Posts tagged ‘PPP’

July 12, 2012

Shamshad Junejo (1927-2012) – The Story of My Grandfather

by ravezjunejo

At London Bridge; July 1998.

Adapted from:

My maternal grandfather (referred to as ‘Nana’ in South Asian languages) Shamshad Ahmed Junejo, Advocate, Sindh High Court, passed away on March 26 this year. Nana was survived by his three sons and two daughters, the youngest of whom is my mother. Both his wives died when he was still alive.

Since a very young age, I had learned that my Nana had lived a very interesting life. A member of a Sindhi freedom fighter’s organisation in his school days, he went on to become a successful lawyer and a local leader of the PPP at the invitation of its founding Chairperson himself, and many more interesting people in between! I shall now put down here all that I can remember about my Nana and his life that I learnt from him.

These rememberances have been reproduced chronologically.


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December 15, 2011

Kalam-e-Kayani Ba-Zuban-e-Bilawal

by admin

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto asserts his authority
by Raja Riaz

LAHORE: Not many among us know that the decision of revisiting foreign policy vis-a- vis America by the PPP-led coalition government in the Centre is being done on the directions of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Issuing his maiden order as party chairman he asked Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the president of the country, and Senior Vice Chairman Yousaf Raza Gilani, holding the office of chief executive of the country, to “revisit the relations with America”.

“Chairman Bilawal was in Naudero on November 26, the day when NATO helicopters attacked the Salala check post,

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September 29, 2011

Similarity between Ayatullah Durrani and Pervez Musharraf

by admin

16 September 2005 (BBC News)

Pakistani activists have reacted with outrage to recent comments on rape victims by President Pervez Musharraf. He said that rape was a “money-making concern” and many argued it was a way to get money and a visa to emigrate. Pakistan’s most-high profile rape victim, Mukhtar Mai, told the BBC no woman could subject herself to “such a horrendous

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January 26, 2011

Zinda hai Bhutto: For death can’t do us part – by Abdul Samad

by admin

There are some leaders who remain immortal, for whom death does not pose the same barriers that it does for others. Departure from this mortal world only serves to augment their fame as they reside then in

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December 31, 2010

Benazir Bhutto: torchbearer of freedom and democracy — by Amjad Ayub Mirza

by admin

Her initial act after coming to power for the first time in 1988 was to lift the ban on student unions and to legalise labour unions. She restored the free operation of NGOs and for the first time in the history of the country became the first Pakistani prime minister to

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December 29, 2010

Bhutto di beti aai si – by Farhad Jarral

by admin

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto's arrival in Pakistan on 18th October 2007. She was martyred by the military establishment of Pakistan on 27 December 2007.

میلے لاوو، جشن مناوو، فتح دے جھنڈے اج لہراوو

بھٹو دی بیٹی آئی جے

ظلم دیاں زنجیراں توڑن، مظلوماں دے رشتے جوڑن، دکھ دے دریاواں چوں گزر کے، اپنی جان تلی تے دھر کے

بھٹو دی بیٹی آئی سی، انج جان وی نذر چڑھائی سی، سارے جگ وچ پئی دھائی سی، بھٹو دی بیٹی آئی سی

پھانسی گھاٹ توں علم اٹھایا سی، نالے جنگ دا بِگل وجایا سی، جناں بچے اودے رلا دِتے، دویں ویر وی قتل کرا دِتے

اوھناں پنڈی گھات لگائی سی، اِک سازش لکھی لکھائی سی، سارے جگ وچ پئی دھائی سی، بھٹو دی بیٹی آئی سی

چہوی(٢٤) سال دی عمرے جنگ چڑھی، تی (٣٠) سال کفن سِر بن کے لڑی، نا او کارساز بمباں توں ڈری، سج دج نال مقتل وچ اتری

جدوں قاتلاں گل مکائی سی، روئی اتھرواں نال خدائی سی، سارے جگ وچ پئی دھائی سی، بھٹو دی بیٹی آئی سی

کِسے بے نظیر فیر آوناں نہیں، لوکاں عشق دا میلا لاوناں نہیں، چارے صوبیاں دی زنجیر بنی، نالے  ملک دی او تقدیر بنی

جِنے جِندڑی اودی بنائی سی، اونے اِنج دی لکھی جدائی سی، سارے جگ وچ پئی دھائی سی، بھٹو دی بیٹی آئی سی

آئی سی اِنج آئی سی، عمراں دی پئی جدائی سی

عباس اطہر

December 28, 2010

Show solidarity with Balochistan -by Arshad Mahmood

by admin

December 27, 2010

MQM decides to quit federal cabinet: Reuters

by admin

MQM decides to resign from the Federal ministries. Tonight its party night at houses of people like Kamran Khan, Shahid Masood et al; who were striving for this to happen for long.

MQM’s resigning from ministries however is a pressure ploy to see if the Government is willing to concede to its demands, that of more federal ministries & committee chairs and that of more provincial ministries, espacially that of Home minister Sindh. Which can be so decisive in the local bodies elections
MQM is specifically an agencies’ party, and this may be a sign of things to come. This resignation from cabinet may mark that all is not well for PPP led government, as far as agencies’ plan go. This hardly is a secret however.

