Sunday, December 23, 2012

Taliban Will Cross Indus

A huge majority in Pakistan and almost the whole of the Punjab province have their heads in sands while on the western side of the Indus river Pakistan military is losing land, writ and citizens to the brutal Taliban. If someone has doubts, ask the locals in FATA who are their masters.

Taliban's Evaporating Ideology:
The civilians-specific war theatre will not stop at the other side of the river. The Taliban ideology is evaporating in Pakistan, transcending the mountains and rivers. Their foot soldiers are in the safe havens of the mountains of Waziristan and sleeping cells in Peshawar, Karachi and elsewhere. But their masterminds and apologists have already fortified themselves on the eastern bank of the Indus river. They can be heard and seen every minute with their loud slogans and long arguments in the idiot boxes people have in their homes and lounges.

Dont be an Ostrich:
They will come after everyone as they want their writ in the whole country. If ignoring their knocking at the door is not an option then don't be such an ostrich--the sands are running out in the plains of Punjab, Pakistan's most populated province contributing over 90 percent military to the armed forces of Pakistan. Taliban didn't forgive Pashtuns, the most religious ethnic group on Pakistan's social fabric, and they would kick others too out of their cosy comforts they made for themselves.

Afghanistan Example:
It happened in Afghanistan and it would repeat itself in Pakistan too. The Hindukush mountains separate north from the south Afghanistan. The leaders of the  uzbek-dominated north were telling its people in early 1995 that Taliban couldn't cross the Hindukush--the tallest mountains in that part of the world. Taliban proved the Uzbek leaders wrong twice--in 1997 a failed attempt was converted into a successful attempt after one year. Hindukush mountains failed to deliver as a bulwark against the invading Taliban. All sorts of atrocities were reported as the rival forces didn't share the language, culture and future.

Threat to Civility:
The same can happen in Punjab and elsewhere in Pakistan. The military's inaction at a remote battlefield in north or south Waziristan has the risk of an uncertain future for the rest of Pakistan. True, Punjab and parts of Sindh are safe from terror attacks right now. But has anyone thought over the increasing Talibanization in Punjab and Sindh? More pro-Taliban voices are coming from the center and not from the northwestern peripheries today. Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif has called Taliban his brothers. Imran Khan's PTI is opposing drone strikes against the militants in FATA despite the fact that one such attack killed Pakistan's top enemy Baitullah Mehsud, the then chief of TTP. The military has so far a soft corner for Taliban. All retired generals, except Gen Talat Masood, justify military's vague policy towards terrorism. Most of the TV anchors and column writers from the Punjab province give 101 reasons for maintaining the status quo. On top of that, a strong network of all sorts of Madrassas, Jama'at-u-Dawa, LeT, LeJ, SSP, HeT, Ghazi Brigade, Lal Masjid, Jaish-e-Muhammad, IJT, JI and many more have their roots in the fertile soil of Punjab. To put it in the military terms, they are the advance surveillance parties of the Taliban. The actual horror can be the next episode.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bashir Bilour--A Victim of Military Inaction

Pakistan is a paradise but its milk and honey are for the two groups--the over 500k military and a few 1000s unleashed militants. The rest of the masses in the 180 million population has options open, though. They have to surrender to the will of the military and militants; keep calm towards the horror theater around them; or stand up.
The last choice comes with a painful ordeal. It blocks your path to bread and butter, exposes you to the fear of death, merciless beheading, blasts and opens gates of hell. This is what Pakistan has rewarded with all of its brave daughters and sons in recent history. Bashir Bilour-the loudest voice against atrocities in the country is the latest addition to the 'made-silenced' list.
Military and Militants Shared Interests:
The post-9/11 moments, instead of waking up the country's defenders to mounting challenges, were exploited for cleansing the state with what they call them rotten eggs--Bashir Bilour, Salman Taseer, Benazir Bhutto, Saleem Shehzad to name a few. They were all eliminated by a mindset that is hugely considered a brainchild of Pakistan military nationally and internationally.
Bashir Ahmad Bilour is a victim of deliberate inaction by Pakistan military. Under the watch of military's 11th corps, responsible for protecting the north-western borders and its people, FATA, PATA and fringes of Peshawar are no more governable. The militants attack their targets from their safe sleeping cells in the cities at their will. Just this week on Dec 16, a blatant attack at Peshawar's airport and nearby installations showed how openly the militants move around. The militants forced this week the government for suspending the essential polio vaccination after murdering the unguarded young female polio vaccinators in Peshawar and Karachi. The only force Taliban face is Pakhtunkhwa's police. That is one other reason Taliban treat police with the most horrible terror. One police officer of the level of SP was beheaded near Peshawar and they took away his head along with themselves, terrorizing the less-budgeted force who are never trained for fighting terrorists.
In Benazir Bhutto case, the then military ruler and commander of all armed forces of Pakistan Gen retd Pervez Musharraf is wanted in courts for his alleged involvement in treating her with a combo of bullet and powder.
Salman Taseer was martyred by his own security guard. The current Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani told western diplomats he couldn't condemn the murder as he had sympathizers of the killer in his rank and file.

