Category — Pakistan
The writer is a former COAS, Pakistan.
It is, indeed, very difficult to say ‘no’ to temptation because the truth is what the famous American comedian, Bob Hope, while addressing a young lady, admitted: “I can stand anything, but temptation.” This is the kind of phenomenon we have experienced and suffered, during the last 50 years of our checkered history of civil-military relationship. Those who could not resist temptation are altogether a different category, such as Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf. They suffered from the Hope syndrome. There are others, who abated and encouraged such tempters like ACM Asghar Khan, resulting into the imposition of military rule.
In 1977, when an agreement was reached between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government and the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), Asghar Khan revolted and finally sabotaged it. Maulana Kausar Niazi in his book, entitled Aur Line Cut Gai, described this incidence in detail: “By the morning of July 2, 1977, a complete agreement was reached. ACM Asghar Khan was not happy with the agreement and entered into a heated argument with Mufti Mahmood and Prof Ghafoor. Mufti Mahmood asked him: ‘After all, what do you want and what do you propose’. Asghar Khan shouted: ‘You all get lost. I will handle the matter myself and I am prepared to…….guarantee that after military takeover, the army will hold elections within 90 days’. On hearing this, there was pin drop silence, when Mufti Mahmood spoke: ‘Do you realise what you are talking about?’ Asghar Khan shrugged off the question and derogatively uttered the word ‘hoon’, as he walked away.”
As the agitation continued, Asghar got impatient and wrote a letter to General Ziaul Haq urging him to remove Bhutto and take over the reins of government because “Bhutto, as Prime Minister, was extremely dangerous for the country.” General Zia read out his letter to the officers in one of the conferences held at GHQ. Dr S.M. Rahman, the Advisor Psychological Operations to General Zia, was also present. He writes about this letter in his article titled National Propensity to Rise in Crisis, published in TheNation on October 21, 2005: “The politicians, therefore, must make a solemn resolve that they would never create conditions that would aggravate the military to intervene. I do recall that a very distinguished politician of Pakistan, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, wrote a personal letter to late Ziaul Haq, persuading him to dismantle the government of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and if he did not do it, he would be doing great disservice to Pakistan, or words to that effect. That letter, I thought, has reinforced Pakistan’s transformation into a praetorian state or at least had facilitated that process.”
So, Zia obliged Asghar by imposing martial law and initiating Bhutto’s trial. As the trial prolonged, Asghar became impatient because he wanted the PM (Bhutto) to be hanged as soon as possible. Addressing a public gathering at Kohala, he urged Zia to hang him or hand him over to Asghar who himself would “hang Bhutto from the Kohala Bridge.” The General further obliged Asghar by hanging Bhutto on April 4, 1979, in Rawalpindi jail and “made him a horrible example” to his great satisfaction and that of Henry Kissinger, the American Secretary of State. Perhaps, the ACM hoped to be the next Prime Minister after Bhutto had been eliminated. But that was not to be!
The third category of tempters is rather rare; they tempted to act but lacked the passion “to go full length.” General Waheed, the COAS in 1993, ordered both the President and Prime Minister ‘Out’, and held elections under an imported Prime Minister. By doing so, he violated the oath of the armed forces and the Constitution of Pakistan, setting a praetorian trend in the army that led to Musharraf’s rule.
The fourth category is of those who have rejected temptation, and supported the rule of law and democracy. On August 17, 1988, for instance, when the three services chiefs namely, Admiral Saeed Ahmed Khan, Air Chief Marshal Hakimullah and myself, assisted by DG ISI Lt Gen Hamid Gul and Judge Advocate General of Army, Brigadier Aziz Muhammad Khan, restored the Constitution and handed over power to people within three hours of General Zia’s death – an unprecedented act of correcting the course of democracy. Further in 2008, when General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani restrained the ISI and prevented General Musharraf from manipulating the elections as he had done in 2002. This led to his ouster and “democracy was put on its course.”
The Pakistani nation is used to frequent military interventions that have created a class of opportunists, who are ever ready to cooperate with the tempers; the foremost among them are the politicians and the sycophants waiting for such an opportunity. These days, one can hear loud voices urging General Kayani to intervene. In fact, they are testing his nerves; whereas, he wants the people of Pakistan to clear the mess themselves.