The government in National Assembly, with MQM, is 16 seats short of a majority. But being a minority government doesn’t necessarily mean that the government would collapse automatically. The law making process would be difficult, but if the current policy of reconciliatory legislating is continued, then PPP may continue to pass the required laws. In any case, most of the day to day work is done through executive orders and secondary legislation, and as such this shouldn’t be perturbed by losing majority.

Most importantly, would the government fall if MQM sits in the opposition? not automatically. According to the constitution, to make the current government resign, there is need for a vote of no confidence. This is when a motion is passed in the Parliament and it is passed by the majority of the members. In that case, government’s survival is not to be decided by MQM but by PML-N. In this scenario, Nawaz Sharif’s statement of 26th December is vital, where he commented that he wouldn’t let the government fail.
This is a big victory for the negotiating team of PPP, who have this public commitment from the leader of the main opposition party. This may also been the reason behind PPP’s decision not to budge under MQM pressure, after JUI’s resignation. But in politics, nothing is set in stone, this is specially true for Pakistani Politics.

Current situation has however created a silver-lining where PPP is sure that no more back stabbers remaining amidst them in the coalition. MQM’s departure does create one immediate concern, and that is the law and order situation in Karachi – the party’s hub. MQM would create unruliness soon, this is given. The options of past have been from bringing in rangers and Army, to impost curfew and martial law. All these have led to MQM gaining greater political influence at the same time not making things any better. The other option of Political conciliation has led to MQM taking too much advantage of their position.
One possible way of this may be to use all the available resources to control the events and not let them escalate. Peace in Karachi and Urban Sindh is in interest of Government and not in MQM’s interest. They will try to make things worse. The PPP and its ally ANP, must be ready to bear the first strike and must ensure that this is known who struck first. They have available to them the 21st century’s devices, such as video cameras, that would have proof of such actions. Even then, government intervention much come when public consensus is build, much like the Lal Mosque. But unlike the Lal Masjid, the retaliation must be measured and proportionate. Aim being restoration of peace, not annihilation of the party. Government must control the narrative, and that must be that MQM have slipped back to old ways. A successful operation would see MQM calling cease fire very soon, especially when it becomes clear that no political gain could be had. Otherwise consequences would be dire for the city and economy of the country.
How do they resolve this quandary is main test of the Government after today’s developments.

December 27, 2010

On BB's assassination, revenge and electoral politics – by Qais Anwar

by admin

بھٹو کا قاتل کون تھا ؟ مہروں کے پیچھے ہم کتنے ہاتھ بھی تلاش کرلیں ، اس وقت سامنے صرف ایک چہرہ تھا ، ضیاء الحق کی قیادت میں متحد ملٹری ایسٹبلشمنٹ ، یہ قتل کسی قبائلی کا قتل نہیں تھا اور نہ ہی یہ کسی انقلابی تحریک کے رہنما کا قتل تھا ، بھٹو انتخابی سیاست میں یقین رکھنے والے ایک ایسے سیاست دان تھے جو اپنا ووٹ ان طبقات سے لیتے تھے جن کو پاکستان کی اسٹبلیشمنٹ حق فیصلہ دہی کے قا بل نہیں سمجہتی تھی،

مرتضی اور شاہنواز نے اس قتل کو قبائلی انداز میں لیا اور پھر وہ اسی انداز میں خاموش کر دئیے گئے ،کچھ لوگوں نے بھٹو صاحب کی لاش پر انقلاب کی بنیاد رکھنا چاہی لیکن ان کی آوازیں عقوبت خانوں میں دب گئیں ، بھٹو صاحب نے اپنا وارث بے نظیر کو بنا یا تھا اور بے نظیر ہی پارٹی کو لے کر آگے بڑھی اور پھر ملٹری ایسٹبلشمنٹ نے بے نظیر کے ساتھ ہی معاملات طے کیے

بے نظیر کا قا تل کون تھا ؟ میرا جواب وہی ہے، ضیاء الحق کی حامی ملٹری ایسٹبلشمنٹ براہ راست اور پرویز مشرف کا حامی گروہ بالواسطہ ، زرداری پارٹی کو لے کر آگے بڑھے اور پھر اسٹبلشمنٹ نے ان کے ساتھ ہی معاملات طے کیے، اقوام متحدہ کے ذریعے تحقیقات زرداری کا خواب تھا لیکن دنیاوی حقیقتوں نے چند مہینوں میں ہی زرداری کی آنکھیں کھول دی تھیں.

ناہید خان ، صفدر عبّاسی اور چوہدری اسلم کے معاملات کیا ہیں مجھے اس سے کوئی سروکار نہیں ، ہاں مجھے یہ معلوم ہے کہ ایسٹبلشمنٹ یہ ثابت کرنے پر تلی ہوئی تھی کہ بے نظیر کے قتل میں زرداری کا ہاتھ ہے اور ناہید خان اور صفدر عباسی اس کے لیے جواز فراہم کر رہے تھے ، یہ ان کی سیاست تھی ، جواب میں آخر کآر ہمیشہ کی طرح عبّاس اطہر صاحب ناہید خان پر حملہ آور ہوئے اور کچھ لوگوں نے ناہید عبّاسی اور صفدر عبّاسی کو یہ بتانے کی کوشش کی کہ مشکوک تو تم بھی ہو سکتے ہو ، یہ جوابی سیاست ہے

