Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Hidden Agenda – disintegrating Pakistan? by Nadia Khan

When common people use to say that, "America's hidden agenda is to counter the nuclear program of Pakistan and take it under their control," it was termed as the height of fanaticism & slogans of religious fanatics.  Since when US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has said, "Pakistan's government had abdicated to the Taliban by agreeing to the Islamic law in part of the country and that the nuclear-armed nation posed a "mortal threat" to world security" and started raising doubts about the integrity of Pakistan & advancement of Taliban towards Islamabad, it became in black & white that what type of role US is looking for itself in Pakistan in near future.


The recent hype in US & foreign media about Pakistan disintegration within a year or so, Baluchistan, Swat peace deal & the power struggle of Taliban to take over any territory, from where they could receive request to implement Shariah, looks like a systematic approach towards a defined anti –Pakistan strategy. Chain of articles in foreign newspapers depicting the unstable situation of two provinces of Pakistan, poll & survey that half of Pakistani population is unsatisfied to live within the federation, and statements from the exile figure heads stating the atrocities in most deprived areas, all are painting a picture of larger conspiracy against Pakistan!


All has started soon after present govt has signed the peace deal in Swat. Initially it was countered through NGOs by highlighting the dark side of radical Islamist such as women flogging video & burnt schools etc. Once the countering strategy failed and Supreme Court distanced itself carefully to handle the case with true justice sprit, a new approach is adopted. Main ingredients of this new approach are as under:


First, to create hype in media as Pakistan is becoming unstable in few months and could disintegrate due to unrest in NWFP and Baluchistan provinces. Leading US figures are making comments about the integrity of Pakistan frequently.


Second, the strings of Pakistani nationalist leaders–in-exile are triggered in a way to show that their land & people are unsafe in Pakistan. Hence they started delivering sermon-like speeches highlighting the atrocities committed by central govt against the people of various clans in their provinces. Probably the next step-advised to these nationalist leaders could be to knock the doors of United Nations against federation and in the name of people's welfare & well being.


Third, Taliban have been portrayed as single largest military force, able to occupy Islamabad within hours. Their anti-women or social image has been presented with bad colours as if they take over the country, it would be path of disintegration. Altaf Hussain's repeated statements against Taliban are pointing towards the same new approach.


Fourth, Taliban advancement propaganda is being presented in a way that they could reach the Nuclear arsenals of Pakistan, as if N–bomb is like an AK-47 rifle,  and hence world would be unsafe.


Fifth, the distribution of aid funds, as discussed in "Friend of Pakistan" meetings, have been worked out in a way that they would be spend mostly in two provinces – NWFP & Baluchistan, by being the most deprived units of federation through foreign resources without the much interaction of federal govt. Fortunately, this was countered by Saudi Arabia with an assumption that in near future, if the unrest in two provinces of Pakistan continues, the donors might ask United Nations to allow them to directly "deal with the situation" without the consent of federal govt.


Within the larger context, all above elements are leading towards a larger conspiracy against Pakistan & probably in laymen terms, against its Nuclear Arsenal program, which has brought Pakistan to be at same level with neighbouring India. This is high time for people of Pakistan to identify their real enemy within themselves – be it nationalist leaders living in exile, or fanatic groups with Taliban, or media men working upon the foreign orders or friends who are giving dollars, many wolves are hidden in sheep's clothing!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Altaf Hussain & 98% Oppressed Class representation! by Nadia Khan

Any political leader is judged by his or her actions, decisions, and gains for his or her party and the rest of the people, whom he or she represents.


Sheikh Rashid, former information & railway minister, is the live example of this old saying. He knows the art of “talks” or useless forecasts, however failed to win last elections, even in the ministerial slot. His actions denied his own words, so he had lost his indemnity in his home town – Rawalpindi !


Altaf Hussain is also another example of this saying. Though, a group of Karachi-youngsters likes him like a god or a ‘spiritual leader’ or a live saint who is their caretaker but with careful analysis it is clear that Altaf Hussain’s politics had not made any significant gains for Muhajir community.


Without being into much love of Altaf Hussain or anyone, look at the actions or decisions or negotiations, he had conducted or gets political advantages in last 20 years. With his “tireless efforts” he became the staunch-supporter of a military dictator for 8 years, acted upon his directives like an obedient lover! When he saw the change of wind; he has changed his own colour & direction, in the name of ‘saving Pakistan .’ God knows how many times Pakistan has to be saved by such political leaders?


1.      He has setup MQM - to curb quota system for Karachi residents (2%). Look at where Muhajirs are on this till today. It is remain there and endorsed by MQM in 1993 for 10 years, violating its own political bible!


2.      He was strong voice for Biharis repatriation - confined in Bangladesh after 1971 debacle. They are remain there after MQM many victories, even then having Sind governorship and few federal and provincial minister portfolios, MQM failed to get these patriotic Pakistanis repatriated.


3.      Muhajirs are very religious, mannered, educated and talented component of Pakistani society. MQM by being a secular party has diverted many of youngsters towards non-religious activities.


4.      MQM – Haqiqi, the splinter group of Mutahhida, has laid the foundation of unfair means in all examinations, starting from matriculation, college up till University levels. This has spoiled much of Muhajirs young generation in Karachi & Hyderabad .


It’s a well known fact that, to form a political party street power in needed. In Karachi and part of urban Sind , Altaf Hussain has sheltered all criminals especially during 1986-1993 to support the political activities of MQM. This is not just an accusation (by a Jamati or religious element), it became confirmed when MQM-Haqiqi had split from Mutahhida, and whole world came to know that how many notorious elements were hidden under MQM banner.


Beside other political reasons, one of the main reason to raise Taliban issue and take a hard stance against religious forces, is to keep MQM workers engaged. Otherwise, in today’s scenario, there is no issue pending for Muhajirs. So a dummy issue is crafted to keep the workers alive. That is Taliban scare in Karachi !


To counter Taliban arrival in Karachi , MQM has made the life miserable for number of Pathans & Pakhtoons daily-wages workers in various parts of the city. Be it s small fruit-seller cart or a worker who bakes bread (Roti) at Tandoor, or a labour who digs the roads for construction work, all have been asked to leave their work & small businesses in vicinities where Muhajirs dominate.


