You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

'Hidden Government'

An intersting & a must watch video. 'Hidden Government' is an eye opener to the naivety of many of the fellow Pakistani's who still believe in upholding the 'Military' & 'ISI' institution and wouldnt stop worshipping it.

The designer's of our demise, the gluttonous power hungry junta, that won't stop short of having everything for themselves or tearing apart what they cannot have. History is witness to it, only a matter of time before do they do their next 'stint' in destabilising the country & making room for their puppetered personalities in Islamabad.

(Embedding that video wasnt possible because author had disabled it, follow the link to view). Thanks to the fellows who pointed out this video link.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Questions about Mumbai .......... by Najamuddin Shaikh (Former Foreign Seceretary) for Daily Times

ANALYSIS: Questions about Mumbai —Najmuddin A Shaikh

The befogging emotions that are so easily aroused in any Indo-Pak crisis make dispassionate investigative reporting difficult, and yet this is exactly the time when it is most needed

The media in Pakistan and India have both found it difficult, given the emotionally charged atmosphere, to ask the hard questions or try and unravel the manifest contradictions in the accounts that appeared in the Indian and international media regarding the horrific carnage to which Mumbai was subjected.

The government of India has to date issued no official statement on what transpired and who was responsible beyond Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement less than 24 hours after the attacks, saying there were “external linkages” and the attacks were carried out by a group “based outside the country”. A couple of days later, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that elements from Pakistan were involved.

From the official statements issued on both sides, it appears that a list of names has been provided by India with the request that those of Indian nationality be transferred to India while the Pakistanis to be prosecuted in Pakistan under Pakistani law. It is made to sound extremely reasonable but in no case so far – as one can judge, again by official statements – has there been any evidence presented that any of these people were involved in the Mumbai tragedy. In fact, the Indian foreign minister stated that they were still completing the investigation and that once this was completed, information may be shared with Pakistan. This equivocal statement was accompanied by the complaint that in the past India had shared evidence but this had not produced results.

The burden of the Indian song has been that Pakistan’s President Musharraf and subsequently President Zardari had vowed to prevent the use of Pakistan’s territory for terrorist activity and that they were justified therefore in asking that Pakistan dismantle the terrorist network that they allege exists on Pakistan’s territory.

By their reckoning, it was unimportant to establish that this had a connection with the Mumbai carnage. What does not appear to have struck the Indians is that at this time, the focus must be not on an airing of old Indian grievances, no matter how justified they may be, but on providing the evidence that establishes the connection the attackers in Mumbai had with elements in Pakistan and that these elements were criminally responsible for the events in Mumbai.

While an unnecessary hysteria has been created in both countries, the media has set aside its primary task: asking the hard questions and getting the right information out to its readers and viewers so that the public makes informed judgements rather than rushing off blindly into condemnatory mode.

Some of the questions that need to be asked in India are:

How did the number of terrorists arrested shrink from the 9 mentioned by the Maharashtra chief minister on November 27, or the 3 mentioned by the knowledgeable Praveen Swami of the Hindu, to become 1 terrorist only. The Washington Post of November 28 says that according to Indian officials “several gunmen were captured”.

How was it that this hardened terrorist, presumably trained to remain silent, became so talkative that all details of his journey and his companions were revealed in the first few hours of his detention?

A truth serum can work wonders, but then why did it take him eight days to reveal that an explosive device had been planted at the railway station where he had wreaked havoc, and where he had almost seemed to pose for surveillance cameras to create the image that may well become the enduring icon for the tragedy? Surely the interrogators, having learnt that each of the attackers was carrying explosives, must have asked him where he had used them?

Some accounts suggest that the explosives Kasab and his colleague carried may have been exhausted since they were planted in taxis and at a place called Byculla. If Kasab did not plant the explosives at the railway station then who did?

Why is it that account after account in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other newspapers suggests that the number of attackers were far more than the 10 that current official accounts indicate? Even the Hindu’s account states that an estimated 12 people were in the boats/dinghies that arrived on Mumbai’s coast? Most reports relying on “eyewitnesses” assert that eight people got off the boat at the fishing village close to the Taj and conjecture that other members of the group had landed elsewhere.

Who were the people to whom Mukhtar, the Kashmir police undercover agent arrested in Kolkata, transferred the mobile phone SIMs he had acquired, which were allegedly used by the terrorists? Did he know how they got to the terrorists? Did he know the identity of the terrorists or their handlers, and if so, why did he not make this information available to the authorities in Mumbai?

How does one reconcile the home minister’s statement on the killing of Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare, in which he states that the police vehicle in which Karkare was killed was snatched after killing Karkare and others from outside the Cama hospital, while earlier accounts say that after the firing at the railway station, the terrorists commandeered a police van but abandoned it when it got a flat tyre and then drove off in a Skoda? It was while they were in this Skoda, the BBC account says, that they fired at numerous targets including the Cama and Albless Hospital.

Why cannot the Pakistan authorities be informed, even while the investigation continues, about the list of Pakistani numbers that were called on the satellite phone that was found on the fishing boat or on the mobile phones that were used by the terrorists while they were in the Taj and Oberoi? This, after all, is supposed to be the corroboration to the “confession” extracted from Kasab. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Along with a confession from the one gunman captured in the attacks, officials cited phone calls intercepted by satellite during the attacks that connected the assailants to members of Lashkar-e Taiba in Pakistan, and the recovered satellite phone from the boat”.

Who among the people listed by India in the demarche presented to Pakistan were responsible for the Mumbai incident or is this the same list that has been presented to Pakistan before the Mumbai tragedy most recently at the meeting of the interior secretaries meeting in Islamabad hours before the Mumbai incident unfolded?

On the Pakistani side too, there are a number of questions that need to be addressed:

How did the people in the presidency allow the president to take a fake call from the Indian foreign minister?

Whose briefing did the president rely on when he said that the Indian violation of our airspace was “technical” and that the Indian military authorities, when they were contacted, were “apologetic”? The Indians maintain that there was no violation and, more importantly, that the first DGMO-to-DGMO contact took place three days after the violation.

