Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is Benazir Bhutto’s Will a Forged Document?

April 20, 2010
Is Benazir Bhutto’s Will a Forged Document?
By Saeed Qureshi
The United Nations Commission’s inquiry report, released on April 15, on Benazir Bhutto’s murder is patently an eyewash. It is tantamount to a distraction, waste of money and time, perhaps a crude bid to gain time and to dilute the impact of the assassination of a towering political personage of international standing and renown. The cardinal need is to mount an indigenous investigation that would decidedly lay bare the contours and masterminds of this diabolic crime that should not be consigned to confusion and a kind of wild goose chase game. A string of questions are being raised by both discerning and common folks in Pakistan with regard to the veracity and genuineness of the will of BB, hand written by her some time before her assassination.
In a television talk show, it was pointed out by the moderator that though the handwriting resembles with that of Benazir. He argued that since it contains several grammatical and spelling mistakes, which are not expected of a Harvard and Oxford graduate, it may therefore, be a fictitious and forged document. It was further claimed in the same discussion that the will was reportedly handed over to a house maid-servant, a possibility which could have never happened because the will is a secret document and kept in the safest custody. Moreover, instead of the whole report, only that portion was revealed which exclusively related to the appointment of Asif Zardari as a successor to Bibi, in case of her death.
In another talk show on GEO channel 902, a disgruntled adherent of PPP claimed that he can catch the Bhutto’s assassins in a few days if he was given authority and an SHO (Station House officer in charge of a police station). Same gauntlet was thrown by Naheed Khan, the closest friend and political secretary of Benazir that any indigenous inquiry to reach the culprits of Benazir should be started from her, adding that she knew who the assassins were and that she could apprehend them sooner than later. She called upon president Zardari to reveal the identities of the perpetrators as was claimed by him some time back.
The United Nations’ report was clamorously applauded and gleefully welcomed by the presidency in particular and the PPP echelons in general. Now every effort is being bent, besides flurry of statements to implicate President Musharraf for masterminding Ms Bhutto’s murder. The speculation is that he wanted to remove a formidable political challenger to his power, who contrary to her previous commitment to sail along Mushrraf, starting blowing rebellious bugles.
But accusing fingers are also being pointed at the people responsible for providing security to Benazir Bhutto. It is being alleged that certain high ranking members within PPP were part of a conspiracy to remove Benazir to clear the path for her husband to lord over the party and to consequently become president or the prime minister of Pakistan. The names that are being thrown up as partners in this conspiracy among others include, the incumbent interior minister Rehman Malik and the law minister Malik Babar Awan.
Another character Shahinshah responsible for the security of BB on that fateful day of December 27, 2007 was also later killed in mysterious circumstances. Shahinshah, it is being speculated, was making queer gestures at a time when Bhutto’s procession has just started moving and she appeared from the roof top of the car. More intriguing question is being posed and that carries some weight that why Rehman Malik, Babar Awan and Farhatullah Babar riding the bullet proof escort car that was supported to be used as a replacement in case of any mobility problem, sped away from the scene , did not reach the hospital and instead went somewhere else.
Two other crucial aspects of this high profile murder case are being debated in Pakistan. One is the hasty washing of the venue of mammoth blast and the place where Benazir was hit by the blast waves as a result of which she fell down in the car and perhaps died instantaneously. It is being argued that even if she had struck her head against the handle of the sunroof, it could not have caused her immediate death. It is also being propounded that a bullet from a silencer gun killed her. The second theory is that it was a strong laser beam that made her collapse without causing any visible big injury or wound to her head. The second conjecture sound more persuasive.
She was rushed to the hospital in the most distressing and prohibitive conditions by the co- travelers who were no experts in providing first aid in a situation of acute and colossal emergency as that of Benazir. The tire of the car burst on the way and there was no other vehicle around for immediate transfer of Benazir to the hospital. Every second was precious and finally some vehicle was stopped and Benazir, in an extremely precarious condition, was taken to the nearest Rawalpindi General Hospital situated on Murree road. The elephantine question is: where were the body guards, the security staff and even PPP’s own custodians from the time of blast to the hospital destination? No one even bothered to make a call to Naheed Khan or Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who everyone knew, were with BB in the car. Doesn’t this entire scenario smack of a conspiracy or some hidden hands pulling strings from behind the scene at that time?
The second aspect that merits attention is the haphazard manner, by which the post mortem was about to be started but was stopped at the behest of someone, presumably a call from BB’s spouse Asif Ali Zardari. But the doctors are privy to the information that they did perform some kind of procedure that aimed at resuscitating her breath for which they opened her chest and tried to enliven heart by pumping it with the hands. These developments however, do not weaken the argument that why a full-fledged post mortem was neither performed for Benazir nor for other two scores of PPP activists perished in the blast.
So if the PPP ministers are confidently pointing their fingers at Musharraf for conspiring to kill Bhutto then let the former president come forward and clear the fuzzy fog that is getting deeper and thicker as the speculations on the identities of the assassins and conspirators gather momentum. In the meantime, the PPP leadership is throwing hints to initiate a domestic investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto who was a political leader of exceptional stature and eminence, who had been instrumental in rekindling a hope for democracy in Pakistan and who was the chairperson of the leading political party in Pakistan.
Such an inquiry is long overdue. So far PPP did not move fast enough to even register a proper FIR. It is time for PPP and particularly for president Zardari who is also the co-chairman of the party; to amend for the otherwise unpardonable delay and dithering in regards unearthing Benazir’s assassins and other collaborators and masterminds. Because of this delay and lack of any passion, many a top notche, even Asif Zardari are not above suspicion. So a prompt investigation, though belated, must be undertaken for redeeming the honor and face that the PPP and its government have lost in the meantime. It’s also time for the PPP to unveil the full text of late Benazir’s will, if the party leadership is earnest about dispelling the floating apprehensions about its authenticity.

