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30 November 2009

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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Is Parachinar a part of Pakistan?

The Taliban-linked Wahhabi groups in Parachinar, Hangu District and much of the Kurram tribal agency have mounted a series of violent attacks against the region's Shia Muslims.

Militants kill 7 Shias in Parachinar

Taliban-linked militants have killed at least seven Shia tribesmen near the Afghan border as they were heading to the Kurram agency in the northwestern Pakistan

18 Eylül 2009 Cuma 13:45

The victims were returning home from vacation in the United Arab Emirates when they were stopped near Afghanistan's Paktia province on the border with Pakistan, a Pakistani official told Prewww.haber27.com correspondent on condition of anonymity.

Militants looted and then shot dead the Shia Muslims from Tori tribe, who were bound for Kurram's Parachinar district via Afghanistan, he added.

The incident comes a day after Afghanistan shut down a key route to the populated Kurram tribal region, which has raised concerns of a 'dire humanitarian crisis' in the Taliban-dominated mountainous area.

The residents of the Parachinar, upper and lower Kurram agency used to travel for provincial capital Peshawar through Afghan province Paktia and Kandahar since November 2007, when pro-Taliban Wahhabi militants cut off the areas from the rest of the country, imposing a crippling blockade on the Shia communities in the region.

Pakistan's pro-Taliban insurgents retain control of the tribal zone on the Afghan-Pakistani border, where they are preparing to launch fresh attacks against the foreign forces fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

The militants have also engaged in a massacre of the Shia community in Parachinar, Hangu district and much of Kurram agency, killing dozens on an almost daily basis over the past few months.

Local sources say more than 2,000 Shia Muslims have been killed in the region since the extremists launched a bloody war against them in 2007.

Many within the Shia community accuse certain Arab countries of funding Wahhabi terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the pro-Taliban elements, and of even going as far as providing them with heavy weaponry.



Al Qaeda leader’s sons sent to S. Arabia

Will the hypocrites of Jamaat Islami and PML-N protest against the handing over of their jihadi brothers to their Saudi Mai Baap?

Al Qaeda leader’s sons sent to S. Arabia
By Mateen Haider
Tuesday, 29 Sep, 2009 (Dawn)
Sources told Dawn that Saudi authorities shared intelligence information about Alawi’s sons with Rehman Malik during his recent visit to Jeddah.— Photo from AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has handed over to Saudi Arabia two sons of top Yemeni Al Qaeda leader Alawi who masterminded the suicide attack on Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef in Jeddah last month.

Sources told Dawn that Saudi authorities had shared intelligence information about Alawi’s sons Ali and Siddique with Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik during his recent visit to Jeddah and requested cooperation in tracing and arresting the two top planners of suicide attacks.

On the basis of the information, Pakistani intelligence agencies went into action and arrested the two during a raid on sanctuary in tribal areas where they were hiding.

They were brought to Islamabad and, after brief interrogation, were sent to Saudi Arabiaescorted by security officials. Getting hold of the wanted persons Prince Nayef announced the release of a five-member Pakistani family arrested earlier on the charge of smuggling drugs into the kingdom.

The operation was completed before Eid and Mr Malik announced at a news conference on the Eid day that the five Pakistanis had been released by the Saudi authorities, but he did not say what had prompted Saudi Arabia to release them.

Alawi is a top Al Qaeda leader from Yemen and his two sons were operating from Pakistan’s tribal areas, managing and supervising terror attack.

In the Jeddah suicide attack, Prince Nayef was injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Ramazan gathering.

Although there is no extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan handed over the two foreign militants bypassing its law to oblige the Saudi authorities.

Syed Rashid Husain adds from Riyadh: Five Pakistanis arrested on arrival in Jeddah with drugs in their slippers and subsequently released by the Saudi authorities are now expected to reach Pakistan on Tuesday or Wednesday. Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef are in direct touch, finalising modalities of the return, Pakistan’s Ambassador Omar Khan Ali Sherzai told this correspondent. The five were expected to be sent home earlier by a Saudi special flight, but the departure was delayed because Mr Malik was not in Pakistan.

The Saudi authorities have expressed the desire that the gesture of sending the Pakistanis returning by a royal plane, a demonstration of goodwill for the people of Pakistan, required that they should be received in Pakistan by none else than the interior minister.

Eight Pakistanis were arrested in Jeddah on charges of carrying drugs. Of them ‘three have been proven to be guilty, both by our investigations and the Saudi investigations,’ the Pakistani ambassador said. These three had been involved in the drug trade for some time and had been to Saudi Arabia a number of times.

According to diplomatic sources, the group got arrested in Jeddah because of a remark recorded in the database about one of them. The immigration authorities found out that he had been coming to Jeddah on a regular basis.

During interrogation the man conceded that he was carrying drugs in his slippers and that seven other members of the group who had already been cleared and were waiting for him outside also carried drugs. This information led to the arrest of the seven.


Do you know where God lives? A real story from Phoolnagar!

Do you know where God lives. God lives in that old cottage which provided the jhugga (shirt) to the women undressed by the religion / morality brigade in Phoolnagar.

Do you know where the devil lives? Go no further from the CM house in Raiwind, not very far from the markaz of the Tablighi Jamaat.

Mob disgraces three women in Phoolnagar

Tuesday, 29 Sep, 2009 (Dawn)

KASUR: With their faces painted black and hair cut, three women were forced to parade semi-naked in a Phoolnagar village by a mob on charges of prostitution on Sunday night.

When a civil court set them at liberty on Monday, a large number of people blocked the national highway for about one-and-a-half hours.

Denying prostitution charges, the aggrieved women said the motive behind the entire episode was political rivalry and litigation over property dispute.

One of them said that her 13 years old daughter had been missing since Sunday night.

Reports said that Jamber Kalan union council nazim Muhammad Ilyas Khan and Abdul Sattar along with some 200 villagers had raided the alleged brothel of former councilor Shahnaz alias Sarajan Bibi and recovered her, Azra and Shabana while two men managed to escape.

The charged crowd also brought out the households and set them ablaze before humiliating the women in full public view. The women were finally handed over to the Phoolnagar police on Sunday night.

On Monday, the accused women were produced before a Pattoki court from where they got the bail.

The court scolded investigation officer Bashir Ahmed for giving divergent statements. The IO stated that he along with a police party raided the alleged brothel, but later he changed his statement and said that villagers had handed over the women to police.

The court ordered registration of a case under section 496 of the PPC.

Hearing about the release of women, more than 500 villagers gathered at Ada Jamber Kalan and blocked the Multan Road to protest the court decision and demanded immediate arrest of the accused women.

SP (investigation) Waqas Ahmed along with a police team reached the spot and succeeded in dispersing the protesters.

It is learnt that accused Shahnaz has a land dispute with former TMA chairman Rana Naseeruddin. The alleged brothel is said to be the disputed property.

According to complainant Shahnaz, she had a property dispute with former TMA chairman Rana Naseeruddin and she won the case in the court. She said Naseeruddin accused her of running a prostitution ring to avenge his defeat in the court and tried to occupy her house. She said Naseeruddin reached her house along with 200 people, seized her and her two women guests and then incited the people to attack her.