، رہی یہ بات کہ بی بی گاڑی کے لیور سے مری یا قا تل کی گولی سے یہ ویسا ہی سوال ہے کہ بھٹو صاحب کو تارا مسیح نے مارا یا فوجیوں کے تشدد نے ، حقیقت یہ ہے کہ بھٹو صاحب کو پاکستانی ایسٹبلشمنٹ ما رنا چاہتی تھی انہوں نے کسی بھی طرح مار دیا ،

رہا بی بی کے قتل کا قبائلی انداز میں بدلہ، تو کسی نے ناہید عبّاسی ، صفدر عبّاسی اور چوہدری اسلم کا ہاتھ نہیں پکڑا وہ بی بی کے قاتلوں سے بدلہ لینا شروع کر دیں ، وہ یقنا جانتے ہوں گے کہ چوہدری اعظم نے بھٹو کے قاتلوں کو کس طرح چن چن کر مارا تھا اور آخر کار خود بھی ذاتی جھگڑے میں ہالینڈ میں قتل ہو گیا تھا ،

بی بی نے شاید ہی کبھی کسی سے پوچھا ہو گا کہ اس کے یتیم بچوں کا کیا ہوا؟ اور نہ ہی بھٹو صاحب کی برسی پر اس کی تصویریں لہرائی جاتی ہوں گی . اور پھر لوگوں نے دیکھا کہ اسی چوہدری اعظم کے عزیز مسلم ق میں ظہور الہی کے بیٹوں کے ساتھ سیاست کر رہے تھے ، اس لیے کہ یہی انتخابی سیاست ہے

December 26, 2010

Benazir Bhutto, Why she was martyred? – by H.A. Khan

by admin

The month of December is felt as a very lovely month as winter season is in its full swing with a feeling of joys and happiness and with warm sentiments all around Pakistan. But 3 years ago we had witnessed this day to be remembered as the historical black day in the history of my country when the most beloved leader of millions hearts and masses was martyred in Rawalpindi.

Benazir Bhutto the BB Sahiba is always remembered as the most visionary and the courageous leader in the history of global politics. We cannot find a single example of a women politician with so much grace and vision whom had been greeted by the toiling and poor working class of Pakistan not once but twice as when she was welcomed by 1 million people in Lahore in 1986 and then by 3 million in Karachi in 2007. Such was the charisma and vision of great BB Sahiba and the warm connectivity of masses with her.

Our great Marxist teacher Comrade Dr. Lal Khan truly said that people didnt went to see BB Sahiba in Karachi rather than to make her felt about their miseries and problems with whom they were being faced at that time, further he said that the so called deal with US and Pakistan’s powerful power sections was torned by the masses under their foot on that day and that presence also had made BB Sahiba more courageous and more confident with her people.

Now today when i see that still investigations are going on and still PPP masses and workers are desperate to know about the names of the killers, it make me a bit surprise that why we are still not have the courage to say truth, having said that i know why BB Sahiba was martyred and some reasons can be given.

1- She was martyred because that so called deal was torned by the 3 million people under their feet on 27 Dec, 2007.

2-She began to radicalize and moving on that way of radicalization principles on which PPP was formed in 1968-69.

3- The slogans of socialism could be heard all over again.

4- People felt themselves to be empowered again with their strong determination and voices.

5- The US imperialism and powerful sections of Pakistan felt BB Sahiba as a threat to their imperialist and capitalist agenda.

6- She began to talk for the common people and their interests rather that the interests of imperialism.

7- She had refused to work for Imperialist and capitalist agenda and determined to take Pakistan towards the progressive nation.

8-She had refused to bow in front of the rigid and Islamic forces and shown strong strength to fight against the talibanization.

9- She had reiterated to clean the process of talibanization from the soil of Pakistan as she commented in her last speech in Rawalpindi.

10- She had told to take Pakistan as a great nation as the progressive nation with all power.

11-She had been changing herself with the lines of radicalization and to follow the footsteps and slogans on which PPP was formed in its true spirits.

I miss you a lot BB Sahiba and i know that one day the sun will rise with the light when those dreams and hopes will be fulfilled in their true spirits for which you and the masses of my country had seen together and sacrificed their lives together for this great mission.



December 26, 2010

Benazir Bhutto: an iconic figure – by Tauqeer Abbas

by admin

The 3rd death anniversary of a blazing fire of truth, a beauteous blossom of love, a soothing balm of peace, highly experienced lecturer, one of the best decision makers, esteemed, much-loved, daughter of the East Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto will be observed with the renewed commitment and pledge to strengthen the democratic institution in line with the vision of one of the greatest leader of this subcontinent.

The daughter of Pakistan is no more with us but is a guiding star for the generations to come. It was her unprecedented determination and sacrifice for nation. Her commitment towards people was spotless that she did not let her own misfortunes position in her way. Mohtarma Shaheed will always be remembered in world politics because of her
political acumen and leadership qualities. History of our region cannot find any other example of a leader who climbed to such eminence.

Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in her address to a rally at Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi, Thursday, 27 December 2007, said

“My sisters and brethren, you have given a great honor to your sister. Twice you elected me as the prime minister; it is no longer important if I become the prime minister for the third time; what is important is that I have risked my life while coming back; but I had to return because my country is in danger. I feel that the people feel concerned about the country’s circumstances. That is why I have returned home; I have come to you to say that your sister needs those who are brave; who are courageous and who are faithful to the national flag; the flag of our motherland and the flag of the Pakistan People’s Party. I need your support in the work for the security and integrity of Pakistan; let us join hands to steer the country out of the crisis and rid the country from those who have endangered its security”.

