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Wake up Now ! جاگو ، جاگو ، جاگو

Wake up Pakistan ! Presently the Muslim societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism,...

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to fight back Extremism

THE arrest of Brig Ali Khan, among others, from the army HQ for suspicion of his affiliation to my old Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) are necessarily about far more than merely ‘fighting militancy’ in Pakistani society or within the army.

Army spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas has stated that the army follows a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards such recruitment.

Despite the many grave errors the army has made of late, here they deserve praise for having done the right thing. However, these arrests must be seen as indicative of a wider intellectual malaise in Pakistani society surrounding the civilisational direction the nation should take.

When a nation suffers from such intellectual paralysis, the solution involves the painstakingly slow process of creating an intellectual consensus that can form the fabric of society — like a social contract, redefining the nation’s image at home and abroad, and reclaiming Islam from the extremists who seek to monopolise its interpretation. Just as it took years for us to get into this mess, it will take years to get out. As far back as 2003, journalist Ahmed Rashid reported on another purge of such elements by Musharraf. Regrettably, I had helped to recruit some of these officers while they were studying at the famous Sandhurst military academy in the UK.

Indeed, the particular problem of HT infiltration inside the Pakistan Army was exported to Pakistan from Britain. HT advocates violent overthrow of democratic states through illegal military coups in order to enforce a single interpretation of Islam. I call this ideology ‘Islamism’, and they have hijacked the term ‘caliphate’ for their utopia.

Recruiting from the world’s Muslim-majority armies is a fundamental tenet of their call. And though groups like HT are not terrorists, this only makes them even more able to recruit from the Pakistani elite for their paralysing call.

So whilst the media focuses on the high drama of terrorist attacks carried out by groups such as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and others of their ilk, there is another non-terrorist but equally dangerous war raging in Pakistan. Enter the intellectual warfare of ideas and narratives. Winning this struggle is far more crucial in the long term. The ideology that fuels this struggle portrays Muslims and the West — both perceived simplistically as monolithic entities — as eternal enemies and competitors for world domination in a zero-sum game.

Muslims are encouraged to unite and rise up in order to attack the West and impose a single interpretation of Islam on the entire world. But in order to do this they must first overthrow their existing governments, for which they have a very particular plan.

Groups such as HT do not seek to launch a mass movement; rather they specifically target the intellectual elite and the
military apparatus of the countries in which they operate. For years, leading journalists and the intellectual elite of Pakistan have been targeted by highly educated English-speaking Islamists. They have been seeking to convert prominent opinion shapers to their supremacist ideology. Once this sector is taken, a military coup can be staged by key officers sympathetic to the cause, who would in turn face minimal resistance from society.

As one of HT’s texts from Britain reads, this would “normally be done by the Party seeking to access the military in order to take the authority … After this the military would be capable of establishing the authority of Islam. Hence a coup d’état would be the manifestation of a political change….”

The work of groups like HT is being made easier by other Islamist groups, who have long planned to dominate civil society and government institutions in order to normalise their hate-filled ideology and narrative. It is also being made easier by current events in the region like the war in neighbouring Afghanistan and instability within Pakistan. But brave civil society figures and groups in Pakistan are staging a fight-back against extremist propaganda, although the battle ahead is long and hard.

Ultimately, peace and stability in Pakistan can only come about once democratic culture takes root in Pakistani society.

Democratic culture is not just about holding elections every few years but rather a sustained commitment to values such as the freedoms, equality, human rights, pluralism and respect for the rule of law.

Just as Islamist social movements have for years been preaching their ideology to the grass-roots in Pakistan, counter-narratives are needed to spread the values of democratic culture and reclaim Pakistan and Islam. Who are the leaders of democracy in Pakistan today? [Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Altaf Hussain, Ch Shujat, with tainted and dubious past and present] What are the symbols of democracy? [Corruption, Nepotism, Misrule, Injustice, Cheating and exploitation of masses] Where are the social movements working hard to reverse the drift towards Islamism and to create ‘buy-in’ for democratic culture on the ground? [Only one man is visible- Imran Khan, resisted strongly by forces of corruption and plunder]

Islamist leaders, symbols and movements exist in abundance, but one struggles to think of more than a handful for genuine democratic activism. This much-needed change will not come about automatically or overnight. It requires a concerted campaign by individuals and organisations that are prepared to work together, promote each other (not drag each other down) and stand up to the forces of disorder and chaos.