On what briefings did our defence minister and our foreign minister base their statements about Masood Azhar that were subsequently found to be inaccurate?

The Director of Interpol made it clear that like Pakistan, he too had received no evidence from the Indians about the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai attack. Yet our friends, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, stated on our soil on December 14 with no uncertainty that Lashkar-e Tayba was responsible for the attack. Secretary Rice maintained after her visit to Pakistan on December 4 that Pakistan had been given “sufficient information” to take action against the organisers of last week’s attacks in Mumbai. Did Brown and Rice share with us the basis for their assertions, and if so, what is our position?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

India shld look into its own backyard, says an Indian Analyst

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Interpol chief says India yet to provide evidence

By Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD, Dec 23: Interpol’s secretary-general Ronald Noble said here on Tuesday that India had not provided to him names of suspects and evidences about last month’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Addressing a joint press conference with Adviser to the Prime Minister Rehman Malik at the Interior Ministry, Mr Noble indicated that India did not want Interpol’s help and a joint probe into the case.

The Interpol chief arrived in Islamabad from New Delhi where he offered assistance in investigating the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Mr Noble did not say why India had turned down the offer but it is believed that India does not want any person or institution to delve into a ‘conspiracy theory’ relating to the killing of Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare, who was investigating the high-profile case of Samjhauta Express bombing in which over 60 people, mostly Pakistanis, were killed on February 19 last year.

There are reports that the Indian government has refused to separately investigate the killing of Mr Karkare and suggestions that it was a part of conspiracy against him.

When asked what evidence India had provided in connection with Mumbai shootout, the Interpol chief said he had not been given any significant information. “I have as much information as you have in Pakistan,” he added.

Rehman Malik said the Foreign Office had received a letter reportedly written by Amir Ajmal Kasab, seeking legal assistance.

“The letter is being examined by experts and the Foreign Office would issue a statement about it. However, there is no record of Kasab with Nadra,” Mr Malik said.

The adviser said that Pakistan and India were both victims of terrorism and needed to take joint action to eradicate the menace.

Answering a question about threats of war emanating from India, Mr Malik said the nation was united to face any challenge.

About Mumbai attacks, he endorsed Mr Noble’s statement and said India had not provided any evidence to Pakistan either. “If India gives us credible evidences about involvement of Pakistanis, the government will take action to bring them to justice,” he said.

India had neither provided any information officially to Pakistan about the arrest of a Pakistani national nor did it share any concrete proof about elements behind the Mumbai attacks, the adviser said.

Interpol chief says India yet to provide evidence -DAWN - Top Stories; December 24, 2008

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UN official praises Pakistan’s cooperation

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, Dec 23: A senior UN official has said that Pakistan has extended full cooperation in implementing UN sanctions against Jamaatud Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Richard Barrett, the Coordinator of Security Council’s Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Committee, told CNN-IBN in New York that the United Nations had received “across-the-board” cooperation from all Pakistani civil and military agencies.

The committee is responsible for monitoring sanctions imposed by the Security Council on individuals and organisations declared terrorist.

Mr Barrett said he found “very good atmosphere of cooperation” in all his dealings with officials in Pakistan, “whether it’s the government, elected officials, ministries, the intelligence services or the army”.
UN official praises Pakistan’s cooperation -DAWN - Top Stories; December 24, 2008
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who is responsible for assisting immigrants from tribal areas?

Excerpt from Urooj Zia's story in The News ( )

Hundreds and thousands of war affected people from FATA have poured into Karachi in recent months. Many still live with relatives or friends already settled in Karachi. Twelve-year-old Hakim, his six siblings ranging in age from five to 16, his parents and his 78-year-old grandfather, Hikmat, are among them.

Three months ago, the biggest problem in Hakim's life was trying to not get beaten up by his teacher. He was learning the Qura'an by heart at his local mosque, which also doubled as a Madressah in his village near Waziristan. Today, Hakim polishes shoes for a living at a park near his temporary home in Karachi. When business is slow, he begs, as do his siblings and his

"Somewhere around the end of summer, fliers rained down on us from the Pakistan Army aeroplanes. The imam from the mosque said that the fliers were telling us to pack up and leave within six hours, because they would bomb our village," Hakim said. He doesn't know who 'they' are, or why his village was going to be bombed. "We gathered up everything, and left in large trucks. We had heard stories about people who died in other villages because they did not leave when told to do so."

The family came to Hakim's distant uncle in Karachi. This 'uncle' can more appropriately be described as someone who lived in the same village as Hakim's family. Around 40 people from the village came to his house and stayed there for three weeks, before moving in with other Pukhtoon families in the area. Hakim's family of 10, including his parents, however, still live at his 'uncle's' house. The latter already had four children of his own, and the house is actually a mud room in one of the slums around SITE. The small space is divided into a kitchen area and an enclosure for a restroom.

Prior to this move, Hikmat had never set foot outside his village. His son herded goats, which had to be left behind when the family fled. He gained employment a month-and-a-half ago at a local textile mill in Karachi. "My uncle took my father to the Thekedaar (contractor) for this factory, and he hired him," Hakim said.

"My husband hasn't been paid since he joined," Hakim's mother told The News. "He works two shifts at the factory. They said they would pay him last month. Then they said they'll pay him this month. When he protests, they threaten to throw him out, but what would he do if he loses this job? Right now we make ends meet with the money the children bring in."

Hakim's father's story is not unique. While a majority of the people that came to Karachi from FATA have taken to begging – especially old people and children – many of the able-bodied young men have taken up work in the industrial areas of Karachi.

The turnover of labour in these areas is generally extremely high, primarily due to the Thekedaari Nizaam or the contractual system. One person is chosen by the owner of a factory to recruit labour informally for the organisation. These workers are not listed as part of the factory in official labour department reviews, and are open to exploitation – especially immigrants
from FATA.