She stated in the FIR (later registered as per court's orders) that the accused cut her and her guests’ hair, tore up their clothes and forced them to parade naked in the village streets in the presence of hundreds of people for two hours. She said her teenaged daughter Asma, a student of 10th class, was missing since Sunday night. She said the accused met out this treatment to her with the backing of the local police. (Dawn)

Evil on the streets
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
We hear of many appalling acts in our society. Few are as horrifying as the incident that took place in Phoolnagar near Kasur – where a mob forced three women to walk naked on the streets. There is worse to come: police registered a case against the women for allegedly running a brothel. None was registered against the men who stripped and humiliated them. Presumably the police, and other people in the town, stood and watched passively as this happened. It is obvious that influential individuals were involved. The women say the union council nazim wanted to take possession of their house and instigated the action against them. This is easy to believe. It is of course also a telling reflection on our society that while the women were targeted in so terrible a fashion for their alleged involvement in prostitution, no attempt was made to punish the men who must necessarily be a party to any such racket. The question of prostitution is irrelevant. Regardless of whether or not a business existed, what was done to the women is unacceptable. It is unacceptable in any civilized society; it is especially unacceptable in one that calls itself Islamic. Such acts suggest it has no right to call itself that.

Letting the perpetrators go scot-free is one way of ensuring that other women will be made to suffer in exactly the same way. So far the criminals have not been touched. The local police have made it clear whose side they are on. The message has gone out to everyone. Only now that orders have come from higher places will any effort be made to bring the perpetrators to book. The possibility though is that they will be allowed to escape as the spotlight switches away. We must not allow this to happen. As citizens we must speak up against this atrocity. (The News)

پھولنگر:عورتوں کی درخواست

پھولنگر کی متاثرہ خواتین

’ہمیں الف ننگا کردیا تھا انہیں خدا کا خوف نہیں رہا تھا‘

لاہورکے نواحی علاقے پھولنگر (بھائی پھیرو) کےگاؤں جمبر کلاں کی تین خواتین نے ان مقامی لوگوں کے خلاف مقدمہ کے اندراج کے لیے درخواست دے دی ہے جنہوں نے مبینہ طور پر انہیں برہنہ کر کے مرکزی شاہراہ پرکھڑا کر دیا تھا۔

شہناز عرف سراجو کے وکیل محمد فاروق ایڈووکیٹ نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ انہوں نے اپنی درخواست میں خواتین کی سرعام بےحرمتی کرنے، ان کے گھر زبردستی گھس کر لوٹ مار کرنے سمیت سنگین دفعات کی درخواست پولیس کو دی ہے اور اگر پولیس نے مقدمہ درج نہ کیا تو وہ عدلیہ سے رجوع کریں گے۔

پولیس نے ان خواتین کی درخواست پر تاحال کوئی مقدمہ درج نہیں کیا ہے البتہ ان خواتین کے خلاف جسم فروشی کا اڈا چلانے کا جو مقدمہ درج کیا گیا تھا سول جج نے ان کی اہم دفعات حذف کرتے ہوئے ان تینوں کو ضمانت پر رہا کردیا ہے۔

شہناز عرف سراجو کا گھر ایک کھنڈر کا منظر پیش کررہا ہے گھر میں موجود ریفریجریٹر سے لے کر پنکھے اور چھت کے بلب تک لوٹ لیے گئے۔

جمبرگاؤں کی متاثرہ گلی میں پہنچے تو دور سے ایسا لگا کہ کوئی جنازہ جارہا ہے قریب جاکر دیکھا تو پانچ چھ افراد فریج اٹھائے بھاگ رہے تھے

دیہاتی محمد بوٹا

تمام دروازے چوکھٹوں سمیت اکھاڑ لیے گئے۔ ایک ہمسائے نے بتایا ہے کہ شہناز عرف سراجو نے اپنی بیٹی کے لیے تقریباً پانچ لاکھ روپے مالیت کا جو جہیز اکٹھا کیا تھا وہ بھی لوٹ لیا گیا ہے۔

مستری محمد بوٹا نے کہا کہ وہ شام کو جمبرگاؤں کی متاثرہ گلی میں پہنچے تو دور سے ایسا لگا کہ کوئی جنازہ جارہا ہے، قریب جاکر دیکھا تو پانچ چھ افراد فریج اٹھائے بھاگ رہے تھے۔

شہناز عرف سراجو کا گھر جس گلی میں قائم ہے اس میں رہائش پذیر ایک سکول ٹیچرماسٹر مرزا حنیف بیگ نے کہا کہ انہوں نے پہلے ہی شہناز عرف سراجو کو کہہ دیا تھا کہ اس کے گھر پر حملہ ہونے والا ہے لیکن اس نے ان کی تنبیہہ پر کان نہ دھرا۔

انہوں نے بتایا کہ جب بلوائی ان کے گھر گھسے تو وہ گھبرا کراپنی دومنزلہ چھت سے ہمسائے کی نچلی چھت پر کودی اور پھر گلی میں چھلانگ لگائی لیکن پکڑی گئی۔

ماسٹر حنیف بیگ گاؤں کے ان متعدد لوگوں میں شامل ہیں جنہوں نے عورتوں کی برہنہ پریڈ کا منظر دیکھا لیکن وہ کسی تھانے کچہری میں گواہی دینے کے لیے تیار نہیں ہیں۔

ایڈیشنل ایس پی قصورجاوید مقامی پولیس چوکی میں بیٹھے ملے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ ابھی تک انہیں ایسی کوئی گواہی یا ثبوت نہیں ملا جس کی بنیاد پر وہ کہہ سکیں کہ عورتوں کو برہنہ کیا گیا ہے یا ان کے گھر میں لوٹ مار کی گئی البتہ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ تو واضح ہے کہ عورتیں قحبہ خانہ چلاتی رہی ہیں۔

ایک شخص محمد صدیق نے کہا کہ یہ عورتیں محلے کی لڑکیوں کو ورغلا کر غلط راستے پر لگا رہی تھیں اور ان کے ساتھ جو ہوا وہ درست ہے۔

بلوائیوں کی قیادت کرنے والے بااثر سیاسی افراد نے اعلان کیاتھا کہ اگر کسی نے ان عورتوں کا ساتھ دیا یا ان کے حق میں گواہی دینے کی کوشش کی تو اس کا براحشر کیا جائےگا

خواتین کے وکیل میاں فاروق ایڈووکیٹ نے کہا کہ جب سول جج نے عورتوں کو ضمانت پر رہا کیا تو علاقے کے بااثرافراد نے عدالت کے احاطے میں ہی دھمکی دی کہ اگر یہ عورتیں واپس موضع جمبر گئیں تو انہیں مار دیا جائے گا۔ اسی وجہ سے یہ عورتیں روپوشی کی زندگی بسر کرنے پر مجبور ہیں۔