The fight-back has begun but it will require a lot more energy and resources to rescue Pakistan from its current downward trajectory. Crucially, it will require courage.

By Maajid Nawaz , The writer, a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, is director of the UK-based think tank Quilliam.
Winning Minds:
First, the extremist ideology must be countered effectively. They take shelter behind Islam, pretending to be only true Muslims, fighting the infidels and their supporters [who, according to them fall outside folds of Islam]. Very little is done at national and tactical levels to effectively counter this false ideology based upon misinterpretation of holy text. Resultantly society, even ranks and file in armed forces are divided.The extremists find sympathisers among intellectuals, politicians, media and other segments of society. Public support to a terrorist [gorilla] is important like water to fish for survival. To deprive extremists from this, there has to be a mass campaign to educate the people, create awareness about basis teachings of Islam for peace, moderation and tolerance. While the media experts can evolve the campaign, immediately while breaking the news of any terrorist act, media  [TV] should display the verses from Qur'an an Hadith rejecting suicide, killing of innocents, creating anarchy and mischief  on land [fasad-fil-ardh] with Urdu and Pashtu translations. Minimum visual  coverage would discourage glorification and terrorisation of public. [Lessons from British media against IRA are worth consideration]. More details at  “Don't be Deceived, Know enemies of peace”.
Policies: Government policies should reflect the will of of people, not against it. First priority should be own national interest not interest of any other super or regional power. This can only be achieved through self reliance not dependence upon others. It its our war then we should conduct it according to our own plan and terms not on dictation from others. People can not be be-fooled for long time. The policy should be clear  without any contradiction or dichotomies. 
Winning Hearts:
Political, Social & Administrative Reforms: Politics is the business of rich only, their first priority is to recover election expanses and expenses for next election. Too much power is concentrated with the parliamentarians, who have persistently proved to be unworthy of it: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely", power to plunder is the norm. They pressurise to get undue favours for their support to keep people in power. The executive should be separated from legislative. Development of road, infrastructure is not the job of legislators, its the function of local government. The monopoly of parliamentarians should be  restricted by taking away their power to elect Prime Minister, President, Senators, women and minority seats, by electing them with direct vote of people, parliamentarians would  become law makers, then genuine people would come forward. US, French and German constitutions should be looked at, they are not non democratic. 
The British modelled parliamentary system  suits the feudal political elite, they hold reign of power through this system, it is not divinely ordained , it could always be suitably modified to suit local environments.  At times people with minority vote get elected, while majority gets no representation, if 100000 votes are divided among various candidates, candidate A getting 15000, B 25000, C 15000, D 20000, E 10000, F 15000 candidate B with 25000 votes is winner with 25% votes while he was rejected by majority 75%, who will remain unrepresented, this not fair democracy [Out of many take example of NA-3 , Mr.Noor Alam Khan with 30% of polled votes is winner while 70% people cast votes against him to other candidates, actually he got only 10% of total registered votes. if 45% bogus votes are excluded the figure fall down significantly. More at this weblink]. Hence the majority is not represented in parliament, how could it be called democracy?  No one has ever even debated this aspect, resolving it is far fetched objective. Those not represented in parliament have to wait for next elections after 5 years or resort to protests and violence. Effort should be made to provide representation to maximum political groups, so that even small parties could get representation to project, put across their point of view in democratic way not through violence. 
Issue of proper election could be resolved through 2nd round of vote or  proportional representation system. The proportional representation system is equitable and has been adopted in many countries like Germany, Sweden, Turkey and Malaysia, its advantages should be looked in to. Switzerland's refined proportional election system is even batter.

