Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Anti-Islam Mentality

February 27, 2010
The Anti-Islam Mentality
By Saeed Qureshi

I had posted an article on my blog and also circulated it through emails that I do on weekly basis. Usually the response to such articles is mild and sober even if someone disagrees with the entire or partial assertion and contents. But of late, in response to my article, “My Perception of Islam” a Hindu believer G. Vishvas wrote the following note and I quote,
“Such statements show the inability of Muslims to be honest. Indirectly he is admitting that the Sharia is a gone-case. But he dares not say so explicitly. This is how obscurantist Islamic fascism-totalitarianism has all Muslims (even the so-called liberal Muslims) in grip. The words "suitably modified" and "phenomenally different world of today" reveals that the Shariah is actually passé. But like about the emperor's finest clothes (from Hans Anderson's tales), no one (out of fear) dared say the emperor is naked. Islam compels Muslims into an endless bout of hypocrisy and cowardice and arrogance.”
My Response,
“I would not go to the extent of reviling a religion, how unacceptable it should be to me, as I can figure out from Vishvas’ above statement that he is trying to malign a religion by using strongest invectives instead of using a modest, analytical and logical language that is called for from intellectuals like him.“I suspect Mr. Vishvas hardly has any basic understanding of religion Islam otherwise he would have desisted from using slanderous hyperbole just to denigrate a religion that he hardly understands. One can blame the Muslims but not the creed, howsoever, it may be unfulfilling.With one black brush he has painted all the Muslims with the above innuendos. I am sure he got a rare opportunity to pour out venom against the Muslims for no cogent reason although all the Muslims (even the liberals) may not be having such disqualifications that he has chosen to attribute to them in one pent up breath. Let us be rationale and sober while leading a case, no matter how repugnant it might be to you because you simply belong to another religion. Let us have the stomach and magnanimity to see other religion existing and accord respect to them. Let us be decent at least as humans”.
Usually, I try to skip over even the most scathing comments that pour in from time to time but this comment is as insidious and malicious as it is the product of complete ignorance and uncanny bias against a religion that is observed by over a billion people around the world. An individual no matter how biased and antagonistic he tends to be, has no right to ruthlessly decry another religion. After all it is a matter of faith and faith is so precious to every faithful, no matter what religion he belongs. Now to decree imperiously, insolently and rather arbitrarily that “Islam compels Muslims into an endless bout of hypocrisy and cowardice and arrogance” speaks for the perverted mentality of a person whose own religion does not tutor him to be respectful in a sensitive matter of faith and embolden him to unleash slur on Islam.
Let me at the outset make a disclosure that from religious point of view I tend to be a non conformist which means that all religions are divine and therefore, should be allowed to be observed by their adherents. Moreover, religious bias leads one to a lower level of human being the opposite of which every religion teaches. It is in that vein that despite being an extreme liberal, I would not watch any one deriding other religions simply because he is motivated to do so. It in this spirit of religious freedom that I feel like explaining it more than what I have already done.
If it is a question of finding faults with the religions and abusing them then let it be so. Islam has enough defense against the vitriol that it has been subjected to since its inception.
Islam tells of one supreme God. The prophet of Islam by his own conduct and sublime message established a pious relationship between God and the human beings. This should be appreciated rather than castigated. If Islam presents a graphic, detailed map and comprehensive charter for the human beings to live in a society as good, virtuous and peaceful individuals what is the harm in it?
If Islam ordains and emphasizes a host of values and virtues that govern the lives and societies for peace and coexistence then how could one have the audacity to decree that “Islam compels Muslims into an endless bout of hypocrisy and cowardice and arrogance”? Let me stress that Islam’s first principle is,” there is no compulsion in Islam”
Now If Islam goes in the wrong hands, it is not the creed that is to blame but those did not heed it the way they should have. But even the totalitarian dispensations in the Islamic countries, did not go as far as annihilating or tormenting the population that professed a different faith. The example is in Spain where Jews and Christian lived for 700 years as the happiest religious fraternities along with the majority ruling Muslims.
In the Indian subcontinent various Muslim dynasties always treated the other religious communities with reverence and with a secular approach. Barring the ultra right fanatic Aurgnzeb Alamgir, all the Mughal rulers were liberal and tolerant towards the religious minorities. So much so that almost all of them married with the non Muslim women. Interestingly, Aurangzeb was more prejudiced towards the sects within Islam than those out of the orbit of Islam. His wife was a Hindu woman.
The invaders who descended on India and left after a while did not come for the sake of Islam but for plunder. But the dynasties that were established in India by successive ruling families seldom exhibited any big discrimination towards the minority religions. Contrary to how the Muslims in their hay days have been laudably treating their non muslim citizens and even in unenlightened eras, the plight of the Muslims in the present day secular India is highly discriminatory and rancoruos on the whole.
Urdu language a symbol of Islamic literature has been almost washed off from the Indian soil. The Muslims in India live under frightening intimidation and unrelenting harassment from the ultra right fanatic groups. Muslims are herded in slums and are being forced to live like lower castes. The abominable caste system is a part of the Hindu religion. To fulfil the religious obligations, the Dalits, the Christians, the Sikhs and the Muslims alike are maltreated and dehumanised by extremist Hindus led by high coast Brahmins.
Muslims are not in a position to press for their due share of jobs and other civil rights. Any one crossing over to India from Pakistan by mistake is treated as enemy and is seldom released. There are such cases that show that the Pakistani nationals by merely having their visa expired are languishing in abominable Indian jails with inhuman treatments meted out to them.
The religion to which Mr. Vishvas belongs is not producing angels that everything is wrong with Muslims and all is divine and ideal with Hindus. The very Hindu philosophy founded by the Hindu forbearers like Chanakya, the architect of Maurya dynasty, adviser and prime minister to the first Maurya Emperor Chandragupta smack of unedifying practices in life. In his book, he believed in four ways of dealing with others: treating with Equality, Enticement, Punishment or War and Sowing Dissension. All politics from Hindus that we have witnessed before the partition of India and afterwards is a true follow up of Chanakya philosophy of deception and betrayals.
A religion totally rooted in mythology is prone to be divorced of the realities of life and can go any length of imagination to interpret its philosophy and doctrines. It is because of this that the Vedas, Puranas, Brahmanas, and Upanishads, Ramana and Mahabrta are nothing but narrations of mythical and allegorical stories of characters that never existed.
The 330 million gods including reptiles like snakes, animals like cows and beasts like elephants and Hanumans are all gods (avatars) with enormous divine powers and command reverence from the Hindu faithful. As the book “Mankind’s Search for God” mentions that Hinduism is just the “oversimplified Western concept of venerating animals, bathing in Ganges and being divided by castes” (, p-95).
The mythical gods like Krishna, Rama, Siva, Vishnu, Durga or other countless deities are repositories of a creator’s powers named as Om or Brahma. The miraculous powers that are attributed to all these metaphysical gods are like the stars in the sky and as enormous as the water in an ocean. Primarily Hindu religion is a worshipper of nature with all living and non living things included.
It is so easy to find faults with contending religions while considering one’s own belief as ideal. To that extent it is all right but to ridicule and mock other religions is indeed a very abject tendency. Despite having total denial of Hindu faith, I would still respect it because everyone has a right to practice faith without let and hindrance or oppression.
From a Hindu bigot like Vishvas living in the liberal environment of the west, should exercise some kind of restraint even if the word Islam takes his wits out and makes him a wild human kicking left and right and trampling others’ right of faith with highly offensive remarks as if the duty to declare a religion good or bad has been assigned to him.
Such provocative outburst reinforces my belief in the acumen and vision of the founders of Pakistan in creating a separate homeland for the Muslims in India. The way the Indian Muslims are discriminated and treated with suspicion and are inhibited in observing their culture, religious festivities and open, unhindered and fear free performance of their religious obligations, makes Pakistan a safe haven and draw envy of their Indian counterparts. May be the Indian Muslims in due course deserve a separate homeland to be free from the stark prejudices they are subjected to in the Indian Federation.
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My Perception of Islam

