Friday, December 15, 2017

Time for #Pakistan to Apologize to #Bangladesh

Pakistan Army As Politically Disruptive Force In Nation-Building – OpEd

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Pakistan Army having ruled over Pakistan for nearly half its existence since 1947 has no credits to distinguish itself in terms of Pakistan’s nation-building; the contrary is true in that despite its pretentions of being the “Glue that Holds Pakistan Together”, Pakistan as a nation in 2017 is unstuck and dysfunctional.
Pakistan as the minor inheritor of British India along with much larger India with much larger challenges in nation-building could have emerged as an equally democratic, progressive and economically vibrant nation like India. But what picture does Pakistan project as the second decade of the 21st Century draws to a close?
Pakistan today projects a picture of a dysfunctional nation steeped and slipping into an abyss of medieval Islamic obscurantism—-sadly into the very opposite conception of Pakistan which its founder Jinnah had visualised. Pakistan’s liberalist sections and the educated middle class stands drowned by the Pakistan Army-Mullah nexus, both intent on keeping Pakistan as a nation state embracing 21st Century modernity.
Pakistan today presents sordid picture where the Pakistan Army as the main dominant force presiding over Pakistan’s political directions and so also its foreign policies has strongly and disruptively impeded Pakistan’s emergence as a moderate, democratic .and progressive Islamic State. A progressive and democratic Pakistan would be expected to clamp down on the Pakistan Army-Islamic Theocracy combine and also bring the Pakistan Army under firm civilian control.
The Pakistan Army has done so not due to any external or domestic pressures but by its own volition and its own compulsions to remain and sustain its privileged monopoly of State power and governance. The Pakistan Army could have achieved the same end as many other Armies of the world in similar situations have done without resorting to enlisting the support of Islamic Mullahs (clerics), Islamic Jihadi terrorist outfits and Islamic fundamentalists of the most medieval type as its mainstays to rule and stay in power in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Army misappropriates the lion’s share of Pakistan’s National Budget for empowering itself with nuclear weapons, nuclear-tipped long range ballistic missiles and advanced military hardware. All of this at great cost and at the expense of impoverished Pakistani masses. Good education and health services in Pakistan suffer on this account.
The Pakistan Army also spends large amounts of money other than that allotted in its lion’s share of the defence budget for subsidising Pakistan Army sponsored proxy war against India and Afghanistan by use of the various Islamic Jihadi terrorist groups affiliated and subsidised by it. Reports suggest that such money also is derived from illicit drugs money trade resorted to by Pakistan Army’s intelligence agency—the ISI.
Contextually therefore, in light of the above overview profile on the Pakistan Army, some pertinent questions that this Paper attempts to examine are as follows: (1) Is Pakistan Army really the glue which holds Pakistan together? (2) What are the salient dimensions of Pakistan Army’s politically disruptive activities that impede Pakistan’s nation-building? (3) How has the Pakistan Army been able to get away for decades without adverse domestic accountability costs in as a politically disruptive force in Pakistan’s national affairs? (4) How has the Pakistan Army been able to get away from its external accountability for ethnic genocides/ second Partition of Pakistan in 1971/nuclear weapons proliferation/and officially sponsored Islamic Jihadi terrorism not only against its immediate neighbours but also against the United States, namely the horrific 9/11bombings in New York and in Washington?
