We condemn the racial-sectarian stereotyped profiling of S.M. Kazmi, an Indian journalist, by the Indian police and security agencies. We have reasons to believe that Mr. Kazmi was arrested because of his faith (Muslim), sect (Shia) and professional affiliation (correspondent of an Iranian news agency). Furthermore,
Update: After critical comments by Laibaah, Mr. Rezaul Hasan Laskar was a part of an ugly campaign to get her account banned on Twitter.
Rezhasan Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Dear all, this is a request: kindly report @Laibaah as spam to #Twitter. her latest tweet describes me as spox “of ISI and Taliban”. folks i think it’s about that time when we should seriously think of reporting @Laibaah as spam to #Twitter. I’m going to start.
Will Mr. Laskar agree with the silencing of his own voice from Twitter or media only because some of his readers may not agree with his reports and narratives? A media person must never be a part of a campaign to curb free speech.
Critical readers of Pakistani and international media are aware of how certain foreign correspondents based in Pakistan are carefully sucked into pro-military establishment narratives by a tight network of urban (seemingly liberal) writers and activists, who remain very soft on Pakistan army/ISI while very harsh on politicians and the civilian government.
For example, read this post: Foreign journalists in Pakistan: Embedded in the narratives of military establishment and urban elite
Veena Malik’s stint on the popular reality TV show, Big Boss, may have been condemned for its extreme notoriety but it will always be remembered as a courageous testament to the absurdity of our clerics.
Over the last few weeks, we have heard painfully consistent diatribes on how Veena Malik is a potential threat to cherished Islamic values simply because she goes larking about in skimpy outfits with male contestants – that also on ‘Indian’ television. From the intimate moments shared with counterpart, Ashmit Patel to the occasional display of coquetry, Veena’s behaviour has been viciously scrutinized. She has come to personify a “woman of loose character”.
But vulgarity is too strong an allegation against Veena, particularly if it is hurled at her from the more broad-minded sections of society who have followed suit from the clergy. After all, of the many prerequisites involved in keeping an open mind, accepting a miscellany of facts and narratives is the most important. And if this is understood successfully, the ‘liberals’ would realize that Veena Malik is a representative of no one but her own conscience. What she does and what she doesn’t do is no one’s business other than her own. So why create such a furore over something has to be dealt with in an individual capacity?
The clerics are bound to make hypocritical assertions about her behaviour simply because it is at variance to Islamic precepts of decency. But on a more logical note, why is it that some Islamic ecclesiasts are condoning the Taliban and then pouring scorn on Veena’s ‘moral weaknesses’ when the latter has neither committed a federal crime nor adversely affected the workings of the State? Doesn’t the Taliban onslaught threaten our global image more strongly than the antics of a woman who hails from a society suspended between external westernization and frustration?
Whatever the verdict may be, it is important to place issues in the right context. We cannot disguise the key issues that plague our society under the garb of morality. As new insight unfolds, our society will experience drastic changes that will consequently affect the socio-political climate. With the presence of bastions like Salman Taseer and Sherry Rehman who have even-handedly tried to preserve the image of moderate Islam, change now appears inevitable. All we have to do – collectively, and not tiny pockets – is to embrace it with the assurance that our Islamic values are too entrenched too be easily compromise.
Benazir Bhutto was the first politician of Pakistan who took a liberal stance on several difficult issues, which was vehemently resisted by the military establishment and its conservative partners in media and politics.
For example, BB wanted Pakistan to have better relations with neighbouring countries, and presented the concepts of soft borders in the region and a Commonwealth of South Asia.
I remember all those speeches and statements of BB shaheed during 1980s in which she used to talk about peaceful relations with India, Afghanistan and other South Asian countries. While reaction of our print media and other segments of civil society was very harsh at that time, I also found the party comrades and other pro-PPP circles uneasy with this stance of BB. Most left oriented circles in and outside the PPP were in trance of staunch nationalist line of Z.A. Buhtto.
When Benazir Bhutto (as an opposition leader in mid 1980s) decided to support the international community on Afghan issue, and supported the then Prime Minister Junejo, the inner circles of the PPP thought that BB should not go with that line.They were urging BB to not to participate in the All Parties Conference called by the Junejo Government.
But time has verified that BB possessed the right insight on these issues.
