Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boom Boom Cricket!

The sky-high cricket excitement in Pakistan and India proves one thing again and again, that is, people of the two countries are sport-lovers. The crowds in the stadiums, in front of TV screens, drawing rooms discussions, focus on ‘cricket media’ and may be ‘betting’ too—all tell one story—cricket  transcends the Kashmir issue, nuclear armament, troops build-up and Jehadis hate propaganda when the two nations fight in the cricket ground.
A Hindu with surname ‘Arjun’ and a Muslim with surname ‘Ahmad’, everyone is amused with the fact that the two countries, referred to as arch rivals, are facing one another in one of the biggest fixtures of the World Cup 2011. They have their favorite teams, no doubt, but they wish a victory for their country on a cricket ground and not on a battle ground.
The love and spirit shown for cricket tell that a population of more than a billion people living in Pakistan and India dismiss the war hype in media and battle plans discussed in military briefing rooms. It tells the story in very loud words—no more “Kasabs. A Karachi-based columnist Nadeem Paracha in a tweet, while exposing the hate-loving media, rightly observed: “Strange how news about ‘political crises’ in Pakistan has almost vanished from TV with the coming semis. Proof that much of it was manufactured.”
India, being the bigger nation, has more stakes in the region. Its smaller neighbor, Pakistan, a nation of a few rogue generals and a hub of terrorist network, has unfortunately chosen anti-Indianism as a cornerstone of its survival. That policy might suit the selfish short-term personal and institutional objectives of a few rogue elements via planning Mumbai attacks. India, however, can’t afford a tit for tat policy vis-à-vis terror as that has the risk of re-enforcing the interests of the terror-mongers in Islamabad and New Delhi, though their numbers and influence are more visible in the former and less in the latter.
It’s a pity that the ideological arch rivals in power corridors kept cricket suspended between the two cricket-loving nations for decades. Taking the bait of ‘terror’, and not allowing its team to play in Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, India is basically playing on the ‘anti-Indianism’ pitch, created by men in uniform and their proxies called Jehadis. The suspensions have dominated the playing seasons despite a thirst for more sports events--a fact showing politicians and masses weaker than generals and their proxies.
Ordinary Pakistanis, like their Indian counterparts, love playing cricket with India, prefer watching Bollywood movies, observe all good Hindu rituals in marriage ceremonies, wish visiting Mumbai, Agra, New Delhi and have mouth-watering effects when they hear stories of ‘shining India’. Pakistanis are fed up with Jehadi-based war tactics, Kargil-like adventures and want peace with their neighbors.
They, however, are not the ones who represent Islamabad vis-a-Delhi. It should be Delhi to align its policies in line with the ordinary Pakistanis while debating its Pakistan-specific strategy. Otherwise, Pakistani generals, right-wing politicians, religious parties and un-uniformed forces  like Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, al-Badar and their scores of friendly groups have always discouraged cricket between the two nations. The same applies to a few crazy groups, such as Shiv Sena, on the Indian side who too marked their hate day with attacking pitches and issuing threats against the Pakistan cricket squad in recent history.
The democratic forces on both sides of the border need to reassess the relations while presenting the cricket frenzy as model for steps towards regional harmony. More cricket gives more chance for catharsis of the mutual differences and bursts out the stuck mentalities on both sides of the border. It is the possible forceful softest weapon against the menace of terror and turning barren the Jehadi factories in Pakistan. And as said by Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi, cricket has the potential for improving relations, between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Divided they stand!

No rocket science was involved here. Two leaders of the nation spoke on March 22nd (Tuesday) charting out future strategy. President Asif Ali Zardari addressed joint session of the parliament and opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan reacted in a crowded press conference—an annual ritual in Pakistan’s parliamentary politics. The events were shown as major actions on Pakistan’s electronic media the whole day.  The day and henceforth the oratories, in its significance, are equivalent to the US State of the Union address in which the President of the United States lays down future policy before the Congress every year.
Anchorpersons of electronic media of Pakistan covered the oratories of Pakistani style State of the Union address the way it suited them. Some of them misled the audience while analyzing it. Others tried to give a chance to analysts to interpret the speeches for their audiences. The likes of Kamran Khan, considering themselves as authorities on national and international politics, didn’t bother to involve others in the debate. Their coverage of the speeches also seemed perfunctory. The editorials published in newspapers dealt with it a bit thoroughly.
