If we analyze the situation deeply, It seems it is a planned game to destabilize the country, by creating differences among its people.
Pakistan today is engaged with a guerrilla war and its importance in
If we analyze the situation deeply, It seems it is a planned game to destabilize the country, by creating differences among its people.
LUBP Interview with Olaf Kellerhoff, Resident Representative Pakistan at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
LUBP is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Mr. Olaf Kellerhoff Resident Representative Pakistan at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
Olaf Kellerhoff has also worked as a Intercultural Mission Advisor at UNIFIL, Chief Target Audience Analysis at ISAF, Political Advisor at ISAF Chief Cultural & Religious Advisory Group at ISAF and Political Advisor at KFOR.
His profile on Linked in describes his expertise as follows:
- Conflict management & political consulting
- Communication for Islamic world
- Strong cross-cultural & language skills (viz. Farsi, Arabic, Turkish)
- Extensive mission experienced in post-conflict countries
- Creativity and communication
- Work style shaped by passion and reliability
LUBP: Olaf Kellerhoff, thanks for taking out the time to interview with us tell us something about your background and your experience as a representative of Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung?
Olaf Kellerhoff: First of all, dear Junaid, many thanks for your interest in our work here in Pakistan. That’s also why I joined the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) in 2008. I had studied Islamic History and International Relations and served as an Officer of the German Federal Armed Forces in many missions. Due to my interest and studies I had been working and living in several Muslim countries but until 2008 I didn’t know Pakistan. This country is one of the most fascinating places in the world for me. Consequently, I was very lucky when I received this job offer.
Since January 2009 I am the Resident Representative of our foundation in Pakistan. For me personally a fabulous experience. I enjoy my work and life over here and would even love to enjoy it more if the work doesn’t take its toll: just too many things to do and nothing should be delayed as it’s too important for the betterment of the country.
LUBP: Tell us something about your organization, its main objectives and work in Pakistan, especially in the promotion of liberal democratic politics and human rights?
Olaf Kellerhoff: A peaceful and progressive Pakistan – that’s what the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF) is committed to since 1986. Our team in Islamabad is part of a family with more than 60 branches around the world. The first President of Germany, Theodor Heuß, established the Foundation in 1958 and named it after his mentor, the German philosopher and politician Friedrich Naumann (1860–1919). Ever since we do not loose focus in our work for human and civic rights, democracy, rule of law and free market economy on the basis of the political philosophy of liberalism. Today, FNF belongs to the 200 leading think tanks of the world.
Our vision is an open society with equal rights for individuals in freedom with responsibility. Our mission is to strengthen civil society in a sustainable and professional manner. Therefore, we do not only fund, but first of all train, consult and interlink our partners. In Pakistan we work in joint partnerships with for example the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Shehri – Ciitzens for a better Environement, Society for Protection of the Rights of the Child (SAPRC) or Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and few more. Thus, our partners and friends do their share as responsible and vigilant citizens for the bright future of Pakistan.
LUBP: The socialists and Islamists suggest that liberalism in Pakistan is an alien idea for the majority of the people, they portray that it is a grand western scheme to dominate third world’s market and eastern values? How do you view such claim/narrative?
Olaf Kellerhoff: Al-hamdu li’llah previous generations of the Pakistani people have been open minded: Imagine Islam being rejected as foreign import from the Arab Peninsula – or even worse as Arab scheme to dominate the Eastern markets or getting hold of the ressources in the Subcontinent! Islam is universal and so is liberalism. The one is a religion, the other a political philosophy – both complementing each other in a very suitable manner. This xenophobe attitude of some people demonstrates their ignorance in general but interestingly also in their claim as subject matter expert. So far, please excuse there might be, but I haven’t met any socialist or islamist who has real expertise on socialism or islamism.
Most likely, it is just the natural human fear of changes . Especially, in a world which is becoming more and more interlinked (it always has been global) and countries more competing with each other, the idea that you have to compete is not a very convenient one. There are a few countries which try to protect themselves by customs. Fine that works for one industry sector. The problem is that you as consumer and tax payer pay the price for it and you as an employee even might pay the price with unemployment. On the long run this sector gets less and less competitive. In other term the consumer/tax payer pays for a very few getting richer or at least defending their funds.
Similarily, it is natural and human that a religious functionary wants to keep his job and influence. Any change means a threat to his or her position. Accordingly, he or she will always argue against it. This is not unique in Pakistan or in Islam. This happened and happens all over the world. For example, the Syrian Intellectual Sadiq al-Azm has done acomparison once between Islamist and ultra-conservative catholicism: Almost everything was exactly the same: the same demands, the same arguments, the same opponents – just you had exchange the word Islam with Christianity.