Undoubtedly, army generals have committed serious mistakes in the past. Even crimes have been committed causing great loss to the nation and disrepute to the armed forces. It is time to establish a civil-military relationship based on the rule of law and justice. This is a process the nation is passing through, which must not be disturbed. The credit goes to our political institutions, the judiciary and the armed forces, who will persevere and steer the country on a democratic course – Inshallah.
May 13, 2012 No Comments
UBAURO: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that if Nawaz Sharif challenged the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), 50 million Sindhis would march towards Lahore.
Addressing a mammoth rally in Kamu Shaheed on Saturday, Shah said that today’s judiciary was with the PPP-led government and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. He also said that PPP would never allow anyone to construct Kalabagh Dam. Criticising the PML-N chief, Shah said Nawaz Sharif did not know the ABC of politics and was only creating chaos in the country. He advised Nawaz to wait till November, December.
Sindh chief minister said the PPP was well aware of conspiracies against its government and would not let the sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto for democracy go in vain. Shah said Nawaz Sharif was a coward who fled to Jeddah in Musharraf’s regime. He said PML-N did nothing for Sindh during its tenures in the government. The CM said that over a million people were present in the gathering. “The PPP will emerge as victorious in the next general election as well,” said Shah. He said that people had voted for the PPP in the last general elections and this party had come to power because of the struggle of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and the party workers. He stated that the present government was the regime of the poor and peasants. PPP Senator Islamuddin Shaikh said that all the allies of PPP had expressed confidence in Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani. He advised Sharif brothers to do politics on real issues being faced by the country. Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo criticised the PML-N leadership as saying that the Sharif brothers knew nothing about democracy. He said that PPP would hold rallies in other parts of the country to counter the PML-N propaganda. Former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that his party had showed a “glimpse” of its strength by holding a historical public gathering at the Sindh-Punjab border at Kamon Shaheed Saturday. He said that the PML-N’s rally in Taxila was a rally of `patwaris’ and school teachers`. Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Khuhro and others also spoke on the occasion.
Zardari congratulates PPP leadership: PPP Co-Chairman President Asif Ali Zardari has congratulated Sindh Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Federal Minister Syed Khursheed Shah, Senator Islamuddin Sheikh and other leadership of PPP for holding successful rally at Khamu Shaheed. In his message, the President said that Saturday’s gathering clearly reflected the trust and confidence of the people in the PPP and its leadership. By holding this rally a success, the people have manifested once again that they believed in federation and the rule of law, the President said.
He said that the PPP believed that the people were the ultimate judge to consider political parties and its policies. He said that PPP derived its strength from the people of the country and held itself accountable before them. The President said that the PPP would continue its forward march no matter how daunting the challenges it faces in its stride towards strengthening democracy and rule of law in the country.
May 13, 2012 No Comments
ISLAMABAD, May 12: With poverty rate of more than 46 per cent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which compares poorly with the national ratio of 37 per cent, the average worth of Awami National Party members of the National Assembly is quite high.
The average wealth of 12 members of the National Assembly belonging to the ANP comes to around Rs78.55 million. The least wealthy MNA of the party is, however, worth only Rs1.39 million.
In the statement of assets filed by MNAs to the Election Commission for 2011, Jamila Gilani, member of the lower house of parliament occupying a seat reserved for women, claimed that her net worth was around Rs1.39 million only. However, she has a loan of Rs659,000 for a five-marla house in the DHA Islamabad.
Ms Gilani has Rs242,292 in cash or in banks and a boutique business worth Rs100,000. She and her husband own shop and office valued at Rs1.7 million in a commercial centre.
In her statement of assets filed last year, Ms Gilani had claimed that the value of these two properties was Rs2.35 million. The couple also owned a car. However, the party has many rich MNAs, including Muzaffar ul Mulk who is worth Rs247.7 million. He has Rs8.37 million in the bank and car loans written off by the government.
Mr Mulk has land and house worth Rs140 million and his timber businesses are worth Rs105 million. His other assets are worth Rs2 million and he carries Rs700,000 in cash.