Today we live a better life in many aspects but question arises what are the reasons behind it? Many times we hardly realize what others had done for us. I would consider it momentous to quote Mohtarma again, she said: “Some
people may not understand why I left a comfortable life and faced these threats. So many people have sacrificed much for so many things, so many died and so many see me as the hope of liberty. Now, I cannot run away from the battle. Dr. Martin Luther King’s phrase comes to my mind: “Our lives end when we keep our silence in important issues.” And I confide myself to my own people by my belief on God.”

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed had the extraordinary nobility to become the 1st Prime Minister of an Islamic country and had an honor to be included in hundred world leaders, whose speeches have been included among hundred speeches. She endured all sorts of hardships she had to face tragedies like martyrdom of her father, her brothers, threats to her life, still she lived out what she sermonized. She recuperated after every blow with new commitment, strength, and willpower. She really motivated people and maintained their hopes during the era of dictatorship. She was of the view that if you turn your pain into strength, you can conquer world with this strength.

Benazir Bhutto was of the view that the continuation of democratic order and establishment of good governance was the only way to ensure nation’s well being. Shaheed Mohtarma once said “The politics of violence is the dire enemy of the hopes, the dreams and the ambitions of our people”. In reality, she is the founder of politics of reconciliation and harmony. At then National Defense College, she said in a speech: “The basic elements which define my vision of Pakistan are: a modern, enlightened, social democracy based on federalism and parliamentary form of government”. She represented an idea of human liberation, empowerment of common man and a welfare state.

There are very few people who become eternal after their deaths and without any doubt Benazir Bhutto fits in that category. She is a heartthrob of millions and rules their heart and minds. We should learn lesson from her life, which is a unique role model for people of entire world. Her name would be testified in golden words in the annals of history. She will be remembered by history for so many things like unwavering resolve, courage, ability to forgive etc. Be it workers, laborer, students, teachers, lawyers and women, PPP has got the sole honor of having its deep roots in all section of society. She may not be with us today but her vision continues to lighten our path, the principles remain for which fought and gave her life.

“Individuals can be killed but not ideas. Ideas live in the hearts of minds of men and women”- Benazir Bhutto Shaheed

December 26, 2010

Benazir School of Thought – by Ahsan Abbas Shah

by admin

December 22, 2010

Updated: An open letter to the PPP – by Shams Rehman

by admin

With the dropping out of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) from the ruling coalition, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government suddenly looks vulnerable. And the fact is that it has become vulnerable. The possibility of the revival of the defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has already been raised.

The historical parallels are very chilling. Those who witnessed the clerical movement in the late 70s against Z A Bhutto’s elected government have reasons to be fearful of the developing scenario. What is, therefore, imperative is to derive the correct lessons from history so that we do not repeat it, for the very thought of it sends shivers down one’s spine.

The first thing that the PPP needs to do is shun its obstinacy and habit of placing the responsibility of Bhutto’s fall and subsequent long persecutions of party workers on the unconstitutional actions of certain individuals or on adverse circumstances. A clear assessment should be made of the achievements and failures of the founder of the PPP, keeping in mind that the latter by no means diminish the former. All great leaders do make mistakes but the tendency to overlook them by their followers often leads to the eclipse of what they had achieved.

To put it briefly, the chief mistake that Bhutto made was the appeasement of the clerics. Why did he do this? This is a complex question but it was chiefly his foreign policy vision that determined the change in the course on which he had won the mandate to rule. His coming to power was a revolution, for he mobilised the masses and got himself elected on a socialist, progressive agenda that demanded radical socio-political changes in society. It included striking at the power of all the forces of reaction, of which the feudal lords, clerics and the army were the three interlinked wings. However, while in power, he gradually distanced himself and got alienated from the progressive agenda and the forces representing it.

The change of course was determined by his thinking that Pakistan would gain more by unifying the Islamic world around his leadership, tapping the resources of the Islamic world and creating a third bloc besides the ones led by the US and USSR. Such thinking marked a reversal on the home front that led to legislation such as the banning of alcohol and declaration of the Ahmedis as non-Muslims. This was a dangerous path that he chose for himself. What he failed to see was that in the Cold War era, the clerical forces were deeply allied with the US. Therefore, his strategy of standing up to the US while appeasing the clerics at home was bound to lead nowhere but to his own downfall.

Now political parties, by their intention and structure, are driven to political power. Parties are indeed formed, as the PPP was, on idealism, but once a party becomes part of the establishment, there is no room for idealism in its discourse or strategy. Thus Benazir made peace with the executioners of her father at home and abroad and made her party electable once again.

Since then the leadership of the party has come to believe that with its roots in all the provinces of the country it has secured its right to rule the country in a democratic set-up. But that is not the case. The religious right considers democracy that invests power to legislate to the people and their elected parliament as contrary to shariah and therefore un-Islamic. According to their vision of Islam, the ultimate authority in Islamic society rests with the ideologues and guardians of shariah, namely the clerics.

