Saturday, April 23, 2011

India Cannot Become a Modern State

By Saeed Qureshi

It is India’s turn now to suffer of what Pakistan has been suffering since its inception in August 1947. One of the principle policy planks of India has been to undo Pakistan or to weaken it in all forms as long it exists. The first lethal blow that India dealt to Pakistan was its dismemberment in December 1971.
There have been unremitting successive endeavors on the part of India to destabilize Pakistan or to further truncate her by fomenting separatist movements. Despite solemn and unequivocal commitment in the United Nations, it has refused to find a solution of the disputed territory of Kashmir, through the agreed principle of plebiscite.
Of late, being an upper riparian it has started constructing multiple dams on the rivers that flow into Pakistan and provide water for irrigation and for electricity production. India has never let even a slim chance to slip, by which it could inflict harm and detriment on Pakistan.
The efforts for pacifications between India and Pakistan have always remained unilateral from Pakistan’s side. On the contrary India has invariably adopted a policy either to rebuff or willfully ignore those efforts. There have been a host of bilateral issues between India and Pakistan that Pakistan wanted earnestly to resolve. But those issues were either stalled or such counter solutions were put forward by India that would not bring any corresponding advantage to Pakistan.
Pakistan has been sincerely in favor of soft borders as to ease the cross border traffic between the people specifically in Kashmir. But this far reaching suggestion was always bottle-necked by dilly dallying machinations of India.
Despite knowing the fact that the same elements are also targeting Pakistan in numerous ways, India has optimally exploited against Pakistan, the attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers, and several other places in Bombay from 26 to 29 November 2008.
Pakistan is one country that has been immensely suffering at the hands of terrorists and saboteurs for ethnic, religious, sectarian, regional or vendettas attacks by Taliban and other militants.
But to solely hold Pakistan‘s ISI or government responsible for Bombay event and giving it an unusual hype both domestically and internationally clearly manifested India’s malicious designs. Instead of joining Pakistan in curbing or stemming the common threats from diverse miscreants, India went all out to malign Pakistan as a state sponsoring terrorism.
The slain Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s statement that Hindus have avenged their humiliation of 1000 years under Muslim rule by the victory in former Bangladesh, speaks volumes for the typical Hindu mentality of slumbering hate for Islam and particularly for Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent. The same deep seated prejudice has remained underneath all deliberations and parleys between India and Pakistan to sort out mutual friction and backlog of bilateral unresolved matters.
Pakistan has always remained a bĂȘte noire for India with a lurking ambition to wipe out this leading Muslim state that too has become nuclear. India ditched the gas pipeline project that was hugely beneficial to her by way of boosting her industries with cheap gas. It has been ambivalent for a few years and finally walked out of it.
The main reason behind abandoning the project was the fear that Pakistan could exploit India as the pipeline passed through the Pakistani territory. Secondly India did not want Pakistan to economically benefit from the royalty that it would receive for use of its territory for the pipeline.
The Gawadar port that is being built with the Chinese cooperation is like a rock on the chest of India as it is not only a monument of Pakistan-Chinese joint venture but would give an easy access to Chinese for international trade. Besides it would bring her closer to the Gulf States, Iran and Afghanistan thus overstepping the Indian influence in the gulf and Indian Ocean region.
Baluchistan has been a ripe place for India to replay what it had done in the former East Pakistan. In tandem with the incumbent government in Afghanistan, India is aiding and inciting the separatist groups like BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army) and BRA (Baloch Republic Army) for an independent Baluchistan, in the same manner it had backed the Awami League and the Mukti Bahni in the former East Pakistan. The BLA and BRA are not operating in the thin air. The world at large is well aware that the arms, money and directions come from Indian Raw and intelligence network.
Baluchistan is replete with enormous natural resources and when better times come and Pakistan is technologically and economically in a sound position, these resources would make Pakistan an economically robust country.
While India is masterminding the separation of Baluchistan by abetting the hostile elements, it is also focused on Afghanistan to replace or outdo Pakistan in that war torn vast country so as to kill two birds with one stone: breaking Baluchistan from the federation of Pakistan and diluting Pakistan influence in Afghanistan.
If Mahatma Gandhi had not kept his fast unto death for paying Pakistan her due share of funds amounting to Rs. 550 million during the partition, the Indian leadership would have devoured that money too when Pakistan was in dire straits because of onset of refugees and lack of administrative network.
India agreed to sign the “Indus Waters Treaty” because Pakistan was relinquishing its right over three rivers which was a win-win situation for India anyway. Now in complete breach of that treaty brokered by the World Bank, India is stopping or diverting the flow of water by building water reservoirs and dams even on the rivers allocated to Pakistan.
But chancery, malice, intrigues and double standards do not pay in the longer run. While India has been focused on dismantling Pakistan for over six decades now, she will have her own nemesis and down sliding process under the internal dynamics and inimical developments eroding her from inside.