Pakistan Army has failed in promoting or adding to cohesion of the Pakistani State going by its demonstrated performance record. On the contrary, the Pakistan Army emerges as the main instrument of Pakistan’s breakup into two separate nations of the rump state of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pakistan Army may soon repeat the same blunder in Balochistan and Gilgit regions. Pakistan Army continues to support its Sunni-predominant Islamist theocratic allies against the legitimate existence of Pakistan’s sectarian minorities—- the Shias and the Ahmediyas. Pakistan as a nation has selected a “strange type of glue” to hold Pakistan together. But then will the Pakistan Army ever allow the Pakistan citizenry to select the appropriate glue to hold Pakistan together?
Salient dimensions of Pakistan Army’s politically disruptive activities to impede Pakistan’s nation building and emergence as a progressive nation incorporate (1) Genuine democracy being prevented to strike roots by frequent military rule interventions whenever the Pakistan Army perceived that the balance of political power was getting shifted in favour of civilian governments (2) Towards this end, the Pakistan Army contrived critical law& order situations projecting imminent state-collapse due to civilian government mis governance. (3) Dividing Pakistan’s political parties through use of political surrogates and elections financed and manipulated by the ISI. (4) Not permitting civilian governments to complete their full five years tenure.
Pakistan Army has managed to get away from domestic accountability for its politically disruptive activities on the strength of its suppressive and coercive capacities of the ISI against any vocal opposition surfacing against it. Pakistan Army has never been held accountable for its loss of East Pakistan, its defeat in the 1965 and 1971 Wars that it launched against India, the Kargil military misadventure against India in 1999 and the complicity of the Pakistan Army hierarchy in facilitating United States Special Operations to strike deep in Pakistan’s heartland and in its major garrison town to liquidate Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan’s above referred military misadventures are quoted as politically disruptive activities as these impeded and interrupted Pakistan’s economic progress and also enabled Pakistan Army to divert domestic attention from its mis governance and corruption during long spells of military rule.
Pakistan Army has been adept at getting away from any external accountability for its ethnic genocides, proxy war sponsorship and use of Islamic Jihadi terrorism because of the permissiveness of its strategic patrons who exploited the rental Army instincts of the Pakistan Army military hierarchy for their own politically expedient strategic ends. Earlier the United States and now China have used the Pakistan Army as a willing accomplice for furthering their geopolitical ends in the region.
Both the United States and China preferred long spells of military rule in Pakistan so as to achieve their strategic objectives for which the Pakistan Army traded its strategic utility for silence of its external patrons on Pakistan’ Army’s hold on Pakistan’s political directions, foreign policy and to say the least Pakistan Army’s nuclear weapons technology proliferation. During the Cold War, the United Sates used the Pakistan Army to balance India’s non-alignment and now China uses Pakistan Army as its frontline state against India and the United States.
However, the Pakistan Army cannot endlessly get away with its perpetuation of controlling the destiny of Pakistan to suit neither its narrow vested corporate interests nor the vested interests of its new strategic patron China. With social media as a rising global phenomenon and its potential to open Pakistani masses windows to a wider globalised world of opportunities, especially economic, Pakistani masses cannot remain as mute spectators to the virtually colonial yoke of the Pakistan Army on Pakistan’s future and destiny. Winds of opposition to the Pakistan Army are visible in Pakistan’s civil society.
Observations made by me in the Paper above stand validated by the comments which I happened to come across as I was racing towards the Concluding Comments. Pakistan’s noted former distinguished diplomat Ashraf Jahangir Qazi in an article in DAWN today had some very scathing comments to make on the sordid state that Pakistan finds itself today.
The more notable excerpts from this scathing piece are appended below:
  • “Given the triumph of religious obscurantism, the politically motivated security establishment, and the utterly corrupt and cowardly governance, what can another election do?”