Is this a way – a political party, who claims to represents 98% of oppressed people, treats the depressed classes of our beloved country???

Posted via email from nadia_khaan's posterous

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hanging between two extremes? by Nadia Khan

Sufi Muhammad, the spiritual leader of TNFM, and a central figure who is working to bring peace, in Swat or Malakand division, back with the induction of Nizam e Adl regulation, yesterday in his maiden speech to people of Swat & adjoining areas, has talked about number of controversial issues – such as democracy has no role in Islamic system of government, higher courts including supreme court are null or void, and only black-turban is as per the teachings of Holy Prophet, other colour turbans are not Islamic etc. Further, he has given a deadline to present govt to remove all superior courts judges with Qazis by 23rd April; otherwise all responsibility would be on government shoulders.


In response to Sufi Muhammad speech, MQM leader Altaf Hussain, who is now quite vocal against Taliban, due to number of political reasons, lashed out by calling denial of Taliban Shariat. He has invited number of religious personalities of Karachi, mostly from Barelvi sect, and delivered a sermon like speech – quite similar to the language of Sufi Muhammad, and has rejected the implementation of Nizam e Adl Ordinance, though it is promulgated by its main political ally; PPP, in centre.


The silent majority of Pakistan – who mostly does not vote but are an effective majority in shaping up the society & culture – is speechless over these two extremes, which might result fierce confrontation between Taliban, now termed as the symbol of all religious forces, and secular elements of society.


Western democracy has any role in Islam or Islamic state, is a bigger question and can’t be addressed by a religious figure, who represents only one division of a province and also not a real Mufti – a decree in religious education after its completion, you might be in a position to draw judgement from Holy Quran verses and agreed Hadiths. In religious discussion, such an individual interpretation of Islam is termed as Farad (alone in that approach). So his opinion about democracy is not an authority, with a fact that since last 62 years in Pakistan many religious personalities, especially from Deubandi sect, have been elected in parliament or upper house including the spiritual father of Afghan Taliban – Maulana Sami ul Haq. So such opinion requires further analysis at national or probably at international level, by calling the religious authorities from all over the world and working out the political system of a true Islamic state in today’s environment.


By keeping the eye on the evils of western democracy, it is a documented fact that in Pakistan , legislators can’t formulate any law which could be against Holy Quran or Sunnah. For example, like in UK , Pakistani legislators can’t legalise the same sex marriages as per law and so on.


Sufi Muhammad statement about superior judiciary, if it is not his edict, may possess some substance. This is an agreed fact that, judicial system in Pakistan , as formulated by British Empire , is partly corrupt and takes longer than normal period for dispensation of justice. An independent judiciary that provides speedy justice is the basic requirements of Pakistanis including the residents of Swat & Malakand division since ages. However, the basic foundation of superior judiciary can’t be demolished with the help of Qazi courts – by inducting only religious figures as judges & disturbing the whole judicial system.


The ideal way is to train both Qazis for law education and present judges for Quranic law knowledge, might become the middleware between the two extremes.


Over black or other colour turban, minor issues may not take the whole society hostage. However, this has given some impression about the society, its culture, and interpretation of thoughts, if the dominance would be with radical forces.


The dilemma of Muslim world is that it is hanging since many centuries over Islamic culture, dress code, food, rituals, celebrations, and way of living Islamic life. Many of radical figureheads feel that whatever culture they follow and which got intermixed with their religion, is the true reflection of Holy Prophet. This requires further debate, nationally among religious circles. For example, a Muslim cleric (Mulvi) in Pakistan feels that Shalwar-Qamees (the national dress of Pakistan ) along with a turban or cap is a true Islamic dress and anyone who wears Western dress is not following the Sunnah of Holy Prophet. In India , a Muslim cleric, feels that the true Islamic dress is Kurta-Payjama with Sherwani (which is Indian national dress for Muslims) with cap or turban of any colour.


The religious figureheads of Pakistan especially those who practice Deubandi School of thoughts, should look into the controversies of Sufi Muhammad speech and clarify before the silent majority otherwise secular political forces are waiting to counter the mistakes, and eventually Islam as it is their real target!

Posted via email from nadia_khaan's posterous

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dividing the religious forces! by Nadia Khan

Unlike his late younger brother Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, the safe return of Maulana Abdul Aziz, former Imam of Lal Mosque and patron in chief of Jamia Hafsa, famous religious seminary for girls in the heart of Islamabad, has raised number of questions:


o        Was his apprehension, during Lal mosque operation by Musharraf govt, legal as his acquittal is carried out through Supreme Court?

o        On what basis he was confined for two years under house arrest?

o        Who would be held responsible for Lal Mosque Operation?

o        What would be the repercussions after his release on other Islamists movements active in Pakistan under the banner of Taliban or so?


He was picked up by security agencies, during Lal Mosque Operation, when he was trying to move away from the scene by observing veil and later he was presented on state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) with same. Even though Maulana's act of hiding himself in veil wasn't liked by many of religious scholars, however the PTV presentation and interviewers "rubbish questions" have turned the table and all sympathies went onto Maulana Abdul Aziz side.


On Thursday evening, his heroic welcome was marked by a group of his followers, in way that for his arrival the Esha prayer that normally conducted around 8:30pm to 9:00pm in Islamabad got delayed till 11:00pm. He arrived at Lal Mosque around 10:40pm and then the prayers was conducted. Next day, in Friday sermon, his usual tone was mild and in the end, as per his usual way, he just has asked those who gathered for prayers, in a simple way for the peaceful effort of Islamization in Pakistan.


With Swat regulation in action after President Zardari's signature and Maulana Aziz's release by PPP govt is looked upon as good will gesture for radical forces. Many of secular forces didn't like these actions of present govt and the failure of Swat girl's flogging drama is becoming major setback for them.


Knowing the fact that Altaf Hussain at the front foot of secular forces, a new ground of "Islamists division" is being worked out. With a background of Sunni – Deubandi and Barveli sects are confronting against each other since over a century, dates back to the arguments between Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, one of the most sacred personality among Deubandi school of thought and Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, the founding figure head and most respected personality among Barveli's group.