When BB came to power the first time (in 1988), she was forced to adopt a line of hawks of establishment on issue of Pak-India relations. But in her second tenure, BB returned to her original stance of reconciliation, and presented the idea of the Commonwealth of South Asian countries and free visa polices. She also stressed on making free trade agreements between South Asian countries. That was BB shaheed who was talking about trade not proxy wars between two main countries of South Asia.
BB asserted for a radical change in Pakistan’s foreign policy. In her second tenure, she tried to convince Pakistan’s military leadership to change its mentality which was formed during the cold war and before the fall of Soviet Union, but in vain. In those days our Urdu print media adopted very hostile attitude towards the stance of Benazir Bhutto.
To be fair, the PPP too did not make any coherent and organized effort to convince the masses on this issue. Due to this failure of the party on this account, masses could not be mobilized to pressurize the establishment.
BB had learnt many lessons from the era of her father. For example she changed her father’s policies on nationalism. Perhaps this seemed strange to many people but this is a fact that BB made more flexible and acceptable federalist politics for the people of Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtoonkha and Sind and also for the Saraiki region. She made changes in the PPP’s notion of nationalism of party and time has proved that if such changes were not made, the party could lose its control in many parts of the federation.
Today, I think the current leadership of the PPP should take a bold stance on issues such as liberalism, secularism and should follow BB’s path. But for this to occur, it is necessary to mobilize the PPP’s media cell and disseminate its clear stance on issues such as liberalism, theocracy, sectarianism, and soft borders with neighbors.
It is a great tragedy that our society has not paid adequate attention to BB’s ideas which could help us build a progressive and prosperous Pakistan.
General Pasha hazir ho: ISI chief summoned by a US court for complicity in the Mumbai terror attacks
The Mumbai lawsuit in Brooklyn
Last month, a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn, which was brought by families of American victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, had named the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, as being complicit in the attacks. The suit asserts that General Pasha and other ISI officers were “purposefully engaged in the direct provision of material support or resources” to the planners of the Mumbai attacks.
American officials believe that ISI officers helped plan the deadly July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as provided support to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks later that year.
A US court has summoned top officials of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as also the alleged masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in response to a case filed by relatives of two American victims.
Summons were issued by a New York court to ISI’s powerful chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials, as also Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged masterminds of the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
The New York Times reported this week that the recent “outing” of the CIA station chief in Islamabad, which caused the CIA to pull him from the country, may have been payback for the November lawsuit in Brooklyn Federal Court that accused Pakistan’s ISI spy agency of complicity in the terrorism in Mumbai. Pakistan denied it.
The November lawsuit named several officers, including the director, of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and claimed the ISI helped Lashkar-e-Tayyiba terrorists carry out the slaughter of 166 people and the wounding of more than 300 on Nov. 26-29, 2008.
The Mumbai victims’ attorney, James Kreindler, said in an interview that he modeled the lawsuit after his successful case against Libya for its role in the hijacking of the Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988. The attack killed all 259 passengers and crew aboard the plane, and 11 people on the ground.
After two decades of litigation, Kreindler secured more than $500 million from Pan Am’s insurers, and $2.7 billion from the Libyan government, according to a document by his law firm, Kreindler & Kreindler. He said the trial led to the passage of the Libyan Claims Resolution Act of 2008, which resolved U.S. claims against Libya through creation of a fund that led to settlements.
That case, Long believes, helped heal American relations with the then-pariah state, inviting it to “come in from the cold.”
Kreindler said that if the Mumbai-ISI wrongful death suit end in a similar piece of legislation, “I hope it will bring positive things for the U.S. and Pakistan.”
“Libya was a pariah state at that time, whereas Pakistan – whatever its problems – is an ally of the United States. So I think he’s going to have a much harder time with this,” Long said. “I don’t think it’s impossible, but I just don’t see him having a great shot, or an as-good shot at it.”
Kreindler feels differently. “Ultimately, it’s an easier case because we’re dealing with a smaller number of plaintiffs (5). It’s easier to handle and to resolve,” Kreindler said.
Kreindler acknowledged that politics will affect the lawsuit. But he said that, when presented with the evidence of its complicity in the attacks, the ISI will have the opportunity to turn away from supporting terror, which could improve relations in the long term.
Long said that, from his extensive travel in the region, he was not surprised by the allegations made in the complaint, and he had heard credible rumors that Pakistani intelligence has supported acts of violence against Americans.
