Wednesday, June 19, 2019


June 14, 2019
By Saeed Qureshi
Imran Khan’s aim and manifesto to turn Pakistan into a later day state of Medina ignores the huge cultural, educational, social, economic technological, scientific and political differences and size populations between a modern state and a primitive state notwithstanding the aspect of faith or religion.
First of all, the Medina State was established and guided by the Prophet Muhammad blessed with divine guidance fashioned the first Islamic State in Medina. The holy Prophet was law unto himself. Yet the establishment and running of the new state was not an easy task even for the Prophet. In the city of Mecca, he had to face persistent opposition from the people who worshiped idols. 
The declaration of Prophet Muhammad to be a Prophet appointed by God almighty was intensely and venomously resisted by the Meccans that there was a threat to his life as well.  Despite earlier success and a sizable number of citizens turning Muslims, he had to secretly migrate to city of Medina (200 miles from Mecca) along with his close associate Abu Bakr, his father in law and later the first caliph of the Islamic caliphate.
That journey was perilous and hazardous. There was persistent fear of the infidels chasing them. On the way they hid in a cave named “Saur” near Mecca city for three days. They started their journey on September 12, 623 AD and reached Medina after 12 days. The people in Medina received the Prophet with great affection and respect.
The main outcome of migration to Medina was the attainment of safe haven where the Prophet could continue his divine message of calling the non-Muslims to Islam and having belief in one God. With his stay in Medina quite safe and comfortable, the Prophet was keen to spread his divine message far and wide and particularly in Mecca where he was born and received divine blessing of being the Prophet.  There were four battles fought between the infidels of Mecca and the Muslims of Medina. These were Battle of Badar, Uhad, the Khandaq (Trenches) and finally the conquest of Mecca by the Islamic army under the command of the prophet.   
The contours of Islamic governance and state were established and continued during the stay of the Prophet in Medina until his demise in June 632 AD. As stated, earlier Medina was a safe city for the Prophet and his Muslim believers to pray and preach Islam.  However, their entry into the city of Mecca. Mecca was the holiest city for being the abode of House of God (Khana Kaaba) and the city of pilgrimage.
After the demise of the holy Prophet three of his pious companions succeeded him as the caliph. However, after the assassination of Hazrat Usman the third caliph, the cousin brother of Prophet Muhammad as well as his son in Law Hazrat Ali was proclaimed as the fourth caliph. His appointment was contested by the governor of Kufa, Amir Muawiyya, a prominent leader of the Ummayad tribe. From there onward that tussle for power continued between the Ummayad clan and the Banu Hashim tribe. That ideological tussle continues to this day between Sunnis and Shias. The Shias believe that the right of caliphate for the family of Prophet was usurped by the Umayyad leaders.
It should also be seen that the Islamic caliphate or state had two governments or regimes at the same time.  This situation nullified not only the unity and peace within Islamic nation but turned into bloody conflicts entailing countless Muslims dying on both the sides. This bizarre situation not only manifested the division of the Islamic caliphate politically but in the believers as well. 
This gory situation is manifested from the fighting between the Banu Umayyad tribe and Banu Hashim including the fourth caliph Hazrat Ali and his two sons Hasan and Hussain against Amir Muawiyya and his son Yazid and their progeny. As a result, Banu Omayyad established their rule and caliphate in Iraq Iran and most of the Middle East.
Later the Banu Abbas revolted against the Omayyad and killed their top brass family members. Omayyad last ruler Abdur Rehman fled to Spain where he established an Omayyad Islamic dynasty (lasted 600 years). Thus, the Islamic state was divided into hostile caliphates killing and attacking each other. As such which Islamic unity are, we talking in history. As such the state of Medina was only for such time as the Prophet was alive. Thereafter, it led to power grabbing and fighting between the tribes and sects particularly Sunnis and Shias. It is a perennial religious animosity that continues to this day. 
The expansion of Islam and the Islamic state by preaching and in overcoming the opponents was still continued and remained in vogues during the successive followers or caliphs after the demise of the Prophet During the lifetime of the prophet, Medina city was attacked by the Meccan army led by Abu Sufyan with an army of 10,000 fighters. It is called the “Battle of Trenches” (February 627). 
If Muslims had lost this wart and infidels won, it would have led to colossal disaster and annihilation of the new Muslims both migrants and local inhabitants. It would have even resulted in halting or end of the preaching of Islam. Also, if the local hostile tribes in Medina would have succeeded, preaching of Islam could have been adversely affected and might have come to an end.
However, the State of Medina was not an abode of peace and cohesion. The simmering animosity between the non-Muslims and the Muslims as well as permanent residents and the immigrants remained alive. The lands of the non/Muslim residents of Madina were taken over by the Muslims.  It should also be noted that out of four succeeding caliphs of Prophet Muhammad, three were killed by the hostile assassins. It shows that the State of Medina was exposed to many serious dangers to the survival of both the new religion and its later day adherents and even caliphs.
Prophet Muhammad and later the caliphs had not only to wage crusades against their adversaries in Mecca but also subdued the local dissidents, mostly the desert tribes and the Jewish tribes particularly settled in the city of Khyber. After the demise of the Prophet, the caliphate of four caliphs remained engaged conquering the territories beyond Medina including the most famous place Khyber fort and city belonging to the Jews.
This conquest for territories and Islamization continued during the three pious caliphs. These were followed by Umayyad and Abbasid family dynasties which were established in the entire Middle East including Iraq, Syria, Palestine. However later the Abbasid and Omayyad snatched the caliphate from the Banu Hashim as evidenced by the fighting between caliph Hazrat Ali and Amir Muawiyya the Omayyad governor of Kufa.
As such the pristine state of Medina lost its cohesion and luster and it fell prey to power grabbing between the rival tribes.  Hazrat Ali belonged to Banu Hashim clan or Prophet’s tribe while the three caliphs were from other tribes or clans. It led to the beginning of the tussle for the attainment of power between the tribes of Hashemite and Omayyad tribes.  
After the martyrdom of Ali, his two sons Hasan and Hussain carried on the fighting against Muawiyya and his successor son Yazid. In a battle Hasan withdrew from fighting and returned to Madina at the behest of Muawiyya with promise of a handsome regular remuneration which he was receiving until his death.  The cause of his death at a young age is said to be poison given to him by one of his wives at the behest of Muawiyya.  
After Hasan, his younger brother Hussain resumed crusade against Muawiya’s son Yazid. In that conflict he lost his life along with his scant number of fighters in the field of Kerbala. Kerbala, is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km southwest of Baghdad
The female family members were disgraced and returned to Madina. Each year the Shias observe the martyrdom of Imam Hussain during the Islamic month of Muharram for ten days. During that period, they display grief and condemn and debase Muawiya and his son Yazid and other Ummayad stalwarts.
This part of Islamic history raises a question as to why the Muslim Umma( nation) was disunited and preaching and practice of one code of Islam remained unfulfilled.