February 25, 2010
Dallas, Texas
My Perception of Islam
By Saeed Qureshi
Let us at least admit that Islam is a religion just like Christianity and Judaism; that it is a monotheistic religion like Judaism. That it shares its divine ancestry with Judaism and Christianity, even if the latter two religions don’t accept it, because they claim to be the forerunners of Islam. It is in the same way that Judaism doesn’t accept Christianity which came much after Judaism.
Let us also acknowledge that Islam has a culture like other faiths. Islamic culture teaches how to dress up especially the women, what to eat (meals from legitimate income and in case of meat, the animals to be slaughter in a religiously defined way). The Islamic culture also spells out the ways to celebrate the religious days and to host feasts. It also includes the circumcision and the marriage ceremonies. Islam does not encourage music and channels of entertainment that arouse sexual, carnal and lecherous sentiments.
Islam like other religions has symbols also. These, inter alia are the mosque, rosary, holy water (Zam Zam), beard, moon, black stone placed in one of the walls of the House of the Lord( Khan Kaaba), the green color, the curved sword, minarets and turban. They have a holy book Qur’an like many other religions including the Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Christianity. This religion sprouted from the Arab land like the Christianity and the Jewish faith.
Islam has a package of beliefs like other religions. These are: belief in one God, belief in angles, belief in Holy Scriptures (Torah, and Bible), belief in the apostles or messengers of God, belief that goodness and badness are from God and the belief in the life after death.
Islam has rituals too, which are essentially five: declaration of faith in One God, pilgrimage to Mecca, to give the religious tax (Zakat), observance of prayers five times a day and on Islamic festive days, and fasting for a whole month of lunar calendar.
Then comes the constitution or the code that covers and encompasses domains such as legal, economic, social, poltical, governance, war, as well as humans’ collective and individual lives, their rights, and the obligations et al. The body of rules and regulations that govern the entire spectrum of Islamic society and individuals is named Sharia. Sharia is composed of two sources. One is the life of the prophet Mohammad (his deeds, decisions, saying and edicts etc). The other is the book Qur’an that gives general or broad instructions on behalf of God, how to live like a virtuous Muslim. This book narrates parables and stories of the ancient prophets, nations, societies and civilizations with instructions as to why they prospered and why they received divine wrath and vanished. It gives vivid and detailed information about the life after death, the Day of Judgment and the final destinations of the Heaven and the Hell.
Islam judges or evaluates the temporal and the ecclesiastical matters and the deeds of a faithful through five parameters: absolute duty, (Fard), commendable (Mustajab), permissible (Mubah) reprehensible but without punishment (Makruh) and forbidden (Haram).These five criteria also fall under the canon law known as Sharia. As already explained, the Sharia that governs the conduct of a person or group is derived from the text of Qur’an and also from the practical life of the prophet.
The Islamic state was headed by Prophet Muhammad in the city of Medina in 622 - 632 A. D. This was that actual period when the fundamental contours of a Muslim state were laid down. Since prophet himself was the finally authority on all temporal and divine affairs, his words, decisions and verdicts were unquestionably accepted as the commandments of God.
But when the Muslims through their conquests and preaching ventures came into contacts with other civilizations and religions, they faced enormous doctrinal and administrative challenges that had to be resolved rationally if these did not have the precedents within the Quran or the life of the founder of Islam. It is in the wake of such intellectual and doctrinal dilemmas that several schools of jurisprudence for elucidation of Sharia to the outside world and even to the inquisitive Muslim came into being.
The four such orthodox schools primarily deal with the application and expansion of Sharia in the subsequent situations and emerging issues. Besides, the Muslim philosophers tried to answer many philosophical contradictions through intellectual scrutiny and rational explanations. Such questions were about the predestination, the free will, mysticism, religious truths and intellectual truths, role of reason in relation to the theological truths and so on.
Apart from these intellectual and religious debates ranging since the passing away of the prophet till now, the simple principles on which the entire Islamic religious philosophy and ethos boils down is that man should be like a servant of God and accept him as the only creator that not only governs the universe and all the existence but also watches the faithful in the light of their good and bad deeds or intentions. Based upon the nature of a deed in this world, God on the judgment day will give reward and punishment accordingly. The obedience to God has not only to be professed verbally but practically demonstrated through five times daily and one time weekly prayers. A faithful’s virtuous life and personal good conduct is also a testimony to his submission to God as his subject.
Thus Islam wants man to be an embodiment of all positive and good virtues such as humility, charity, peace, chastity, kindness, tolerance, love for fellow believers, respect for elders, and women. The crux of all these noble traits is defined in one phrase that, “a good Muslim is that whose tongue and actions are not harmful to others”. Islam means submission and Muslim means who pratices Islam and is unconditionally obedient to God.
Prophet’s Muhammad period of leadership is deemed by the Muslims as the ideal model both from mundane and spiritual angles. To a lesser degree, the caliphs’ life of piety, self denial and untainted dispensation of justice is also taken and followed as models for Muslims. The Shia sect in Islam believes only in the spiritual leadership of the fourth caliph who was the son in law of the prophet also.
The ideological cleavage between the Shias and the Sunnis is the incurable wound on the body politic of Islam. Although, they share major common elements of faith, yet the Muslim nation is irredeemably and rather irreconcilably divided into two distinct factions forever. Their mutual antagonism is as deep rooted and bitter as the religious animosity between the Muslims and the non-Muslims. This festering fissure resulted from the claim of the fourth caliph as the rightful successor of the prophet to the caliphate.
As for fundamental beliefs, Islam brooks no compromise, nor tolerance nor any deviation. As for the rituals these are subject to certain conditions that apply keeping in view the physical, social and financial status of a faithful. For instance pilgrimage is essential for those who can afford it monetarily. The religious tax (Zakat) is also contingent upon the economic position of a member of Islamic fraternity. The fasting is also not strictly applicable to those with infirm health, or pregnant women or for similar reasons.
Islamic culture goads moderation, sanctity, piety and sobriety. It shuns or discourages the indecent extravaganza, the morbid exhibitionism, or lewd show off. For instance Islam allows feasts on weddings and merry making on joyful occasions but exhorts serenity and no lavish spending. In matter of dresses or costumes, it is not necessary to dress up like Arabs by wearing a big long rob. The purpose is to maintain sanctity of your body which is more rigid in case of women for their being an object of amorous eyes from the impious or sexually pervert people. Understandably, such conditions can be met by wearing even western, Chinese or African dresses if these can cover the body.
Mindful that the religious teachings and dogmas would not remain rigid for all times and in different societies, the prophet kept the door for amendments and changes open in Sharia. This is called Ijtehad( literally means exertion). So all the interpretations or alterations in the Sharia worked out by the succeeding Muslim philosophers and religious scholars were done in the light of that provision.
When we compare the western democracy with the Islamic poltical system and the choosing of the leaders in the primitive Islamic societies with that of the modern times, we tend to forget that it was only after the Renaissance and Reformation that the Europe started embarking upon the democratic path. Otherwise, the Christendom was afflicted with bloodletting conflicts between old Roman church and the proponents of reforms throughout the Middle Ages. So to paint only Islam as undemocratic is not a pragmatic or truthful approach to the Islamic system of government.
Democracy functions in a fast communication world as we have in the modern times. Otherwise the Greek democracy that was prevalent even before Christ was confined to the cities. Beyond the city states, it could not be expanded because an integrated system of voting or conducting elections in the length and breadth of the vast empires was not possible. Moreover, those were not the ages of enlightenment and therefore the democratic culture even if conceived could not be practically followed like the present times.
The Sharia that was prevalent during the time of Prophet Muhammad and four caliphs (632-661) can still be applicable if it is suitably modified to bring it in conformity with the phenomenally different world of today. The consensus can be brought about, if the narrow concepts and changes affected by sects and denominations, contrary to the age of prophet, are set aside. Or at best these sects can still function but the main consensus code should remain supreme.
Which means that the symbols are just a window dressing and have no pronounced bearing on the life of a Muslim faithful? The rituals are relative and are strictly obligatory for those who have the capacity to observe them. The beliefs are confined to the individual and are personal. What matters most is the resolution or dealing with the crimes, anti-social practices and destructive actions of the citizens. Islam presents a general framework for dispensation of justice. It means that the punishment to the convict is imperative but the choice of the punishment and the mode of dispensation can be improved or reformed for such punishments as beheading with a sword. The theologians and Islamic jurists must acknowledge and therefore, incorporate in a new Islamic code that covering of veil was not possible for women now as was done in tribal or feudal societies in the past and even now.
It is also essential to change through an agreed Ijtehad process that a rape female victim instead of being further victimized and brutalized by the religious laws must be helped against the male rapists. So such incredible or impracticable conditions as to the production of three witnesses must be discarded because in the present times, the occurrence of rape and the identity of the rapist can be verified by scientific means.
The Islamic caveat concerning the interest has to be modified because the complexion of the societies and the nature of interest have undergone a radically change. The Arabian society in the 6th or 7th centuries was primarily agrarian. The usury or the interest was charged on cash given to a needful. Now the concept of interest is not like those societies. The interest bearing economy is now profit making economy because the money remains in circulation. That is how the wealth increases and the economic grows. The old interest concept which now is rather reinvestment for profit has to be modified. Similarly another issue relating to patrimony or inheritance and alimony (allowance paid by the husband to divorced wife) has to redefined in the modern societies when the civil laws enshrined in the modern jurisprudence, treat these issues better than the antiquated customs that were derived from the tribal system.
If a reinterpretation is not thought about, still the parallel legal or economic system cannot be ignored or ruled out. The world today is interdependent. The Muslims cannot live in isolation.
The cardinal principle that Islam lays down is the strict fair play, absolute justice in complete disregard of someone being poor or rich, influential or obscure, a common man or a man of authority. It should be acknowledged that the modern judicial system fulfils all these conditions if applied by such a government that would respect and sincerely promote law and justice. So it depends upon the governments to apply and enforce laws, otherwise even the best of rules and caveats fail and remain ineffective. The example is the multitudinous Islamic caliphates that used Islam to justify their illegitimate hold on power. They fought each other for power and decimated their rivals to the last man as exemplified by the power struggle between Ummyad and Abbasids.
The religion of Islam is patently secular in nature, not in the religious sense but in terms of its openness, liberalism and accommodation for all opposing creeds and cultures. The incontrovertible shining example of that is the Muslim rule in Spain (756-1492), when the Christians and the Jews lived with ruling Muslims, enjoying equal rights and in peace and dignity. In the contemporary times, Malaysia, Indonesia and Tunis offer examples of enlightened, accommodating, progressive Islamic polities where minorities live in peace and harmony along with the Muslim majority. In these countries, the Islamic laws have been enforced in such a way that these not only fulfill the pristine spirit of Islamic Sharia, but also meet the requirements of a modern state.
Although polygamy is practically nonexistent for the majority of the Muslims, yet it is one of the stigmas imposed by the detractors on Islam. The polygamy is prevalent in the tribal, feudal and religious circles and that too sparingly. But for outsiders this has invariably been used as a slanderous tool against the Muslims to prove that the women folks were lesser equal and inferior to the males. That is true to a degree. In order to deal with this contentious issue, it is necessary that the Muslim jurists and theologians should sit together and hammer out a formula that should aim at discouraging the polygamous tendencies and practices in the Muslim societies.
But I strongly reckon that as the societies tend to be more progressive, the Muslims would themselves abandon the polygamy. As a result, though, as in the western societies, the divorce rate would soar. Even now the educated and independent women do not like to marry a person who would be already married. So the modernization of the Islamic conservative societies would neutralize this social slur heaped on Muslims. The domestic violence should be sternly dealt by the Islamic governments but it would also stand outstripped and fade with the passage of time.
Modernism, liberalism and secularism is the answer to the backwardness, indolence, underdevelopment and decadence of the Islamic world. The Jews had to hammer out a historic compromise in 18th century when they imbibed and adopted the western ways of life at the behest of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. Moses exhorted the Jews to abandon their rigid fanaticism and conform to western culture. Through a political movement aided by the capitalist Europe and America the establishment of the state of Israel was made possible in 1948. In the same way, the Islamic religious fervor has got to be rational and aided by the political and reformative spirit if the Muslims want to be reckoned with as a nation.
The first constitution is always exposed to further alterations and amendments. Likewise, the original Islamic ideologies and dogmas that became controeversial should be overhauled while keeping intact the spirit and philosophy of Islam. If Ijtehad started barely 80 years after the demise of the prophet of Islam by the renewed Muslim reformers theologians, philosophers and scholars, then such an endeavor is indispensible in the modern times when the Islamic teachings are targeted for their irrationality, obscurantism, subjectivity, inconsistencies and for being out of sync with the imperatives of modern times.
In Christendom, after prolonged controversies, debates and bloodsheds, the state finally managed to relieve itself from the influence of papal supremacy. Every denomination and country established its own church in Europe and elsewhere. But that proved to be a blessing in disguise both for the church and the state. Similarly, in Muslim countries a gigantic effort is needed to harmoniously blend the Islamic beliefs and religious creed with the dynamics and progressive spirit of the modern societies without compromising the essential teachings. In Islamic states, the state and religion have to function without mutual conflict and contradiction. There should be no place, for fundamentalism, sectarianism, fanaticism, or rigid adherence to a specific latter day creed or elements of belief that were never part of Islam and are ruinous to the cosmopolitan nature of Islam. An enlightened and updated fundamentalism( the age of prophet) is the need of the hour for Islamic societies to move forward.