Almost none of these people had been paid since they joined, and were too scared to protest or quit for fear of losing their jobs and not being able to find another.

Many work multiple shifts, and rest at nearby parks during breaks. "I don't go home because the rooms are already so crowded," said Nihal, a worker at a construction site. "I'd rather just try and get some sleep in this park here, before getting back to work again in an hour."

Meanwhile, the Sindh Labour Department maintains that it has not received complaints regarding the exploitation of these workers. "We can only take action if these workers come up to us and complain," provincial Labour Minister Amir Nawab said. "Once we receive complaints, we constitute an inquiry commission, and try to rectify their grievances. If this does not work, we issue a notice, and then take the matter up as per the law."

"They should unionise and fight for their rights," he said. The children of these families, meanwhile, have taken to either shoe-polishing, selling sugarcane (ganderi) at signals, or begging. Many children who The News spoke to said that "back home" they had been enrolled at local mosques-cum-madressahs where they learnt to read the Qura'an. None of them have set foot inside a school ever since they came to Karachi. Hakim wants to be a Qura'an teacher when he grows up, and is looking forward to getting back to his studies again.

The families, however, have no idea as to when they will be able to go back to their villages, or what to expect when they return. "I don't think anything is left behind there," Hakim's mother said. "We heard of other villages while we were back home. Nothing was left behind there except
rubble. What makes you think our village will be any different?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peshawar by Night (Hakim Hazik)

The winters in Peshawar can be quite chilly. If you consider the frequent power and gas outages, the good citizens of Peshawar had a particularly harsh winter this year. It could have been worse if it was not due to a group of highly public spirited individuals, who were blessed with courage, determination, a sense of purpose, kerosene oil and a box of matches, and set the NATO convoy on fire.

The civil and military authorities were quite taken by this thoughtful gesture and facilitated the venture by sending all the guards on extended leave for Bakra Eid. There was one decrepit guard, who created a bit of a wheeze, but was persuaded to desist from interfering, with the help of a bullet in the head.

Have you ever warmed your self in the gentle glow of a burning humvee? Beats any sun drenched beach I know of. It does cost a fair bit: a hundred thousand dollars of tax payer's money. It is the American tax payer though and therefore this is a great form of renewable energy.

If you go down the Kabul river and up the Swat river, you come to this emerald green Swat Valley. The good citizens of Swat are not happy with any half measures. They have chalked out a comprehensive energy policy. They decided upon the common sense solution of increasing public savings, by first of all excising the government blubber. This was rapidly achieved by burning to ground 200 girls' schools. Millions of rupees of public money were thus saved with one master stroke.

The army, of course is busy wiping out the pockets of militant resistance. The militants on the other hand are busy wiping out the pockets of army's resistance. Both are busy wiping out the civilian resistance. In the process all the Buddhist artefacts that have blighted the landscape for millennia have been completely wiped out. Once the smell of dynamite has subsided, the valley will have been cleansed of all living things and would return to being what it was at the beginning of time. This is called sustainable development.

Punjab adds vibrant colour to the national tapestry. Its dynamic business friendly government is working day and night to help its citizens. Multinational and local companies are setting up bottling plants for drinking water. It is a great way to improve public health and generate employment at the same time. Meanwhile, the tap water containing tadpoles can be used to improve the health of your mother in law. The department of health is working to find a market solution for those who can not afford to buy bottled water. A cholera epidemic is planned in near future.

This is good governance. You can buy good governance at affordable rates. You can buy private education, you can buy private security, and you can buy private health care. You can also buy the police and the judges. You can hire syndicate killers. You can have police encounters at a competitive price.

Would you like a police encounter at a special discount?

(Picture and Text Source: )

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mirror, Mirror Nadeem F. Paracha ( DAWN December 7th)


It was a startling experience following the antics of the Indian electronic media in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

As one Indian news channel after the other babbled across the most thrilling and sensational expressions of paranoid, anti-Pakistan clichés, I switched back to watching our own channels when a sudden realisation struck me: The Indian channels were a perfect mirror image of everything the Pakistani electronic media has been criticised for recently. And as the local channels geared up to nobly strike back at the accusations flying ever-so-liberally in the Indian media, drowned in this media-centric tit-for-tat were voices struggling to find a sane way out of the mess.

The truth is that there seems to be nothing even remotely resembling sanity in the ways and modes of both the Pakistani and Indian electronic media. Both are a product of the amoral political-economic system that thrived around the world in the last 10 years or so. It is a system glorifying a manner of consumerism that unabashedly puts everything up for sale — from chocolate bars to political and social ideologies. In the context of the TV channels, the media truly became a stage with various and distinct actors, each playing a designated role that is most saleable, but at the same time terribly hackneyed and stale.

The style of the electronic media in both the countries is almost similar: Irresponsibly loud, increasingly conspiratorial, gaudy, and highly rhetorical. And even though the differences are few, they are stark. For example, in the face of a terrorist attack, the Pakistani electronic media will at once take a staunch anti-government line, spiced up with populist anti-US taunts and assorted jabbering that is at best a chaotic crisscross between aggressive Islamist posturing and retro-socialist sloganeering, all done in well-lit TV studios and over beeping telephone lines.

In India, the electronic media in the event of a deadly terrorist act does the opposite. It gets right behind the government and the state and lavishly expounds upon and expands, like an over-the-top Bollywood script, whatever excuses and explanations the government has to provide. Pakistan gets the ceremonial beating. It is black to India’s white, as simple as that.

Now, this is not to suggest that the paranoia on both sides of the border does not have any factual ground. Both the countries have been known to play clandestine games against each other, but it is also true that most of the recent problems they have been facing regarding religious extremism and violence (both Islamic and Hindu), are largely of their own making.

Interestingly, more than its Indian counterpart, Pakistani governments and the state in the last few years have been positively willing to accept the above scenario. It will look at its own Frankenstein monsters in the north and rue its history of sponsoring jihadi outfits in the past to explain the terrorism it is facing today. The Indian government and the state, on the other hand, still don’t seem to shed that old Cold War-era habit of pointing the finger at its “neighbours.”