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Kiamat (Doomsday) in Pakistan

April 11, 2010
Kiamat (Doomsday) in Pakistan
By Saeed Qureshi
In 21st century, a country called Pakistan is slipping back to dark ages. In Pakistan, the electricity that runs every household, every industrial unit, moves agricultural implements; is a dire need for schools, hospitals, street lights, commercial enterprises, offices, bazaars, railways and which is an indispensible lifeline for a society goes off for as long as 20 hours a day. Is it possible to calculate the depth and level of harmful impact on the lives of the people of Pakistan? Disastrous is too slim an adjective to describe the horrendous spectacle with which the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is awash.
Let us content ourselves by paralleling it with the euphemism of the scriptural “Doomsday” when the whole humanity would be running helter and skelter in a complete state of frenzy and in a climate that would be unbearably hot because the Sun, according to dogma, “would be as close to the earth as the length of a lance.”
So the panicked, frantic, devil stricken people of Pakistan are raking, agitating, rallying, clamoring, blockading, protesting and finally finding nowhere to go. These crazy segments of humanity are outraged against damning spells of power shut downs, technically termed as load shedding, as if the electric power is in excess and its overload is being off-loaded. The callous indifference shown by the hypocritical, liars, thieves, inside traders, money grabbers, sitting in high offices at public expense, of the miseries of the grief stricken Pakistanis, is devastating and mind boggling. The People are turning mentally infirm because of the darkness, because their children are unable to prepare for examination, because of the silent fans in sizzling summer, because their patients cannot be operated upon and because their water pumps do not function.
One is reminded of the storming of the Bastille prison a symbol of royal tyranny, on 14th July 1789. This momentous event turned out to be the flashpoint for the French Revolution, and it subsequently became an icon of the French Republic. Thereafter, fired with the spirit of liberty and change the ordinary citizens of Paris attacked the elitist classes, the wealthy landlords and members of aristocracy paving way for the blissful French Revolution. Those who pioneered this historic change were ordinary, impoverished, dispossessed people, driven to rebellion by the ruthless and unbearable exploitation of the royalty, the feudal and aristocratic classes.
The 18th amendment is passed. The question is relevant and pertinent: what about the people’s problems that are devouring their lives and pushing them back to dark ages? I don’t pretend to be a messenger of doom and willfully paint a bleak picture of my country of origin. But no one even an imbecile or cynic can overlook the frightening state of affairs fast deteriorating in Pakistan. The Law is infringed with immunity, the courts are ridiculed, monstrous lies and fabrications are splashed by the leaders to bamboozle the citizens already innervated by the appalling civic utilities and poor social amenities. All the state run enterprises are ramshackle, primitive and in huge losses. During the past several years and even now national assets are being sold like peanuts. The magnificent word good governance is heard in Pakistan but practiced overseas in heathen and unislamic polities.
The Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs aggressively saber rattles against all those who talk of respect for law and propriety and decency. He is positioning himself like Genghis Khan, ambushing all those who dare come in front of his bullish head-on forays. He is aggressive, violent, and vituperative and a slur for the sublime virtue of law of which he is a minister. His freakish and bellicose behavior has forced quite a few senior bureaucrats including the auditor general and his secretary to resign. And still the president showers accolades on him for facilitating the 18th amendment. Should someone have the courage including the prime minister and the president, to look into the accusations against him for taking hefty bribe from felonious businessmen?
The Supreme Court orders are being flagrantly flouted by the government and particularly by the law minister. He is reported to be turning hostile and vindictive against all those who refuse to become party with him in his delaying and dodging, machinations in regard to complying with the apex courts’ directives. Instead of bucking up the real architect of the 18 amendment, Mian Raza Rabbani, who burnt the midnight oil, the flamboyant president throws the credit for this magnificent feat in the lap of the law minister, who has been rather posed as an irritant during the formative stage of the 18th amendment draft.

