July 29, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
Even Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not dare such drastic things what the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, in his overflowing exuberance, has spewed out in Tel Aviv. He is currently on a visit to Israel. Is he trying to look more loyal than the king? He talked less about safeguarding the American national interests than those of Israel. As a Republican nominee, he has made a total and unqualified commitment to side with Israel against her enemies by every conceivable means including that of military.
Perhaps it is for the first time that an American candidate for the presidency has been unequivocal and unabashed in doling out partisan assurance to the state of Israel as if that was the only paramount issue to be addressed post haste by the only super power in the world. After all prudence and discretion is the better part of politics and in running state affairs.
So with his absolute negation and mention even in passing of the Palestinians as the other party in conflict with Israel for an independent state, he has alienated himself from the Muslims both within and without the United States. How come Mitt Romney would mention only Israel's rights and security and evade and preclude Palestinians undergoing unspeakable sufferings all these 7 decades.
It may be noted that the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) recommended the partition of land of Palestine into two states: one Jewish and one Arab, with the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area being under special international protection, administered by the United Nations. In clear violation of the UNO resolution, the uprooted Palestinians were never given this right.
Even within United States, the sober, saner and rational circles would not laud or approve the kind of cronyism demonstrated by Romney and by waxing eloquence and flattering Israel beyond decency and balanced contours. If the Muslim population in the United States does not vote for him, they would be having a legitimate grouse and reason for doing so.
The State of Israel has a right to exist and prosper but to deny such a right to other human beings in the same region and even not to mention the historic and festering Palestinian dispute is downright dishonesty. It is brazen attempt at obfuscating the stark realities that have kept at bay the much sought after and coveted goal of peace and friendship between Israel and the Palestinians.
In the same vein of currying favor with Israel, he has threatened and reprimanded Iran in the most virile and scathing words. He has profiled Iran as an evil state and has pledged to use force if needed to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability which is yet at an infancy stage. His rhetoric to fix Iran was more lethal and bellicose than even that of Netanyahu and other hard-liners both within Israel and the United States.
If Mitt Romney assumes the presidency of United States, this marvelous country would be poised to declare war on Iran, plunging the Middle East into another horrendous turmoil and frightening holocaust. That might entail the destruction of both Iran and Israel. Israel cannot prosper and exist on the ashes of a defeated and devastated Iran. One would wonder if the saner and discerning members of the pro-Israel lobbies including the Republic Party echelons would not endorse in totality the goofy rhetoric of Romney whipped up in Tel Aviv.
The opportunism of Mitt Romney is glaringly manifest if seen in the light of his own belief. He is a Mormon that is deemed and decreed as a kind of heretic and breakaway sect within the fold of Christianity. The Mormons suffered monstrous oppression, sectarian brutalization and extermination by the orthodox Christians in the early and mid 18th century. Presently Mormons’ total population is around 14 million in and out of the United States.
It would be doubtful if the Catholics or orthodox Christian population would like to vote for a Mormon whose faith intrinsically runs counter or is in conflict with the pristine Christian theology. In America the secularism, liberty and freedom of religion apart, the fact cannot be obviated that for Christians a Christian president would be a more preferable choice.
Like Muslims and Jews, there might be very slim chance for a candidate from Mormon and similar denominations to be the president of the United States. Even a convert to Christianity might not be acceptable to the Christian population that goes in huge number to the churches every week for service and to listen to the Christian clergy and priests.
President Obama is also embarked upon a parallel campaign and mission to woo and cultivate the Jewish community both within the United States and in Israel. But there seems to be a modicum of objectivity and non-partisanship in his approach towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
In a counter-wailing resounding measure to the blind support of Romney to Israel, president Obama signed on July 27, the "United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012," paving way for Israel to purchase American KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft for the first time. Besides he released $70 million for Israel's “Iron Dome” rocket defense system.
It is quite obvious that president Obama and Romney are bending over backward and frantically trying to win the crucial support of powerful Israeli lobbies in America in order to influence the presidential elections in their favor.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
July 25, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
No one has the guts to dislodge the incumbent PPP government. The prime and overpowering reason is that this party enjoys a majority in the parliament. AAZ as a shrewd puppeteer has tied such rubber stamp parties as MQM and ANP with the political apron-string of PPP, whose own political clout and profiteering depends upon the agreeable nod and patronage from Asif Ali Zardari.
They are like small streams looking formidable because of their presence and merger in an ocean. The Ocean should be treated as a metaphor for the encompassing political tenacity and resilience of PPP to remain trenchant in the riotous political arena of Pakistan.
Had the PPP been debased or lost its popularity, the Multan citizens would not have voted for Abdul Qadir Gilani and enable him to capture the national assembly seat vacated by his father, the former Prime Minister Gilani. It is forgone and a much assured guess that in all the by-polls, the PPP’s nominated candidates would triumph. The Multan contest was a test case to measure-up the political standing of both Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and PML Nawaz faction. The joint candidate of both these parties Shaukat Hayat Bossan lost to Qadir Gilani.
The Supreme Court and the rest of judiciary have been turned into a laughing stock for handing out the galore of verdicts and the executive blowing these away with disdain and mockery. In implementing surfeit of decisions by the Supreme Court, the acting chairman of PPP and the president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari have kept the apex court at bay. One example is defiance or disregard of Supreme Court’s unambiguous orders for writing a letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening the money laundering cases of Asif Ali Zardari and his deceased spouse Benazir Bhutto.
Now the shrewish and bellicose attorney general of Pakistan Irfan Qadir categorically and rather impetuously tells the Supreme Court that the government would not write such a letter to the Swiss court. The Memogate issue has been relegated to the cold storage, the Abbottabad commissions’ proceedings have gone into hibernations.
Despite threats by the religious parties both political and non-political, the NATO overland supply has been resumed. Similarly the Hajj scandal, the ephedrine quota case seems to be gone with the winds and no one in the government give a dam to the highest judiciary’s orders.