In both cases, however, the now widespread electronic media in India and Pakistan have ended up playing a rather disastrous role.

In Pakistan this media viciously attacks any Pakistani government that is ready to blame in-bred extremism for the violence that the country is facing. It will mock such a government as being a “US stooge,” animatedly point fingers at the Indian embassies across the Afghan-Pakistan border, and paint an awkwardly sympathetic picture of the extremists.

In India, on the other end, the electronic media joyfully jumps the gun and starts accusing Pakistan even before the Indian government does, intricately putting populist pressure on the government to do so at once, even if the government may be wanting to keep the anti-Pakistan whining somewhat pragmatic and less aggressive.

The electronic media in both India and Pakistan simply reflects the paranoia and politics of a class of people that became an important factor in the economics of consumerism flourishing in the region over the last decade. This is the urban middle-class that enjoyed relative prosperity between the end of the Cold War in 1991 and the current global economic collapse. The years between these two events saw them acquiring a sudden, important economic status as they became central ideological and socio-economic players in ways of post-Cold-War economics that glorified consumerism and attached it with concepts like ‘freedom, democracy and progress’.

This bubble-like prosperity and an overstated feeling of economic and political empowerment that this class of urbanites felt also elevated them as becoming the economic and conceptual drivers of the new-found electronic media boom in India and Pakistan. But the irony is that this bubbled prosperity did not make them more liberal, egalitarian, wise or progressive. Instead, it made them feel a lot more insecure, perhaps fearing that their new-found prosperity was in danger of being undermined and compromised by opposing ideologies which they now thought had kept the urban middle-classes in both the countries in an economic and political limbo between the lower and upper classes. This insecurity coupled with the narcissism that is an inherent plank of consumerism has turned this class into becoming myopic and reactive. In both the countries they have become colourful and loud bundles of contradictions, quite like the two countries’ electronic media.

For example, in India, one of the biggest voting banks of the right-wing Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) comprises the Indian middle-class urbanites. They are “modern,” “liberal,” “open,” and yet one of the most responsive classes to anything smacking of modern Hindu fanaticism, anti-Pakistan rhetoric and post-Cold-War Indian conservatism. They also happen to be the class to which much of the advertising on Indian TV channels is targeted, and it is also the members of this class who are the brain and ego behind the content that one comes across on these channels.

The same is the case in Pakistan. This class went through similar economic metamorphosis, and the so-called economic empowerment did not necessarily turn it into a progressive batch. On the contrary, this class’s inherent political conservatism was only further fattened, but in an unusual and contradicting manner. Because even though the Pakistani urban middle-class easily fell for all the trappings of modern consumerism and economics, the narcissism factor saw them collapse inwards and qualify their self-centeredness by either rediscovering Islam (consequently believing to become wise enough to preach it too), or suddenly become fond of a rhetorical mixture of political Islam, token anti-Americanism, humane capitalism, and democracy. These are expressed as a constant criticism of the government and state institutions but the alternatives to bad governance, stooge-like behaviour and corruption end up sounding like hot air that has more to do with the reactive antics of consumerism, and animated revolutionary drawing-room/studio posturing than anything a little less Utopian, airy and more particle.

The electronic media in both India and Pakistan is a culmination of what the urban middle-class in these countries now stand for. And since there is now also more than a hint of self-righteousness in this class, one should not be surprised to note that the electronic media is entirely incapable of facing or indulging in the kind of serious self-analysis and criticism it is badly in need of.

Monday, December 8, 2008

If India had co-operated...

IT is surprising that our media has not taken notice of a very strange and ominous phenomenon following the Mumbai blast. This phenomenon is the ‘swift’ convergence of intelligence services, all of them are surprisingly from those countries which are directly involved in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are from the US, the UK, Australia and Israel. None has come from any Asian or African countries, notably, from Russia or China who have incidentally refrained from any doomsday comments.

Disregarding for a moment any hand of the countries just mentioned behind the blast one may safely assume from their alacrity that there is something more in their presence than meets the eye. Perhaps this is regarded as a golden opportunity to bamboozle India into quick commitment to aims and plans of Israel and the US for the Middle East, in particular, and for this part of our region, in general.

None of these countries showed any willingness to come to Pakistan to help investigate the blast at Marriott Islamabad. The damage and loss of life at Marriott were no loss than that of the Taj.
India is already very anxious to take on some kind of role in Afghanistan, in particular, and in the Gulf area, in general. India has already obtained facilities for docking and repair of its naval vessels on the Oman coast. The Indian navy very recently ‘arrested’ a ship on suspicion of its connection with the pirates which turned out to be utterly ridiculous!

There are other two sectors, among several others, which may benefit from the Mumbai blast. The Indian army is not very happy with the arrest of some of its personnel for involvement in terrorist acts. They would like to see the Indian government allow the army more say in defence matters, especially with regard to Kashmir and Pakistan.
The overreaction of the Indian government against Pakistan has only made it more dependent upon the army which may have come under increasing influence of the US following the ‘strategic consensus’.
In addition, the main opposition party, the BJP, has attracted a large number of retired army officers who are now very active on its behalf. The hue and cry by the Indian government will only strengthen the communal mindset of this section of the Indians.

The other sector which may not be unsympathetic towards the Mumbai blast are the Tamils. The Tamils are faring very badly in Sri Lanka; they may direct their fury and frustration towards someone which happens to be the Indian government which soon after partition held the dream of lording it over Sri Lanka, Nepal and other neighbours. The Tamil anger not very long ago took the shape of the murderous attack on Rajiv Gandhi.

The sanest policy is for India to line up with Pakistan against the spreading terrorism in this area instead of trying to be clever. It already has considerable problems in Bihar and northeast India which would be compounded by any internal strife as a result of coercion of untouchables and Muslim and Christian minorities. To this may be added the resistance by the leftist elements in India who will not easily agree to India becoming a western surrogate in this area.

