Saturday, September 30, 2017

Bilawal Bhutto is too Naive to lead PPP

September 28, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi

The political parties in Pakistan are like family fiefdoms that keep ruling and delving in the arena of politics and power as long as they can hold on. There are scores of political parties in Pakistan and it is seldom that they are headed or presided over by someone who was not from the founders’ clan.
In Pakistan, the tradition of electing the head of a political party has been invariably nonexistent. Even if the elections within the parties are held, a person from the family of the founders’ wins. There could be exceptions as in case of Jamaat-e-Islami or the Awami National Party.
Presently there are five main political parties in Pakistan. Besides there are 31 regional or minor parties. These five main political parties are PML (Nawaz Sharif), PTI (Imran Khan), PPP (Bilawal Bhutto), Awami National Party (Asfandyar Wali Khan) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (Muhammad Tahirul Qadri). All these are being run by the founders or the family of the founders. It shows that these parties don’t hold party elections to elect a more senior or deserving person if not related to the founder or his clan.
Let us specifically focus on PPP being run by Bilawal Bhutto as it Chairman. There has been no tradition of choosing or electing the head of the PPP from among the outsiders of the Bhutto family. It is patently a dynastic paradigm that negates and cuts across the underlying objective of political parties to promote democratic traditions and culture in Pakistan.
After Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, first his wife Nusrat Bhutto followed by his daughter Benazir Bhutto became successors to run the party. When Benazir Bhutto died in a terrorist attack on December 30, 2007, only one page of her will was revealed. In that will she is stated to have appointed her spouse Asif Ali Zardari as her successor in the event of any tragedy to her by way of her incarceration or demise. The tragedy struck sooner than later.
On the basis of that dubious will Asif Ali Zardari assumed the position of the co-chairman or president of PPP continuing since December 30, 2007 to the present. Bilawal Bhutto was appointed as the Chairman of the PPP on the same date and his name was changed from Bilawal Bhutto to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He was then merely 17 years old. Understandably, Mr. Zardari was the de-facto Chairman making all the decisions.
Now let us have a look at the merits of Bilawal Bhutto in spearheading a party that has been a formidable political force until Benazir Bhutto as its Chairperson. We all have seen that Bilawal is not well versed with the political and social culture of Pakistan. Patently he is inexperienced and indeed a novice in countering the other parties and addressing public meetings as seasoned politicians or for that matter his grandfather and illustrious mother had been doing.
 Not to speak of restructuring his declining party and unleashing a visionary manifesto for the uplift of Pakistan, he seems to be totally oblivious of the ground realities and lacks even basic awareness of the national issues. His demeanor is docile. His public utterances are incoherent and interspersed with odd and occasional uncalled-for outbursts. In short, he doesn’t have the basic ingredients of a seasoned political leader.
He spent his early life as a student in England. He doesn’t know much of Urdu. As such his tone and speech are tainted with British accent and pronunciation. He has to speak from a written text with great difficulty which in fact is a drawback for a politician who has to move and infuse the audience.
He is still living under the wings of his father like the old dynastic periods when a juvenile king was ensconced by his advisers. Even if he comes of political ripe age, his tone and worldview may not change as he has been aloof with the local life and grassroots culture and living paradigms of Pakistan. But he has been patently kept in the saddle of PPP as the Chairman for being the scion of the Bhutto family and to remain under the wings of his father Mr. Zardari: a political maverick in his own right.  
The way Bilawal roars unnecessarily in Public meetings and sometime missing the words and phrases make the whole political campaigning funny and rather bizarre. By virtue of his inexperience and youthful exuberance he makes statements and utterances that would not be objective and realistic and are detached from the common jargon. One such statement that he recently made was to liberate Kashmir perceptibly with Jihad.
While purposely abdicating the party leadership, Zardari donned it on the head of a young boy who lacked maturity and experience which comes over a period of time and by going through the grueling political process. By keeping Bilawal on the front, Zardari has been the factual leader from behind the curtain. We all know that this prestigious portfolio has been conferred on him by his father who is calling shots and making decisions from behind.  
The bare fact is that Bilawal Bhutto doesn’t have the grit, the making, style or the demeanor to serve as a political leader. We have seen that he spent the period of his adolescence for pretty long time in London and Dubai (April 1999-December-2011) with short visits to Pakistan in between)) studying and having a glamorous and flamboyant life at the same time. The startling details of his fun-laden lifestyle abroad are available on social media. Bilawal looks more like the type of a young darling lad of his party and precious scion of Bhutto clan.  Yet it would be erroneous to claim that he can provide a dynamic, revolutionary, rejuvenating and sterling leadership to PPP. 
If Pakistan People’s Party is the party of masses then it should discard the tradition of having dynastic Chairman or the president from the Bhutto family. After all it is the party of the people and it would be befitting if a common worker or senior member is appointed and elected as its president. That situation would heighten the prestige of the party and make it look more people and merit-oriented.
