Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Collective wisdom?
The Nizam-e-Adl, establishing Qazi courts and enforcing Sharia, is now the law in Malakand Division. A region making up the state of Pakistan has moved beyond the established law of the land, as laid down in the Constitution. The extremist militants who threaten every aspect of our way of life have succeeded in having their demands fully met. The tactics of blackmail and coercion, and the open threat to MNAs who opposed the regulation from the Taliban, have paid off. There was almost no opposition; the 'liberals' voted with the right-wing representatives of religious parties. Who knows what impact this precedent will have in the future and how it will shape our destiny. In what seems to have been a savvy political move on the part of the president to parry pressure from the ANP to sign the resolution and from the US not to do so, the issue was placed before parliament. The ANP's objection to this seeking of collective wisdom seems illogical. On major issues the representatives of people should decide. As it were, the fears of the party from NWFP that the PPP may block the move proved unfounded. In a clear cut verdict, all major parties voted for the resolution; the PPP and the PML-N vocally supported it. Only the MQM made its opposition to the resolution known as a party, walking out of the NA proceeding. One brave MNA from Chakwal alone placed conscience over party loyalty or personal safety and opposed an accord signed under the shadow of guns. So, we have the majority verdict. The NA indeed went so far as to recommend the president sign the resolution. This he has done, glad no doubt that the sole responsibility for so controversial a piece of legislature was taken out of his hands.But is the majority always right? Has it in this case acted wisely? Or has the herd instinct and fear overtaken the capacity to think rationally and sensibly. Much like the fable involving the emperor and his invisible 'new clothes', it seems no one is ready to call a spade a spade and remove the veneer of religion from the accord which has been cleverly used by the Taliban to render it apparently sacrosanct. This is a familiar tactic used on many occasions particularly since the time of the late General Ziaul Haq. We need to ask questions as to what the Shariah law will achieve. Will it in any way help to tackle militancy or will it encourage the elements who promote it? In Swat recruitment by the militants has been stepped up. Boys who no longer have schools to go to, and are not permitted to play cricket or hear music, are being brought in to madressahs run by the men of Maulana Fazalullah to wage 'jihad'. The reign of the extremists continues. Whose ends will this process serve? Where will it take us? It also seems likely that the overwhelming success of the Swat militants will encourage others to follow their lead. In the past the militants have extracted the maximum possible advantage from any concession granted to them. It seems likely they will do so again. Already, calls to impose Shariah have been heard from Bajaur. The same demand will, no doubt, come in from other places too – and one day our parliament, as it attempts to legislate for a state spinning out of central control, may have to face up to the consequences of what their action has led to.

Pakistan Is Partitioned By Its National Assembly

Syed Hussaini
A new Afghanistan is created
People of Pakistan! As reported by the Geo TV website, your “National Assembly has passed the resolution in support of Nizam-e-Adl Regulation 2009 for Malakand Division.” The President of Pakistan has signed it.

That means that the Malakand Division would now be governed by Taliban law, not by the Law of Pakistan.

It is the first time in the history of mankind that a national legislature has conceded, without being under coercion, the state's writ over a part of the country.

Practically, Pakistan had already surrendered its writ over Swat, the NWFP and the FATA. Balochistan has exploded over the killing of three political leaders near Turbat. If we look at the map, the entire western part of Pakistan, from the north to the south, is effectively a separate entity. A vertical de facto partition of Pakistan had already taken place.

With the National Assembly of Pakistan passing this resolution, the de facto partition is now de jure, legal. It appears to be limited to the Malakand Division. However, it is a legal precedent to include other divisions at later dates. Bit by bit, the whole de facto partition of Pakistan would be de jure.

It is more than a Greek tragedy. The elected representatives of the people of Pakistan partitioning the country without a referendum to know if their constituents had really wanted to partition their homeland. It is the ultimate treachery. The betrayal of the nation by its elected representatives.

The National Assembly of Pakistan did not even bother to debate over this monumental issue.

Starting from the south, we now have Sindh, Punjab and Islamabad as the east wing of Pakistan. In the west, we have Balochistan, the FATA, the NWFP and the Northern Areas forming the west wing of Pakistan.

Effectively, we have two countries, now. Before we know it, two different names would be popping up in the press to distinguish them from each other.

Monday, April 13, 2009, is a black day in the history of Pakistan. What makes it worse is that the people of Pakistan do not appear to know it.

It appears, awareness comes to those only, who seek it.

The Taliban once ruled Afghanistan. They ruled it in a way that it brought in the wrath of the United States. The Taliban were defeated and ran for their lives. They sought refuge in Pakistan and made themselves the rulers of a substantial part of their refuge.

The Americans had been telling Islamabad to take out the Taliban in Pakistan. Instead, Islamabad has carved out a separate domain for the Taliban. Islamabad has created a new Afghanistan for the Taliban.

If it comes to that, the U.S. would not be opening a third front, either. For the Americans, it would just be an extension of an existing front to deal militarily with the Taliban on their new turf; rolling in from one Afghanistan to another.