Mr. Zardari, who is pulling the strings and leading the game of wits and political brinkmanship from the safe fortress and the imposing building of the presidency, knows well that army would not intercede for upholding the Supreme Court’s various verdicts. The army is docile and detached because of her total commitment to the military operations in the tribal belt and also an unremitting engagement in the troubled Balochistan. Also the army would not opt to meddle in politics and grab power as this would be worst time for the military leadership to do so. As the adage goes, the army’s top brass would not like to fish in troubled waters.
The opposition parties are in a state of disarray, dejection and dissolution. These parties have utterly failed to build up a strong and formidable movement or front against the government on such volatile and provocative issue as target killings, rampant and endemic lawlessness, the rising prices, the mushrooming corruption of the ruling cabal, decay of the nation- building institutions, the broken-down municipal system, the galloping inflation, and on top of all the grinding power shortage atrociously affecting every aspect of life and population in Pakistan.
The press has been tamed and fixed. The recent drama with Malik Riaz Hussain as the main hero and villain has spilled the beans as to how the self-styled saints and moralists among the journalists were the recipient and beneficiary of cores of graft and sell-out rewards from him. The arch journalists have been so nakedly exposed for their clandestine wheeling dealing with the shady individuals who are immersed in corruption and loathsome money-making pursuits. That lethal lightening rod must have fallen on the high profile and preeminent media charlatans, presumably, at the behest of Mr. Zardari.
So he knows the art of fixing the non-conformists and taming the rebellious or rowdy elements in every walk of life, be it the ministers, the lawyers, the journalists, the judges and even the military top notches. The PPP’s traditional vote bank is as intact and would remain so as are the assets of Mr. Zardari in offshore accounts and in the Swiss banks.
He is a past master in making rapprochements and reconciliations. But he is a ruthless executioner as well. Where is Babar Awan who used to be as the lead cavalier for the PPP and the front man of president Zardari in rejoinders, reviling and foul mouthing the opponents? He was disgracefully kicked out of the party and the government when he dithered on bailing out Mr. Gilani in the court as a witness. AAZ has been able to command and extract unconditional and absolute loyalty from his associates and cohorts. In returns he treats them with utmost care like an indulgent godfather and cardinal patron.
A clever and foxy person as he is, he possesses the abundant ability and adroitness to deflect the dark darks clouds that gather around the PPP and himself from time to time. He has always come out with amazing success and scoring victory over his raucous political adversaries. His four years’ track record eloquently bears out that he has been inimitable in browbeating and disarming his political opponents.
As for the people’s outcry for their woes, he gives a dam to it. Understandably, the agitations or protests can be effective only if there are sincere and dedicated leaders to lead them. And in Pakistan there are self-centered, greedy and myopic pygmies whose vision is as narrow as their concern is negligible for the well being of Pakistan and Pakistanis.
If all are chips of the same faulty and reprobate block then it hardly makes any difference whether you support and stand by Zardari or his adversaries. Better vote for PPP. After all it is a revolutionary party with a heavy backlog of plentiful sacrifices and hardships. More so because it is headed by a consummate, crafty and matchless navigator.
Monday, July 23, 2012
July 22, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
Will the conscience of the international community awaken at the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority population in Burma or Myanmar? The Buddhist monks and the newly inducted democratic government seem to be poised against a small-sized Muslim population and have embarked upon unleashing a reign of tyranny and specter of terror on them in for about a year now.
Following the Myanmar’s President Thein Sein’s call in early June this year that the Rohingya Muslims must be expelled from the country and sent to refugee camps run by the United Nations, 11 innocent Muslims were killed by the Burmese Army and the Buddhist mobs after disembarking them from a bus.
Retaliating to the protests by the Burmese Muslims for this gruesome slaughter, the army and the Buddhists killed 50 more Muslims. In the sectarian violence between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists, in Burma's western State, thousands of Muslims’ homes have been burnt. An estimated 90,000 Muslims have been uprooted.
The Muslim population in Burma is estimated to be 4 per cent of the entire population of around 60 million. It comes to roughly 2.4 million. These Muslims have been living in Burma for ages. They look like Burmese in features and speak the same language. Briefly they are native Burmese except that they profess a different faith in a country whose predominant population believes in Buddhism The state sponsored carnage of the tiny Muslim minority, is hurling up a colossal humanitarian disaster.
While Buddhists preach peace, tolerance and compassion, in the case of Muslims there seems to be an unholy alliance between the tyrannical Burmese army and the Buddhists monks for massacring the defenseless and helpless Muslims. It is suspected that the Burma's large and much feared military intelligence service, the ‘Directorate of Defense Security Intelligence’ may have agents planted within the monk-hood.
Sadly, there is no let up in terrorizing and killing the hapless Muslim community by the hostile Burmese police and government. Those Muslims, who were pushed or fled on their own towards the neighboring Bangladesh, were refused entry. They were returned by the BD authorities back to Burma. The international humanitarian organizations such as UNHCR and the Islamic countries have not even mutely protested or taken up this most heart-wrenching human crisis at any forum.
One is reminded of the East Timor ethnic crisis when the Indonesian Islamic regime was accused of maltreating and suppressing the Christian population there. The entire Christian world with Australia in the lead, under the aegis of the United Nations truncated Indonesia. On May 20, 2002, East Timor separated from Indonesia and became an independent Christian state.
Likewise the western countries and particularly the United States pressurized and isolated president Omar al-Bashir of the Republic of Sudan (North Sudan) to such an extent that he finally gave in and agreed to the cessation of South Sudan as an independent country. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011. The population of Christians in the south is 80 percent while that of Muslim is 18 per cent. Understandably the division of Sudan was maneuvered to create a separate independent state for the Christians so as to live in peace and to save them from the civil war.
In former Yugoslavia, the NATO saved Muslim population from a brutal spree of ethnic cleansing by the Serbian army and that was one of the most marked human relief and rescue by the Christian west for the sake of the oppressed Muslims.