 This party has seasoned and dedicated members who are decidedly in better position and possess more merit and experience to lead the party. It would have been in order if a committed long-time member and veteran leader from PPP cadres should have been offered or elected to lead the party. That would have given it an indelible credibility and resurgence to PPP which has the guts to assail the political landscape of Pakistan once again.
Why not seasoned people like Khurshid Shah, Mian Raza Rabbani and similar other senior party leaders are given the reins of this powerful political party of yester years.
 These guys have gone through the political mill, have been colleagues of ZA Bhutto, spent their entire lives in serving the party and have suffered enormously on that count.
Their loyalty to the party is unswerving and uncompromising. They might go ahead in improving partially or wholly the sullied image of PPP and bring it back to its pristine glory and revolutionary track, infuse a new spirit in order to serve the people with a renewed dynamism and dedication.
I would include in my list such stalwarts and dedicated members whose loyalty and commitment to PPP all along has been unflinching. Some of the names of such loyal and seasoned persons that I have in my mind include Farooq NaekFaryal Talpur, Syed Khurshid Ahmed ShahFahmida MirzaMakhdoom Shahabuddin, Aitzaz Ahsan, Yousaf Raza Gillani and Saifullah Paracha.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Prime Minister Abbasi’s Performance in New York was Excellent

September 23, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
First of all, prime minister Shahid Khanq Abbasi was dressed up in typical Pakistani national costumes. There was no ostentation, no show off and even without a necktie he looked graceful. I wonder if our leaders too, once a while, represent Pakistani culture by way of wearing the national dress and look as a typical Pakistan as we see around in Pakistan.
Let us talk on the vital issues which the interim Prime minister picked up in New York and the way he robustly presented Pakistan’s’ outlook and policies on those issues. He was not apprehensive that by resolutely presenting Pakistan’s stance, there would be negative reaction from hostile countries. He was straightforward and point blank on regional and international issues that somehow concern Pakistan by way of nationalism, religion or sovereignty of our country.
The principal difference between the erstwhile PM of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is that the former was not vocal or outspoken, was shy and lacked confidence in dishing out his thoughts and perceptions to his interlocutors. He lacked the art of articulation in English. That deficiency was apparent in Sharif’s meeting with the former president of United State Barack Obama. In that meeting, he didn’t seem to be speaking a single sentence and was holding a piece of paper to be read out in front of president Obama. That display was rather shameful and nauseating.
The issues that prime minister Abbasi raised and highlighted in his address at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, are of vital importance to Pakistan. It was utterly necessary to clearly lay-out Pakistan’s perceptions and outlook on those interstate or regional issues.
For instance, in regard to the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan he “urged the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to Kashmir, as the struggle of the people in the region is being "brutally suppressed" by India. Prime Minister Abbasi accused India of indulging in terror activities against Pakistan and warned of a "matching response" in case India ventures across the LoC (Line of Control)" or acts upon its doctrine of “limited war” against Pakistan.
Mian Nawaz Sharif was reticent on expressing the national outlook of Pakistan and raising the finger at India. He had a policy of pacification towards India which emboldened that neighboring country to perpetrate diabolic atrocities in the Indian part of Kashmir where an unremitting anti-India outrage is going on. India has been presently silencing and suppressing the Kashmiris to be allowed to express their opinion via a plebiscite either to remain with India or with Pakistan.  
Abbasi conveyed to the world community that while Pakistan has hugely suffered in all manners, because of its involvement in Afghanistan war on the side of United States in fighting against the dissidents both Islamic and otherwise, it is unjustifiably being blamed by the new American president Trump for the continuing chaos and renewal of anti-Afghans rebel fighters including Taliban and Al-Qaida etc. He dubbed president Trump for his uncalled allegation that Pakistan was harboring the militants to fight in Afghanistan against the government there and the American troops. 
In this regard, he presented figures detailing that since the war on terror beginning from September 11, 2001 onwards, 27000 Pakistani soldiers and civilians lost their lives. Abbasi argued that further military efforts and fighting to end the Afghanistan’s persistent crisis would be futile. He suggested that the best way-out of this quagmire was a political solution and not a military onslaught.
While rejecting president Trump denunciation of Pakistan as a state harboring terrorist, Abbasi categorically decried this the same time Abbasi announced not to fight for others anymore all the more when Pakistan was being tipped as a “scapegoat” for failure of American and her allies’ over two decades long military adventure in Afghanistan: first against the Soviet Union (1979-1989) and later against Al-Qaeda other religious warier bands (2001-2016).
He emphasized that despite Pakistan’s historic role in Afghanistan to help American and coalition forces, Pakistan was being blamed for a stalemate in Afghanistan and a kind of scapegoat. It was not only a travesty of the truth but passing on a false blame on a trusted ally. As such Pakistan was not going to be involved in that fruitless fratricidal military campaign anymore or to fight wars for others.