Taliban, predominantly the followers of Deubandi sect, are always against of building graves and tombs of sacred personalities, Qawalis, and Hamd o Naat collective recitation. They didn't like to build shrines over the graves of saints or Sufis, whereas Barelvi's respect these rituals bluntly. Recent bomb attack at the shrine of Rehman Baba, the famous Sufi saint in NWFP province, was considered as an alarming symbol between the two groups. Secular forces tried to take an advantage of this action and orchestrating to bring the two Islamic groups against each other – probably this could lead towards a fierce battle with firearms.


MQM call for Ulma & Masshiq meet - inviting all Barelvi minded religious scholars to join hands in saving tombs, shrines, and graves of sacred Sufi saints, is a move to divide religious forces to earn advantage for secularism. The hatred of secular forces against Taliban is due to the fact that they are getting the ground in FATA and NWFP province very swiftly and Karachi based ethnic groups art of producing illusion is about to go away!


While MMA during Musharraf's regime, had overcome various inter-sect issues and joined hands politically with late Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani as its first President, secular forces are now igniting the hatred between these two arch rivals again. Now it is high time for religious groups especially Sunni – school of thought, to work jointly avoiding all differences which could result extra benefits for non-religious forces in case of their division.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Altaf Hussain's vision of Islam! by Nadia Khan

MQM leader Altaf Hussain is quite vocal against Taliban now days. His main goal is to defeat somehow Taliban, who already had taken ground in Swat or Malakand division, through his speeches & press statements. His guns, sometimes while delivering fires against Taliban, start aiming few agreed principles of Islam also. God knows, purposely or unknowingly!

For example, he says, "Taliban or religious forces are trying to take society towards stone-age." He has said this in a context, when a half-baked doubtful video, from Samar Minallah, a civil society activist, came out depicting a Swat girl being flogged. He also termed flogging or lashing punishment as un Islamic and barbaric, as mentioned by many newspapers. He also wanted all those Taliban "culprits" who had participated in this flogging, should be hanged till death.

Within this context, he has rejected Nizam e Adl regulation for Swat and became furious. He has asked his MQM parliamentarians to stage walk-out when it was getting voted in National Assembly, because he feels that speedy trial courts are not as per the wishes of secular & civil society members. He is further inline with other secular forces that such regulations will take away human rights from common pupil especially women. God knows how, which he didn't explain!

Lets analyse his comments systematically in the light of Islam – probably which he has also studied during his early educational period.

Flogging or lashing the culprits is quite common punishment in Islam and implemented by Holy Prophet himself. Along with, this whole process should be witnessed by a group of Muslims according to the teachings of Holy Quran. If any one who could read Holy Quran (or its Urdu translation) or Shahi Bukhari or Muslim (agreed books of Prophet sayings) then he or she will be able to find out that it is not an unknown or barbaric phenomenon coined by Taliban only today. Since last 1500 years it is an agreed principle of Islamic system of trying culprits & in action in few Islamic countries.

Little beyond flogging; stone-to-death was also practiced for those who committed adultery, if married, during Holy Prophet Days. I am not sure, what Altaf Hussain or his like minded would term this mode of punishment, however its certain that if Altaf Hussain had witnessed this mode, he will not be able to sleep for few days peacefully.

And in today's' environment such harsh punishments are needed for culprits like Hajiano (White Corolla Case, Karachi ), who has raped 62 girls so far in Karachi beside robbery and didn't feel ashamed. Because he is married to a lady doctor & having a baby girl, according to Islam he deserves to be stoned-to-death. We didn't find people like Altaf Hussain or civil society members who care about women so far in Swat, had raised their concern to ensure proper punishment for culprits like Hajiano and giving some relief to Karachi girls!

Perhaps, when Altaf Hussain says that we don't want to take society to stone-age, he means that he doesn't want to take society to the era of Holy Prophet, where the prophet had implemented these Islamic punishments forcefully, and now after so many centuries Muslims like Altaf Hussain are calling that 'golden period' as stone-age era!!!

Most unfortunate moment is that, in his next breath (within same press release) he says that, "We are Muslims; we will be as we believe in one God (Allah) and Holy Prophet & his sacred Shariat." I feel confused, the Shariat of Holy Prophet emphasises on Islamic system of punishments such as flogging whereas the Shariat defined by Altaf Hussain is calling it an act of stone-age or barbarism!

How a Muslim could term the life period of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as stone-age and within same text he feels that he is the best follower of Prophet Muhammad & celebrates Eid Milad un Nabi also with full religious zeal!!!

This is exactly the dilemma of Altaf Hussain – caught in between Islam and Westernization. Accepting few parts of Holy Quran and rejecting few for personal disliking. Because he can't denounce Holy Prophet openly for Jihad or Islamic punishments, knowing the fact that Muhajir community is quite religious since ages, and he has to maintain his secularism to gain West confidence too.

To overcome this problem, Altaf Hussain or secular forces in Pakistan have crafted a new approach – calling Taliban as root of all evils and not to follow the Shariat of Taliban because it includes flogging, stone-to death. As Taliban, because of their few mistakes such as barring female education -which now imparted in Swat after peace accord- and like others, became a symbol of fear for silent majority of Pakistan . Altaf Hussain and secular forces would like to take advantage of this 'fear' and hence targeting Taliban openly and in hidden-reality; the basic principles of Islamic system of punishing culprits are aimed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Foreign media, MQM and 12th May 2007 by Nadia Khan

On 12th May 2007 with the help of press & electronic media, the real face of MQM was exposed. Some analysts say that PTI Chairman, Imran Khan's unsuccessful efforts to try Altaf Hussain in British courts under cross-countries terrorism charges could have barely exposed him than the collective efforts of media, with courageous coverage, had brought in limelight the way Karachi based ethnic group, MQM operates & manhandles its political opponents.


Upon the orders of an army dictator, with complete support from intelligence agencies -once MQM used to blame those for all evils- blocking the arrival of Chief Justice Ifthikhar Chaudhry at Karachi airport had resulted huge political damage for Altaf Hussain. To minimize the damage, MQM had crafted a video presentation to its supporters that other political groups were also involved in this heinous crime of killing innocents, which many reports say that, predominantly committed by hardcore MQM loyalists. Here is a detailed account of events presented by foreign press, stating the activities of MQM on 12th May 2007.