The moral of Mumbai episode and similar others in the past is that regional instability if not corrected can engulf all and sundry. If India had cooperated instead of playing games with Pakistan, the metastasis of terror cancer starting in Afghanistan might not engulf India also. Conflagration in the neighbouring house affects without fail all the neighbours.

DAWN - Letters; December 08, 2008

India should be very careful if it (by any chance) cares for its ppl...

influlence of hindu extremists of indian army is increasing in india... india, actually, has always played in the hands of these elements...
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Processing news into movies

THE Indian film industry is said to be the biggest in the world in terms of annual output of movies. It churns out 900 films each year. An international Bollywood research study on the preferences of an average Indian moviegoer was recently conducted by Amanda Sodhi of Maryland University.

It revealed that an Indian watches a minimum of three to four new movies every month. No doubt an average Indian looks for drama in every aspect of life. And to cater to that insatiable palate for sensationalism, the Indian news media, especially TV, twists any noteworthy item into a short fiction film to keep that quasi-reality intact.

The Mumbai terror attacks were played out like a movie to the people who sat glued to the tube to witness the unfolding drama. Twists and turns abound, the short film became an epic saga with a running time of 60 hours. Of course you cannot discount the stellar cast lead by the Indian security agencies, namely the National Security Guards that wanted to enjoy its debut starring role and did everything possible to prolong the dramatics even if it meant hostages losing lives!

They wouldn’t let go of their moment of glory for nothing. Have you ever seen commanders of different units coming on TV and giving comments on an ongoing operation? The commander of the Black Cats crack unit couldn’t be discouraged as he appeared in full garb, with a black beret on top, dark shades, and a sinister black bandana to cover most of his face.

He spoke to the media in elaborate detail. The NSG commander followed the spotlight as soon it came on! And he wouldn’t leave it alone for three days and three nights. Oh! How I wished the Indian authorities would send in Sunny Deol…..he would have annihilated the ‘ghus-baithiyas’ in a matter of minutes…. 90 minutes at the most, with some songs thrown in as well.


DAWN - Letters; December 08, 2008

a very interesting letter :)

American columnist’s advice

ONE would begin with the story of two identical twins named Ecilop and Noog. One grew up to become a scientist while the other took to gangsters. Ecilop would develop novel kinds of weapons and Noog would use them to shock and awe any challengers to his domain.

Along the line, Noog came up with an ambitious plan, went to a country named Ebolg and offered to become its chief policeman. As his foremost qualification, he cited the possession of frightful weapons invented by his brother, which he claimed, could vapourise any opponent and turn a rebellious territory into a wasteland.

Understandably, he got the job and, over time, acquired power and riches in Ebolg. But, towards the end of his tenure, his conscience pricked him about a number of his misadventures and he publicly owned up to these. The people of Ebolg felt cheated and decided to fire him.

Some of the perceptive readers may have noticed that Ecilop is actually ‘Police’ spelled in reverse, while Noog is ‘Goon’ and Ebolg is the globe. This fable is meant to show the role United States has played in the world from WW II on, in trying to be its policeman.

First, it incinerated and vapourised nearly 200,000 innocent Japanese men, women and children in 1945 through atomic bombs, which was ultimate terrorism. Then, in the Vietnam war it used Agent Orange to wipe out forests serving to conceal the enemy forces. Apart from millions killed in that needless war, the defoliant permanently affected millions more.

The newest adventure has been in Iraq, where over a million Iraqis have met an untimely death just because America decided to invade it. Now, perhaps bothered somewhat by his conscience, Mr Bush said the other day that he felt sorry his intelligence agencies had provided wrong information about Saddam Hussain’s WMDs.

However, he never expressed any sorrow over the huge Iraqi casualties and the four million who became homeless. It reminds me of Shakespeare’s words: “Man proud man, dressed in a little authority, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.”

In this backdrop comes an article by the Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan, who is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington. He has advised placing Pakistan’s tribal belt and areas where terrorist groups allegedly have their bases under international control.

Mr Kagan suggested forming an international force to invade those areas and destroy the bases although such an undertaking would violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. He has argued that “Pakistan and other states that harbour terrorists should not take their sovereignty for granted. In the 21st century, sovereign rights need to be earned. (Dawn, Dec. 3).

Who had given the right to the US to kill and maim millions of people in the 20th and 21st centuries? It was a ‘right’ earned not by its compassion or humanism but by sheer force of WMDs and gunboat diplomacy. The American broadcaster, writer and intellectual David Bersamian has revealed much about the unlawful and outrageous acts of his nation, during lecture tours of Pakistan.
Before faulting Pakistan, people like Mr Kagan must show some realism, if not empathy, by trying to understand the troubles that have shaped its present predicament.

India hounded us right from 1947. The occupation of Junagadh and Kashmir, among other places (including Goa), is an indelible proof of New Delhi’s aggressiveness and expansionism, with the first two issues still pending before the UN. Anyone with any sense of justice should first call for resolution of the underlying causes of hostility in the region. The breaking up of Pakistan by India in 1971 is another undeniable fact. Things like these, as well as the latter’s detonation of an atomic device in 1974, deceptively named the ‘Smiling Buddha’, forced Islamabad to take the nuclear path, which bothers the West so much. If the world powers had checked India’s covetousness and hegemonies, there would have been no militarism, no nukes or desire in some Pakistanis to wage jihad for Kashmir. Similarly, the British philosopher and peace activist Bertrand Russell, who had worked for India’s freedom until 1947, was so disillusioned by the time of the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 that in his book ‘Unarmed Victory’ he accused India of having double standards regarding Kashmir and Nagaland. He also held India responsible for initiating the war with China. In view of all these facts, Pakistan needs a sympathetic and helpful approach, not occupation of its territory. If the root problems are resolved, the militancy will wither away rapidly.