Pakistan’s prime minister took a very hard and factual stand about India. He particularly mentioned the Indian brutalities in the occupied Kashmir as well as persistent human right violations there.  Besides he pointed out the military violations by India on the line of control between India and Pakistan. Referring to India’s “limited military option” against Pakistan, he said that Pakistan was ready to give a befitting response to such a military adventure.
Emphasizing the right of self-determination to be exercised by Kashmiris in the light of the United Nations’ Resolution, prime minister Abbasi called upon the world community for its implementation. Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to the charter of the United Nations he assured the world body that Pakistan stood for international peace, strengthening democratic culture and fighting such issues as environmental degradation etc.
He took up the case of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohinghia Muslims by the Burmese government and called upon the international community to join hand for end to the spate of brutality against a defenseless and peaceful community.
All these statements demonstrated Pakistan’s new role as a country not be cowed down by the world powers such as United States under president Trump who put blame on Pakistan for American debacle in Afghanistan.
Prime minister Abbasi was outspoken, candid and versatile in his meetings on the sidelines or where he was invited as the chief guest. At the session arranged by Council on Foreign Relations a prestigious American think tank, Abbasi answered the questions in a scholarly and
confident manner. It was for the first time in such a prestigious and high profile intellectual atmosphere that he eloquently spoke on behalf of Pakistan and spelt-out national perceptions on the questions asked by the participants.
Though a symbolic public relation exercise, his meeting with Mike Pence the vice president of United States went quite well and had been positive in regards to harmonizing relations between the two longtime allies both in war and peace.
Since prime minister Abbasi was educated in the United States, he did not feel any difficulty or inhibition in socially harmonizing himself in United States. He holds a Master's degree from George Washington University USA, and a bachelor degree in the same discipline from University of California. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has a 29-year experience of mainstream politics and is a foreign-qualified Electrical Engineer.
There seems to be a redeeming feature of the change of the prime ministers in Pakistan. Mian
Nawaz Sharif wouldn’t have the necessary clout, knowledge, confidence and aptitude of candid
expression in English to achieve what Khaqan Abbasi has been able to convey and excel. On the whole, it could be adjudged that this visit of the substitute prime minister on the whole was successful.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his blog


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Imran Khan’s Speech in Hyderabad Sindh was Impressive

September 20, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
Imran Khan the mercurial yet inimitable chairman of the political party “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf” (PTI) is emerging as front-line confident leader as borne out by his speech in Hyderabad city of the Sindh province. The public meeting was certainly huge despite being far from his home turf in Punjab or in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa  (KPK) province. It demonstrates that the PTI could be gaining ground in Sindh which primarily has been, a political haven for the PPP and MQM all these years.
In his speech, Imran Khan stated that one of the PTI’s political opponent Mian Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified and had to leave the slot of the prime minister because of PTI pursuit of corruption case against him in courts. He announced that PTI was going to do the same about Zardari; the co-chairperson of the PPP.  By directly addressing Zardari He thundered that, ““After Nawaz we are coming after you” who in his reckoning was the “biggest problem of Sindh”.  It is quite candid that Imran is also going to launch an anti- Zardari campaign both politically and through the judicial and legal channels.
Imran Khan pledged to lay the foundations of a good and corruption-free leadership and governance. He talked of taking measures and induct reforms that could benefit the downtrodden and poor sections of the society. He pledged to bring a genuine justice system, a universal educational and healthcare system.
He spoke on issues with eloquence and emphasis that is the hallmark of a politician aiming at capturing power through the peoples’ mandate. Besides he promised equal opportunities for jobs and advancement in life to the poor, deprived and lower sections of society.  He promised to empower the neglected and impoverished people and abolish the over-lordship of the rich and privileged classes.  All this speaks for a social revolution that is what happened in societies sunk in similar degrading conditions as Pakistan presently is.
Bu what one would appreciate and indeed marvel that he launched a frontal attack on Asif Ali Zardari a political maverick and the co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party. Simultaneously aiming at Bilawal Zardari Bhutto the incumbent chairman of the PPP, Imran Khan denounced him by observing that Bilawal Zardari Bhutto was occupying a position which neither did he earn through hard work nor deserves to hold that.
It is quite clear that the political arena in Pakistan is now assailed by three parties namely the PMLN headed by Kulsum Nawaz but in effect by Nawaz Sharif, the PPP headed by the Bilawal and shared by his father.
The political clout and standing of the PMNL in Sindh is not as robust as that of the PPP whose founder and most of the political rank and file hail from that province. Sindh province, politically belongs either to Muhajir Qaumi Movement(MQM) mostly confined to Karachi city and Hyderabad or to the PPP.  The PPP has been leading other political parties in elections in Sindh as it enjoys support and sympathy of the most of the Sindhi speaking population. Although over a period of time, there have been dents in the citadel of PPP but still this party somehow remains as the leading political force of that province.