Let us take a stock of those catalysts and factors that would wreck India and not only destabilize her but would physically disintegrate her in the time to come. Admittedly, India is a great democracy and one of the leading countries with unbroken democratic traditions and institutions. But democracy alone is not the antidote to various sores that are distinctly visible on the body politic of India.
Let us candidly admit that India is not China, although their populations are almost equal. China being a one party government having a pattern of mixed economy with predominance of socialism has produced economic miracles. Its GDP rate is the highest and her economy in on top besides United States and Japan. It has the existing foreign exchange reserves that are reaching one and a half trillion dollars. It loans money to United States.
Chinese population of 1.25 billion is well fed. Her exports dominate the world markets; its army is one of the strongest, well eqipped and organized one. It has vast land. Its economy has never been sluggish during the past three decades and has been galloping on a fast rate. China is building highways, dams, shopping plazas and modern infrastructure. Despite a huge population, the traffic has not been overly heavy and its roads do not remain jam-packed.
The majority of Chinese population is healthy, disciplined, and hard working. Chinese don’t worship animals, mythical deities or caught in the web of religious queer rituals. China has a matter of fact society that is riveted and engaged in material progress leaving aside subjective and ideological issues.
Compare that scenario with Indian landscape and society. It would take several decades for India to create the infrastructure that the Chinese have created in barely three decades starting from the Deng Xiaoping era. India does not have a monolithic society that remains under a perceived order or discipline for the progress and advancement of their country.
In a way, the Chinese controlled democracy is a monumental catalyst for the miraculous progress that China is making in all sphere of life, while Indian democracy is a hurdle in smooth and quick decision making.
Indian shabby roads, its neglected railways, its disorderly traffic, its dirty lanes and heavily polluted environment, its appalling health and educations systems, it civic mess, its rampant corruption, and rabid bureaucracy, the culture of bribery and so one, can be compared with Pakistan but not with China and other modern and developed societies of the world.
India has to go along way before it can shape up as a state that can claim to be a modern nation where poverty and starvation, hunger and poor living conditions have been stamped out or marginalized.
But what is going to strike at the geographical unity of that country are the various separatist movements in India, that, in the longer run would tear her apart. As long as India can manage to contain those breakaway movements through her army, these may remain in a low key.
But the moment her oppressive and tight control loosens, there would be mayhem let loose against the Indian Federation in those turbulent regions. Roughly there have been 8 secessionist movements that are aggressively or passively going on against the Indian hold. These are Khalistan, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
The most vigorous self determination movement is being steadfastly carried out in Kashmir, a Muslim majority land whose future is yet to be decided by a process of plebiscite by the Kashmiris under the United Nations’ supervision.
Secondly, India’s huge burgeoning population and her lack of corresponding measures for their welfare and catering to the emerging needs would explode into a downward economic backlash and drift that would be utterly difficult to stem.
With the grinding poverty and rather slow expanding industrial and manufacturing sectors and a saturation point reaching in agricultural produce, India would face an explosion that would be fatal to its economy. After all when there is wide gap and incompatibility between the resources and the countless mouths to feed, the outcome is certainly going to be dismal.
India is an energy deficient country, as Japan is. But can we honestly make comparison between the rapidity and consistency of growth of Japanese economy and that of India? Moreover Japan’s population is much smaller than that of India.
India cannot fully exploit her manpower potential because of the power outrages, bureaucratic tangles, deep rooted corruption, sloth and inadequate and decrepit infrastructure that would remain a stumbling block to enable her to be counted as a modern developed country.
If her expatriate Indians stop sending their remittances, which make a sizeable bulk of Indian foreign exchange, India might not be able to accumulate even this much of foreign exchange that it presently possesses.
But the biggest setback that India suffers from is the mindset that negates the symptoms of tolerance about Pakistan. India despite being an open and democratic polity is hostage to the whims of extremist Hindu outfits such as RSS, Sangh Parivar and Shiv Sena headed by Bal Thackeray. There have been countless Hindu Muslim riots in India since partition in which mostly the Muslims have suffered horrible brutalities.
With the rigidity in listening to the voices of reason for honoring the sovereignty of the neighboring countries, India has been having an ambitious penchant to transform them into satellite and client states. With Pakistan her behavior has always been villainous with single minded propensity to either destroy or debilitate this country.
As such the inflexibility that is the hallmark of overbearing image of India, bars her from accepting the dynamics of the times and harsh and unpalatable realties such as the existence of Pakistan as a sovereign and independent state.