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Taliban’s Fighting Prowess is Waning

February 20, 2010
Taliban’s Fighting Prowess is Waning
By Saeed Qureshi

The two pronged push from the Pakistan’s army in South Waziristan and the other from the coalition troops in Marja are the stunning developments in the prolonged war being waged against Taliban on both sides of the Durand line. Pakistan army, at the cost of, the considerable number of casualties has finally been able to push the tenacious yet disorganized bands of Taliban out of the thus perceived “no go areas” for centuries. The capture of the second in command of the Taliban leadership Abdul Ghani Baradar in Karachi betokens the fact that Taliban were in disarray and there monolithic and centralized command for fighting is waning.
The lately launched military offensive in Marja in Afghanistan's Helmand Province is the boldest military undertaking that the coalition forces have embarked upon. If some how these Taliban strongholds can be cleared of the insurgents, then NATO would have justified its presence in Afghanistan and to claim, though belatedly, some credit and kudos for cutting across a visibly looking impossible feat.

One might recall that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the soil of America on September 11, 2001, the American led NATO coalition forces entered Afghanistan, and scored quick and decisive victories over Taliban and their cohort fighters from across the Islamic countries. The orthodox Islamic fanatics in Afghanistan were scattered and scores of them brought over to American and lodged in the Guantanamo prison. Even at that time when the Taliban were at the pinnacle of their brute power, they did not stand their ground in face of direct combats with the combined forces including the Northern Alliance and instead fled from the combat zones, one after another.
But in the intervening years, they took refuge in the border tribal areas of Pakistan where the top al-Qaida leadership was also maintaning their presence. There has been relative calm after the rout of Taliban. Later their recouped their strength and regrouped with the fresh recruits and the poppy money they were at liberty to collect through drug trafficking in various ways.
These Taliban fighters and their commanders were never an organized or well trained army that could have carried their insurgency for years together. However, they had fallen back upon the tactics of ambushes and skirmishes which kept their ferocious image of tenacious and intrepid fighting force somehow intact.
What the people of Afghanistan dreaded of Taliban was not their zeal for enforcement of fundamental Islamic Shariah but the way they enforced it. This reprehensible and gruesome strategy they also employed in Swat, Dir, Mardan and Malakand, where they held their religious sway for a few months. Lately they switched their activities in South Waziristan The kind of Islam they preach and practice is a travesty of the pristine teachings and dogmas of Islam which are absolutely merciful and tolerant.
The Taliban interpreted Islam by putting their entire emphasis and energies on striking fear for complete and docile submission from the people of those remote areas otherwise practicing conservative Islam. However, the Taliban’s Islam was not conservative but a distortion of even conservative or orthodox Islam. The people were disenchanted with Taliban’s brutal Islamic fervor, which they could not express openly as those who did, their dead bodies were hung on lampposts or at the square the next day. While the chapter of enforcing the Taliban’s pagan brand of Islam is closed in Pakistan, it can be hoped that it would also be cast away from Afghanistan once and for all.
The Muslim societies have to embrace the imperatives of the modern societies and allow practicing of any religion without any bars and restrictions. I can imagine and it is my personal observation that the Muslims in Europe and particularly United States perform and observe their religious obligations with absolute peace and liberty that is even unheard of in such leading Islamic countries as Saudi Arabia where a particular code of Islam is in vogue. Here in the United States, there are countless mosques small and big, in every city where the Muslim faithful converge five times a day and for juma prayers and for festive religious congregations like Eid without any fear or bias or discrimination.
The point that I am trying to make is that the Islamic nations and countries are plagued with menace of sectarianism and sub sectarianism and denominations that had led to schisms in Islam and also among their followers. We have seen during the last several years’ worshippers killed in the mosques and worshipping places by the colliding sects out of sheer religious and ideological vendettas. If this is Islam then better we say adieu to that. But essentially Islam shuns sectarianism because it has one god, one prophet, one holy book and one destination for prayers. Beyond that it is all muck created by the theologians and interpreters of Islamic injunctions. Taliban’s Islamic cult is a refurbished phenomenon that finds it glimpses, among a series of others, in the tyrannical sway of the assassins (1090-1256) and the Sunni fanatical dynasty of Almoravides and ultra Shia Islamic empires of Idrisis and the Fatimid. The 18th century Wahabi fanatic Islamic revival movement is now more distinctly reoriented in Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. Shiites too are present in minority in these leading states adhering to their faith. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the two rival ideological Islamic states that project and profess respectively the Wahabism and Shia faith in their fanatic forms.
The greatest danger to pristine unity, purity and sublimity of Islam has come from ideological groups that have hijacked Islam for their political, tribal and similar vested interests. So Taliban is a passing show and a dying creed that has to go because its philosophy is out of sync even with the moderate religious societies in the Islamic world.
Finally, if the United States and the NATO are going to stay in Afghanistan for oil and natural resources then better they revise their plans. The wisest policy should be that once they outflank Taliban they should pack up and go. Of course they can retain their experts and technocrats for rebuilding the grievously mauled and colossally pillaged Afghanistan but to establish garrison of standing army in Afghanistan would be viewed as an occupation army. And in all likelihood there would be renewed resistance against the occupation forces which would be from the well organized, enlightened, moderate patriots and such insurgents who will fight for emancipation and not for implementation of moribund religious codes. Would United States and their coalition partners still like to hang on in Afghanistan, emitting the foul impression that they had not entered this region to destroy terrorism but to occupy it as a part of the new world order- a pseudo name for neo-colonialism?

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The Real Issue in Pakistan

February 16, 2010
The Real Issue in Pakistan
By Saeed Qureshi

The real issue in Pakistan is whether this country should have a presidential or parliamentary form of government. Veritably, at present, it is a presidential form because the prime minister by all indications is rubber stamp and dependent upon the strings pulled from the presidency. With the president having absolute powers, the existing government is patently an extension of the system of government that was in vogue under General Pervez Musharraf. The so called draconian caveat called 58/2-B injected in the constitution of Pakistan by Pervez Musharraf as part of the 17th Amendment in 2004, with the help of certain poltical parties, empowered the president to dissolve the National Assembly.
The Seventeenth Amendment also validated all actions and proclamations of former president Musharraf from date of his assuming the office until the passing of the amendment. That made the head of state a virtual autocrat with sweeping powers over the prime minister and the national assembly.
The countrywide movement by the civil society in Pakistan spearheaded by the legal community and the impeachment move by the coalition government of PPP and PMNL resulted in the exit of Pervez Musharraf from the power citadel on August 18, 2008. The political forces that joined the lawyers’ movement aimed primarily at restoration of chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, and other deposed senior judges publically vowed to dismantle the 58-2(B) and revise the 17th amendment so as to bring the constitution to its original form.
It was agreed between the two stalwart parties namely PPP and PMNL via accords known as the Charter of democracy and Murree declaration to revive parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. President Zardari before taking over the presidency of Pakistan also in a televised categorical statement vowed to surrender powers invested in him through the 17th amendment and hand over these to the prime minister for the sake of parliamentary democracy. But, thereafter, till now he or the PPP government has not taken any practical steps to fulfill their pledge of returning Pakistan to a parliamentary form of government. Neither the 17th amendment has been rescinded or amended nor the controversial 58-2(b) expunged from the constitution of Pakistan. Even the main demand of PMNL to reinstate the sacked judges, was ignored by the PPP government. The two main poltical parties that earnestly joined hands to usher Pakistan into an era of unalloyed democracy parted their ways. The PMNL left the government barely after 40 days blaming PPP for not honoring its promise enshrined in the accords reached between them. The PPP forged coalition with MQM and ANP at the center and three provinces, thus turning its back on the former coalition partner.
After watching two years of PPP at the helm and president Zardari as a powerful president like his predecessor, it is pretty difficult for an impartial or discerning observer to draw a line between the system of government run previously and now. Media was modestly free and independent even during the Musharraf era. It is still free but the government is not treating all the media at par. There are sycophants and cronies of the government who are showered with favors of foreign junkets and government advertisements. The incumbent government of PPP has bent over backward to divide the media as well as the judiciary and the civil society by intrigues and questionable tactics.
The restoration of the constitution to its original form of 1973 remains an elusive goal although umpteen promises have been hurled by the leadership now ruling the roost. The perfunctory way the government is being run without any tangible results on the ground, it might be difficult for it to last long. A government whose ethos is to side with the downtrodden classes, stand by the free media and the independent judiciary and the flowering of a civil society is proving itself worse than the former dispensation in suppressing all these symbols of a civil and civilized society.