But the reputation of Asif Ali Zardari is not edifying due to his image of being a thoroughly corrupt person who allegedly enhanced his wealth astronomically by devious means and is maintaining huge accounts and properties abroad. Its amazing that with a besmirched reputation of being incorrigibly corrupt person he had been the president of Pakistan (Sept 2008-Sept 2013) which is the highest position in any country. That aspect demonstrated his political acumen. After the murder of his spouse Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi city in December 2007, he had been the Co-chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party until December 2015. When General Pervez Musharraf had to relinquish power, it was Nawaz Sharif who assailed into the prime ministerial office with the cooperation and collaboration of PPP with Mr. Zardari as its chairperson. As such, both Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, despite their ill reputation and avarice for wealth accumulation through right or wrong means deserve the appreciation for taking Pakistan back to the democratic tracks.
While Mr. Zardari has been recently cleansed and acquitted of all the corruption charges by the courts, the stigma is not going to be washed off as far the people of Pakistan are concerned. It is with that dimension in view that Imran Khan tends to revive the corruption scandals and saga of Mr. Zardari and simultaneously offering a better and clean leadership under PTI.
Zardari escaping all the previous hurdles by hook or crook may also be contemplating how to manage and deal with this latest challenge that could prove to be a Waterloo for his reputation and even take him to the jail once again if the charges of corruption are proven in the courts.
It is therefore, going to be a three-dimensional political battle that might not go this time in favor of Zardari. As far the PPP leadership is concerned some of them don’t enjoy good reputation because of gross and uninhibited corruption including two former PPP prime ministers: one being Pervez Ashraf and the other Yousaf Raza Gillani.
If by any stretch of imagination, PTI cannot win majority votes in Sindh because there are well-entrenched heavyweight political contenders one of which is the MQM. But it would certainly emerge as a strong force in the political landscape of Sindh. It is true that people of Sindh are divided politically between PPP and MQM with JI on the sidelines. Yet the possibility of PTI emerging as the third political force in Sindh, an uncharted political landscape, cannot be ruled out. I plead this aspect because of a huge crowd in attendance at the PTI’s recent public meeting at Hyderabad city.
Let PTI, for a change, take up the reins of the governance both in provinces as well as the center. One good outcome of such a development could be the possibility of the formation of a neat and accountable government. That PTI dispensation might succeed in curbing or eliminating the curse of corruption as well as lay the foundation of an accountable and clean political culture in Pakistan.
It is yet to be seen that in that rather improbable scenario how the notorious political and non-political thugs neck deep in corruption would be dealt or react. It’s a scenario that only future holds and it may take a pretty tough and prolonged political battling and campaigning by the PTI leadership to unfold. Let us wait and watch what appears on the political horizon of Pakistan.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Would Kashmir Dispute Never be Resolved!

September 14, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
India and Pakistan have been dueling with each other since 1947 for accession or occupation of disputed territories in Kashmir Valley. Ever-since both are stuck up along the Line of Control and may remain so in the future as well. The Kashmiri nation is ethnically and religiously different from India. Kashmiris cannot freely travel across the Indian border as they can do along the Pakistani borders.
India makes a legal clam for her occupation of the disputed territories in Kashmir by citing the agreement reached with the Dogra Monarch Hari Singh ruling Kashmir at the time of partition. Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir is based upon the partition formula stipulating that the majority of the religious population would be basic criterion for a state to join either India or Pakistan. 
In simple terms, it means Muslims majority areas to join Pakistan and the Hindus majority areas with India. Because of the unrelenting insurgency and continuous internal unrest in the Indian occupied part of Kashmir, India started deploying security forces through 1990s under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that continue to remain camped on the Indian side of Kashmir ever since. Lately their number has reached 700,000. This is the highest number of armed forces deployment by any country in the post-world war in the disputed territories.
The stationing of such massive military presence is a counterpoise to the Pakistan much smaller military deployment in Pakistan’s controlled Kashmir. The deployment of Indian military and para military forces is aimed at suppressing any riots and internal liberation movements launched by the freedom fighters from time to time. The Indian army has been accused of gross human right violation and perpetration of civilian casualties.
The population of Kashmir in both parts under India and Pakistan is around 16 million. Out of this 12.5 million live in the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir and the remaining 3 million in the Azad Kashmir part of Pakistan. With the phased addition of 700,000 Indian security forces the population in the Indian part of Kashmir has soared to over 13 million thus changing the demographics.
Such a colossal presence of army means that India does not trust the local Kashmiri Muslim population. It means that for every 20 citizens there was one Indian soldier. There are no confirmed reports that the army officials are entering into matrimonial relations with the local girls. But with the army camps all over, the contacts between the local population and the army rank and file cannot be ruled out.