We can see the mockingbird Minister of Water and Power sitting close to the prime minister in the National Assembly on the memorable day of passing the 18th amendment bill in that he is feigning spurious and conspiratorial smile while talking to a bird of his flock. Flatly and unabashedly reneging from his past myriad phony deadlines of ending power load shedding, he now claims he would never make such false promise.
Close on the heels of the scandals engulfing the rental power generating units another colossal gas purchase scandal is doing rounds in Pakistan. This time the kickback is guessed to be around one billion dollars. The trick is that first, an artificial shortage of food items and utility services is created by the factory owners and stockholders who are also holding ministerial posts and later the prices are arbitrarily raised. To escape starvation, the people forget the price hike and buy at the artificially contrived prices. In Pakistan, how easy it is for the powerful thugs to make huge profits.
In his speech on the death anniversary of the founder of the PPP at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, president Zardari, in a regal spirit, has arrogated to himself the royal prerogative of making any one a king or a beggar. Such is the height of arrogance and morbid drunkenness of power that an elected head of state who should be as humble as a saint, is casting himself into the role of a dynastic monarch.
When PPP came into power, majority in Pakistan were happy and jubilant. The people of Pakistan pinned great hopes in PPP to revolutionize and reconstruct Pakistan as was done by ZA Bhutto after the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971. But the people forgot that Zardari is made of a different stuff. He is a kind of a drawing room manipulator who jumped into the power band wagon because his wife and co chairperson of PPP died and that she in her will, appointed Zardari to be her successor. Now old habits die hard. Zardari’ penchant with increasing his wealth and favoring his friends and kith made him oblivious of the gigantic challenges of nation building.
The PPP, contrary to its élan and promises protected the status quo, gave a huge cabinet to the nation, and dithered on implementing the agreements made with other parties, restored the judges unwillingly and under the public pressure and demonstrated no inclination to investigate Benazir’s assassination. But what outraged people and other poltical parties is that while no economic charter and social contract is unfurled, the PPP rank and file indulge in rank nepotism and its ministers have earned the dubious distinction of being corrupt. The party on the whole was thrown into a vortex of sleazy scandals of misuse of power, profiteering and bribes. President Zardari kept his eyes shut to the allegations of malpractices against his ministers.
Instead of a clean and efficient governance, the party in power remained locked in legal and constitutional battles. It fell back upon adhocism and short term measures to resolve such fundamental issues as provision of flour, water, electricity, law and order, education, health, and eradication of poverty, hunger and disease. The PPP as a major coalition partner suffers from trust deficit of the people because it failed to deliver its mandate of a socio-economic and civic revolution and turning Pakistan into an egalitarian society.
President Zardari wasted the golden opportunity of refurbishing his tainted image of a corrupt person. On the contrary he has further tarnished it. The 18th amendment though is a good threshold for parliamentary democracy, yet it came very late and at a time when power outrages have robbed the people of their peace of mind and when eking out two square meals has become a tall order for a common man.

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Passage of 18th Amendment

April 8, 2010
Dallas, Texas
Passage of 18th Amendment
By Saeed Qureshi
With the passage of the 18th amendment in the National Assembly of Pakistan, the country changes tracks from the presidential to the parliamentary form of government as was originally enshrined in the 1973 constitution. Understandably, the Senate would also pass it and it would become a part of Pakistan’s constitution. Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and other political parties ought to be complimented for this historic development. Belatedly though, yet it did come finally and perhaps this is the first giant step that has been taken after a long period of poltical uncertainty and dictatorship.
Hopefully, the 18th amendment would prove to be a stepping stone for building afresh a new democratic edifice that would endure and will be safeguarded by the coming governments and dispensations. The most glittering and redeeming feature of the passage of 18th amendment is that barring certain dissenting notes, it has been passed unanimously which is the second such healthy tradition set up by the political leadership almost 37 years after the adoption of the 1973 constitution by consensus.
The annulment of 17th amendment - with some acceptable exceptions, and its replacement with the 18the amendment abolishes the orders and ordinances that were enacted by the former president Musharraf to make the president’s office invincible and his semi-dictatorial regime fortified. Although the 1973 constitutional had incorporated guarantees against the military takeover, yet in contraventions of those safeguards, martial law was imposed twice in the country thereafter. However, from now onwards, it is hoped that if the political forces keep behaving and do not join the military heads to destabilize the political systems as was done against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and later Mian Nawaz Sharif, no military chief would dare stage another military coup. The abiding lesson is that the worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship.
Now when the parties with regional stamp such as MQM, ANP have been duly compensated and have willingly participated in the smooth and unanimous passage of the landmark 18th amendment, it can be visualized that no parochial frenzy would be stirred against the center and other provinces. The 18thy amendment is akin to Magna Carta as far decentralization and devolution of powers to the provinces is concerned. The 18th amendment contains such far reaching stipulations as abolition of a concurrent list of subjects to give more autonomy to the provinces. It also lifts bar on more than two terms of a prime minister or chief minister. It ordains the constitution of Judicial Commission for appointment of judges with chief justice as the chairman.
There are still fringe parties and factions that would not be happy because they would not be able now to press for their narrow agendas and parochial designs to get out of the federation of Pakistan. Such splinter factions stand defeated and further marginalized and their foreign abetters must be squarely disappointed.
The right of the provinces over their natural resources has been accepted in the 18th amendment. The provinces would be able to run and administer their own local government systems and also enter into direct financial loans and credit arrangements with external parties without involvement of the center. There are host of other rights that really make the constituent units independent and having self rule which in turn would consolidate the federation of Pakistan.
The change of the NWFP name to Khyber Pakhtunkhawa meets a long standing demand of the Awami National Party that commands support in the Pashto speaking areas of that volatile region. Still it would be desirable if the demand and the reaction from residents of the Hazara region, who want a separate province other than the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, can be given a serious consideration. The discontent among Hazara inhabitants is growing and if their demands are not seriously looked into, this trend and movement might escalate to other regions with similar demands and sentiments.
While a very formidable constitutional hurdle has been overcome and relatively there are soothing signs as expressed by ordinary citizens and the political and social circles, the bull of grassroots problems has yet to be caught by horns and tamed. Pakistan is in the throes of massive and unprecedented socio-civic morass, in that the power outrages continue for as long as 18-20 hours a day. The life is in a mess. The commercial and the industrial sectors are mostly dysfunctional due to power blackouts, short supply of water and lack or absence of civic facilities.
The common man is faced with a cataclysm of horrendous day to day problems that has made his life nightmarish. The hospitals, the educational sector, the roads and traffic, fragile law and order, unemployment and sanitation and similar problems are enormous and aggravating. The moral vices such a bribe, corruption, misuse of power, spurious drugs, the land grabbing mafia, fake educational testimonials, domestic violence, poverty, illiteracy, rape, kidnappings, the ghost schools, the adulterations and the dearness of food and other staple necessities and undue profiteering have to be curbed with full force of law.
The role of army and particularly that of the COAS, Gen. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is certainly laudable who despite tempting occasions for interference and impostion of military rule has remained completely unconcerned of the political upheavals and thus the political leadership has finally been able to hammer out a viable recourse for reestablishing the veritable ascendency of the parliament. General Kayani deserves national approbation for his commitment to the democracy and representative governance.
Predictably, when the Charter of Democracy signed between PPP and PMLN has seen the light of the day and translated into reality, the PMLN would now rejoin the federal government. It would further lend strength to the federal structure and would lead towards unity among the disparate political forces, entailing national cohesion. The poltical bickering and brinkmanship would be checked and with a political harmony, the leadership would be able to steer the country out of dire straits. It is time for national jubilation.
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Who is Responsible for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Death?