However, the oratories of the president and the opposition leader speak for themselves, howsoever the anchors may interpret them for the common people a majority of whom finds it hard to decipher political messages they receive day in day out.
 A reading of the highlights of the two speeches gives one enough clues to mark who sounded shallow on Pakistan’s style State of the Union event. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Opposition Leader in Pakistan National assembly, responded in these words:
“People die in our country and are jobless.”
 “We don’t know the president was talking of which Pakistan.”
“We don’t accept any responsibilities regarding Raymond Davis.”
“A high level judiciary commission should investigate Raymond Davis case.”
“Those involved in the release of Mr. Davis should admit their deeds.”
“PML (N) will play the role of an active opposition.”
 “The country cannot afford another game of the establishment.”
“The president didn’t utter a single word on important issues of the country.”
“The government is not eligible to complete its term.”;
“Government’s treatment of the opposition is shameful.”;
“You cannot solve problems with mere speeches.”
“Today, it’s not possible to have another Kargil and then we are held responsible for it.”
“Establishment should take wise steps.”
“Now it’s not a problem of a party, it’s a problem of the whole country.”
“Not a single word on corruption, inflation and loadshedding in the president speech.”
“Court decisions are humiliated.”
President Zardari in his speech said:
“Pakistan will not permit the use of its soil for terrorist activities against any other country.”
“We will fight against militancy till the last militant is there.”
“We will defeat those who preach hate and extremism.”
“We will not permit anyone to usurp the powers that rightly belong to parliament.”
We believe that all state organs should work within their parameters as laid down in the constitution.” “Let us strive to keep our egos aside. Let political forces stop challenging each other merely for political point scoring.”
“The restoration of the 1973 constitution showed that political forces could do if they rose above politicking.”
“Tributes to the security forces and citizens who had been killed in fighting militancy.”
“Condemn the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti.”—(Both Senate and National Assembly have not adopted resolutions condemning the high profile assassinations) “A UN inquiry---on BB completed and a challan submitted in the trial court—those involved in her killing would not escape punishment.”
“Full spectrum dialogue process had been resumed with India and Pakistan wants its just settlement in accordance with UN resolutions.” 
It shows that the government and the opposition are at cross purposes on every issue that the country is facing. The crisis that Pakistan is passing through needs collective wisdom, not divisive politics. It needs political maturity, not political point-scoring. Opposition does not mean to disagree with everything that the government does or plans to do. Instead of muck-raking, the government and the opposition need to put their heads together and give the common man the hope of a better tomorrow. This is what the people of Pakistan need in these trying times.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Changa Manga: Sharifs at it again!

The dramatic turn in Raymond Davis case took Punjab’s Changa Manga style of politics into the background.  Good for the Sharif brothers and thanks to the leniency of media towards Punjab’s foul game. Mian Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and ‘lion of the Punjab’ was shown by media as the ‘man in action’ who took Punjab back to Changa Manga woodlands, 30 kilometers from its power base, Lahore, with its newly adopted/stolen 47-something PML (Q) MPs. A good start for 2011!
Woodlands are historically associated with dacoits.  In Pakistan’s case, however, the woodlands of Changa Manga, Murree and Swat Valley are notorious for political dacoits.  It was unexpected as the anti-floor crossing law, an informed populace and media pressure have blocked the birth of a ‘unification bloc’ or ‘forward bloc’ for the last several years. Nonetheless, family rule within the parties, politics based on ‘biradaries’ (kinships)  and, of course, majority in parliament or provincial assemblies are tending to tempt political ‘lotas’(defectors) for gaining access to treasury benches.
The move was an eye-opener for many who saw the resurrection of real Nawaz Sharif after his long ordeal at the hands of military dictator General Musharraf Parvez. It depicted him as a leader with no skill in collaboration—a major requirement for delivering governance in a multi-parties political culture. It also sends a message that he is comfortable with ruling the rich Punjab single-handedly while leaving the terror-hit center, and the three troubled provinces for the rest of the stake-holders. For personal political gains, the move might sound expedient, but borrowing Mr. Sharif’s words, ‘national interests’ didn’t demand for expelling PPP from power at this stage.