Have a look for example at the negotiations of the Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) for Swat in 2009. The claim of a Sharia court was not about the following sirat al-mustaqim of Islam, but giving jobs to quite untrained clientel. The legitmate wish of the Swati people for justice (as the State failed to deliver) was just too easy to exploit. Why should all the Army checkpoints be removed? Because each checkpoint diminishes the profit of contraband like mainly wood, cars, gems etc. Why should all NGOs leave immediately? Why was the Middle Strata of the Society threatened and made leave? Because every thinking person undermines the nonsense told by religious extremists. Unfortunately, to a good part they could succeed. Thinking persons are leaving – often not only Swat but Pakistan on the long run. Also this is an overall trend: Where do you find the best Islamic scholars? Mainly in Western countries where there are free to think, to talk, to publish. This not because these scholars have alien ideas but threaten by undermining the position of certain extremist groups. That’s very unfortunate as more thinking persons are needed – for the sake of Islam and the people. Or in the words of first Nobel Laureate Sully Prudhomme (1839-1907): Always can be found in the most intelligent humans the most liberal and in the most uneducated the most radical.
LUBP: In the current global economic crisis, we have seen European union stepping in to bail out countries in their fraternity. Possibly the good money was being spent to bail out bad investments. The bailouts have been in billions. Dont you think that developing markets like Pakistan would have been a destination for flows of funds? The europeans would have earned a better name and at the same time increased their influence in Pakistan which has been the forte of USA and middle eastern sheikhdoms?
Olaf Kellerhoff: Please excuse that I can’t see the point: Germany has donated 12,5 million Euro as emergency relief. Furthermore, additional 22,5 million Euro were allocated for food. Not to forget that the German share of European emergency relief is about 20 percent which comes on top of it. This equals around eight million Euro. And the German people have donated privately 160 million Euro (17,2 billion PKR). This is more than any other nation has given from the public. All this money comes directly to the people of Pakistan. Equally, we saved our currency. Not doing it would have had a major impact on world economy – with disadvantages to Pakistan, too.
LUBP: Pakistan is currently facing extremism, militancy and an anti-democratic establishment. What are the reasons for Pakistan not being a developed democracy? Are we the sole responsible for the present democratic crisis or the foreign players and their agenda is the biggest reason? Kindly also share your understanding about the nature of radical approach here, and suggest us ways to cope up with this overall menace?
Olaf Kellerhoff:Truly, I believe in self-responsibility. There will always be hampering factors or challenges for everyone. This could be ressources, could be interference from others and so on. But still you are repsonsible for yourself and blaming others does not help except for feeling better because of not feeling responsible (which is always more convenient). So, if the people of Pakistan want to have a functioning democracy – noboday says they have to have this wish – every citizen can work for it. Democracy has not come in history and will not come in the future as a ready-made gift to a people. Also once introduced but democracy remains a constant task.
If Pakistanis want democracy they should develop it by themselves – and also only if wanted seek help from outside. This would have the advantage not to make (bitter) experiences yourself but come out of the findings and bitter experiences of other people to better solutions directly.
Of course, the idea of democracy is a thorn in the eye of extremist and autocratic rulers (feudal lords included) who want to exploit for selfish reasons. Thus, they will always discourage it. If you don’t want to be exploited then the consequence is to take your responsibility as citizen and work for a functioning democracy.
LUBP: How do you view the recent liberalization of media here? And especially after the fake Wikleaks appeared on Pakistani main stream newspapers do you think Pakistani media is doing its job responsibly?
Olaf Kellerhoff:The Pakistani people can be very happy that it has a vast media landscape. Since its liberalisation it has extended so widely which is wonderful. What is natural in this quick development is that there was not time enough to train all the newcomers. So, many claim to be a journalist without being trained. Consequently, some journalists do not work properly, if not to say irresponsible. Therefore, we have developped with our partners FIRM – Free, Independent and Responsible Media. This is a programme designed especially for journalists in technical skills as well as in understanding and internalizing underlying values of responsible reporting.
The fake Wikileaks made it crystal clear that we are still far away from achieving our goal here. Just simple cross-checking – the basic rule of every journalistic research – would have made the fake obvious.
LUBP: Do you think Wikileaks is helping to to democratize the global world? or such sort of revelations are counterproductive?
