Dictators and their sons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author

Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

I have no experience of dealing with dictators or even their sons. Our generation however witnessed the brutality of former dictator Zia ul Haq against media, civil society, poets, writers and political workers. It has been two decades since former dictator burned in skies and things have changed drastically. Media and information technology has not only made information easily available but also developed a culture of civilized debate. The civil society has reorganized itself and has shown that it can stand firm against dictators during lawyer’s movement.

What has not changed is the mind set of dictator’s sons and their cronies. We are witnessing the retired generals and brigadiers coming to electronic media with revelations and defending their unconstitutional acts. Similarly, the ‘general’s sons’ turned politicians are not behind retired officers. They leave no opportunity to arrogantly defend their much hated fathers terming them martyrs and holy warriors. In a similar effort Ijaz ul Haq, a former parliamentarian and son of a former dictator Zia ul Haq  tried to proved ZA Bhutto an executed leader and his own father a holy warrior and ‘Shaheed in an article published in ‘Daily News”.

I sent a letter to Editor of ‘The News” expressing my views, it was published today as under; This is with reference to Muhammad Ijaz ul Haq’s article “A conspiracy against my father” (Sept 8). General Zia’s son seems to live in the past, otherwise he would not have distorted facts. In a country which has millions of internet users information is just a click away. It is quite hypocritical of him to say that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was an ‘executed leader’. I wish Mr Haq had courage to realise and acknowledge that the same execution made his father one of the most hated persons of this country. The truth is that General Zia gave this country its Kalashnikov culture and the blood-thirsty Taliban.

The response I received from Mr. Ijaz ul Haq was shocking as one cannot expect such language being used by a man who has been a Member of Parliament for over a decade. It states as under; ” For you he should be hanged twice over for killing prof. Nazir Shaheed and khawaja Rafiq and people like you are shitting all over and look what NRO prof are doing to our country. Sick people like you are all over. – Ijaz ul Haq. Sent via BlackBerry from Mobilink” mijaz@mobilink.blackberry.com

To what level the general’s arrogant sons turned ‘test tube leaders’ can fall is not difficult to judge from his response and language used. Mr. Ijaz ul Haq seems unable to come out of dictator’s mindset and show a little civilized behavior towards critics of his father’s hypocritical dark regime. This is undeniable that the mess we are in as a society is gift of Zia ul Haq. It is also a fact that no other person in Pakistan is hated as much Mr. Ijaz ul Haq’s father. But the former parliamentarian while living in denial is not only to deny facts but feel comfortable to use curses against critics of his traitor father who worked and died as an imperial agent. He not only destroyed the secular and tolerant culture of our society but bread extremism from which Mr. Ijaz ul Haq is also suffering today.

Once an American puppet that killed brutality every sane voice is being portrayed as a ‘holly warrior’ by an obedient son. The business empires built by sons of holy warrior are still unaccounted for and sources never declared. Even if his death was staged by CIA and Mosad as claimed by Ijaz ul Haq, it always happened to all imperial puppets around the world. Mard e Momen Junir has to get out of disillusion and recognize what people think about his hypocrite father. He also needs learns that how much society has transformed as such making speech more free than the standards set by his brutal father. He needs to spend some time with civilized people to learn how to take criticism and respond in a civilized manner. But then if he does so – he won’t be a true son of a hated dictator. It is again for us to realize and accept – the way the sons and cronies of dictators are!