DAWN - Letters; December 08, 2008

10 lessons all Pakistanis must learn

By Hassan Baig from LUMS.

"Mulk khud hi chalta rehay ga" (approximate translation: the country doesn't need our contribution to thrive) is a sentence many Pakistanis are prone to saying. I confess that till a few years ago, I myself was confident of this misleading notion. Misleading and dangerous - especially in today's volatile climate. As Pakistanis, it is imperative that we come to terms with the fact that no heavenly Manna will alleviate our country's plight. The job rests squarely on our own shoulders; with the destiny of a whole nation tethered to our will and to the execution of that will. And so as the clock ticks and the prophets of doom raise a foreboding murmur from East to West, it is high time for us to learn some crucial lessons. Lessons without which our collective slumber will only deepen:

1) Extremism always overcomes moderation. History is fraught with examples of moderate majorities ruled and controlled by extremist minorities. Therefore unless we are extreme in our moderation, our endeavor - any endeavor - is doomed to be highjacked by powers which know more meticulous passion. From the radicalized Islamic cleric who preaches bigotry and hatred to the Neoconservative-backed Christian televangelist who sermonizes the urgency of preparing for an ethnic genocide pithily called Armageddon, we today live in an increasingly polarized world. And since Pakistan exists on the very fault-lines of this burgeoning conflict, our problems are exacerbated. Regardless of what stance we take or which side we pick, our country will remain on the receiving end for the foreseeable future. And regardless of how hastily we disregard conspiracy theories, the extreme forces on all sides will continue to augment their belief systems with hybrid religiopolitical prophecies. Prophecies which have a way of snowballing into self-fulfilment. Therefore it is critical that we take our moderate stance to be more of a proactive doctrine rather than apolitical aloofness. Our very existence depends on it.

2) Microanalysis never gives the complete picture. The details are undoubtedly important when comprehending any system. But often overlooked is the effort to mull over the big-picture such details contribute to Рroughly the equivalent of what Sir Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal referred to as tadabbur in his reformist discourse. As denizens of a land increasingly rife with numerous challenges, we simply cannot afford intellectual naivet̩. Notwithstanding esoteric themes, we consistently fall short of sensibly determining atleast the more obvious big-picture connections in unfolding narratives. This is utter mediocrity. Whereas some would mistake this for a failure of ability Рthis is infact predominantly a display of negligent disinterest; of an irresponsible, desensitized populace.

Countless times we have allowed ourselves to fall for the same old tricks. A glaring contemporary example is the myth of Pakistan's democratically elected government we all seem to have digested without any modicum of reflection. Ostensibly, the country voted out the dictator and brought in a government ‘for the people by the people’. But consider the macro picture: currently the seat of political power is the Office of the President - a position where the current incumbent's name was never advertised on the ballot on Election Day, a position where the current incumbent affected the people's voting decision by publicly disavowing any interest in the Presidentship on and before election day, a position which still exercises the uber-powerful, dictatorial Article 58 2(b). In form, we indeed have a democratic set-up in place. But in substance?

Now confessedly this example is a soft and convenient target. Moreover even had most Pakistanis successfully connected the dots, demands for a true democratic set up would be a low priority given more daunting issues the country is currently facing. But it's one of the more visible examples and is relatively fresh in memory - overall an effective illustrative point. Furthermore it helps emphasize the need for greater intellectual involvement on our part. Unless we start to discern between real enemies and contrived ones, manipulation of us and our coming generations by exploitative elements both internal and external will continue to be a dominant theme in the national narrative. That is no future to look forward to.

3) Moral relativism is a conduit to absolute corruption. Those who start compromising on principles – even in trivial issues – end up going all the way. A textbook example is that of our previous President: By the end of his regime, General Pervez Musharraf was not the man he was when he first usurped the seat of Pakistan's government. Over time as his political age advanced, he underwent a staged metamorphosis: from an amateur idealist, to a practitioner of temperate Realpolitik, and then finally to an outright Machiavellian Prince. This is the classic lifecycle of corruption; the philosophy that principles are subservient to actions instead of it being the other way around. We must learn once and for all that those who have the proverbial ‘crack in the armor’ inevitably succumb; that their demise is a certainty.

Now realistically speaking it is true that there is no absolute escape from moral relativism, but we atleast need to be skeptical of the more blatant practitioners of this philosophy. We all know who they are. Too many times we have fallen for those who claim that they have been reformed; too many times we have made choices based on the ‘lesser of two evils’. This is folly because it reinforces the longevity of the corrupt by repetitively giving them second chances through the people’s misplaced, gullible trust. Until and unless we explicitly reject this opportunism, our polity will remain enslaved by the puppet-masters.

4) Morality is a myth in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Ethnocentric self-righteousness robs us of our ability to be constructively self-critical and stems societal improvement. Unless we teach our progeny the truth about the decrepit moral standards prevalent in the country and pass on a ‘to-do’ list of sorts; we would have failed in parenting responsible future citizens. We have all witnessed how the various religious movements burn CD shops, dynamite girl schools and dismantle barber boutiques without raising an eyebrow at the greater tyranny of the socio-political system. We have personally seen principled stands getting drowned in derision; the politics of necessity being proclaimed king. We have beheld firsthand justice being abused by megalomania; injustice becoming the law. This is not a lesson to be forgotten or concealed.

5) Don't believe everything you see in the media (self-explanatory)

6) But don't become too paranoid either: empathy and objectivity are seminal in asymptotically approaching the truth. Currently as it stands in Pakistan, we seldom 'think things through', and instead prefer to latch on to the first and most convenient explanation the social circle around us resonates with. This is futile practice. Futile because herd mentality is seldom rational, is borne of fear and dread, and invariably leads to the sort of exploitable mass-hysteria we have witnessed many times over circa 9/11. Make no mistake about it - by abandoning empathy and objectivity, we give up our very freedom of thought and become marionettes to higher interests. In a world of pervasive fear today, Pakistan can chart the course of its destiny better if the collective remains independently thoughtful.