Public Perception of Military:
Pakistan's Lahore-based journalist Najam Sethi gave several reasons for a failed policy against terrorism. However, one reason for military's inaction is very much relevant at this moment of national mourning. He wrote in Friday Times 21st Dec issue:
"The military leadership is wary of taking additional casualties. COAS General Ashfaq Kayani has been internally sapped by a string of developments - an unprecedented three years extension in service that hasn't gone down well with the rank and file, the Raymond Davis affair, the US Navy Seal raid to kill and extract Osama Bin Laden, the botched-up Memogate witch-hunt, mishandling of the NATO supply routes blockade, and aspersions on the business conduct of his brothers - and is therefore hesitant to take the brunt of decisions that could rebound on him."
The North-western Pakistanis add one  more sentence to Mr Sethi's comment--military and militants are the same in northwest Pakistan. They may appear different in shapes--one with clean shave in Khaki uniform, the other with long thick beard and flowing trousers. Their common target is, however, the same--people of northwest Pakistan and their culture. They may deny it but this is what people experience on daily basis. Late Bilour was the latest bitter pill they swallowed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tattoos-God's Gift to Mullahs

Here it is. The tattoos on the dead bodies of militants in Peshawar finally proved the world was wrong and a few Mullahs in Pakistan were right. They all responded with one voice--'See! we were telling you Muslims can't carry terror attacks against their Muslim brothers. The tattoos proved the terrorists are not Muslims but agents of '--' open to their guesses.

Tattoos & Circumcission: The Weight in Argument
The apologists of Taliban have now bagged two proofs for their narrative of terrorism. The old one said that many militants killed in fightings were found uncircmcised. The latest evidence is the clear picture of the demonic tattoos on the back of a militant killed in a police operation near Peshawar airport on Dec 16, 2012. The Taliban sympathizers are putting their utmost efforts to exploit the minor events, favoring their version of the narrative, in the over 10 year long war on schools, markets, mosques and fellow citizens.
The pro-Taliban lobbyists' arguments lack knowledge about local cultures and historical facts while linking circumcission so close to Islam and tattoos as a heretic act. The culture of circumcission is more or less the same in Waziristan and parts of Central Asian states. People in Waziristan would tell you that circumcission was not that in among the locals till lately.
So is the Central Asia. The Muslims' conquests of the Central Asia took place in 705-715 A.D. The then newly appointed governors there doubted the religious allegiance of the converts to Islam as they were evading taxes. The governor of Khurasan, for example, tested their faith by ordering circumcission of the newly converts. The then caliph of the Ummayyads era Umar 2nd forbade it. The history has recorded his order as saying: "Mohammad was sent to spread the message of Islam among the people, not to circumcise them."
The practice of circumcission is still not existing in several Muslim population pockets  of the Central Asia. The long rule of the former communist Soviet Union in Central Asia  also distanced Muslim communities from several religious rites and culture. Unlike the male Muslims in the mainstream Pakistan, the chances are that many militants hailing from the Central Asia and Waziristan might not have gone through the ordeal of circumcission.
So is the culture of tattoos. A Muslim in Madina or Lahore might not go for tattooing on his/her body but if our Mullahs look beyond those two cities they would see a variety of cultures, influences, cults and behaviors in the diverse Muslim communities. For example, female circumcission is almost common in some African countries, including Muslim states. If it happens in Pakistan, people would come out on roads. The PAF base attacker in Peshawar is from Daghestan (Russia). Tattoos are considered common among the youth in that part of the world and should not be a surprise. Nor should be treated as a game changer in the narrative of militancy.

