Saturday, October 19, 2019

June 27, 2019

Imran Khan Should Focus on Rebuilding Pakistan Than Targeting Political Rivals

By Saeed Qureshi

The PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-e- Insaf) party is sitting in the saddle of power since 18 August 2018. It is the day when Imran Khan, the PTI Chairman took oath of the office as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. Out of that Five years tenure, PTI has already exhausted ten months. The PTI and for that matter its Chairman Imran Khan’s slogans, roadmap and pledges announced before and after elections for bringing a remarkable revolution for the uplift of Pakistan were extremely plausible and enticing.

It was an historic victory for PTI, a back bencher political party to defeat the traditional political parties as well as the veteran politicians, and take over power to rule Pakistan for five years. The young generation was in the lead allover Pakistan in bringing the PTI and Imran Khan in power. There were quite a few prolonged sit-in demonstrations in big cities of Pakistan and specifically in Islamabad; the Capital city of Pakistan.

During his victory speech, Imran Khan as prime minister laid-out the policy planks and outlines of his future government. Khan therein said that his inspiration to build Pakistan as a humanitarian state was based upon the foundations and principles of the first Islamic State of Medina established by prophet Muhammad himself. He announced that his future government will put poor and commoners of the country at first and all policies will be geared towards elevating the living standards of the lesser fortunate.

He promised an investigation into the allegations of election rigging. He said that he wanted a united Pakistan and would refrain from victimizing his political opponents. He pledged that everyone will be equal under the law. He promised a simple and less costly government devoid of pomp and artificial luster. He pointed out that the spacious Prime Minister house will be converted into an educational institute and that the governor houses will be used for public benefit.

On foreign policy, he declared to learn from China and hoped to have better relations with Afghanistan, United States, India and the Middle East. He said his government will strive to have a balanced relationship with Saudi Arabia and Iran. The people of Pakistan were exuberant and excited for an historic revolution and believed Pakistan to be emerging as a country advancing on the path to the progress and prosperity and as a modern state in making.

Now when we look around in Pakistan, we find just the opposing scenario unfolding of what was promised by prime minister Imran Khan. The economy is in bad shape. Pakistan seems to be worse than what it used to be during the previous dispensation of PPPP and the PMLN. We find an overall and expanding deterioration and pervasive decline in all spheres of national development as well as the nation-building institutions.

We shudder to watch the television and the anchors announcing the rapid decline of the Pakistan rupee and fattening of Dollar. There seems to be no stoppage in this trend of Pakistan rupee getting weaker day by day and moment by moment. Currently one U.S. dollar is equal to Rs. 164.00 which is an all-time high in Pakistan.

The PTI failed to achieve Rs. 4435 billion taxes target. Fiscal deficit is Rs.3.6 trillion. So far it overspent 2000 billion dollars. Inflation has gone by 13% and interest 15 %. Abolishing zero regime for exporters has caused low exports. Imposing 27% custom duty on 2400 TAMFF lines is another blow to the export and import business activity. At the same time PTI has procured 5 trillion rupees from IMF and other international financial sources.

What has proven to be the bane of the PTI government is that it has engaged itself in a useless wild goose chasing kind of pursuit against the political opponents as its top priority. That priority or undertaking should have been left to the concerned law and order agencies and related departments. The involvement of the prime minister and his ministers with venomous declarations, vendetta oaths, frightening challenges and dire threats hurled at the political opponents have been a consistent pastime with the stalwarts of the incumbent PTI government including the prime minister and his ministers.

Granted that the politicians in the past, have been corrupt and grabbed money. Yet this should be carried along with other urgent and indispensable reforms such as bridling the worsening law and order situation including the daily murders, thefts, highway robberies and break-ins and similar heinous crimes. Runaway economy has to be bridled. Rupee has to be stabilized and exports to be encouraged with more incentives and easy loans.

Thus far, what the people come across is a kind of bitter blame game, rhetorical rebuttals and vicious condemnation against the political rivals and party leaders, launched by the foot soldiers and spokespersons such as Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, (the former

information minister and presently Federal Minister for Science and Technology), Madam Firdaus Ashiq Awan, the fire- spitting advisor to the prime minister and other stalwarts in power. This rancor and vendetta are so intense and unstinting that the leaders of the opposition parties notably the PPPP and PMNL have been implicated in corruption cases for which they had to remain in jail for a prolonged period of time and are still being prosecuted.

Even otherwise the culture of corruption and lawlessness is still in place. The PTI government has not been able to carry out other measures and reforms that could stop the pervasive culture of corruption all over Pakistan. It demonstrates that the aim was not to root out corruption and lawlessness but to use that ploy for fixing, harassing and sidelining the political opponents or political contenders. That attitude and outlook is a barrier for democratic culture and political freedom to the opposition leaders.

There should be an end to this kind of rancorous blame game and political witch-hunting by the PTI government that is aimed at keeping the political rivals out of politics and domain of democratic culture. The PTI government should focus on launching such schemes, projects, programs and reforms that can eliminate the overall poverty of the masses. It should enact laws and efforts to root-out lawlessness, culture of crime and thuggery, moral and financial malpractices in Pakistan.