7) Our destinies are tied to Pakistan, to our ethnicity, and to our religion. In the increasingly divisive world of today, individual allegiances are being outdone by overarching stereotypes. In other words, no matter what shade my skin may be, what dialect or accent I speak in or what my beliefs about God may be, I will always be perceived as a Pakistani Muslim by the world at large. And thus, my fate is inescapable from that of Pakistan. So for example if this country is torn asunder due to civil-war brought on by geopolitical strife, I will invariably be perceived as a refugee in the world. Thereafter I can achieve the American dream, or move in international social circles, or even perfectly synchronize my habits with Western norms - I can do all that and I'll still be a refugee. Pakistan's imprint echoes in my very existence; in all of us. We can live our life denying this fact and bury our head in the sand. Or we can accept it, embrace it and let it influence our priorities. How we choose our greater allegiance today will shape our collective, intertwined destiny.

8) The onus for reforming the system is on the middle classes. That is, the onus is on people like you and me. We are the potential agents of change. And thus by implication, we are also blameworthy for allowing the system to remain broken, for not wanting to 'get our hands dirty', for being the silent, apathetic onlookers. The moneyed elite are not to blame – they adhere to their characteristic decadence and nonchalance; they do precisely what they're expected to do. Corrupt politicians are not to blame – a thief knows little more than the art of thievery. Likewise, neither the military's top brass, and nor the have-nots of Pakistan are culpable. They all play their designated roles in manners they ought to. This leaves the middle and upper-middle classes - essentially people like you and me. Us. We are the true architects of revolutionary change. For we are the only societal segment in this country which is situated at the confluence of a moral code which may be disillusioned but still partly intact, a vision which is alienated but still somewhat patriotic and an agency which is disoriented but still adequately resourceful. In short we are far from perfect, but we are the only messiahs Pakistan can realistically count on. There is absolutely no one else. This lesson is perhaps the most consequential one we have to learn.

9) Incremental change is not a bad option. Activism through small, comfortable increments is not an impractical way of approaching the paradigm of change. That is, even small steps help since at any one time atomic constituents are more solvable than the complex whole. Hence we must not abhor atomizing issues and then indulging in micro-activism – it is ok if how one contributes does not have immediately noticeable repercussions.

I have encountered many Pakistanis who cite their inability to have a substantial, resounding impact as the main driving force behind their evident indifference to the country's woes. To all those who espouse this view, I say that though I can empathize with your sense of demoralization, I simply cannot condone the rationale for such inaction. For it is undeniable that some progress is better than no progress; that going from 100 to 101 is a better deal than staying put; that the smallest gestures help too. If all of us today - the 140 million plus of us no less – individually contemplate the smallest, tiniest way we can contribute to Pakistan's socioeconomic betterment and act on it, is there any doubt that the country will not change overnight in one big rush of altruistic activism? Now this is ofcourse an unrealistic, rhetorical example - but it is thematic of the power of incremental change. A change easy to accomplish with the results snowballing as more people buy into the paradigm. In short we must not overlook this option; rather it is sensible to include it as an ally in our portfolio of loftier ambitions.

10) Lastly, Pakistan can shine. No really; this is not just talk. If you don't know where to start, there's a lot of help around. And not to mention many examples to take inspiration from. Did you know that Pakistan possesses the technological knowhow to manufacture drones indigenously[i]? Or that one of the most highly regarded applications available in Apple's iPhone App Store today is of Pakistani[ii] origin? Or that 27 Pakistani scientists[iii] are scheduled to work on CERN's Large Hadron Collider (the 'Big Bang' experiment machine)? Or that a Pakistani Venture Capitalist has been placed in the top 10[iv] in Forbes magazine's worldwide annual VC ranking?

These are just a few inspirational stories among a plethora of real-world anecdotes and accomplishments with a quintessentially Pakistani stamp on them. For all that is made out to be defective about this country, there are flashes of brilliance just waiting to be given the opportunity to show themselves in their true splendor to the realms; to spread out and envelope the gloom infesting our polity. We just need to get rid of the “Mulk khud hi chalta rehay ga” approach. And fortunately, this is not as hard as it sounds. There are numerous small but meaningful ways in which we can make a personal contribution. Some suggestions are:

  • Make yourself heard. Become involved, for your continued silence is really an endorsement of the status quo. Reject what must be rejected, condemn that what is condemnable, endorse and encourage where merited. And do not be fooled into thinking that this is an ambitious proposition: increasing accessibility to the information superhighway has made it easier for any individual to become part of the public discourse. There are numerous Pakistani internet blogs and forums where you can voice your opinions and contribute in your own way to mold the national spirit for a brighter future. And you do not necessarily have to write articles – blogs traditionally invite one-liner comments as well. It is the same as, if not easier than, writing a text message on your cell phone.
  • Brainstorm in public to seed ideas and to inspire. Many people talk about the way the world should be, but much less understand how to get there. If you do have thought-provoking ideas, then there is nothing more fruitful than exposing your design – through, say, the internet – to the collective intellect for it to dissect it, understand it, polish it if necessary and support it when satisfied. Also remember that your proposed solutions do not have to be comprehensive – for many issues simply cannot be solved bottom-up[v] and the burden has to be placed on the unlikely possibility of a non-elitist, well-educated visionary coming along and dominating our political scene in the future. But your ideas can always ameliorate problems; lessen their severity so to speak. It is imperative that such brainstorming enters our public discourse – the resulting crosspollination is what will slowly and steadily alter the course of our destiny.
  • Become an activist through inaction (can’t get easier than this). Every populace has its own share of idealists and lunatics. Ones who think the impossible is possible, the unrealistic is realistic and that conventional wisdom is unwise. And too often people succumb to the temptation of vociferously chastising such individuals; of telling them how futile their beliefs are; of how the system will crush their hopes. Now during my days at LUMS, a Groucho Marx quotation used to do the rounds quite often: “Blessed are the cracked ones, for they shall let in the light”. Just let the lunatics be no matter how imbecilic[vi] their ideas are. Let them have their shot at change. Next time you meet the idealist, unreasonably optimistic seedling who thinks he or she can change the world, be lazy and do not make the effort go negative on them.