36 Comments

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36 responses to “Dictators and their sons

  1. This statement of Aijaz-ul-Haq I recently read in Pakistani media, as we know he is a son of former cruel dictator zia. In his statement Aijaz-ul-Haq said ‘’Pakistan People’s Party always caused damage to the country.’’ Aijaz is a guy who never hesitates to lick politicians and army general’s shoes. It was not PPP who damaged Pakistan big time but it was his father who destroyed Pakistan by creating AND SUPPROTING monsters like Taliban and religious fanaticism. It was his father Zia , who started Pakistan’s downfall. Not being racist towards Afghanis or anything, but what he left for us was lots and lots of Afghani refugees, drug, religious fanatics, weapons. Zia was founder of drugs and arms culture in Pakistan .Zia was the dictator who damaged Pakistan most. Pakistan is still reaping what he had sowed. His actions caused shias and sunnis to start fighting amongst themselves, people were scared to speak freely because he banned everything from public rallies to anti-govt demonstrations. Zia contributed much to the rise of fundamentalism, obscurantism and retrogression that is threatening Pakistan today. During his regime corruption was on peak. only poor people were punished. Zia ul Haq was a traitor of Pakistan, a betrayer of its people. Zia damaged the prospects for a functioning federation by vesting more powers in the office of president and making the parliament subservient. He introduced the eighth amendment in the constitution which empowered the president to dissolve elected assemblies, a power which was frequently used by his successors in the presidency. Zia’s policies of jihad in Afghanistan and Islamisation in Pakistan promoted radicalism and sectarianism in society, which has since then gained monstrous proportions. He skillfully exploited Islam to legitimize and consolidate his military dictatorship. Presenting himself as a simple, pious and devoted Muslim, he institutionalized religious radicalism in Pakistan. Zia butchered many innocent Palestinians in the name of Operation against Black September {a militant organization of Palestinians). He was unholy nexus of mullah and military in Pakistan, a culprit behind sectarianism and ethnicism in Pakistan .Zia who ruled for 11 years (1977-88) played havoc with every civilian institution in Pakistan. Today if Pakistan is called world’s most dangerous country ,the honor goes to General Zia and his team of army officers .General Zia had no respect for constitution and democracy, These are the “GOLDEN�? words of NAWAZ SHARIF’S political father, guru, and mentor General Zia-ul-Haq “constitution is nothing more than a piece of paper which he can tear any time he wishes.” For eleven years he ruled by keeping 1973 constitution suspended through Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders and the Provisional Constitutional Order of 1981. The worst conditions of law and order, unparalleled corruption in national life, seemingly unstoppable sectarian violence, political opportunism, tax evasion, smuggling and anti-people stance of all governments after 1977 are some of the legacies of the departed ruler AND FATHER OF Aijaz-ul-Haq, the most ruthless of all dictators Pakistan has had so far. Gen. Zia was a master in the art of seeking favors from the right quarters, someone who did not mind stooping low in his attempt to conquer hearts. Ministers in ZA Bhutto’s cabinet used to narrate an incident when during a break at a meeting a few drops of tea trickled from the cup on to prime minister’s shoes. Gen. Zia quickly took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the shoe clean.
    There is a long list of crimes committed by Aijazul Haq’s daddy, if he has any time please read that and find out how your daddy damaged and destroyed Pakistan,anf if you have any moral values, offer an apology to the nation.

  2. Anwar

    Ijaz is a product of a vulgar experiment that produced several clones.

  3. Yes, I too trace most of our present woes to the ‘late unlamented’ Gen. Zia ul Haq …
    I look at his son and wonder where this ‘leader’ would be if Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had not picked his father over many other better qualified Generals to be the Chief of Gen Staff … would the ijaz ul haq’s of this world be able to come that close to being ‘leaders’ if their fathers were not criminals according to the Constitution of Pakistan (1973 version)?… I wonder…
    I also wonder where the Nawaz Shareefs of this world would be in a country that actually despised military rule … or a country that had a longer memory span … or at least a country that was not as gullible?
    Yes, I wonder a lot for I have lived through most of Pakistan’s turbulent history … and now and then I take a walk down memory lane…

  4. PMA

    Just like his father before him, Ejaz-ul-huq is a despicable person. But should a son be held responsible for his father’s crimes?

  5. Ali Abbas

    “The civil society has reorganized itself and has shown that it can stand firm against dictators during lawyer’s movement.”