  • “Learned analyses of Pakistan’s political, security, economic, social and external challenges, and discussions about roadmaps and timelines for their possible resolution are all rendered irrelevant by the tragic state it has been reduced to by its rulers and guardians(read Pakistan Army)”

  • “Moreover, the country’s elites, who rule without conscience or pity, readily plead their inability to address the situation while doing everything to ensure that it remains unaddressed. They deliberately rob the people of faith in themselves.”
The Pakistan Army to perpetuate its role as arbiter of Pakistan’s destiny, security and holding Pakistan together has obsessively quoted the ‘India Threat within Pakistan to the Pakistani masses. The Pakistan Army has played this canard for far too long. This myth also stands shattered by Ambassador Qazi in his scathing piece quoted above with the remarks: “Why should India try to destroy Pakistan when the country’s rulers are destroying themselves.”
Concluding, I would like to assert that though the Pakistan Army and its Islamic Jihadi cohorts who perpetuate the existing unfortunate state of affairs as a politically disruptive force in Pakistan’s nation-building, must remember that while their faith may temporarily be numbed, they need to recall their resilient mass surge of 2007-09 when the Pakistan Army and its military ruler then, General Musharraf was forced to relent and leave office by Pakistani peoples power manifested on the streets of Islamabad and the march from Lahore to Islamabad. The people of Pakistan need to say “Yes, we can” and end the politically disruptive role of the Pakistan Army and propel 21sst Century Pakistan to a modern, moderate, democratic and economically vibrant future.

Pakistan: Power Cuts Dampen Christmas Season

By Kamran Chaudhry
Christians in Pakistan are aggrieved that an official blind eye has been turned to requests for Christmas exemptions to annual load-shedding power cuts.
“There will be no electricity, especially in Christian-majority settlements on Christmas, I can bet on it,” Father Inayat Bernard told ucanews.
The rector of the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Lahore was referring to power cuts that resumed across the country this month.
There are four-hour daily cuts to the supply of electricity as temperatures fall to minus 12°C in some areas.
“They don’t care about us,” Father Bernard said.
“We are not considered equal citizens or even humans.”
The government had a poor track record when it came to facilitating the religious celebrations of minorities, he added.
The lack of electricity was also affecting Christian marriages, which are popular during the Christmas season.
Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore and Protestant leaders were continuing to press for special consideration in regard to load-shedding.
Khalil Tahir Sandhu, the Christian Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs in Punjab Province, also requested “uninterrupted supply” during the Christmas period.
The representation was made by Sandhu in a Dec. 5 letter to the federal minister responsible for water and power supplies.
Father Inayat Bernard lauded the minister for his efforts, but said he did not trust the government.
In 2012, the then State Minister for National Harmony, Akram Masih Gill, had given an assurance that power would not be interrupted.
“It was a lie,” Father Bernard complained.
For the past five years, generators had been needed to conduct Christmas and New Year masses, incurring additional cost.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Dec. 9 reportedly said that the government had successfully accomplished the mission of ridding Pakistan of load-shedding, besides launching projects to meet all the country’s power needs going forward to 2030.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the 1263-megawatt Punjab Power Plant in Jhang district, Abbasi said that there were no longer any instances of load-shedding in the country except in areas where cases of power theft had been reported.
The first phase of the LNG-fuelled project is expected to be completed in 14 months and generate 810MW of electricity while the output would reach 1263 MW after completion of the second phase in 26 months, AFP reported.
Riding the country of load-shedding was an election promise of Abassi’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
When the government came into power in 2013, power cuts were at their worst with load-shedding up to 20 hours a day during summer, which sparked riots and attacks on the offices of power distribution companies by angry protestors.

For how long can Indian and Pakistani Muslims resist the Saudi influence?

By Christophe Jaffrelot and Laurence Louer
The two-way traffic of the nineteenth century, when Muslim scholars of South Asia and the Middle East—including clerics of Mecca and Medina—were in a conversation, is something of the past. Indeed, as shown by Ayesha Sidiqqa, the “madrasa system in Pakistan now represents a one-way traffic in which financial patronage has shaped the discourse in the country since the 1980s.” However, Gulf influence is not unequivocal as the Wahhabi-Salafi brand of Islam widespread in Arabia is transformed while travelling to South Asia, having to adapt and coexist with South Asian understandings of Islam.

Hence Samina Yasmeen argues that Lashkar-e-Taiba could attract followers only by “indigenising the Salafi narrative,” especially in respect to and regarding women. In spite of…attacks, dargahs remain part of popular Islam and Muslims continue to visit them, along with Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs. Yet while this dimension of the religious scene is true across South Asia, it is the most obvious on the Indian side. Pilgrims continue to attend Urs festivities, and Pakistanis apply for visas to visit the Ajmer Dargah. Sharif and other shrines. Interestingly…Sufism has also made some inroads into the Gulf monarchies, following in the footsteps of the South Asian diaspora there and establishing links with the local Sufi networks eager to find support at home against the encroachment of Salafi ultra-orthodoxy. Regionalism—often mixed with Sufism—has also been an antidote to Salafism in different provinces of South Asia.