The Bosnian Serb army committed atrocious and most heinous genocide against the Muslims and Bosnian Croats in 1995. Besides, a bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing of Muslims was also carried out throughout the areas controlled by the Bosnian Serb Army during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War. The United Nations and NATO”s role (April 1933-December 1995) in ending genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Bosnians Muslims by the Serbian military is a golden chapter of history. Otherwise the Muslims would have been reduced to a tiny minority in their own territories.
Hopefully among the comity of nations, two countries can play a vital and decisive role in rescuing besieged and distressed Muslims of Burma. One is Saudi Arabia that can exert her influence and persuade other Muslim countries to approach the United Nations for an urgent action on the miserable plight of the Burmese Muslims and the grave existential threat to them. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and other Muslim states can also approach the Burmese regime urging it to stop the persecution and intimidation of the Burmese Muslims that are entitled to equal rights as citizens including that of religious freedom under the constitution.
Secondly, it is China that is in the strongest position to exert her clout to ask the Burmese leaders to desist from their bestiality against the Muslim population. If the Burmese incumbent government continues its brutal extermination of Muslims, then it would lose its good image as a democratic regime established after long spell of military dictatorship. Its decision to release the most prominent Burmese opposition politician, chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and human rights activist San Suu Kyi after her incarceration for 21 years, was also lauded internationally.
In 2005, the Burmese Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a declaration concerning freedom of religion for all religious communities. The stated official policy of the government of Burma is that “all ethnic, religious, and language groups in Burma are equal”. The Burmese Supreme Court observed in a verdict that “in various parts of Burma, there are people who, because of the origin and the isolated way of life, are totally unlike the Burmese in appearance or speak of events which had occurred outside the limits of their habitation. They are nevertheless statutory citizens under the Union (of Burma) Citizenship Act”
In case of Burmese Muslims’ nightmare, the NATO's role is not at all needed. This grave humanitarian calamity is in need of diplomatic efforts to prevail upon the Burmese government to stop aggression against a community living there for ages and is essentially Burmese.
Nor for Burmese Muslims, it is a question of a separate independent land for them. It is essentially to guarantee their survival, security and equality within the Republic of the Union of Myanmar against the burgeoning ethnic and religious challenges to them.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
July 21, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
There is damning lawlessness in Pakistan. Several murderous attacks and suicide bombings in Karachi and elsewhere have been carried out by Taliban and their cohorts in Pakistan’s radical religious outfits. Despite Pakistani army’s continued offensives and military operations against Taliban in tribal regions, the militants remain undeterred and do not back down from staging frequent attacks upon military and civilian targets in Pakistan.
During the past 48 hours, in various parts of Pakistan, the terrorists killed at least 20 persons besides injuring several others. A Taliban suicide car bomber attacked a rival militant commander Mullah Nabi's compound in Khurram Agency on Saturday( July 20), killing at least 9 people while injuring 16 others. It was a punitive attack because Mullah Nabi had turned against the Taliban
In another barbarous attack, heavily armed assailants killed 8 members of the coast guard in the port city of Gawadar, Baluchistan. In an another incident, a roadside bomb exploded near a passenger bus in district Upper Dir of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing at least 4 people.
On July 12, in a predawn attack, the Taliban targeted a Pakistani prison complex in Lahore. In that attack they gunned down nine policemen while 8 were injured. The Pakistani Taliban said it was a revenge attack for torturing of their captured members.
A military court has convicted Brig Ali Khan for instigating a mutiny within the army and planning an attack on the GHQ. He is charged also for his links with the banned militant outfit Hizb-ul-Tahrir. He was arrested on May 5, 2011 in Rawalpindi. It unambiguously demonstrates that the Taliban and religious militants have their links within the Pakistan’s armed forces also.
The Swat occupation of the fanatical Taliban under the leadership of Maulana Fazlullah and his aged father Sufi Jan Muhammad in 2007 speaks for the spreading influence of the religious extremists in Pakistan. They fought two battles with the Pakistan army between October 2007 to September 2009 when they were dislodged and their ring leaders arrested.
The chief of Swat Taliban Fazlullah however could not be arrested. As a result of that colossal upheaval, over two million people were internally displaced (IDPs) and lived in miserable conditions in camps. They returned after the army regained the control of Swat by August 2009.
The militants launched incredibly most daring and brazen assault on GHQ in October 2009. Eight terrorists attacked the General Head Quarters of Pakistan army, in Rawalpindi. Four terrorists were killed while six army men lost their lives. Two attackers were also captured.
On 30 March 2009, the Manawan Police Academy in Lahore was stormed by 12 gunmen armed with automatic weapons and grenades or rockets. They took over the main building at a time when 750 unarmed police recruits were present on the compound for the morning parade. Five trainees, two instructors and a passer-by were killed. A suspect was captured alive in a field near the school. Three of the attackers blew themselves up while three others were captured.
On March 23, 2011, in a coordinated assault, the Taliban militants destroyed two of the just three P-3 series Orion anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircrafts that Pakistan had acquired from the United States. The militants’ occupation of the naval base continued for two days. After 16 hours of pitched battle with heavily armed militants, the security forces, reclaimed Pakistan Naval Station (PNS) Mehran, located in the port city of Karachi. In this most lethal assault, 10 security officials and four attackers were killed.
Now these are major terrorist attacks by the religious radical militants that bring home the gory fact that Taliban are emerging as a counter fighting force in Pakistan. Such deadly small and big terrorist attacks by Taliban insurgents take place almost every day. Their access to the restricted and highly secured installations such as the Mehran Naval base and the army’s headquarters (GHQ) could be possible only with the help and coordination of the insiders.
This paints an extremely horrifying and murky picture, pointing towards a probable mutiny or insurgency within the army ranks, facilitating and paving way for an orthodox radical regime in Pakistan to which the army would also be subservient.
Even if such a diabolical situation does not emerge, the armed militants with their tentacles with other religious groups and within the army would keep destabilizing the state of Pakistan. They would not relent in keeping the people under specter of unremitting terror and hostage to their blighted and decrepit faith which is not even acceptable to so many other Islamic denominations and sects.