    Funny, when you mentioned dictator’s son, I thought it was Nawaz Sharif. Atleast ZAB went against Ayub; Nawaz Sharif used to hang out with the Christain and Shia killing Sipah Sahaba years after Zia’s death and publically proclaim that he was going to complete the former’s mission.

    Wasn’t the lawyer’s “movement” bolstered and literally moved by the Jamaat-e-Islami/Muslim League Nawaz groups. It was baffling as to who was actually leading it; dictator loyalists like Nawaz, Roedad Khan, Hamid Gul or that caricature Ali Ahmed Kurd.

    I think the only thing that the lawyer’s “movement” can stand firm against is the democratically elected PPP-lead Govt. and Lahore’s cultural artists. It certainly cannot stand against dangerous sectarian criminals like Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid (whom it actually freed) or Hafiz Saeed. Didn’t the honourable Chief Justice actually validate the last dictator and even take Oath under him via a PCO! and twice at that!

    This whole movemnt, IMO, was simply a clash between two powerful sections of the ruling establishment: the North Punjabi urban business class that wishes to remain dominant in Pakistan’s politics inspite of their numerical disadvantage vis-a-vis the rest of the population and control the other provinces’ resources and their jilted ex-lovers, the MQM and its patron, Musharaf, who wanted to grab their share of the loot.

    This “movement” was the cheerleading squad for the religious right, including the Lal Masjid; whose Sipah Sahaba affiliates committed the latest outrage against Pakistan’s Christain community in Gojra. There was even a documented instance of Pro-Alqaeeda posters at one of the rallies.

    As for the civil society elites who supported this “movement” post the 2008 elections, it was their rabid anti-PPP ethos that was more a motivation, as well as making themselves feel politically important (without committing to any concrete political manifesto )and exorcising their wannabe leftist fantasies. This mentality always makes them susciptible to the Imran Khans and Zaid Hamids of this world; hypocrites and charlatans who mix a vapid brew of psuedo leftist rhetoric with noxious right-wing theocratic facist fantasies and enrobed in a smelly ball of mendacity and conspiracy theories.

  6. re PMA….”But should a son be held responsible for his father’s crimes?” … only if he is trying to benefit from the father’s crimes?

  7. Zeenath

    @Zeenath..not at all. A criminal father doesn’t mean a criminal son. But if it is a father-son colleberation then both are criminals. Zia was getting around 30,00 a month. How come Ijaz ul haq became a top industrialist? Same way, Ayub Khan ‘defeated’ Fatimah Jinnah, that time the salary of a general was not enough to have a decent life nut Gohar Ayub owned Nissan Gandhara. Lets us put it this way, from what resources Gohar Ayub, Humayun Akhtar and Ijaz ul Haq gathered the fortune?

    Fathers are no doubt criminals, be it Ayub or Zia, but if sons are not involved in to robbing, they must come out and declare what are the sources which made them Billionaires from nothing.

  8. Ali Abbas

    Zeenat,

    All this talk of corruption and no mention of Zardari; us Pipliyas feel so left out……

    Look here, you cannot go after the Mard-e-Momins and their juniors and the latest Amir ul Momineens like Nawaz Sharif. Gohar Ayub/Roedad Khan/Hamid Gul/Humayun Akhtar/Nawaz Sharif/Imran Khan got their money via “hard work”, “miracles” and family connections; not like the Sindhi-scheming couple of BB and Zardari. You dare not drag the above mentioned luminaries to court over fraud allegations. Don’t you know, the “Independant” courts are only there to prosecute the PPP!