The overriding problem with Hindu leadership and also with the Hindu population is that they wish to revive the eras of their stalwart rulers of the past when the whole sub continent professed the Hindu religion. This is what is called Hinduvta. The Hindus tend to be orthodox and want to recreate the golden periods of Maurya and Nanda dynasties. Perhaps they refuse to accept the reality that past can never be resurrected in its original form.
The Muslim population in India is treated as second and low coast citizens, nothwithstanding their being perched on high positions in India such as president and ministers. The Muslims live in constant fear of Hindu extremist groups. They are discriminated in jobs and performance of their religious obligations. Barring the celebrities, the Muslims mostly live in colonies better to be called ghettos.
Urdu language, the symbol of Muslim identity, culture, literature, history and poetry has been obliterated from the text books and in medium of instructions, from the official documents and business transactions and even from the dubbing of the movies.
Fundamentally Hinduism is a caste and idols ridden religion. It thrives and is premised on mythologies written thousands of years ago when humans had no rational explanations of natural forces and about man’s own life and environment.
There are calculated to be 330 million gods in Hinduism. The book, “Mankind's Search for God” defines Hinduism as, “venerating animals, bathing in the Ganges River and being divided by castes” Hindus see life as a self repeating cycles in which human history is of little significance.
The Hindu religious mythologies are akin to those of Roman Empire and Greeks, but in a degenerated format. The Greek and Roman deities have sublime characters and come from the human societies although are symbolic. The Muslims too believe in a few angels but not with images or sharing powers with the master of the universe: the almighty God.
In Hindu each deity posesses enormous powers that are hard to believe even for a dimwitted person. Now to believe that man’s present state is the result of his past doings has no rational basis. The Hindu complex beliefs, customs and institutions have come into being when the Vedas (Hinduism’s Holy Scriptures compiled about 900 B. C.)) were being written.
Hinduism does not have founder like other religions, nor has it the hierarchy or a specified creed. Primarily the Hindu faith boils downs to the gods Vishnu and Shiva, the goddess Shakti, and their incarnations and progenies including the cults of Rama and Krishna, Dura, Skanda, and Ganesha (son of Siva).
“Although there is pantheon of millions of gods in Hinduism the triad is the most favorite. This consists of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Siva the destroyer, each having one wife.” (Mankind’s Search for God)
Hindu mythology has been described as an “extricable jungle of luxuriant growth in which once entered one loses the sense of directions.” The four caste system is deeply embedded in the Hindu society. As such the equality of human beings cannot exist in Hindu society.
The lowest caste called dillats or untouchables are treated worst than an animal. Hanuman (ape), Ganesha (elephant) cow, serpent and other animals are the most revered gods than a human with a low (also called shudara) caste. Muslims and Christians are treated at par with despised shudara.
Concisely what would wreck India internally are three factors. One is the growing population and the lack of matching resources to cater their needs. The other is the caste system that breeds hatred and divisions and undermines the unity and is out of sync with the norms of equality and freedom being hallmarks of modern societies. Despite bollywood galore, the inhuman caste system, and imaginary mythologies will never make India a modern state.
The third factor is the separatist movements in various parts of India that can never be exterminated and would explode with full force as the time passes. Either India will have to grant these rebellious regions independence or these will wrest forcible separation from India. This would happen sooner or later. That would be in simple words the beginning of the disintegration of India.
Let us not forget an instructive lesson of history that if powerful Soviet Socialist Empire can fall apart, how India can save itself from such an eventuality if she does not take far reaching remedial decisions. One is to give self determination or self rule or complete freedom to the ethnic populations demanding separation. It will have to sincerely embark upon a friendly relationship with Pakistan and other regional countries.
The first step towards that direction is to comply with the pledge of giving the right of self determination to the captive people of Kashmir. India will have to resolve the territorial disputes with China otherwise there could be another clash like that of 1962 when Indian military was put to the humiliating defeat by the Chinese forces. Similarly India will have to sort out amicably the issues of disputed territories such as Kargil heights with Pakistan. India must settle her water dispute with Bangladesh and free landlocked Nepal from stringent conditions.
Logically, such cosmetic and superficial overtures as “Aman Ki Asha” are not going to factually sweeten the age old embittered relations between India and Pakistan. Why should India straighten her relations with Pakistan when her prime objective is to see the state of Pakistan evaporate in the thin air? There ought to be a real change of heart on both sides of the partitioned lands of India and Pakistan.
The dormant hate and venom oozes out between the two people when a match is being played and at times of border clashes or when similar tensions mount between these two neighbors. The Indian media pours out venom and scorn on Pakistan, its leadership and the very genesis of Pakistan. So unless there is a veritable change of heart more from India, the peace in the region as well as the dream of good neighborly and cordial relations with Pakistan would remain elusive.
The writer is a Dallas-based journalist and a former diplomat. Email: qureshisa2003@
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pakistan: State and Religion