 The Indian army is free to arrest, kill or incarcerate any person or group suspicious of being anti India militant or covertly to overtly involve against India in a liberation struggle. There have been unmarked graves that are alleged to be the insurgents killed by the Indian army and buried there. But on the positive side Indian army has engaged itself in education projects and provision of social services to win the sympathies of Kashmiris and to mitigate the anti-Indian sentiment.
Pakistan and India have fought four wars over Kashmir but none has been conclusive in favor of either by way of total invasion or conquest of Kashmir. These wars were fought in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999(Kargil). The Kashmir territory is occupied by three regional countries. India possesses 39000 sq. miles, Pakistan 33000 sq. miles and China occupies 14500 sq. miles.
Pakistan controls the North-West region that includes northern areas and Azad Kashmir. India occupies the central and southern portion of Jammu, Kashmir valley and Laddakh. The areas under Chinese sway are the northeastern tracts, Trans Karakorum and Aksai Chin. In addition, major portion of Siachen glacier including Saltoro ridge passes are held by India. The lower portions of Saltoro Ridge are under the control of Pakistan.
Following the initial skirmishes between India and Pakistan, during 1947-1948, a ceasefire was agreed upon between the two belligerents under the UN auspices (resolution 47). The resolution called for holding a plebiscite for eliciting the opinion of the Kashmiris whether they would opt to join Pakistan or India. However, such a plebiscite has never been conducted.
The final, yet abortive military incursion was attempted by president Musharraf to get hold of the Kargil heights. Due to a drastic divergent of stands between the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and president Musharraf, as well logistic bottlenecks, the mission resulted in a terrible fiasco for Pakistan. Although in the initial stages Pakistani forces occupied strategic locations but then had to vacate those under massive Indian response as well as under the intentional pressure.
The stalemate over the final resolution of this most lingering dispute between the two inveterate neighbors is likely to continue indefinitely until both agree to earnestly find its mutually acceptable solution. But such a solution can remain elusive as the Kashmiri nation itself is divided on a consensus formula that could bring an end to this tricky impasse entailing appalling loss of human lives besides prolonged bondage of a nation through use of force.
One faction of Kashmiris wants to align with Pakistan, the second want to join India and the third asserts for an independent Kashmir. India tacitly prefers to convert the existing line of control as a permanent border. Perhaps Some Pakistani rulers such as Nawaz Sharif were also in favor of such a solution. But even this more pragmatic way-out would still not be adequate to quell the anti-India-sentiments and uprising in its entirety in the Indian held Kashmir.
The ongoing times are not conducive or fruitful for a conventional war in which one would subdue the other by sword or through better fighting skills. Nor is it a time for the lion hearted to prevail because even a meek or faint-hearted can shoot others from a hidden location. 
As such neither country can attain a military victory unless one of these has superior weaponry and larger force. In this case it is India that enjoys both these upper edges. Traditionally Pakistan has seldom proven to be a matching fighting force, though its military have fought well in 1965.
In the initial stages after the partition there was reportedly an offer from India to swap Hyderabad Deccan with Kashmir Valley. But this offer was spurned by the then Pakistani leadership. India thereafter annexed the princely state of Hyderabad by a military operation. Thus, an invaluable option for resolving the Kashmir dispute was wasted by Pakistan. 
India’s use of force for annexation of Hyderabad carried the argument that since it was a state with majority Hindu population, India had a right to forcibly annex it. But paradoxically this formula was set aside in the case of Kashmir where Muslims are in majority.
Even if by some miracle Pakistan wins the Kashmir case in the international court, India would never relinquish her hold over that enchanting and strategically crucial valley. Nor would India care to ever hold a plebiscite in Kashmir fully mindful that such step would go in favor of Pakistan. 
Israel is one example in such a scenario which occupies the Palestinian territories by brazen violation of rule set out by the UNO charter. Yet Israel cannot be forcibly pushed out by the rebellious Palestinians or by dint of international opinion. Pakistan as such should treat Kashmir issue as a closed or lost case.
Following the death of a popular Militant leader Burhan Wani in July 2016, the anti-Indian protests, processions and demonstrations in the Indian occupied Kashmir have grown more fierce and frequent.
Frequent curfews have been imposed in all 10 districts of Indian part of Kashmir. Several civilians have died and over 2000 injured in the clashes with the Indian police. Besides more than 600 have pellet injuries some of whom may lose their eyesight. Thousands of Kashmiris have been reported to be killed by Indian security forces in custody, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances and these human right violations are said to be carried out by Indian security forces. Women and children have been killed in "reprisal" attacks by Indian security forces.
The State government have blocked cellphone and internet services. Besides newspapers have also been restricted in many parts of the state. An attack by four militants on an Indian Army base in September last year, suspected to be carried out by militants resulted in the death of 19 soldiers as well as the militants.