The issue whether forming a ‘unification bloc’ is a wise step or not, need to be settled down by the politicians themselves. The question for ordinary Pakistanis is, however, who paid for the deal this time in these tough budgetary months.  Sharif brothers were historically financed by the Sheikhs in Saudi Arabia and Gulf states for their indulgence in Changa Manga politics.
The Sheikhs didn’t like a woman as leader of Pakistan and sponsored Mr. Sharif’s horse-trading in the 1990s to remove the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto through a vote of no-confidence. In those days of bitter politics, Mian Nawaz Sharif is said to have accepted Rs 500 million from Osama bin Laden for bringing down the then Benazir Bhutto-led government. Bin Laden’s money scandal then surfaced in media due to his controversial stature. The likes of Sherlock Holms in Pakistani media—Ansar Abbasi and Kamran Khan—have yet to investigate who else contributed to Mr. Sharif’s ‘lotacracy’ campaign in the 1990s.
The newly-born kid called, ‘Unification Bloc’--a breakaway faction of  Musharraf-nurtured party PML (Q), may not have gotten cash from Gulf, but who knows. One thing is sure, however, Sharif brothers will keep the turncoats of PML (Q) at the cost of political bargain wherein the chances are that development funds of the Punjab will instead go to the pockets of the group of 47. The group in return will foil PPP attempts to come back in power as long as Sharifs run the show.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eat your hearts out! Davis is free

Dear anchors, your broken hearts were so visible on Wednesday (March 16). Sorry, the ISI stabbed you in the back, but you are still doing a great job by making Sharifs and Zardari punching bags. A deal, clearly and loudly approved by the Quran and Pakistan’s legal system, finally released your enemy number one, Raymond Davis amid incessant protests incited by you. The court’s decision surprised The News' Sherlock Holmes-tuned-Mufti Ansar Abbassi, Geo's Tie Wala Mullah Hamid Mir and champion of the champions Kamran Khan—the evil axis of Pakistani journalism.
They parroted a particular line given by their masters for all these weeks but lost their connection when the masters took a U-turn, more or less like a ‘Mujahideen Syndrome' for the axis. The intelligence agencies used the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and Kashmir for years and then they needed them to shut down their factories. The holy warriors, however, opted for taking the fight to its masters’ doors in Washington and Islamabad, ignoring the fact they would be charged as terrorists. So is the case with the so-called self-proclaimed protectors of Pakistan’s honor in the comity of media men. 
The anchorpersons told poor Pakistanis that CIA contractor Raymond Davis deserves a walk through gallows for the murder of two Pakistanis with a handgun and killing yet another by speeding a vehicle of the U.S Consulate in Lahore, no matter what happens. The impression was they issue the decrees from TV studios based on Pakistan’s legal system and as per demands of the victims’ families. The insiders though knew they were reading from a ready-made script. On Wednesday, they were playing on a different pitch but were reading the old script, showing them unfaithful to their darlings.
The Pakistani style Sherlock Holmes Mr. Abbassi was convincing the Geo TV audience that the court should have charged Mr. Davis for creating “Fasad Fil Ardh”, meaning ‘violence on earth’ instead. The resolution of the murder issue based on the well-known Islamic practice Diyyat seemed unacceptable to him.
The Tie Wala Mullah Hamid Mir started his propaganda Capital Talk with lashing out at his critics, saying the TV anchorpersons were always accused for their views on the Davis case. At one stage he recalled the statement of a US attorney who notoriously said a Pakistani was worth $10--in an attempt to disapprove the drop scene of the CIA-ISI clash on the issue.
And then came the chief Khateeb Kamran Khan. “Pakistanis looked on and the CIA whisked away its agent,” Mr Khan complained while starting his long monologue on Wednesday evening. Making the court decision a butt of ridicule, he recommended the case to be recorded in the Gunnies Book.