The richest MNA of the party is Masood Abbas who has net assets of more than Rs292.39 million and he carries cash worth Rs132 million, apart from Rs10.60 million in bank accounts. However, his bank balance has declined by around Rs9 million in one year.
Mr Abbas has properties valued at more than Rs140.45 million, which include 39 shops and a shopping centre in Peshawar.
In all, he has 18 different categories of properties in Akora Khattak, Peshawar, Murree, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Karachi. He has other businesses and investments worth Rs6.11 million.
However, Mr Abbas owns only a 1964 jeep valued at Rs230,000.
ANP Leader Asfandyar Wali Khan has assets worth Rs34.86 million, including agriculture land valued at Rs26.8 million. His house is worth Rs3 million and a 1988 car valued at Rs500,000. His family owns Rs2.5 million in gold.
Another important member of the party, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, has net assets worth Rs40.99, including Rs13 million in cash. His business ventures are worth around Rs16.62 million and his house is valued at Rs2 million.
The net asset of his spouse, Khurshid Begum, is Rs15.75 million, in various businesses, investments.
The assets of Azeem Shabbir Bilour, a member of Bilour family, increased by 23 per cent in one year to Rs11.25 million this
year. The assets of Ms Mashal Shabbir Bilour increased by more than 152 per cent in one year to Rs5.62 million.
MNA Arbab Mohammad Zahir has net assets worth Rs103.28 million, including a flat of Rs10.3 million in Islamabad, two houses of Rs7.54 million in the native province. Mr Zahir and his spouse own agriculture land worth Rs80.02 million, the two cars owned by the couple are worth Rs2.4 million, gold valued at Rs500,000, other assets Rs120,000, besides Zahir has Rs2.4 million.
Pervaiz Khan has total assets worth Rs94.4 million, which includes a school valued at Rs50 million and house worth Rs40 million, gold Rs1.5 million and other assets Rs400,000, but Mr Khan does not own a car.
The net assets of Pir Dilawar Shah is Rs37.7 million, Istiqbal Khan has net assets worth Rs30.18 million and that of Syed Haider Ali Shah is Rs19.8 million, but both the MNAs do not have cars.
Bushra Gohar is the wealthiest among three women MNAs of the party, with net assets worth Rs25.72 million. She has two apartments in Islamabad and share in a house in Nathiagali.
Ms Gohar pays a quarterly instalment of Rs280,000 for a house in the DHA. She paid Rs73,342 withholding tax.
With the net asset worth Rs14.26 million, Khursheed Begum has Rs5.86 million in cash or in banks. Her spouse has a business of Rs2 million and the couple own Rs1.8 million car.
May 13, 2012 No Comments
ISLAMABAD – Like the visible division of opposition on the issue of long march against PM Gilani, resolution for the support of Southern Punjab province and controversy of Prime Minister’s entrance in Parliament, now opposition parties, including PML-N and JUI-F, will also not on the same page to strongly oppose PPP’s 5th upcoming budget 2012-13.
Repeating the same sole party show in and outside the Parliament against the PPP’s government, the larger opposition party Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is seemingly not in a mood to seek support of other parliamentary opposition parties in its ongoing political moves. These manners most probably will lead to further division of opposition in the Parliament on different political decisions, opposition party members shared with TheNation.
Pakistan Muslim League (N) may not able to get support of other parliamentary opposition parties to oppose the upcoming budgetary allocations in different fields. In this ongoing rising political temperature when gossips are rife that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) might play a role to cool down both PPP and PML-N, the junior opposition party has almost decided to distance itself from future drastic moves of at least PML-N.
When contacted, JUI-F senior leader/ former leader of opposition in Senate Maulana Ghafor Haideri said when the larger opposition party was not taking them into confidence in any of strategy then ‘united opposition is mere a hallow slogan’.
“It is not necessary to support PML-N in any move including upcoming budget’s matter. We are in opposition but we have our own identity and ideology,” JUI-F leader said. Expressing a bit resentment, he added that it was JUI-F which arranged meeting of opposition parties as after parting ways with the government they kept in wait of PML-N’s welcome for its joining as opposition party. It was JUI-F that arranged a former meeting of parliamentary opposition parties but now unity is not at all the issue, he added.