All of the suggestions above are very small starts confessedly. But by no means is such a start inconsequential. Through the build-up of momentum, confidence to tackle bigger beasts can evolve and we can then trailblaze our way to that true destiny envisioned for Pakistan by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is our moment; let’s seize it. Let’s get going.

[v] Take this simplistically formulated example: India has roughly 8000 universities for its 1 billion people (approximately one university for every 125,000 persons). Pakistan has around 120 for its 140 million (one university for every 1.2 million persons). Assuming this level stays constant (unrealistic assumption), simple math shows we need 1000 more universities to attain parity. That is a massive task. And therefore the kind of fiscal muscle required to pull it off necessitates active government involvement.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Islami Jamiat-e Talba's another episode of terror

By: Rab Nawaz, Punjab University Law College

Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), a by-product of Zia’s notorious military dictatorship, is famous for its hooliganism and Islamic fascism. Beating, terrorizing, thrashing, shooting, harassing the innocent students and a general hypocrisy has been the defining attributes of this socially outrageous organization. Recently it has committed another incident to make its presence felt.

This happened in Punjab University such that a newly formed student organization (about 10 months old) named University Students Federation (USF) was gaining rapid popularity mainly because of its Non-violent and Non-partisan nature. This Federation was the result of aftermath of Imran Khan’s man-handling by IJT during the last year’s emergency rule. USF was mainly centered at PU Law College and most of its leading members belonged to the Law College. Although there was a continuous series of threats and maneuvering from IJT since the formation of USF which was frequently reported to the varsity administration and media, it gained pace in the previous weak when USF started forming its structure in the varsity’s hostels. IJT could not hold back to face its hostages (hostels) being liberated. Furthermore IJT thought to have created some space by building some pressure on the administration through staging some rallies for the decrease in fees and internet facility in hostels. It is noteworthy that IJT itself had been stopping the installment of internet in hostels for previous two years on the plea that it would spread vulgarity. There has been continuous tussle between IJT and administration over this issue which mounted to beating and insulting the teachers by IJT.

In this context, on the night between 30th November and 1st December, about two dozens of IJT activists equipped with arms and sticks attacked the room no. 64 of hostel no. 15, a major center of USF meetings. There they tried to kidnap Ch. Ahsan, Imran Sial and Hafiz Azeem but could do no more than thrashing and beating owing to the resistance by the victims and some students from the neighboring rooms. They left after giving life threats. The next day, USF activists did a demonstration on the Campus Bridge requesting safety. Administration promised to take some action but it followed nothing till the night between 2nd and 3rd December when the hostel no. 16 bathed into blood at 2:30 a.m. The events preceding this blood-bath are as follows.

At about 8:00 p.m. on 2nd December, about 50 IJT activists including a number of outsiders had a round of university hostels without any explicit purpose except show of power. When they entered hostel no. 16, they found Atif Naeem Ranjha (President of USF) standing at the newspaper stand and suddenly attacked him with severe blows and thrashing. When USF supporters from the surrounding started to approach them, they ran away. This open cruelty boiled every boarder of hostel 16 and other hostels. They came out raising slogan against IJT and blocked the Canal Road. The road remained blocked for about 2 hours until police and administrative authorities came and they ensured action against the culprits within 24 hours. This scene ended at about 11:30 p.m. After it IJT was heard to stage a protest at another side of Canal Road which was conceived as against administration but it indeed implied the delaying of lawful action against them.

Probably at their returning from the protest, they planned to end this pending story, or it may be a pre-plan, and they attacked the hostel 16. Eye-witnesses tell that they were approximately 50 in number. About 15 to 20 of them trespassed the hostel and directly raided at the rooms resided by USF activists. They were carrying pistols, guns, clubs, iron rods, wickets and bats. There they victimized Hafiz Ahsan, Asad Sajjad Gujjar, Atif Naeem Ranjha, Rai Shajar Abbas, Ali Hassan Waraich, Khurram Butt, Ali Abbas, Rana Naeem and Azhar Subhani. Hafiz Mazhar and Asad were shot with pistols while remaining received serious hurts in heads, arms, backs and legs. During this operation, the brutality of assailants exceeded to an extent that after shooing Asad in the leg, they dragged him down to the gate of the hostel from his room at second floor and battered and pummeled him there to force him to utter the slogan of “Zinda Hai Jamiat (Jamiat is alive)”. Subhani was thrown down on the ground from second floor. After they left by leaving their prints in the form of blood on the floors, broken clubs and window glasses and nine students heavily injured; the other boarders, hostel warden and employees gathered. They took the injured to the Jinnah Hospital where they were operated and medicated. Hafiz Mazhar's condition was very fragile. His vein was cut and he was recovered with great difficulty. Vice Chancellor, other authorities from varsity, police and media immediately reached the hospital. Varsity authorities announced that IJT was behind this act, police registered the FIR while media covered the whole event.

A great wave of anger spread across the campus. Hundreds of students massively boycotted the classes the next morning and arranged a procession that ended at the campus bridge after marching throughout the campus. The students were so upset and raged that they blocked the traffic, burned the tires, raised slogans against IJT and demanded immediate expulsion and arrest of alleged IJT activists. After 3 hours the students dispersed as a result of negotiation with the VC who ensured the fulfilling of the demands.

Although varsity administration and provincial government have resolved to take action but the students must realize that these fascist elements are a grave threat to the very foundations of our society. We need enlightened consciousness to fight back them at every front of the society.

See also: A Previous Report on Jamiat's Violence against student activists

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Benazir's Interview exactly 1 year ago

and coincidentally she was murdered soon after. BBC showed the same interview with a censored version, later some unsolicited news story ran in the western media that she didn't really meant 'OBL' while describing connections of a former military officer.