پتوکی عدالت کے احاطے میں موجود شہناز عرف سراجو نے اپنا سر دکھایا جس کے بال کٹے ہوئے تھے اور چہرے پر نیل صاف دکھائی دے رہے تھے۔ شہناز عرف سراجو نے کہا ’ہمیں الف ننگا کردیا تھا انہیں خدا کا خوف نہیں رہا تھا۔‘

مقامی لوگوں نے بتایا کہ سراجو کو ننگا کرنے کے علاوہ اس کے چہرے پر کالک ملی گئی تھی اور گلے میں جوتوں کا ہار ڈال کر گلی میں پھرایا گیا اور بچوں کو چھڑیاں پکڑا کر کہا گیا کہ انہیں چبھوتے ہوئے آگے کی طرف لے کر چلو۔

مقامی لوگوں کے بقول بلوائیوں کی قیادت کرنے والے بااثر سیاسی افراد نے اعلان کیا تھا کہ اگر کسی نے ان عورتوں کا ساتھ دیا یا ان کے حق میں گواہی دینے کی کوشش کی تو اس کا براحشر کیا جائےگا۔

ان عورتوں کے کپڑے پھاڑ کر جب ننگا کیا جارہا تھا تو گاؤں میں متعدد ایسے افراد موجود تھے جو اس حرکت کو غلط سمجھنے کے باوجود آگے بڑھ کر ان عورتوں کی مدد نہیں کرسکے۔

اسی گاؤں میں ایک گھرانہ ایسا بھی ہے جسے اس کے مال اسباب کے لحاظ سے غریب ترین کہا جاسکتا ہے کیونکہ وہ پورا گھر پیوند لگے کپڑے کی ایک چھوٹی سے جھونپڑی میں رہتا ہے۔

شہناز بی بی کی ساتھیوں میں سے ایک کو جب مبینہ طور پر برہنہ کردیا گیا تو اس نے خود کو لوگوں کی نظروں سے بچانے کے لیے ایک کے بعد ایک ہمساؤں کے دروازے کھٹکھٹائے لیکن کوئی دروازہ نہ کھلا جس پر وہ بھاگ کر اسی جھونپڑی کے سامنے جاکر گرگئی۔

جھونپڑی کے غریب مالک نے بی بی سی کو اپنا نام تو نہیں بتایا لیکن کہا کہ وہ عورت کو اندر لے گیا اس کی بیوی نے اپنا جھگا (قمیض) اس کو پہنایا آنسو پونچھے، اسی دوران پولیس آئی اور اسے اپنے ساتھ لے گئی


Kerry-Lugar Bill - Is it good or bad for Pakistan?

We may be entering a ‘new phase’ in relations between the US and Pakistan with the passage of the bill, but the paeans to ‘fundamental change’ don’t jibe with reality. –Photo by AP
Kerry-Lugar Bill: the fruition of 62 years
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Mosharraf Zaidi

$1.5 billion a year does not measure up well against the per capita assistance that Uncle Sam has provided for countries like Jordan, Georgia, Egypt and Israel. Nevertheless, America's friendship with Pakistan is entering a new and exciting phase. The Kerry-Lugar Bill signals a dramatic shift in how American power seeks to engage with Pakistanis. While even moderate Democrats in Washington DC are alarmed by how many Cold War bunnies President Obama has in his diplomatic arsenal, it is also true that the Obama people have a fundamentally different worldview than the one that motivated the actions of the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal of the Christian Taliban. Rest assured, the era in which that gang of neocon torturers and war-profiteers was allowed to sleep serenely in beds that Gen Musharraf and his enablers made for them is over.

Reading the Kerry-Lugar Bill exposes several pleasant realities. Its analysis of Pakistan's development challenges is succinct, to the point and reasonably comprehensive. The depth of analysis in the bill indicates genuine American interest in serious Pakistani issues. Moreover, given the lamentable efforts of Pakistani governments to document its own development priorities (who can forget the PRSP fiascos?), the bill represents a very good summary of the country's development challenges. Finally, to the abiding credit of American democratic institutions, the Kerry-Lugar Bill is a well-crafted document that makes no secrets of its motivations.

Section 3 of the bill is titled Findings, and is a list of the issues that motivate the bill. There are a total of 12 findings. Findings 1 and 2 are platitudinous expressions of the US-Pakistan friendship, and the $15 billion that the US government invested in the Gen Musharraf regime. Finding 3 recognises the importance of the February 18, 2008, election. Findings 4 through 9 focus on Al Qaeda, the Taliban and FATA. Findings 10 and 11 contain statistics about poverty and the economy in Pakistan. Finally, Finding 12 recognises the IDPs crisis caused by the May 8 Swat offensive. Nine of the twelve findings specifically refer to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, security, terrorism and/or FATA. Only one finding mentions the word poverty. This is not an accident. The Kerry-Lugar Bill is an American legislative measure designed to pursue American interests.

The bill's three main sections further clarify the purpose and method that will define the engagement of American power with Pakistan. The first is focused on Pakistan's traditional development challenges, titled, "Democratic, Economic and Development Assistance for Pakistan" and has up to $1.5 billion associated with it. The second is titled "Security Assistance for Pakistan" and does not specify how much money is available, but does define a new era in US-Pakistan military relations. Most importantly this section delinks American support for Pakistani national security from the military, and places the control of any support provided with democratically elected civilian governments. This is a marked departure from the laissez faire rental agreements made by American governments and the Pakistani military under Musharraf with the Bushies, and under Zia, with the Bushies' ancestors in the Reagan White House.

The final section, and the one of most interest from a purely development perspective, is titled "Strategy, Accountability, Monitoring and Other Provisions". This section details a complex set of planning, reporting, auditing and accounting documents that are designed to ensure that Pakistan uses the money it is given in accordance with the wishes of the US Congress -- a fine and noble cause given that it is their money. The Kerry-Lugar Bill's rather detailed set of accountability instruments will, however, if American bureaucrats are not careful, paralyse the mobility of almost all of the $1.5 billion a year.

The Kerry-Lugar Bill calls for the production of at least three major, macro-level strategic documents that will double as budgeted work-plans, to be presented to relevant committees of the US parliament. The secretary of state must produce a Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report within 45 days of the bill's passage, and a Security-Related Assistance Plan Report within 180 days of the bill's passage. The US president must produce a Comprehensive Regional Strategy Report for submission to the relevant committees within 180 days of the passage of the bill. This last document, the regional strategy, seems to have been inspired by the president's book titled "The Audacity of Hope", seeking as it does, ways by which not only Pakistan, but Afghanistan and India too can be made more secure, through the Kerry-Lugar Bill assistance money.

Six months after the secretary of state's Pakistan Assistance Strategy, Madam Secretary, or her predecessor, in concert with the secretary of defence, will be required to submit the first Semi-Annual Monitoring Report. Every six months thereafter, they will be required to produce one of these reports. If they ever make it to the public domain, these will be chart toppers at Amazon and on the New York Times' best sellers' lists.

The semi-annual reports will not only detail expenditure and achievements, but will also include an evaluation of efforts by the government of Pakistan to "disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, the Taliban", "eliminate safe havens", close "Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camps", "cease all support for terrorist groups", "prevent attacks into neighbouring countries", and "close madressahs linked to the Taliban".