Along with initiating financial and fiscal corruption cases against the politicians, it should have initiated and launched programs, projects and reforms geared towards nation building. It should aim at bringing relief to the people and making their lives easy and comfortable as we can see in many countries elsewhere in the world. A gigantic campaign of restructuring all public serving departments and institutions such as education, agriculture judiciary, infrastructure, road buildings, provision of water and electricity in every house and business location. Besides Pakistan needs to create a civil society by applying the local government systems and models of the countries such as USA, Canada, Great Britain West Germany and Scandinavian States. That would bring Pakistan in the comity of the fast developing and even developed nations in due course of time.

PTI Government seems to be focused on wrong priorities. Primarily it is not a question of fixing the politicians but improving and modernizing the state and society of Pakistan, Pakistan needs modern models of education, health, jobs, courts, infrastructure, roads, highways, modern sewerage and water supply systems that we find in advanced countries. The dirt, the filth both physical, moral and

similar wicked pursuits should be rooted out by copying the systems enforced and in place in developed countries. Turning Pakistan into a later day State of Medina is all alright from moral and religious angles. However, the people need the modern socio-civic living comforts such as electricity, water, roads, hospitals hygiene peace and institutional efficiency.

Imran Khan who lived in western countries and must be having awareness as to how those countries are serving their people with galore of socio-civic facilities, peace, law, order and harmony. Imran Khan can become the architect of a new, modern, prosperous, civically advanced and a modern state of Pakistan. Thereafter the people won’t flee and sneak legally or illegally to foreign countries for better and peaceful living, jobs, security and galore of socio-economic and civic facilities, true justice, accountability and safety.

Let us not forget that Pakistan came into being after great efforts and colossal sacrifices by the Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent under the inimitable leadership of Quaid-e- Azam-Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his illustrious companions and cohorts. It looks Pakistan would be going through another phase of chaos and turmoil caused by the meaningless tussle between the PTI government and the opposition parties. If this bizarre situation prolongs or worsens, the army may step in and impose martial law as we have witnessed in the past.

In the aftermath of the All Parties Conference, JUI Chief Maulana Fazalur Rehman announced in a press conference to observe July 25, 2019 as a Black Day against what he accused of rigging in general elections. This might spur another crisis that would entail oppressive retaliation by the PTI government embittering the political climate further.

The Writer is a Former Diplomat, Senior Journalist and Former Editor of Diplomatic Times Published in Pakistan

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Speech at the United Nations General Assembly Forum was Patriotic and Historic

September28, 2019
By Saeed Qureshi

During his seven days visit to the United States, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 27. He spoke for 52 minutes over almost 40 issues. Yet the issues that he emphasized and that were most important were Kashmir, Islamophobia, the bilateral relations between Pakistan and India, the climate change, the rampant corruption and money laundering from poor countries to the rich countries by wealthy and the rich robber barons including the politicians and business tycoons.
One is reminded that in a similar situation in 1971, the then Pakistan’s prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto tore his speech and walked out of the session of the Security Council. The Security Council members stalled the debate over Bangladesh separation movement aided militarily by India and then Russia. Mr. Bhutto tore the papers in his hand and walked out by saying that he “would not like to sit in a council which was biased against Pakistan”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan emphatically lamented that the United Nations lacks will to force Modi government to lift a barbaric and prolonged Martial law to keep the nine million Kashmiris confined to their houses now for 54 days by 9000 Indian armed soldiers spread all over.  Prime Minister called Modi a murderer of the Muslims, a Hindu racist and a fanatic. The business centers and educational institutions have been closed ever since the imposition of the inhuman martial law.  
Imran Khan compared Modi with Hitler and Italian Prime minster Mussolini who were the upholder of racial supremacy over other European races. Although ultimately, they had a miserable end with Germany defeated on all fronts including the Russians resistance. But those devastating wars were the outcome of the racist mindset of diabolic persons in which millions of people in Europe and Russia perished.
Altogether he had some 50 meetings during his visit to the United States. In his meeting with Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations he underscored the responsibility of the world body to take urgent steps to save lives in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
In his meeting with president Trump and the secretary of State Mike Pompeo,  the prime minister discussed and raised emergent issues that concern the stability of Pakistan, peace in the region including Iran versus Saudi Arabia, peace in Afghanistan, and in the Indian subcontinent.
Imran Khan’s visit has revived a genre of thoughtful diplomacy that adequately serves the interests of Pakistan, peace with the neighbors and beyond of the Islamic world. He offered even to solicit between Iran and the United States for peace in the region.
In his press conference Imran Khan explained how the term Islamophobia was being misused and exploited by the enemies of Islam. He conveyed to the American leadership that while Pakistan eliminated the terrorists in Pakistan and helped United States in Afghnistan in her war against the terrorists and even Taliban, in return after 9/11 the Islamic world was held responsible for the 9/11 attack. He lamented that even the suicidal attacks by religious militants were related to Pakistan.
The prime minister argued that Pakistan had been helping United States in her prolonged war in Afghanistan. He said that 70000 Pakistanis lost their lives in the aftermath of the 9/11 happening at the hands of indigenous terrorist organizations one of which was Taliban. Pakistan had to suffer for her support to the United States in Afghanistan and that infuriated the Taliban and indigenous religious outfits who turned on Pakistan with a vengeance and killed the people of Pakistan over a prolonged period of time.
In his press conference he categorically announced that Modi was a small person, a habitual liar and enemy of the Muslims living in India and elsewhere. Imran said that Modi was the murderer of the minority sects in Gujrat.
He questioned that when the 90000 Kashmiris will come out what would be situation? He expressed his deep concern that there would be a mayhem and massacre of the Kashmiri Muslims. He declared that if there was a war between India and Pakistan on Kashmir 
Pakistan would not remain aloof and fight back on all fronts.
He said that as the holocaust pains both Jews and Christians, similarly the Muslims are tormented when Islam’s prophet Muhammad were degraded by the opponents of Islam