April 1, 2019
 By Saeed Qureshi
Bilawal Zardari Bhutto assumed the office of the Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party on December 30, 2007. Then he was barely 19 years old. Now he is 30 years.
His mother and the chairperson of PPP Benazir Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007 while going out of the pavilion after addressing a huge public meeting. In a span of 12 years, Bilawal Bhutto has been transformed into an enlightened and a mature politician.
His father Asif Ali Zardari took a momentous decision to appoint him as the head of PPP which is a leading political Party of Pakistan. Asif Ali Zardari himself remained as the president of Pakistan for five year from September 2008 to Sept 2013. Bilawal Bhutto had attained his education in England at Christ Church Oxford.
When he took over the reins of the PPP in 2007, yet at that time, he was indeed a novice both in terms of expression in Urdu language and understanding of the political landscape and culture of Pakistan. His speech was tainted with English accent and his approach to the political issues was still unripe. His public utterances had been incoherent and interspersed with odd and occasional uncalled for outbursts.
Yet presently if you watch him answering questions or his tone and tenor with journalists, it is a different Bilawal Bhutto than what was used to be at the initially stage of his leadership of the Pakistan People’s Party. Now in casual encounters with the journalists, he speaks a much-refined Urdu dialect than what it used to be earlier. His demeanor seems to be packed with confidence, awareness and even tinge of humor about the variety of issues that the people of Pakistan and country are faced with.
Although one may point out that if the PPP wins the next general elections, he would look too young at the age of 30 to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Yet such a precedent can be seen in his mother Benazir Bhutto who became the chairperson of PPP Pakistan when she was 29 years of age. (born on June 21, 1953)
Lately, Bilawal’s  outbursts, his roaring in public speaking as well as high-pitched statements and speeches in the National Assembly have been toned down with a vivid tinge of sobriety, confidence and perseverance. Of late, he demonstrates that he has learned a lot over a period of 12 years by way of his expression as well as enhancement of the knowledge about the issues that Pakistan and its people are faced with and need to be resolved.
However, If the Pakistan People’s Party is the party of masses then it should discard the tradition of having dynastic chairman or head of the party from the Bhutto family. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as the founder of the party could remain the boss of the PPP as long as he wanted to be. His succession by his wife and later by his daughter Benazir Bhutto was done in affection and as a token of alliance with the Bhutto family. But to keep the presidency of the party within Bhutto clan is outright negation of the manifesto and ideology for which this party was founded.
Still, if the party echelons want Bilawal to lead the party, he may do so because it is basically the approval of the party members and cadres who decide about the head or chairman of the party. Same is true about the other political outfits such as PMLN, KPKH, JUI, ANP and TLP. Even PTI cannot think of anyone else becoming the head of the party as long as Imran Khan is there.
In his latest statement Bilawal decried the contrast between the punishment given to his mother and his father formerly Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari. He also pointed the lack of action against groups that killed children in Pakistan and carried out attacks on foreign soil.
The PPP may come into power through next national elections and form the government at the center. In that scenario we shall have to watch how a young scion of Bhutto family serves the nations and implements a reform agenda that could be revolutionary and a game changer for the betterment of Pakistan and its people.
If Bilawal assumes the premiership he would still need the guidance and solicitation from the senior members of PPP and more specifically from his father Asif Ali Zardari. It might be a spectacular situation if Mr. Zardari takes over as the president of Pakistan while Bilawal might remain the prime minister. I am not aware if it is constitutionally viable or permissible.
Let me finally quote the comment by a well-known journalist M Ilyas Khan about Bilawal and the probable situation that could emerge in the time to come.  He says, “But in 2018 he has emerged as a charismatic campaigner in a political atmosphere of acrimony, name-calling and abuse. He has used clean language, focused on issues and connected well with his audiences.”
Lately Bilawal Bhutto reacted to the decision of changing the name of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), calling it a conspiracy aimed at shutting the program down entirely. Talking to the media, after a plantation drive in Shikarpur, Bilawal revealed that “those looking to change the name of BISP are conspiring to completely end it”. These are stunning statements which might turn fiercer as the time passes.