“It’s pretty widely believed that Pakistani intelligence still plays a big role in the Taliban insurgency,” Long said.
Long said two branches of the Taliban are based in Pakistan: the Haqqani network, in Miranshah; and the Quetta-Shura, also known as the Karachi-Shura, in Balochistan and Sindh.
Another Taliban group, the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, has had a relationship with Pakistani intelligence dating back to the 1980s, Long added.
Although the ISI provides some Afghani Taliban groups with “tacit sanctuary” and “probably active support,” Pakistani intelligence is a sworn enemy of its own country’s Taliban, the TTP, which seeks shariah law in the country and opposes its government as a “proxy” for Americans, Long said.
“The Pakistanis have cooperated with the United States in gathering intelligence against al-Qaida, but also the Pakistani Taliban because the Pakistani Taliban is a threat to the Pakistani state. … The Pakistani military launched an effective, if brutal, campaign to drive militants out,” Long said.
Long said he was not surprised that victims of violence turned to a civil court to seek justice against a foreign intelligence agency.
“Wrongful death lawsuits have become a way to get things into court that are difficult to get seen to any other way,” Long said.
Long believes that, if successful, the lawsuit could set a precedent for civil actions.
“If they’re going to admit to being linked to this attack, which was carried out by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, then theoretically any Lashkar-e-Tayyiba attack could be linked to the Pakistani intelligence, if there’s the same kind of evidence. Once you admit initial culpability with a group, then I think you’re at least open to any of the group’s actions,” Long said.
The lawsuit blaming the ISI for conspiring in the Mumbai terror attacks is still in discovery.
Here is a link to Courthouse News’ Nov. 23 story about that complaint, Rosenberg et al. v. Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.
ممبئی حملہ کیس، آئی ایس آئی سربراہ کے سمن جاری
احمد شجاع پاشا کے ساتھ آئی ایس آئی کے سابق سربراہ کو بھی طلب کیا گیا ہے
سنہ دو ہزار آٹھ کے ممبئی حملوں کے معاملے میں نیویارک میں بروکلین کی عدالت میں جاری ایک مقدمے کے سلسلے میں، پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کے سربراہ اور کالعدم تنظیم لشکرِ طیبہ کے کئی عہدیداروں کو اگلے ماہ جنوری میں عدالت میں پیش ہونے کے لیے سمن جاری کر دیے گئے ہیں۔
یہ مقدمہ امریکی قانون کے تحت دہشتگرد حملوں میں زخمی ہونے والے ایک امریکی شہری اور ان حملوں میں ہلاک ہونے والے چار امریکی شہریوں کے لواحقین نے دائر کیا ہے۔
نیویارک سے صحافی سلیم رضوی کے مطابق عدالت نے اس مقدمے میں آئی ایس آئی کے موجودہ سربراہ جنرل احمد شجاع پاشا اور سابق سربراہ جنرل ندیم تاج کے نام سمن جاری کر کے انہیں عدالت میں طلب کیا ہے۔
عدالت نے پاکستانی فوج کے دو افسران میجر علی اور میجر اقبال کو بھی طلب کیا ہے۔ ان کے علاوہ جن افراد کے سمن جاری کیے گئے ہیں ان میں لشکرِ طیبہ کے ذکی الرحمان لکھوی اور جماعت الدعوہ کے امیر حافظ سعید بھی شامل ہیں۔
ممبئی حملوں میں ہلاک ہونے والے یہودی ربی گیبریئل ہولزبرگ اور ان کی اہلیہ روکا کے وکیل کا کہنا ہے کہ سبھی سمن جاری کر دیے گئے ہیں اور جنوری میں ان سبھی کو یا تو خود یا کسی وکیل کی معرفت سے عدالت میں پیش ہونا ہوگا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ان کے مؤکلوں کو زرِ تلافی دیا جانا چاہیے تاہم انہوں نے تسلیم کیا یہ معاملہ طول پکڑ سکتا ہے۔
انہوں نے کہا کہ ’میں نے اپنے موکلوں کو بتا دیا ہے کہ اس مقدمے میں کئی برس لگ سکتے ہیں تاہم میرے موکل اس مقدمے کو حتمی انجام تک پہنچانے کے لیے کمربستہ ہیں‘۔