The question that begs answer is that how long the army would keep fighting in the tribal regions and at the same time, come under wanton attacks from the frenzied cult of Taliban within the mainland? On how many fronts army can fight and how long this witch-hunting on both sides could continue?
The Frankenstein of Taliban and other fanatic bands and militant outfits are trying to swallow its fabricator Pakistan in such a barbaric and terrorizing manner. The sway of Taliban on Swat for two years (2007-2009) and their Islamic caliphate over Afghanistan (1996-2001) is a luscious bait and dainty enticement which they would like to regain at any cost. With a myopic and misconceived belief that their death from fighting with infidels, takes them straight to heaven, makes them fearless of dying. Rather they would like to embrace death for an immediate reward of a sublime dwelling in the paradise.
Whether this is a proxy war for the Americans or it is in Pakistan’s vital interests to keep a savage cult at bay for the sake of a stable, liberal enlightened, democratic, pluralistic, Islamic Pakistan; this menace has to be liquidated. A kind of primitive and savage regime that the Taliban established in Afghanistan was a throwback to the age of barbarians when ethnic-cleansing of the adherents of the rival faith was in vogue.
In the hindsight of Islamic history, one is reminded of the age of Hashashins as the most dreaded and ruthless religious cult that had cast its dark and fearsome shadows on the successive Muslim dynasties for some 250 years. They could be destroyed only by Mongols in 1256 with the capture of their headquarters Alamut, located in inaccessible mountain ranges in Iran. Like Taliban they observed freakish beliefs and fiendish rituals that were out of the pale of Islamic teachings and Muslim corpus of faith.
The religious seminaries as well as religious residential institutions breed and preach hatred for rival sects. In these institutions, the virtues of humanism, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and respect for other religions are not inculcated. Also here the pristine and eternal teachings of Islam are not taught. The cramming of the Arabic scripts and a few prayers and certain outdated texts prepared centuries ago are taught that keep a student alienated and isolated intellectually and far from calibrating with the changing times.
The worldview view and perceptions of the students from these seminaries, remain jaundiced and thus instead of shaping up as productive and conscientious member of a modern society, he is far removed from the imperative of a contemporary world. This is how the cult of Taliban is composed of and this is their entire philosophy that they nurture and believe in.
The Taliban and their dogmatic supporters kill and brutalize the opponents of their faith or even those who adopt a neutral stance. Their rule in Afghanistan was nothing but a reign of terror. Same religious system was enforced in Swat by them when they were in command in that beautiful valley. In order to perpetuate in their narrow religious agenda and raise funds for that, they kill at will for ransom, resort to bank robberies, take extortion money, forcefully recruit youth and turn them into suicide bombers.
They forcibly shave off the heads, dictate keeping long flowing beards, destroy modern gadgets like TV, and negate female education, force women to cover their bodies and not to go out without a family male. They flog and cut off the limbs of those whom they charge as violators of their retrograde decrees.
But while the threat of Taliban’s takeover of Pakistan can spell disaster for this country, there is another kind of sectarian feud going on between the Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan. They trade murderous attacks on each others’ rallies, mosques and shrines. They least realize that such abominable deeds were not only weakening Pakistan but were also against the Islamic teachings of tolerance and cohabitation with other faiths and beliefs. The killing sprees of Hazaras mostly of Shia faith in Baluchistan and elsewhere by Taliban and other Sunni fanatics does not forebode well for the unity, geographical integrity and societal peace of Pakistan.
The mutual feuds and saber-rattling of religious factions also ignite and fan the regional separatist movements as now going on in Baluchistan. It is indeed an extremely disastrous turn of events that would swallow of what harmony and goodwill is left in Pakistan. Is Pakistani society is in the throes of religious anarchy and a sectarian civil war?
Some of the political parties aid and abet the extremist religious elements like Taliban and other militant religious outfits. These outfits want to bring a system of Islamic emirate in Pakistan. But if such a system is established then of which sect would it be. The religious antagonism and bellicosity would not come to an end. The Shias and other minority sects would want their pound of flesh which would be denied to them as the two main sects have seldom sailed along in the Islamic history. The prevailing malignant chaos would be difficult to bridle, unless there is a truly democratic and accountable government and a secular, liberal, vibrant civil society.
The only difference between Hashashins of yester years and Taliban breed of the present times is that the former were a branch of Shia faith known as Nizari Ismailis, while Taliban are diehard Sunnis with profession of Deobandi fundamentalism. It is Far-right Islamists’ militant movement of Pashtun tribesmen and religious students whose aim is to establish Islamic caliphate in Afghanistan and its further expansion to target areas including Pakistan.
The horrific barrage of terrorist assaults by Taliban and even al-Qaida on the soil of Pakistan have their origin from the military mopping operations against these elements in South Waziristan and elsewhere in the tribal areas. The Al-Qaida too seems to be bent upon avenging the capture of their scores of operatives by Pakistan’s establishment particularly during the Musharraf period and handing them over to the United States.
Objectively the militants’ insurgency apace in Afghanistan for a decade now against the northern alliance and NATO forces is not much different in essence from that in Pakistan except that in Pakistan it is sporadic and of low intensity. In Afghanistan it is full-throttled with ubiquitous encounters taking place between the militant Taliban and the occupation forces. There is a lurking possibility that the insurgency in Pakistan may also be stepped up as was witnessed in Swat where the orthodox extremists enforced the stringent Shariah law mercilessly and with full force.
The Taliban are waiting for the ISAF and NATO military network to leave Afghanistan. Thereafter they would unleash their latent guerilla warfare might with stunning and unrelenting ferocity. While Pakistan may be in a position to stem their bulging tides with cooperation from the tribal lords, the then sitting government in Afghanistan may prove to be utterly incapacitated to defeat them or even to keep them at bay.