A Muslim Can't Fight Against Muslims:
Soon after the tattoos were found on the dead body of the militant/s, clerics and scholars of the rank of Jama'at-e-Islami's (JI) Prof. Khurshed Ahmad said tattoos were haram in Islam and it showed a Muslim can't fight against the Muslim, declaring the dead militant as non-Muslim. (Prof Khurshed's hypocritic comment on Dec 16 ignores the deadly past of his party's involvement in the genocide of the Bengali Muslims.) To their surprise, a note found with the tattooed militant body said his name was Masa'ab and his goal was to fight against the heretics. That is neither the first nor the last evidence proving the fact that Muslims do fight against Muslims.
Mullahs and their extensions in media have always defied history when it comes to the bloody civil wars within the Muslim Ummah. The history of Muslims shows groups of Muslim dissidents fought against the mainstream Muslims in days when CIA, ISI, Mossad or RAW didn't even exist. Those small groups have been referred to as 'Khawarij', (Kharijis) or heretics and sometime 'apostates'.
The first known FORMAL fight, for example, against the Khawarij in history is known as Battle of Nahrawan (March 22nd, 658). It was the fight between the forces led by the 4th caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali and hundreds of the rebels (Mostly Koran readers) who committed atrocities against the Muslims in eastern Iraq . The rebels mercilessly cut the throat of Abdullah bin Khabbab, the son of a Companion of the Prophet of Islam and speared his pregnant wife to death, providing an immediate cause for the war. The Muslim historians have a unanimous version on the murder of Abdullah bin Khabab and his pregnant wife. They say the couple came across  the Kharijis in eastern Iraq who questioned them about the 3rd caliph of Islam-Hazrat Uthman. The husband replied he was a just caliph. It infuriated the Kharijis and ordered their murder. Hazrat Ali marched towards them, though he was on way to Syria, and asked them to return allegiance and surrender those who committed murders. They said they were equally responsible for the murders. Though some withdrew, 1800 die-hard opted for a fight at Nahrawan. The forces of Hazrat Ali won it while all but seven Kharijis escaped live. A read to the History of Islam tells that Kharijis and orthodox Muslims have always been treated as enemies of the mainstream Muslim Umma.

Living in the Land of Confusion
The latest and early history of Islam authenticate the fact that Muslims fought among themselves in their very 1st century and they do kill one another in the current 21st century. There were bad guys in its history. There will be forces of darkness fighting with those bearing torches in the Muslim Ummah in its future too. By their very existence, they give a choice to the beholders to go for the good or bad. TTP claimed their men attacked the PAF base in Peshawar. Their apologists said the tattoos on the militants bodies showed Muslims can't carry out such attacks. The winners are the killers in the prevailing state of confusion.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Raza Rumi's Model: Shahbaz Sharif & Punjab

Its not clear what tempted Raza Rumi, a columnist and twittarati with over 22k followers, for writing a 'sab acha' (everything is OK) in Punjab kinda piece under the rule of 'Khadem-e-Aala' Mia Shahbaz Sharif: May be he did it as he was once a little 'cog' in his government machinery or he obliged CM Punjab for something he owned to him but we don't know it. With due respect to Mr Rumi but his article was for public consumption and its missing points need to be fixed.

Intellectual Dishonesty:
Whatever---but one thing is clear. Mr Rumi is NOT playing on the pitch of intellectual honesty in his almost toothless column, published in Express Tribune on Dec 3rd. The only thing Mr Rumi missed, thanks to his oversight, he fell short of calling Shahbaz Sharif "Umar of Punjab"---many of the so-called good administrators in Muslim history are often called as Umar in reference to the 7th century 2nd caliph of Islam Hazrat Omar (Pakistan text books boards have Omar with O when it refers to Islam's 2nd caliph), known for good governance in the history of Islam. You all have heard stories of the 2nd caliph walking in nights in the streets to find out who was in trouble, for instance.
On the style of the historical stories related to the 2nd caliph, the article mentions the heroic deeds of Shahbaz Sharif when he was 'seen walking himself in knee-deep water, after a monsoon rain, to get to areas inundated by the water and oversee relief work.' The author ignores the fact to tell his readers whether Punjab has taken enough steps to prevent future floods. It doesn't challenge Shahbaz Sharif's self-acclaimed title of 'Islamic Socialist' but refers to the claim, though purposely.

Punjab Vs Other Provinces:
Mr Rumi writes: 'When compared to the other three provinces, he stands out for his responsiveness and ability to set the parameters of governance right'. Thats very pathetic. Mr Rumi simply ignores that the other three provinces, including territories such as FATA, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, have yet to come out from the storm phase of state/nation-building and existence. Terrorism has crumbled down the ages old development and institutions in Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. Since Sharif has become CM, 100s of schools were constructed in Punjab and 1000s were destructed in KP and FATA.  Such is the race in education sector in the two provinces. While Punjab is progressing, Baluchistan is on fire since 2006. Mr Rumi's tweets on Baluchistan's plight tell a lot how the province turned into a hell in the last couple of years. Sindh's capital Karachi is losing investors to Punjab's Faisalabad due to violence there. FATA and GB can't be mentioned here as Shahbaz Sharif's 'bros' called Taliban have opened killing fields there.