The poltical jugglery and petty controversies in which the whole country has been thrown in by the government and its blatant digression from its promised goals and manifesto is deplorable and was least expected of it. Now for a commoner and an ordinary citizen, the most pressing issues for a government saddled in power after a decade of authoritarianism, should be to provide good governance that takes care of the miserable plight of the people, the worsening economy, the breakdown of law and order, the soaring cost of living, the scarce jobs, the poor civic faculties and need for a genuine parliamentary form of government.
Instead, the government is busy in browbeating, and trouncing the opposition and creating fissures along provincial, ethnic and party lines. The ministers are up to the neck in involvement of kickbacks and self aggrandizement, nepotism, favoritism and immoral and illegal gratifications. The yawning question is where is the accountability? The government was under obligation to try Pervez Musharraf for breach of the constitution, his Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for selling Pakistan’s assets for peanuts and destroying its economy.
They should have sternly and urgently pursued Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and captured the callous culprits. They should have repealed the 17th amendment and given powers to the parliament and the prime minister. They should have faced the courts after overturning of the NRO by the Supreme Court. They should not have meddled in the appointment of judges and refrained from withholding their quick placements.
An effective and forceful accountability and justice system and far reaching economic charter should have been the priority of the government that calls itself the party of the impoverished masses. But nothing of the sort has been done so far. It should have issued a revolutionary and watershed social contract that would put Pakistan on the road towards attainment of the coveted goals of progress, liberalism, civil society, modernity, democracy, equality, vibrant economy, accountability, justice and a unity. They should have set the stage for exemplary governance and closed the loopholes for military dictators to sneak into power. They should have strengthened the democratic institutions and promoted the civil society.
The lawyers are again boycotting the courts and planning to throng the streets in support of the courts. The laboring classes and the jobless are clamoring vociferously for their right to survive. Ordinary citizens are wasting their precious time for flour, sugar and necessities of life. Hospitals are like garbage with piled up human bodies. Educational institutions are understaffed and underequipped. The schooling system is subject to countless lacunas, from faulty syllabus to the antiquated teaching techniques to turning of schools’ premises into shelters for cattle.
Pakistan should stop forthwith fighting in its territories for others. Even if we fight, we should not fight for money. Religious extremism is a home grown phenomenon and those who did not stem it at the beginning must be declared as traitors and enemies of this nation. Pakistan can survive only as a secular nation, with hands free from foreign dictations. The incumbent Pakistan’s government which is humblest of all the previous governments should have refused to accept the so called charity being doled out under Kerry Lugar bill. When would Pakistan assert itself as a sovereign, independent and honorable nation? Domestic cohesion is vital to our survival. The least Pakistan can demand for putting our army in harm’s way is to get its back breaking debts remitted. That should be the starting point of our cooperation with the countries wanting us to fight against the global terrorism. Short of that, let them fight and we watch from the sidelines.

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The Latest Tangle

February 14, 2010

The Latest Tangle
By Saeed Qureshi

I have great liking for Mr. Asif Zardari as a person. But, solemnly, I cannot support or vouch for his politicking style which in the mildest term is bizarre and shifty. He has exhibited himself more like a street urchin than the father figure of a nation yearning for a redeemer for six decades now. He possesses a mindset to sacrifice the supreme national interests for the basest personal motives. He seems ready, for no cogent reasons, to demonstrate defiance that if shown for good causes, could have earned him the abiding gratitude of the Pakistani nation. Only a psychiatrist can figure out as to why he has an unenviable knack to do even the harmless things in a wrong and intriguing manner. Is he being pampered and puffed up by his imprudent and fair-weather advisers or is he a victim of the personality disorders that impel him to move in self-chosen paths unmindful of the ground realities? He has infamously distinguished himself to be a past master in palace intrigues and uncanny scheming that earn him more ridicule and vitriol by the already harried citizenry of Pakistan.
Perhaps he is under the self gratifying delusion that he is the one out of millions who possesses the amazing guts to outsmart every Tom Dick and Harry in politics and business. He is on record of making the boastful claim that he is blessed with the eyes of a hawk and can read the minds of the mischief mongers and, therefore, preempts them before they spill the disaster. To beef up his claim he cited the example of Taliban and the way they were routed in the Northern scenic valleys of Pakistan. He grins copiously and grins viciously that strikes awe and palpable fear in the minds of discernable and sensitive minds.
Now if all these and a host of other freakish symptoms were not made public by him through myriad acts of omission and commission, how could he defy the Supreme Court’s rulings and mount an avoidable fracas. It freezes the mind when someone thinks how insane such a course is, both for him and for the sacred rule of law and for upholding the sanctity of the constitution of Pakistan. His latest mindboggling bloomer has flashed in his blatant foot dragging in regard to the compliance of the apex Court’s decision relating to the follow up action of NRO’s nullification and appointment of the two senior judges. If the constitutional canon stipulating appointment of judges in consultation with the chief Justice, which apparently is an innocuous administrative obligation, is not being complied with, then patently the government is spurring more Waterloos.

A cut and dried flamboyant person grilled in jails for years on real or trumped up charges should have turned a 7th century saint like Bayazid Bustami or Junaid Baghdadi and in case of becoming a president should have doled out plenteous rectitude, spirituality, wisdom and virtue and piety. Such a uniquely fortunate person should have turned a sage to deliver sublime guidance to his countrymen and even the humanity at large. Woefully, he has lost that rare blessing of time. Instead of a person recast and reoriented nobly, after such hair-raising tribulations, he has bounced back with a renewed roguish vigor surpassing his past lurid deeds. From all visible indications he likes to style himself like Italian mafia leaders never to roll back from devious path and keep fighting for the shady pursuits hammered in their minds either genetically or by the compulsions of clannish culture.
The most tragic and spine-chilling aggravation in the poltical bellicosity can be seen in the riots that, of late, have broken out between the activists of PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League led by Mian Nawaz Sharif. The inflammatory slogans are being raised, the effigies of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif being burnt, and the battle lines are being drawn. Could this appalling bad blood be avoided? Yes, if the good will that had bound the two leading parties together at the start could have been preserved. Both were part of the government and could have stabilized Pakistan variously, had their coalition not stymied by throwing the pledges overboard. Mr. Zardari chose to choose lesser partners who had their own humble pie to eat. Their subservient position to predominant majority in the center and elsewhere in three provinces suited the designs of the incumbent government. That historic chance for forging unity and projecting good governance by sharing power was unscrupulously lost.

So in the wake of a continuing constitutional deadlock a volatile situation is being brewed and fueled by the hidden hands? The street battles and riotous rallies between the charged activists of the two leading parties are horrifically ominous for Pakistan, faced concurrently with raging religious militancy. Other fringe parties are also hurling themselves into the street agitations taken out against a dysfunctional and besieged government. There is going to be a kind of mayhem, presumably, prodding army to step in. The detriment can still be contained if there is a sincere will to do so. Tragically, a nation has been persistently betrayed by the poltical leaders who still remain grossly unmindful and stubbornly indifference to their prime responsibilities.

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Who is Running Pakistan?

February 10, 2010
Who is Running Pakistan?
By Saeed Qureshi

The joke is that the angels were submitting their daily reports to God if all was well with humans on earth. God kept quiet while listening about the gravest crisis in several countries. When an angel responsible for Pakistan mentioned Pakistan’s alarming situation, God in a state of urgency asked for the fastest ride. Puzzled, the angels asked God with utmost respect, “O sustainer of the Universe, you were not upset in case of other countries; what is so special with Pakistan?” God answered, “Don’t you know I am running Pakistan.”

Apart from its being a joke, it is true that God almighty, the omnipotent is running Pakistan. Otherwise how could it survive all these years of incessant turmoil brought about by its self seeking leaders? Pakistan is a unique country with a legion of the most pathetic and abject leaders. This country has been treated as a green pasture for two legged poltical animals to graze to their hearts’ fill. Their lust for money is interminably insatiable. The civil society that is like a precious hallmark and an ornament for the civilized societies has been kept at bay by the respective governments in Pakistan.