Nicholas Schmidle, the author of Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan, an upcoming book which will be released on 12th May 2009, in his Dispatch from Karachi writes his account of arrival on 11th May night published by Slate magazine on May 17th 2007:


"I arrived in Karachi at 2 a.m. on Saturday. The MQM had blocked every possible exit and entry point to the airport using shipping containers, buses, and water tankers. There were no taxis. People were sleeping in the terminal, and babies screamed. Food and water supplies at the airport were already running low, 10 hours before the chief justice was expected to land. It seemed entirely possible that these people would be marooned at the airport for a day or two. Fearing that I would be stuck there, too, I shouldered my luggage and headed in the direction of the main road. On the way, a security guard warned me that there was gunfire and burning tires just outside the airport. Karachi is not a city that you walk around on a good day; the prospect of negotiating through an obstacle course of burning tires and armed MQM activists made it seem all the more absurd, but the longer I waited, the tighter the blockade would be. Fortunately, I met a mustachioed man in his 40s along the road who happened to be a police officer. He said he had a jeep, with an armed guard, waiting on the other side of two layers of MQM-arranged cordons. After a few minutes, we reached the jeep and began navigating through back alleys and roads still under construction—any path that the MQM might not yet have blocked. There were no vehicles on the streets other than the commandeered tankers and buses, most of which flew the MQM's tricolor flag. The trip from the airport to the hotel where I was staying typically takes about 15 minutes. I finally checked in at 4:30 a.m."


"With the MQM in command of every intersection, roundabout, and flyover, any attempt by the opposition parties to greet the chief justice was destined for confrontation. Syed, the Pashtun politician, was trapped, along with a caravan of his party's supporters, beneath a flyover on the main road leading to and from the airport. As gunfire broke out between ANP and MQM activists around 1 p.m., a well-aimed shot, taken from the overpass, smashed the windshield of a red Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with ANP plates, immediately killing a man sitting in the back seat. "They thought I was there," Syed told me two days later. He showed me the bullet recovered from the back seat of the Prado, the same kind of bullet used in the Heckler Koch G3 assault rifle. While Kalashnikovs are common in Pakistani homes, the G3 is not. Shahi said the only people with access to such weapons are the army and intelligence agencies."


"On Sunday, I asked a police officer if he had received an official order not to intervene in Saturday's street battles. His face bore a shameful expression, and he replied, "No comment.""


"On Tuesday morning, I returned once again to the roundabout where rioters had clashed with the police all day on Sunday. There, I spoke with a pudgy, middle-aged journalist named Rafiq. He told me, "On May 12, the nexus between Musharraf and the MQM was fully exposed. On the other side are the lawyers, journalists, students, traders, Pashtuns, Baluchis, Punjabis, Sindhis, secular parties, religious parties, and nationalist parties. The battle lines are drawn. Who knows where it will end.""


Graham Usher, a former Palestine correspondent for the Economist and the author of Dispatches from Palestine: the Rise and Fall of the Oslo Peace Process, in his article "Musharraf all alone" writes about MQM & the killing on 12th May 2007 published in Al Ahram weekly magazine, Cairo as follows:


"The second image was of the "people's power" lionised by Musharraf. In fact it was the gang violence of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), one of the few mass-based parties in Musharraf's coalition government, whose base is Karachi."


"On 12 May, MQM gunmen torched buses, blockaded Karachi airport, fired on a TV station and sprayed gunfire on all and sundry not of their allegiance."


"Although secular in outlook, the muhajirs define themselves as a "nationality" and take a fascist view of all not of their kind, especially those native to Karachi and its Pashtun- dominated neighbourhoods. In 1980s and 1990s the MQM were involved in communal wars in Karachi that left thousands dead. Musharraf is a muhajir, and his clear identification with the MQM in Karachi "has exposed the huge fault-line of ethnicity that divides this country", says analyst Shafqat Mahmoud. "This has huge ramifications because as the self-declared president of Pakistan and also as a never retiring chief of army staff [Musharraf] is supposed to be above any kind of parochial or political considerations.""


A Toronto, Canada based TheStar writes under the article "Bloody riots engulf Karachi" with a reference from Associated Press:


"An AP reporter saw MQM supporters calling for ammunition and firing from buildings, reportedly at opposition supporters…"


Red24, a global security analysis magazine writes in its weekly editorial dated 16th May 2007, "Unrest in Karachi – The beginning of the end for Musharraf?"


"… Pakistani security forces did little to intervene when MQM supporters clashed violently, repeatedly and inevitably with pro-Chaudhry anti-Musharraf protesters from the ARD and MMA."


"The MQM is an aggressive, largely Muhajir pressure group. It has a track record of battling competing ethnic groups, particularly Punjabis and Pashtuns, and was largely responsible for the wave of inter-ethnic rioting and violence that blighted Karachi in the 1980s and 1990s. The movement's actions on the weekend, where it reportedly began rounding up and executing Pashtuns or Punjabis, will have re-awakened the city's ethnic wounds - reprisal killings and further sectarian violence are now a very real possibility."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Baluchistan – most deprived unit at the cross roads! by Nadia Khan

It was 1971 and Pakistani President General Yahya Khan was addressing the nation that, "all is okay and Pakistan is made safe from the hands of foreign elements in Dhaka." 17 days later, his whereabouts were unknown and US President Richard Nixon took two days to find him in order to get his signature on 1971 Indo-Pak war ceasefire agreement, which has resulted the fall of Dhaka and division of Pakistan.


It was 2006 and again another President of Pakistan, General Musharraf went on air saying about the people of the most deprived province of Pakistan, "This is not 1974, it is 2006 and Baloch will not be able to know from where it came & hit them." He was referring to army action against them. 17 days later on August 26th 2006, news broke out that the most influential political leader of Baluchistan, who met with Quaid e Azam once in 1948, Akbar Bugti was killed in a bombing operation that caused the cave, where he was hiding during Army Operation, collapsed on him. Many stories run around his cause of death however the reaction from Baloch population was well anticipated backlash. Media in Pakistan and abroad have condemned Bugti's killing and termed it as the biggest blunder and a political nightmare by any army dictator after East Pakistan crisis in 1971, which eventually led to the formation of Bangladesh.