Thursday, September 19, 2019

72 Years of Pakistan Gone Wasted!

September 17, 2019
72 Years of Pakistan Gone Wasted!
By Saeed Qureshi
The religious zealots contend that Pakistan is a citadel of Islam, although most of the religious parties opposed the creation of Pakistan. Pseudo nationalists gloat that it is a nuclear power. I say Pakistan cannot be the second country after the United States to use the atomic bomb under any circumstances as it would receive the same in return.
Which Pakistan are we talking about and proud of? The one with barricades and barriers all over the land as if the whole country is a jail or a concentration camp! Religious denominations and cults take pride and self-entertaining divine blessing for massacring each other. The more this nation is getting into the religious mindset the more barbaric, backward looking and intellectually marooned it is becoming.
In every locality or street, there are loudspeakers blurring sermons and Azan (summoning for prayer) five times a day causing a lethal sound pollution. The people defecate in the open or in manual home latrines, all the members taking turns. The meagerly paid sweepers from scheduled castes carry away the heaps of human excretion on a weekly basis and dump it in an open filth depot or dumpster (I am not talking of Islamabad) where it rots for days till the rain washes it away. The municipality trucks come once in a blue moon.
In a sanitation and sewerage deficient country, if you find human refuse running into open drains outside the houses, don’t take it seriously. If swarms of mosquitoes and flees surround you all the way to your destination: be it market, mosque and work place, take it as indifferently as part of a decadent civic order. If the worms and bacteria cause deadly epidemics, don’t panic.
Don’t mind the mind-boggling traffic jams on the narrow roads as we are destined to endure those and that by our faith, we are goaded to thank God in every affliction. The puzzling and ear-splitting sound of smoke emitting rickshaws and run-down buses are not eye sores because that is how Pakistan is supposed to be. If the whole landscape, roads, footpaths, market places, grounds are littered with garbage; such gory spectacles should not incense you as we have been living under these abominable conditions since the inception of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1947. And Islam ordains cleanliness is half faith (Iman).
A culture of dishonesty and deliberate delinquency pervades and sprouts in every office: from presidency to make shift kiosks (khokhas). In offices burdened with red tape and inefficiency and nepotism, the five times praying Muslims prey upon the visitors and customers with full vengeance to pay for what they were doing for them as public servants. It is called bribe or graft is simple terminology.
The permits and licenses are for sale. If you need a connection for electricity or water or gas or phone, don’t go straight to the concerned department with only an application. Along the official fee take a service fee exclusively for the official doing the needful. But still your name will be placed in the waiting list. A letter from a political heavyweight or powerful bureaucrat would also be helpful. Be aware nothing is done on merit.
After 72 years of Pakistan’s creation, it takes 90 minutes to cover a distance of 10 miles to and from Islamabad and Rawalpindi: the so-called sister cities in the Potohar plateau. The police pickets, the road barriers, the para-military contingents stop you to find if you are a suicide bomber. The social life in the most protected cities has come to such a dreadful pass. I remember, as a student, it would take maximum 45 minutes to reach Rawalpindi from Wah cantonment by bus. Now this time is no less than three hours and one has to pay toll tax at many places.
Go to the Bara or Landi Kotal (tribal Business enclaves) to buy a 12-bore pistol for a pittance. Come back to your city, get into a house for robbing or forcible sex with a teenage girl or boy. One may also use it to kill his enemy or opponents at will.  The police would not know and would not like to probe who committed such a heinous crime because these have become commonplace daring daily occurrence. But if you want to indulge or watch a combined spree of robbing, killing, raping and extortion, go to Karachi. And take care that you could also be targeted.
Pakistan is the most ideal place to witness murders and massacres for reasons ranging from ethnic, sectarian, tribal, clannish, honor to land grabbing or just for show off in streets. The poor raped young girls have to produce four eyewitnesses to prove that they were raped. Is it possible? Law and order have become razor-thin and no one cares who is killing and who is being killed.
It is a tall order to explore who is raping whom, who is kidnapped and who kidnaps. These are signs of doomsday but the prophesied doomsday has already descended on the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Ironically Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace as it commands that killing one person is killing the whole humanity. Just imagine how many humanities have been killed and are being killed in Pakistan.
The new generations of Pakistan boys, girls, toddlers, adolescents, are living in an atmosphere of persistent fear, insecurity, bomb blasts, rape, arson, loot and plunder, in filth, in dark and dingy streets, in a nauseating environment of sound and filth pollution. They come out of the homes with a lurking fear of being blasted or kidnapped and targeted for unspeakable heinous crimes.
