban to peacefully pass through Adeyzai for any attacks on civil, military or police targets in any part of Peshawar.

What has made the Adezai lashkar change its anti-Taliban stance? The lashkar courageously stood up to the Taliban for two years despite great human and material losses. The reason is that the government as well as the military have extended the lashkar almost no moral and material support since it was formed in 2008. Without the state’s support, their anti-Taliban stance has cost them heavily. The Taliban have punished the entire village through repeated bomb attacks. The lashkar people, their family members and supporters have been killed and their small businesses burnt down by the Taliban.

Despite no state support, the lashkar volunteers continued to cooperate with the government and security forces in the war on terror. They have been providing actionable intelligence to the authorities about the Taliban. They established the writ of the state in Adeyzai that helped the ANP government rebuild girls’ schools bombed by the Taliban, and the police came back on normal duty. Prior to the formation of the lashkar, the people had stopped sending girls to schools due to Taliban threats and the police could not come out of the police station following the beheading of some policemen in the area. Upon the request of the military authorities, 50 volunteers from the lashkar participated in the military operation against the Taliban in Bora-Prastavana, the FATA area adjacent to Adeyzai in September 2010.

The lashkar leaders have a long list of complaints against the government and the military. The authorities have not been promptly responding to the actionable intelligence against the Taliban provided by the lashkar leaders. The lashkar volunteers who participated in the Bora-Prastavana operation for five days used their own weapons. The lashkar was never compensated in cash or kind by the military authorities for the weapons and ammunition they used in the operation. The lashkar men were even kept hungry and thirsty during the operation. Over 40 villagers have died in clashes with the Taliban and suicide and rocket attacks by the Taliban, including lashkar leaders, volunteers and their relatives, village elders and other villagers, including women and children. The Taliban have bombed shops and other small businesses belonging to the villagers. No compensation whatsoever has been provided by the government for the human and material losses suffered by the people of Adeyzai for their anti-Taliban stance. The villagers wonder why the government never compensates them whereas the victims of terrorism all over the country are compensated to some extent. Despite pledges made by the governor and chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, no weapons or cash have been given to the lashkar to support its stance against the Taliban.

Amid attacks, the Taliban have also been sending messages to the lashkar leaders to give up their pro-government stance in return for compensation for the human and material losses suffered by everyone in the village, including the lashkar volunteers. The lashkar and people of Adeyzai have been turning down such offers for two years. They, however, argue that without state support, they cannot continue their armed struggle against the well financed and organised Taliban anymore.

Most people in Adeyzai, including the lashkar leaders, are farmers and drivers or run small businesses related with transport or grocery shops. It has become increasingly difficult for them to provide weapons, ammunition and rations for their 300 armed volunteers. Hence the lashkar’s decision to strike a deal with the Taliban out of sheer helplessness due to the absence of state support.

What is becoming of the Adeyzai lashkar is precisely the story of almost all anti-Taliban lashkars in FATA. Taliban gangs were unleashed on peaceful civilians and they were left to fend for themselves. Out of sheer desperation, they formed anti-Taliban lashkars. The lashkars were encouraged by the authorities with promises of help. The promises never materialised. The Taliban were given a free hand to slaughter the lashkars. Some anti-Taliban people were killed, others were made to run away and the remaining were forced to make deals with the Taliban or join them as fighters and commanders. This is how the ‘popular support’ of the fiercely autonomous tribesmen has been engineered in FATA. Through acute insecurity, the region has been rendered inaccessible for outsiders so that no free scholarly or journalistic investigation is able to question the authenticity of this popular support for the Taliban in FATA. All this is in pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan.

Adeyzai, however, is not a part of FATA – the unfortunate area under the absolute control of the intelligence agencies who use it as strategic space for strategic depth in Afghanistan. Adeyzai is part of Peshawar, under the Pakhtun nationalist ANP government. The Pakistani state in FATA has already lost its legitimacy to the tribesmen. The state there means nothing but death and destruction because of the state’s collusion with the Taliban and al Qaeda. Now the people of Peshawar may be drawing the same conclusion. It is no wonder that I keep hearing from the people of Adeyzai that the state has no will to eliminate the Taliban. What will become of the legitimacy of the state in this situation in Peshawar, an important garrison town? The most unfortunate aspect is that all this is happening under the ANP government.

There is an urgent need for the sake of legitimacy of the state that the lashkar and people in Adeyzai are provided some state support. The government may start by providing immediate compensation to all the people in Adeyzai for their human and material losses. This must be followed by targeted operations in the FATA areas around Adeyzai so that the village drivers and farmers have no need to make anti-Taliban lashkars. If that is not doable on an urgent basis, the lashkar must be provided with necessary support so that the Adeyzai villagers and other people in Peshawar can live in peace.

The writer is a PhD Research Fellow with the University of Oslo and currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban

December 4, 2010

WikiLeaks and the astonishment of Pakistani media and middle class – by Ayaz Amir

by admin


Astonishment only for the innocent
Virtually nothing in the Wikileaks disclosures in relation to Pakistan is truly shocking or astonishing. Knowing the nature of our politics, the dominance of the army and the long shadow of the United States on our domestic scene, there is nothing surprising in American ambassadors playing the role of nanny or psychological counsellor to Pakistani governments. Even so, when the curtain is pulled back to reveal the patient on the couch revealing his most intimate secrets to his shrink the result is fascinating.

Marquez somewhere talks about a bed made “for the outrages of love”. The word bedroom can conjure up any number of images in our mind. But to become a privileged voyeur and see things through a peephole can narrow the eyes and bring a smile to the driest lips.