It would not be out of place to mention here that Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief, Nawaz Sharif has recently clearly warned the incumbent government to mend it ways otherwise his party could launch a long march 10 times to save the country from corruption and other evil. Other parliamentary opposition parties have not given its nod in this matter.
The major cracks developed between PML-N and JUI-F when the latter did not support the larger opposition party, which created rumpus for five consecutive days in the National Assembly proceedings. The parliamentary opposition parties had seen on same page only during the Presidential address (18th March, 2012) when the JUI-F also boycotted the Zardari’s address with Pakistan Muslim League (N).
This rare unity of opposition parties has also forced Leaders of the Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan to announce that all the Opposition parties would evolve a joint strategy in the future. Commenting on this uncommon unity, JUI-F leader Ghafor Haideri said that his party was ready to work together but ‘big party’ (PML-N) hardly considers taking other opposition parties into confidence about any strategy.http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/13-May-2012/pml-n-jui-f-not-on-the-same-page
May 13, 2012 No Comments
Taliban gun men revisited Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan on Friday May 28, targetted two mosques of minority Ahmadis and killed seventy people. At least 90 people were injured. The last major attack was in March when a double suicide bombing killed dozens. This was for the first time Ahmadis were attacked. Hitherto, militants were targetting Shia Muslims.
Ahmadis consider themselves Muslim and follow all Islamic rituals. But they were declared non-Muslims in Pakistan in 1974 and in 1984 they were legally barred from proselytising or identifying themselves as Muslims.
“Punjabi chapter” of the Pakistan Taliban, formally known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The attacks on minority communities were expected as banners of hatred against minorities were displayed in several parts of Lahore on Thursday. One of the anonymous banners in Ghari Shahu area read: “Jews Christians and Ahmedis are the enemies of Islam.”
Police said gunmen made the brazen attack shortly after Friday prayers at the Ahmadi mosques at Model Town and Ghari Shahu areas. Most of the worshippers were still inside the mosques as militants armed with AK-47 rifles, shotguns, grenades and other explosive devices entered through main gates, clearing their way with gunfire and hurling grenades,
The number of terrorists involved in the Ghari Shahu mosque is not known. while some were holed up inside the building others took up positions on the rooftop and minarets, and fired at security officials trying to enter the building. Six blasts were heard inside the mosque.
Four attackers were involved in the Model Town attack; two of them managed to climb over the wall of the mosque and threw grenades, while the other two opened fire outside,
Police and elite forces took control of the two buildings after battling with the gunmen for nearly three hours, according to reports.
May 29, 2010 No Comments
The writer is a freelance columnist in Pakistan.
The Pakistani politicians have consistently refused to learn from history. And the result is that the democratic forces have continued to suffer due to the endless squabbles between the politicians of different political parties.
Nevertheless, the failure of the present political leadership of the country to evolve a system of tolerance, fairplay, equity and due process of law has resulted time and again in the emergence of anti-democratic forces, which have made a mess of this country after coming to power. So when the two major political parties – Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) – agreed on the Charter of Democracy everyone believed that the politics of vengeance and vendetta had been buried for good. While a little maturity can be seen among the top political leadership of the country, unfortunately mudslinging has continued unabated, especially the lower tiers of every political party continue to relish in sniping against one another.
The most recent example is when Hamesh Khan, a key figure in the Rs 10 billion Bank of Punjab scam, was extradited from the United States; a vicious debate erupted between the PML-N and the PML-Q. Some members of the Nawaz League accused Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi and his son of leaving the country ostensibly fearing that they may be “exposed” by Khan, who may provide incriminating evidence against them. On the contrary, the PML-Q leadership accused their opponents of defaulting to a tune of Rs 1.30 billion with the same bank.
The ‘Q’ League also accused the family of CM Punjab of exerting undue pressure on the former President of the Punjab of Bank after what they said was Khan’s refusal to grant them a heavy loan. The incumbent leader of PML-Q has also publicly expressed his fears that the Punjab government might pressurise Hamesh Khan “to become an approver against the former Chief Minister of Punjab, Pervaiz Ilahi.”