The food is costly and adulterated, the drugs and medicines are spurious, and the water is contaminated. The meat could be of a dog, a pig or mad cow. Who cares and scrutinizes for such infringements! We never ponder how many young children are forced to work with sex maniacs at auto workshops, restaurants or hotels or in private homes as servants? How alarming the level of molestation of the underage males and females is: no one bothers.
The country is in the grip of Thana and Patwari culture: the symbols of corruption and vehicles of obsolete, moribund institutions started by Mughal emperor Akbar the great, or the British colonialist. Caring a fig of what the law or the religion obligates, invariably everyone from the president to a police constable seems to be obsessed with making money through fair and fouls means alike. The whole nation seems to have fallen into a morass of moral sleaze.
The contracts are given in wrong and delinquents hands. The newly laid-out roads are washed off in one shower of rain, the bridges dash to the ground not long after being commissioned. If rental power generation units are purchased from foreign sellers, it brings hefty commissions to buyers (Raja rental scandal) and crooks are elevated to the higher positions. Pitiably such leased power units do not produce a watt and are paid in advance to the tune of billions of rupees.
When poverty grinds and inflation ruins the household, the crimes and prostitution sprout and rob the people of modesty, honor and religious penchant. That is what is happening in Pakistan and that country created in the name of Islam may turn into another Thailand in due course.
The army was there at the helm for half of Pakistan’s existence, a drunkard and lewd military president held the first free elections and then equaled this good deed by truncating Pakistan. Cessation of East Pakistan and surrender of a Muslim army are those calumnies that cannot be washed off ever unless the river Ganges starts flowing in the opposite direction and the sun starts rising from the west. And during those crippling moments (surrender) several generals, politicians and bureaucrats were reported drinking in five-star hotels with their concubines. This is the story of a nation that claims that it ruled the sub-continent of India for a thousand years.
If there was no obscurantism until 1980 notwithstanding Bhutto turning Pakistan into another Saudi Arabia. So, Pakistan an economically feeble and socially torn apart country has to put-up two-pronged war: one with the enemy across the eastern border, the other against Islamic militants rampaging the length and breadth of Pakistan.
Why in 65 years, the sermons and preaching of Muslim pontiffs failed to turn Pakistanis into good citizens not to speak of good Muslims? Yet the dreary and ineffectual sermons continue to foster sectarian hatred, reinforcing warnings of hellfire. Alongside, the construction of new mosques remains apace uninhibited. If there could not be one single model Islamic state in 1400 years, how one would hope for that in the present times when old taboos and gospels are losing their relevance.
Which war is for Islam and which one to safeguard the territorial integrity of Pakistan? Pakistan is doomed as the menace of Taliban abetted and supported by external abettors would not die nor surrender so soon. There is a noose of Islamic militancy around the neck of Pakistan that is tightening by way of proliferation of bomb blasts and violence.
Can one dream for the day when a true and patriotic leadership would take the reins of Pakistan? Will that day dawn when the citizens would travel with a relief that their lives would be safe and they won’t be molested, kidnapped or killed on the way? Can we visualize a society when law and order would prevail and dispensation of unhampered justice would be possible by nabbing the highest culprits in government, aristocracy and from the elite classes? Would our judges be upright and strong to uphold the law and not selling the justice? Can our institutions, government departments and bureaucracy function even by a fraction of other civil societies?
Can Pakistan generate enough electricity that the word “load shedding” becomes obsolete? Can everyone have access to schooling, medical facilities, drinking water and job? Can we integrate the Islamic teachings into the established curricula and syllabi and close the ghost schools imparting hatred and spurious Islam to the students who come to Islamic nurseries due to poverty or ignorance?
Can we limit the number of religious institutions and affiliate them with the national educational system from the primary to the university level? Can we bring about a national reconciliation? Can we eliminate the thugs, the crooks, the public enemies, briber takers, the goons, and all those who have turned Pakistan into one of the most dangerous and debased places to live?
Can our roads be widened, railways modernized, bridges built, hidden natural resources tapped and stalled projects such Kalabagh be undertaken? Can the whole country be washed off the glut of dirt and mounting debris and trash? Can the cities be embraced with centralized sewerage system? Can we check the burgeoning population so that the resources can be better utilized?
Can we elect a leadership that is visionary, selfless, imbued with nationalistic spirit, progressive and dedicated to promote a democratic culture and liberalizing the society? Can a stable, democratic, economically prosperous and socially liberal, and civically a modern Pakistan be rebuilt? The list of challenges is endless.  It primarily depends upon the quality of the leadership that we choose.  