Elected local government institutions should be strengthened by giving them more autonomy. Free judiciary should be able to provide quick justice, along with free press  will act as guardian of genuine democracy and accountability. Military has to support the constitution and judiciary not individuals. 
Good Governance: It is the basic function of government to create fair, secure peaceful environments with equal opportunities for  all. Good administration and justice will satisfy the public to reject any one trying to lure them with the dreams of prosperous future and promises for freedom from oppression, corruption and exploitation. Pakistan constitution is based upon Islamic principles, why some should be allowed to exploit Islam? Government should implement constitutional provisions. 
As long the 'ruling elite' holding from last 60 years with cosmetic change of faces is not ousted peacefully there will be no PEACE, the EXTREMISM shall continue to flourish. This suits  'ruling elite' to remain in power indefinitely, Zardari regime is talking of 30-40 years war against terrorism! Poor masses are killed while rulers, their children and wealth is safe and well protected under guard here or in Switzerland, Europe and elsewhere.
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Pak-US Relations

There is no permanent friendship or enmity in international relations,  the divergent or conflict of  interests bring them closer or apart...
A comprehensive but brief review of Pakistan- US relations

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Criticise 1200 politicians ?

While discussing corruption, it was pointed out that there are about 1200 politicians in the assemblies, why corruption by these 1200 people is discussed? Are there only 1200 politicians who are corrupt and no one else? Do all the plazas, towers, business centers and factories are owned by 1200 corrupt politicians? If not then we must talk of accountability of others as well, not making 1200 politicians as the only target, there may be some corrupt among them.
The figure of 1200 corrupt out of total population of 180000000 is very small, rather insignificant fraction which can be ignored if they are ordinary clerks, peons, laborers, workers etc, but these 1200 people are the elite who select the rulers, they are law makers, they form policies and run the government to rule 180000000 people. These 1200 people have the pivotal position of ‘brain’ in a body. If heart, lungs, kidneys and all the other organs of human body are functioning properly but there is a problem in the ‘brain’ can that man be called healthy? A person with brain malfunction is useless; he may be lying in bed in paralysis at the mercy of life support equipment and medics. Some times even called ‘brain dead’ though all other organs are working properly. A German saying: ‘fish starts to rot from brain’.
If we want to reform the society and progress as a respectable nation, we need good leaders, good politicians who should steer the country out of trouble not only filling their accounts with looted money. Higher the status of a person in government hierarchy higher is the standard of honesty, morality and character expected. Why the American and Westerners criticize their leaders for minor lapses? They force them to resign on matters considered petty in Pakistan standards [Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton]. Remember the famous saying; ‘Army of lions lead by a jackal is doomed, but the army of jackals lead by lion will deliver the victory’.
Pakistan is passing through a crisis of its existence, how can we expect gang of corrupt, dishonest and incompetent politicians to take us out of this quagmire? We have to support and elect the honest, competent people with high integrity to lead, till then keep on exerting pressure on present political leadership and institutions to perform well, remain accountable to judiciary and people.
Even the Constitution of Pakistan takes in to cognizance the moral aspects of elected representatives in Article 62 (d to h), also applicable to President:

(d) he is of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic Injunctions;

(e) he has adequate knowledge of Islamic teachings and practises obligatory duties prescribed by Islam as well as abstains from major sins ;
(f) he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen;
(g) he has not been convicted for a crime involving moral turpitude or for giving false evidence;
(h) he has not, after the establishment of Pakistan, worked against the integrity of the country or opposed the Ideology of Pakistan.

 Deliberately no legislation has been done by parliament to implement these clauses of constitution as it would hurt them the most. It is argued that article 62 (d to h) is not implemental. It is argued that article 62 (d to h) is not implementable, but they dare not remove it due to fear of public reaction. So what is democracy if the wishes of people of Pakistan are not implemented?