It is a brilliant fact of the history of this country that its people decisively rejected this view of Islam in 1970 in both parts of the country. Leading the Islamic world from the front, they demonstrated their understanding that the clerical view of Islam was only an ideology of the obscurantist forces, forming a nexus of clerics, feudal lords and the army, which seeks to maintain the outdated and unjust social and economic structure of society. Now, although this view continues to hold the Islamic world in thrall, the Pakistani people have never, in any free elections since 1970, voted for the religious parties. This is the core fact that we must remember in our review of the strategy being proposed.

The second core fact in this regard is the radical change in the geopolitical situation of the world. For now, after the fall of the USSR, a war has broken out between the former allies that brought the USSR down. The US, the remaining superpower, though increasingly on the wane, is at loggerheads with the global network of Islamic clerics. For the present PPP leadership, therefore, it would be a folly to follow Benazir’s policy of appeasing both the US and the clerics. Even from a purely pragmatic or realist perspective, which guided Benazir to revise direction, it is no more conducive to keep the party in power.

It is well worth pointing out that the west, led by the US, has all along betrayed its own ideals of enlightenment by supporting the forces of reaction in the non-western world. It has been content to create and support westernised elites in these countries that exercise control over their people by whatever means. The policy no doubt helped them in beating their international foe but the price was unimaginable even in their wildest dreams, for it is now widely feared that Afghanistan might also become the graveyard of the remaining superpower. For this reason, the US seems prepared, however unwillingly, to support the Pakistani government to take on the clerics and cut them down to size.

This remarkable development and change in the global situation provides the PPP leadership and workers with a historic opportunity to take that revolution further that their leader unleashed in 1970 and which was left unfinished. Now, with all quiet on the western front, it is this very realism, with the objective to remain in power, which demands that the PPP abandon its fear of the clerics and leading the people from the front, confront them and curb their power, hugely disproportional to their vote bank, that they continue to enjoy in our society. (Source)

Part II

In the current debate over the blatantly unjust Blasphemy Law and the persecution of a helpless Christian woman, the cat has once again come out of the bag. The clerics, who are hugely supported by the other two partners in the nexus, have made it clear that they do not accept the sovereignty of parliament and its right to legislate however it deems fit, or even the right of the constitutionally elected president to exercise his right to grant pardon to anyone condemned by any court of the country. Thus, once again, it is this simple question at the centre of the debate about whether the people govern this country through their elected representatives or the clerics by virtue of their self-professed divine right.

The PPP leadership and workers, therefore, need to wake up and read the situation correctly, which is hugely in their favour this time. It is perhaps an opportunity of the same magnitude that came the way of their leader in 1970 and which he lost as much due to his own failures as for the determinations of history. They must not lose it this time, for on its fulfillment hangs the fate of our future generations.

For President Zardari it would be a folly to believe that he can survive by giving in to the clerics; their appetite for power is insatiable. They know that they cannot win in a general election so they are bent upon using Islam to create a situation whereby their partners in the nexus can intervene in the name of national security and install a government that keeps them happy.

I understand that for President Zardari it would be difficult to make a U-turn and renounce the legacy of not only the latter-day Bhutto but also of his own spouse. But Zardari has a huge advantage at his disposal, for the US-cleric coalition that framed the unfortunate legacy is now broken. Our country has become a laughing stock for getting all our money from the outside world to fight the militant vanguard of the clerics while internally keeping their lifelines intact. It is indeed mind boggling that a government that openly claims to be an ally of the US in the so-called war on terror should leave the lifeline of its vocal internal enemies intact. Choosing the path of confronting them openly will surely enhance the stature of this country in the international community and will wash the stigma that this is a nation of hypocrites run by a hypocritical government.

Zardari has nothing to lose, for he has nothing substantial to his credit for which the Pakistani people can hold him in special reverence. Now he has the opportunity to make his name in history and grow even larger than his late spouse by becoming the second person to lead the people in their struggle to free themselves from the yoke of reactionary forces.

He must not consider, like Bhutto, that the seat he sits on secures him. He must come out of the Presidency, for if he thinks it is a castle, he must know that it is built on foundations of sand. He must go to the people and seek a fresh mandate on the simple question as to who possesses the right to govern this country: the people or the clerics and their allied network.

In a personal meeting recently I heard from a PPP MNA, a close associate of Zardari, that when party members come to him with long faces, frightened by the rising dangers to their power, he raises their spirits in no time and they leave happily, saying, “He is all right, he says all is well and there is nothing to fear as long as we stand united.” He enjoys the reputation of being a brave man among his party cadre. But Bhutto was no less a brave man; in the end, he said to his executioner: “Make it quick.”

The truth is that it is only the people of Pakistan who can save Zardari if he opts to come out to them. He must rally the enlightened intelligentsia of the country around him and prepare his party to fight the battle on two fronts. First, that it is the people of Pakistan and their elected representatives who have the sole right to govern their country and not the clerics, and second, that the view of Islam and shariah as propagated by the clerics is a tendentious, obscurantist view that conflicts with the teachings of the Quran and message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

On my part, I, a member of the academia in this country, can offer support on the second front. And I will conclude this brief letter with two questions. First, the clerics claim their authority higher than the people’s legislature in the name of the divine right of the ulema to guard Islam and the lives of its adherents. Is this right sanctioned in the Quran? The simple answer is no, it contradicts the teaching, even the words of the Quran, and, further, it has no sanction in the history of pre-modern Islamic civilisation. It is simply the other side of the conventional belief in the divinity of kings and the Quran supports neither the one nor the other, for both stand and fall together.