Advice for Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Baluchistan:
'It is time for other provinces to learn from this (Sharif) model', writes Raza Rumi. Thanks but no thanks. Its not Sharif's model that prospers Punjab. The scheme of things does so. Pakistan's armed forces are from Punjab province. Every single penny of defense budget, which is the largest after debt service, goes to families in Punjab. People of other provinces and territories have less than 5 % share in Pakistan's defense budget and armed forces. 
The national and private lenders in Pakistan have their money and resources at the disposal of investors, entrepreneurs, farmers, medium-small businessmen from Punjab province. Check it with a bank in Mardan in Pakhtunkhwa, Dera Murad Jamali in Baluchistan or Jacobabad in Sindh how much loans it has provided to farmers or local entrepreneurs there in the last one year. A comparison will show that farmers in Cheechwatni in Punjab got loans and government subsidy but farmers in Pakhtunkhwa, to give an example, were arrested in Charsadda on Dec 12 for they were protesting against the lower than market prices for their cash crop tobacco.
And BTW, what Punjab lost in the all out terrorism in the other three provinces and elsewhere in Pakistan? Its a win/win phase for Punjab. US $$s coming to Pakistan go to armed forces and end up at the threshold of Punjab. The scared pale-faced industrialists in the other three provinces are shifting their money and factory to Faisalabad and elsewhere to secure their future. Individual rich families even can't afford resisting terror in Quetta, Peshawar or Karachi. Many have moved their families to the so far most safest place, Punjab, fueling real estate business there.

The author disappoints objective viewers as he fails to give some facts and figures on corruption in Punjab and its comparison with the other three provinces. Reports recently quoted head of Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog NAB as saying Punjab's share in corruption stands at 65%---other provinces have to learn it from Sharif's admin how he does it so successfully that even Raza Rumi can't see it. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