As days passed, the debate is becoming extremely depressing with both sides making personal attacks, which could damage the already vulnerable image of the politicians in this country. Originally, this debate started when the issue of fake degrees possessed by some members of the National and Provincial Assemblies was being discussed across the country. In the past, there had been several setbacks for the politicians when, for example a lady MPA of the Punjab Assembly was caught purchasing goods with a stolen credit card. Likewise, the image of the politicians worsened when the newspapers flashed a report that the henchmen of a sitting MNA, from Sialkot, had kidnapped Director Education and forcibly obtained appointment letters for persons of his choice.
Anyway, while difference of opinion and criticism by the opposition parties is a legitimate phenomenon in a democratic set up; however, it should definitely not be used to derail the democratic process. But whenever criticism crosses the red line it creates despondency and confusion amongst the people, which further results in disillusionment. That eventually paves the way for intervention by forces that are in their very essence anti-democratic. But I hope that the issue of Hamesh Khan will not reach a point that could derail the institution of democracy.
The case of Bank of Punjab is presently subjudice and should be treated as a non-issue as far as the vital interest of the country is concerned. This does not mean that the corrupt and those who are involved in serious financial irregularities should not be punished; it means that the country should have a system and institutions that should be responsible to deal according to the law with all such issues that surface from time to time in this country. The basic point that must be remembered by the political leadership is that the case of Hamesh Khan should be dealt with strictly on merit and that the former chief of the bank should be provided with all the opportunities that are available under the law for his defence.
No political party should be allowed to manipulate or use the issue of Bank of Punjab scam as an instrument of politics. And Mr Khan should not be used by the Punjab government to damage or even harass their political opponents. At present, it is suspected that Mr Khan may never get a fair trial and it was now upto the justices, who are seized with the matter, to ensure that the due process of law is not derailed because of the media trial and the gamesmanship that has been mounted by rival political parties against one another on this issue.
One also hopes that the politicians would calm down and allow the case to proceed in a normal judicious way and try not to influence the outcome of the proceedings by issuing statements that could have a direct bearing on the case that is pending before the superior judiciary of this country. The politicians should also remember that they should only accuse their political opponents of the wrongdoing, if they have verifiable evidence, because while allegations may result in point scoring, but at the end of the day it would inevitably lead to tarnishing the image of the political institutions of Pakistan.
It is expected that both PML-N and PML-Q will come out of their present narrow mindedness and calculate the damage that is being caused by their unnecessary sniping against one another. They must remember that their interest would be served much better, if they evolve a system that benefits the common people and encourages the rule of law in Pakistan. http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Opinions/Columns/20-May-2010/Endless-squabbles
May 20, 2010 No Comments
(New Holland, 208pp, £9.99, ISBN 9781847734532)
Book Review in Times Higher education. UK
Reviewer: Farzana Shaikh
Associate Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London
It has become fashionable among Pakistan’s beleaguered liberal classes to try to dilute the influence of a heavily Islamised state narrative by promoting an alternative vision. Invoking the pre-Islamic history of the country’s ethnically diverse regions, it summons the idea of a Pakistani “nation” whose defining feature is not so much a shared religion – Islam – but the collective culture of communities long settled in the valleys of the River Indus.
This attempt to recast Pakistan as an “Indus Valley nation” has two objectives. The first is to settle the question of Pakistan’s national identity by identifying its “local” roots. By so doing, Pakistan appears as a nation that is heir to a distinct Indus Valley civilisation, whose appropriation of Islam is judged merely to highlight that which separated it from the predominantly Hindu societies of the Gangetic plains – differences formalised in 1947.
The second objective is to promote Pakistan as a “composite project” embraced by all communities indigenous to the Indus region without regard to their religion, race or ethnic background. The agenda is to widen the space for a more liberal-democratic and pluralist discourse in Pakistan than that allowed for by a state exclusively dedicated to Islam.
These themes find a strong echo in Iftikhar Malik’s analysis of Pakistan’s troubled engagement with issues of identity, democracy and pluralism since 9/11. Reflecting on the travails of this “modern nation in an ancient land”, he concludes that, notwithstanding significant odds, there are still some residual opportunities for “democracy, dialogue and distributive justice”. He points to feudal dynasties such as those of the Bhuttos, who were long accustomed to exercising seigneurial rights but have been forced to bow to the ballot box; to authoritarian military regimes, which have been obliged to surrender to the rule of law; and to medieval-minded religious extremists, who have been effectively contained by a nascent middle class committed to progress and tolerance.