Olaf Kellerhoff:Wikileaks is an interesting phenomena: So far, we don’t know how it will change the world on the long run. It is clear that it changes patterns and structures of journalism and to a certain extent also inter-state relationships. If Wikileaks democratises has to be seen. The Right to Infomration and the Freedom of Information, which is after the 18th amendment (Article 19-A) given to the people of Pakistan, is different in nature. This is really the “oxygen of democracy” as it brings light into bureaucracy and government what loyal citizens have paid taxes for. There every person has the right to know for example how his money has been spent. This is public information anyhow and has to be public. Some diplomatic, military and secret service information are not included in it. This is different from Wikileaks which focuses especially on this information which is confidential by nature. There is also a reason why it is confidential. So, not everything should be disclosed.
LUBP: Do you think global liberal world also requires the fundamnetal re-definition of terms like ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self-reliance’?
Olaf Kellerhoff:A liberal world is our vision. It will still take many years if not generations. It will not require a re-definition but souvereignity and self-reliance will be consequence of it not a precondition.
LUBP: kindly share with us ‘Germany’s experience of democracy and also tell us how we can transform Pakistan as a democratic nation?
Olaf Kellerhoff:Germany was a “belated” nation in terms of nation-building. Also the emergence was different from other countries and determines state and mentality of Germans until today. That means, due to the diversity it has a strong federal setup.
Furthermore, from the experience of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) we know that a “Democracy without Democrats” does not work out. In Berlin of 1920s we had street clashes and targeted killings perhaps like nowadays Karachi. As a consequence political foundations like ours have been set up in order to train German citizens in democracy – a task we still fulfill until today. It is a model which has been exported since the 1960 very successfully. That is also the learning experience: democracy education. You don’t need not only trained politician but trained citizens who can perform their duties as citizens: citizens who know how to vote, who know how to be vigilant, who know how to protest in a peaceful way. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to indtroduce civic education in school curricula and to make it obligatory for each and every citizen – starting from the earliest years of life.
LUBP: What are your views and observations about the internal heterogeneity of Islam. Currently, Pakistani Muslims are faced with a wave of terrorism which is inspired by religious and sectarian ideology. How could this situation be improved?
Olaf Kellerhoff:Terrorism is a communication strategy of weak groups. Often there are legitimate demands behind but these groups have not learned how to express these demands in a peaceful way or if so are ignored. It is clear that you can not “bomb” a communication, in other terms a “war on terrorism” is not only by its words pure nonsense. The need of people has to be addressed on one hand and rule of law maintained on the other. A state has to deliver to its citizens. A government has to be in communications with its voters. A nation has to create opportunities and lead the way ahead for its people.
The ideology is secondary. Of course, persons in search of personal power will always prefer to exploit the obvious as this is much easier, i.e. in this case Islam. But Pakistan’s terror challenge is not about religion: extremist groups contradict and act antithetically against Islam. Most of its adherents are just simple dacoits in search for money and opportunities without any knowledge of nor interest in Islam. It is a personal challenge, a bigger jihad, to restrain from temptations of this world, instead of getting paid 12.000-15.000 PKR as an ordinary talib, driving around in brand new pick-up, and take things you always wanted to have – and even worse: suddenly being respeceted (or let’s say feared after intimidating people but gives you a sense of respect you might have been looking for). In other words: “That’s cool, man!” – especially compared to be just a simple law obedient Muslim and worthful member of your community.
Generally, heterogenity is richness. It can be a very fruitful learning experience when different groups are in communication with each other but it is a threat of those who want to command and control. It belongs to the inner logic that extremists create an “illusion of alternatives”. The Nazis did this, too: Either National Socialism or Bolshevik Chaos! Either believer or unbeliever. Either Muslim or kafir. But the world is not black and white, not only good guy or bad guy, not Muslim and kafir. There many different Muslims and almost forgotten is the category of ahl al-kitab. The “people of the book” are not kuffar, unbelievers. Extremists do not only – willingly or unwillingly (because in general they don’t know anything about Islam) – ignore this category but also have to declare Muslims who are not in line with them, who do not want to be controlled by extremists, kuffar. The takfir is part of the propagandist game extremists have to play.
So, what you could and should do as a citizen:
- Get not trapped in the “illusion of alternatives”. Do not allow others to impose this question on you as this is not legitimate. It’s none of other people’s business what you believe in but between you and God.
- Query whenever somebody comes up with simplistic explanations.
- Don’t get into the blame game but look ahead how to solve problems.
- Demand the state to deliver to all citizens – regardless region, religion or ethnicity.
Contribute to an open-minded, multi-cultural society. This is the richness of Pakistan and not it’s problem.