By Saeed Qureshi

Islam is the state religion in Pakistan but of which sect? If the answer is pure Islam then what could be the interpretation of this pure Islam keeping in view the various sects that dot Islam. The Sunnis and Shia interpretation of Islamic Shariah is divergently different from each other.
During the last fourteen centuries, there has never been any convergence or consensus on an agreed, unanimous or unified code of Islam that should be acceptable to both the mainstream Islamic sects as well as the fringe denominations. Instead, these sects have been exterminating each others in horrendous massacres and bloody bids for conquering each other’s lands.
This cleavage is glaringly manifest even in the present ages when Islamic fraternity is distinctly divided into two blocs: one headed by the radical Sunni Saudi Arabia and the other by Iran as the main citadel for the Shia branch of Islam. There is no way these two blocs can hammer out a format of faith that can eliminate their ideological rivalry and bring them on one common agreed platform of Islamic Shariah. The division of the Islam into two contrasting and confronting ideological blocs, has given birth to the regional conflicts and a frantic race for political or leadership ascendency in Middle East and elsewhere in the world.
In the ongoing upheavals in the Middle East, in states like Bahrain and Syria, the popular uprising is being interpreted in terms of Shia and Sunni majority areas and demographic proportions. Alongside with the popular wish for liberalization of these societies with civil rights and democratic forms of governments, the underlying tussle boils down to the question as to the which sect is going to wield political power within the respective countries now steaming with the urge for a change.
The same ideological conflict is rampant in Pakistan that is attributed to be an Islamic state. The animosity and hatred between divergent sects is manifest in the unremitting terrorist attacks and bombing of each others’ holy places and during religious festivals.
The Muslim societies where the religion is the driving force behind their nationalism or is the raison d’ĂȘtre of their existence such as Pakistan, have remained vulnerable to the sectarian bad blood and ideological pulls and pressures. It would be an ideal situation if Pakistan turns a liberal state where all shades of religious faith are free to practice and worship in accordance with their religious traditions and teachings.
In Pakistan with an Islamic nomenclature, while the majority sect is free to prevail, the minority sects and denominations feel themselves fettered and under pressure in regard to the unhindered performance of their religious customs and traditions.
The cardinal cause of the religious discord in Pakistan is the lack of tolerance between sects and because of treating each other as infidels, heretic and out of the pale of Islam. The sects such as Deobandi, Wahabi, Ahle-Hadith, Qadria, Chishtia Naqshbandia and a whole lot of mystical bands, in fact, blur the fair and original face of Islam that was in vogue during the period of first four heads of Islamic states; called caliphs.
The conflict and tussle for power that started between the governor of Syria Amir Muawiyah and the fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali (656-661 A. D.) laid down the foundation of fissures in Islam that has never been bridged nor can it be removed ever in the future. The accession to power after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) divided the Muslims into Shias and Sunnis.
This ideological division is so hard and trenchant that both these sects do not pray in one mosque, say the same Azan (call for prayer). They observe different timings for payers, fasting and use different words in prayers. The Shias do not pay the Islamic tax (Zakat). Above all they consider that the first three caliphs usurped the rights of blood relations of the Prophet to succeed him in caliphate or Imamate.
As such both these sects are poles part and can never agree on one Islamic code. They kill each other and deem it as a religious obligation to be sacrificing their lives for the sake of upholding their religious ascendencny.
The other myriad sects that abound in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan simply help in shredding the monolithic ideological fabric of Islam with their diverse concepts and explanations of Islamic Sharia and by their violent feuding.
For instance three conservative sects Qadria, Chishtia and Naqshbandia believe and promote the culture of shrines, the worshipping of tombs and graves. They sing hymns for eulogizing the saints and holy figures for their supernatural powers to heal and remove problems. Their opponents, the Wahabi discard all these practices as un-Islamic and sacrilegious.
The Christians, the Hindus, the Ahmadis and other similar non muslim sects cannot feel themselves at par or equal citizens of Pakistan because the majority sects would not treat them as such. The orthodox and radicals from the Sunni faith attack and harass and kill, at will, the faithful of other sects within Islam and the non-Muslims alike as a sacred duty. The rival sects when get chance pay back in the same coin.