It gets better. In addition to evaluating Pakistan's performance along these lines, the report will also describe Pakistan's anti-proliferation efforts, assess whether US assistance is enabling Pakistan to spend more on nukes, and finally, assess the extent of civilian government control over the military, including "oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders".

It may be an understatement to suggest that these requisite documents will exact a heavy toll on an already-stretched US bureaucracy in Pakistan. What is more worrying is that each new diplomat will require several individuals to help protect his or her life. Those 'protectors' will not be from among the Islamabad Traffic Police. They will be drawn from a pool of private contractors, hired through the State Department's Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) contracting vehicle.

The WPPS, as anyone who has read Jeremy Scahill's exceptional book about Blackwater will know, is a bit of a problem. The hullabaloo over Blackwater's presence in Pakistan is not a conspiracy theory. It is a very legitimate concern about the use of mercenaries that are immune from the law. Blackwater may or may not be present in Pakistan -- but its ilk, most definitely are. Among these, DynCorp's presence here has already been verified, thanks to the now infamous Pakistani sub-contractor named Inter-Risk.

Other mercenary companies, such as Triple Canopy, Xe, and Richard Armitage's CACI will eventually be deployed in Pakistan because protecting an army of bureaucrats will require several armies of mercenaries.

Of course, a lot of this is a reflection of the Pakistani state's failure to protect guests when they visit this country. Over the last eight years American diplomats have been bombed (Karachi and Islamabad), ambassadors have been killed (Czech Republic at the Marriott), and journalists and engineers beheaded on camera (Danny Pearl and Piotr Stanczak).

The Kerry-Lugar Bill is a bitter pill that Pakistan's strong and resilient people must swallow because they have repeatedly been failed by both their military dictators and their civilian megalomaniacs. True proof of the very different planet that the Pakistani elite inhabit drips from Farahnaz Ispahani's pen in a lionisation of her government published in the Huffington Post on Saturday, and this paper, just yesterday. Says Ms Ispahani, "Pakistan stands perhaps in the strongest diplomatic position in its sixty-two year history". How's that for a punch-line?

The writer advises governments, donors and NGOs on public policy. He can be reached through his website www.mosharrafzaidi.com (The News)

Deciphering the US aid bill
By Cyril Almeida
Friday, 02 Oct, 2009

Never let the facts get in the way of a good debate. That pretty much sums up the approach to the Kerry-Lugar/Berman bill, officially, the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, now approved by Congress.

How angry are some of the critics? Very angry; frothing-at-the-mouth angry. A PPP government has once again sold the country, its sovereignty, its very soul to the Yanks. And going by some of the wildest claims, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of patriots lining up to water the tree of liberty here with their blood. Pakistan will be saved. The conspiracy to destroy us will be defeated.

Right. About the facts. What appears to have sent the bill’s Pakistani opponents into convulsions is this: Sec 203: limitations on certain assistance. Specifically, paragraph (c) of sec 203, entitled ‘certification,’ which lists three subjects the secretary of state has to certify to Congress that Pakistan is cooperating on, committed to and eschewing from.

I’ll get to those conditions in a bit, but first the pesky fact that the ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’ here have missed. (Tip of the hat to William Safire, The New York Times man who passed away this week and who probably had little clue that his brilliance was being lapped up in faraway Pakistan.)

The certification limitation applies to two things: security-related assistance and major defence transfers, both defined in sec 2, ‘definitions,’ if anyone is interested. The certification does not apply to the democratic, economic and development assistance.

So Pakistanis are supposed to be angry that the Americans have put conditions on selling guns to Pakistan, but not on democratic, economic and development assistance? Of course not. Which is why the chest-thumping uber-nationalists here have ignored the point and pretended that the conditions are applicable to the full amount of the aid. Remember, never let the facts get in the way of a good debate.

Now, to the other side, Pakistani and American officials, also prone to exaggerating the effect of the bill. We may be entering a ‘new phase’ in relations between the US and Pakistan with the passage of the bill, but the paeans to ‘fundamental change’ sung particularly by Pakistani officials don’t jibe with reality.

Pakistan is a tactical ally of the US, not a strategic partner; that has been the reality since 9/11 and that continues to be the reality even after the passage of the Enhanced Partnership Act.

The language of the bill tells its own story. From sec 3: findings: ‘(1) The people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the United States share a long history of friendship and comity, and the interests of both nations are well-served by strengthening and deepening this friendship’ (emphasis added). And from the same section: ‘(4) Pakistan is a major non-Nato ally of the United States and has been a valuable partner in the battle against al Qaeda and the Taliban, but much more remains to be accomplished by both nations’ (emphasis added). Hardly stirring stuff.

Next, the limitations on security-related assistance and arms transfers. First, the secretary of state must certify that ‘the Government of Pakistan is continuing to cooperate with the United States in efforts to dismantle supplier networks relating to the acquisition of nuclear weapons-related materials, such as providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks.’

Yes, the earlier direct reference to A.Q. Khan has been deleted and semantically it could be argued that he is any case no longer ‘associated’ with nuclear proliferation networks. But that isn’t the point. The point is that the language reveals once again the true nature of Pak-US relations: we are a tactical ally, not a strategic partner.

To get an idea of the language Congress uses for strategic partners, consider the certification requirement in the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act passed by the previous Congress: ‘the President shall certify to Congress that entry into force and implementation of the Agreement … (does not in any way) assist, encourage, or induce India to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.’

Yes, the bill stipulates that legal requirements of the Henry J. Hyde Act of 2006 and Atomic Energy Act of 1954 are not overridden and the Hyde Act places additional requirements on India that the US president must certify, but those do not imply that India is involved in nuclear weapons proliferation, which the Kerry-Lugar/Berman bill does. The difference isn’t something to be sneezed at. We are and are set to remain a tactical ally, not a strategic partner, of the US.

The second condition applies to Pakistan’s ‘sustained commitment to … and significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups.’ Again, in broad strokes the condition is not very controversial because it is in line with Pakistan’s publicly declared policy against militancy.

But here’s the rub: the details contain implicit references to India. After specifically requiring that Pakistan move towards ceasing support for any groups that launch attacks against US or coalition forces inside Afghanistan, the condition also mentions ‘the territory or people of neighbouring countries.’ Then it goes on to refer to the Lashkar-i-Taiba, its headquarters in Muridke and the Jaish-i-Mohammad. Connecting the dots isn’t very difficult.

Frankly, the conditions themselves are arguably what the state should be doing in any case; we need to be rid of the curse of militancy and we need to do it for our own good. But in the present context, it matters who is asking us to do it and why.
From a hard-nosed, realpolitik perspective — and you cannot ignore that in statecraft — the references amount to Indian security concerns inserting themselves into an American bill meant to provide democratic, economic and development assistance to Pakistan.

So even if you ignore, and you should, the most outrageous bile of the bill’s critics, the more subtle point is reinforced: we remain a tactical ally of the US, not a strategic partner.