March 28, 2019

By Saeed Qureshi

The incumbent prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is demonstrating to be much better and more efficient and honest leader than a whole flock of politicians. One can conceive that such a head of the federal government and administration was direly needed. The coming time would unfold how substantially he has contributed towards a better, enlightened, corruption and crime-free Pakistan with institutional and departmental efficiency and role for turning Pakistan into a modern state of 19th century.

It would be certainly naive to expect of him to turn into an angel and to be immune and free of mistakes and pitfalls.  Yet, thus far, despite being a non-traditional and relatively new comer into the thorny arena of politics, he has excelled by taking remarkable and ground-breaking decisions and reforms that make Pakistan a better state with hallmarks of service to the people and streamlining the nation-building institutions, bureaucracy and the administrative network. Personally, he is undaunted and riveted on his charter of reformation in Pakistan and upgrading the lives of the masses and rooting out or diminishing the miseries and poverty of the people of Pakistan.  

The incumbent government of Pakistan Tehrik-Insaf (PTI) has taken three marvelous decisions that can be rated as commendable and far reaching. These three reforms or initiatives if you may call these are, elimination of the illegal, clumsy, unwanted and rather unlawful encroachments on the busy bazaars, lanes and footpaths in Pakistan. These encroachments in the form of houses, kiosks or makeshift shops are spread all over in Karachi, Lahore and every big city in Pakistan.

These makeshift selling cabins have been turned into permanent selling places for ages without any initiative by the local municipal authorities. In this illegal and unwanted occupation of the public places there has been tacit understanding and cooperation between the local bodies and municipalities, the main shoppers and the middlemen who act as go in between all these parties.