    Look here, Zardari is corrupt, corrupt, corrupt; say it enough times and you will believe it like many other Pakistanis. There is no burden of proof required against him. As for Nawaz Sharif, the man slogged it out. After taking a deal with the Saudis in 1999 (Chaudhary Iftikhar, Aitzaz and their merry band of lawyers had yet to be paid of in 1999), poor NS suffered the indignity of living in a Saudi palace with all his family and staff imported from his tiny plot in land (a few thousand acres) in Raiwind. There after much pain and effort, he set up a small multi-billion dollar Steel business overnight and suffered the confinement of his palace, the Gulf and Continental Europe before returning to Pakistan via another Saudi deal to lead the masses of civil society elites and Jamaat-e-Islami “Pro-democracy workers” in their movement for democracy after the 2008 elections.

    Can we please get back to badmouthing Zardari, RAW, CIA, Mossad and the Imperialist crusader-occupiers of Afghanistan.

    The man of the masses, Nawaz Sharif needs you. He already has Ijaz ul Haq, Humayun Akhtar, Hamid Gul and Imran Khan back on board. Together, with the help of their beloved Taliban, they will help us get rid of these PPPs and the rest of these upstart Sindhis and Balochis! How dare they talk of provincial rights and automony!

  9. PMA

    Zeenath (September 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm):

    “Gohar Ayub, Humayun Akhtar and Ijaz ul Haq” are the sons of ACOS. Forget that for a moment. Those are the big fishes. Lets look further down the ladder. In Pakistan sons and daughters of secretaries of government departments and military generals all have a great likelihood of becoming millionaires, of course from the government pensions of their parents. Interestingly many of them are very comfortably settled in America and Western Europe. That is how things work in Pakistan.

  10. bonobashi

    @PMA

    Equally interesting: those lying outside Pakistan, it seems, are often the strongest voices for ‘proper’ democracy in Pakistan, usually much stronger than those inside Pakistan.

  11. PMA

    bonobashi (September 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm):

    Line between “those lying outside Pakistan…..and……those inside Pakistan” is not as sharp as you think. The middle class professional and non-professional workers who have moved to the other countries for economic opportunities have rest of their family members still ‘lying’ inside Pakistan. They still save a portion of their hard earned overseas income to send to their parents and brothers and sisters in Pakistan. So their interest in Pakistan is as strong as if they themselves were living there. The only difference is that they can speak more freely than those living ‘inside’ the country. As for as ‘sons and daughters of government secretaries and military generals’ in the Western countries; well, life realities are a very different for them. They are not concerned about the ‘proper’ democracy in Pakistan, whether ‘lying’ inside or outside the country. For them life is beach no matter where they live.

  12. awaam

    pma

    well said.

  13. Mustafa Shaban

    I completely disagree with Ali Abbas and others who correctly point out the curroption of previous dictators and democracies which is 100% correct but do the following:

    1. Do not acknowledge Zardari’s corruption, they ask for proof when they themselves cannot prove the curroption of the politicians of the past! Also not to mention that there is no evidence that Zardari’s millions were hard earned!

    2. Also mix honest and great people like Imran Khan and Zaid Hamid into this mix and see them as a instrument of these curropt politicians which they are not!

    I pose the questions to these people who deny these 2 people:

    1. Can anyone tell me a single news article or proof that IK and PTI commited curroption?? Also can anyone give me a party or political leader who does not have a single article accusing them of curroption??? or who are not living in huge mansions with massive amounts of wealth???

    2. Can you tell me what is similar about IK and other politicians?? Most of what IK says is unique and has its own logic.

    3. Why doubt the claims of ZH when its happening in front of your very eyes:

    what is so hard bout believeing 9/11 was an inside job??

    did you people not hear about the ÜS embassy explansion,? or blackwater operations?? or CIA agents operation in FATA and Balochistan??

    Can anyone of you prove that Mumbai was done by Pakistanis or even muslim terrorists within India???

    Can anyone not observe the movements of US, Israeli and NATO military movements???

    Ali abbas also mentioned that IK mixed right and left ideologies and other stuff into his ideology. This is true and it is a beautiful mix,this shows he is different from toher who are strictly right or left. IK is sincere and original.