Friday, July 26, 2019

A Magnificent Mushaira Hosted by Al-Noor International

July 26, 2019
By Saeed Qureshi
On July 19 instant a remarkable International Mushaira was hosted by “AL-Noor International” whose president as well as founder is the famous poet and social figure Dr. Noor Amrohavi.
 Noor Amrohavi has been hosting such literary functions including the poetry sessions for almost 16 years. This Mushaira was unique and excellent because not only that the local poets participated but also the famous poets from India as well took part.
The guest poets were Abbas Tabish, Shakeel jazib, Rehman Faris, Lata Haya, Khalid Irfan, Hammad Khan and Aqeel Ashraf. All the guest poets were highly appreciated. However, Lata Haya was tremendously applauded for her unique and enticing poetry as well the style of presentation.
The local poets who presented their poetry were:  Saeed Qureshi, Yunus Ijaz, Masood Quazi, Nahid Shaad, Zohra Chishti, Shaikh Ijaz, Pramod Rajput, Dr Amer Suleman, Asif Nathani, Farhan Syed, Shazia Khan and Noor Amrohavi (the host)
This unique poetry congregation was held in a spacious hall of Funasia. Funasia is the most sought-after place for holding meetings, social and cultural functions for over a decade now. The Mushaira was conducted by the host: Noor Amrohavi himself. It was presided by a senior poet Iqbal Hyder. The chief guest on the stage was Dr. Shamsa Qureshi. Dr. Shamsa is not only an excellent poetess but has a reputation of being a patron, philanthropist and a generous donor for social and poetry functions. Azhar Aziz was the Guest of honor.
The roles and contribution of other persons towards making this Mushaira a great success is as under:
It was one of the most laudable and successful Mushairas held in DFW in recent years.
This Mushaira last for over four hours with tremendous response and approbation from the audience. The specious hall was filled to its capacity and additional seating arrangements were made for the overflowing audience.
Every poet was dully and enormously applauded by the audience. The audience remained glued to their seats until midnight. At the end of the Mushaira, the host Noor Amrohavi thanked the poets as well as the audience for participation and gracing that rare and most successful and glamorous poetic session.
This report would be incomplete if the names of the organizing Committee are not mentioned. As a matter of fact, most of the credit goes to the committee that organized this memorable mushaira and ensured its success. The name of the committee are as follows:
Shawkat Mohammad, Shazia Khan, Mohammad Shah, Irfan Ali, Saleha Hyder, Zehra Khan, Pramod Rajput, Arshad Chishti, Mohammad Ali Siddiqui and Shabnam Yusuf.
There was quite a novel and interesting way of welcoming the poets to the stage. As soon as a poet would step on the dice, a shower of flowers would be released from a device placed on the entry part of the stage.  The flowers would partially fall on the poet and partially over the stage. At the same time, there would be a sound heralding the arrival of the poet on the stage. As a poet myself, I have seen for the first time, this entertaining and interesting mode of welcome.
At the end of the Mushaira a sumptuous dinner was served to the poets both local and the guests.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hopefully There Won’t Be A Fourth Martial Law in Pakistan