No Nishan-e-Haider for Soldiers of War on Terror

Pakistan has lost about 40,000 people--soldiers and civilians combined since 9/11. Since then, Pakistan military claims at every international forum it is actively engaged in fight with the Taliban and al-Qaeda to regain the state's writ on FATA, almost equal to Belgium in land area while its population is more than Georgia. The enemies-Taliban and al-Qaeda, killed 100s of the troops in the line of duty and beheaded some to terrify the generals.
But--there comes a 'but'--the military has not recognized the valor of the troops fighting the 'War on Terror' for the last more than 10 years on the most difficult terrain in the toughest phase of the country history. There is no 'Nishan-e-Haider' (NeH)--the most prestigious military medal so far, for the bravery of a single living or fallen soldier.
The highest military medal 'Nishan-e-Haider' is given to a soldier who shows unprecedented  heroism in extremely dangerous circumstances on the battlefield. The military has till this day recognized its soldiers' heroism in their fight against its self-defined arch rival India. There are 10 lucky soldiers who had been awarded with the NeH, though  posthumously, for their bravery against the enemy. (One other soldier had been awarded for his valor and had been given Hilal-e-Kashmir, equivalent to NeH.) All of them fought against India.
The NeH receivers include soldiers of almost each war and skirmish with India. Starting from 1948, soldiers who fought in 1958, 1965, 1971 and Kargal skirmish in 1999--the heroism has been recognized via honoring the best soldier with the NeH.
The country's longest and most crucial "War on Terror" with the most dangerous enemy who defies the Geneva Convention has not been recognized in terms of honoring the soldiers fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda in Waziristan, Orakzai, Kurram, Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur. Ask a Pakistani today and s/he would not be able to recall a single name of one brave soldier who fell in the line of duty in fight against Taliban. Nor ordinary Pakistanis know about a single story of a  victory at a battlefield against militants in the over10-year long war. They would, rather, recall several names and battle stories of the Taliban or al-Qaeda, thanks to Pakistan's Jehadi media and extremists' propaganda.
Who loses at the end? Pakistan military and all forces who want a strong Pakistan. The military is accused for not owning the 'War on Terror' by not honoring its own men. The outer world too is suspicious of Pakistan. And the fight between military and extremists looks jaundiced in appearance to its critics with every passing day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Monsters Bigger Than Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden's (OBL) criticism (as revealed in the leaked documents) of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its brutal affiliates conveys one clear message to the peace-loving people of Pakistan, that is, the country has monsters bigger than the world's most wanted terrorist. They are those who avoid condemning TTP terrorism and hold protest rallies against military operations, drone attacks and all resources on the ground that endanger TTP existence and its network. 
They are, interestingly, not the ordinary Khateebs or Imams of mosques but men and women who are proud of their exposure to western education and culture. 
On top of the list is PTI's leader Imran Khan. The clean-shaven, western educated and once a play boy of London is the emerging extremist leader in modern attire on Pakistan's urban middle class horizon. The guy condemns each and every drone attack, the only workable tool against the terrorists, in his public rallies, twitter and facebook but has adopted an utter hush approach on the TTP terror campaign. In his Islamabad rally on May 6ht, he recalled the latest drone attack that killed 10 militants in Waziristan and condemned it. However, he chose ignorance on the killing of 29 innocent people in a suicide attack in Bajaur on May 4th---TTP accepted the responsibility of that attack. 
Mr Khan also didn't mention the blowing up of a girls school in South Waziristan on the day he was talking nonsense in Islamabad rally, nor he advised, TTP not to hide in girls/boys school for cover against the drones. 
After Mr. Khan comes in his political rivals--Sharif brothers--the comfort-loving kings of Lahore throne. The junior Sharif will be remembered for his appeal to Taliban wherein he called Taliban his brothers and requested them not to carry terror attacks in their kingdom, Punjab. He reminded Taliban his bond of relationship while addressing an audience in a madrassah in 2011. Compared with OBL's assessment of TTP as revealed in the documents taken in US custody during the Abbottabad raid, Sharifs are all praise for the TTP and its affiliates. For them, Taliban are brothers and Hafiz Saeed is preacher of peace, leading a mission of de-radicalization. 
The pious Sharif brothers, despite their claim of leaders of Pakistan, have never, for the sake of record, condemned TTP's suicide attacks in north west Pakistan nor the blowing up of schools in FATA. 
The TTP lovers are not few in Pakistan. The 40 leaders of Defa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) with names such as Pakistan former Chief of Army Staff Gen Aslam Beg, ex-ISI chief Gen Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed with US bounty of $10 million, the spiritual father of Taliban Maulana Sami ul Haq and a platoon of journalists with their past affiliation with Jamat-e-Islami, are always there to defend TTP's terror acts as 'reaction' to drones. The pro-Taliban tsunami in Pakistan led by Imran Khan and Sharifs among politicians, Gen Gul from retired and (may be the like-minded serving military top servicemen), and anchors such as Kamran Khan, Mehr Bukhari, Talat Hussain and Nadeem Malak in media is telling the outer world that Pakistan continues living with bigger monsters than the one gunned down in a US Seals raid in Pakistan on May 2nd, 2011. 
None of them have the courage to come forward and show the same disdain for the TTP that was shown by OBL for the notorious group. Their consistent silence on TTP's attacks on citizens and schools would be a question voters would hopefully ask them when they would be going to ballot boxes late this year.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pakistan's Right Media Lost another Moment of Joy