Going forward, what that really calls for is a serious, measured, thoughtful debate about our approach to the US specifically and our grand, national security and national military strategies generally. But don’t bet on that happening. Remember, we don’t let the facts get in the way of a good debate.

cyril.a@gmail.com (Dawn)

Making use of aid
Dissenting note

Friday, October 02, 2009
Dr Masooda Bano

The US House of Representatives has reached a consensus to continue to direct US aid flows to Pakistan by approving a five-year support package of 1.5 million per annum going to 2014. The good news is that this money is meant to be primarily used for education and infrastructure. Any external support aimed at improving Pakistan's education sector is, of course, always welcome. The issue, however, is to ensure that the aid is actually spent on the selected sector. The aid utilisation trends in Pakistan have historically been far from impressive.

Outright corruption and mismanagement have often resulted in development aid being largely misspent. Since the Sept 11 attacks, the problem has grown: since the donors are now channelling aid to Pakistan in a bid to curtail militancy they have started to use aid as a leverage to make the government agree to counter-militancy measures rather than ensuring that it is actually spent on the relevant sector. If these new approved funds from the US are to make any contribution to the Pakistan's education sector, this trend for sure has to be checked.

Aid in general is a controversial subject in development literature. While there are clearly arguments for the developed world enjoying the comforts of a good life to try to contribute towards improving living conditions for millions in the poor countries, the practice is not that easy. Aid is hardly ever given for purely altruistic reasons. Political and strategic interests of the donors always play a critical role in the amount of aid that they channel to any country. These political and strategic interests also determine which actors they fund within the chosen countries. Of course, there are differences among donors where some bilateral donors are known to be less political than others but the US is not one of them.

In any case, the increased security concerns in Pakistan has meant that more western donors have felt their security interests links to Pakistan, and as a result have been increasing their aid portfolios for Pakistan. The education sector has also greatly benefited in paper from these increased aid flows. However, in practice it is very difficult to see how this aid has made any difference to the Pakistani state education system. There is clearly something amiss with the way aid is being utilised in Pakistan, especially in the education sector.

The answer to this is not difficult either. The problem is because donors have increased their aid flows to Pakistan due to concerns about militancy, they become less concerned about ensuring that the government actually spends the money on the education sector. Rather, they prefer to use this aid money to negotiate other anti-militancy measures with the government. Thus, as long as the Pakistani government agrees to carrying out the next round of military operations or any such counter-militancy measures, the donors feel less pressured to actually ensure that the aid money meant for education or other sectors is actually being used for that purpose. The primary concern of the donors remains to keep the Pakistani government involved because the donors are desperate to stay engaged with Pakistan for the counter-militancy programmes. They therefore don't want to pressure the government to deliver on the social-sector front too much as they might end up offending certain parties and then being told to withdraw their portfolios.

Seen from the Pakistani perspective this is a very advantageous position. The fact that the donor is keen to stay engaged with a country is a good thing as it gives Pakistani government a lot of negotiating power. However, this could only be a strength provided the government at the Pakistani end was sincere in utilising the aid money for the right purposes. Pakistan's tragedy is that even the present government is no different than the Musharraf government when it comes to ensuring efficient utilisation of aid funds. There are no signs that the corruption under this government is checked or that the government has special commitment to reforming education sector. In such circumstances additional aid to education sector in Pakistan will only help make the people at the top comfortable rather than actually improving the conditions of the Pakistani schools. However, what is important to remember is that these choices are in Pakistan's own hands. If only the leadership of the time was to think of the long-term individual and collective interest rather than pursuing short-sighted gains, increased aid flows to Pakistan could become a blessing.

The writer is a research fellow at the Oxford University. Email: mb294@hotmail.com (The News)


Pakistan and NATO must attack and eliminate the Taliban new havens around Quetta

‘Taliban have new havens around Quetta’

* Washington Post says US grappling with rapidly spreading arc of Taliban influence
* US officials concerned Quetta shura planning cross-border strikes

Daily Times Monitor

ISLAMABAD: An American newspaper has reported that Taliban – headed by their fugitive leader Mullah Muhammad Omar – have new safe havens around Quetta, with US officials expressing concerns over the role of the group in the area.

“As American troops move deeper into southern Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, US officials are expressing fresh concerns over the role of fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and his council of lieutenants, who reportedly plan and launch cross-border strikes from safe havens around Quetta,” said the Washington Post. “But US officials acknowledge they know relatively little about the Pakistani border region, have no capacity to strike there and have few windows into the turbulent mix of Pashtun tribal and religious politics that has turned the area into a sanctuary for the Taliban leaders, who are known collectively as the Quetta shura.”

Pakistani and foreign analysts said Quetta has suddenly emerged as an urgent but elusive new target as Washington grapples with the Taliban’s rapidly spreading arc of influence and terror across Afghanistan.

“In the past, we focused on Al Qaeda... the Quetta shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region,” said US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson. “Now... the Quetta Shura is high on Washington’s list.”

Although Omer and his associates keep a low profile, Pakistani and foreign experts say Balochistan has re-emerged as a “Taliban sanctuary, recruiting ground and command post”.

“Quetta is absolutely crucial to the Taliban today,” said Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban. “From there they get recruits... suicide bombers are trained on that side.” Michael Semple, a former UN official in Afghanistan now based in Islamabad, described the Quetta region’s refugee camps as “a great reserve army” for the Taliban. (Daily Times)

Editorial: The so-called ‘Quetta shura’

The US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, has told the Washington Post that “the United States has now turned its focus to Quetta”, claiming that the area has now become a major Taliban base from where “Mullah Omar and his commanders plan and launch cross-border strikes into Afghanistan”. The US-NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A McChrystal, has also raised the matter of the “Quetta shura” as a major command centre for the Taliban bombings and attacks inside Afghanistan in his initial assessment to US President Barack Obama. As if to complete the message, a newspaper in London has hinted that the US could be making ready for drone attacks in Balochistan too.

The military spokesman in Pakistan says there are no Taliban in Balochistan. DG-ISPR Major-General Athar Abbas also says that the names given to Pakistan by Afghanistan under the so-called rubric “Quetta shura” are of Taliban commanders that have mostly been taken out while some are in Afghanistan: “Six to 10 of them have been killed, two are in Afghanistan, and two are insignificant. When people call Mullah Omar the mayor of Quetta it is incorrect”.

Pakistan has always denied the presence of Mullah Umar and his council of warriors in Quetta. The allegations have mostly come from western journalists claiming eyewitness accounts. That of course raises the question of how journalists can be privy to such goings-on even as in the same WP report US officials admit the lack of any credible intelligence on their part. Of course, the area is awash with about 400,000 Afghan Taliban who have been domiciled there since the Soviets walked into that country. These people indulge in smuggling, euphemistically referred to as cross-border trade. Surely, they could not be the “Quetta shura”. The problem is that the city has been a natural “fall-back city” for the Taliban because of its proximity to Kandahar. Even the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, lived in Quetta for many years till his father was killed by Mullah Umar here.