There is an important concept of asbab an-nazul (the reasons or causes behind the revelation of the verses of the Quran) employed in the exegesis of the Quran, which helps us understand the answer just given. Extending this concept, we must ask what the reasons of the descent of the Quran itself were and the institution of a separate religion other than Judaism and Christianity whose texts it affirmed again and again. One of the chief reasons was the institution of priesthood in both Judaism and Christianity that claimed a position between the believers and God and thereby claimed the right to control the whole mental and practical life of the believers. In the new dialectic between the individual and community that the Quran developed, each and every individual stood face to face with God while the right to legislate was invested in the community. It is clear then that the divine sanction of the clerical authority derives from Jewish and Christian influences and is therefore un-Islamic, for it is completely rejected by the Quran.

As for the second question, the clerics hold that the Quran is pre-eminently a book of law, or shariah, and since they hold all knowledge of it, they also hold the ultimate authority on how the people of this country should live their lives. Now there are 6,236 verses in the Quran of which only 290 deal with the law. What are the rest of the verses about? The truth is that they virtually do not exist for the clerics.(Source)


The writer is an academic and teaches at the Quaid-i-Azam University

December 14, 2010

What Maulana Fazlur Rehman has on the cards – by Ali Arqam

by admin

Maulana Fazlur Rehman to the press, Courtesy ET

In a dramatic set of events on the very fateful day of 14th December, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) broke away from the federal coalition over the government’s decision to sack the Federal Science and Technology Minister Azam Swati without taking the JUI-F into confidence.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman had some more charges against the federal government. But all the charges before the recent one did not make him part ways with the government.(source)

The Maulana has in the past opposed the PPP government’s decision of military operations against the militant outfits as they have considerably strong influence in various militant outfits of the Deobandi sect. Maulana Fazlur Rehman also offered mediation between the Government and the Taliban, although it seems far-fetched as both parties, Taliban in particular, are skeptical of Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) is a loosely bonded group of various splinter cells of militants. They pose as united for their fierce image, impact and also to attract new recruits. Maulana is not popular among all of them, as leaders of the TTP Swat chapter, Fazlullah and Shah Doran, had shown their disgust for him in their propaganda speeches on the infamous FM radio.

In early 2008, a rocket was fired on Maulana’s residence in DI Khan, and intelligence agencies have reported threats to his life.

Another leader of the JUI, Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani (recently appointed chairman CII), has narrowly escaped at least two attacks by the Taliban.

JUI knows it better. Therefore while they always issued statements against the military operations to appease the conservative voters they never put significant steps in opposing the military operations.

Maulana on various occasions has expressed his displeasure over the government’s ‘evading tactics’ on Islamic laws. It seems strange that an anti-secular party is expecting PPP to make Islamic laws. However, everything is fair in the game of political alliances or smart politics.

JUI strongly protested on the death of Maulana Ameen in an Air Strike by Pakistan armed forces on a Madrassah at Orakzai while they have targeted militant hideouts in the agency. Though it was not an enough reason to break up with the Government to record protest.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman had strong reservations on the recent debate over blasphemy laws by various sections of society, PPP representatives, Governor Punjab and social activists. But he was waiting for the issue to be unfolded, and refrained from overstepping the issue.

Here comes the Hajj Scam (as media has given it the title), the unpleasant exchange of public remarks between two member of the federal cabinet, Azam Swati of JUI(F) and Hamid Saeed Kazmi of PPP, resulting in sacking of both by the Prime Minister.

And Maulana came with a harsh reaction to say good bye to the coalition. The decision is surprising for all, from politicians to media TV anchors. It has fuelled the rumour mills and boosted the morale of the analysts who were tired of issuing forecasts for the fall of the government and renewing the deadlines every time.

Maulana got a relatively sizeable chunk of attractive posts and ministries in the Government compared to his strength in the Parliament; recently the long awaited CII chairmanship demand has been fulfilled.

Then what does the Maulana want?

-Image building exercise after the WikiLeaks

– Evading support of the RGST in the parliament, though it does not seem a big deal

– Getting some more undisclosed demands to be fulfilled as the previous record shows

– Winds of change from the holy land, Tehrik Nizam-e-Mustafa 3.0

–  Revival of MMA 2.0

Let us wait and see, or you are free to draw conclusions of your own…

December 8, 2010

WikiLeaks: "Why so serious?" – by Suleman Akhtar

by admin

Headnote: Addressees of this note are those who are fool enough to think skeptically in this land of “born perfectionists”.

At first, let me share with you people an “exploding and exclusive” thought which has all ingredients of sensation (albeit sensibility).

Here you go: “World will never be the same after WikiLeaks.”

Heavy words. Aren’t they? This is the precious thought which might be “revealed” to you in direct words at times and if you are no so privileged yet, you may “sense” it embedded in wall-posts by scrolling down your Facebook homepage or simply by having casual conversation with people around you.

Hold on, if you don’t want to spoil your relation with the “revealer” of very thought then here I have a suggestion for you. “Never ever commit sin of questioning him/her with words like How/Why.” Providing, you may find yourself in two awkward situations, which ultimately will lead to tarnishing your relationship.