April 5, 2010
Who is Responsible for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Death?
By Saeed Qureshi
Evidently, there were four accomplices in the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first ever legendary prime minister and a charismatic political leader who phenomenally transformed the socio-economic and political landscape of Pakistan. One can see a clear demarcation between the previous dispensations both autocratic and democratic from that of Mr. Bhutto who pioneered and spearheaded a new era of liberalization and social emancipation in Pakistan. Mr. Bhutto, a true visionary as he was, utilized his God given genius to unite the Islamic fraternity on one platform.
He is the architect of the nuclear program that virtually has saved Pakistan from a military imbalance with India. He fortified armed forces and build heavy ordnance and military hardware industries to make Pakistan a veritably strong bulwark for territorial defense of Pakistan. He introduced a constitution in 1973 that was essentially democratic, and a mix of secularism and Islam.
Back to the question who was responsible for the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.? These were four accomplices: the Pakistan army under the command of General Ziaul Haq, the United States of America, the biased judiciary and the rancorous politicians of Pakistan. In my assessment more than other three parties, I hold the political forces opposed to Mr. Bhutto as the main culprit and catalyst for eventual physical elimination of an icon via a decidedly devious, sham, fraudulent and farcical judicial process.
In order to substantiate this claim with evidence let us go back to the calamitous situation created by the rival political parties in Pakistan following the March 1977 elections. But more than the elections which the parties claimed were rigged or manipulated, the level of anti Bhutto agitation was raised by such catchy yet fictitious slogans as establishing Nizam-e- Mustafa. It is an historical fact that more than any ultra right theocrat or religious bigot in power, it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who took momentous decisions to Islamize Pakistan. The constitution was amended to accommodate the Islamic injunctions. Never before and after any ruler, even Ziaul Haq, who arrogated to himself the role of a caliph and kind a religious fanatic like Mughal emperor Aurgnzeb, could take giant steps in favor of an Islamic order as a patently secular Bhutto did.
Still, though he did so to appease the hostile and apprehensive ideological schools in the country for which the Islamic zealots should have been beholden to him. But when their demands were met, they opened another front against him at the behest of certain foreign powers and in collusion with the army. The COAS Gen Zia was waiting in wings with deceptive demeanor to stage a coup and seize power as the upheaval whipped up by rowdy politicians rapidly aggravated.
There is an enormous amount of bias on the part of several anti-Bhutto writers and historians while analyzing his personality, policies and tenure of government. These critics would dwell more pointedly on his imposition of martial law in response to the PNA’s sponsored countrywide civil disobedience movement after the March 1977 elections. With an unrest fueled and led by the hate-filled ultra right opposition parties as Jamat-I Islami in tandem with others, what was the way-out to restore law and order in the country? But despite a breakdown of law and order in Pakistan, Bhutto should have desisted from imposing martial law. By doing so he accepted the martial law as the viable option for maintenance of peace or curbing the burgeoning and proliferating lawlessness and anarchy in the country.
Although finally he succumbed to the call of the PNA to hold fresh elections and almost settled terms and ironed out contentious issues with the opposition, but it was too late and the martial law was clamped over Pakistan on July 5, 1977, by Gen Ziaul Haq who was handpicked by Bhutto by superceding other senior generals. General Zia was covertly aligned more intimately with Jamat-i-Islami and implicitly with other religious and political parties, having common malice against Bhutto. Still Bhutto could have escaped death but the unrelenting campaigning by Jamat Islami joined by NAP, JUP and JUI and Tehrik-i-e-Istiqlal chief Air marshal Asghar Khan, an inveterate adversary of Bhutto, gave enough confidence to military regime to hang Mr. Bhutto.
But despite his extraordinary genius, immense sharpness of vision and exceptional political acumen, Mr. Bhutto couldn’t perceive the direction of the political wind blowing against him. He remained under the illusion that he could turn the tables against the army and revive his waned popularity. From the time of his release after Zia’s martial law on July 29, to the first arrest on September 3, bail on September13, to the final arrest on September17, 1977 against a fabricated murder case, he toured the country and delivered fiery speeches that indeed started generating public sympathy and support in his favor. But a visible popular tilt in favor was no match to the brutal and oppressive apparatus of the army and the seething contempt that the political opposition had for him.
Simultaneously, he overlooked the fact that among his enemies, the United States was also pulling her strings to keep the public discontent boiling against him via supporting the anti Bhutto political and religious forces. Bhutto was confronted with formidable opponents on several fronts which could not be beaten or overpowered simply by hard hitting public speeches or charisma of his personality. The result was that his supporters who staged rallies and resorted to sloganeering in his favor were brutally crushed by the army.
The animus of the opposition parties towards Bhutto did not recede even after his arrest and trial through an ostensibly spurious judicial process and by the custodians of law who were his committed enemies. There are very few examples in the history when the dignity of courts and sanctity of justice has been so blatantly and insolently violated as in the case of Bhutto. The army, the judges, the opposition parties and foreign powers collectively ensured that Bhutto was not only deposed through the military coup but was humiliated, tortured and finally sent to the gallows. The oppression of history is always dominant and determines its own course. Perhaps it was agreed upon between the domestic and foreign powers to replace Bhutto with a governmental set up that could launch a crusade against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The industrial, mercantile and feudal classes in Pakistan had also to settle their score with Bhutto for nationalizing their factories and lands.
It would be putting the history in proper and correct perspective if the historians, the analysts, the commentators should mention both Bhutto’s weaknesses and his sterling accomplishments. There is no harm in acknowledging that Bhutto super-humanly managed the gubernatorial crisis that engulfed Pakistan following the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971. With the total collapse of the defense system, the complete societal anarchy, battered economy, a demoralized nation; a most humiliating surrender by Pakistan army, the Indian armed forces knocking at West Pakistan; the reconstruction of Pakistan by Bhutto is a unique and stupendous achievement that alone entitles him to the highest esteem and adulation of Pakistani nation. Now in the hindsight, under a scant and much belated display of remorse, parties like Jamat-Islami not only acknowledge the brilliant achievements of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto towards Islam and the country but berate the judicial process crafted against him for his physical elimination.
After his death, Mr. Bhutto has emerged as a more revered and exalted icon, because his achievements outweigh his weaknesses. After all he was a human being and human beings are prone to err. But we must honestly acknowledge that Mr. Bhutto picked up the pieces and saved the remaining Pakistan. The dismemberment of Pakistan was the result of the military action in former East Pakistan and refusal by the army to hand over power to Awami League, the winner of elections of December 1970.
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Priestly Perversion