Nevertheless, these tensions have taken a heavy toll. A widening Islamist insurgency, broken institutions, an ever-ambitious military and a virtually paralysed economy threaten the country. Their causes are complex, yet for Malik (as for most Pakistanis), the fault lies chiefly with foreign powers, notably the US and India. Their nefarious role looms large in his account of the spread of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, of the country’s failed experiments with democracy, and of the iron grip of its dominant military. Even the crisis triggered in 1971 by the secession of the country’s eastern province (East Pakistan), which led Pakistan to adopt a sharper Islamic profile, is blamed on others, namely India, for “push(ing) the Indus Valley nation into seeking greater commonality with West Asia and other Muslim states”.
This temptation to portray Pakistan as a victim whose history has been made and mangled by others is unfortunate, as it obscures what is otherwise a thoughtful exploration of this country and its many misfortunes. For Pakistan did make choices – choices that have left it today hopelessly vulnerable to the influence of foreign powers and their ideas. By choosing not to clarify its key relationship with Islam, the state fell prey to the tides of political Islam, whose roots lay beyond its borders. Equally, by choosing to elevate the cause of Kashmir above the welfare of its own citizens and pitting them in a futile conflict with India, Pakistan invited foreign interference. These facts, unpalatable though they are, need to be addressed if we are to move towards an intellectually honest interpretation of a country that demands to be better understood. www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=411636&c=2
May 20, 2010 No Comments
The writer is an economist working in Islamabad.
In his article of May 18, Mr Kashif Jahangiri repeats his claim that the current movement for Hazara province is a reaction to the “contempt” shown by Pakhtuns to Hazarewals. As I mentioned in my earlier article, this labelling is not unique to Pakhtuns and Hazarewals, and it’s also not one-sided.
While Mr Jahangiri bemoans the label of “Punjabi” and the contempt contained in it, I would remind him of labels like “Khocha,” “Akhrot” and “Phairay Pathan” that are tagged on Pakhtuns by Hindko speakers. Of course, I speak of my own experience, and I certainly have not met every Hindkowan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to ascertain whether they think of Pakhtuns as mentally deficient lower-life forms. I also cannot conclude on the basis of my personal experience whether these comments end at banter or are signs of deep-seated hate in the hearts of Hindkowans. Any conclusion that I draw based on my own experience and anecdotes from my friends and family would be marred by subjectivity. Although the conclusion and evidence would make sense to me, it would definitely not be good enough to be used in a debate such as this.
It is for this reason that I consider a democratically elected provincial assembly as the ideal barometer to judge whether this ethnic labelling is merely jest or entrenched ethnic hostility. And whether the supposed “contempt” and “hatred” of the Pashto-speaking electoral base is confirmed by the attitude of their elected leaders. But, as mentioned in my last article, Pakhtun-majority assemblies in the province have had no qualms about electing Hindko-speaking chief ministers. Not only that, the former NWFP has had more chief ministers from Hindko-speaking Hazara Division than from any other division of the province. Even Pakhtun nationalists have accepted Hindko speakers as their leaders.
The champions of the Pakhtunkhwa cause on televised debates, ANP stalwarts Haji Adeel and Bashir Bilour, are both Hindko speakers from Peshawar. This evidence only highlights the harmony and bonding between these two communities. The sour experiences of a few individuals cannot be used as proof of the case being otherwise, especially when the evidence in support of the harmony is undeniable and massive.
Ethnic discrimination and contempt that is of any consequence is more than just verbal. Reaction to labelling and name-calling subsides as one ages, and is an essential part of one’s growing up. Only when this labelling is accompanied by a history of bloodshed and economic exploitation does it have the potential to mobilise whole communities, ethnic groups or races into action. For instance, the term “Nigger” does not just refer to the skin colour of a race, but has a history of bondage, slavery and exploitation that makes it a slur for those against whom it is used. Its counterpart “Red Neck,” also a racist slur, does not carry the same venom as the “N-Word” because of the different experience of those it is applied to.