Earlier this month, on 4th April, the news of killing of three Baloch nationalist leaders – Ghulam Muhammad Baloch, President BNM (Baloch National Movement), Lala Muneer Baloch, and Sheer Muhammad Baloch, when broke out took the province by storm and what ever was hidden in last 38 years, came out in the form of worse protests. Even the mildest politicians of Baluchistan like Hasil Bazenjo went on air saying the hardest ever words about the federation. This is an alarming situation!


It is unfortunate to know that, during the abduction of John Solecki, UNHCR head in Baluchistan, from Quetta and then his safe released, one of these three Baloch politicians, Ghulam Muhammad Baloch had played a vital role in his return. Their killing, as the Govt normally says involve foreign (Indian) hands, will be a tragic moment for patriotic forces in Quetta. The demands of abductors from Solecki case have also revealed number of hidden facts – missing of 1100 Baloch youngsters and 166 Baloch women, probably by security agencies. Thought it is denied by Interior Ministry advisor however it is learnt that number of missing personnel's have been released to ensure the safe return of American national John Solecki. All these events are pointing towards the extra activities of Pakistan security agencies, deployed in Baluchistan under the banner countering Indian and now Afghan influence, have resulted only damage to Pakistan.


Be it National Finance Commission (NFC) award irregularities or denial of Sui fields royalty payments, blocked since last 6 years, or mismanagement of funds given to Baluchistan or avoiding Baloch youngsters in giving employment in Gawadar or new projects, all such have brought the largest province of Pakistan at brink and turmoil. Imagine, residents of Sui are denied the Sui gas which is extracted from their own fields, would result what – anger against federation or love for the rest of the country?


To bring back Baluchistan to main stream of federation, Musharraf' surrender wouldn't be high price. If ex-President could be tried through a fair judicial inquiry for killing of Sardar Akbar Bugti and killers of three Bloch nationalist leaders could be brought to justice then likely, Bloch nationalists could be returned to norm. Pakistan Army establishment has to make a final decision to save the federation of Pakistan – disposition of their ex-chief for fair judicial trial and halting all the hidden activities under the banner of security surfing. Or the dilemma of former East-Pakistan, now Bangladesh, is not very far away!


Undivided Pakistan in 1947 was a great gift of God to South Asian Muslims through the hands of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Its annexation in 1971 has weakened the federation and dissolved the Pakistani nationalism to a certain extent. There are numbers of anti Pakistan organisations in action, in various parts of Pakistan, indeed, with external funding and logistics support. Any further "security adventurism" in any province of Pakistan by its own security agencies would trigger the mood of people and might result in more damages for the country!


General Keyani has rightly said, "No war could be won without the support of native residents," probably would be guiding limelight for rest of the security apparatus in all provinces!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Zardari strikes again – Rs 500m kickback! by Nadia Khan

When Talal Bugti, son of slain Bloch Sardar Nawab Akbar Bugti, was conducting his press conference about the kickback in exchange for release of the rent or royalty money of the gas fields in the Bugti areas, he wasn't aware of the killing of three Bloch leaders initially abducted and then killed by security agencies. His startling allegations against the three top office holders of Pakistan – the President, the Governor, and the Interior Ministry Advisor when mixed with the new findings took the whole province by storm and everyone realized as what is going on in the largest but the poorest province of the federation!

Like a norm, President Office through his spokesperson has denied the allegations by calling them "rubbish" and said, "The president does not get himself involved in such practices." When Farhat ullah Baber was denying these charges I was recalling my memory about President Zardari, the special spouse of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, when he used to be termed as "Mr 10 Percent" and when New York Times had written "Pakistani investigators accused Mr. Zardari of embezzling as much $1.5 billion from government accounts. British and American private investigators working for the government of Nawaz Sharif who produced a thick volume of documents tracing what they said were multimillion-dollar kickbacks paid to the couple in return for the award of government contracts, and a web of bank accounts across the world that were used to hide the money."

NY Times ten years ago, on January 8, 1998, detailed the documents on the extraordinary corruption of Benazir Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, now who is holding the highest office in Pakistan and named as the caretaker head of the Pakistan People's Party until his 19 year old son, Bilawal Zardari – who has changed his name from Bilawal Zardari to Bilawal Bhutto for the sake of party head position, can run the party.

In 2007, a decade after, she was labelled as a leader who has impoverished the nation from military rule to democracy; but a decade ago she was at the heart of a widening corruption inquiry that Pakistani investigators say has traced more than $100 million in foreign bank accounts and properties controlled by late Benazir Bhutto & Zardari jointly.

Starting from a cache of documents bought for $1 million from a shadowy intermediary, the investigators have detailed a pattern of secret payments by foreign companies that sought favours during Ms. Bhutto's two terms as Prime Minister, and primarily Mr Zardari was the man behind all such deals! The documents left uncertainty over the degree of involvement of late Ms. Bhutto, whose rose to power in 1988, had made her the first woman to lead a Muslim country. But investigators had traced the pervasive role of her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who turned his marriage to Ms. Bhutto into a source of virtually unchallengeable power, writes NY Times.

In 1995, a leading French military contractor, Dassault Aviation, agreed to pay Mr. Zardari and a Pakistani partner $200 million for a $4 billion jet fighter deal that fell apart only when Ms. Bhutto's Government was dismissed. In another deal, a leading Swiss company hired to curb customs fraud in Pakistan paid millions of dollars between 1994 and 1996 to offshore companies controlled by Mr. Zardari and Ms. Bhutto's widowed mother, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, now living in Dubai.

In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Middle East was shown to have deposited at least $10 million into an account controlled by Mr. Zardari after the Bhutto Government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan's jewellery industry. The money was deposited into a Citibank account in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai, one of several Citibank accounts for companies owned by Mr. Zardari.