A black day for the axis and its likes in Pakistani journalism! They unfortunately avoided going deep into the matter. They failed telling their poor audience that who stopped Asad Manzoor Butt, lawyer of the victims’ families in the Davis case, from contacting his clients for last four or so days. Mr. Butt was hired by Jama’at-e-Islami to plead the case. The anchorpersons didn’t tell the masses that a Supreme Court lawyer, Raja Irshad Kiyani, hired just two days before the court acquitted Mr. Davis, presented the signed deal wherein the families of the victims, availing their legal rights, dropped the prosecution in return for compensation amounting to $2.3 million.  And of course, they kept a hush what passed on in between the ISI and CIA for the release of Mr. Davis.
The game is over, at least in Pakistan’s courts. Demanded by the religious parties, mainly Jama’at-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba or Jama’at ud Da’awa and well-articulated by the right-wing anchorpersons, Mr. Davis escaped the noose. They sounded nonsense all this time as they mistook Pak military for a tough stand on what some called its murdered spies.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sharifs' denial gives Punjabi Taliban a hearty laugh

Allah Wasaya, Qasim Bhai and Abdullah are the names of one man, whose real name is a mystery till this day. Hailing from Multan in southern Punjab, he was working as kind of public relations officer (PRO) for al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden (OBL) in Pakistan during the years before and after 9/11. He had arranged a press conference for Bin Laden on May 26, 1998 at Khost, Afghanistan, two days before Pakistan went nuclear.
Allah Wasaya, his most popular name, was a regular visitor of newspapers offices in Islamabad. He was fluent in Punjabi, Seraiki, Urdu and Arabic. In his 30s with a flowing beard he, in the company of friends from his hometown, would walk the streets of Islamabad with an uncanny aplomb. The capital city and Rawalpindi were then mined with offices of Jehadi groups fighting in Kashmir and in northern parts of Afghanistan to extend the Taliban rule. They  were everywhere—near Ojhri camp, behind the ISI offices, in front of the Holiday Inn Hotel, sector F/10—name a place and a Mujahid ‘brother’ from Punjab with Hakeemullah Meshsud-like hairstyle would stalk the streets of Pakistan’s capital city. Allah Wasaya was a friend of all of them and well-known for his connections from Kashmir to Afghanistan.
One evening in August 1998, Allah Wasaya was seen spitting venom against the US and swearing revenge. He lost about 20 of his close friends--all from Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, and Rawalpindi in a US attack on al-Qaeda-run Mujahideen camps in Khost, Afghanistan, just across Pakistan’s Waziristan region. The attack was retaliation for the bombing of US embassies in East Africa in August 1998. Allah Wasaya called newspapers offices about a press conference of the then chief of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)—formerly known as Harkat-ul-Ansaar, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, at Holiday Inn, Islamabad, to condemn the Khost attack. The crowded press conference was a joint venture of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and the JUM and ended up with oaths of revenge.  
How serious are the al-Qaeda-trained Punjabi Taliban about the revenge? The following years since 1998 give a glimpse of their terror activities. The major terror dramas they staged were London Metro bombings in July 2005, Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, the Lal Masjid Islamabad episode in 2007, the GHQ Rawalpindi siege in 2009, the attack on Ahmadis in 2010, notwithstanding the killings of scores of innocent people in suicide attacks elsewhere in Pakistan. 
The August 1998 Tomahawk missiles attack on al-Qaeda’s Khost camps, however, woke up few in Pakistan to the fact that how deep was the influence of the ‘Sheikh’, called OBL,  in Punjab of Pakistan. At least four active camps in Khost and Kabul, all manned by young guys from Punjab were training as many as 2000 Pakistani Mujahideen for a period of two to six months round the year before the 2001 US-led military campaign in Afghanistan. The young men were wearing camouflage uniform in camps called ‘Salman Farsi’, ‘Khalid bin Waleed’ and ‘Al-Badar’ in Khost and one camp at Rishkore near Kabul. The recruiters were Arabs and some Pakistanis with military background. The trainees were from cities and towns of Bahawalpur, Multan, Sargodha, Rajan Pur, Cheecha Watni, Bakkhar, Faisalabad, and Vehari.