The Bengalis, despite being an outright majority in united Pakistan, were treated in a despicable manner in Pakistan. President Ayub Khan’s reference to them as “rats” (for which he later apologissed) was based on the “martial race” concept. Our Bengali brothers were denied of many of their constitutional and economic rights. For instance, their representation in the army was negligible, a mere five per cent of all the commissioned officers in the Pakistani army in 1965, according to the Library of Congress Country Study.
The majority in East Pakistan received a much smaller share even in development spending. If one is to divide the development expenditure of East Pakistan over that of West Pakistan, then, from 1950 to 1970, the Eastern Wing received just 40 per cent of the amount that was spent on West Pakistan. In other words, for every Rs100 spent in the minority West Pakistan, Rs40 were spent in the majority East Pakistan (source: the Planning Commission of Pakistan).
I completely agree with Mr Jahangiri when he says that the treatment of Bengalis by West Pakistanis was too distasteful to be compared with the communities featuring in our discussion. It is also for this lack of bloodshed and a lack of economic exploitation between Hindkowans and Pakhtuns that the case presented by Mr Jahangiri does not hold against rational scrutiny.
I also agree with Mr Jahangiri when he says that the dismissive approach adopted by West Pakistan in dealing with the genuine demands regarding the Bengali language was one of the key reasons for the creation of Bangladesh. Sadly, this dismissive approach was not limited to Bengali and was adopted in the renaming of NWFP as well.
The officialdom of East Pakistan was also resisted by the Bihari minority at that time. But, as Mr Jahangiri would agree, the dismissal of that legitimate demand was a wrong incurred by the Bengalis, a wrong that cannot be justified by the citing of the Biharis’ opposition. Similarly, the minority opposition to the name Pakhtunkhwa should not have been used to incur a similar wrong on the Pakhtuns.
One has to acknowledge the fact that the name Pakhtunkhwa has been approved by the assemblies of the province in question, both with and without ANP majority, and thus is much more than a mere “unreasonable” demand by Pakhtun nationalists. Furthermore, the name Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is a result of a series of compromises on the part of those who had been demanding “Pakhtunkhwa.”
One of the earliest criticisms of the abbreviation “NWFP” was done by the founding fathers of Pakistan. The historic 1933 pamphlet Now or Never, which called for the creation of Pakistan, refers to “Afghania Province.” Chaudhry Rehmat Ali decried the name NWFP by saying “It is wrongful, because it suppresses the social entity of these people.”
The rejection of “Afghania” (the first “a” in “Pakistan”) was followed by the rejection of “Pakhtunistan,” and then “Pakhtunkhwa,” both names acceptable to and demanded by a majority of the province, but denied due to minority opposition. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was actually a suggestion from those who opposed the hyphenated name and its acceptance and showed magnanimity on the part of the Pakhtuns. But their criticism, rather than appreciation for their agreeing to it, is mind-boggling, to say the least.
The demand for smaller provinces is a justified demand, for which our Constitution does have provisions. These four provinces were created to administer the population back in 1947. Given the massive rise in our numbers since then, the creation of smaller provinces makes sense even on an administrative level.
But, unlike Mr Jahangiri, I would not dub the Sooba Hazara movement as a reaction to the label “Punjabiyaan.” I would not define this outpouring on the streets and calls for complete shutter-downs as a reaction to mere name-calling. Furthermore, there are Awans, Gujjars, Abbasis and Jatts in Hazara who do not have a Pakhtun lineage and for whom the “denial of true identity” argument used by Mr Jahangiri, does not hold. Given that, I am confused as to what Mr Jahangiri means when he says “…it is the rejection of the identity of Hazarewals that is being exploited to flare up emotions.” How is the slur “Punjabiyaan” a rejection of the identity of Awans, Gujars, Jatts, and other non-Pakhtun Hazarewals?
There is a fair chance that for the campaigners of the Sooba Hazara movement, getting a province means a true realisation of their identity, which is neither Pakhtun nor Punjabi, but Hazaraewal. Maybe they feel that with their own separate province they would be able to get a higher level of development and prosperity. More power to them if that is the case.