The self-righteous TV anchors with plenty of Misters and Misses "Right" lost another moment of Hurrah as the Supreme Court verdict on April 26th didn't deliver what they were desiring for. A 'token' punishment, no mention of 'disqualification', elected prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's 'refusal' to resign on--what a dictator's son Ijaz ul Haq called 'grounds of high moral' and a cold response to the pious Sharif brothers' agitation have turned Kamran Khan & Co into desperado journos. 
Pakistan's most rightist after the country's top military brass, Mr Kamran Khan proved himself the most idiot person on April 26th, during the whole memogate episodes, coverage of the May 2nd US raid deep inside Pakistan on the hidden den of terror king Osama bin Laden (OBL) and on days he thought elected government was in trouble. He is not alone, though, in propagating the 'national interests' without questioning where those interests would land in Pakistan. 
The establishment-fed and the military-inspired anchors of Pakistan private TV networks are increasingly growing beards in their tummies on issues such as Pakistan's proxies in Afghanistan and India or relations with the US. On civil vs military relations, they sound more like a brigadier in a three-star uniform. On Punjab vs other provinces or center, the TV journos and many columnists become dark-skinned Punjabi journalists, throwing to the dogs the otherwise much debated values of morality, justice, equality and federation.
Mr Kamran Khan & Co are the shameless proven brand of Pakistani journos who would be referred as rotten apples in possible research works on Pakistani media. They appear on TVs and print media with invisible beards, stars and X-swords on shoulders, Punjabi pride (based on head counts) and ethnic bias everyday, helplessly poisoning the masses. Their lack of legal, political and regional education make them marked JAHEL (ignorant) juornos, putting in shame consistently the few reasonable voices in the country's media. Last year on May 2nd, they failed raising the most essential question: Who protected OBL in a garrison city Abbottabad for six years. Instead, they tried their best changing the course of debate. The JAHEL Mr Khan & Co. were rather holding the elected offices accountable for weakening Pakistan and accusing the elected civilian set-up for allowing US to carry out the attack against their 21st century sex-hungry so-called Khalifa who was hiding along with his three wives at a stone throw distance from a military base. One year passed on since lucky May 2nd 2011 uprooted the monster but the ignorant media didn't ask who protected OBL in Pakistan. That question has been left for the Pakistani citizens, demanding more persistently the exposure of the OBL's protectors. On the memo gate, Pakistan's JAHEL anchors would have loved sitting on the Supreme Court bench to declare president Zardari and ambassador Hussain Haqqani as traitors and set a three day deadline for executing them at a public square near the GHQ. Their biased coverage never raised red flags on the intentions and actions of the then most controversial chief of ISI general retired Ahmad Shuja Pasha under whose watch the world's most-wanted man OBL managed hiding till he was just hunted down in the sleeve of a military garrison. Nor they asked why the then spy chief was seeking support of the Arab Shiekhs for a reported coup detate, he and the top brass was reportedly planning, against the civilian government after the May 2nd raid. 
Pakistani anchors have yet to give a fair assessment of the effectiveness of the drone attacks in FATA. The drones have killed the country's top terrorist Baitullah Mehsud and hundreds of high and low profile militants but the so-called pious men and women in the TV networks term the most needy and effective anti-Terrorists program so far as violation of the sovereignty despite the fact the government has no writ in the drone-covered border regions. 
The lack of criticism on Sharifs-led Punjab and presenting the government over there as a model of governance speak of the geographic and ethnic bias of the media men. The Punjabi bias and nationalism had turned the Right media blind towards the Mughal-style rule in Punjab. The mainstream media dominated by the likes of Kamran Khans did't question why the chief minister of Punjab has 19 portfolios in his occupation or how humanly its possible for one man to supervise 19 miniseries. It didn't ask the Sharifs how they dared calling Taliban as their brothers who behead Pakistani soldiers, citizens, destroy schools and have killed 37000 Pakistanis in terror attacks since 9/11. Nor Sharifs were challenged on writing off their loans, evading taxes and using OBL's funds in dethroning elected governments. 
Sorry for Mr Kamran Khan & Co. as you couldn't leave the circus with a 'Hurrah' slogan on April 26th. Bad day for you guys. The ruling coalition and neither the masses failed you. Your own judiciary and your own horses didn't deliver what you were dreaming of. The verdict didn't call for disqualifica tion and Sharifs are busy drinking Lassi as they would hardly go for a tough ride in the near future.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