Western accounts regularly allege that Pakistan may not be forthcoming on the Afghan Taliban because it differentiates them from the Pakistani Taliban who make trouble inside Pakistan. This leads to the US “deduction” that since the Afghan Taliban are old clients of Pakistan and are not making trouble here, the “Quetta shura” might enjoy exemption from attack, thus indirectly committing Pakistan to backing the Afghan Taliban in their war against the US-NATO forces in Afghanistan. These accounts also flow from information contained in author Ahmed Rashid’s book Descent into Chaos: How the War against Islamic Extremism is being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia (2008) who notes that Quetta was host to the Taliban till 2006.

The fact is that Quetta is not a city that Pakistan can boast of controlling effectively, leave alone the rest of Balochistan. A VIP of the Quetta government can get killed in front of the assembly building in broad daylight. There is trouble in the province because of Baloch separatists who are supported by hostile intelligence agencies. The political consensus even among the elected members of the assembly (and there is a PPP-led government in the province) is that there should be no new cantonments built in the province, there should be no paramilitary force like the Frontier Constabulary and no police.

Balochistan was in fact the first territory in Pakistan to become like Afghanistan with hardly any writ of the state there. And that is over 40 percent of Pakistan’s total territory. But there was a time when Quetta at least was orderly, mainly because of presence there of Pakistan’s prestigious Command and Staff College. Now the army keeps strictly out of the city and the police is regularly targeted by terrorists. Also targeted are the Hazaras, a part of the old Afghan exodus, ghettoised in the city.

Pakistan cannot give the go-ahead to US drones. Even if a joint strategy is drawn up for their use, it is going to be very difficult for Pakistan to allow attacks on cities. Neither will it be easy for Pakistan to clean up Quetta. Every time Pakistan has tried to control the border, Afghanistan has objected to it. We have had to remove the biometric system at Chaman because of such objections. Similarly, Kabul has objected to Pakistan sending back the Afghans to their own country. The US must keep all of these factors into mind before embarking on a policy based on journalistic accounts with obvious slants. (Daily Times)


Some thoughts on Dr Doom and Gloom (Dr Shahid Masood)

Reflections on the media —Munir Attaullah

For optimum results, we need to make rational assessments in the present, not ruefully lament much later having been misled by attractive slogans, hypothetical promises, and alluring equivocation

And be these juggling fiends no more believ’d,
That palter with us in a double sense;
Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
In deepest consequence.

Do you know of anyone who has ever laid claim to improving the work of Sir William? If the answer is ‘No’, I may as well — in my usual modest way — claim a first today. How come, and why?

Look again at that those beautiful lines from Macbeth I have quoted above. They are a rueful reflection by the tragic hero (when it is too late), upon the treacherous use by the three witches of that verbalgenre known as the double entendre, to mislead him. This particular verbal artifice carries a twin message: the unintended one, which is the obvious interpretation of the words, and an intended one, which is hidden. Incidentally, though the most frequent usage of the device is to convey a hidden meaning of a risqué nature, technically speaking that is not a limitation.

So where is my improvement that I am so proud of? Well, only those amongst you who know their Macbeth backwards will know what I have done: I have actually combined two lines (the first two, spoken by Macbeth) from the last Scene of the final Act, with two lines (spoken by Banquo) in the third Scene of the first Act, to construct a quotation that the rest of you will surely admire. Can it not stand on its own? Does it not appear to have the stamp of authenticity?

Now why would I be indulging in such esoteric pursuits, you might be wondering? I will tell you. As I listen to certain well-known anchors and panellists on our political talk shows, and think of the impact of their words on the bulk of our populace, I cannot help but remember these lines.

I accept that — unlike the witches — these people are all honourable and patriotic men. They do not (as far as an innocent like me can tell) say what they say with malevolent intent. Nevertheless, their emotionally comforting rhetoric, lapped up by a goodly number of our ba-sha’oor awaam because it resonates powerfully with their own desires, ends up having tragic national consequences. At least, that is what I think.

For, it makes it all that more difficult for a nascent and struggling democratic dispensation to guide the nation out of those dangerous cul-de-sacs it is consequently tempted to explore by such rhetoric. Must it be our destiny to always end up looking a masochistic lot in our elusive quest of irrational heroism?

Am I being unnecessarily critical and unfair? Let me give you some examples from my last week’s viewing for you to judge for yourself. And, it will come as no surprise for regular readers if I choose for the exercise my favourite anchor, henceforth to be known in these columns as Dr D&G (for ‘Doom & Gloom’ not ‘Dolce & Gabbana’). Incidentally, I call him my favourite not out of any great admiration but only because his is the one programme I try not to miss. Who wants to watch those you largely agree with? Better to find out what the other half of the world has to say.

Of late, Dr D&G’s usual moans and groans have concentrated on the President’s travels, the Friends of Democratic Pakistan meetings and the Kerry-Lugar Bill.

“Mein nahin janta what the nation has gained from these trips, but I do know they have cost the exchequer $2 million — yes, $2 million — while there is no sugar for the ghareeb awam and people are dying, queuing for flour”.

With that same feigned innocence (“mujhe nahin maaloom”), he asked a former foreign secretary what sort of a creature is this FoDP, and can we really expect anything from them? The answer of the former FS was interesting too: his experience told him such groups were apparently ceremonial talking shops from whom nothing could be expected.

I am lost for words. Does the good doctor really not know how the international community has bailed us out from our financial crisis? Does he really think the President has made all those trips largely for private pleasure and profit (as was being hinted)? Does he really not know what the FoDP forum is all about?

I cannot believe that of a working journalist. So why this feigned and artful innocence? It is always legitimate to be critical, by comparing actual achievement against promises made, using facts and figures. But that was not what was being done here.

And that brings me to the Kerry-Lugar Bill. That the bill contains clauses that are unusually intrusive into our affairs is not in doubt. Many would the use (and have done) the stronger phrase ‘insulting to our sovereignty’ to describe them and, in normal circumstances, I could not agree more. Nor is the money all that substantial, particularly if a good deal of it will be dissipated in all that monitoring. So, what should be our response?

In the first place, the bill is not yet law. Perhaps, with some concentrated diplomacy, we can get the more irritating bits removed. But what if that fails and the bill is signed into law more or less as it is? So what? If we don’t like the terms we don’t have to take their money, and can preserve our tattered izzat and ghairat. That is entirely our decision, and nobody is forcing us to accept or reject the terms.

What would I do? I would take the money and swallow the unpleasant terms. We need whatever we can get. Most of the conditions are not onerous or difficult to comply with, and are anyway in our own interest. And, in practice, with a bit of fudging, the required regular certification of the US administration may even be forthcoming even if we fail to strictly meet all conditions. Anyway, what is the worst that can happen? Only, that the future instalments are stopped, no more. So, what have to lose?

As I have said ad nauseam, three of the four most important challenges we face are to uproot religious militancy; get the economy growing at a healthy rate; and purposefully re-integrate with the international community. Our future, as always, is largely in our own hands. For optimum results, we need to make rational assessments in the present, not ruefully lament much later having been misled by attractive slogans, hypothetical promises, and alluring equivocation.