April 3, 2010

The Priestly Perversion

By Saeed Qureshi

It’s simply nauseating to learn about the myriad accounts of the moral degeneracy of the Roman Catholic papacy. The irksome tale of priest Lawrence C Murphy is as harrowing as it is despicable and deserves the strongest condemnation of the people having a pious conscience. That a pedophile predatory priest sexually preyed upon 200 defenseless, innocent, adolescent deaf young boys and girls for 24 years (1950-1974) unfolds the diabolic dimension of human nature and the steepest degeneracy the fallible humans can fall in.
The case of another priest ( Rev.) Brendan Smyth, who was jailed decades later, after admitting to molesting and raping dozens of children in Northern Ireland and the United States leaves one aghast as to how the Jesus’ reverent ministry has been wantonly trampled and willfully violated by the votaries of the nobility of his message. Smyth died in jail 13 years ago while serving 12 years for 74 sexual assaults on children.
Apart from the incidence of this sinister crime, the hierarchy and the archbishops and Cardinals, instead of taking well defined action against the heinous culprits have been trying to cover up the immoral deeds and shielding the lustful perpetrator. In all the sexual abuse cases the “Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more than crime and punishment.”
For instance, the insidious molester (father) Murphy instead of being arraigned and punished was “quietly moved to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes, schools and in a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest”: (New York Times).
The entire Europe, Australia and United States are infested with countless incidents of the child molestation by the Roman Catholic priests in the past as well in the present and would still be continuing unless definitively checked. As the time advances more cases of priestly perversion are coming to fore making one wonder why the molesters were seized by demons and devils than remaining on the divine path of Jesus Christ. Doubtlessly, these countless fake upholders of Christian belief were playing game of deception and infidelity with their faith. At least 700 priests have been dismissed in America alone for sexually abusing the young children kept under their supervision, in religious seminaries, orphanages or residential institutions.
This detestable phenomenon is not new with the Roman Catholic Church. During the medieval ages (5the to 15th century) the Church emerged as the most powerful ecclesiastical and temporal institution. The medieval church is not only recorded as the retrograde, corrupt, immoral but also the largest land holder in Europe by the 15th century. While the wealth, worldly power and supremacy of the Roman Church grew enormously, its role of a spiritual leader for the Christian faithful plummeted to the lowest levels. The papacy’s decadence and corruption in terms of promotion of their mundane well being and sexual extravaganzas overtook their selfless and pious service to the cause of their faith. The Dutch Catholic scholar Erasmus wrote in 1518: “the shamelessness of the Roman Church has reached its climax”
The common proverb that then circulated around was, “If you want to ruin your son make him a priest.” According to historian Will Durant, “in England sexual incontinence accusations filed in 1499 against clerical offenders numbered 23 per cent, including sexual favors from female penitents. Thousands of priests had concubines and in Germany all of them had.”
According to a Spaniard writer of that time, “we can scarcely get anything from church but for money, baptism money marriage money, confession money, unction rites for money, paradise is shut for those having no money.”
During the middle ages there were some very immodest and rather lecherous Popes who pursued their anti- Christianity activities with impunity. For example, Alexander VI (pope 1492-1503) acknowledged and prompted his illegitimate children, Julius II (1503-1513) was devoted to wars and art than ecceslaitical duties. Sixths IV (pope 1471-1484) enriched his nephews and nieces.
What was reformation? It was an irresistible and astounding reaction to the deformities and incurable malignancy such as indulgences or tickets for paradise, in the Catholicism for which the hierarchy from top to bottom was responsible. According to “Mankind’s Search for God”, “when the storm of the Reformation finally broke, it shattered the religious house of Christendom in Western Europe.” The historic movement divided the Roman Catholic Church into various houses: Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican besides certain radical groups like Anabaptists and Puritans among others. Thes main divisions were further divided into hundreds of subdivisions each country having its own church. The Christendom thus far putting up a united house was forever divided into two branches; one the orthodox Catholicism and the other Protestantism.
Human nature readily falls to mundane temptations including prying for unhindered sex despite religious covenants to the contrary. There is an inherent flaw in the doctrinal regime of Catholicism that it obligates the clerics, priests, nuns and higher echelons like Bishops not to marry if they choose to serve the Jesus ministry. In the canon law of the Latin Church, the word "celibacy" means being unmarried or abstinence from sexual activities in all forms. Continence and celibacy is the corner stone in Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Christian traditions. The priests and the nuns were ordained to live in the colonies and cathedrals in a state of celibacy.
But it was utterly impossible to resist the human urge for biological needs, one of which is the sex. There have been innumerable accounts of the nuns and the priests having sexual relations although openly they won’t profess it. The privacy and secluded environment in the side rooms of the churches and in church’s’ colonies kept their sexual relations secret from the common public. But still the stories of breaking the celibacy pledges have been abounding causing embarrassment to the Church.
In the present times those who have religiously vowed not to marry can fall back upon sexual molestation of helpless boys and girls who cannot disclose the immoral excesses of their religious teachers and guides. In the olden times it could not be checked because of the lack of communication system that is available now. Therefore, the felonious members of Church can now be exposed to the entire world in the fastest manner.
During the past several years the Vatican Church has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement of the sexual abuses cases with the victims who grew up and started letting out the loathsome and lewd activities of their religious teachers and clergy. But mere payment won’t stop this heinous crime. Both the Vatican and Orthodox Church and the societies with Christian majorities will have to undertake radical, drastic and foolproof systems to put a stop to this abhorrent crime that on one hand defiles the fair name of Christianity and on the other pricks the conscience of the sensitive victims forever.
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An Overview of U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue

March 31, 2010

An Overview of U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue

By Saeed Qureshi

Reading through the Joint Statement issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, D. C. on the deliberations of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue conducted at the Ministerial Level on 24 - 25 March 2010, one gets a fuzzy impression and unclear perception as to the concrete outcome of this important round of parleys. The mention of the chief of Pakistan army general Pervez Ashfaq Kayani has been made in passing, although he outshined others.
The entire show in Washington has been attributed to the foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. His role has been glorified for ostensible reasons because the foreign missions are run by the foreign office, though economic, military and consular wings in the embassy too operate and their personnel are drawn from their respective ministries or institutions. Visibly, the chief of staff has been given scant coverage and rather his dominating role and conspicuous presence in the American capital was underplayed in the embassy’s handout.
From a close scrutiny of the communiqué, I have not been able to convince myself that the United States has gone out of the way to bestow some very special and unique favors on Pakistan through this dialogue which was more of a necessity for America than that of Pakistan. It is primarily America that is fighting a costly war against her enemies and Pakistan is being involved and used as a supplementary fighting force in that war. Diplomatic jargon couched in nice nuances apart, the claims of Pakistan Foreign Office and those of Pakistan embassy about an historic breakthrough are merely an attempt to magnify this dialogue for the domestic gallery and to bolster the incumbent dispensation in Pakistan.
Suppose, America has agreed to give Predator Drone technology or aircrafts to Pakistan, then it would be doing so because now Pakistan would take over the gory task of target killing of the suspected terrorists from America herself, saving America from international strictures. This onerous and rather irksome role would be assigned to Pakistan thus relieving America of the burden of a diatribe it was getting for also killing civilians. This privilege if it can be so described is hard to be boasted and claimed as a big concession from America. But mark! .Such a claim is a mere hearsay and there is no definitive decision taken on that subject.
Now the commitment that American will allow Pakistani products to be sold in the American market is conditioned with those products that would be produced in the so called “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones”. A rigorous and prolonged legislation would be needed in America to materialize this proposal. According to this stipulation, the products from the industries to be produced in the war ravaged designated parts of the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan would be given duty-free access to American markets.
Those areas would be established on both sides of the Durand Line, following a complete victory over the anti American elements including Taliban and Al-Qaida. No one can predict with absolute certainty as to how long will it take for that projected victory to take place. The anonymous officials, however, have cautioned that, “It was not be realistic for Pakistan to expect a full-fledged free-trade agreement, which would require a long political process.”
As far addressing Pakistan’s ticklish issues of electricity and water, by an offer to refurbish three thermal plants does not seem to be a mega super offer. Pakistan has plenty of coal deposits and given the will to set up coal powered power plants, Pakistan does not need such assistance which is yet to come and which would further bind it to the indebtedness of United States for “doing more and more.” That would push it towards fulfilling further chores and odd services. The United States has been non-committal on “Pakistan's ambitions for an agreement on civilian nuclear energy akin to a landmark deal which the United States sealed in 2008 with its rival.” America is far from giving any commitment or even throwing a hint on that kind of substantional cooperation.
The bare fact is that India has been granted access to American civil nuclear energy technology without the kind of crucial role Pakistan is playing and which is the elimination of the American enemies. Honestly, it should have been Pakistan to be bestowed with this extraordinary assistance. The reality is that America doesn’t treat India and Pakistan at par or on an equal footing. In comparison to India, despite its sterling accomplishments against the anti-American terrorist groups and militants Pakistan is being treated as a lesser ally.
The cooperation with India is on a long term basis while with Pakistan it is subject to the needs and demands of America which can be terminated once the assigned jobs are accomplished by Pakistan. One has to only look at the way America left both Pakistan and Afghanistan once Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan. The history may repeat itself once again, when the embattled areas would be cleared of the insurgents and the Islamic radical militants.
The communiqué states that, “A Policy Steering Group was established to intensify and expand the sectoral dialogue process in the fields of: economy and trade; energy; defense; security, strategic stability and non-proliferation; law enforcement and counter-terrorism; science and technology; education; agriculture; water; health; and communications and public diplomacy. Sectoral meetings will be held in Islamabad soon.”
Regrettably, it is like asking United States to run Pakistan by handing over the entire government machinery to that super power and to take over Pakistan because the implied message seems to be like this that “we Pakistanis are incapable of establishing a system of good, efficient and clean governance.” This carte blanches, unfortunately, speaks for the incompetence and a loathsome propensity to sell out the entire spectrum of governance and government from top to bottom to America. Is Pakistan going to be an overseas extension of the American territory? Does Pakistan have no talent, no professionals, nor experts, good administrators and honest leaders who can overcome the deformities that have seized Pakistan?
The present rulers are made of wax. They are morally, intellectually and administratively bankrupt as to deem themselves unfit to serve Pakistan in a befitting manner. Otherwise, how could they think of handing over Pakistan lock, stock and barrel to another country for improvement of Pakistan’s governance and government and for making the institutions workable and efficient? It is another matter that United States herself is a great country and indeed a friend of Pakistan even for her own reasons.
Finally if America is earnest in putting Pakistan on the road to progress and prosperity, good governance and economic stability then it should write off Pakistan’s huge loans and relieve it of its mammoth debt burden that is the real cause of Pakistan’s poor economy and grinding poverty. It should help Pakistan overcome its power crisis by giving it nuclear power plants that she can jointly operate with Pakistan.
America is in the most strident position to get the festering Kashmir issue resolved. It is a dispute between India and Pakistan that has wasted away both countries’ precious six decades in mutual fighting and bickering, on building weapons arsenals and remaining is a state of perpetual tension and belligerency. Once this issue is resolved via the mediation of America and the rest of world, an era of peace and stability would prevail in the sub content which would contribute towards world peace and elimination of hot spots.
The creation of the so called “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” is not going to fructify unless the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan is settled by creating permanent borders. With these developments the regions from central Asia to Indian Ocean would turn into an abode of lasting peace and galloping prosperity.