While patently these business cabins make the environment ugly, these are an irritant and crude hurdle in the way of smooth movements and flow of the pedestrians, shoppers and the vehicles.  These ugly and makeshift shops have been there since the creation of Pakistan and behind these are also the local political figures who not only seek cooperation and votes from these violators of the public places but share the booty that is given by the occupants as rent or bribe.

One would expect that the incumbent dispensation would enlarge and spread this commendable initiative and drive the rest of Pakistan with specific focus on large and crowded cities where the pedestrians are exposed to the risk of being hit by rickshaw, vehicle or even a motor cycle.

However, correspond the people and the parties from whom these public thoroughfares, streets and footpaths would be released should be provided an alternate place for which they should have the option to buy it or rent it.

I have seen in many cities in foreign countries that there are allocated and specified places for the kiosk sellers and servicemen that are cordoned by walls and properly arranged and provided all the basic facilities such as water, power and access roads and security. The sweeping and maintenance of cleanliness is strictly maintained in such locations. The buyers and visitors’ throng to such locations and mini shopping centers in droves because the prices at these business locations is relatively much lower than a full-fledged shop in a busy and well-maintained business enclosures.

The second commendable action and mission that has been launched by the incumbent PTI dispensation is to curb the robberies, looting of the citizens, snatching the money, the ornaments and even cars by callous thugs and organized gangs headed and protected by powerful groups and individuals. In case of resistance from the targets, these offenders brook no mercy or reluctance in using force, arms and injury and even killing their targets. We have seen such gory images on the television screen of these criminals manhandling, beating and even shooting at their targets. We have also seen the glimpses of cars being taken over and running away these daredevil individuals equipped with arms and lethal weapons.

Besides, the despicable crime of kidnapping is rampant all over Pakistan. The targets are young children, women folks and students. Even the new born babies are snatched and stolen from the hospitals in collusion with a nurse or woman who help and serve in hospital wards of deliveries of the new born babies. The PTI government has mobilized the concerned agencies to catch the criminals involved in carjacking, robbing and snatching motorcycles and decamping with pouches and purses.

The PTI government seems to be coming with a heavy hand on these heavily armed groups and individual lawbreakers, criminals and many groups and individuals have been nabbed. It would be in order if fast system of justice is put in place on permanent foundations so that the enemies of public and heartless thugs are awarded condign and quick sentences by the courts without any support from their political supports and the powerful parties and groups. Thus, the people of Pakistan would be able to travel and move around freely and without any fear of waylaying and looting by the rogues and rascals of the society.

The third mega action by the incumbent PTI government is to expose and punish the perpetrators of illicit money laundering by an unspecified number of politicians, business tycoons and public figures. Several cases have been initiated and are in the courts and relevant accountability institutions such as JIT.

The reports and statistics are harrowing as to how the money was earned through fair or foul means and was later sent abroad to escape the net of wealth tax and the duties imposed on such dealings. A large number of clandestine transactions and sending of huge chunks of money by the politicians, men in power and robber baron business individuals, importers and exporters have been unearthed.

One can imagine the interest of prime minister Imran Khan in promoting and firming up relations with foreign countries to the extent that thus far, he made nine foreign visits to Saudi Arabia (2), UAE (3), China one, Malaysia one, Turkey one and Qatar one. Likewise, quite a few foreign leaders came to Pakistan to meet prime minister Imran Khan and offer cooperation in diverse ways.  These high-profile visits include Saudi Crown prince Muhammad Bin Suleman (Feb 16-17) during which Eight MOUs were signed between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The second-high profile visit was that of Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad three-day official visit to Pakistan from March 21 to 24 to be the chief guest at Pakistan Day celebration function. During prime minister Mahathir’s visit, Memorandum of Understanding worth $800 to $900 million of investment would be signed with the Malaysian investors on Friday.

