Daily Archives: July 22, 2008

NWFP HISTORY 4: Faqir of Ipi’s uprising and the Frontier Congress

by Yasser Latif Hamdani

In response to the first three articles, an ANP activist who is quite clearly very confused about history attacked me calling me – get this- a Jamaat-e-Islami agent. I have been called many things- indeed I am supposed to be on the payroll of everyone from CIA to Mossad and even Indian RAW but Jamaat-e-Islami was definitely a first and I was caught off guard. Perhaps the poor fellow was not aware of the history of Jamaat-e-Islami’s vociferous opposition to Pakistan and Jinnah. Jamaat-e-Islami believed that Jinnah and Muslim League were of a “Kemalist” bent of mind and therefore too secular and too westernized to lead the Muslims. And Jamaat-e-Islami’s ideologues were not the only one to suggest that- in agreement with them were the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind, the Dar-ul-uloom Deoband and last but not the least “Khudai Khidmatgars” or the Red Shirts. So for the purposes of this discussion at least, the ANP should find itself in agreement with Jamaat-e-Islami’s angle in 1947.

Let us be clear on some fundamental issues: For the KK and diehard supporters of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, secularism and left-ism are afterthoughts. Their alliance with the Congress was based on a belief (not wholly justified) that the Congress stood for independence. Ghaffar Khan was socially conservative and economically/politically a votary of feudalism. To his credit he never claimed to be anything but a champion of Pushtun identity and Pushtun rights. A progressive he was not, standing instead of Pushtun customs and the status quo of Pushtun tribalism. It was only when the Pakistani state marked an decidedly “Islamic” course that Ghaffar Khan and his family began to associate with Nehruvian secularism and socialism, partly because of their role in the National Awami Party – a truly left wing progressive alliance in Pakistan- which included people from all sides of the 1947 political divide. One of the parties that merged into the NAP was Azad Pakistan Party of the renowned leftist Mian Iftikharuddin – who was a stalwart of the Pakistan Movement. Like any society, Pakistan was re-organizing and re-aligning politically and within the NAP, Ghaffar Khan and his family were arguably the most conservative. Continue reading

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Bravo, Senator Obama

Feisel Naqvi

Islam has room for intelligent people in it so it would be nice if the whackos out there would stop trying to take exclusive possession of shared beliefs

“The United States always does the right thing,” said Winston Churchill, but only “after exhausting every other possibility.”

If the history of the US-Pakistani relationship is anything to go by, the United States certainly seems to have explored every bad option, ranging from supporting dictators to threatening popularly elected leaders to benign neglect. My point though is not to mark all the missed opportunities and all the failed policies, but to note that if Senator Obama is elected, we may finally see a sensible US policy towards Pakistan.

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, Obama gave a major foreign policy speech a few days ago in which he made the following points. Continue reading

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