Marilyn Monroe was all the rage when people my age were in their teens. We knew all about her, at least from a distance. Yet in that famous scene from The Seven Year Itch when she is standing on Seventh Avenue and a sudden gust of wind wafts her yellow skirt above her waist to reveal those immortal legs in all their glory, there was no audience in the world which could witness that epiphany and not hold its breath.

The Wikileaks exposures have had a similar effect. We have not been taken by surprise, as to the reasonably well-informed observer all this is familiar stuff. But we have been titillated, because we have been taken behind the stage to the dressing room of Pakistan-American relations…the veneer and polish of diplomatic platitudes stripped away to reveal the raw stuff of immediate history. And the view up close is exciting.

The American ambassador giving her assessment of Zardari soon after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination: a pretty shrewd summing up from which Zardari, much as many people may dislike the thought, comes out looking good. Relaxed and poised, he refers to his notes only once.

Gen Kayani in March 2009 musing over the possibility of forcing Zardari to step aside should things get out of hand during the long march. And suggesting that should that happen Asfandyar Wali could be considered as a possible replacement. Which only confirms the widely-held perception that there was a Kayani angle, the long shadow of the army, to Zardari’s eating humble pie and accepting the judges’ restoration.

In his more optimistic moments Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has taken credit for this achievement. Now we have it from the horse’s mouth as to what actually happened. Of course Nawaz Sharif’s long march was crucial to this outcome. But the US cable traffic gives us the larger setting.

Zardari is afraid of being taken out by the army and the ISI and mentions his fears to the US ambassador. This fleshes out the conspiracy talk with which Islamabad was full in those days, eager media persons giving deadlines about Zardari’s departure, some of them going to the extent of saying that this time round an ambulance would be needed at the Presidency.

Zardari saying that he had made contingency plans and had asked Bilawal to name Faryal Talpur, Zardari’s sister, as president should he be removed from the scene. Gen Kayani musing (in a separate talk with Anne Patterson) that Faryal would make a better president than Zardari. Faryal Talpur also impresses the Americans as “extremely energetic and well respected”. Zardari says she is “tough and committed”. All in all, a flattering portrait.

Kayani disclaims any political ambitions and the Americans take him at his word. But the bemused reader could be forgiven for asking in which other democracy the army chief would be the ultimate arbiter of key decisions?

Demonising Zardari is easy. Because of his reputation, his skill in matters of arcane finance, he lends himself easily not just to denunciation but caricature. But his opponents would be doing themselves no favour by under-estimating him. In these cables – although anyone would be in his rights to disagree with how the Americans view the Pak domestic scene – he comes across as a smart operator.

I remember that in the run-up to the presidential election – this was when pressure was being mounted on Musharraf to quit – there was hardly anyone in Islamabad who thought that Zardari would propose his own name for president. But he outguessed his detractors and opponents.

Reflexive and blind anger is best left to outraged patriots. There is too much of unthinking anger, in the name of patriotism, in the media and among the non-voting middle class which regularly foams at the mouth about the state of the nation. But the first task of the professional observer should be dispassionate analysis. If this is sacrifised at the altar of anger, however well-justified, it is all too easy to get things wrong.

Of course our American friends are hardly detached observers. They have their own interests. And since they begin from the premise that Zardari is their best bet in Pakistan, their judgment is affected by this perception, something also reflected in the language of the cables.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may be forthright about Zardari – “if the head is rotten it affects the whole body” – and Prince Muhammad of the UAE may add his bit of colour to an assessment of the Pakistani leadership – “Zardari is dirty but not dangerous, Nawaz Sharif is not dirty but he is dangerous” – but left to themselves the Americans are more cautious about saying the same things about Zardari. Which makes sense given that on most issues they and Zardari are on the same page, reading almost from the same script.

Contrast this with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The Americans were never happy with him, not only because of the nuclear issue but other matters as well, a feeling which comes across clearly in the documents made public by the Iranian students when they seized the US embassy.

Incidentally, those documents too were considered a bombshell at the time but they are nothing compared to this. Earlier, the publication of Daniel Ellsburg’s Pentagon Papers had rocked the American political scene. But those papers were just about the Vietnam war, important as it was. The Wikileaks cables touch the entire gamut of US foreign policy. The guy behind this exposure, the anonymous hero of this drama, who has risked his personal safety in order to let the world be better informed, deserves the highest prize for bravery. At the same time, no praise is enough for Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Some things are real game-changers. Wikileaks is one of them.

And, by the way, the US need not feel ashamed. Such a comprehensive act of whistle-blowing could only have happened in the US. Which says something about the US and its political system. Imagine an ISI whistle-blower. Would we ever hear of him again?

No one has exposed the follies of the American Empire more and with greater force and clarity, or been more scathing critics of the same follies, than Americans themselves. While mainstream opinion in the US, what passes for conventional and received wisdom, is very powerful and it is not easy to take sides against it, there is also a powerful current of counter-opinion that one can find in the US. Although, it is true, at times one has to try a bit hard to discover it.

In any event, American hegemony over the last century and now has been as much about economic and military muscle as about the power of culture and ideas. Even as we excoriate the US for many of its policies – none more bitterly destructive than George Bush’s twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – we should bear this in mind.

Anyhow, for us in Pakistan, apart from the titillation these cables provide, they give rise to some urgent and uncomfortable questions. Why must we lay bare our feelings before others? Why must we take counsel with them on domestic matters? Why must American ambassadors be psychiatric consultants to every Pakistani leader, including chiefs of the army?

Before we can put our house in order we will have to overcome this mental dependence and learn to think for ourselves. If we were more true to ourselves there would be less need to lean and rely on others.

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

Source: The News, December 03, 2010

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