Together, the documents provided an extraordinarily detailed look at high-level corruption in Pakistan. With this high stake of corruption late Ms. Bhutto during her five years in power, the economy became so enfeebled that she spent much of her time negotiating new foreign loans, to stave off default on $62 billion in public debt.

A worldwide search for properties secretly bought by Mr Zardari and late Ms Bhutto is still in its early stages and probably could not be concluded after the induction of national reconciliation ordinance, which has halted all such investigation and had given clean slate to Mr Zardari, first to contest Presidential elections and then to run the country peacefully.

However as a blast from the past, its worth reading that once found Mr. Zardari went on a shopping spree in the mid-1990's, purchasing among other things a $4 million, 355-acre estate south of London. In 1994 and 1995, he used a Swiss bank account and an American Express card to buy jewellery worth $660,000 -- including $246,000 at Cartier Inc. and Bulgari Corp. in Beverly Hills, California, USA in barely a month.

Rest of the thinking I leave it to people of Pakistan - a nation so poor that perhaps 70 percent of its 160 million people are illiterate, 40% not able to manage meal twice a day, and millions have no proper shelter, no schools, no hospitals, not even safe drinking water - to extract the truth from this new episode of Talal Bugti allegations.

Governor Zulfiqar Magsi's office and Rahman Malik along with his personal assistant Mr Aasi both have denied the claims in a normal manner!

The claim of Rahman Malik is also not worth noting as how he rose from FIA directorship to London-based number of Hotel chains owner and then as a security advisor of Ms Bhutto, unfortunately she was killed and no accountability for him, then his new slot; advisor to Interior Ministry tells his progression in power politics as opportunist!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who is hiding behind Taliban? by Nadia Khan

Taliban had surged in Afghanistan in late 90s, when all the warlords and religious groups, engaged in 10 years old Jihad, failed to unify themselves and were unable to form a stable coalition govt to rebuild the war-torn Afghanistan after USSR army departure. Even their differences had reached to a level that they failed to abide by their promises which they have signed by sitting in Holy Kabah.


In today's Pakistan , all evils are directed towards Taliban, right from killing innocents through suicide attacks - even in mosques- till flogging, every insane action is considered to be Taliban crime. The height of this hatred is that every long bearded man who wears Shalwar-Qamees (a traditional or national dress of Pakistani men), Peshawari sandal and uses turban is termed as Taliban even the Pakhtoons arriving to Karachi from other parts of Pakistan are labelled as Taliban by a local political party.


There we need to know as who is behind all such actions; really Taliban is our only enemy or are there other factors playing their role in our tribal areas to damage Pakistan as much as they can?


The presence of 'true radical' Taliban is evident in Swat and Malakand division – and their demand is to setup Shariah courts, a speedy trial system for public, addition to Islamic norms in the city, has been made public. To achieve their target, they could have made many mistakes – probably burning girls' schools, barring female education & so on – like every warring faction once getting transformed into a proper force to run a system of govt.


Musharraf regime had made number of mistakes until he lost the elections and Presidency, which he was suppose to hold for another five years. Likewise President Zardari has come across number of unpopular decisions in one year only.


Since the "Swat Peace Agreement" things are getting under control and life is returning back to normal. Some elements feel threatened with this peace, hence few journalists have been killed quickly to drain the ink of peace accord including Geo TV reporter.


There were reports, as mentioned by Lt General Amjad Shoaib in 'Live with Talat Show' yesterday (6th April 2009), when Pakistani security agencies raided few warring factions hide outs in FATA, have found liquor and other pornographic material. Even though such news didn't get attention, however indicate that beside Islamic elements there could be other non-Islamic elements too.


In Southern Punjab , religious hatred exists even before the formation of Taliban force. Numbers of lives have been lost in that ethnic warfare between Sunni & Shia radical elements. Suicide attacks on mosques have directed to such elements settling their ethnic disputes and continuing their old warfare with new techniques or by aiding with tribal forces.


The emergence of Taliban was a fact to counter the growing influence of Northern Alliance which is having a clear drift towards India . As Al-Qaida, if it exists the way it is symbolised by US and its allies, provided an opportunity to instate Northern Alliance in the form of Karzai govt and throw out Taliban. To continue to strengthen Northern Alliance secular agenda, Indian factor is also visible through gorilla warfare tactics in tribal belt or some time may extend its hands in other parts of Pakistan , to help promote terrorism and hence destabilising the writ of govt.


There are secular forces, afraid of Islamic rising, hence they avail every single opportunity to counter Islam or its system of govt or mode of punishment. In Pakistani society, these forces don't have that much courage to target Holy Quran or Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) openly after having looked at Salman Rushdie who became the symbol of hatred and animosity. Hence they attack indirectly by calling Islamic system as a symbol of stone-age like Fauzia Wahab, PPP information secretary, while talking about girl's flogging has said, "We don't want to take society to stone-age!"


Having above elements in action it is clear that behind the thick curtain of Taliban symbol there are many players active for their own motives, not necessarily favouring Pakistan 's agenda only!


By being a moderate Pakistani society, we have to differentiate between the good, bad, or acceptable-for-now for Pakistan only! Among all the enemies such as Northern Alliance, Indian elements, radical money-hungry tribal lords, ruthless leaders who ignite ethnicity or Taliban which one could be moulded in favour of Pakistan, as it is the need of time, with little cleansing!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Girl’s flogging – MQM, secular & civil society perspectives by Nadia Khan

A Swat girl's -being flogged- video, since yesterday when it made public, is having multiple versions.  Secular & civil society members are furiously vocal against such act of inhumane nature and demanding multiple actions including the apprehension of those who had committed this! Religious forces in other parts of Pakistan while condemning the act itself only, appeared to be little away in denouncing Taliban forces. One of Swat based Taliban group has been accused for this activity whereas TTP spokes person, Muslim Khan, though didn't deny the prosecution has revealed his side of story using careful words.


ANP led NWFP govt and its minister information Mian Ifthikhar Hussain while conducting a hurriedly-called press conference at Saidu Sharif, has accused some hidden forces for this act to deteriorate the relationship between NWFP govt and Swat Taliban leader Sufi Muhammad. According to him this incident had happened during January, before the peace agreement, and now making it public, through an old video, is a conspiracy.