‘Punjabi Nationalism’ Dominates National Discourse

Pakistan’s ‘jaundiced’ media is full of terms such as ‘Baloch, Pashtun, or Sindhi nationalism’ and ‘Mohajirs’. What is missing in defining Pakistan’s ethnic groups in the mainstream media is ‘Punjabi nationalism’.
The electronic media, newspapers and communication flood on the social media had printed on the masses’ minds that demands coming from Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan are speaking of the nationalists in those provinces. However, Punjab’s gains in development, education, health, and communication infrastructure are portrayed as national achievements of Pakistan.
In politics, a term like ‘Sind card’ is widely used with PPP despite its presence in all four provinces, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan. ANP is hardly defined in terms of its secular agenda or the only anti-Taliban forces in the volatile northwest Pakistan. Political forces from Balochistan---JWP, BNP and others are presented as soft names of the Baloch rebel groups in the national media. Political parties of Sindh are paraded in the media with the available negative tags attached to their names and causes.
All national traitors Pakistanis have known so far through media are either the Bengalis of the pre-71 Pakistan or the non-Pujabis of the post-71 era--Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochis and Mohajirs. Starting from Pakistan's latest traitor, Dr Shakil Afridi (the doctor whose small efforts had allegedly got rid the South Asian Islam off the terror godfather Osama bin Laden and Wahabism) is Pashtun. Former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Sindh), former opposition leader late Khan Abdul Wali Khan (Pakhtunkhwa), late GM Syed (Sindh), late Ghaus Bakhsh Bizanjo (Balochistan), to name a few, all are defined as traitors in the mainstream media. Altaf Hussain of MQM can’t come back to Pakistan and leaders like Nawab Akbar Bugti don’t deserve life.
Contrary to this, the Indian-specific media and text books are defining Major Aziz Bhatti, Captain Muhammad Sarwar, Major Muhammad Tufail (a total of 11) as Pakistan’s national heroes. All of them died while defending Punjab in four wars against India from 1948-1999. However, the state and ‘yellow’ media of Pakistan have yet to produce a single hero in the 10- year war against Terrorism in a comparatively tough terrain and tricky battlefield known as the Wild Wild West of Pakistan. 
Over 160 million Pakistanis, today, can’t recall a man or a woman that they know who might have been fallen against the Arab, Central Asian or Pakistani fanatics in the mountains in FATA while defending Pakistan against militancy. One apparent reason for this nation-wide apathy towards soldiers fighting Terrorism is that Pakistan not owning the ongoing war despite its claims of higher causalities at international fora.
The decades long control of the Punjabi mindset and ‘Maulvis-turned-journalists’ on media has locked Pakistani journalism in ‘Punjabi Box’. The journalists living in that particular box can hardly imagine the sensitivities of people and regions existing out of the Punjabi Box. They don’t see Pakistan Muslim League (N) or (Q) as Punjabi nationalists nor they define Sharif brothers as leaders of Punjabi nationalism when they allocate more development funds for Punjab or deny due shares of the other three provinces from the national pool of resources.
Whether it’s a political fight between PPP or Muslim League, differences on NFC award (national resources), provincial autonomy, militancy, royalty rights, blasphemy law, or women rights, Pakistani media shows Punjab’s voice as protagonist and those of other provinces as antagonist in its narration of events. 
As if that is not enough, they cover up Punjab’s causes as Pakistan hard core national interests and label others as Pashtun, Baloch, Sindhi or Mohajir nationalists in a bid to deny them a space on the minds of media viewers, listeners and readers.
The irony is that the state institutes and Pakistani intellectuals call it a ‘media revolution era’ of Pakistan though a reader of the Jang newspapers in 1970s and viewer of Geo TV in March 2012 don’t see a difference in contents and description of facts (Punjab vis-à-vis others). The media revolution in Pakistan has, unfortunately, reinvigorated the Punjabi voice and its outreach, however, and has successfully avoided the ‘Punjabi nationalism’ label for itself while defending the interests of one major ethnic group at all levels in a multi-ethnic country.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is Gen Pasha the Only Competent Son?

The average Pakistani would reply in affirmative. The decades old positive image of Pakistan military and showing the ever-smiling face of the ISI chief general Shuja Pasha in media have a smoke screen effect for an open eye, hiding from it the ‘dirty job’ of the men in uniform.
That Gen Pasha will get a third extension as ISI chief is not yet confirmed. However, the possibility of that option or the chances of getting another lucrative job after his retirement on March 18, 2012 makes him the ONLY COMPETENT SON OF PAKISTAN. 
The iron hands at the back of Gen Pasha have already placed him in a first-rate bargaining position--“Give him an extension on his current post or make him the chief watchdog of Pakistan’s nukes.” A win-win deal for Gen Pasha and those who believe in his awesome competence.
The losers are a few bloody civilians. They are damn cared. The powerful establishment matters. It has the self-proclaimed authority of who to be awarded with the ISO certificate. The history tells that privilege is only for the serving and retired military generals in Pakistan. In Gen Pasha case, his lobby has one hundred and one reasons to permanently award him with what best the State of Pakistan can offer to him.
A bloody civilian in Pakistan is not jealous, though. He is simply scratching his head nonstop since May 2, 2011 and hardly asks: How on earth the world’s most wanted man Osama bin Laden (OBL) lived for about six years in a garrison city under the ever-watching eye and ever-spying instinct of Gen Pasha and his institute called ISI?
The bloody civilian asks: What makes the basis of Gen Pasha’s selective intelligence? He would go to London to meet Ijaz Mansoor to find out who in the civil government dared writing a memo to the then US admiral to prevent a possible military coup in Pakistan after the US raid on OBL’s mansion and would arrest Dr Shakil Afridi who US claimed helped in locating OBL in Pakistan.
The bloody civilian asks: What was the purpose of Gen Pasha visits to the Gulf states soon after the May 2nd national embarrassment? The author of the memo saga Ijaz Mansoor accused him of seeking support of the Arab sheikhs for the military coup. The military, however, believes in Mr Mansoor’s version of the memo scandal but denies his statements on Gen Pasha’s activities during his trips to the Gulf states.
The bloody civilian asks: How a few men in camouflaged uniform attacked PNS Mehran, killing soldiers and destroying the ‘parked’ plane at the base? He asks: Was it an inside job?
He asks: Why ISI is accused of protecting Afghanistan’s militant group Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura? Is it a matter of ‘national interest?
With the exception of those involved in it, everyone in Pakistan asks who is abducting civilians, Baloch nationalists and dissidents and report them ‘missing’?
The very mediamen ask who killed journalist Saleem Shehzad?
Unfortunately, all these questions have been raised since the only competent son of Pakistan Gen Pasha had got the charge of the country’s spy agency ISI.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pakistan’s Hate-Based Defense on Rise