July 9, 2019
By Saeed Qureshi
There have been three successful military coups in Pakistan replacing the elected civilian governments with the army rule.
The first such coup took place in 1958 when the first Pakistani President Major General Iskandar Mirza dismissed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the government of Prime Minister Firoz Khan Noon. President General Mirza appointed the then  army commander-in-chief Gen. Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. Thirteen days later, general Ayub Khan exiled Mirza and appointed himself as the President of Pakistan.
The second military coup d’├ętat codenamed as “Operation Fair Play” was led at midnight on July 4, 1977 by the then Chief of Army Staff General Zia-Ul Haq, against the government of -Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto was arrested and lodged in Rawalpindi Jail where he remained until his death by hanging on April 4, 1987( at the age of 51 years) .General Zia dissolved the National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies. He also suspended  the Constitution of Pakistan.
The third military coup happened in October 1999 by the then army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf along with his loyal senior officers against the PML government headed by prime minister Nawaz Sharif. That military coup was conducted in retaliation to Nawaz Sharif’s attempt to dismiss Musharraf and prevent his plane from landing in Pakistan after his visit to Sri Lanka.
In Pakistan, besides these three successful military coups, there have also been unsuccessful military coup attempts carried out in 1951, 1980 and 1995.All the above-mentioned military take-overs were the result of the political chaos and failure of the respective elected governments in promoting and establishing the veritable democratic political culture. The ousted leaders and the governments, failed wholly or partially, in serving the people as well as the country with dedication, indulgence and sincerity. They were hard and oppressive with their rival political parties and failed to deliver for betterment of the country and the people of Pakistan.
The democracy fructifies not by the people in power alone but also by the opposition parties as well. The role of the opposition is to keep a watch over the incumbent governments and to point out where these fail or falter in serving the people, the democracy and the country as mandated by the constitution and in accordance with their manifestos.
If the incumbent PTI government’s agenda is only to come with a heavy hand on the opposition leaders and parties and represses their leaders with vindictive decisions and policies, then neither would the country move forward, nor the democratic culture and freedom of expression can prosper. An elected government by the popular mandate should not turn into a kind of a civilian dictatorship. It should rather give priority to alleviating the peoples’ sufferings and resolving their day to day problems for a better living. The accountability of the corrupt leaders and politicians should be left to the relevant departments, courts and institutions to deal. To these departments, the PTI regime can provide all facilities and support to carry out their job.
What a common man generally feels is that the PTI government has not shown any meaningful progress in industrial, economic, social and other nation building sectors such as education, health, agriculture, industry, cost of living, prices, law and order and so on. On the contrary, during almost a year in power, while sidetracking uplift of the Pakistan, it has been engaged in harassing, suppressing, condemning, jailing and curbing the opposition parties, most notably the PMNL, PPPP, JUI and JI. The PTI government would complete its full one year in power on August 18, 2019.
The unfulfilled pledges for prevalence and promotion of parliamentary democracy, the arrests and jailing of the opposition parties leaders,  the wanton statements issued by the prime minister cutting across the national interests, the squander of public funds, and a casual and regal way of governing the country might create a justification for the army to re-enter the power corridors.
It would be a benighted day if fifth Martial Law is imposed on Pakistan.  If it happens then it would be solely due to the uncalled and unnecessary mutual rivalry between the party in power and those of opposition, their aversion for each other, mutual political battling and undemocratic and intolerant behavior. But who can stop the inevitable?
Presently the onus falls on PTI and prime minister Imran Khan who are busy in fulfilling personal vendettas and fixing only the rival politicians while the mammoth issues for reconstruction of Pakistan and the nation building are pushed aside. The prime minister whom I voted for has arrogated to himself the exclusive distinction of being a past master in issuing meaningless threats to the opposition leaders of dire consequences, in double speak and back-tracking from his solemn electoral commitments to put Pakistan on the road to progress and prosperity and fashion it as a developed state.
The PTI government has put its pledges and mandate announced during the election campaign for the uplift of Pakistan and the nation on the back burner. Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be personally involved in condemning and catching the opposition leaders by repeating the threat such as “I shall not leave you and would punish you”. Granted that he wants to eliminate corruption in Pakistan but this task should be left to the judiciary and relevant institutions to accomplish.
It seems as if he is entirely riveted on eliminating and fixing the corruption and its perpetrators. It is a goal that might not be achieved alone by the PTI government in five years’ tenure and can be carried out along other indispensable reforms.  He should take the opposition along in achieving this gigantic goals of rebuilding Pakistan. Besides the pledges to curb the corruption (which is not confined to only to the political leaders) he should not ignore or sidetrack the fundamental task of uplifting Pakistan as a viable state in all respects. He should focus on alleviating the countless sufferings of the people by way of quick and inexpensive social and legal justice, low and affordable prices of commodities and food items, good roads, cleanliness, safety, law and order and free or affordable education for all and so on.
The industrial and agricultural sectors need utmost and urgent attention and a rapid road map for uplift.  Safety from the persistent and prevailing menace of lawlessness and mushrooming crimes, institutional breakdown such as transportation and railways, paucity of water, shortage and unremitting outrages of electric power, filth and dirt in every city and town and village of Pakistan. All these goals and reforms have been promised by PTI and personally Imran Khan in his speeches and interviews prior to the latest general elections held on July 25, 2018.
The Pakistan army that had surged in Pakistan as a savior in the turbulent times, may not ignore the widespread public unrest and their woes due to appalling civic and social problems, sky rocketing cost of living, poor governance,  poor economy, fragile law and order situation and the tussle between the government and the opposition parties   The top brass of the Pakistan army might also be getting apprehensive of the policies of the ongoing PTI government.
If army rule is imposed on Pakistan then this time the martial law won’t be as a benign as it was that of Field Marshal Ayub Khan or even Musharraf.  It would spell doom for the politicians as well as sleazy rulers in shape of the nemesis that any army is perfectly capable of delivering. There could be a mayhem, arrests and martial law courts’ proceedings.  
My humble suggestion to the honorable prime minister of Pakistan is to minimize his personal onslaught against the rival politicians.  They should be judged and punished by the police, the judiciary and the relevant accountability institutions. He should hold a national conference and exhort his political opponents and contenders to join hands in the most urgent task of nation building, alleviation of the countless sufferings of the people and laying down the foundations of Pakistan in order to shape up as a developed nation and  a modern state which we  witness in Europe and even in Islamic states such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran and Turkey. If he embarks on this path he would be remembered as the architect of a democratic, advanced, rich and modern Pakistan.

Idealism and Ambiguities in Religions

By Saeed Qureshi

June 24, 2019

Undoubtedly the teachings and principles of all religions are good. But despite this essential goodness the religions remain as one of the leading vehicles for divisions and feuds entailing massacres, killings and genocides among the human race. Perhaps it would be pertinent to say that more humans have been killed because of religions than any other cause. The clash and conflict are not only between the adherents of different or rival religions but also between the faithful and sects within one religion such as Shias and Sunnis in Islam and Catholics and Protestants in the Christianity. The religions, instead of promoting harmony and peace among the human race, are engaged in eliminating and vanquishing each other.

To the extent of believing in God and moral and ethical precepts, religions are all right but to impose them on those who differ is not acceptable or desirable. But when it comes to the dispensation of mundane, secular, social, economic and political matters, only such religious injunctions should be allowed that are commensurate with the imperative and parameters of the modern societies. Besides the typical cultures of various religious societies, another kind of culture is emerging which can be rightly called universal culture.

The universal culture is based upon the revolutionary advancement in the information and communication domains. Now whatever happens in one part of the world is known immediately in the rest of the world. The exchange of information is now being commonly shared by all religious and secular societies. The best way out to check the bloodshed by the religious fanatics is to contain religions from having least say in the affairs of the state.