Therefore, to declare Pakistan as an Islamic state with so much sectarian animosity looks like a mockery because the tolerance and justice, the two pain pillars of Islam, are seldom practiced in any Islamic State all the more in Pakistan. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is now clandestinely ruled and governed by the Islamic militants who brook no mercy nor tolerance for the dissenters or followers of diverse and divergent faiths.
Wherever, the state and religions have mingled or blended by the writ of the state or under the force of the mighty and dominant religious sects, the state affairs and the good and peaceful governance have remained in a limbo.
First of all, in the absence of a unanimous or agreed format of Islam, the faith based dissention or strife would always remain a lurking hindrance for the unity and peace of a society. The attacks on shrines in Pakistan have gained momentum. The destruction of Sunni and Shia places of worships are testament to the gory fact that it was impossible to eradicate the discords of creed between these colliding sects.
It is, therefore, necessary that state affairs should be detached and made free from the religious domain as far as possible. The interference of religions in state affairs is detrimental to the overall advancement of a society and for the unhindered soci-economic progress, political stability and democratic culture to flower.
There should be freedom of religion for all sects within the confines of the law and the constitution. Europe went through the turmoil between Catholicism and Protestantism and finally confined religions to the individuals to follow. The European societies have ever since been in peace.
Pakistan is a geographical entity. Islam was here in these lands when Pakistan has not been carved out. Pakistan as a country is meant to serve and cater its citizens irrespective of their cast, color, creed, gender, religious inclinations, or being low or high, rich or poor.
A country cannot be called an egalitarian state or a free society, if it remains hostage to the overbearing dictates of particular cults or sects. It would be a theocracy as Pakistan is. Absolute theocracies have never prospered as evidenced by history.
For a theocracy, the citizens of a country have to be in vast majority with the same faith in order to maintain their hold on power as we can see in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Otherwise only brute power can keep the opposing sects or ethnic segments together as seen in Iraq during Saddam Hussain or presently in Bahrain.
In the modern times when the nation states have emerged, the theocracy is unthinkable and to impose it would be sure recipe for sectarian war and social disharmony and dysfunctional political governments.
During the British colonial occupation of 200 years and even during the 1000 years of Muslim rule in the united India, the society, by and large, presented a harmonious blend of religious pursuits for all sects and their peaceful cohabitation. The Shia-Sunni and Wahabi-Naqshbandia discord that in Pakistan has reached frightening dimensions was seldom on display during the British rule in India. The mushrooming of sectarian civil war began after the creation of Pakistan which is getting more violent and deadly with the time passage.
It is indispensable to curb and rein in the religious extremism that may now be called religious militancy as it is becoming a constant threat to the writ of state and does not allow the society to be transformed into a civil pattern. The strident religious extremism hinders judiciary, press, executive and legislature to be free and independently play their respective roles for the benefit of the people.
The religious extremism poses a constant challenge to the people and state so much so that the false cases of blasphemy cannot be adjudicated that merit release of the accused person. If someone is released by the court he or she is later killed.
Moreover, these violent, hate-filled, rancorous and bigoted religious entities are exploited by the political forces and special interest groups to promote their respective agendas. The religiously motivated individuals are always ready to kill and create panic. General Ziaul-Haq cleverly and adequately manipulated the religious right in Pakistan to douse the spirit of social freedom and keep his opponents under control.
His lurid legacy remains vibrant with every successive regime following the same tactic that is creating perpetual disorder and turmoil in Pakistan. The creation of Taliban for occupation of Afghanistan is now back lashing as this Frankenstein is now swallowing Pakistan with atrocious and disastrous ramifications happening every day by suicide bombing and sectarian clashes.
The Islamabad religious seminary’s deadly episode with state troops demolishing that place with brutal force is a testimony as to how strong and defiant the religious outfits have become to create a srate wthin a state.
If some can come up with a practicable model of an Islamic state in clear terms, which can fulfill the demands of the modern civil society, a nation state and with complete sectarian ethnic and communal peace in Pakistan, then he should hasten to unfurl it so that Pakistan can move forward as a stable and strong nation. The models of Saudi Arabia or Iran will not work in Pakistan as they have complete majority of their respestvie branches of Islam in their lands. Otherwise let Pakistan be a secular Islamic state.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How Long the Arab Tyrants will kill their People!