President Trump Expresses Trust in Pakistan

February 24, 2019
By Saeed Qureshi
On February 22 instant while speaking at a White House event on trade negotiations with China, president Trump said that US has developed a "much better relationship recently with Pakistan and added that Washington may set up some meetings with Islamabad”. President Trump noted that relations have improved over the "last short period of time". The US envoys believe that Pakistan has an important role to play in Afghan peace talks. Taliban representatives are due to meet US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar on Feb 25.
At the same time, president Trump expressed his deep concern over the escalating tension between India and Pakistan: the two nuclear-armed neighbors. He apprehends that the Pulwama (a city in Indian held part of Kashmir valley) attack on an Indian convoy of the Indian soldiers could spark military confrontation between the two countries. He pointed out that “It's very dangerous situation between India and Pakistan," adding that “US wants both the countries to defuse the tensions”. 
President Trump’s latest pro-Pakistan statement looks like a kind of welcome metamorphosis and indeed a watershed positive transformation in the thus far negative outlook of the American president towards Pakistan.  Ever-since taking over the presidency of the United States on January 20, 2017, Trump has demonstrated, all along, an anti-Pakistan attitude and demeanor.
The United States today engages in extensive economic, social, and scientific assistance as well as vital military relations with Pakistan. Pakistan continues to occupy a strategic position for promotion of the United States' interests in Central and South Asia. The United States is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to Pakistan after China. It is one of Pakistan's largest donors of foreign assistance.
On January 28, 2019, the U.S. government announced that negotiators from the US and Taliban have agreed in principle on key issues. The U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan in return to Taliban’s’ promise that Afghan territory will not be used by terrorists.
The Afghan war started on 7 October 2001 and continued for 17 years, four months and three days plunging that beautiful and historical land in unremitting disorder and fighting for almost two decades
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in that war. Millions uprooted Afghanis moved to neighboring Pakistan, Iran and to other countries as refugees.  In that one of the longest wars in recent history,  4,000 ISAF soldiers and civilian contractors, over 62,000 Afghan national security forces and  over 31,000 civilians and an unknown number of Taliban were killed. 
The United States and her allies should ponder as to why, despite 140000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.
After his taking over the presidency of the United States two years ago, this is the first statement pro-Pakistan statement of President Trump.  Prior to this, he has been blaming Pakistan for doing nothing with regard to the capturing of Osama Bin laden or supporting in the Afghan war despite being the recipient of the American financial aid. His views have been very venomous again Pakistan thus far.
 Trump's most recent anti Pakistan tweet came on November 19, last year, when he alleged that Pakistan "would take our money and do nothing for us. “We no longer pay Pakistan the $billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another. They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!", the US president tweeted.
In another anti Pakistan outpouring he tweeted that “Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!”
But better sense has started prevailing upon the American leadership and it is now being realized and accepted that Pakistan has been a trusted ally of USA as long as America was involved in Afghnistan war.
In the hindsight, it should be noted that  the United States initiated the Afghan war following the September 11  2001 attacks in U.S. President George W. Bush blamed Osama bin Laden who was living or hiding in Afghanistan. The aims were destruction of al-Qaeda and Taliban militant’ training camps in Afghanistan. President Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden had already been wanted by the U.S. since 1998.
Pakistan has remained a close and most dependable ally as long the American and ISAF forces were fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Afghan war started on 7 October 2001 and continued for 17 years, four months and three days.140000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops fought against Taliban led by Osama bin Laden and other religious leaders. A hefty amount of $1 trillion were spent on war in Afghanistan.
The latest awareness of president Trump particularly and other political stalwarts has come about for two reasons. One is the realization of Pakistan’s importance for having a clout and goodwill and enormous influence among the Islamic countries particularly the Middle Eastern states with Saudi Arabia in the lead. 
The recent visit of crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz-Al-Saud to Pakistan evolved a complete understating and affinity between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan on the world issues. It served as a milestone and a testimony to the good will that Pakistan enjoys with that leading Arabian state. 
The second factor that reinforces and revives Pakistan’s importance in United States specifically and the rest of the world generally, is the glaring fact that Pakistan provides both logistic and political routes to enter Afghnistan that USA and the allies might be needing to reinforce goodwill and bilateral relationship with the leadership in Afghnistan.  The restoration of peace in Afghnistan and fraternity generated from that would enable the former western hostile powers to rebuild Afghnistan and restore a modicum of good governance, peace and development.
It’s time for United States and other western countries to plan rebuilding the war-torn Afghnistan and pave way for the Afghan refugees to return to their motherland after almost 18 years. The peace in Afghnistan might help America to proceed farther in the Central Asian states for promotion of social, trade and commercial links. 
Hopefully the Afghan terrain would not be used for isolating Iran or removing her religious leadership. Iran is a close door neighbor country of both Pakistan and Afghanistan and as such she needs peace, advancement and openness like other states in the region.