Since August 14, 1947 to this day someone should point out a day when Pakistan was deemed to be a viable state with internal cohesion and peace. The poltical anarchy and mayhem has remained an enduring curse and damnation bedeviling Pakistan from start to this day. One wonders what was wrong, that Pakistan could not shape up as a democratic, stable and prosperous state.
The people of this country are incredibly resilient, so patient so poverty stricken, so mauled by the loathsome combine of fleecing traders, the power hungry army generals, the poltical knights and lancers, the feudalistic masters, the low and high landlords, the poltical parties with anti Pakistan agendas, the religious coercers and agents of tyranny. In this wonderful country we have been having foreign agents, the fifth columnists, the spiritual manipulators, the hoarders, the black- marketers, the jurists and judges for sale and pawn, the media midgets and the elements with parochial, regional and narrow mentalities and agendas. The bloodhounds of bureaucracy, the ruthless mafias of land grabbers, touts, and muggers, abductors for ransom, the bounty killers and thieves of national exchequer stalk this land of pure with impunity.

We still euphemistically call it the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In this Islamic Republic, the sectarianism swallows countless innocent lives. The genocidal vendettas take place in the name of race, religion, region, clan and poltical leanings. The rape, kidnappings and land feuds happen as an article of faith and with rare abandon. It is a country where a beast in the form of a human kills a hundred young boys with mask of poisonous gas and celebrates the 100th murder. It’s a country which looks askance when its eastern wing disengages itself from the west. It’s an unfortunate country where the judges kill a prime minister with their pens knowing well, it is a blatant murder. Here the judiciary validates the rule of usurpers under the law of necessity. It’s a country where the leaders roam about like princes in bullet proof SUVs with a retina of armed guards while the masses remain at the mercy of trigger happy killers.

These leaders ensure that no law is passed that benefits the common man. They have large orchards, numerous cattle, and bustling mills. They draw fabulous salaries, beside the mouth watering perks and privileges. Their corruption, loot and plunder and blatant misuse of power is unchecked and unbounded. There is a section of society that imports, exports, take permits and licenses, runs super duper money making shady schemes and takes kickbacks and gets scot free at the end of the day. They use their political leverages to grab power and then indulge in an unabashed spree of nepotism, bribery, horse trading, and never tire of issuing meaningless, phoney statements and making vague promises.

The constitution has been tampered with and its sanctity denigrated by every government amending it to ensure their perpetuation in power. The constitution still lies battered by a dictator and his legacy and illegal interpolations are being grudgingly guarded by a civilian head of state whose moral stature is as tiny as an ant. The ministers publically accused of taking bribes from hardened criminals and bank looters refuse to resign and obstruct a genuine accountability process from moving forward.

Pakistani leaders have all along been having a passion to cast themselves in the role of loyal mercenaries of foreign inimical forces, thus turning the whole country into a war zone during the past two decades. The holy crusades against the godless soviets now have their blowback against the people of Pakistan.

The religious warriors have turned their guns on a country that spawned them. Now in a democratic set up that came into being after almost a decades of authoratarian rule, has brought a deluge of problems for the people of Pakistan. Strange are the mysteries of nature. The power came to the lot of the people who are still on the rosters of the courts as absconders and proven perpetrators of diverse crimes. Old habits die hard, goes the adage and that is what these criminals and thugs and crooks in power are untiringly proving day in and day out. The governance of the ruling clique is like a long spell of dark night and in the darkness everything insidious is being committed. The frenzy to loot and plunder as much and as long of these insensate robbers has reached dizzying heights. On the contrary the people are being killed in hundred ways. Life is cheaper than a morsel of food. Water, power, food, medicines, sugar, flour and all commodities for the survival of humans are shrinking by the day.

In six decades, the decisions on building new dams for water and power and wide roads could not be reached nor any consensus mustered. The agriculture, the industry, the education, health, the civic life, the good governance are in doldrums. There is no way that the government can stop its backdoor intriguing and address amelioration of the abysmal living conditions of the people.

The railways, the national airline, the steel mills and other national assets which should serve the people with excellence and to remain in profit, are in a pathetic state of decay and deterioration. A comfortable public transport is an elusive dream never realized. The road network is utterly inadequate to cater for the growing rowdy and disorderly traffic.

Every conceivable trick is being employed by the power wielders to grab wealth in small to mega deals as if to hastily make hay while the sun of their power shines. The callous indifference and studied unwillingness to provide relief to the people does not seem to be in the genes of these demons whose only skill and acumen is to keep adding up to their heaps of wealth no matter if the country goes to dogs and the people get further impoverished. It is adhocism in the worst form.

Pakistan is a country where a poor, minority girl is brutally killed by an influential lawyer and his peers is the same profession threaten to burn those who would pursue legal proceeding against the delinquent lawyer. Every day countless women, children are rendered homeless and are brazenly picked up for rape and abuse. A culture of lawlessness is being promoted and patronized by the custodians of the country because they themselves are criminals and would not like the noose of law spun around their fat necks. Are we living in the age of Nimrod or Pharaohs? Law is being bent to side with the lawbreakers and not a helpless family.

But since God almighty is running the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, therefore, despite all these atrocious aberrations and monstrosities, it would stay till the divine mercy and patronage is withdrawn and all sinners go to hell.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Verdict on Dr. Afia Siddiqui

February 3, 2010

Verdict on Dr Afia Siddiqui
By Saeed Qureshi
Dr. Afia Siddiqui was first picked up by the moles of intelligence in March 2003 in Pakistan against the charge of her association with the Al-Qaida terrorists. She was secretly kept in Afghanistan’s notorious Bagram prison for 5 years without any trial. Finally when a British female journalist disclosed her presence by hearing her screams as prisoner number 650, the concerned American authorities reluctantly moved her to the United States. Here too it took considerable amount of time for her case of abetment of Islamic terrorist to be initiated before the court.

But while the previous charge seems to have been pushed on the back burner, a new charge was framed and brought against her. She was accused of snatching a gun from an American soldier with a view to fire at him. Now when one looks at the hearing the whole case put up by the prosecution is replete with contradictions. It is utterly unimaginable for a delicate, educated women reduced to a skinny skeleton of bones after years of rigorous incarceration to first snatch a gun and then aim at some one. The whole incident took place behind a curtain with no direct witness.
The case otherwise calls for mercy to the defendant on humanitarian grounds. Someone from the American penal and legal system should have a heart and honest courage to point out the clumsy way she is being prosecuted in the American court. A totally mentally and physically broken women whose fault or crime is yet to be established conclusively, has been so much brutalized that one disdains the claims of the upholders of human rights and refinement of human civilization in the present age of enlightenment.

Even if there was scuffle that in normal circumstances can take place, did she deserve 5 years of unwarranted stay in one of the most horrifying prisons of wild land called Afghanistan? Have a heart and look closely at the credentials of the case that even a child can figure out is frivolous and is being blown out of proportion by the quarters who would in any case like her to be declared a convict. The justice stands totally wounded and abandoned by the people who are so powerful to get a convoluted verdict irrespective of the merits of the case.

Dr. Afia, a U. S. citizen and a refined woman did not actually hurt anyone, did not injure any one nor was implicated in any offence that would entitle her to such a long jail term without trial which she has already gone through. By all indications she is a law abiding US citizen with good academic record. What is called Christian mercy was not shown to her and where is the noble concept of benefit of doubt?
She has never been given a chance to give her point of view so that there would have been a clearer picture whether she was wrongly picked upon mere doubt or there was some substance behind that. After all she is an American citizen but perhaps her tag of being a Muslim American is an anathema to her tormenters who in any case wanted to prove them justified. Who is going to restore to her the 7 years of her life that this sophisticated women spent in the stinking and dreadful dungeon of Afghanistan and in U.S. prison.

Her children were not her accomplices if at all she came under suspicion of her abductors. How and why these innocent souls were made to suffer so enormously? Has the conscience of the entire world gone dead? What kind of war on terror is being waged when the pristine concept of justice is audaciously trampled to the extent that the future of the small kids of a suspect female also stands darkened?

The trust of fair trial for those who are rightly or mistakenly apprehended loses its validity when seen the crude and discriminate way all are targeted alike: the hardened and proven criminals and those with scant suspicion or drummed up charges like Dr. Afia.

Since Dr. Afia has already suffered immensely and perhaps unjustifiably she deserves a presidential pardon or reconsideration of the verdict handed out by an ambivalent jury which took two days to reach this otherwise controversial decision. The whole case is shrouded in unclear proceedings and is supported perhaps by doubtful and spurious evidence. For the human conscience, the American spirit of humanism, the constitution of the United States of America, for the sake of a fair legal system and for sanctity of the immortal Bill or Rights, Dr. Afia is eligible to be freed and rejoin her family and children also suffering trauma and agony all these years along with Dr. Afia’s harrowing afflictions and unspeakable tribulations.

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What Legitimacy the Government is Left With?

February 1, 2010

What Legitimacy the Government is Left With?
By Saeed Qureshi

It is nauseating to talk about the legitimacy of a government that stubbornly refuses to provide any relief to the extremely hard-pressed people of Pakistan. The distress and suffering that the Pakistanis have been exposed to ever since the advent of the PPP government in power, has no parallel in the past. The foundation that was laid to erect the edifice of the incumbent government was malafide and lacked moral and legal justification. This government came from the sidelines and all of sudden was declared the victor of a fight that it did not compete. It was not a part of the struggle to oust the disgraced former crony president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf who was ready to resort to any illegality howsoever loathsome to hang on to his illegitimate power.

He brokered NRO with the PPP leaders for them to be pardoned and whitewash all the sins and crimes they committed against the people and the state and for him remain at the helm for a few more years. It was visibly a very plausible marriage of convenience that could have kept both the parties in good cheer.