Situation1: She/he might enlighten you with limitless fairytales colored with not so imaginary characters of kings, queens, bishops and horses, which in the end might burst you into screaming or shouting on him/her.

Situation2: She/he might give you an annoyed look with a sigh whilst denouncing you in words “you have no idea of persisting political scenario of world and I don’t want to waste my time.”

Forget it, let’s move on. Out of curiosity, if you ever intend to enlighten yourself with the “revelations” of WikiLeaks, then I have recommendations for you depending upon two conditions.

Condition1: If you are out of time along with out of senses, then simply visit “official” websites of Daily Jang and/or Geo network. There you may find “leaking” of anything and everything except WikiLeaks.

Condition2: If you are really into it and have plenty of leisure time, then simply go to Google and type “WI” only. There’s no need to waste your time by typing whole word. Click the first appeared link and just wait and watch. If you are lucky enough then website might open in 37 minutes irrespective of busy server, otherwise wait till next dawn.

Now, allow me to hold the assumption that you have attained stature of “well-informed” person by swallowing all the “disclosures” of WikiLeaks and now you find yourself in problem related to digest them. Here, at helm of affairs, I’m not sure if you have ever acquainted with the “good ol’” saying “WWE: Don’t try it at home”. If you are well aware of “essence” of this saying then feel free to leave the note at this point, as I’m going to outline the “consequences” for those who would like to share these disclosures with “born perfectionists” of our society.

I, hereby, would like to recapitulate aftermaths regarding your endeavor of sharing WikiLeaks “disclosures” with other (not so) like-minded people, by highlighting three of “revelations”.

Revelation1: Saudis are biggest financiers of Al-Qaeda

After trying hard you manage somehow to mumble this sentence without any reluctance, in middle of room. There’s a pin drop silence in room which lasts for minute. At last, someone breaks the distasteful silence by screaming:

“Are you talking about Haadmen Harmen Shareefen?” (Whilst, listening the notion of Haadmen Harmen Shareefen, others from audience close their eyes down and start murmuring something sacred).

This is it. You are not in a position anymore to utter anything “foolish”. In case if you try to become Socrates then be ready for “295-C”.

Revelation2: Pak-Army is the key power player in Pakistani politics and ISI still enjoys close ties with Islamic fundamentalists and extremists

“This will helpful in proving me a well-informed person who has grasp on current affairs”-Thought comes into your mind and you commit biggest mistake of your life by declaring this (not so) secret “revelation” in a family gathering.

Your uncle gives you ferocious look from behind his spectacles:

“My son, you have no idea what you are talking about. Had Pak-army not taken responsibility of our ideological boundaries Pakistan would have been a Kaafir(secular) state. I’m observing that you are being influenced by the Zionist propaganda who want to disintegrate our country and throw Muslim countries into chaos. May God save you, I can only pray for you.”

Conversation ends and you have no other option except staring your toe.

Revelation3: Present PPP government has nothing to do with country’s defense and foreign policy

You will never be allowed to complete your sentence after the word “PPP” and here starts reiteration of a single name “Asif Ali Zardari”:

“You know what AAZ involves in land grabbing of 3 Marla plot in Nawabshah”

“I’ve heard that AAZ belongs to Ahmadi sect”

“They say that AAZ takes bath daily”

“This is confirm that AAZ is relative of Bal Thackeray”

And you will be forced to scream after:

“Come here, I tell you what, AAZ was involved in Benazir Bhutto’s assassination”

Welcome to land of born perfectionists.

Why So Serious?

December 2, 2010

Time to let go Mr. Bond – by Sindhyar Talpur

by admin

Government of Pakistan is currently trying to introduce a RGST, a reformed General Sales Tax. One can’t help but think that as so much of energy is being put into reforming tax system and increase revenue. Government may be exhausting its political capital but yet be missing a trick.

The primary reason why the government has been made to introduce this RGST is because of IMF’s pressure. It may be recalled that in 2008, when the country was about to default on its loans, the GoP decided to renegotiate with the IMF to get some loans, which would allow it to balance its budget. As a consequence of that loan agreement, the treasury was expected to ensure an increase in revenue, which would then lead to paying back the loan with interest.

Pakistan is regarded as one of the most tax evading countries in the world. Simple fact is, it is easier and cheaper not to pay tax than to pay. The system is contrived in such a way that millions of rupees in profits are hidden and protected. Many of the tax evaders are small and medium enterprise, that numerically are in millions. Larger corporations are not free from blame either. While most of them are happy to deduct tax of their employees from source, who in turn, having no other choice, never forget to mention this contribution to the nation. But large corporations too “invest” their profits into subsidiaries and projects that seem to have no returns – but give out many benefits to those involved.

Conveniently, these organisations are mostly related to directors, large shareholders and such. Because of such and even less palatable schemes of tax evasion, treasury introduced a regressive tax in form of General Sales Tax. This taxes affects both rich and poor equally, on whatever they buy. Notwithstanding tax evasion involved here as well, this has proven to be more easier and so far more successful way of tax collection in Pakistan. It is no surprise then that we are being pushed into reforming this GST, to get more revenue, at expense of the people.