By Saeed Qureshi
There is a new paradigm and machination injected by the Arab tyrants to silence their agitating people. This is to use brutal force to suppress the uprising of the millions of the people against these ruthless, dynastic and dictatorial rulers.

It is an insult to the conscience of humanity and civil society that in this modern world of liberty, human rights and democracy, there are a handful of families that keep their societies as captives, treat them as their subjects and deprive them of their fundamental rights.

Almost now for three months, the whole Middle East and North Africa are rocked by revolt of the citizens against their despotic rulers who look like the imperialist monarchs of the past. The lives of these sovereigns are glamorous, extravagant, and lewd. Their regal lifestyles present a complete contrast to the abysmal and degrading lives of their citizens living in closed societies without basic fundamental human rights.

The dissention or freedom of expression is met with horrendous punishments. The people there have been repressed and kept in forced bondage by spine chilling brutalities and fear of horrid reprisals. These heartless autocrats survive on the miseries and submission, and intimidation of their people that they perpetrate on them incessantly.

There have been huge losses of human lives ever since these grassroots protests have jolted the Arab world. Instead that these autocrats mend their insidious ways and heed the imperatives of the time for a change by way of opening their societies, giving rights to their people and democratizing their countries; they are using the state machinery, lethal force and firepower to suppress their citizens.

In Yemen, the security forces, the police and army fire at the protestors increasing the toll of the casualties every day. In Syria the son of, Hafiz Al Assad, the butcher of Damascus is walking in the footsteps of his callous father who did not have the slightest compassion and compunction to kill their people. In Syria the government troops and police are indiscriminatly gunning down the people with least abandon and concern as to what were they were doing.

In Libya, a lunatic person ruling that country for over four decades with extreme brutality is not ready to surrender the power to the people so that a pluralistic democratic culture can be initiated. He is fighting against his own defenseless people calling for his ouster and for the country to join the rank of the civilized nations. The entire country has turned into a battlefield with harrowing destruction of infrastructure, buildings, oil refineries and ruination of economy.

The Egyptian army that initially showed a tilt towards the protestors has now fallen back upon the diabolic tactics of harboring the old order and keep sheltering the ousted disgraced dictator Hosni Mubarak. The army top brass has conveniently forgotten the underlying purpose of the people’s upsurge and is busy in diluting the objectives that spurred such colossal public outrage. The Egyptian protestors are once again converging on the famous Tehrir square, this time to mount protests against the caretaker set up of the army.

In Bahrain the inexorable might of the government is unleashed on the crowds that are keeping up their tempo of anger and outcry directed against the fiefdom and oligarchic rule of family. There is no let up in the merciless massacring of the protestors by the government’s military and para military forces. The protestors are undaunted even in the face of such callous barbarity while the government ferocity to curb and kill the protestors is also unabated.