PPP manipulated the lawyers’ countrywide historic agitation that ultimately forced Musharraf to abdicate power. With sham promises that self proclaimed chairperson of PPP Asif Zardari held out to every poltical force, catapulted him to the highest office in Pakistan that only a few months earlier he could not have even dreamt of. After assuming the presidency he ditched and betrayed his poltical allies and forged alliances with regional ethnic groups that still stand by his side because otherwise they have neither considerable national standing nor any outstanding prominence. Mr. Zardari in clear defiance of the deceased chairperson Benazir’s wish to reinstate the sacked judges went all the way to stall and hinder their reinstatement.

This is what the PPP did to the poltical parties and the principal organs of the civil society. The PPP’s governance of Pakistan is a repugnant tale of utter dereliction, complete breakdown of law and order, Pakistan turning into an open house for corruption, nepotism and patronage for all sorts of criminals. It is being spawned on falsehood, deceptions, farce fraud and forgery. There is crooked and conspiratorial approach to every problem that the harried people of Pakistan face. The decency, the uprightness, the honesty the sincerity and sobriety needed to address the minefield of problems of Pakistan are replaced with chicanery, breaking of promises and subversive tactics that instead of making any headway are further complicating the utterly chaotic situation.

One is appalled to watch majority of Pakistanis with dirt on their poverty stricken faces, tattered clothes, running helter and skelter for a loaf of bread, the houses going dark for most of the day, the fuel running short for cooking, the staple food items disappearing from the markets, the vendettas feuds raging in the streets of Karachi and elsewhere and the peaceful citizen being indiscriminately killed in the crossfire.

To use the word inept for the sitting government would be to glorify it and utterly inadequate to illustrate it’s poverty of morality and phenomenal failure and audacious abuse of its mandate and responsibly towards the people of Pakistan. The ministers walk like shameless demons of proven corruption and refuse to resign. In any government even in anarchical Somalia ministers or top functionaries of government would resign and offer himself for probe till cleared. But wearing brazen masks of shameful demeanor they walk and talk and vomit out frivolous, perverted and counterfeit logic for them to stay in power and keep kicking around.

While the people are in desperate need of relief on soaring prices and provision of sufficient food supplies, these Don Quixote’s and charlatans of 21st century without any qualms raise the already unbearable prices. The latest hike in gasoline prices would compound the woes of the psychologically mauled and financially depleted people. How a government worth the name could have been so unkind and diabolic as to rub salt on the bleeding wounds of the harassed people of Pakistan?

In the parliament the people’s elected representatives, carrying the honorable titles of law makers or parliamentarians gasp, yawn, laugh, nap, sooth their bulging round bellies, make nonsense speeches and walk out in the protection of armed guards in slick cars, with starched apparels, with grins on their swollen faces and enter their well fortified citadel like mansions. Such is the blood boiling paradox and yawning absurd gap between the lifestyle of the peoples’ servants and those whom they are supposed to serve.

What stopped the government from taking so long in reinstaiting the deposed judges? Why it dithered on honoring its promises with their political peers? How could it afford to antagonize the media for no obvious reasons? Now when Apex court’s verdict is out why is it procrastinating on honest implementation of the court’s ruling on NRO? Why has it been staking its entire honor on protecting the ousted Musharraf and blocking his prosecution? Why is it not rewriting the constitution to conform it to the norms of parliamentary democracy? What was the urgent need for Zardari for his uncalled for outburst against the army? Why is it not abandoning the insane strategy of doing too little too late? Why is it not emphatically telling Americans to stop drone attacks? Why is it not moving fast to ameliorate the worsening conditions of the people? Why can’t it think of forming a national government? If it still chooses to live in fools’ paradise then it should be forewarned that countrywide civil unrest or military takeover is not far off?

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What Obama Missed in His State of the Union Address!

January 30, 2010
Dallas, Texas

What Obama Missed in His State of the Union Address!
By Saeed Qureshi

President Obama’s State of the Union address (January 27) was brilliantly composed and remarkably delivered. He was easy, contemplative, passionate, vigorous, focused and eloquently articulate. Most of his 330 words’ speech devolved on economy and that was inevitably the most pressing current issue that this great power is faced with.

After the Second World War, United States has reigned supreme both as an unrivaled military and economic power. The defeat of Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the consequent shrinking of its borders and diminishing of her military and economic prowess, the glob was left open for the America to claim the international leadership. That is why senior George Bush coined the term “the new world order”, led by the United States. Woefully the span of that imperial extravaganza was short lived and the dream of the United States for lording over the world, as the lone super power was also shattered sooner than later.

The United States hung the yoke of Afghanistan followed by another stranglehold of Iraq , without realizing that if Soviet Union despite being a neighbor couldn’t make any headway in Afghanistan, how could a distant country no matter how strong it might be could triumph. Despite this, United States could have enjoyed that coveted status if it was not cut short by president G.W.Bush, the very son of the senior Bush, by his chauvinistic, overzealous and highly imprudent military adventures? The ramifications of that insane exuberance of conquering the world by G.W. Bush boomeranged in the fiercest manner and now the disastrous fallout is writ large all over America. America is entangled in wars that are like an albatross hanging around the neck.

Amazingly, in almost all the political comments, news analyses, editorial notes and Op-Eds, no one has pointed the glaring deficiency in the Obama’s most important speech of the year. He did not utter a word about the Israel-Palestinian dispute that in fact should be pivotal in the American foreign policy dossier. Immediately after his advent in the presidency, president Obama appointed two special representatives, one for Pakistan Afghanistan and the other for peace in the Middle East with predominant focus on the Palestine dispute. While one can occasionally hear of Richard Holbrooke the special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, the other special envoy Special Envoy for the Middle East, Senator George Mitchell has been quiet for considerable amount of time. There was a trilateral conference in September last year between Israel, Palestinian delegates and United States, but thereafter the peace process and the ultimate goal of creating two states seems to have been shelved. While president Obama has spoken, though briefly, about the US policy and postures in the coming months, he didn’t even, in passing, mention the biggest flashpoint in the Middle East that has imperiled the world peace besides exacerbating the bitterness between the Islamic bloc and the United States.

The gushing fervor that president Obama had exhibited at the outset of his taking office about Middle East peace has of late dissipated to such an alarming extent that he fails to mention even casually, as to what his special envoy has done so far and what was the future strategy of America in that direction. Obviously this bypassing of the Palestinian dispute reflects a studied indifference and willful and deliberate avoidance of the thorny issue whose even mention is much to the chagrin of Israel.

This glaring omission in his State of the Union address begs the question, if president Obama has fallen back on the status quo plank and wants to keep this issue in a state of abeyance to placate the internal and external forces that don’t want him to move fast on resolving it? It also surmises that perhaps the Israeli lobbies within America have overpowered or cornered him to the extent that he was not even in a position to broach the Middle East subject even frivolously.

A dispassionate and objective appraisal of Obama’s accomplishments and achievements of his agenda since his taking office would end up with preliminary findings that he tends to be excessively mild or docile and merely plays with words and thumping rhetoric but not delivering on his pledges in concrete or palpable form. He is not aggressive, nor assertive to press for actual and effective follow up of his election pledges. Despite his brilliance and scholarly eminence and indeed a lofty vision to change the status quo erected on belligerency and futile wars and internal degeneration of the infrastructure and overhauling the dwindling social and utility services network, there seems to be no tangible or an impressive change in the offing. The stimulus package has been instrumental in providing a brief relief and breathing space to the failing financial institutions but still the state of faltering economy is not going to markedly improve so soon.

It is difficult to buy the argument that Republicans were irreconcilable obstructionists to Democrats and particularly to the person of president Obama for having black pigment. Nevertheless, politics is not a garden party or a bed of roses. It is lot easier to talk big and in flowery diction but the test of statesman is to find a way out of the worst adversarial circumstances and rough poltical terrain. All the issues that embodied Obama’s agenda for change seems to be left in lurch or relegated to the back seat for the present. Except adding up the American troops by 30000 more troops in Afghanistan, a decision which is yet to be carried out, all other matters that infused the people are hamstrung.

Now Pakistan’s spectacular victories in various parts of Pakistan against the radical Islamic militants did not find any faint mention in president Obama’s “father of all the addresses” that a US president delivers once a year. Pakistan should be genuinely hurt and dejected over a blatant omission of the hope laden progress and marked breakthrough that Pakistan has scored against the enemies of United States within Pakistan and in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you forget to pat on the back of an ally who is doing an excellent and remarkable job for you, would you still expect of that partner to keep on delivering the victories in the same fashion and zeal for you?
It would have been much commendable if president Obama had spoken on the fractured relations between her two allies, India and Pakistan, and offered America’s good office to bring them together as friends. American solicitation on the festering issue of Kashmir can bring a lasting peace in the South Asian region and particularly in the Indian sub-continent. Both India and Pakistan are in the express need of a strong arbiter or intermediary to help bury the six decades lingering acrimony, and to broker peace and durable understating between the two inveterate adversaries.

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Lawyers or Hoodlums!

January 28, 2010

Lawyers or Hoodlums!
By Saeed Qureshi
The custodians of law and interpreters of the sacred document titled constitution turned into an unruly crowd the other day in Lahore to press the court for bypassing the legal process and release their cohort lawyer accused of torturing to death a domestic servant 12 years old girl. About 300 lawyers held a raucous demonstration in front of the court, raised questionable slogans incongruent with the dignity of their profession and demanded circumvention of the judicial hearing. Such bandit lawyers have no right to be in the legal profession because by a roguish behavior they have forfeited their right to be on the right side of the justice. These vulgar guys should be debarred from taking part in the legal practice and their licenses cancelled.