The United Nations has expressed serious concerns over large number of killings by Indian security forces. International NGO's as well as the US State Department have documented human rights abuses including disappearances, torture and arbitrary executions carried out during India's counter-terrorism operations.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Grave Threat to the Survival of the Burmese Muslims

 September 8, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi

According to the International news agencies including the United Nations refugee agency that fleeing from the violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, more than a quarter of a million (270000) Rohingya Muslim refugees have flooded into Bangladesh in just two weeks. In the wake of this colossal humanitarian upheaval around l,000 people had been killed in the violence over the past two weeks.
Dozens of Rohingya women and children fleeing the violence have drowned while attempting to escape to Bangladesh by boats. As refugees continue to pour across the border, discontent is growing inside Bangladesh at the ongoing violence in their neighboring Rakhine State. Out of the 50 million estimate Burmese population Muslims are about 4 per cent while the Buddhist population forms 87 percent of the total population.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote to his fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, urging her to stop the violence. Kyi who herself suffered at the hands of various military regimes and have been incarcerated for a prolonged period of time is now holding a very prestigious position of State Counselor which is second to the incumbent president Htin Kyaw.
The misfortune rooted in history is that these Rohingya refugees Muslims either from Bangladesh or Myanmar have been all along on the wrong side of history. While in Myanmar they are treated as non-Burmese citizens, the Bangladesh government labels them as those who sided with then Pakistan and supported the military action against then then East Pakistan.
After the emergence of a new state of Bangladesh they were branded as unpatriotic and therefore were expelled periodically from Bangladesh by the respective regimes which have been pro- India and a replica of the Awami league or the Awami league itself.
These Muslims were hunted out and majority of them pushed towards the sea and the cities were vacated from them. Without any sustained help from the international agencies these rootless people started living along the sea. They constructed makeshift huts and dwellings and had also put up schooling and health systems. Visibly they didn’t have any jobs and permanent sources of income.
While living along the sea coast and or on water boats, they started moving towards Burma thinking that it would be safe havens for them, although the Rohingya Muslims were also being persecuted. Already there were sizeable Muslims living there for ages because India and the Burma were under the British colonial rule.
But with exodus of the bulk Bangladeshi Muslims to Myanmar hampered the jobs and social life of the non-Muslim and non-Bengali Burmese. the majority Buddhist population was alarmed on account a parallel religious entity emerging before their eyes. Many new mosques were built and jobs was also being taken over by the newly arrived Muslims population from the native citizens.
The creation of Bangladesh happened in December 1971. In these 35 years there has been consistent efforts on the part of displaced Bengali population to settle in Burma. The Burmese or Myanmar government under pressure from their Buddhist population perceived the newly arriving Bangladeshi population as a threat to their religion as well as to the social, cultural and economic life. The people of Bangladesh are very hard working so they gradually started having firm foothold in the Burmese society. In addition to their arrival from Bangladesh there were millions of Rohingya Muslims already living in Myanmar for decades.
When the Burmese government which has been mostly by the military realized that change of demography and particularly Muslim refuge community, they started expelling them out of Myanmar. This campaign is continuing and might continue until the UNO and UNHCR take firm decisions and come to the rescue of these displaced people who are homeless and have been neither here and there.
When the ethnic cleansing as well their expulsion and severe persecution began in Burma these people started living in boats along the banks of the ocean. Correspondingly, the displaced people in Bangladesh also used the coastal areas and even boats to survive. As such they got a new nomenclature the “Boat people”. These people starting living along the ocean banks as the people on no man land. But since their contacts with the people living on land both in Bangladesh and Myanmar continued they were not spared and instead were attacked, persecuted and killed on the land, boats and ferries they were lodged.
The latest upsurge against them is a willful resumption of the expulsion campaign by the present Burmese government to make the Myanmar free from these hapless people and one of the most persecuted peoples in the history of mankind.
There is a dire need for the joint efforts by the United Nations, the leading Islamic countries, Bangladesh, Pakistan and other international humanitarian agencies to save these people from further agony, persecutions, deaths and disintegration. It is really heart-wrenching to see their young generations, boys and girls becoming victims of a horrendous tragedy that is not their fault and of their making. Tis option ought to be applied both the displaced people of Bangladesh and Rohingya Muslims of Burma.
The Rohingya are considered to be among the world's most persecuted people. The predominantly Buddhist Myanmar considers them Bangladeshi but Bangladesh says they're Burmese.
The Rohingya population are denied citizenship under the 1982 Burmese citizenship law.
They have faced military crackdowns in 1978, 1991–1992 20122015 and 2016–2017. The United Nations officials have described Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing.