 All the religions and denominations should be allowed to function in a state and society. But it should not be binding for everyone to follow it for the sake of politics and other perks that are doled out to the followers of the religions professed by the state. The Scriptures profess and predict a great and final clash between the rival religions. Now who is faithful and who is not is yet another controversy that remains unsettled. It means religions inherently approve and augur a great and decisive clash between religions. As such the universal harmony and peace seems to be elusive and far-fetched and unattainable.

As explained earlier, the religious teachings are in their very essence absolute and ideal. According to the religious dogma, by following the beliefs and observing the religious assignments one can win the blessings of almighty God in this world and paradise that offers ideal pleasure in the hereafter. This is primarily about the Abrahamic religions. For other religions such as Hinduism, the soul survives after death and becomes part of the eternal power after it is purified of all the sins by going through various reincarnations.

The concept of punishment and reward for good and bad deeds is also ideal as can be seen in the teachings of various religions. It is the underlying idealism that at once fascinates a person who can go to any length according to his faculties, stamina and powers to follow these teachings and induce and preach others to follow them as well.

Thus, religion assumes the form of an institution or cult, which becomes rigid in its pursuits and constitution. Those among the followers can do anything in the name of religion and their beliefs, provided the interpretations by the demagogues and clerics so demand. The resistance and defiance to the extent of enmity in safeguarding one’s beliefs assume such stubborn proportions that one would be prepared to lay down one’s life or kill others if need arises.

The apostasy of the followers of other religions in contrast and comparison to the sanctity or inviolability of one’s own religion is rigidly stamped or embedded in the minds of religious believers. The religious extremism is the natural offshoot of one’s rigid belief. It further leads to bias, prejudices and bigotry. The hatred between cults and denominations within a religion and between the religions at large turn into hatred that gives them license and sanction to kill the non believers of their religion.

Irrespective of the exhortations of the founders of religions to live in peace with all and retaliate only when attacked, the religious bodies, individuals and nations engage in religious wars to stamp out the religious opponents and establish their religious fiats. In the name of religions, dreadful and genocidal wars between countries and nations have taken place which for the victorious led to the ethnic cleansing of the vanquished contenders. The humanity has seen so much bloodshed and destruction in the name of religions than for other reasons.

 The Jews versus Christians and Islam versus Christianity entails countless battles and confrontations in which horrendous crimes and massacres were committed by one segment of humanity against the other. If these wars were for territory, loot and plunder by the strong against the weak, these could be justified because that is how the human nature is all about. But many of these wars were fought in the name of God and faith. Although the religions would never condone or teach mutual destruction by the human beings.  According to the faith in all major and religions God loves all human beings and religious teachings essentially goad and exhort peace on earth.

Then what went wrong? Either religions are not from God or God himself doesn’t want to meddle in human affairs. Or else even if the religions were revealed on prophets, the succeeding religious preachers, clerics and the theologians wrongly, diversely and multifariously interpreted the religious codes and precepts. We have countless sub beliefs in all the major religions that are decidedly due to the difference of opinions or because of diverse or multiple explanations of religious injunctions.

If in the jungle of various and colliding elucidations, a common man is perplexed and gets entangled into a particular sectarian belief then he or she should not be blamed for this. One mostly follows the family religion or the parents’ religion that remains embedded in his mind. By believing that the others were profaning their God and faith, the followers of the opposing sects or religions would not only vigorously dispute and resist such efforts but use force, coercion and terror against their religious rivals.

 If God’s universe is perfect and flawless and is based on absolute scientific principles, then the religions that govern the human societies and lives of the human being must also be perfect and beyond confusion and controversy. Instead that a religion should be internally divided and fragmented into divergent beliefs, there should be rather one religion with immutable guidelines for humanity. The reason for fragmentation and factionalism between religions and within religions is that these were mostly creation of human mind, unwritten, not meticulously documented or carefully preserved in original forms. If one would cram a certain saying it could carry different meanings and connotations when reaching others in subsequent times.

The religious teachings cannot cover all facets and aspects of human life or society. Primarily otherwise religions basically are confined to the belief in God and the rituals of prayers. The worldly matters such as economy, scientific discoveries, social, medical and countless other aspects of human knowledge and dimensions that are progressively expanding have been, scantily or perfunctory mentioned in the holy books of all religions.

The remedies of most of the individual or social ills are suggested in shape of prayers or at best herbal recipes. Moreover, they don’t cover all the coming times and ages, as the founders of the religions would have no idea what would be the shape of the human societies in the future. They would predict things about the future in a roundabout manner that looks foggy and far fetched and far from conditions than what we see today.

Religions are the product of the primitive ages when human societies in different parts of the world had not been so enlightened and knowledgeable as we can see in the modern times. Primarily all prophets were reformers. Their focus was on removing the immoral practices and social evils in the society of their own times. But since they did not have armies or military power at the start, they would claim to be representing God as a power that was more powerful than any earthly power or individual or a nation. With a mixture of fear and allurement of earning the pleasure of such a power they would succeed in their endeavors of reforming the society. The simple recipe was: either you accept the pleasure or wrath of God. They took God for granted and on their side because they earnestly believed that they were on the right path and were pursuing the right cause.

 Once their message was set in motion and they gained recognition, the movement or the religion would not stop but move forward. The devotees and the followers would keep the new movement alive and vibrant with the spirit of sacrifice and complete dedication. These reformers and prophets were not cheating, imposters or hypocrites. They would honestly and sincerely believe that since they wanted good of the people, they were doing the right thing with the blessings and patronage of God.