These unpopular rulers want to protect the reprehensible status quo which means to continue with their imperialistic hold over the people and keep denying the latter the fruits and rights of a civilized society. The odious concepts of “Divine Right of Kings” or “Might is Right” are buried in the dustbin of history. If the upholders of these dynasties still try to rule like kings and absolute monarchs, then they should be ready for a frightening retribution sooner than later.

The moribund autocracies or authoritarian dispensations are the trees that no more grow over the lands because the soil is now fertile for representative governments. The people are now conscious and mindful of their rights, thanks to modern technology and universal awareness that is becoming a common feature.

For western countries that have been abetting one man or family regimes should now rethink and remodel their strategies. They ought to befriend and cultivate the masses and the people and not the discredited, waning and unacceptable autocracies that are destined to disappear in not too distant future.

The United States bears a moral and specific responsibility to rein in these desperate and roguish rulers to come to their senses, see the change around the world and submit to the will of their people. Otherwise there will be a civil war in the turbulent Arab lands that would entail the culture of guillotining the heads of the states or governments in full public view.

This is a very opportune time for the United States to be on the right side of history by supporting the people’s movements for a change in their systems of government based upon the consent of the people. Any delay or dithering would be counter-productive for their overseas national interests and would go down in history as token of hypocrisy, cant and double standards. They should not forget that ultimate power rests with the people.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

India’s Finest Hour

By Saeed Qureshi

Having been crowned for the second time as the victor of the 2011 Cricket World cup Final, India deserves the most gracious and generous compliments for this spectacular achievement. The redeeming dimension of this dazzling victory is that the world cup was contested finally between the three teams from the sub-continent and one of these lifted the most coveted honor. As such this victory is also an event of rejoicing for the whole Subcontinent.

This indeed is India’s finest hour that was brought about by the hard work, absolute professionalism and deft team work with a profound passion to glorify their nation. It is a singular honor that does not come by easily and demands unmitigated sweat and labor to be counted as champions.

The Indians merit celebrating this most laudable victory with glamorous festivities and with boundless pride and hilarious joy. Such occasions come once in a while. Indian team has prevailed and thus they scaled the pinnacle of glory. Their dream of winning the prestigious cup came true due to their grit and finest display of cricket skills and finesse. It is the victory that matters and not the defeat.

It should remain as the most momentous and endearing memories for the inimitable and iconic Tundukler to have seen the Indian team winning the world cup in cricket before his projected retirement. His phenomenal contribution in realising this most ambitious and sought after goal in mammoth and would make shining chapter in the cricket history. He is a superb player whose distinction as number one in the world for scoring the highest number of runs would remain an exemplary and an inspiring legacy for the new generation of cricketers.

And the incumbent captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni should be lavishly facilitated for his amazing leadership that won for India a splendid laurel and honor. The Indian skipper is a man of indomitable zeal and is a soberly composed cricketer. He exhibited an infinite capacity to steer the flow of match in Indian favor that is indeed an astonishing feat. He deserves the highest praise and adulation.

The whole Indian team was a well knit group of players who fought well and were ultimately rewarded with a sterling success. They demonstrated an unflinching determination and confidence that finally bore the daintiest fruit of coming on top with a winning cup.

The Sri Lankan team also played exceedingly well but was overwhelmed by the more dominant Indian team. With the quick disposal of three Indian players including Sachen Tendulkar, the chances, initially, receded for the Indian team to win.

But then with the perseverence and the resolute steadfastness and unwavering defiance of both Goutam Gambhir (97 runs) and Dhoni (91 runs not out) changed the complexion of the game altogether to the other way round. The balls hit hard were flying all over the ground with flurry of fours by this couple. That was the turning point in this most crucial final match of the year 2011.

This is for the second time that India won the World Cricket cup Final. The first victory was in 1983. Pakistan and Sri Lanka each won the world cup final one time in 1992 and 1996 respectively.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Pakistani Team Lost Purposely

By Saeed Qureshi

Pakistan’s cricket team could have easily won the semi final against India but purposely lost because of the backdoor intrigues. There was no need to garland a captain who knew that the team has brought slur to Pakistan and utter depression and desopondecy to millions cricket fans from Pakistan and elsewhere, infused with a bubbling spirit of nationalism. This was the fifth consecutive defeat of the Pakistani cricket team at the hands of the Indian team in World Cup matches. What an odious shame?

It was categorically easy to chase the meager 260 runs scored by Indian team, all the more when national honor was at stake. There have been visible flaws and deliberate lapses committed by the Pakistani players that turned the tide in favor of the Indian team.