 It has contained the Salafi external influences even more effectively when local cultures combined with the popular religion par excellence that is Sufism. Sindh is a case in point. Sindhi nationalists look at themselves as the descendants of the Indus civilization. Their ideologue in chief, GM Syed (1904–95) used to say, “I am Sindhi for 5,000 years, I am Muslim for 1,400 years, I am Pakistani for 63 years.”Sufism has also mamonarchies.
“Saudi Arabisation” in Pakistan
Clearly, despite the resilience of local perceptions and practices of Islam, a process of “Saudi Arabisation” of Islam is taking place across South Asia. In Pakistan, the state is a major actor in this process—a point that needs to be re-emphasised. As mentioned by several contributors to this volume, the growing religious influence of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan is one of the legacies of Zia’s Islamisation policy. Since then, the government has oscillated between long phases of greater rapprochement with the Saudis and short episodes of equidistant relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Islamabad has been closer to Riyadh when rulers came from the army or the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), a party whose leader, Nawaz Sharif, had found refuge in Jeddah from 2000 to 2007 when General Musharraf exiled him after the 1999 coup. The Sharifs had already good relations with the Saudi ruling family, but these links intensified. Not only did one of Nawaz’s daughters marry a grandson of King Fahd, but Nawaz and his brother developed several businesses in Saudi Arabia—a country they visited very often, for more than pilgrimages.
By contrast, when the People’s Pakistan Party was in office, the government tried to promote better relations with Iran, a policy Riyadh attributed to the Shi‘a background of the Bhutto family. While Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the party, never declared whether he was a Shi‘a or not, he married an Iranian woman, a decision that fostered suspicion. When Asif Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, became president in 2008, he favoured a balanced attitude vis-à-vis Iran.
On the Indian side, a similar development has taken shape with the creation of Peace TV channel by Abdul Karim Zakir Naik who has reached a reported 100 million viewers. Zakir Naik speaks against Sufi devotions and Shi‘ism in more or less explicit terms. Besides electronic media, physical communications have also intensified. The number of Pakistanis who performed the Hajj has jumped from 12,300 in 1948 to 58,743 in 1974 and then crossed 100,000 by the late twentieth century, reaching 190,000 in 2012. Islamic influences are also conveyed via migrations. Individual stories of Indian Muslims who have become more orthodox during their stay in the Gulf are numerous.
Beyond individual trajectories, Saudis are supporting Salafi enterprises in South India, including Kerala where former migrants have resettled. According to a cable of the Saudi embassy in Delhi, millions of Riyals have been reserved for the Islamic Mission Trust of Malappuram (Kerala), the Islamic Welfare Trust, and the Palghat Mujahideen Arabic College (Kerala). Recently, two new Islamic organisations have started to benefit from Saudi financial support in South India, and more especially in Kerala: the Popular Front of India and the Social Democratic Party of India.
Filippo and Caroline Osella point out that the “pan-Islamic orientation” of Muslims of this state has increased over the last 30 years for two reasons: “not only has Gulf migration brought thousands of Malayali Muslims close to what they imagine as the heartland of Islam and exposed them—with all ensuing contradictions and ambivalences—to life in Muslim-majority countries, but it has also renewed ties with Arab religious scholars. There is a sense of participating in a worldwide renaissance of Islamic “moral values and culture.” Today, the attractiveness of Salafism increases with education—a major factor of social transformation in Kerala; so much so that the cult of saints and Sufism are “associated to ignorance, superstition and uncouthness; it is seen as characteristic of either rural (Mappila) or poor Muslims.”
Transnational Shi‘ism and Iranian influence
Finally, as far as Shi‘a Islam is concerned, this volume has confirmed that the transnational networks woven around the centres of religious authority in Iraq and Iran continue to wield a great deal of influence in the structuring of the landscape of South Asian Shi‘ism. Studying in Iraq or Iran is still a must for any ambitious South Asian Shi‘a cleric. It confers a great amount of symbolic legitimacy but also access to financial resources. No such thing is witnessed among Sunnis, where the new religious centrality of Arabia has not materialised in such a firmly established monopoly over religious authority. The centrality of Iraq and Iran for South Asian Shi‘as should be seen both as a reflection of the old Indo-Persian dynamic that, in particular, shaped the politics and culture of the Mughal empire, and of the resilience of the old Shi‘a clerical institutions which, far from having been sidelined by the emergence and development of political Islam, has been at the very heart of this activist brand of Shi‘ism.
On one hand, the rise of Hindu nationalism in India is gradually transforming Indian Muslims into second-class citizens, while on the other, the South Asian brand of Islam has lost some of its “autonomy” because of the growing influence coming from the Gulf. The Sufi traditions are already under attack in Pakistan, where sectarian repertoires are gaining momentum, and Sunni militants rallying around the idea of the Caliphate once again. Even if it shows some resilience, the Indo-Islamic civilisation will inevitably transform itself into something new in the course of the 21st century.