It is precisely with this unpalatable future scenario in view that the United States is trying to hammer out a bargain and a deal with the Taliban to become a part of the political process by joining the would-be government. Whether Taliban would accept this olive branch from America is a debatable question marshaling no definite answer at present.
However, there could be a bright possibility for Pakistan to forge an understanding with Taliban for peaceful coexistence. But again there is a moot question. Would Taliban and al-Qaida terminate their activities aimed at throwing up an Islamic emirate in Pakistan as well? However, such a quid-pro-quo might be worked out with the help of such friendly solicitors as Saudi Arabia. It may be remembered that in November 2011, Saudi Royal regime has achieved such a milestone reconciliation and historic peaceful transition between the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the new regime.
Can you conceive of any solution or remedy of this horrific imbroglio and impasse now stalking and caving in the foundations of Pakistan?
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
July 18, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
One of my readers, a devout Muslim castigated me for deviating from the path of God and religion and hence according to him, the nemesis came in the form of my breakdown of internet system. He sternly advised me to seek Almighty’s forgiveness for my errant conduct.
I am not aware if the divine forces can be so sensitively revengeful against a humble mortal like me and strike me by ransacking my internet communication system and making it dysfunctional. If at all such a vendetta or curse is to be fallen, it should be doled out to a more deserving individual whose conduct should be egregiously repulsive, and unpardonably sinful than that of mine.
I may be a sinner on a very low or negligible scale but I cannot be equated with a person for instance Bashar- al-Assad who is slaughtering his people as if animals in a slaughterhouse. His nemesis is yet to come. I have never killed even a sparrow in my life. I have been helpful to the people in need of a help. And I seldom offended or harmed anyone by way of harsh tongue or by a bad deed. I do not claim that I am an ideal or a moral icon. I am a humble person with least mala-fide intentions towards anyone.
So the pious Muslim who warned me of the divine wrath because of my deviation from the religious course might be magnifying or misunderstanding the concept of the divine retribution. Or else he is nurturing a bleak or lurid picture of mine in his mind. Or he was just trying to use the common ploy of the preachers to frighten me from the annoyance of God and even hell fire for some sins that I don’t remember I have committed to earn the internet impasse.
All the aforementioned narration was beside the point. What I wanted to convey is the cardinal point that in this age of breathtaking technological leaps, the users who are now addicted to it, despite its umpteen boons, can also be stung by it. It is a blessing that can occasionally turns sinister.
As such it has got nothing to do with the morality or religiosity of a person. The use or misuse of technology in terms of morality can be drummed up by only morons or religious fanatics. Technology and science is neither secular nor religious. Neither has it any code of ethics nor any religious faith to follow.
In one stroke from an invisible and canny hand, my several thousand emails went off the storage, my incoming and outgoing emailing disabled and I remained without any email linkage for days together. This landslide started with a weird yet fake email from the Yahoo that my password has been changed. It also directed me to respond which I did and moments later everything on the screen was frozen with email chunks disappearing like snowflakes.
Except me, everyone else on my list received a weird email detailing my miserable plight in Spain. It stated that I was totally bereft of all the belongings and money etc with the SOS call to the readers to send me the money to bail out from that traumatic predicament.
Some of the caring and distressed friends and well-wishers wanted to confirm if I had really gone to Spain overnight because the previous night we had participated in a Mushaira cum a fund raising event. They wondered how come I could have reached Spain in matters of a few hours.
I do not possess the magic carpet of King Solomon or his supreme powers to control the genies to fly me to that strife-torn yet one of the amazing countries of the world. That caution saved their money which would have gone into the pockets of the mafia of internationals spammers who are past masters in making fortunes everyday through such diabolic tricks and Machiavellian manipulation of technology.
I do not possess the magic carpet of King Solomon or his supreme powers to control the genies to fly me to that strife-torn yet one of the amazing countries of the world. That caution saved their money which would have gone into the pockets of the mafia of internationals spammers who are past masters in making fortunes everyday through such diabolic tricks and Machiavellian manipulation of technology.
Earlier for quite some time I have been receiving such dubious emails beseeching on behalf of so many other acquaintances or friends who stated to be stranded in distant lands. They described themselves to be in a state of inertia and misery with no money or even documents to move beyond where they were stuck up.
Being involved in the internet for ages, I possess a modicum of intelligence or understanding or sense to decipher such emails. I would at once understand that these are spams and money making scams floated by extraordinary clever individuals or groups that excel in sneaking into or stealing the confidential information of other internet users and utilize it with perfect skill and adroitness to their advantage.
However it is not all reprehensive or doleful. Such dacoity can be immensely productive and rewarding as demonstrated by Julian Assange through Wiki Leaks that unraveled the deeply hidden secrets of intentional deceit, diabolic politicking and the momentous decision making behind the thick curtains of secrecy and stone-walling.
The irony is that despite sophistication in technology, the search engines such as yahoo and Google cannot locate or catch these exceptional masterminds or unbeatable intelligent mavericks. They elude the best of tools and minds to find them and their hideouts. So this odious practice of farce, fraud and forgeries to cleverly swindle and rob the gullible and kind hearted with such mind boggling techniques, would continue unchecked and unabated.
If we cannot over-awe or out-smart such odious happenings for the time being, then let us accept this situation as a vicious and ugly reality and learn to live with it. It would prevail until a more powerful technology is invented to browbeat these ingenious spammers, smart hackers and sharp scam-peddlers. May be my case is a blessing in disguise and can serve as an eye-opener for others to escape such a malady.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
July 14, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
It was one of those fascinating evenings that one tends to remember for quite some time. The venue was Desi restaurant Haveli in the Irving city, Texas. The chief guest of the Mushaira was Dr. Inamul-haq Javed from Pakistan, a great renowned and acclaimed poet of unsurpassed humor. Dr.Amanullah Khan, a cancer specialist, a socialite and poet presided over the function.