I would start building up my argument in support my contention by quoting the arch intriguer Rehman Malik’s sudden telephone calls to the captain of the Pakistani team Shahid Khan Afridi. His statement issued, before the departure of the team for India, was pregnant with a hidden threat that implied that it would be better to lose than win. Later while our team was in India he talked three times on phone to Shahid Afridi which the captain labeled as untimely.

Mr. Malik’s this uncalled for statement made while the team was still in Pakistan, was nationally condemned as ominous and perceived as a kind of spanner to dampen the spirits of the team. Mr. Malik has earned for himself the role of a person who never means what he says. But in this case he was dam serious of hurling a veiled threat to the Pakistani team.

His statement might have two underlying objectives. He meant, “Look we are going to have uniquely crucial parleys with the Indian leadership and we would like to keep the Indians and their government in good humor. If we win the game we lose the positive results that could accrue from the meeting.”

Secondly, he might have conveyed that, “you are going to play on the Indian soil and in case you win you could become the target by flared up and enraged Indians.” It should be recalled that on march 3, 2009, the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Pakistan by the terrorists and that was the most appalling event in sports history after the Palestinians massacred the Jewish team in 1972 world Olympics held in Germany.

Let us now focus on the technical contours of the game. Kamran Akmal was as dysfunctional as he has been in previous matches reinforcing the suspicion that he has compromised his game ethics for some ulterior motives that are already well known. It is reported that despite Afridi’s reluctance to include him in the team, he was overruled by the Chairman of the PCB and therefore was imposed upon the team. And look how disappointingly he played and kept his honor and that of the country at stake and finally trampled at the play ground.

There is no harm in assessing that Misbahul Haq was goaded in advance to go slow and waste the precious overs by not hitting even the most pliable ball. If there is any mechanism to verify this apprehension, the truth will come out. Why Abdul Razzaq, otherwise a brilliant and aggressive player put up a very poor and gloomy performance both in balling and batting. There couldn’t be any earthly reason the way he was sluggish and looked clumsy in performing in his dual role.

And there are comments that the power play which could have turned the match in favor of the Pakistani team was not sought at the outset of the Afridi’s stepping into the arena. When it was solicited it was too late and the damage had already been done.

Imran Khan an accomplished cricketer who has the distinction of being the skipper of the team that won the first ever world cup in 1992, argues that with the “worst kind of fielding that the Pakistani team displayed, no team could have won.”
Distastefully the politicians, the bookies, the gamblers and intentional stake holders have infiltrated into the world of sports and it is they who write the script, choreograph the games especially the cricket and decide who should win and which side should lose.

But the only team whose players have remained as an easy prey to the trappings of the huge money was mostly Pakistani. Recently, three of Pakistan’s ace players have been awarded fines and bans imposed on their playing for long periods of time. The charges against them are as crystal clear as the 1000 watt bulb lighted in the small dark cubicle.

So with this backlog of bad reputation there is very little benefit of doubt that can be given to the Pakistani team that played in Mohali Punjab and brought for Pakistan a disgrace and shame that in minuscule proportion is equal to the surrender of Pakistan’s valiant army in Palton Maidan in December 16, 1971 to the Indian army.

Now defeat is defeat and it is most of the times humiliating. There is no pride attached to defeat as the circles and various lobbies are trying to portray it as such. Pakistan cricket team’s defeat at the hands of a traditional rival India for the fifth time is not matter to rejoice or self complimenting. It is to lament and grieve. If a defeat unites the nation as being interpreted, then no difference or distance is left between sanity and delusion.

Waiting for four years to avenge this defeat? Is anyone among the crowd of self consolers to presage with absolute certainly that Pakistan would be winning then? Our money loving players will again fall prey to the irresistible monetary temptations and thus the hope and expectations pinned on the next world cup in 2015, would fall apart again.

It is the present that matters. In a similar situation, Mirza Ghalib the eternal poet said in sheer despondency, “Kaun Jeeta Hay Teri Zulf Kay Sar Honay Tak”. Its nearest rendering in English is, “Who can claim to live until the time of surmounting your lock ( tuft of beloved’s hair).” Nevertheless, May God bless our gullible nation eternally with his bounties and blessings.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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