اس مقدمے میں آئی ایس آئی اور پاکستانی فوج کے افسران پر الزام لگایا گیا ہے کہ انہوں نے ممبئی حملوں کے لیے دہشتگردوں کو تربیت دی اور ان کی مدد کی۔ لشکر طیبہ کے عہدیداران پر بھی دہشتگردی میں ملوث ہونے کے الزامات عائد کیے گئے ہیں۔
اس مقدمے میں آئی ایس آئی اور پاکستانی فوج کے افسران پر الزام لگایا گیا ہے کہ انہوں نے ممبئی حملوں کے لیے دہشتگردوں کو تربیت دی اور ان کی مدد کی۔ لشکر طیبہ کے عہدیداران پر بھی دہشتگردی میں ملوث ہونے کے الزامات عائد کیے گئے ہیں۔
خیال رہے کہ چند روز قبل بھی اس مقدمے کا ذکر اس وقت خبروں میں آیا تھا جب پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے شمالی وزیرستان کے ایک رہائشی نے ڈرون حملوں پر ان کے خلاف عدالتی چارہ جوئی کرنے کا اعلان کیا تھا۔ کریم خان نامی اس شخص نے اس سلسلے میں امریکی وزیر دفاع رابرٹ گیٹس، سی آئی اے کے سربراہ لیون ایڈورڈ پنیٹا اور اسلام آباد میں سی آئی اے کے انچارج جوناتھن بینکس کو قانونی نوٹس بھیجا تھا۔
اس نوٹس بھیجے جانے کے بعد اسلام آباد میں سی آئی اے کے انچارج جوناتھن بینکس کو واپس امریکہ بلا لیا گیا تھا اور امریکی حکام نے ان کی روانگی کی وجہ ان کی زندگی کو لاحق خطرات بتائے تھے۔
اسی بارے میں امریکی اخبار نیویارک ٹائمز نے امریکی جاسوسی اہلکاروں کے حوالے سے اپنی ایک رپورٹ میں کہا تھا کہ پاکستان میں مبینہ طور امریکی جاسوسی ایجنسی سی آئی اے کے سربراہ کا نام افشا کیے جانے کے پیچھے مشتبہ طور پر پاکستانی جاسوسی ادارے آئی ایس آئی کا ہاتھ ہے۔
اخبار نے امریکی جاسوسی اداروں کے حکام کےحوالےسے یہ بھی قیاس کیا تھا کہ ممکنہ طور پاکستان میں امریکی سی آئي کے کے عملداروں کے خلاف فوجداری فریاد نیویارک کی ایک وفاقی عدالت میں آئی ایس آئی کیخلاف دائر مقدمے کے بدلے میں کی گئی۔
تاہم پاکستان کی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کے ترجمان نے اس تاثر کی نفی کی تھی کہ آئی ایس آئی نے پاکستان میں مقیم سی آئی اے کے اعلیٰ ترین اہلکار کی شناخت بے نقاب کرنے میں مدد کی تھی۔
Source: BBC Urdu
LUBP has been boldly stating for the last many years that Pakistan Army’s continued policy of jihadi and sectarian suicide attacks, and its collaboration with extremist Deobandis of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban and extremist Wahhabis of Lashkar-e-Taiba / Jamatud-Dawa is fatal for peace and security of Pakistan and the entire region.
Now it has been once again proven without doubt that jihadi and sectarian suicide attacks are an integral element of the Pakistan Army’s military strategy, and that this strategy is executed through the notorious anti-democracy (but pro-extremist-Deobandi and pro-extremist-Wahhabi) spy agency, the ISI.
The original site has been removed by the Pakistan Army, hence not opening up any more, but Google retains a cache of the original page.
Original link: Now inaccessible: http://www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk/modules/shuhadascorner/embed_shuhada_detail.aspx?id=5838
The cache page is likely to be removed once spider finds it no longer exists in its next crawl.
Screenshot of the page and the photo:
ISI man on a suicide mission in India listed as ‘Martyr’ on Pak Army website
The Shuhda (Martyrs) Corner on the Pakistan Army Website
ISI man who died in Delhi a martyr for Pak
It took over a decade for the Pakistani army to accept that its 500 soldiers and officers were involved in infiltrations along the Line of Control and were killed during during the 1999 Kargil war with India. Their names were recently listed as “martyrs” in ‘Shuhada’s (martyrs) corner’ of the Pakistan army’s website. And yesterday, there was another addition to the list: Naik Zulfiqar Ahmed — an ISI operative who was on a “suicide attack mission” to India.