Among the poets who articulated their well-crafted poetry compositions were Mrs. Naheed Shad, and Messers Javed Ansari, Farhan Syed, Qaiser Abbas, Saeed Qureshi, Younas Ijaz, Tariq Hashmi and Dr. Amanullah. Mr. Younas Ijaz himself an accomplished and gifted poet, deftly conducted the proceedings of the Mushaira as the stage secretary.
Before the start of the Mushaira session there were two other phases. One was the dinner served and the other was a briefing session by the very dedicated campaigners and promoters of STARfALL: Mr. Rehan and Mr. Qamar Iqbal. Both of them in a lengthy discourse supported by video graphics explained the aims and mission of this nonprofit body that is solely geared towards providing healthy vocations and activities to the youth of Pakistan. Their deliveries carried force and fluency.
Their impressive address throwing light over the past achievements of the STARfALL also contained a fervent appeal for donation so that they could carry on their vital mission of channeling and harnessing the energies and talents of the deserving and competing young students of Pakistan within the age bracket of 6-18 years.
One can learn about the unique and revolutionary program of this organization on their website: www.starfll.org . STARfALL stands for Science and Technology Awareness and Recognition for ALL.
Finally the much awaited moment arrived. It was for the honorable chief guest to recite his soul-stirring, spell-binding and indeed laughter-packed poetry that always leaves a lasting effect on the listeners. The audience who were eagerly waiting for this moment to come listened to Dr. Inam’s recital with rapt attention and enjoyed it to their hearts’ fill. Dr. Inam’s petry is also a satire on the social evils and vices that he portrays in his inimibale style and diction.
Each line that he uttered was responded by huge applause and merriment by the listeners. Of course such occasions to be in the company of a distinguished poet of healthy and nourishing humor, come rarely for the Desi immigrant community. It was therefore a unique occasion that would remain fresh in the memories of the audience of this social evening.
At the end there was a photographic session with the chief guest.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
July 10, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
The Republican Party is hell-bent to oust the incumbent U. S. president Barack Obama from the White House. The Republican Party has thus far outflanked the rival Democratic Party in raising funds and revenue without which no party or individual can imagine of contesting elections in America, even for lower positions; not to speak of the presidential office. The Democratic Party and for that matter president is hamstrung in matching the Republicans’ ability and resourcefulness to generate funds from donations.
The Republican Party’s most pressing and overriding goal in the forthcoming November elections is, not to pull out a watershed agenda or a dazzling far reaching reform package. It is, as the the minority leader of the United States senate Mitch McConnell categorically spelt out, to stop Barak Obama for being elected for the second term.
The cost of the 2008 elections was over a billion dollars that would spike by huge margin this year. The Republicans collect money from the donors and contributors without much hassle or even without resorting to appeals through ads, emails or other channels. That party has such wealthy corporations and individuals donors that offer millions on their own initiatives. Such one big hefty donation was 25 million dollars from Karl Rove’s Super PAC.
On the contrary, the Obama camp in frantically struggling to raise funds for the election campaign through emails and ads with appeals for donating as paltry an amount as 3 dollars. The Democratic Party is far behind the Republican nominee Mitt Romney in matter of having vital funds to keep fighting the political war on all fronts, the most outstanding being to put up ads on the premier television channels. The Republicans have collected around 106 million dollars recently while Democrats have raised some 70 million dollars.
So much so that in one of the latest emails, the Obama site has expressed apprehensions by warning that because of the paucity of funds, president Obama could lose this time. It was a very moving and passionate appeal that may motivate the pro-Obama Americans to cough up more donations to keep their president in the saddle for four more years.
The Republican Party’s central theme or philosophy is American conservatism that also caters for a typical genre of liberalism mostly defined as classical liberalism. The Democratic Party believes and stands for Modern liberalism. In narrowing down the perceptions and visions of both the parties, as a matter of fact, both propel and promote progress and liberalism, albeit in different contexts. The Republican roots their liberalism in the past with a tinge of the present. The democrats imbibe and exhort a liberalism that does not carry many of the shackles of the past. In a nutshell the Republican Party is conservative while the Democratic Party is progressive.
But in the run off for the 2012 presidential elections, the tussle is not between the values, concepts and political vision and outlook the parties hold or epitomize. The Republican campaigning is centered on president Obama’s ejection from the White House. President Obama despite his sterling and outstanding accomplishments is being opposed by the Republican because his skin is not white. Unfortunately despite American society’s homogeneous profile and constitutional caveat against ethnic or racial discrimination or bias, the simmering color slant exists.
The ascension of an African-American or in simple jargon a black person to the most exalted and powerful office of the American president on the whole does not seem to be sitting well with the conservative white or Caucasian races. However, on the lower echelons, on people’s level and in social sectors, the equality of opportunities and fairness in social safety nets and benefits is strictly observed.
Obama is not a favorite American president for Israel for his professed even-handed policy in the Middle East and his efforts to settle the historic dispute of statehood for the Palestinians. And since Republican Party’s bulk membership is defiantly opposed to the Palestinians and not in favor of an independent state for them, they share a common outlook with Israel on this thorny issue. Pro-Israeli lobbies enjoy a powerful clout in influencing the foreign policy decisions of the United States. As such Obama’s second coming in the presidency is patently distasteful to both these allies.
In 2008 presidential elections, of the total 538 electoral votes, Obama received 365 in comparison to his rival John McCain who bagged only 173. That was a stunning victory for president Obama. There is a possibility even this time that the Republicans may not be able to dislodge him for a variety of compelling indicators.
Mitt Romney is not as strong a candidate as was John McCain. President Obama stands much taller in intellectual caliber and for his rich background and insight in economy and legal domains. He is a much convincing and eloquent speaker than Romney whose only strategy is to oppose and discard of what Obama says about his past achievements and future goals.
In the backdrop of his successful business empire, Mitt Romney is trying to argue that with his experience and acumen in conducting business, he could as well improve the battered American economy and produce jobs. But for a president the business or trade is not the only portfolio to deal with. It’s a sensitive office with diverse and unforeseen hurdles and daunting challenges at every step and moment to counter. As such the independent observers and objective analysts do not give much weight to Romney’s claims because running a family business enterprise is colossally different from a running a country’s economy, all the more of the United States.