As our media matures, and gains experience over time, I am sure this will happen. Already there is a big difference between what the media is now and what it was a couple of years ago. Just one illustrative example: have you noticed how quickly and magically that word‘muzakirat’ has vanished from your TV screens?

Yes, that quotation I started the column with conveys a powerful message. The bad news is there will always be room — and in Pakistan, plenty of room — for the likes of Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. But the good news is we are slowly building in the media a critical counter mass of rational opinion that is increasingly being heard.

The writer is a businessman. A selection of his columns is now available in book form. Visit munirattaullah.com (Daily Times)


Ahmedi-baiting in Lahore

Ahmedi-baiting: ridiculous or tragic?

The 20 shopkeepers of Green Town in Lahore have been advised to remove any Quranic verses from their shops simply to avoid bloody mayhem, given the atmosphere of extremism in the country. The shopkeepers are Ahmedis who represent the cluster of 200 houses belonging to the community in the nearby Township area. Some of them have written verses from the Quran (like the kalima) on the front of their shops and houses.

The Ahmedis complain that the Sunni shopkeepers had gone to the police in the matter out of business jealousy. They say the verses had stayed written on their houses and shops for many years. But the stark fact is that under the Constitution and the laws framed in line with an amendment made in it, the Ahmedis are not even allowed to show respect towards Islamic symbols. They have been declared non-Muslims but with the distinction that while other non-Muslims can show respect, they cannot.

Outsiders will regard this as ridiculous or even funny, but in Pakistan this is a deadly serious matter. People have died for it, and angry organisations with global connections are calling for more drastic action against the Ahmedis every day. The application to the police against the Ahmedis has been moved in the name of the International Majlis Khatm-e-Nabuwwat. The police in the area of Green Town cannot wave the affair away.

According to Section 298-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), the Ahmedi community cannot call its place of worship a masjid and cannot give the call to prayer (azan). According to Section 298-C of the PPC, they cannot pose as Muslims, directly or indirectly. There was this extremely absurd incident of an Ahmedi being hauled up for having written the kalima on the house that he had just bought; but he was hauled up again, for desecration, when he tried to wipe it off. (Daily Times)


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Pervez Musharraf's "aakhri mukka"

By Dr Safdar Mehmood


The US Embassy expansion in Pakistan: Fact and Fiction

An analysis by Dr Farrukh Saleem


Zardari versus Siapa Group and "zananion ki bad-duayen"

Abbas Ather's analysis of the anti-democracy "Siapa group" in Pakistan


The third democratic transition in Pakistan - An analysis by Rasul Bakhsh Rais

The third democratic transition

The political parties and their leaders bear greater responsibility for sustaining the growth of democracy in Pakistan. This will require them to perform better in governance, honour their part of the social contract with the people and respect each other’s political mandate

Pakistan has lived from crisis to crisis for a very long time, with interludes of superficial stability and security under military regimes. Why has Pakistan faced a sort of permanent political crisis, and what is it that the world community can do? Or is it fair to expect external actors to put our political house in order?

Opinion is divided on which sectors of state and society have caused problems to the polity and who can really put Pakistan on the road to political and social recovery. Those attached to the authoritarian tradition and benefiting, personally or as a class, from military dictators have blamed elected governments, political parties and hereditary leaders for the political mess.

The usual barrage of charges that we have heard against the political forces of Pakistan may find echo in many other democratic countries, except they strengthen institutions, laws and accountability processes to deal with the dilemma of the ‘wicked’ politician. Our experience of military dictators, particularly the Musharraf regime, shows how national wealth was plundered and how those joining dictators from fragmented political parties and outside were allowed to milk the country. And they were not accountable to anyone.

The interventions that apologists of military regimes defend have rather deepened the crisis of democratic transition and made the process of nation and state building more difficult and complicated. Pakistan is going through a third democratic transition and faces all those familiar problems that other countries have faced to find a natural balance between social forces and political institutions.

We are guardedly more optimistic about the third transition holding ground than we were during past attempts. The reasons for optimism are not too many because social structures that may sustain democratic growth remain weak, and traditional ruling classes continue to live in the old mindset. This is evident from their outlook of Pakistani society, which they believe has not changed much.

Let us look what has changed and how these changes may help the process of democratic transition in the country. The first important change is in the character of civil society, mainly its proliferation and activism on central issues of the polity. Its vigour comes from the new urban middle classes that have grown out of parochialism and narrow political affiliation. Although civil society traditions and associational life are as old as the advent of imperialism, its new focus is on freedoms, rights, free speech and democratic accountability.

The experience of other countries that have successfully made democratic transitions suggests that civil society and its quality has largely determined the pace and quality of democratic transition. If there is any hope of making the political class responsible and forcing it to work within legal and constitutional limits is through the vigilance and activism of civil society organisations.

Issue-based activism of civil society, more than unfocused protests, is what really matters in restraining governments and ruling groups from the misuse of power. Support for democracy and democratic rule has been an overall objective of civil society starting with the anti-Ayub Khan movement. Its new focus on the independence of media and judiciary, rule of law, and accountability of public office holders is about building and strengthening democratic institutions and practices.

The media itself is a big change in Pakistan. Some commentators may question, as they often do, its quality or ability to focus debate on social and even political issues with a degree of insight, but even the free debate we witness daily is mark of great progress. Its is significant for building democracy as it helps evolve a culture of civic engagement and free speech. These are some of the social ingredients that promote and sustain the growth of democracy.

There are many things that remain unsettled in the society and polity, from the rapacious character of the elected representatives to the weak party system and trashing of accountability laws and processes as motivated by political considerations. Not all cases against public representatives, and definitely against the bureaucrats and intelligence agency operatives, were politically motivated.

There is a need to start with a clean state, and having been wronged on almost every issue of national importance by Pervez Musharraf and his associates, the people and civil society want elected governments to prove they have changed and that they would not repeat the misdeeds of Musharraf and earlier governments. They have already wasted a lot of time trying to build trust with the people; they can do that by providing better, honest and clean government.

The revelations of scandals involving the highest elected officials have undermined public faith. So what is the solution? This is a classic problem of building democracy in a society where the political class is not bound to modern norms, integrity and honesty, and is in the habit of flouting laws to enrich itself.

Never, never should we think that angels will descend from heaven and change the hearts and minds of elected representatives; or of the armed forces, to correct their paths. Only good accountability laws, an impartial judiciary, free media and activist civil society can force elected representatives to remain within the limits of law.

When we talk of public representatives, we need to be fair and nuanced and not consider all of them as being greedy, selfish and corrupt. We may find honest and good parliamentarians from every region and in every party. For the democratic transition to move forward, it would be necessary to build broader political coalitions among true democrats within the existing parties and civil society groups.

The old and conservative thought that the social climate of an Islamic country like Pakistan is unfit for democracy is neither rational nor historically correct. Other cultures with non-western religious roots have successfully embraced democracy. The evidence from Pakistan itself in popular movements for democratic rule and against military rulers is something to cherish and that can help further improve the quality of democratic life.