Pakistani army’s website, http://www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk, claims that the ISI operative died at New Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital on November 16, 2007. Notwithstanding the fact that he was on a suicide attack operation, Naik Zulfiqar Ahmed’s name has been listed in the “martyr’s corner”.
The listing stated that Ahmed was on a “suicide attack” operation at the time of his death. The cause of death was given as “neptrrotic syndrome/ARI”. Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder while ARI refers to acute respiratory infection.
Ahmed’s army serial no was 1726016 and he belonged to the engineering wing. His formation or unit was HQs 30 Corps/Dte Gen ISI, according to the listing, which has a picture of Ahmed.
As expected, the move invited sharp reactions from New Delhi. The (Indian) Army said the “intentions and ways” of Pakistani army had “become clear” with the neighbouring nation owning up a suicide bomber.
Indian Army’s Reaction
Chief of Indian Army Staff General VK Singh said: “I have nothing to say on what they (Pakistani Army) have put up on its website. But if it has (owned up), then it clearly show what their intentions and ways are and what their next move will be.” “All I can say is we have to be more alert and only then we can protect our people and troops,” Gen Singh said while speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of an Army function. (Source: The Tribune India)
Pakistan Army’s Reaction:
A red-faced Pakistan Army has hurriedly removed from its website the records of an alleged suicide bomber of ISI who died in New Delhi in November 2007 of renal failure. (Source: Deccan Herald)
Report in Pakistan’s daily Jang
While there is a complete blackout of this news item in (the ISI dominated) Pakistani media, only an invisible single column news was published in daily Jang:
پاک فوج کی ویب سائٹ پر خودکش بمبار کی تصویر ہے ، بھارتی آرمی چیف
لاہور( خالد محمود خالد ) بھارتی آرمی چیف جنرل وی کے سنگھ نے خودکش بمبار بھارت بھیجنے کے اعتراف پر پاکستانی فوج پر شدید تنقید کی ہے ، نئی دہلی میں وزارت دفاع کے زیر اہتمام ایک تقریب میں انہوں نے کہا کہ پاکستان آرمی نے اپنی ویب سائٹ پر ” شہداء کارنر“ میں نائیک ذوالفقار احمد کی تصویر لگا کر اس بات کا اعتراف کر لیا ہے کہ پاکستان بھارت میں آئی ایس آئی کے ایجنٹ کے طور پر اپنے فوجی خودکش حملوں کیلئے بھجوا رہا ہے ۔واضح رہے کہ پاکستان آرمی کی ویب سائٹ پر شہداء کارنر میں نائیک ذوالفقار احمد کے پروفائل میں کہا گیا ہے کہ ہیڈ کوارٹر 30کور / ڈائریکٹوریٹ جنرل آئی ایس آئی یونٹ کی انجینئرز آرم سے تعلق رکھنے والے ذوالفقار احمد کی شہادت 16نومبر 2007 کو نئی دہلی کے گنگا رام اسپتال میں ہوئی اور اس کا تعلق خودکش بمبار آپریشن سے تھا۔ یہ بات اہم ہے کہ پاکستانی فوج کی ویب سائٹ بھارتی آرمی چیف کی تنقید کے بعد ساڑھے تین بجے دیکھ بھال کیلئے بند کر دی گئی۔
They read like the most extraordinary revelations. Citing the WikiLeakscables, major Pakistani newspapers this morning carried stories that purported to detail eye-popping American assessments of India‘s military and civilian leaders.
According to the reports, US diplomats described senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal; they said India’s government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists; and they claimed Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan‘s tribal belt and Balochistan.
“Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Waziristan, Balochistan,” read the front-page story in the News; an almost identical story appeared in the Urdu-language Jang, Pakistan’s bestselling daily.
If accurate, the disclosures would confirm the worst fears of Pakistani nationalist hawks and threaten relations between Washington and New Delhi. But they are not accurate.
An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations. It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes.
The controversial claims, published in four Pakistani national papers, were credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past. No journalist is bylined.
Shaheen Sehbai, group editor at the News, described the story as “agencies’ copy” and said he would investigate its origins.
The incident fits in with the wider Pakistani reaction to WikiLeaks since the first cables emerged.
In the west, reports have focused on US worries for the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile, or the army’s support for Islamist militants such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the Mumbai attack.