The danger looms larger than ever because the Pakistanis are being self-destructive.

Lawmakers shed crocodile tears on Pakhtuns’ arrests

ISLAMABAD: The lawmakers belonging to North West Frontier province on Tuesday raised serious concern in the National Assembly over the continued crackdown against Pakhtuns and their arrests in various cities of Punjab and Federal Capital in the name of security measures urging the government to stop the practice forthwith. Various members from the province while speaking on points of order raised the issue of crackdown and arrests of Pakhtuns in various cities of Punjab and Islamabad urging the Ministry of Interior to stop such action as it was promoting resentment among the Pakhtuns. Responding to the members concern and pointing out by Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi who was chairing the House at the time that he had also received various complaints of harassment and arrests of the innocent people belonging to Pakhtun community, the Minister of State for Interior Tasleem Qureshi assured the House that he would take up the matter with the high ups of the ministry and present a report in the House in a day or two. He further said that the law enforcement agencies have been instructed only to book those who are suspected. Qureshi also assured the House that those involved in the killing of Baloch political leaders would be brought to justice adding that a report in this regard would be presented in the House within two or three days. Earlier, MNA from Bajaur, Eng. Shaukatullah raised the issue of arrest and harassing people from his constituency saying that those victims of the Bajaur military operation who are residing and working in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad were being booked and victimized by the law enforcement agencies and urged the government to stop the practice.

Afghanistan warns against deal

KABUL: Afghanistan on Tuesday warned that the peace deal with Swat Taliban for imposing Islamic law might have “dire consequences” for the region and could harm Pak-Afghan ties. The criticism came after President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation to put Malakand under sharia law. The move is part of efforts to end the insurgency, despite fears that it could encourage extremism. “We do not interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs,” President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said. However, there were concerns that “dealing with terrorists and handing over parts of one country to terrorists could have dire consequences in the long term”, he said.

Altaf criticises NA for endorsing ‘Talibanisation Bill’

Extending support to the Nizam-e Adal regulation by the National Assembly is in fact tantamount to accepting the “Talibanisation Bill,” Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has said.“The Muttahida Qaumi Movement will never accept or support this regulation at any cost because this law has been put up by a certain group in the name of so-called Nizam-e-Adal regulation,” he said on Tuesday while delivering a telephonic address from London at a meeting held at the Muttahida Qaumi Movement headquarters, Nine-Zero. “Two types of judicial systems cannot be run in the country and by supporting such a regulation, the National Assembly has paved the way for running parallel judicial systems in the country.”The situation will have serious repercussions and from now every sect will try to bring its own judicial system in the country, Hussain said. “We have serious reservations over the Niazm-e-Adal regulation and we regret that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was not allowed to discuss or debate the matter in the House, which is against parliamentary rules and regulations,” he said.The Nizam-e-Adal regulation is also against the provisions of the 1973 Constitution and various political and religious parties have their reservations in this regard, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief maintaned.He said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement will soon hold a convention of Ulema of all sects to discuss the Nizam-e-Adl Bill at length. “The Muttahida Qaumi Movement is not against Shariat, but against Talibanisation,” he said.Hussain declared that Muttahida Qaumi Movement had been opposing Talibanisation and will continue doing so, and this is “the final decision of the party.”Hussain also appealed to people to speak out against Talibanisation. He paid tributes to Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislators for opposing this regulation.

Kerry expresses concerns over Nizam-i-Adl

PESHAWAR: US Senator John Kerry has expressed his concerns over the Nizam-i-Adl regulation.

Kerry raised his doubts while discussing the regulation with NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti in Peshawar.

During the meeting between the two, the situation in Swat also came under discussion.

Chief Minister Hoti urged the US Senator for an immediate halt in Drone attacks on Pakistani soil as it is creating hatred among the masses for the US.

Hoti also appealed to Senator Kerry for help in rebuilding Educational institutions in the Swat Valley.

US Ambassador Anne Patterson was also present at the meeting.

Pakistan sharia law infringes rights, democracy: US

WASHINGTON: The White House said Tuesday that an accord signed by Pakistan's president putting part of the country under Islamic law in a bid to combat the Taliban went against human rights and democracy.White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the Obama administration believed that ‘solutions involving security in Pakistan don't include less democracy and less human-rights.‘The signing of that denoting strict Islamic law in the Swat valley goes against both of those principles.’We are disappointed the parliament did not take into account legitimate concerns around civil and human rights.’President Asif Ali Zardari's move formalised a controversial deal between a pro-Taliban cleric, who led thousands of supporters to fight against US troops in Afghanistan, and the government in North West Frontier Province.The deal applies to Malakand, a district of around three million people in the province that includes the Swat valley.The central government lost control in Swat, a former ski resort and jewel in the crown of Pakistani tourism, after cleric Maulana Fazlullah launched a campaign to enforce Taliban-style sharia.