There should be only one religions that must be a scientifically and rationally irrefutable, truthful and readily acceptable for the people of all times if it was sent by God. Unless God himself wished to create this confusion and division of beliefs in the religions, the whole motif and plethora of religions, seems to be ridden with guess work and mere speculation. From the creation of God to the universe and the mankind and whatever we feel or see around in shape of matter or electromagnetic radiation and gravity etc theology has a speculative approach.

Now unless there was undeniable proof that God created the universe and all the existence in six days which only God himself can proffer, we can simply remain befuddled (if we question such a natural phenomenon) that how come this would happen in a matter of six days when before any creation there was no time or space not to speak of days. If one believes that the days were created before the matter, then it is not born out by the scriptures.

 The concept of days is relevant on earth. Therefore, should be also expect of God to do his creation according to the earthly parameters and natural phenomenon such as days and nights which are mere result from the rising and setting of the sun. The six days’ dogma of creation is written in the Bible that is believed by the Jews, the Christians and Muslims. But the Muslims also believe that God created the universe by merely uttering the word “BE” and the universe came into being at once.

 This Islamic dogma comes closer to the theory of big bang. Both these theories militate against the contention that universe and God are eternal and therefore there was no beginning and no end. Then the controversy and the divergence whether God was a spirit as believed in some oriental religions or he is a being as believed in three main Abrahamic religions or else that God didn’t exist as believed by atheists or agnostics. If God had created religions or sponsored religions to manifest him in existence, then all these religions must have known the exact nature of God and the way the universe was created. So, either all the religions are merely resorting to kite flying or one of them is right. But how far right no one can say with certainly as there is no evidence whether their interpretation of God’s nature and the creation of the universe were right or wrong.

May be God likes diversity instead of uniformity, as manifested in case of a galore of religions and cults that abound in the human society. But then it puts into doubt and shatters the belief that God created the universe in a particular way but did not spell out or disclose to his chosen apostles the way he did it. At least on the question of creation of the universe there should be no differing opinions as God created the universe only in one way. But if the creation of the universe was a recurring and continuing phenomenon then it should have also been known to the prophets who claim to know the secrets of the universe and the nature of the genesis.

The more the number of religions and cults, the more the number of vested interests, such as clergy, papal authorities, the theologians, the clerics and the bigots and the ascetics thriving on them with a crowd of dedicated followers. They enjoy privileged positions and reverence that an ordinary person or even a ruler cannot command. But since conflict and divergence is in the very nature of all existence God cannot meddle into ironing out the differences and discords in religious as all these religious doctrines are purely human. God would not interfere in human affairs because if he does, he should eliminate all bad spots and make the world a heaven that should be free from all ideological conflicts. But at least the divine authority must spell out some how that the diversity of beliefs carried his approval or at least he does not view the divisions of religions with disapproval.

In that situation then all the religions must be right as God allows them to exist side by side, each one offering speculations about the start of the universe and our own existence. But if God approves one or more than one religion, then there must be some divine intervention or way-out to know which was right and which was not or how far one was right and in what proportions was it wrong. In the conflicting or confusing situation religions vie with each other and in a bid to outsmart each other they would go to any extent for establishing their bona-fide and prove others as fake and phony. Hence all this bloodshed and continuing militancy between the religions

Religions get rid of the extremely thorny and tedious questions such as the creation of the universe by saying that God made it at such and such time. For instance, Islam says that it was created in a moment when God said let it be and it came into existence although it is also written in the Quran that it was created in six days’ period which corresponds to the dogma held by both Christianity and the Judaism about the creation of the universe. But beyond that the religions have no explanation about the intricacies of existence and the absolute scientific principles involved in it.

Of course, the creation of all life, matter and space is the work of God but what scientific formulae were involved any religion has no answer. It is the science itself that has unraveled (not entirely) the amazing information, intelligence and the interplay of countless forces, time period and rigid principles that were applied and that form the basis of the creation or whatever we see or can perceive. The science as compared to the religious dogmas, has much better understood the intelligent design and the creation by giving the modus-operandi and the conditions under which all creation came into being. So, we can say that science, instead of religion was more of divine nature as the latter compels one to blindly believe instead of questioning. While the religions are subjective, the science is thoroughly and essentially based on query, investigation and objective analysis of the phenomena. Religions tend to be perfunctory and superficial, and speculative about the mysteries behind the creation while science gives us calculations, rationale, concrete information and data to prove as to how the universe came into being and how it progressed and when the life started.

the religions merely explain this world of ours in terms of days and nights, weathers and seasons, sky, stars, oceans and water, trees flowers, birds, animals etc. What makes most of the religious dogmas debatable and shorn of actuality is that all these have been explained or mentioned by the humans themselves. Whether the dogma is about the creation of God, universe, human beings and the phenomenon of birth and death and the life thereafter, every aspect of belief and reasoning is shrouded in mystery and tantamount to mere bland statements. The religious conception that before existence there was darkness is a subject of contradiction because the existence of darkness itself is a proof of something that was already in existence. The darkness must have existed within a space, which means that space was also there. As such to believe that there was nothing before the creation of the world is certainly not true.