Trained for the liberation of Kashmir and extension of Taliban’s style caliphate in Afghanistan, thousands of graduates of al-Qaeda run camps in Afghanistan lost their agenda after US controlled the land and sky in Afghanistan. They ended up hopelessly in Pakistan’s ‘wild west’. The new safe havens reorganized them from late 2001 to 2004. A new consortium of Punjabi, Uzbek, Chechen, Uyghur and Arab militants with new goals of disrupting peace in Afghanistan and destabilizing Pakistan was created, led by local Pashtun militants as part of reward for giving them shelter and food.
Today al-Qaeda is their ideology and the off-shoots are many—Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Taliban Punjab, Asia Tigers, Ghazi Brigade, Zarb-e-Momen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jama’at-ul-Muslimeen, etc.
The bomb attacks in Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Sargodha, and Bakkhar, the assassinations of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the story of the Lal Masjid, the existence of the great Jehad factory at Muridke, Lahore, the safe compounds in Bahawalnagar and Bahawalpur seem not enough evidence for existence of Punjabi Taliban for the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his police administration. ( For Sharif brothers, however, the Taliban need to control the whole of Punjab, to wake them up from their state of denial.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lashing and killing women: Cruelty, thy name is Taliban!

While the West was busy with making laws to prohibit and limit shooting birds and animals in its wild lands, the screams of women woke up millions in Pakistan and Afghanistan as the Taliban whipped them, stoned them and shot them dead in public places during the last two decades.  This was the period when the Taliban emerged as unbeatable mark men in shooting women on charges ranging from adultery to any allegation that could tempt their whims and fit their objectives in the military-abandoned regions of the two neighboring countries.
Championing the cause of self-styled Sharia, first in Afghanistan and then in Swat Valley and Pakistan’s tribal regions, the Taliban furthered their fictitious religious agenda by using every tool of barbarity against the daughter of Eve. Through their self-styled misogynist Sharia courts manned by ‘judges’ from the Dark Ages, the Taliban thought that only harsh decrees and severe punishments against women would help revive the Khilafat or Caliphate--a dreamland where even a dog will not die out of thirst.
The Taliban imprisoned women in Kabul and Kandahar on charges of adultery, immoral behavior and elopement. Their kangaroo courts then sentenced them to executions, stoning to death or lashing with a whip as per their interpretation of Sharia. The Taliban would inflict these punishments in public places on Fridays in Kabul and Kandahar with the tacit approval of their patrons in the GHQ in Rawalpindi.
The buck did not stop in Kabul and Kandahar. The unforgettable shrieks of the 17 year old Chand Bibi of the Swat Valley pricked the conscience of common people when they watched the video showing the Taliban whipping the girl in public in late March 2009. Her screams in the two-minute video clip yelling, “Either kill me or stop it” exposed Taliban’s Sharia for women of Pakistan. Her face down on the ground and held tight by turbaned Taliban militants was a shocking scene as she was lashed 34 times. Now in custody and then spokesman of the Taliban in Swat, Muslim Khan, alleged that Chand Bibi “came out her house with another person who was not her husband so we must punish her.” She was in fact punished for refusing the proposal of a Taliban commander.
Just two months before the public whipping of Chand Bibi, one morning in January 2009, Swatis woke up to behold with horror a bullet-riddled body of a local female artist, Shabana, lying in the Green Square of Mingora, the valley’s largest city.  Through their FM radio, the Taliban warned all female artists to learn a lesson from Shabana or you too would be screwed on to the Green Square. The Swat Taliban murdered a total of 26 women including a female police official. Most of the victims had denied marrying Taliban gunmen and in return were implicated in false charges of adultery and immoral activities.
Funded by the Wahabis of the House of Saud and supported by believers in the so-called ‘strategic depth’, the Taliban in the two countries have destroyed hundreds of girls schools (over 300 girls schools were blown up only in Swat Valley) since they started fight against humanity and civilization in the Oxus-Indus valleys. Many girls had been sprinkled with acid while on their way to schools still others were killed for their only sin to answer the call of the Creator—“Seeking knowledge is the right of every Muslim man and woman.” (Holy Quran). The Taliban, rather, with every religious decree and assault on the respect of woman, told the masses in AfPak regions: “Sword is for the man; and for woman, God has created the needle”. (Tennyson)
The misogynist Taliban and the radical clerics in the two countries formulated a Sharia to terrorize the woman’s soul and love her body—and burqa. With the body of a woman, they satiate their lust and in Burqa the coward Mullah runs for cover while fleeing the wrath of Allah.