The Muslims in Pakistan don’t need Dr Muhammad Iqbal to ‘dream’ for them the next 10 or 20 years. The information revolution in the 21st century empowers ordinary men and women to project the future with more or less exact approximations. They are depending less on what many call ‘heavily distorted’ history books to see the past and trace the future. The history books in a multi-ethnic subcontinent or present Pakistan are eternally controversial due to its biased contents. The state and media’s recognitions there go for individuals belonging to the majority ethnic groups or influential circles and dynasties.
Sorry for this brief digression---talking of the next 10-20 years, the immediate future of Pakistan. Is the glass half full or half empty? The answer is nightmarish. The chances are that the silent majority will remain moderate, open and friendly to other nations, cultures, minorities and worldly progress. But will they make the face of Pakistan?
No. The hate-based defense preachers are, rather, becoming the face and voice of Pakistan. They are men and women disguised in the gullible uniform of pious orthodox religious leaders. They are not alone in their mission of changing Pakistan in next few years. Their support root is based in the country’s most powerful corridors with zealots in media.
The newly pumped up ‘Hate Class’ is not in love with their perpetual neighbor India. They want all Muslims should launch Jehad against USA though all of them remained US proxy mercenaries in the 80s in Afghanistan. They have a ‘hush hush’ policy when their foot soldiers—Taliban, Lashkari Tayyeba, al-Qaeda etc., behead or gun down a dozen of Pakistani soldiers or blow up innocent men in a mosque. They celebrate the coward act of Qadri and support the traders in business disputes with the Ahmadis. They show up riding on horses with swords in hands and slogans of ‘kill’.
Yes—Pakistan is moving in that direction. This trend is on the rise and the platform is already there called Defa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) with all sorts of criminals under one umbrella. They are there to save us with swords in their hands from THEIR enemies—US, India, Ahmadis, Baluch nationalists, leaders like Benazir Bhutto, Salman Taseer, Shehbaz Bhatti, Aasia Bibi, and independent journalists such as Saleem Shehzad.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Memogate drama

Allah Detha abducts the Chaudhri’s daughter one day. The Chaudhri lodges an FIR against the rising young graduate Fazlu of the village. The case nips evil in the bud: the rise of Fazlu--a middle class representative. The Chaudhri, on the insistence of his daughter, christens the abduction as a ‘marriage of convenience’ but Fazlu’s fate hangs in a court of law.
It is a typical narrative of Pakistan’s Chaudhris. So is the storyline of what media has termed as memogate—a letter requesting US to foil a possible military coup in Pakistan after the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2 last year.
A Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz confessed to the writing of the memo and then passing it on to the office of the then US Chairman Joints Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The story, however, turned out to be a perfect prototype of the description of events of a small village Chaudhri.
The letter angered Pakistan’s top Chaudhri--the military establishment. Instead of taking action against the known and the self-confessed culprit (if it makes him one) in the memo case, the security state of Pakistan is bent upon punishing the Fazlu—Hussain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States.
Mansoor Ijaz, the known and self-confessed writer of the memo, emerges as the good guy for his dirty role in scripting and delivering the memo to the right person in the US administration and Hussain Haqqani, the unproven alleged dictator of the memo, is facing music in Pakistani courts with an uncertain fate.
The Pakistani Chaudhri, rather, approved what Mansoor Ijaz has done by opting for not taking action against him. Today the nation knows him as a brave man, thanks to the ISI for treating him so softly for the convenience of its interests. The chief spy of Pakistan general Shuja Pasha visits him in London to dig out the memo secrets. Pakistan’s right wing anchorpersons and journalists see him as messiah against the PPP-led government.  And Pakistani courts will buy his version to win the case for the Chaudhri.