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Kalabagh Dam-Damn anti-Dam Lobbies

March 28, 2010

Kalabagh Dam-Damn anti-Dam Lobbies
By Saeed Qureshi

The simple logic is that those who do not want dams like Kalabagh to be built, they are enemies of the country or at least don’t want Pakistan to have vibrant economy and social peace. The forces and lobbies that opposed Pakistan and those that are stuck up in their narrow grooves of provincialism would not like Pakistan to become an economically viable country. The weak economy foments societal discontent and poltical instability. That is the spectacle that patriotic Pakistanis have been witnessing since the inception of Pakistan.
The Kalabagh Dam has been made so much controversial that no one wants even to broach the subject of this dam that is so vital for irrigation and energy in Pakistan. The Kalabagh Dam seems to have been abandoned for fear of uproarious hullabaloo from the regional forces that in fact were never in favor of a stable and prosperous Pakistan. Hence the power shortage mayhem and the resultant chaos in the society due to tormenting blackouts and long power outrages.
The dam or similar projects that are so vital and imperative for a developing country like Pakistan have fallen prey to the petty and narrow politicking in that the parochial or regional sentiments is whipped with an implied message of breakup of Pakistan. ANP has played the NWFP card so deftly and stunningly that despite expenditure of several billion rupees since the conception of this project, the actual construction has remained elusive. The respective governments due to weak political standing or for reasons of political repercussions could not press for the launching of this most sought-after project that if built by now, would have changed the economic complexion of Pakistan with less power breakdowns and more industrial and agricultural boom.
If the PPP government has brokered an agreement for the change of the title of the NWFP province it should have also sought the consent of the ANP to concede to the unpardonably stalled construction of Kalabagh Dam. There are Pashtun experts who vociferously advocate the need of Kalabagh Dam arguing that all arguments and apprehensions to the contrary were politically motivated by the forces that inherently don’t want Pakistan to be economically robust and viable. The off- repeated propaganda that it would benefit Punjab more and that the vast land of Nowshera would submerge in the dam area are cock and bull stories and mere sham tactics to create paranoid against the Kalabagh Dam. After all Tarbela too at the outset was subjected to such unfounded and concocted gossips but now it is evident that it did not harm even a blade of grass. What would have been the energy situation if there had been no Tarbela dam: one simply shudders to imagine.
Former president Pervez Musharraf had been shouting at the top of his voice and professing to build dams and make Pakistan self sufficient in electricity. But once he has gone either the projects started by him have been halted or else he was simply hoodwinking or bullshitting the people of Pakistan. He was in a much stronger position to go ahead with the construction of Kalabagh Dam, that if built would be like a life line for the economy and animated social life in Pakistan. This is a sad saga of missed opportunities and the vital nation building projects were sacrificed at the altar of political bargaining and for the base motives of holding on to power with the help of the regional forces.
Being a lower riparian Pakistan is in a grossly disadvantaged position vis a vis India. As all the rivers emanate from Kashmir and northern glaciers that are mostly under the occupation of India, Pakistan is entirely at the mercy of India for water share. The Indus Basin Treaty (1960) was a trap that deprived Pakistan of the three rivers, Sutlej, Ravi and Bias. Pakistan was given exclusive use of water from three rivers namely Indus, Jhelum and Chenab. But if that was the end of the issue of sharing water then it could have still brought a good portion of water to Pakistan.
But Indus Basin Treaty is being wantonly violated by India. It is building 22 dams on the rivers apportioned to Pakistan under the IBT. This is so because all these rivers pass through the Indian territory before entering Pakistan. India is therefore, controlling on the jugular water sources. With the completion of those dams the water that would flow into Pakistan would be reduced to minimum and only that water would deposit in the rivers that comes from rain or the snow mountain peaks situated on the Pakistani side. Until all the Indian dams or the presently under construction would be filled with water which might take years, Pakistan would turn into arid land. Just think about the horrendous consequences.
While Pakistan can continue pressing for its due share of water under the Indus Basin Treaty, it should, as well, look for other sources for water. The shortfall of water and electricity is going to be hugely alarming in Pakistan if alternate sources are not found. The thermal, the nuclear, the solar, the wind and the coal fueled power plants are absolutely indispensible if Pakistan does not want to join the impoverished and water scarce countries of Africa. In this highly abysmal water and power situation, the regional political elements and those sitting at the center must come up with a definitive decision of not only starting the construction of Kalabagh Dam but a host of other small or big dams also, so that the acute shortage of water and power that would overtake Pakistan in the coming years can be preempted and arrested before it starts spelling disaster for the country.