Islamic Tradition of Sacrifice and Brutality to the Animals

September 4, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
I have been immensely appalled every year by the gleeful cruelty and sadism exhibited by the Muslims faithful in slaughtering the animals in order to fulfill one of the cardinal religious obligations. With bloodshot eyes and with the definitive resolve, they kill the animal by inflicting on it the maximum possible torture. The poor, helpless, dumb animal is surrounded by a few sturdy strong muscled individuals. According to a press report, this year 8.1 million animal have been sacrificed alone in Pakistan
They knock the animal down by twisting and pulling its tail, while the others tie up the legs. Yet the others hold the animal fast by horns and the rest give the it a push to fall down on the ground. The animal is tied down to the earth by several people while one of them slits its throat and jugular vein with a saber like knife. No one has the faintest idea how much pain the animals must be undergoing.
The gory scene gives an impression as if they are dealing with a bloodthirsty enemy and to avenge on him for the heinous crime that he had committed or else for defiling the females of the avenging persons. Watching the blood flowing out of the body of the animal is also considered as part of the ritual and this it gives a kind of satisfaction to the person offering sacrifice in the name of God. The animals neither can speak nor have a lawyer to protest or plead against this cruelty.
In the modern societies where animal flesh is voraciously consumed and is an integral part of the food, the animals are not subjected to the agony and callousness that is shown in the Muslim societies.
In Europe and elsewhere the companies dealing with the bulk supply of meat stun the animal with a gun or some instrument and then the body is dissected which is not at all painful to the animals for being unconscious.
This system or procedure can be practiced in Islamic countries also that otherwise make a mess of this very fundamental religious obligation. In every lane and street, park, public place and road the sacrificial animals are tethered for days on end. There is massive disruption of traffic and horrendous pollution of air with all kind of fodder, animal droppings, refuse, and smell. This unhygienic environment phenomenally aggravates and rather assumes unbearable fifthly proportions when after the slaughtering the heaps of offal, intestines, dried blood pools, entrails and other wasted portions of the slaughtered animals are seen scattered everywhere for days together.
The nauseating stench fills the air that does not go soon. These repugnant spectacles present a sheer contrast with unislamic societies where the pristine Islamic ritual is carried out scientifically, so hygienically and in such an organized manner. 
In every lane and street, park, public place and road the sacrificial animals are tethered for days on end. There is massive disruption of traffic and horrendous pollution of air with all kind of fodder, animal droppings, refuse, and smell. This unhygienic environment phenomenally aggravates and rather assumes unbearable fifthly proportions when after the slaughtering the heaps of offal, intestines, dried blood pools, entrails and other wasted portions of the slaughtered animals are seen scattered everywhere for days together.
The nauseating stench fills the air that does not go soon. These repugnant spectacles present a sheer contrast with unislamic societies where the pristine Islamic ritual is carried out scientifically, so hygienically and in such an organized manner.
If we refuse to learn salutary and positive lessons and useful models from the advanced and civically vigilant societies in other spheres such as good governance, then we should at least follow the systems by which they manage their municipal affairs and keep the environment clean and pollution-free.
In America, the people are so much conscious of clean environment that they do not smoke within their houses even at midnight. I am a witness and a part of this commendable behavior as I live here. They go out of the house and offices for smoking. This also shows the citizens’ respect for the law, which ordains to smoke outside in the open.
If we refuse to learn salutary and positive lessons and useful models from the advanced and civically vigilant societies in other spheres such as good governance, then we should at least follow the systems by which they manage their municipal affairs and keep the environment clean and pollution-free.
In America, the people are so much conscious of clean environment that they do not smoke within their houses even at midnight. I am a witness and a part of this commendable behavior as I live here. They go out of the house and offices for smoking. This also shows the citizens’ respect for the law, which ordains to smoke outside in the open.
Here in America the Muslims do offer sacrifice of the animals mostly cows, goats and lambs. But the slaughtering is assigned to the professional meat sellers or certified butchers who buy the animals themselves against the uniformly fixed prices. These professionals slaughter the animals far away from the city in closely watched slaughterhouses or abattoirs. The meat in properly cut into pieces, put in the polythene bags and given to the faithful. All this process is done in a very neat, clean, and organized manner.
When we dig out the history of sacrifice, we know that invariably, the humans have been offering sacrifice of either animals or the humans. In Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Hindu civilizations, the human sacrifice to the deities and their idols has been in vogue from time immemorial. The Aztecs used to pluck the throbbing heart of their victims and hold it up to the Sun God.
However, the ritual or the religious obligation of sacrifice was first started by Hazrat Ibrahim(PBUH), (in English it is Abraham) the father of the so known Semitic or Ibrahimic religions. Prophet Ibrahim made a covenant with God that he would slay his son after he received the divine commandment to do so.
Ibrahim had two wives. The first wife’s name was Sara and the second’s name was Hajira (called bondwoman in (Bible).
It is amazing that when Sara doesn’t conceive, she allows Ibrahim to go into Hajira (in English it is Hagar) their Egyptian maid servant. From Hajira the son Ismael was born. But after a few years in her old age, Sara by a miracle, also gives birth to a male child who was named Ishaq. Ismael and Ishaq are both treated as Prophets in Islam. At that time, the age of Ismael was 14 years.