In managing a country’s affairs, a president is sitting in a glass house and has to face and brace incessant political rebuff, callous opprobrium and merciless fault-finding. Already Romney is being castigated in media and by his political opponents for his opulent lving style, his taxation defaults, his laying off workers and similar actions that speak for his hardnosed attitude in business. His offshore bank accounts as in Bermuda and Switzerland cast ominous shadows on his integrity to be the chief executive of that mighty nation.
The religious right and ultra religious orthodox factions may not be in favor of a Mormon taking control of the highest office in the United States. Although his assuming of presidency may not affect the religious liberty and a culture of pluralism, yet belonging to a faction that is considered heretic in mainstream Christianity, could negatively impinge upon Romney’s chances to win elections.
A semi-black Christian president with a basket full of laurels and Nobel Prize could still be a better choice for most of the Americans. The overall tone and tenor of Republican political thrust is to indulge in smear and in petty blame game which may backfire. Moreover, Mitt Romney’s public pledge to consult the Israeli prime minister BB before taking policy decisions portrays him as a crony and a second fiddle to that vassal state. Such a public assertion is shameful.
While the Republican leadership has not unfurled any meaningful charter as to what they intend to do if they win, they blow hot and cold simultaneously only to browbeat Obama. They have not offered any considerable blue print or road map for jobs creation or any relief package for the poor as well as to restrain the rising level of poverty in the United States. All they want is to quash Obama’s healthcare plan, impose taxes on the poor only keeping the wealthy classes unleashed from the taxation net.
The scroll of achievements by Democrats under president Obama is brimming with numerous and varied laurels. It should be acknowledged that against a backdrop of a host of allegations such as being black, not a born American, and even being a Muslim, he has achieved astounding milestones both domestically and on the external front.
Obama was seldom reactive. He refrained from indulging in an exercise of rancor, slander, or hitting below the belt, in vendetta or pungent repartees. He was never provoked or unruffled by scathing and noxious despising forays from his opponents. He has remained calm and above board and solely focused on his reform agenda to realize or revive the watered down American dream. His personal conduct and character has been unblemished and sparklingly transparent.
It should also be borne in mind that he was the successor to a dysfunctional government, a ravished economy and a messy state of affairs spawned by his reckless predecessor honorable G. W Bush.
The United States is still embroiled in futile and costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq entailing unspeakable miseries, horrific death and destruction. These wars were set off by the Republican hawkish president in cahoots with his cohorts of the same ilk.
Those deadly wars have ruined the super duper vibrant economy of United States to the extent of incurring a stupendous debt in trillions. That devastated shape of economy was not of Obama’s making. But still in that bleakest economic scenario, Obama took some bold and sagacious measures not only halting the further erosion of economy but refurbishing and recovering it. If some lobbies for malicious reasons put all the blame for that ruinous state of economic meltdown and inability to make it robust in days, must be either idealist, highly unrealistic and myopic.
The monetary bailouts certainly revitalized the debilitating economy, revived the manufacturing and banking sectors, produced jobs and set into motion a confident turn round in the sliding trends of economy. These are facts and developments that have unfurled before us and any denial of these positive outcomes would be blocking the sun with fingers. President Obama must be given the duly deserving credit for winding up the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan replacing the warfare and military juggernauts with rehabilitation and reconstruction of a war battered country.
It would be naïve to negate that revival of that war-torn country and resettling its traumatized people is a remarkable and spectacular alternative for winning the hearts and minds of the disgruntled and displaced Afghanis. Likewise the termination of military presence in Iraq after a long drawn destructive war with countless casualties and colossal upheaval should be applauded than being criticized.
Now these are momentous steps and manifest milestones that should convince the American people of the potential, sincerity, competence and statesmanship of president Obama to catch the bull by horn and address the most intriguing issues with phenomenally excellent results. His derisively nicknamed Obamacare which is a monumental healthcare program benefitting most ignored or poor American is exceptionally revolutionary and commendable. Since this plan would cut across the unimaginable incomes and huge money making insurance companies of the top wealthy Americans, they are using the Trojan horse of the Republican Party to get it shelved, abandoned or revoked.
Nevertheless, the American voters are prudent and conscientious citizens. They certainly weigh the pros and cons and good and bad of a candidate before casting their precious ballots. With sizeable support from the middle classes and youth, from the African American community and Latinos, President Obama stands a better chance to win the second term. The results in primaries and caucuses show his upper edge and if this trend continues he would return to the White House
In dealing with the internal and external gubernatorial problems, he has been pragmatic, steady and upright. From where such a dedicated, talented and patriotic leadership, the American people would find? In Mitt Romney: not a shred of that.
Friday, July 6, 2012
July 5, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
Living in Pakistan for most of the Pakistanis is nothing short of a persistent nightmare and an unrelenting trauma. The Pakistani society is rapidly decaying and could be pictured as rotten. The rulers and the coterie of leaders do not shy away from heaping miseries, humiliations and deprivations on a nation that was born some six decades ago. The people have been subjected to horrendous civic and social deformities that could equate Pakistan with some of the obscure African countries where life is at a subhuman level and human civilization is yet to make its presence felt.
The dignity, the self esteem, the honor and the moral principles look like unpalatable anathema to the politicians of Pakistan. The, shameless leaders, the brazen-faced politicians and the parliamentarians are like leeches sucking the blood of the people and turning that hapless segment of humanity into living corpses.
Water, let alone potable, is becoming a luxury to be bought with money. The electric power for a society is like blood in human veins. This indispensible amenity is not only horrifically scarce but callously expensive. Because of the load-shedding patently a cover- up for acute power shortage, a whole nation is developing mental disorders and sinister psychological disabilities.