An estimated 100 million women in Pakistan and Afghanistan (provided 50 percent of the estimated 200 million population of the two countries are women) owe their freedom today to Chand Bibi and Shabana of Swat Valley, and Sanobar Bibi of Afghanistan, executed by Afghan Taliban, as they observe Women International Day on March 8th. The civil society of the region needs to recognize their sacrifices. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The bane of creeping Wahabism

I can recollect from my early childhood when my grandfather used to yell at my brothers and cousins, “You the sons of Wahabi” whenever they would arouse his ire for their childhood peccadilloes. People at that time used to associate a murderer, a thief or an aggressor against the weaker with what they called “sons of Wahabi”.
From the grandparents it was an acceptable slang, but it would lead to a scuffle if used by a neighbor, a class-fellow or a playmate. In the good old days it stood for someone with a ruthless heart. Then suddenly a portrait flooded almost every small and big city in late 1970s. A heavily built jallad with a stream of blood dripping from his sword as he stood by a human head severed from his body.
This was the portrait of the nephew of then king of Saudi Arabia, Shah Faisal. The guy, Prince Faisal bin Musaed, shot dead the king in March 1975 and was decapitated in June the same year for committing regicide.
Muslims in Pakistan and perhaps in the rest of the Muslim world were buying the sketch, showing the beheaded prince, like a hot cake.  That was the first time I got a glimpse of the Wahabi justice of Saudi Arabia which inspired men and women in our and every village.
The demo of the Wahabi justice system in the portrait was followed by stories of Pakistanis coming from Saudi Arabia after years long hard jobs in cities of Makkah, Madina, Jeddah and Riyadh. I remember the early batch of Pakistani daily wagers returning from Saudi Arabia telling tales of the Saudi justice system. “Every Friday, shurtha (Saudi police) brings in criminals to a ground. A sword-brandishing Jallad runs from a distance and with a single blow cuts the head of the criminal whose hands and legs are tied. Women found guilty of adultery are stoned to death.” Such stories travelled by the word of mouth from village to town and locals used to show approval for it.
Then Peshawar saw its walls splattered with graffiti like “Mujahid-e-Akbar, Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman”. Activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT)—student wing of the Jama’at-e-Islami (JI)—would tell that Sheikh Jameel-ur-Rehman was from Kunar province, an Afghan Wahabi and fighting against the former Soviet troops in eastern Afghanistan.
Then came in names like Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden. The story was then common that Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was planning together with the Arabs and Afghans to push the Red army back across the River Oxus aka the Amu Darya separating Afghanistan from the then Soviet Union.
But the story did not stop there.  The Taliban emerged in Afghanistan in mid 1990s. Under the influence of their Arab guests, they imposed the Wahabi legal system. Pakistan’s pro-Taliban media published stories of the Taliban shooting men and women on charges of murder, cutting hands of alleged thieves, stoning women to death and flogging men and women for committing adultery.
And finally they fell back on Pakistan. Taliban and their associates introduced the House of Saud- sponsored Wahabi agenda in tribal regions of Pakistan and Swat valley of Pakhtunkhwa. Beheading dissidents is the name of the game now in the military’s abandoned regions under the Taliban. The lunacy is spilling over into the Punjab from Waziristan with the tacit, nay public, support of Sharifs—the ruling brothers. Love for Taliban’s justice system of the two brothers is on record and their loyalty for the House of Saud is well-known.
The story tells how the Taliban and their bedfellows in Afghanistan and Pakistan have tampered the overwhelmingly dominant Hanafi school of thought in South Asia. They would not use the term Wahabism for extending their religious agenda, but the funds coming from the Arab peninsula are to be used to render our women as a commodity for sale, our freedom as blasphemy, our dress as anti-Islam, we all as brothers of Satan and condemned to the Wahhabi sword of Jallad. Keep watch on them! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mullahgardhi jolts awake Punjab!