Finally, the political parties and their leaders bear greater responsibility for sustaining the growth of democracy in Pakistan. This will require them to perform better in governance, honour their part of the social contract with the people and respect each other’s political mandate. On these counts, the picture is mixed at best. Weak democracy is better than no democracy at all; this is an emerging national sentiment, which the public representatives shouldn’t take as a licence for wrongdoing, as that would weaken democracy further and undermine its social support base, making it harder for civil society and media to sustain public support for democracy.

Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais is author of Recovering the Frontier State: War, Ethnicity and State in Afghanistan (Oxford University Press, 2008) and a professor of Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at rasul@lums.edu.pk


Monday, 28 September 2009

Establishment in Pakistan: A tool of the Saudi-American international mafia

Here is an analysis by Zamarrud Naqvi exposing the influence of Saudi-American players in civil and military establishment in Pakistan.


The last Ottoman's death: A slap on the face of the pro-Khilafat Mafia

The Khilafat Mafia in Pakistan (e.g. Dr Israr Ahmed) and abroad (e.g. Dr Zakir Naik) and Hizb ut-Tahrir keep trumpeting about the imaginary benefits of an imaginary khilafat of all Muslims. Here is a slap on their face:

"Osman, dubbed the "last Ottoman" by the Turkish media, died in the hospital of kidney failure on Wednesday at the age of 97. Osman, the most senior member of the Ottoman royal family, was exiled by the newly established Turkish Republic in the early 1920s with his family. He was not yet 10 when he left his homeland.

He spent much of his life in New York and came to Turkey in 1992 after he was granted “amnesty.” The advent of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to power in 2003 changed the mainstream ideology of Turkish governments with respect to the Ottoman dynasty. In 2004, the Turkish government granted Turkish citizenship to Ertuğrul Osman." Source

Analysis by Hasan Nisar:

Ertugrul Osman

Ertugrul Osman, who has died aged 97, should, technically speaking, have been addressed as His Imperial Highness Prince Ertugrul Osman Efendi.

Daily Telegraph, Published: 27 Sep 2009

Had events been otherwise his title would have been grander still: His Imperial Majesty Grand Sultan Osman V, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of Islam. As it was, the man who would have been the 45th head of the continent-spanning Ottoman dynasty, founded by Osman I in 1299, lived on the third floor of a rent-controlled flat in New York and was content to be known as plain old Osman.

As a descendant of Abdul Hamid II (who reigned between 1876 and 1909) he was the last-surviving grandson of any serving Ottoman Emperor, and the only remaining scion of the dynasty to have been born in the imperial homeland.

His death marks the end of a story that reached its zenith at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Shortly after that failed siege, Ottoman power began to decline, culminating in its collapse and the establishment of the Turkish Republic under Kemal Ataturk in 1923. The royal family was subsequently expelled, and Osman, who was abroad at the time, did not return to Turkey until 1992.

During the intervening time he refused to take up a Turkish passport, claiming instead to be a citizen of the Ottoman Empire. With the help of a document drawn up by his lawyer he somehow managed to have this official limbo accepted by passport authorities until September 11 2001, when more stringent regulations came into force.

None the less, he was by no means a firebrand exile, never calling for the return of the Sultanate or the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Turkey. On the contrary, he seemed studiously determined to be as uncontroversial as possible, always replying to the question of whether he was in favour of a future Restoration with the simple answer "No".
Ertugrul Osman was born in Istanbul on August 18 1912, the youngest son of Prince Mehmed Burhaneddin and his first wife Aliye Melek Nazliar Hanim, and spent his toddler years roaming the mahogany parquet corridors of the 285-room Dolmabahce Palace, which clings to the banks of the European side of the Bosporus.

Aged 10 he was sent to Vienna to study, and it was there that he heard, in March 1924, of the abolition of the caliphate, which gave the Sultan authority over the world's Sunni Muslims and was the last significant imperial role to be scrapped by Ataturk. The Sultan and his family were sent into exile. "The men had one day to leave," Osman recalled in a recent interview. "The women were given a week."

Osman stayed in Vienna until the outbreak of war in 1939 and then moved to New York. By war's end he was ensconced in a "walk-up" apartment above a restaurant on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, the only residence in what was otherwise a commercial block.

He lived there with his first wife, Gulda Twerskoy, whom he married in 1947. It was, he admitted, a far cry from the opulent imperial residences in which he had grown up. But instead of growing embittered by his dramatic reversal of fortune, those who met him said Osman assessed his unique situation in understated, often comic tones.

He made his career in the mining business, with the company Wells Overseas, for whom he did indeed frequently travel abroad, particularly to South America. He was on a business trip there in 1974 when the imperial family's exile was repealed and he was told he could apply for Turkish citizenship. "I was in Venezuela when we were granted amnesty," he said later. "We had a mine there. A Turkish ambassador sent me the news: 'Apply to us if you want to be a citizen. We can give you a passport or visa if you want.'"

Osman said he refused the offer, replying: "We do not need amnesty since we have not done anything wrong."

In retirement Osman, who first wife had died in 1985, met Zeynep Tarzi Hanim, an Afghan princess almost three decades younger than he. She too had led the life of a royal exile, after her uncle King Amanullah was toppled in 1929. She had moved with her family to Istanbul before heading to New York in 1971, where she carved out a niche in the fashion world by selling Turkish designs.

Though Osman was worried about the age gap between himself and Zeynep Tarzi, she did not see it as a problem and concentrated his mind by issuing an ultimatum: "Eventually I told him, 'If you won't marry me, I'll marry someone else.' It was an empty threat, but it worked." They married in 1991.

A year later he returned to the land of his birth for this first time in more than half a century. He had been extended an official invitation by the Turkish government and made headline news as he touched down.

Although he granted interviews, he preferred to keep a low profile as he toured the landmarks from which his grandfather had ruled a century earlier. During his trip to the Dolmabahce Palace, for example, he refused a private visit in favour of a public tour group: "I didn't want a fuss," he said. "I'm not that kind of person."

In 1994, with the death of Mehmed Orhan, son of Prince Mehmed Abdul Kadir, Osman became the eldest surviving member of the Ottoman dynasty, and heir – in theory at least – to the title of Pretender to the Sultanate. In fact, he was quite happy to admit that "democracy works well in Turkey".

Things were working less well at home in New York, where the fabric of his modest flat was wearing thin. Four years ago his wife narrowly avoided being struck by falling plaster and they began a dispute with the landlord, to whom – having occupied the flat for so long – they had to pay only $350 in rent each month.

In his final years, Osman finally accepted a Turkish passport, using it to return on several occasions to Istanbul. "I do not have much time left. I want to be in Istanbul all the time," he said.

It was there last year that his wife gave him a surprise birthday party in the garden of a villa on the Bosporus owned by her brother, Mahmut Tarzi.

It was also in Istanbul that Osman was placed in intensive care a week ago, and died on September 23.

According to Turkish reports he will be buried near the tombs of Sultans Mahmut II and Abdulhamit II in the Cemberlitas district of the city.

He is survived by his wife.