Giving them free hand to plunder would be disastrous. 1200 people out of 180000000 are insignificant but even one man who heads the government is important, if he is honest and sincere the effects will travel down. However we should keep their past in view, the nature can not change:
"Leopard cannot change spots at skin"
"Abyssinian cannot change his skin colour"
Khare khooh no mithey howen, pahwey lap lap shakar payee
sap de put mither na hoween paween buk buk dudh peyawey
[Brackish wells do not become sweet, even if you fill it with sugar, the children of snake can never become friend even if you feed them with milk]

If the 'innocent' politicians do not want to be criticized, they may choose some other 'profession' but why even now the businessmen are also joining politics? Its lucrative, to protect and expand their business empires. Why can't they declare their REAL assets? Weak Election Commission has not been able to sort out the fake degrees mess so far. Let it be known to every one that any one joining the politics must be ready for the scrutiny; they are not ordinary 1200 people to be ignored for their follies. If not checked they will be [they are] ruining the life of 180 million people!!!  
Read more:

Its Time to break the"Deal"

Present government came in to power after striking a shady deal with Parvez Musharaf & Benazir Bhutto brokered by USA, Britain. While benefiting gew individuals, this deal has compromised the national interest and sovereignty. Its time now to get out of it, writes Ahmad Qureshi  in his column ....... 

Fork at Road


There is a saying in China that “you should not only focus on your head when you have a headache because the real reason for your headache could be your foot”. 

The debacle of May 2 was an incredible spectacle. What caused it? How, people wondered, had it come about? What were the terrible weaknesses and defects that had brought the country to such a low and pitiful state? 

Not long ago, the Republic had been strong enough, its government, army, people, and institutions tough enough to explode its nuclear device in the teeth of opposition from the world’s sole surviving superpower, and to survive a succession of bloody and disastrous battles. In the ensuing years, something happened that sapped that strength so that in the span of a few hours, while the guardians of our frontiers slumbered away, the myth of Pakistan’s independence was shattered. 

Pakistan, possessing one of the finest armies in the world, lay prostrate, leaving the country dazed and totally demoralised. How had we fallen to this state? What were the reasons for the lack of military response? What were the reasons for the political and moral collapse leading to the debacle? 

Who is to blame for the May 2 debacle in Abbottabad? The army? But an army can rarely be stronger than the country it serves. How strong was Pakistan on the eve of the ordeal it was about to undergo? People had been watching with increasing apprehension the country go downhill, its strength gradually sapped by dissension and divisions, by an incomprehensible blindness in foreign, domestic and military policy, by the ineptness of its corrupt leaders, and by a feeling of growing confusion, hopelessness and cynicism among the people. No wonder, trust in institutions was at historic lows. 

Today Pakistan is in a state of permanent crisis. Its shaky parliamentary system is bungling along rudderless, invoking deep concern among a bewildered citizenry with its political shenanigans. Its foreign policy is in ruins and the domestic quarrels are more venomous than ever. The government avoids tackling urgent problems, its ministers complacently certain that it would not be they but their successors who would have to shoulder the burden of resolving them. They find it easier to stand still, to stand pat, do as little as possible, displease as few as possible, and mint as much money as possible in the shortest possible time.

Sixty-three years after independence, Pakistan has a dysfunctional, lop-sided, hybrid political system composed of incongruous elements, a president facing corruption charges at home and abroad, scared of his own people - a non-sovereign rubber-stamp parliament, and a weak, ineffective corrupt prime minister. The opposition languishes in torpid impotence. The regime has forfeited popular support and is seen as the playground for corrupt, self-serving politicians whose primary concern is to loot and plunder this country. 

Parliament, the so-called embodiment of the will of the people, a sleepy, drowsy body, is fake, overpaid, and underemployed, and is becoming more and more odious and stupid. It is deaf and blind to the anguished cries rising from the slums of Pakistan. Quite a few members of this august body are fake degree-holders. They concealed the truth, misrepresented their qualifications and managed to enter the parliament through shameless, blatant lies and deceitful means. Instead of masquerading as chosen representatives of the people, they should all be tried and sent to prison. 