A non-violent and peaceful democratic struggle is the only way for the achievement of their goals. Their efforts would be a fine addition to the history of democratic struggles in Pakistan, and would make this country a stronger federation, as well as a more mature democracy. http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=240210
May 20, 2010 No Comments
ABBOTTABAD/MANSEHRA: Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Wednesday staged protest rallies in support of a separate province for Hazara.
The rally in Abbottabad was led by JI Central Secretary General Liaqat Baloch, leaders of the Hazara Tehrik action committee including Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob, Abdur Razak Abbasi and Dr Azhar Jadoon.
The JI secretary general said it would lead to a revolution in the country if the Hazara province was not created forthwith. He added the JI would support the Hazara Tehrik long march towards Islamabad and receive the participants at Jhari Kas.
Liaqat Baloch flayed the Awami National Party (ANP) for promoting regional and ethnic politics. He asked the government to remove drawbacks in the 18th Amendment and establish Hazara province through another amendment.
Earlier, speaking at a rally in Mansehra, the JI leader said the ANP never accepted existence of Pakistan and it was striving for greater Pakhtunistan after deceiving the PPP leaders. Younas Khattak, Dr Tariq Sherazi, Syed Junaid Qasim, Hadayatullah Shah, Maulana Qudratullah Qadri, Rafique Rehman Qamar and others also spoke on occasion.
Liaqat Baloch said his party was in favour of more provinces in the country and would launch a movement for it.“It is the need of the hour that rulers listen to the voice of people and create a separate province of Hazara as more provinces can strengthen the federation,” he said.
The JI leader said that the rulers should refuse to take dictates from the US, but lamented that they were following the policy of divide and rule. Earlier JI staged a rally, which started from Markaz-e-Islami and culminated at Markazi Chowk.
May 20, 2010 No Comments
ISLAMABAD: The government will facilitate the judiciary if it decides to summon former president Pervez Musharraf, Law Minister Babar Awan said on Wednesday.
Winding up the debate on the president’s address to the joint session of parliament in the Senate, he said, “The government will not create any hurdles in the way of the apex court if it summons Musharraf in connection with the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).” However, he said the government was not ready to violate the constitution and the law pertaining to “certain issues”.
In his speech, the law minister praised the president, saying that Zardari’s third address to parliament was proof that the roots of democracy were being strengthened in the country.
He said the presidential address was a road map for the government and that following the map would result in progress on the country’s political, economic and democratic agenda.
Appear in court: “The Pakistan People’s party (PPP) believes in accountability, but it should be across the board and must not result in political victimisation… it should not be for a specific person or party,” the law minister said, adding that he would appear before the SC on March 25 to present the government’s point of view on the implementation of the NRO, which reflects the respect that the government has for the judiciary.
Two offices: Defending the president for holding two offices, the law minister said there was nothing in the constitution that suggested that more than one office cannot be held by a president.
The law minister condemned the competition of the blasphemous cartoons held by some foreign countries, saying the government would take up the issue at an international level. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\20\story_20-5-2010_pg1_3
Musharraf says he will return before next election
WASHINGTON, May 19: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said that he will return to Pakistan before the next elections.
At a news conference in Washington, the former military ruler also launched a group called Friends of Pakistan First, which included delegates from 26 US states.
The group will provide “financial, technical and intellectual” support to Mr Musharraf’s campaign for re-launching himself into Pakistani politics without the military’s backing.
“I have decided to return to Pakistan and participate in politics,” he told the briefing. “I have not fixed a date yet but there is a desire to return before the next elections, whether they are end-term or mid-term.”
The former military ruler disagreed with suggestion that his bid to re-launch himself would fail because he did not have enough political support in the country and also lacked an effective political institution to back his move.
“I do not overestimate myself but underestimation is also wrong,” he said. “I do not know why Imran Khan failed and I do not believe in such comparisons. But I think I can succeed.”
The former military strongman said that he already enjoyed some popular support, which he hoped would expand when he returned home.
“There are MPAs, MNAs and senators who already support us. And they will join our group when it is formally launched in Pakistan,” he said. www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/musharraf-says-he-will-return-before-next-election-050.
May 20, 2010 No Comments