#APSPeshawar - #Pakistan: Three years after 140 died in the #Peshawar school massacre, what has changed?

Rachel Roberts
Some labelled the attack 'Pakistan’s 9/11 moment'

What was the Peshawar school massacre?
Described as the “massacre of the innocents”, the devastating Taliban attack left at least 141 people dead, including 132 children and nine members of mainly female staff at their Peshawar Army Public School in the north-west of Pakistan.
Seven terrorists burst in and opened fire, killing many of the young victims at point-blank range and detonating bombs around the school.
The world reacted with horror to the deaths of so many children, who ranged in age from eight to 18, with some labelling it “Pakistan’s 9/11 moment” and a call to wake up to the clear and present danger posed by the Taliban.
Who was responsible?
The hardline Islamist gunmen who carried out the attack were all foreign nationals, including a Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans.
Affiliated with the Tehrik and Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant movement, all six were killed by the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG), who rescued a total of 960 people in an eight-hour operation.
At the time of the attack, the Taliban had been weakened through Pakistani military operations in the region and it was believed the slaughter was carried out in response to the crackdown.
How did Pakistan respond to the atrocity?
The then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leaders of various political and religious parties were united in their strong condemnation of the abhorrent attack and vowed to do more to wipe out terrorism. For days following the massacre, Pakistanis in major cities held candlelit vigils, with the initial grief giving way to anger as they took to the streets to demand action against pro-Taliban preachers.
The government restored the death penalty, hanging four militants involved in the Peshawar massacre in 2015, and placing hundreds of prisoners on death row.
Extra security measures were ordered around schools following the slaughter
The man believed to have masterminded the attack, Omar Khorasani, was killed in a drone strike in eastern Afghanistan in October 2017.
Who are the TTP?
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is a loose association of various militant groups who oppose the Pakistani state and want to implement Sharia law. Most of the Taliban militants are believed to have their origins in groups sponsored, aided and abetted in some way by the state.
Following the Peshawar atrocity, the Prime Minister recognised the country had appeared ambivalent towards the extremists, and vowed to end the distinction between “good” and “bad” Taliban.
Mr Sharif said of the new approach: “All Taliban are bad Taliban. Extremism of any kind – of thought, action, religious or political extremism – is bad. We have to eliminate them wherever we find them.”
He also vowed to “regulate” madrassa – the teaching of Islam – admitting that unregulated education could be “very dangerous”.
The Taliban has controlled areas in the north-west of Pakistan for recent years, as well as proving a major force in Afghanistan.
Three years on, has anything changed in Pakistan?
Despite the promises in the wake of the massacre, little appears to have been done to drive out the Taliban.
The National Counter-Terrorism Authority was formed eight years ago, but the Pakistani government is accused of failing to properly fund and develop the organisation.
Militant attacks are down in number compared to three years ago, but the minority Shias continue to be targeted by extremist groups.
In spite of the promises to crack down on extremist ideology, supposedly banned sectarian groups are still finding ways to field candidates in local elections and the promised regulation of madrassa has also failed to amount to anything more than words, according to those monitoring the situation.