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There should be a Hazara Province also

March 27, 2010
There should be a Hazara Province also
By Saeed Qureshi
The Stance taken by Mian Nawaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League (N) is right and reasonable. The population of Hazara is ethnically, culturally and linguistically different from the Pashto speaking population mostly living along the Durand Line. Administratively too it would not be efficacious for this huge chunk of land to be administered and governed from Peshawar. The inhabitants of Hazara live in the scenic valleys of Swat, Dir, along the Indus River, in Abottabad, Garhi Habibullah, and Balakot and beyond that picturesque Kaghan valley. The Hazara Division if we may call it so borders on Punjab on one side, Azad Kashmir on the other and as well as panoramic Chitral valley. It touches the Pashto speaking area from river Indus at Nowshera. Between Nowshera in Peshawar, Hindko a mix of Pashto and Punjabi dialect is spoken. So Hazara is geographically larger area than the one where the Pashto or Dari speaking Pakistanis live.
As long as the British given name, North West Frontier Province ( NWFP) (a roundabout name to define the entire northern belt between the then Afghanistan’s territorial jurisdiction and the British colonized area), remains in vogue, it would be acceptable because it does not identify any particular race or ethnic community giving them a special distinction or edge over others. But to rename it as Pakhtunkhawa, means the land of Pashto speaking people which factually it is not. If this name is retained and the NWFP is renamed with Pakhtunkhawa, it is going to be a sure recipe for racial tension between the Pashto and non Pashto speaking areas and may also lead to serious administrative problems.
In a haste rather and taking a myopic view, the incumbent government has clearly ignored the people of Hazara and perhaps they were not taken into confidence and their consent was not acquired before taking such a momentous decision which patently would alter the demographic and ethnic balance and affinity thus far maintained, though visibly. It is surmised and presaged that the riots and agitations would sprout everywhere in the Hazara belt once this decision becomes a part of the constitution. If later a stark realization of the inherent flaw in the decision dawns upon the government, why not resolve it before it poses a severe crisis to the federation.
The rational or the pragmatic course is to divide the NWFP into two provinces: one should be nomenclatured as Pakhtunkhawa and the other Hazara province. Historically, the people of Hazara have not opposed the creation of Pakistan and rather overwhelmingly and enthusiastically supported it and rendered sacrifices for it. On the other hand the Pashto population was divided and the ANP (formerly NAP) and during the partition, the Red Shirts opposed and voted against the establishment of Pakistan. The credentials of ANP have remained dubious till they had no choice but to accept the reality of Pakistan and start talking about Pakistan as a country for the Muslims. This metamorphosis or change of heart is clearly manifest after the sway and advent of Taliban in NWFP and in Afghanistan that completely stymied the chances for ANP to fight on two fronts and keep on opposing Pakistan or at least accepting it with reservations. In the wake of the stupendous influence of Taliban and their irresistible murderous and savage style, entailing countless casualties of the ANP rank and file also, the party aligned itself with the PPP coalition government.
The ANP has suffered in all manners at the hands of the Taliban bands who almost virtually established their writ in Swat, Dir, Malakand, Mardan and in the tribal belt. For ANP this gubernatorial threat could not be countenanced and therefore they watched from the sideline the Pakistan army annihilating these ferocious and merciless fighters, with complete silence and avowed cooperation. Of late, it is amazing to watch the ANP leaders talking of the territorial integrity of Pakistan, the appreciation of Pakistan armed forces and the sanctity of the constitution on the media and otherwise. One may guess that ANP leadership has realized that their dream of keeping the NWFP on a rebellious course is no more practically possible so better get the name of the province changes that will somehow accord the Pashtuns a separate identity which in future can be cashed by reverting to the old ideological brinkmanship.
But all said and done, now when the PPP government is set on a course of swinging the political system to a parliamentary form and the coalition partners MQM and ANP and even the opposition parties are supporting this endeavor, the sentiments of the Hazara people need to be catered, respected and accommodated as far as possible. Also in other areas, where ethnic or linguistic divide is distinct such as the Saraiki belt, more provinces should be created for social harmony which is going to entrench and consolidate the political system and in return the federation.
The government should defer the decision of renaming the NWFP as Pakhtunkhawa and enter into parleys both with the Pashtuns and the Hazaras for an amicable solution which in this scenario is to create two provinces, each separately for two culturally and ethnically races. Otherwise the impostion of the decision of naming NWFP as Pakhtunkhawa on the entire region is fraught with foreseeable unrest, frustration and disturbance.

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