The social sector is in an indescribable mess. The Health, education, transport, environment, institutions, departments, railways, roads, dams, manufacturing units, mills, factories, moral moorings, individual ethics, are in state of rapid decay. If we try to look around for good governance among various societies in the modern times, Pakistan cannot be among them. If you picture Pakistan in your mind, you may visualize the deterioration of such essentials features as order, discipline, peace, decency, honesty, fairness, mutual respect, and self-esteem.
The people with a flaming soul and pricking conscience groan and grieve over a massive decline and drift rapidly swallowing that nation that prides itself to be erected upon religious foundations. There are also people who keep chattering about the pristine and immutable Islamic principles and the ideal mode of life that it offers. Can we see a millionth of its practical reflections on the soil of Pakistan? The preachers of such ideals are themselves its violators.
Religious dogmatists never tire is misleading the people and exhort day in day out a sublime society under the umbrella of Islam. Their resounding rhetoric is to “catch hold of God’s rope and be united and to not fragment”. Can you see a feeble glimpse of those lofty and precious injunctions in any Islamic country let alone in Pakistan? The religious dogmatists, theologians, preachers and scholars spew out venom from the pulpit against the rival sects that differ in faith for their own reasons.
The Muslim nations and Islamic polity have remained perennially divided and fractured all these 1400 years. The Islamic scholars have failed to work out a doctrinal consensus between a plethora of sects and denominations because no one likes to compromise on elements of faith. The goal of unity and oneness among the colliding sects within Islam would remain an elusive goal as it has remained all these centuries. Hence, one can witness incessant religious bloodletting between sects in Pakistan.
The political leadership in Pakistan has been busy in destroying and weakening the country rather than building and fortifying it. It is a divine curse and dire misfortune that the ruling elite in Pakistan are engaged in disservice rather than servicing the country and the people. It is because of the dishonest and incompetent, self serving leadership that Pakistan, since its inception is, bedeviled by loathsome traditions and sordid pursuits.
You name a social or moral vice and you would find that in this land of pure. It is here that the grafts, nepotism, greed, poverty, toadyism and fanaticism abound. The country is awash with horrible crimes from target killings to the rape and child molestation. It is in this country that the laws are bent for safeguarding the interests of clans, parties and individuals. The self- aggrandizement supersedes the national priorities and nation-building. Misuse of power, violation of law, breach of constitution and the established tenets of a civilized and civil behavior, are the norms that the leaders and people in power adhere to.
The escalating breakdown of governance and the socio-civic impasse has accentuated the scale of agony and disempowerment of the masses to an all time high. The people suffer in silence. There are sporadic protests by the suffering sections. But these are far and few, like a bubble and disintegrated. The countrywide earth-shaking eruption or ferment that could trigger a movement for casting away the prevailing abominable order is nowhere in sight.
The empowered crooks and swindlers laugh in their sleeves and perpetuate in their perfidious proclivities by brutalizing the people and enhancing their riches and privileges. While a lone jurist in the person of chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is holding on to the ramparts of justice, every insidious and vicious machinations is being pulled out to denigrate him and thus derail the due process of law.
The exploitative pressure groups and privileged lobbies starting from the presidency down to a contractor are up in arms to defy and debase the justice system which is the only hope for hanging on to a civil society. The establishment, the political parties, the people’s representatives, the loathsome money grabbers, the swindlers of public money and the ubiquitous gun totting assassins have joined hands to wreck the society and victimize the harmless citizens.
The people from lower strata of population are already half dead with the woeful state of utilities, galloping cost of living, meager incomes, broken law and order, rampant killings, stifling red tape and so on. The harassed and frenzied people do not know where to go for redress of their even ordinary problems such as to get a liter of petrol or gas or a gallon of clean water.
Three provinces of Pakistan are in a state of utter turmoil with swelling insurgency and upheaval. Baluchistan’s nationalists demand an independent Baluchistan. The Taliban and militant Islamists want to rule the North Western Frontier region starting from Swat to the Durand line. There is a civil war going on in the tribal areas for about ten years now. Karachi, a vital port, the largest city and economic hub of Pakistan looks like overtaken by dreaded mafias and bandits.
Does the present lot of power wielders possess the intentions, the mettle and vision to douse these flames of separation and rampant lawlessness? No way! In fact, they want this marvelous country to vanish so that their skins are saved and they can enjoy a cozy life with their fabulous wealth in distant lands.
In the face of this dooms-day spectacle, the government in power is bracing itself for another bout and head-on clash with the justice system. The federal cabinet consisting of the ministers from the majority party and the parasitic minority parties has approved the draft of the “Contempt of Court Bill 2012” aimed at exempting the president, prime minister, governors and chief ministers from contempt of court proceedings.
Besides, another bill has been approved that would legalize the dual nationality paving way for duel nationals to participate in the next general elections. If passed by the parliament this law would also protect current lawmakers with dual nationality from disqualification. Now these are the dirty tricks to thwart and belittle the courts and to nullify their decisions with regard to contempt and duel nationality.
So instead of addressing the collapsing governance and the pervasive rot seeping into every lane, street, house and in the ideological foundation of Pakistan; the privileged, elitist feudal classes and aristocrats are obsessed with fortifying and perpetuating their power and pelf.
Is the allegorical reference to Rome burning and the emperor Nero playing on flute relevant to this appalling state of affairs in Pakistan?
In those primitive times when absolutism of the monarchs was the unquestionable norm, the desperate people drove that ruthless tyrant out of the palace, chased and killed him.
The other allusion relevant to the ongoing ghastly scenario is that of the “French Revolution”. It was in the wake of that historic revolution that feudalists, aristocrats and the powerful exploitative sections of that decaying society met their nemesis through guillotines and outpouring of public wrath.
From that ruthless and blood soaked revolution, emerged another glorious order that let the French society bloom with a “hundred flowers”. An era of liberty, human emancipation, democracy and enlightenment was born that became a harbinger for other societies to follow suit. Can this salubrious transformation happen in Pakistan? Can someone lead the people to make that miracle happen in Pakistan? Or else there is no hope and Pakistan is destined to decay, disintegrate and disappear.