Video - #multanbhuttoka - Mai Baghi Hoon (Jeyay Bhutto) - Long Live Bhuttoism !!!

#multanbhuttoka - Kitne Maqbool Hain Bhutto Hamaray

#MultanBhuttoKa - Dilan Teer Bijan Dhol

#MultanBhuttoKa - Kal bi bhutto Zinda tha Ajj bi Bhutto Zinda hai

Video - #MultanBhuttoKa - Waqt Ki Zaban Hai BILAWAL

Video - #MultanBhuttoKa - Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Addressing Public Gathering in Multan. 15th Dec, 2017

#MultanBhuttoKa - Former President of Pakistan & PPPP President Asif Ali Zardari Addressing Public Gathering in Multan

#MultanBhuttoKa - #PPP’s Multan Rally: Will give South Punjab provincial status, says Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that his party [after coming into power] would give South Punjab the provincial status.
He was addressing a public rally at Qasim Bagh stadium, Multan on Friday.
Bilawal said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government captured the resources of South Punjab, adding that the government had done nothing for the reformers.
Taking a jab at Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, he said the Punjab government had failed to safeguard the interests of the region.
“No single hospital is made in Punjab during Shehbaz’s tenure ,” Bilawal said, adding that PPP’s government in Sindh made several hospitals which were providing free medical facilities to the citizens.
He further said that the chief minister Punjab would have to pay for his wrongdoings. “Shehbaz Sharif, you will be held accountable for the Model Town tregedy,” He said.
He went on to say that the ousted premier Nawaz Sharif was responsible for weak democracy in Pakistan.
“You[Nawaz Sharif] are responsible for the weak parliament in the country,” he said.
Bilawal also critcised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan saying: “Imran claims himself the leader of the youth. But my question is; what you have done for the youth?”
He said that Imran introduced the culture of abusive language in the country.
He advised the PTI chief to “learn the ethics of politics”
Bilawal also urged the people of South Punjab to pledge their support for PPP.
Earlier, PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and other senior party leaders addressed the rally which was held as the part of the party’s pre-election campaign in the province.

#Pakistan - ATM out of order, Bilawal tweets after Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification

Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tweeted his response to the Supreme Court disqualifying Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Jahangir Tareen.
“ATM out of order #TareenOUT,” Bilawal said on Twitter after the apex court announced its verdict.

The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Tareen but cleared PTI chairman Imran Khan in the disqualification case against them.
Reading the judgment, the chief justice ruled that Imran is not disqualified as a parliamentarian as the petitioner was not directly affected in the foreign funding case.
The court also ruled that the ECP will impartially investigate the foreign funding claims against the PTI chief by scrutinising accounts up till five years ago.
With regards to Tareen, the judgment stated that the PTI secretary general had pleaded guilty to insider trading.
Tareen cannot be termed honest and stands disqualified for life as per Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution, according to the Supreme Court judgment.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto to address historical the public rally in Multan today

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is set to demonstrate its political power in Multan’s Qasim Bagh stadium on Friday. All arrangements have been finalised and the venue has been decorated with party flags, flexes, and posters. The former prime minister Yousif Raza gilani has said that PPP chairman will address a historical public gathering today. 
Khawaja Rizwan Alam, the party’s senior vice-president for South Punjab, briefed the media that as many as 80,000 chairs have been set up for the party workers at the Qasim Bagh stadium, and the party is expecting 150,000 people to attend the gathering.
The rally organisers have claimed that the stage will have the capacity to accommodate 200 leaders.
PPPP’s president Asif Ali Zardari, former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah, former premier Raja Pervez Asharf, PPP South Punjab President Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood and other party leaders will also address the public gathering today.