But Pakistan’s media has given a wide berth to stories casting the military in a negative light, focusing instead on the foibles of the country’s notoriously weak politicians.
Editors have pushed stories that focus on president Asif Ali Zardari’s preoccupation with his death, prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s secret support for CIA drone strikes and tales of a bearded religious firebrand cosying up to the US ambassador.
Among ordinary citizens, the coverage has hardened perceptions that Pakistani leaders are in thrall to American power.
Military and political leaders, portrayed as dangerously divided in the cables, have banded together to downplay the assessment.
“Don’t trust WikiLeaks,” Gilani told reporters in Kabul last weekend. Beside him president Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, also tarred in the dispatches, nodded solemnly.
On Saturday the army, having stayed silent all week, denied claims that army chief General Ashfaq Kayani “distrusted” the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. Kayani “holds all political leaders in esteem”, a spokesman said.
Meanwhile conspiracy theorists, including some journalists, insist Washington secretly leaked the cables in an effort to discredit the Muslim world; the Saudi ambassador described them as propaganda.
But senior judges favour their publication. Dismissing an attempt to block WikiLeaks last week, justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said the cables “may cause trouble for some personalities” but would be “good for the progress of the nation in the long run”.
The lopsided media coverage highlights the strong influence of Pakistan’s army over an otherwise vigorous free press.
This morning’s stories disparaging Indian generals – one is said to be “rather a geek”, another to be responsible for “genocide” and compared to Slobodan Milosevic – is counterbalanced by accounts of gushing American praise for Pakistan’s top generals.
The actual WikiLeaks cables carry a more nuanced portraits of a close, if often uneasy, relationship between the US and Pakistan’s military.
But the real cables do contain allegations of Indian support for Baloch separatists, largely sourced to British intelligence assessments.
Pakistan’s press is generally cautious in reporting about its own army. But some internet commentators said the latest WikiLeaks story was a bridge too far.
Noting that the story was bylined to “agencies” – a term that in Pakistan means both a news agency and a spy outfit – the blogger Cafe Pyala asked: “How stupid do the ‘Agencies’ really think Pakistanis are?”
Source: The Guardian
Related Article: Progressive Pakistani bloggers in support of Julian Assange
It is ironic that the Saudis have labelled Zardari as a “rotten head”, while their whole body polity is rotten. This comment is like the pot calling the kettle black. Pakistan has much more respect for human rights and freedom to criticise the government, while Saudi Arabia is politically far behind.
Blessed are the people who live in post-Second World War times, when humankind has progressed more than it has ever done before. Blessed are the people who live in the times of information technology. Blessed are the people who live in the times of democratisation of information. Blessed are the people who are using this technological revolution to bring out in the open what our rulers do behind closed doors.
Throughout human history, information has been the key to progress. It was always jealously guarded by the privileged classes to further their personal and class interests. But now information is flying in cyberspace and is easy to access at very little cost. The WikiLeaks creator and his unknown soldiers are thus the revolutionaries of cyberspace, bringing current information to the people that in the past was found only in the researched history of politics.
I remember when I came across the first book based on diplomatic papers declassified by the US State Department in 1982. The book — The American Role in Pakistan, 1947-1958 — was written by Professor M Venkataramani. As the book was not available in Pakistan, it was with great difficulty that I managed to get a photocopied version (pardon me for copyright violation). The book is not just a collection of declassified papers, but Venkataramani has used the information to trace the history of the US’s role in Pakistan.
Those who are now crying wolf and loss of sovereignty to the US should read this book to get the right historical perspective. Unfortunately, ultra-nationalist friends forget that the Americans were invited to dinner by the founder of Pakistan: “On May 1, 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, received two American visitors at his Bombay residence. They were Raymond A Hare, Head of the Division of South Asian Affairs, Department of State, and Thomas E Weil, Second Secretary of the US Embassy in India…he sought to impress on his visitors that the emergence of an independent, sovereign Pakistan would be in consonance with the American interests.
Pakistan would be a Muslim country. Muslim countries would stand together against Russian aggression. In that they would look towards the United States for assistance.” The meeting was reported by the US Charge de Affairs in Delhi, George E Merril, on May 2, 1947.