Pakistan’s Punjab province and its India-centric media are waking up to Mullahgardhi after the brutal assassination of minority leader and federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti on March 2nd and Punjab governor Salman Taseer on January 4th--one Christian and the other a Muslim Shaheed (Allah may bless their soulds). The twin assassinations have drawn a dividing line in the Punjab and to some extent in the media, two major bases for molding public opinion in Pakistan.

This divide line was lacking in Pakistan’s most populous province when politician of the national caliber from Sindh Benazir Bhutto was murdered in highly dubious circumstances in December 2007. The same antipathy was noticed when Mullah’s Ghundagardhi (terrorism) was ruling the roost in Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.  The so-called ever-expanding media of Pakistan kept distance from telling stories of families whose men were beheaded, women were openly whipped, schools were bombed (still continues), and Mullahs started patrolling cities and towns in Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, the western neighbors of the Punjab.
The truth prevails no matter how much generals, Sharifs, Rahmans, Munawwars, Kamrans, Mirs, Abbasis, Masoods, Rasheeds and Imams, try to sugarcoat Mullahism as ‘strategic depth’, ‘Jehad’, ‘the frontline army against India’, ‘foreign war’, and ‘war imposed on Pakistan’ . The tunnel vision, or close-ended thinking one may call it, didn’t open up to Mullah’s Ghundagardhi in Swat or Waziristan, but Shaheed Bhatti and Shaheed Taseer broke the smokescreen in the Punjab.
With full sympathy for families of Shaheed Taseer and Shaheed Bhatti, the two assassinations are exposing the hitherto less-debated Ghundagardhi of Mullahgardhi in Pakistan. The tragic killings are waking up liberals (believers in diversity of opinion) of the Punjab and some honorable journalists to speak their mind in public. There are more tweets, more columns, more facebook, more parliamentary debates, more editorials calling liberals bravos and Mullahs cowards, more exposure of undercover Mullahs in military, media and political gallery of Pakistan.
While all this is a significant step towards changing the centuries old Hindu-centered Punjabi mind, the liberals and democratic forces of the province need to build pressure on the pro-Taliban Sharifs-led provincial government for cutting off its relations with religious terrorists. The current policy of the Sharif brothers is equivalent to MMA’s rule in Pakhtunkhwa in early 2000s. Then Chief Minister Akram Durrani of the Jamiat-e-Ulama-i-Islam and Senior Minister Sirajul Haq of the Jama’at-e-Islami were telling the masses of Taliban’s non-existence when Mullah Fazlullah was fortifying Taliban’s headquarters in Swat Valley.  
If Sharifs are not delivering at this critical moment, the Punjab has to kick them out of power to see its young kids read from a book in a school, its women contribute to their families, its industry produce high quality surgical instruments, its men have a choice to shave or not to shave their beards, its musicians make new tunes and its Alhamra stage Pakistan’s culture in years to come.
The alternative is dangerous. A ‘shut up’ policy against the killer Mullah will finally land nukes into his hand, millions will be displaced, drones will control the skies, queues will be everywhere in front of the WFP’s trucks, pregnant women will die in tents due to lack of health facilities and a bag of one kilo pulse will be sold for Rs 1,000, by then a dollar will be equal to Rs 10,000.
This is what history has shown, not far away in Latin America or Sub-Saharan Africa, but just next door in Swat valley, FATA and Afghanistan.  Let’s learn a lesson and reject the ‘strategic depth’ story of the GHQ for a peaceful Pakistan with religious tolerance for all its citizens.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And now a peep into Mullah's Utopian state

When a Mullah, in his Friday sermon, draws the contours of his Utopian state somewhere in Pakistan and Afganistan, the imagined state will be cleansed of the following: television, both at home and office; women at work places; schools for girls; barber shops; family planning; polio vaccines for children; clean shaven men; marriages out of love; heads without a cap or scarf; fashion shows; bank accounts; threats from al-Qaeda; political dissedents; and absence from mosques during prayers.