Pakistan will be Pakistan again as soon as we have swept away this scum, and there will be no Pakistani who will not cry with joy when that happens. 

The army has lately begun to realise that it has been led into an absurd war, a meaningless war, a war against its own people, a war which has cost it thousands of precious lives, a war that is not theirs and has been imposed on them. 

The Pakistan Army is suffering from sclerosis in the high command, from a wave of pacifism in the country, and from an utter confusion in parliament and the government. Top generals are clinging to their posts long after superannuation. The Pakistan army, like the French army, on the eve of World War II, is being run by Methuselahs, beholden to a corrupt president owing everything to Washington. Meanwhile, the people of Pakistan had been put to sleep with a pleasant dream based on a false sense of security. Now reality has hit them. 

Today Pakistan, a thinly disguised civilian dictatorship, is a paradise for gangsters, swindlers, smugglers, tax evaders, fake degree-holders and so on and so forth - all the dregs of humanity. People openly talk about the corruption, indiscretions, follies and vulgarities of President Zardari, a parvenu, his corruption and avarice gargantuan, his ambition overweening, whom fate has so rashly planted in the presidency. He will stop at nothing to keep his lock on power. It seems that in the death throes of his regime, he will take Pakistan with him. 

It is hard to exaggerate the baleful impact of Zardari’s rule: the oligarch and the mafia who have stolen every asset of any value, the inflation that has ruined the middle class and the poor, the corruption that has corroded all values and humiliated every decent citizen; and the insecurities that have filled everyone with fear and anxiety. 

The present leadership is taking Pakistan to a perilous place. Terror is the order of the day. Pakistan is experiencing the warning tremors of a mega political and economic earthquake. We have President Zardari. And little hope and no cash. This is a particularly perilous time for Pakistan to have a president who is facing corruption charges at home and abroad and whose moral authority is in shreds. At a time when the country is at war, President Zardari, the Supreme Commander, spends almost his entire existence in the confines of a bunker - his macabre domicile which he seldom leaves these days. He is more concerned about protecting himself and his ill-gotten wealth rather than protecting the country or the people of Pakistan. 

The Pakistan army is a people’s army, in the sense that it belongs to the people of Pakistan who take a jealous and proprietary interest in it. It is not so much an arm of the executive branch of the government as it is an arm of the people of Pakistan. It is the only shield we have against foreign aggression. In the absence of authentic institutions, it is the only glue which is keeping the federation together. Don’t weaken it. All efforts by enemies of Pakistan to alienate it from the people must be frustrated. Individuals are expendable. Institutions are not. 

By all means, reform the army and the ISI. But why only the army and why only the ISI? Why leave out corrupt political institutions and thoroughly corrupt holders of public office at the summit of power? One thing is certain. For anything to change in this country, everything has to change. What this country needs today is a mighty but bloodless revolution. 

Today the nation is clearly at a fork in the road. We can follow the line of least resistance, turn a blind eye to all that Zardari is doing, and continue to follow the road that has led us where we are today. Or we can choose the other road. We don’t need pitchforks and guns. If parliament is unable or unwilling to respond to public demands, people will, perforce, take the issue to the parliament of the streets, as they have done in the past. 

The writer is a former federal secretary. Email: roedad@comsats.net.pk, www.roedadkhan.com

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A foolish friend


"Wise enemy is batter than a foolish friend" says some wise guy. Mr.Nawaz Sharif through his stupidity was twice kicked out as Prime Minister of Pakistan, he has not learnt any lesson. Pakistan  paid heavy price for his fooloies, Musharaf ruled for 9 years, followed by Zardari, the most corrupt and inefficient leader ever ruled this country. He has secured his position for next term if all goes well as per his plan. He has shown his real face to Nawaz Shrif,  who wanted Zardari to complete 5 years term for sake of 'democracy, product of 45% bogus votes! Its high time for Mr.Sharif to spare this country and give leadership of PML [n] to some one batter...... if there is one...