This is not the only incident that shows how Pakistan offered to play a strategic role to defend the region from ‘Russian aggression’, i.e. communism, and the spread of ‘Indian imperialism’ in the region. Right from day one, Pakistan has been asking for US arms to protect itself from the ‘Indian threat’. Liaquat Ali Khan followed this policy and, in his trip to the US in early May 1950, stressed: “Pakistan therefore politically, ideologically and strategically, holds the position of great responsibility…In addition to this, Pakistan is resolved to throw all its weights to help the maintenance of stability in Asia.”
In 1999, Oxford University Press published a book, The American Papers — Secret and Confidential, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Documents, 1965-1973, compiled and selected by Roedad Khan, a former senior Pakistani bureaucrat. These papers give an insight into behind-the-doors American diplomacy during the liberation struggle of Bangladesh and the happenings before and after the Pakistan-India 1965 war. As it does not include all the papers and the selection was done by Roedad Khan, one wonders what the criterion for this selection was. But, unlike WikiLeaks, the compilation is from the archives that had been declassified officially.
Even in the case of WikiLeaks, one does not know whether some documents were held back by its editors as not much can be found on the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto. Although on the very next day of her killing, one finds that American Ambassador Anne Patterson wrote a rather long assessment of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who she thought could be the next prime minister. The assessment is quite favourable. In this memo, she has mentioned Benazir Bhutto as “late”. Interestingly, in the same memo she has dealt in detail with the personal enmity between Elahi and the Bhutto family because of Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi’s assassination by Al Zulfikar (a militant group of PPP headed by Murtaza Bhutto). One reason for the omission of the US embassy’s memos on Bhutto’s assassination could be that the top secret category communication channel is perhaps still beyond WikiLeaks’ hackers.
While the media is outraged about the US administration and Pakistani politicians’ axis, they have underplayed the interference in Pakistan by the Saudi government. The Saudis have accepted that they are not just mere observers in Pakistan’s politics but were “participants”. Their interference in Pakistan’s politics and unabated support to the Islamic extremist groups has damaged the country’s peace.
Whether it is an issue of our leaders, closeness with American and British diplomats or unabated drone attacks, outraged media and some politicians shout from the pulpit that our sovereignty is being violated by the big powers. But very seldom do these protagonists of sovereignty mull over the fact that our political and territorial boundaries are breached by other countries. When we speak against the interference of foreign powers in our politics — and rightly so — we should keep in mind the basic principle of international laws regarding sovereignty. These laws have evolved over the last many centuries.
According to Professor Dr Douglas Stuart, “State sovereignty still remains an ambiguous and convoluted theory. As one looks at the role of state sovereignty in today’s international system, it is important to set some basic guidelines.” He argues that “the empowerment of local movements by strong international non-state actors poses a serious challenge to the theory of state sovereignty”.
This is where Pakistan’s predicament begins with its paranoia about India. Dictated by the same sense of insecurity and myopic view, our establishment has also gotten itself stuck in the quagmire of Afghanistan. The desire to have a client state in Afghanistan has made us pushy to the extent that most governments in Kabul have remained unhappy with Islamabad. And in the process we have willingly become a client state of the US and Saudi Arabia.
During WW1 Gandhi took upon himself to play the recruiting agent to enlist Indians for British army. He could one day call himself ‘an anarchist’ while next day could visit Italy on Mussolini’s invitation and attended Balilla’s demonstration
Not very long ago, Barack Obama said if given a chance he would like to have a meal with his “real hero” Mahatma Gandhi, although the apostle of peace did not eat a lot.
Obama’s response came to a question from a ninth grade student at the Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, who asked him if he could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who it would be.
Obama’s tribute to Gandhi was hypocritical as well as ironical. Hypocritical in view of his Afghanistan war and dronning of Pakistan. Ironical, because Gandhi is the finest personification of this hypocrisy.
Revered as Mahatma (great saint), a moniker Rabindra Nath Tagore bestowed upon him, Gandhi is held in great esteem almost across the world. Hence, many a Gandhi-bhagat would shake their heads in disbelief if they find out that thus spoke Ahisma-prophet: ‘There can be no partnership between the brave and the effeminate. We are regarded as cowardly people. If we want to become free from that reproach, we should learn the use of arms.’
Prophet continues: ‘…we should have the ability to bear arms and use them….If we want to learn the use of arms with the greatest possible dispatch, it is our duty to enlist ourselves in the Army’.
These saintly commandments were addressed to Indians during the First World War as Gandhi took upon himself to play the recruiting agent to enlist Indians for imperial British army busy fighting the war. Perplexed Indian protested: how could a man of non-violence participate in war?.