I say this because, and this is uncontroversial, GST affects poor more than the rich – thus the term regressive tax. If Rich spend more on something, due to it being taxed, they conversely shall have less leftover to spend on luxury items. Poor, who always have little and no savings, would have less to spend on much needed amenities. Thus the choice for them is between nutritious meal or clean attire.

Effectively RGST is going to increase the items that are subject to GST. An addition of 15-20% to price automatically causes 15-20% inflation. In Macro-economics, inflation is something that a government is duty-bound to curb. Increasing it by taxation is effectively an own goal. This lowers the purchasing power, devalues currency, causes opportunity cost for certain business, which affects many industries that are affected by decrease in sales.

RGST is at risk of increasing this further, and arguably it will only hurt the economy more – at least according to Keynesian economic. It is, according to neo-liberal economics, likely to however salvage some private parties, eventually. In long run, it is likely to help the business that weather this storm and can also allow them to exploit cheap labour that would come due to increased inflation. Supply and demand, if there is increasing unemployment, stagflation if you will, due to more and more companies going bust, there would be competition for jobs. This would let employer dictate the pay scales. However neo-liberal economics is ruthless in that it doesn’t take into account the social loss. Such a loss in lowering standards of living is not something pure capitalists care about!

Such is the predicament of a left leaning party, which is being made to introduce these measures. But it is arguable that a principled Leftist party would instead tax proportionally and progressively. The long term solution and way forward would be to tax on high pays and profits. But as argued above, the revenue collection is low. There is need for a fundamental change in the policing of the tax collection. This includes changing the higher echelon of Federal Board of Revenue.

Bringing in new recruits and re-training to current staff. It also includes bringing in independent accountability mechanism, especially that of an independent body, and also parliamentary accountability on the activities of the department. There is of course need to revise the current tax law, in that to seal the loopholes that exist in the current system and to make it more air-tight. This would initially cost more both in monetary and political terms, but the results would yield high dividends.

But why is there need for Pakistan to tax its citizens in first place? Fundamentally the answer you would get for this is; to maintain and possibly buoy credit- rating of Pakistan. If we default on our loan, we become a credit risk, our credit rating goes down and we get loans only at higher interest rate. It is at junctures like this one misses a visionary strong leadership at Islamabad. In the last three decades Pakistan has been ruled by for twenty years, or two-thirds of era, by Army chiefs who have had, to put mildly, catastrophic understanding of basic macro-economics and of international politics. This has led them to let others, primarily technocrats, control these domains. These then themselves have micro-economics credentials.

For example, the previous prime minister, whose credentials for office of Finance ministry was his position at Citi Bank. This Bank claims to be involved in many financial activities, but even they would agree those activities are not concerned with inflation, unemployment and such. A cursory look at list of Finance ministers of past three decades shows that, apart from Mr Shaikh and Burki, we have hardly had people at top who have grasp of macro economics. Those who have been experts, have had no grasp of politics, being technocrats.
Simply here is a difference between micro economics and macro economics- when a company defaults its creditors, it has to face legal actions, it has to face increased interest rates, has to find almost no other credit options and effectively faces ruin. When a country defaults, it depends! Some countries have, by pure brazen tactics and resolve, along with taking advantage of international politics, taken full advantage of their default. A country’s only form of credit is not only other countries, but it can also be international institutes like IMF. Further, governments can also raise revenue from their own citizens and finally also by selling assets.

In certain circumstances, default on loans such as bonds or foreign loans is actually a better decision because it allows you to free yourself from large debts. Increased inflation may allow for bonds to be of lesser value, and paying them then, at height of inflation along with a calculated default can go long way to lower the national debt. Default on singular but large debt is better.

Technocrats being only versed in economics would never conceive such a thing, a politician with financial background or advise would! Such a default then would allow you to use the freed up funds into something of national interest. Public infrastructure that would create returns, or organisations that would create jobs and revenue etc. Tactical default closes one door but opens another, these are the competitors of one who has just faced default. A default can also lead to national cohesion, which if propagated properly would initiate people to contribute and stand in with solidarity.

Nothing brings people together better than common threat and concern as long as there is a clearly defined goal in sight. Finally the paradox of the markets is that, once a default has occurred, after the initial mess and chaos, the markets begin to actually see the defaulting country in better light, especially if the country is seen to have a good financial history and has used justifiable reasons for default. This is because, once it is clear a default has occurred, and consequently the country has begun to invest into lucrative assets, that would yield more.

It is also clear that the government is now no longer aiming to default any time in future. They seem to have begun to balance the accounts and, with the large debt gone, have again begun to see green. Thus the markets begin to see the country in better light, ironically more than they had when the poor country was paying of large interest rates but taking the honourable road of ensuring no default occurs. But this is how markets work, and if you are in it, one needs to play its rules to one’s advantage. What of course markets are responding to quite favourably is the resolve and financial direction, twinned with political stability and resolve of people. These create a favourable impression, not only for the lenders but also investors who are always looking for untapped investments.

Pakistan then if is adamant on increasing its taxes, it must do it with a long term strategy. This strategy must be based on the left of centre ideals of progressive taxation, efficient public services, good tax collection and well maintained balance books, even if this includes taking some hard decisions. Any change, especially on the neo-liberal proposals, would only leave a sour taste in mouth and question mark to leftist credentials of PPP.