It is also stated in Bible that Sara became envious and asked Ibrahim to send the slave woman Hajira and his son Ismael away because Ismael scoffed on her and her son Ishaq.  In compliance with the command of Sara, Prophet Ibrahim gives them some food and a skin of water and sends them away. It means that it was not command of God but the desire of Sara for their expulsion from house.
In contrast, the prevailing belief in Islam is that he went with them all the way to a place in desert and left them there. Hajira wandered in the desert of Beersheba (presumably Mecca). When water finished Hajira in sheer desperation and anguish closed her eyes not to see the child dying because of thirst. But at that moment the angel or God called her and asked her to open her eyes.
When she opened her eyes, she saw a water well. Ismael lived in there and grew up. However historically it surmises that the Zam Zam well in Mecca had been there even in earlier times i.e. (before 1900 BC). The caravans used to pass by and stay there on their journey to rest and proceed after refreshing themselves.
As far emergence of water in desert is concerned both Biblical and Islamic versions are the same. But in matter of sacrifice the Biblical version is different with that of the prevalent Islamic faith. In Islam, it was Ismael, the elder son chosen for sacrifice. In Bible, it was Ishaq the son of Sara taken away for the sacrifice in compliance with the command of God.
Bible vividly describes as to how Ibrahim took his son Ishaq to a far-off place called “Land of Moria” for the sacrifice (in Bible it has been termed as burnt offer). He also took two servants and a donkey with him. After reaching the land of Moria, Ibrahim left behind his servants and asks them to wait for his return Then he moves ahead with Ishaq. He also carried in his hands a load of wood, a knife and burning fire. When they were walking towards the alter (place of sacrifice) on the way Ishaq asks his father that he can see the fire and the pile of wood but where was the ram. Ibrahim replied that God would provide that. This question is also asked by Ismael in the Islamic version. At the appointed place Ibrahim made an altar, put the wood on that and tied Ishaq. He took out the knife to slay Ishaq when the angel called him and forbade him not to proceed with his act of slaying.
Ibrahim raised his eyes and saw a ram caught up in thicket. He caught the ram and sacrificed it. The angel or God conversed with Ibrahim for the second time and told him that his sacrifice was accepted and his progeny would spread and prosper. The islamic version exactly corresponds with that of the Bible but replacing the name of Ishaq with Ismael.
One can wonder that How Prophet Muhammad could have decided that the story of sacrifice relating to Ishaq was not true and that the one concerning Ismael was true. Till the time of Prophet Muhammad and his proclamation of Ismael as the one who was chosen for the sacrifice, it was Ishaq who was believed through the Bible or socially to be the one chosen for sacrifice as a fulfillment of divine commandment to Prophet Ibrahim. And that variance in version leads to the division of faith on this count between Islam on one side and the Judaism and Christianity on the other. 
The Islamic version doesn’t speak about Ishaq being sacrificed but only of Ismael. In Islamic version, the boy rubs his ankles on the ground and his mother runs 7 times between two hillocks (Safa and Marwa) to find water.  However, besides this episode it is also narrated in Quran that just close to where the water or the well appeared, Ismael was taken for sacrifice. That is why Muslim pilgrims also go and stone the Satan who dissociated Ibrahim not to obey the command of God.
It means that the appearance of Zamzam (the water well or fountain) and sacrifice event happened at the same place. As per Islamic version if Ismael was rubbing his feet on the ground because of thirst then he could be an infant. Or else he was an adult and still rubbing his feet as a grown-up boy because of thirst.
 Since this legend is narrated to have happened in the vicinity of Mecca, the Arabs even before the advent of Islam might have been observing the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim by sacrificing the animals.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), proclaimed the sacrifice of animals as one of the five pillars of the edifice of Islam. These five pillars are: one Shahada (proclamation of Ismael) second prayer, third fasting, fourth Zakat (giving charity) and fifth Pilgrimage to Mecca. Saying prayers five times a day and fasting for full lunar month (Ramadan) are mandatory.
I am curious to know if God’s covenant or condition conveyed to Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice the animals as a tradition or Sunnat, was exclusive to him only or was later ordained and decreed for everyone. Did the successive generations perform this ritual of Ibrahimic legacy one of which is to sacrifice animals to please God? As far, we know that the vivid tradition of sacrifice had not been clearly laid out until the proclamation of Islam as the religion by Prophet Muhammad.
Historically, during these millenniums (1900 BC to 650 CE), only Jewish and Christian faiths were practiced. While the land of Moria where Ishaq was taken for sacrificing has been forgotten. In contrast Mecca had become the center of religious, economic and traveling activities. It could have been due to Black Stone fixed in Khana Kaaba since the time of prophet Adam who traditionally brought it to the earth from the Heaven.