Look for their comparisons: Mullahs identify television with Dajjal--the anti-Christ; woman with fitna (the root of every evil), though they love to marry them in bundles; family planning and polio vaccination with a Christian-Jewish conspiracy against the increasing Muslim population; love with a Satanic act; un-covered heads of men and women with places for Satan to pee on; a non-Muslim with an unfriend (read enemy) of Muslim; 9/11 an insiders’ job; documented economy something forbidden; opposition something to be crushed without mercy; and the toughest punishment for those who don’t pray in the mosques—imagine! its no less than death sentence.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims file out of  mosques in Pakistan and Afghanistan every Friday with more or less the same messages, sullying their hearts and pounding their minds until the next Friday. Mullahs are the socially approved diplomats of what their hard-core brothers, known as the Taliban, al-Qaeda or Mujahideen, try to practice in Pakistan’s tribal regions, Pakhtunkwa province, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and Indian-adminsieterd Kashmir.
In the shrill of their selective, out-of-context use of Quranic verses, Prophet (PBUH)’s Ahadith (sayings) and tales of the Muslim history, Mullahs, however, are silent on the increasing incidents of honour killings based on unproven allegations, burying women alive, violence against the weak sections of Pakistan or Afghan society, rights of women and minorities, and the increasing intolerance for dissident voices.
Based on Friday sermons, the imagined state of the Mullah is not structured on the principles of: say no evil, see no evil and hear no evil. It will be, rather, the other way around. Its ruling council comprising the likes of Mangal Bagh (a local transporter-turned-religious puritan in Khyber tribal region), Maulvi Umar (a local hawker-turned-Taliban spokesman), Mullah Fazlullah (a cable lift operator-turned-Taliban leader), Hakeemullah (a criminal-turned-TTP chief), and Mullah Omar ( an imam of merely 100-man-turned a self-styled Amir-ul-Momineen) will be the final authority on the good and bad deeds of individuals based on their religious whims.
Once created, they will appoint their owm men on all administrative positions in their would-be state, declaring them as men of Allah. One out of 10 children will be a polio victim. Half of the population, that is, women will be unable to read. The young Muslims will become fodder of the international Jehad. The outer world will be unable to distingush between a Muslim and a Sikh. The imagined state will be an environmental hazard as the Mullahs will have the lisence to shout in loudspeakers in every  corner day in and day out. And don’t forget, its subjects will always be running for cover to avoid drone attacks.
Pragmatism of the would-be state of Mullah will be based more on religious heart and less on political mind. Its leaders will feel proud for not having a bank account. The then senior minister in MMA government in Pakhtunkhwa Siraj ul Haq, who was also the finance minister, would proudly tell people he has no bank account. Even calling from a slippary pitch, the leader of the house (if it maintains a shape), will talk high. The latest models of Mullah-led political wisdom are reflected well in sermons delivered recently in two Kabul mosques. Mullah of one mosque boldy pledges for "any plan that can defeat" foreign military forces in Afghanistan, denouncing what he called "the political power of these children of Jews." His colleague in another mosque tells his audience, "Let these jackals leave this country. Let these brothers of monkeys, gorillas and pigs leave this country. The people of Afghanistan should determine their own fate." Both Mullahs, for reasons well known to them, do not tell the gatherings who will replace the foreigners after they leave Afghanistan.
In Pakistan, just across the border, an Imam in Pakistan’s Peshawar city tells his followers in the city’s largest mosque, Masjid Mohabat Khan, he will give a reward of five million rupees for the would-be killer of Aasia Bibi, an illiterate Pakistani Christian woman accused of committing blasphemy. The Imam, Maulana Yusaf Qurishi, has political affiliation with Pakistan’s anti-Western and pro-military religious group Jama’at-e-Islami.
And yet another one--a PML (Q) politician turned Fatwa-issuer, Sardar Ebaad Dogar of Multan who announced Rs 20 million reward for anyone killing Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, finally assassinated by his bodyguard, for his alleged support for amending Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
The centuries old unchallenged strength of the pulpit makes Mullah the real shephard of his herd of less-educated followers.  If not controlled, none seems to be safe—neither the state nor its otherwise peaceful residents. The states of Pakistan and Afghanistan have, however, yet to use the stick to discipline the preachers of hate as none is arrested or banned from delivering the hate sermons.