LUBP: Are the notions of human rights and democracy compatible with Islam?
Olaf Kellerhoff:Definitely, there is no contradiction but even more the obligation as a Muslim to follow human rights and democracy. There exist only very few differences between Islamic notion of human rights and Western concepts. Of course, I am well aware that different regimes in history and presence tried – with some success – to portray this in another way. For good reasons: each autocratic leader will loose his power in favour of power to the people. Obedience to human rights is very annoying to rulers. Accordingly, selfish leaders who want to impose their will on the people will continue to mock human rights and democracy.
LUBP: Your message for young Pakistani Liberals?
Olaf Kellerhoff:Live liberalism in practice! Be an example for others!
Unfortunately, the word liberalism is often misunderstood to that extent that someone who drinks alcohol and is hanging around with other women (or men in case of women) claims to be liberal. This is nonsense! Living liberalism means
- to see other persons as equal, to pay them respect
- to be responsible for yourself (often very unconvenient if you can not blame others)
- to be responsible for your family, community and state
- to act as a vigilant citizen
- to obey rule of law and demand its implementation.
Unlike most of the Muslims organizations abroad that are either sectarian or ethnocentric, largely authoritarian, and influenced by a fear of modernity, Muslim Canadian Congress is a grassroots organization founded by Tarek Fatah, it provides a voice to Muslims who support a ” progressive, liberal, pluralistic, democratic, and secular society where everyone has the freedom of religion.”
MCC has always denounced the doctrine of armed Jihad and has condemned the recent Swedish suicide bombing in very strong terms.
LUBP is encouraged that Muslim Groups are taking a stand against terrorism. Together, we can overcome the menace of extremism and Islamofascism.
TORONTO – The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) unequivocally condemns the suicide bombing in Sweden, reiterates its renunciation of the doctrine of armed Jihad that is the root cause of such terrorist attacks, and calls on all Islamic
The US Secretary of State says in a secret memorandum that donors in the kingdom still “constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide” and that “it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority”.
In a separate diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks last night, the militant group which carried out the Mumbai bombings in 2008, Lashkar-e-Toiba, is reported to have secured money in Saudi Arabia via one of its charity offshoots which raises money for schools.
Saudi Arabia is accused, along with Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, of failing to prevent some of its richest citizens financing the insurgency against Nato troops in Afghanistan. Fund-raisers from the Taliban regularly travel to UAE to take advantage of its weak borders and financial regulation to launder money.
However, it is Saudi Arabia that receives the harshest assessment. The country from which Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 terrorists originated, according to Mrs Clinton, “a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during the Haj and Ramadan”.
These pilgrimages, especially the Haj, are described as a “big problem” in another cable dated 29 May 2009. Detailing a briefing from the Saudi interior ministry to Richard Holbrooke, the US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, it notes: “The Haj is still a major security loophole for the Saudis, since pilgrims often travel with large amounts of cash and the Saudis cannot refuse them entry into Saudi Arabia.”
It also quotes one of the officials admitting that the Haj is “a vacuum in our security”. The huge annual influx of Muslims from around the world offers a prime opportunity for militants and their donors to enter the kingdom to exchange funds, launder money through front companies and accept money from government-approved charities.
The memo underlines that the US supports the work of Islamic charities, but is frustrated that they are so easily exploited to fund terrorism.
“In 2002, the Saudi government promised to set up a charities committee that would address this issue, but has yet to do so,” Mrs Clinton’s cable reads, before seeming to admit with disappointment that merely “obtaining Saudi acknowledgement of the scope of this problem and a commitment to take decisive action” has proved hard.
Source: The Independent
ISLAMABAD: Speakers in a daylong discussion titled “Joint efforts and terrorism” urged the government, media, civil society and educationists to join their hands against terrorism, as, they argued, unity is the only option to expunge the menace from the country.
The discussion, organised by Individualland, a non-government organisation (NGO), was presided over by Individualland’s Executive Director Gulmina Bilal Ahmed while people from different walk of life were present at the occasion.
The speakers urged the government to take on board all the stakeholders and devise a proper anti-terrorism policy. They said that each individual should contribute to the eradication of terrorism from the country. “We need to involve public as much as we can and provide them with a platform to drive the entire nation against terrorism in order to bring peace in the country,” they said.
The participants urged the government to support all organization, working against the violation of human rights and terrorism.
“We need to forge unity and let the world know that we are one nation and can address all the threats to our sovereignty like terrorism and extremism,” they stressed.
“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.
•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
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.