A Mahatma is good for nothing if he can not clarify such worldly confusions. Thus replied Mahatma: ‘I accept the benefits and protection of the British Empire, I have not tried to destroy it, why should I allow it to be destroyed?’
Among the worldly benefits ethereal Mahatma reaped were two war medals and the rank of Sergeant Major for his services in helping white armies crushing Zulu rebellion and winning Boer war in South Africa.
Hence, ‘Gandhi was the best policeman the Britishers had in India’, declared Member Parliament Ellen Wilkinson, after her official visit to India in 1932.
Our Ahisma-preaching Mahatma did not lend support to imperial wars only. Though he did not live long to see India going nuclear or capturing East Pakistan yet India had locked horns with Pakistan over Kashmir before he died. Instead of resisting Pakistan Ahisma-style, Gandhijee blessed Prime Minister Nehru’s decision to dispatch Indian troops to Srinagar. The Ahisma advice: ‘Discard every trace of violence from your heart,’ was good only when the purpose was to ‘give absolute protection to every English man, woman and child’.
Contradictory? Yes, but Viceroy of India Lord Irwin explains this contradiction: ‘He is a curious little devil-always working for an advantage. In all his actions I see the ‘bania’ (money lender, which Gandhi was by caste) predominating over the saint’.
Hence, he could one day call himself ‘an anarchist, but of another type’ while next day could visit Italy on Mussolini’s invitation where ‘anarchist-of-another-type’ could call upon the Duce and attended Balilla’s (Fascist Boys) demonstration.
Likewise, he could call himself a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jew. whatever. Err….there was one exception. He never called himself a (godless) Bolshevik. On the contrary, he claimed ‘If anything can possibly prevent this calamity (Bolshevism) descending upon our country, it isSatyagraha (non-violence)’.
Declared a ”fake prophet” by Leon Trotsky, Gandhi he could champion the cause of Harijans (untouchables) and broke the taboos by visiting their slums or taking bath at Harijans’ well. However, he would never eat out of untouchables hands after all being Sanatni (fundamentalist) Hindu ‘I believe in the Varnasharam Dharm (caste system).’
His saintly heart ached for women too. He encouraged women to educate and dwell his Asharam. But girls got to be careful not to attract boys elseMahatma would have them head-shaved. For proletariat and peasantry, the saintly advice was: ‘capital and labour need not be antagonistic to each other.’. After all, ‘Even in the most perfect world, we shall fail to avoid inequalities, but we can and must avoid strife and bitterness. There are numerous examples extant of the rich and the poor living in perfect friendliness. We have but to multiply such examples.’ Unfortunately, no report of ‘voluntary abdication’ by any ‘model landlord’ or multi-millionaire reached Gandhi until his death at his multi-billionaire disciple’s Birla House.
But didn’t he live like poor? True. But, as was quipped those good old days, ‘it costs a great deal of money to keep Gandhijee living in poverty’. And ‘great deal of money’ was ensured by Birlas and Tatas (Indian Rockefellers). This money not merely ensured to cover Gandhi’s ‘living-in-poverty’ costs but also guaranteed that radicals like Subhash Chandra Bose are cowed. Reverently called Netaji, Left-wing Bose, twice got elected president of Congress party defeating Gandhi’s faction. But Birla/Tata money helped Gandhi organise a coup. Bose, resigned Congress’ presidentship, fled India and formed Indian National Army (INA). Thousands of Indian soldiers in British army as well as Indian youth joined the INA. His popularity far surpassed Gandhi’s during the WW II as was evident by his election to the slot of Congress president. Bose’s legend as INA commander was not the first challenge that Gandhi faced as India’s ‘undisputed’ leader. In early 1930s, 23-year-old Bhagat Singh eclipsed Gandhi and his Congress by challenging British colonialists through his Hindustan Socialist Republican Army. Hanged to death, Bhagat Singh is to Indian sub-continent what Che is to Latin America. His popularity, during his short-lived struggle far surpassed Gandhi. As a matter of fact, it was the revolutionary and militant struggle inspired by Bhagat Singh and subsequently INA that liberated India. The text-book ‘cliche’ that Gandhi’s Ahisma forced British colonial masters to quit India is not merely trivialising of India’s (and Pakistan’s) revolutionary heritage but also an ignorant historical reductionism.