If today the law protectors turn law breakers and take the law in their hands what legal or moral barrier can stop the ordinary litigants not to storm the jails, ransack the courts and kidnap the judges and jurists till they get their dictated verdict. The lawyers have set an ugly example to the effect that when a member of the bar is nabbed, the legal community was at liberty to hold boisterous demonstrations and cut short the due process of law. What lesson these legal minds and jurists are emanating to the people: the lawyers themselves are above law, they are immune from the normal proceedings and can subvert the courts and threaten the judges because they have an influential peer put behind the bar for an insidious and a gruesome crime of murdering an innocent and helpless girl of a minority community, already hard-pressed by the sheer apathy and discrimination of the religious sections of the majority.

Their bizarre assemblage in front of the Lahore court that is hearing the case of accused Chaudhry Naeem advocate also emits a reprehensible signal to the jurists and legal practioners around the world that here is a faction of their fraternity which can turn into the scum of the earth and debase their honorable profession meant to aid the afflicted and the wronged humanity. It is a self inflicting detrimental wound by this band of rabble rousers to their own prestigious profession and more so to their personal conduct. The melee of these lawyers would leave an indelible blot on the radiant and fair face of Pakistan’s legal system and the defenders of law. If the judicial system in Pakistan succumbs to the highhandedness and mob mentality of the lawyers then Pakistan is ready to turn into a lawless jungle.

Even otherwise Pakistan’s justice system has remained tainted and egregiously faulty. As the proverb and common cliché goes, “better buy the judge than hire an advocate.” Such is the gross travesty of justice in Pakistan. The judicial system in Pakistan can be circumvented and thwarted in myriad manners. It is mostly devoid of healthy and fair practices relating to the implicit covenant between the clients and the lawyers on one side and lawyers and the adjudicating authorities on the other. The judges and magistrates from top to bottom, with fewer exceptions, accept or demand bribes to hand out unjust verdicts. It’s not a guarded or uncommon secret that after the day’s work, the lawyers both from the prosecution and the defense sit together in cozy settings for hilarious evening extravaganzas.

Same is true of the judges’ collusion and personal equations with the lawyers, the latter cultivating the judges for favorable decisions for the agreed amounts of money, besides other entertainments that better not narrated. Most of the so called lower or junior courts look like shops where justice is sold rather dispensed with according to the book or in compliance with the imperatives of justice. The laws or caveats are practiced more in breach than observance.

The clients or the litigants keep paying hefty fees to the lawyers who seldom prepare the cases because they use the power of money to buy the tampered justice. Quite a few lawyers buy law degrees and their knowledge of the law is as good as a common man in the street. However, they are adept in wheeling dealing and striking underhand deals to get the decisions of their choice. There might be exceptions but such is the general picture of the realm of the justice and judicial system in Pakistan.

So the judges and lawyers are the chips of the same bloc that survive on fleecing the harried citizens desperately hankering for justice for such crimes as grabbing of their small piece of land by a powerful goon or such heinous crime as the rape of their women or murder or abduction for ransom. The basic human values that are reiterated from the pulpit five times in a day are willfully and with rare abandon trampled from top to bottom. The common man with no social clout or financial backbone is at the mercy of an assortment of thugs, bandits, murderers, looters, rapists, touts, blackmailers and so on. On top they get swindling lawyers who keep milking the client as long as they can.

The litigations continue interminably for ages especially for serious crimes and most notably with regard to the vacation of a property or sale or purchase of land. Invariably, a person trapped into the vicious cycle of land disputation would not see the decision either way during his or her lifetime. The laws about land are so infamous and complicated that even if the judiciary was on the right tracks, these cannot be conclusively decided in favor or against of either contending party. In the meantime the farmer sells his other lands to pay for the fees and grafts, becomes penniless, get older and dies. The forcible occupation of prized lands is common in Pakistan and those in occupation have long arms to silence the dispensers of justice by force or bribe. On the other hand for small felonies as a verbal brawl or lifting a pair of shoes, a convict with no connections, languishes in jail for longer terms.

Although in the past the Supreme Court’s role and conduct in treading the unalloyed and sublime path of justice has not been above reproach, yet during the past two years it has manifested itself with a laudably upright demeanor and strict propriety. From the time of removal of the chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to his restoration and till now, the apex court has exhibited what has been termed as independent judicial activism. Chief Justice Chaudhry has been viewed as a symbol of democracy and rule of law.

The ongoing tussle between the superior judiciary and the government bears an incontrovertible testimony to the sordid phenomenon that the establishment was ignoring or dishonoring the court’s decisions. The supreme court of Pakistan overturned the amnesty granted to over 8000 corrupt and criminal individuals in NRO. But the government by all indications seems determined to thwart this historic ruling. Various phony and fake excuses are pouring out of the government portals that signal that implementation of the follow up action is not going to be a smooth sailing.

Now if the executive wants to promote and justify corruption and shelter the rank corrupt persons then the sanctity of the constitution and supremacy of rule of law stand robbed. In such an inclement environment, it looks a tall order for the accountability and law to prevail. Small wonder then, if the lower rank lawyers and advocates make a mockery of law and undermine its inviolability by their disruptive and villainous behavior.

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Obama’s Agenda for Change in a Limbo

January 25, 2010
Dallas, Texas

Obama’s Agenda for Change in a Limbo
By Saeed Qureshi

With two stunning setbacks happening in quick succession, president Obama’s ambitious and ground breaking “Agenda for Change” appears to be put in the reverse gear. The loss of Massachusetts Senate seat that the democrats had virtually monopolized for 47 years is the first lethal blow that deprives the Obama administration from smooth and unhindered passage of his Health Care Reform Plan bill in the Senate. Obama has virtually placed his entire stake in the dossier of health care program that primarily has remained a losing venture for several decades.

Even President Clinton and his illustrious wife Hillary Clinton, then first lady and now the secretary of state, miserably failed in their maneuvers to get their health care program get though and overcome even the first hurdles. That bill tipped as “Clinton Health Care Plan”, contained far reaching proposals that would have required the employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. The plan was bitterly opposed by its opponents, to the extent that she became the target of ridicule and innuendoes. The plan was defeated in both the House and the Senate, and was abandoned in September 1994. That bill died its death because of stiff resistance at every step from the special interest groups notably by the cut throat gubernatorial insurance and pharmaceutical companies that would sell America but not allow a more humane, cosmopolitan and charitable health insurance coverage to prevail.

Obama in his exuberance and self entertaining bubbling confidence started his marathon race and crossed all the preliminary hurdles in the way of his health care bill. But he was not aware that the “Achilles Heel” was yet to come. The “Achilles Heel” was the single senate vote that was almost in the pocket of the Democrat party. Late Ted Kennedy was the most loved and esteemed politician in his constituency. He was rather a father figure not only for the state of Massachusetts but for the whole American nation also.

For his unstinted meritorious services and also being a scion of the Kennedy clan whose illustrious president J.F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas in 1963, he held the Senate seat till his death. While a particular hidden group might be hostile to Kennedy family, the goodwill and trust that Kennedy family has earned for itself is a luminous part of the American society.

So the irreparable, grievous and hard to believe loss of this most coveted seat is like a bolt from the blue and Ted Kennedy must be turning so distressingly in his grave as to how his legacy has been frittered away. One may decree that his death was a bit early or extremely untimely. But nature’s scheme and divine designs are prefixed and the human interests good or bad fall out of these immutable paradigms.
The second dispiriting development for Obama administration is the U. S. Supreme court’s 5-4 split ruling on January 21 allowing direct corporate spending in elections for or against the candidates. The latest ruling which has been interpreted variously, strikes down the so called “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act”, (BCRA) that prohibited businesses from financing issue ads. The Supreme Court has justified its decision by denoting that it was granting corporations the same free speech rights as individuals.
This decision flies directly in the face of Obama’s’ philosophy and endeavors to curb the special interest groups that get their interests served and protected by lavishly financing the electioneering campaigns of their favorite candidates. President Obama issued a statement on his web site condemning the Supreme Court decision and calling it the “most devastating thing that could happen to the public interest.” The general reaction or impression is that this decision would open a field day for powerful interests with money to corrupt the political system.
All the decisions that relate to the foreign policy issues or domestic turf, Obama’s tone has been conciliatory and mild. Perhaps in a bid to forge national unity and mindful of the fact that he belonged to the minority race, he didn’t go out to the way to force his decisions with domination and authority. Most of his close aides have been the strong supporters and votaries of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They might not be totally in unison at heart with the decisions of president Obama to wind up the overseas military operations that served the special businesses such as arms producing factories, the security agencies such as backwater and those engaged in supply and logistic support.
So president Obama is up against a formidable challenge which looked feeble and dormant when he took over the presidency of the United States. There are strong chauvinistic lobbies in America that would not like to close Guantanamo concentration camp and restore the constitutional propriety of America by transferring the cases of the inmates to the civilian courts. The economic abyss in which America is sunk half due to foreign wars has taken it own toll on the Obama’s agenda for change.
By Agenda for change, the less privileged Americans understood that there would be a massive economic recovery with the creation of jobs. Obama administration’s more onus and focus on the external front and less on domestic festering problems has been the underlying cause for the defeat in Massachusetts. There is also a growing disenchantment among the rest of the population as to how the economic woes of the citizens are going to be healed. The bailout and stimulus packages are right measures but these didn’t make any swinging difference in the lives of the sufferers of the economic meltdown.
The ambivalence that has remained hung over several of Obama’s decisions makes his agenda for change a slow process. The first year of his presidency is over and yet barring a slight improvement in economy and sending of more troops to Afghanistan there is no other feather of achievement that could be tagged to his hat of achievements. The outreach to the Muslim world with which he wanted to revive relations based on mutual respect and common interest is still in doldrums. The Palestinian festering sore is still bleeding. No one knows what progress was made by his special representative for the Middle East on resolving the decades’ old dispute between Israel and Palestinians.
His personal charisma, eloquence and sincerity would dim as the time passes because the charm of personality or iconic appeal is ephemeral. In the wake and face of hard realties even the most mesmeric personages and ideal heroes tune into ordinary individuals. Rather the reaction of the people at large is more pungent against the role models than the ordinary, run off the mill leaders.
President Obama and his retina of advisors must see the changing course of the political wind and discern the gradually dismaying mood of the people. It’s time for an aggressive and fast track decision making focused on lessening America’s overseas military engagements, and forcefully catching the ravaging bull of the economy by horns.
The Republicans are certainly in a sanguine format as is demonstrated in winning the Massachusetts seat. They are prying for more that are yet to be contested. If Obama doesn’t make a difference and throw up ground breaking decisions that benefit the American people and this wonderful country, there is a slim chance that a black or a semi black person can assume the American presidency again. For that matter, the democrats, despite their pious and earnest intentions may not stage a comeback in power so soon.
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An Easy Way to Kill

