Daily Archives: December 8, 2008

Sharp-Eyed View of a Mohajir

By Sayeed Hasan Khan

I was born in the united province of British India (now called Utter Pradesh) which was the center of Muslim civilization in South Asia. Muslims comprised 14% of the population but their influence was greater than numbers imply. The province contained a core of Muslim landowners, a strong Muslim middle class and among its Muslim-
oriented educational institutions were both religious and secular universities, ranging from the secular English language-oriented Aligarh Muslim University to the Darul Ulum of the orthodox Deoband sect. One finds little in the local political scene at the time that was straightforward or obvious. Although the Deoband Ulamas belonged
to the religious right, they were also a strongly anti-imperialist bunch and thus their not-so-obvious home during the struggle for independence was the Congress Party. Cities attracted far more Muslims than did villages, and so they exerted a potent cultural and political influence on urban life. Muslim landowners, who were, by dint of raw power plus `tradition,’ community leaders, usually opposed the Congress Party inasmuch as it stood for the abolition of
big land holdings. Another complication is that the Muslim middle class disproportionately occupied profession and high-end service jobs, and so felt threatened that after independence their hold on these desirable positions would be drastically reduced. As these fretful complexities played on, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, after growing exasperated equally with the insensitivity of Congress leaders and the bickering among Muslim leaders in the early 1930s, retreated to London for a few years.

In 1935 the Muslim leadership, drawn mainly from UP, prevailed on Jinnah to return and take the reins of their fractious community, and to plead their grievances inside the uneasy coalition making up the Congress Party. Jinnah was a proud self-made man and a brilliant barrister who won many cases, representing mainly princely ruling
states of the era. He was charismatic, which appealed to the Muslim middle class no less than to the masses. He also had a long impressive service in the Congress Party and a staunch record of fighting British rule which made him popular in the eyes of secular as well as practicing Muslims. Continue reading


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Lawyers’ Movement following in the footsteps of General (Ret.) Musharraf

by Aliaqram

Former President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Aitzaz Ahsan on Tuesday demanded that Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar resigns from his post. The call came from him after the Farahgate scandal where Farah Dogar was awarded illegally extra marks in FSC part 2nd examination by Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE).

Aitzaz said that the CJP was a deeply flawed man and it was because of these flaws that he was made CJ of Pakistan saying that there were already complaints about him regarding bank loans etc. He said that the board could not take the step without any pressure, that the CJP acted inappropriately and used his office for a personal favor.

Now contrast this with the following: Continue reading


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Mumbai: Behind the attacks lies a story of youth twisted by hate

Comments are invited on this piece published by the Guardian.

The intense poverty and extreme religious culture of the southern Punjab have made the region a hotbed for Islamist terror groups. It is, claim the Indian media, the seedbed of last week’s slaughter in Mumbai. Jason Burke travelled to the twin towns of Bahawalpur and Multan, home of alleged killer Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab, to discover what impels young men to unleash carnage

The pitted roads around Multan, the city of saints, stretch flat across the fields. They lead past rundown factories, workshops, shabby roadside teashops and mile after mile of flat fields broken only by the mud and brick houses of the villages of Pakistan’s rural poor. One road leads south-east to the nearby city of Bahawalpur, the biggest recruiting base of the militant groups currently being blamed by India for the Mumbai attack; another leads north-west to Faridkot, the home village of Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab, a 21-year-old Pakistan national named yesterday in the Indian media as the only gunman involved in last week’s atrocity now alive and in custody.

Already a picture claimed by the Indian media to be Kasab, showing a young man dressed in combat trousers, carrying a backpack and an AK47, on his way to to Mumbai’s main station to carry out his deadly work, has become an iconic image of the assault on the city. Continue reading

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