Even though peace agreement between NWFP govt and Swat-based Taliban has been agreed upon, to setup Qazi-Courts in Malakand division for speedy trial, which will impart Islamic mode of punishment and due to that some level of peace in the valley has been achieved, but it further requires President's endorsement through his signature, before becoming the law. By using this opportunity President Zardari has refused to move on with this ordinance. With this action, perhaps, he is trying to please US and West, who were quite critical about the peace agreement since its inception!


Chief Justice, Ifthikhar Chaudhry, has also setup a bench to look into this matter but few analyst say that he has been dragged in this case purposely, which would put Supreme Court and radical Islamist forces against each other, if the verdict wouldn't be inline with the wishes of later. Before that, he was under fire by govt and foreign forces due to adjourning "missing Pakistani, Lal mosque" and similar cases, indirectly favouring those hardliners. However with this case he has been implicated by someone shrewdly who wanted to kill two birds with one stone – radical Islamists and Supreme Court!


Probably, ANP provincial minister was referring to this 'conspiracy' which has made Swat peace process on halt temporarily.


From religious perspective, flogging, no matter Pakistan's secular or progressive forces like it or not, is part of Islamic system of punishment and provincial govt of NWFP has agreed with (the blessing of PPP-led federal govt) Sufi Muhammad, a political figure of Pakistani Taliban, to implement it in Malakand division. When someone has been identified by a judicial or Qazi court as culprit of moral crimes, he or she would be tried for same. In current case it is quite unknown as which court & who has conducted the trial, where and when, with what type of evidences gathered to deliver judgement and public punishment, perhaps without any right of appeal?


If secular forces, with MQM founder Altaf Hussain, at the forefront of propaganda war against Taliban, consider that Islamic mode of punishment, called as Hadood Allah, is an act of barbarism or inhumane then they have to rethink their philosophy before moving their steps. On 12th Rabi ul Awwal they celebrate Eid Milad Un Nabi with full religious zeal, on 10th Muharram they attend processions organized for Hazrat Imam Hussain's martyrdom and so on. They should be made aware that Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has implemented such Hudood (punishments) during his time successfully followed by his four successors - Caliphs. Refer Holy Quran 24:2, Sahih Bukhari 2:23:413, 4:56:829 and Shahi Muslim 17:4191, 17:4201 verses and hadiths.


There were number of more gruesome incidents prior to "Swat Peace Agreement" which includes throat cutting, hanging dead bodies (without heads) with trees, and suicide attacks in Malakand division and all over Pakistan require civil society attention. Especially the case of Tasleem Solangi, a 17 year old pregnant girl, thrown to dogs & she delivered the baby, who was also thrown to nearby lake by being an illicit child, deserves more attention of sons of Sind including MQM founder.


Tasleem's unknown grave is begging for justice since when MNA Nafeesa Shah, daughter of Sind Chief Minister tried to pacify the case and protect culprits, who were are all clean shaved & belonged to her own constituency in Khairpur, Sind. I wish if it would have been carried out by "turban-worn bearded culprits" then it would get quick attention of Altaf Hussain, even for the sake of Taliban's hatred and a poor soul along with her new born baby could get justice!!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Suicide attacks – religious flair by Nadia Khan

Radical forces in Pakistan have given a new dimension to suicide attacks in today's environment by intermixing it with religion and collective tasks. Religious flair concept is borrowed from freedom fighters engaged mostly with US or Israeli security apparatus in Palestine or Iraq. As number of videos are available from many of the suicide bombers reciting Holy Quran verses and presenting himself as a martyr who has given his life for Islam, passing wrong signals to common people as it is a religious act and bomber will be considered as Shaheed.


One of the biggest successes of Taliban is that they have dimensioned suicide attacks as a symbol of martyrdom and hence due to cultural influence or low literacy, poverty-stricken parents are providing raw human support to them unknowingly in tribal areas.


By considering the brutal assault philosophy of Jewish Army, Palestinians are left with no option; hence suicide attacks have been given a new dimension. Probably, with this view Dr Yousuf Qardawi, a renowned Egyptian religious scholar has said, "Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom, He has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do." However, killing of innocent women & children, and elderly Jews is not permitted and world leaders are keen for Middle East peace process - a separate homeland for Palestinians, to end this longest ever standing war.


In Afghanistan, suicide attack case is little different than Palestine. Like Jews, they have US and Allied forces, in the name of Osama or Mullah Omer or Al-Qaida leaders' hunt, bombing the innocents. Be it a wedding party or a cultural gathering, with fake intelligence or half baked information, number of innocents Afghans have been killed so far. Thus Afghans relook at USA & Allied forces as an aggressor, and countering their activities with suicide attacks, mostly at their military installations. As Afghan fighters, formerly freedom fighters against USSR, are split into various groups and factions, based on their ethnicity or religious affiliation or sect, hence they are using suicide attacks as a tools to settle their disputes also. That's how you could have noticed few suicide attacks in mosques of different sects.


Iraq, with Sunni & Shias ethnic divide, is the worst affected country by suicide war tactics, where most of them killed during such attacks were innocents, with a fact that each warring faction against US is missing a unified command structure and hence – blind suicide attacks have shaken the society.


In Pakistan, the case of suicide attacks is much more complicated. It has warring factions in tribal belt, fighting against US or Allied forces or among themselves, as well as radical forces like Taliban or tribal warlords engaged against Pak Army in areas which they conquered and challenging the writ of the govt by implementing self proclaimed Shariah, without the endorsement of rest of country's religious forces. There are ethnic groups in some parts of Pakistan especially in southern Punjab, previously orchestrating ethnic warfare among Shias and Sunnis, and now with the help of their likeminded tribal warlords or religious groups they are setting up group suicide attacks to build pressure upon govt for their own interests. Or some external elements, like Indian spy agencies protecting their interest, and utilising local hands for logistics and support in orchestrating suicide attacks in urban parts of the country. For example, the quantity and quality of RDX used in Marriot Islamabad bombing is primarily used by armed forces and none of the non state actors could afford to buy such a costly explosive!