January 22, 2010
An Easy Way to Kill
By Saeed Qureshi
It’s so easy to kill human beings without getting any one killed from your side. This is the latest technology and it is being operated through the pilotless small sized aircrafts commonly known as Drones. Drone know-how is a closely guarded secret and it is the exclusive preserve of the United States of America. The lethal and destructive power of these unmanned dreaded drones is manifest in the civilian population of the tribal regions on both sides between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Drones are being used to kill the Al-Qaida militants in their hideouts where previously it was almost difficult to trace them. But with the assassination of one suspect, so many other from among the civilian residents are also killed by deadly missiles fired by the Drones from the air. After playing havoc the plane safely returns to its launching location. United States is not worried if civilians including the innocent children, harmless women and debilitated aged men are roasted or burnt to ashes. According to an estimate, as a result of these drone attacks, about 700 civilians have been killed thus far. The peaceful citizens have been vanquished, their houses destroyed and the rest of the community left with the lurking fear of more horrific strikes of similar nature. No one from the civilized world not even the United Nations have questioned the legal or moral justification of these attacks which in simple terms is to be characterized as barbarity.

The Pakistan government has been caught in this war against terrorism willingly or unwillingly and its army is battling in the suspected areas where besides militant Taliban, the high value targets of Al-Qaida hide and launch their counter assaults. The Al-Qaida kills the Americans and the ordinary peaceful people by suicide bombing. The Taliban and Al-Qaida operate brutally while the American and NATO forces do the same job in a much sophisticated manner. The other difference is that in the Drone attacks the reciprocal or collateral damage or casualties on the American side are nonexistent while in Al-Qaida or Taliban’s suicide bombing the perpetrators have also to die.

It was only anti war activist Cindy Sheehan with a group of anti-war activists who protested the covert drone war in Langley, VA on Jan 16, and described the use of unmanned drones "cowardly" and "immoral." She expressed her concern about the military uses of drones and specifically about their use by the CIA in Pakistan.

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a Freedom of Information Act raising questions about the legal basis for targeted killings the US conducts in Pakistan and elsewhere." The American public has a right to know whether the drone program is consistent with international law, and that all efforts are made to minimize the loss of innocent lives," said Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project.

Unites States is also considering use of Drones in Yemen where according to reports various top notch leaders of Al-Qaida have moved. So it is not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan where Drones are being used but its expansion to other parts of the world would assume a frightening possibility. To be rational, how long the United States would keep hunting the terrorists all over the globe and kill them by Drones attacks? No one can predict with absolute certainty a cutoff date by which the final terrorist would fall and thus the world become safe from further terrorism.

The lunatic tenacity of religious militants as that of al-Qaida and Taliban can be bridled with sagacious strategy that calls for more diplomatic and socio-economic means to prepare the local population against these ferocious religious extremists. This strategy is proving to be successful in Pakistan and in that country’s tribal areas.

One must recall that when United States demanded of Taliban then ruling Kabul, to hand over Osama and his cohorts, the Taliban offered talks and asked for evidence of his involvement in 9/11 event. The then president George Bush spurned their offer and thus a ruinous war was imposed on Afghanistan that has devastated that uniquely beautiful land with millions killed in the meantime. The social, geographic and demographic complexion of Afghanistan has been irreparably shattered. It would take several decades to wash off the paranoid of war and to restore the pristine glory and serene beauty of Afghanistan.

The latest policy shift of Obama administration in dealing with Taliban is the wisest and hugely pragmatic. According to daily News Pakistan, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has unfurled a long-term, non-military strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan that calls for sending more US civilian experts to the region. It aims at boosting Pakistan's capabilities to fight a growing insurgency and to enhance the US partnership with Islamabad partly through supporting political and economic reforms. The Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy was prepared by the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.

“The new civilian strategy would focus on rebuilding Afghanistan’s farm sector, improving Afghan governance, and reintegrating extremists into society.” This is indeed a major departure from America’s blanket anti Taliban stance for a decade. Earlier Richard Holbrooke while stating the broad outlines of this policy said that instead of fighting all Taliban, United States would now befriend those among them who would be ready for such friendship. The Afghan president Hamid Karzai declared to involve friendly Taliban in government and elsewhere.

But the US defense secretary who is on a visit to India and Pakistan wants Pakistan to expand military action to North Waziristan as well. It’s too much of a burden being placed on Pakistan, which is not responsible to compensate for the failures of the occupation forces stationed in Afghanistan. This would also lend unbearable blow to Pakistan’s tattered economy.

Nevertheless, it speaks for the fact that where NATO and America failed in their war against the Taliban and Al- Qaida, this impossible feat was made possible by Pakistan. If USA is really earnest in rebuilding Afghanistan and wooing the agreeable Taliban and to garner support and goodwill from the civilian population in the embattled areas, then it should stop forthwith killing the people by Drone aerial attacks.

Saeed Qureshi

Cheap Talk

January 20, 2010
Cheap Talk
By Saeed Qureshi

President Zardari’s boastful rhetoric last week in Lahore in which he portrayed himself as a watchful hawk who can see through and identify the disguised crooks (he used the word thief) can be placed under the category of cheap talk or street jargon.

The misfortune is that despite having such rare skill and genius, instead of roping these rogues and villains, he has unleashed them to keep targeting the society with their dirty machinations and mischief. In order to woo the masses, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the founder chairman of the PPP, Mr. Zardari seems to be under the delusion that he can outflank the poltical adversaries and swing the anti government raging public opinion in his favor. Yet he is no match to the genius of Mr., Bhutto. He refuses to acknowledge that there is no threat to the democracy and his party’s government from the veiled actors that he is so fond of mentioning time and again.

The threat is from the disgusting style of his governance and his personal freakish penchant to stall the grand understanding reached with the other political forces in Pakistan. He refuses even to mention the substantive issues that are at the bottom of the growing disenchantment of the people of Pakistan with the democratically elected government that has failed to formalize and entrench the democratic culture in real sense. Blame game is so common in Pakistan but honestly and objectively there is no single party from the opposition that has spoken against the democracy or to destabilize the government.

The negative antics that Mr. Zardari with all powers in his hand is employing is causing immense destruct both among the people and the political parties. The runners of the government are heaping themselves with more incrimination of misdeeds and corruption in that the poor and underprivileged majority is caught up in famine stranglehold because of the scarcity and unaffordable prices of basic food items. The country is in state of wilderness.

It looks so bizarre and clownish for Mr. Zardari to speak like an orator and indulging in cheap and meaningless demagogy when the people are restive and country is drifting towards instability both politically and geographically. In this appalling situation that is deteriorating fast, president Zardari’s antics to take shelter behind tactics such as the democratic façade, cashing of the death of Benazir Bhutto and PPP being a party of martyrs is not going to work. By putting on the back burner, the revocation of 17th amendment and restoration of powers to the prime minster as in a parliamentary democracy, and then lashing out in regional languages is behaving like an ostrich or like catching at a straw when the boat is capsizing.

He has antagonized judiciary, is head- on-collision with media, embarked upon a war path with other poltical entities that genuinely want a change consistent with national interests and public welfare and are ready to extend all cooperation to the incumbent PPP government. But the PPP stalwarts have fallen back upon the devious strategy of maligning, and vilification of all those who cannot stomach the classic bad governance of PPP and the personal deceptive politicking style of president Zardari. His ministers like his master’s voice and second fiddles excel in foul counterattacks against those who are their well wishers and mean no harm to the present poltical set up in Pakistan. These ministers are brazen enough to take upon the revered institutions like judiciary and threaten it publically of dire consequences for anti government decisions.

The Apex court’s detailed verdict on NRO is out. There is not an iota of benefit that the government can draw out of this landmark decision. It should serve as an eye opener for the ruling cabal. The verdict is clear and thumping against the beneficiaries of the NRO. Any resistance or contravening the court’s findings and exhortations would be totally ominous for the ruling party. The coalition partners do not have much stake in court’s decision. Rather MQM has been throwing hints that they were ready to defend themselves in the court through a proper judicial process.
In his latest public outpouring Mr. Zardari has again chosen to duck the fundamental issues whose resolution can still bring a saving grace for his government and party. Instead he is talking of dying like Benazir Bhutto. These are the symptoms of a skewed mind and of a person out of millions who refuses to be pragmatic, realistic and amenable to reason and cannot perceive the oncoming storm and take safety measures before it bursts open with full fury.

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