Sri Lankan cricket team or Manawan, a place near Lahore, Police Academy attacks are of same nature though in earlier case, the team escaped unhurt, luckily. And in later case, a group of suicide attackers have been sent to cause maximum damage for new joiners of Police academy. There are clear intelligence failure reports, as the Police was notified few days prior, and during the operation, which is termed as quite successful, it is learnt that few terrorists escaped.


While claiming the responsibility of Manawan & other places, Bait Ulla Mehsud tried to justify his act that,"his faction of Taliban is attacking Pakistan security agencies due to the fact that they are inline with US govt who is responsible for drone attacks on civilians." However he didn't consider that, "even though drone attacks on civilians are indeed condemnable but by taking other innocents lives to register protest against drone is also not in line with true teachings of Islam," says grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Rafi Usmani while talking to a local TV station!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why is Altaf Hussain afraid of Taliban? by Nadia Khan

MQM, formerly an ethnic group and now a secular political force is quite vocal against Taliban in Karachi in last few months. Altaf Hussain has issued number of warnings to Karachi residents and to highest govt authorities about it.

Most recent is when he was quoting famous Sufi saint of Sind, Shah Latif poetry in which he had pointed that, "the land of Sind could have problems from people of Qandahar, a place in Afghanistan." MQM London based founder is now attributing the Shah's poetry as a warning symbol against the people of Qandahar – Taliban presence in Karachi.

There are various factors based on that MQM feels threatened by Taliban in Karachi and over all Sind province:

1. Taliban was founded by Naseer ullah Babar, former interior minister in Benazir led PPP govt, who had devised most cruel strategy of his time – by killing MQM activists involved in heinous crimes without any judicial trial, through Police encounters. The reason he had presented was even more gruesome & worth noting, as "if I take them to court for judicial trial they would set free soon due to missing evidences." His draconian approach had made him the most ruthless minister of his time however he had cleansed Karachi from number of armed activists who had taken the city hostage like Khajji ground. Today, MQM feels that Taliban, if come over to Karachi, could follow the same approach while dealing with terrorists of Karachi & Hyderabad!

2. Taliban, though founded during Benazir era, are now engaged with PPP-led NWFP govt in setting up peace deal, and hence if they dominate Karachi, they could deal with PPP or ANP easily.

3. Taliban spokesperson, Muslim Khan, is an old ally of PPP and had lived larger span of his life in exile and now an active participant of its hardcore religious ideology.

4. Taliban could form a loose alliance with other religious-political parties active in Karachi or Hyderabad to take over the city. Fazlur Rahman religious schools influence is also visible in Karachi and interior Sind. He is an all time opportunist and could tilt towards Taliban, if find them in a power-sharing situation.

5. There are number of religious schools of Deubandi thoughts (Madrasas) in Karachi such as Jamia Binnoria in New Town & Site led by Mufti Naeem, Darul Uloom in Korangi led by Mufti Rafi & Taqi Usmanis, Jamia Farooqia in Shah Faisal colony led Maulana Saleem Ullah Khan & his sons – for all of them Taliban should have soft corner as all of them have favoured Afghan Jihad, during General Zia era, and many of the Taliban students have been graduated from these institutions directly or indirectly.

6. Maulana Sami ul Haq, of Aqura Khatak, has received the heroic welcome (like a bridegroom) from Taliban, when he visited Kabul during 2000, is also in line with Karachi-based Deubandi religious schools.

7. Another religious force, Jamat e Islami, though not getting popular votes in Karachi, but likely an alternative political & likeminded force, acceptable to Taliban, if they strike here in Sind after NWFP.

8. Barelvi faction is also a silent but a strong force in Karachi environment, represented by either Sunni Tehreek during Rabi ul Awal processions or Shah Turab ul Haq Qadri's group. Their almost all of the main leadership was killed during a religious procession few years back and MQM activist were prime suspects, or miscellaneous religious small groups such as Gulzar e Habib, could not be difficult segments for Deubandi religious forces like Taliban to form a loose association at govt level.

9. By looking at the teachings of Dawat e Islami (those who wear green turban), activists of Jamiet ulma e Pakistan (those who wears brown turban) and Tablighei Jamat's Makki and Madani mosques followers – all of them, beside few main differences, are all in favour of similar interpretation of Shariah - growing beard for men, observing veil for women, five times prayers in mosques and other basics tents of Islam. Such elements shall not stage confrontations with Taliban or any religious force that enforce Shariah directly, if they come in power in Karachi.

10. The heroic welcome of Umm e Hissan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz, administrator of Madrasha Hafsa & Lal Mosque, Islamabad, when she visited Karachi, has open the eyes of number of political activists including MQM in the city.

11. The rise of religious education among females is becoming a new phenomenon in Karachi. Schools like Madrash e Aysha in Gulistan e Juhar, a vicinity in Karachi, is meant for only girls where Quranic education including Hifz (memorization) is imparted free of charge. This religious seminary is run by a female who is direct descendent of one of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, late Chaudhry Muhammad Ali and is close relative of former Senate Chairman and Law Minister in Nawaz Sharif's cabinet. This could help identify the elites in Karachi are turning themselves towards religion.

12. Other than such religious forces, when I visited Karachi last month, I have noticed every second man has grown beard, every third woman was observing veil and many of the young population, regardless of the sect they belong to or practice, were offering prayers in mosques quite religiously. All this tilt is pointing towards a new approach of rising Islamism among Karachi residents regardless of the fact that they have been forced towards secularism by a political party or its splinter groups in last two decades.

With above religious factors, silently active in Karachi environment, it is quite easily understood that MQM founding father is feeling threatened as these religious forces could get unified any moment by forming an alliance against corruption, lawlessness, and other street crimes in the city provided they have some support to counter the armed retaliation of MQM. Taliban could become a counter force!

Karachi residents are still vocal about the crimes in the city and business community members are sceptical about Bhattas (money collected by force from shop keepers & business men), skins or mobile snatching especially during eid days and pick-pocket activities by politically affiliated youngsters. MQM leadership shall not be held responsible for unit-level workers crime activities however this has paved the way for a bigger change at Sind level – right from the Chief Minister to Governor Levels, a need of a sincere political leadership!

The crown of Karachi might go to a new face soon!