  14. Mustafa Shaban

    Ali abbas, and others forgot to mention MQM which has also created a lot of issues and problems for Pakistan. Ofcourse I am not ignoring the fact that JI and PMLN and PPP have big scandals as well.

  15. yasserlatifhamdani

    Zahid Hamid ? Honest? What?

    Shabaan I sometimes wonder if you are completely naive.

  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ali…

    While I don’t agree with Imran Khan’s political views, Imran Khan’s honesty is beyond dispute. His family was upper middle class to begin with…
    but not only did he play very lucrative top ranking cricket with Surrey and Warwickshire in England… and Kerry Packer and New South Wales in Australia …. he was married to Jemima Khan, the Goldsmith heiress. And now he earns a hefty sum I believe as the Chancellor of the University of Bradford…

    He also made some several very lucrative investments early on … and sold his share to Salman Taseer in the whole Pace enterprise.

  17. bonobashi

    @PMA

    I beg to disagree.

    Not all who move abroad keep their families back and send back dutiful, pious remittances; it happens, but it is difficult to agree that it is a universal rule, or even majority practice.

    The trend among the well-educated seems to be to settle down outside, in a definitive way, to the extent of seeking overseas citizenship.

    I daresay that some speaking very confidently about affairs in Pakistan and about Pakistan are in that category, those who are ready to fight to the last resident Pakistani.

    It is not my intention to drive this point home and make the most of it. Let us leave it at this point.

  18. bonobashi

    @PMA

    In fairness, I ought to add that your point about the sons of the rich and famous, though bitterly worded, is bang on target, from similar South Asian experience.

  19. Mustafa Shaban

    Ok , YLH we have had this debate before, in order to make it more better, you should directly quote zaid hamid in what he said and then I will prove that he is right becuase when you dont quote him and make general interpretations on what you think he said it turns out he never said such a thing or meant it that way. So quote him and I will reply more concretely.

  20. PMA

    bonobashi (September 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm):

    It is OK if you “drive this point home and make the most of it”. You are well qualified for your opinion about others! True that “it is [not] a universal rule”, but from my personal observation I could state that it is a “majority practice”. Even upper middle-class settled-abroad professional families are constantly asked by their friends and relatives ‘back home’ to help them out with their sons and daughters. Immigrant links minimise only after third generation. First and second generations remains linked to the affairs of their mother country.

  21. bonobashi

    @PMA

    While my point was about an increasing beach head of permanently settled families, there is research that bears out the existence of ties for a duration, and that duration is the mysterious three-generations (approximately a century) that dominates so much of sociological and folk discourse about families.

    Your logic is impregnable. I have to agree with its precise point.

    It is an observed fact, and I have also read research to this effect, relating to Bangladeshi migrants, more or less corroborating your view. There seems to be a lot of ‘sympathetic’ migration, consisting of help for cousins, cognate and agnate, and it seems to be widespread, not a South Asian phenomenon alone. A few weeks back, a study of African migration into France mentioned more or less the same phenomenon in almost identical terms.

    Besides migration and assistance in migration, there are other, more predictable family ties which are familiar to all observers of the sprawling families of the sub-continent.

    This does not contradict my observation that there is an increasing body of emigrant opinion which is detached from physical existence on the sub-continent, and which has declared a prescriptive right to opine on matters that one thought the migrants had in fact left behind.

    It seems that there is a diminution of ties which takes three generations to conclude, but sentimental ties continue beyond, and the rights of migrants to remain ‘Pakistani’ in spirit, or ‘Bangladeshi’ in spirit, or ‘Indian’ for that matter, seems to persist beyond that point of time, or that point in family history.

    Perhaps my point will take on an edge of urgency if I add that, in Indian matters at least, the opinion and outlook of outsiders generally tends to be more conservative socially and in religious contexts, as well as seriously right-wing in political matters. On the first point, rather than compel you to wallow in sociological papers and articles, I might suggest a brief glance at the sardonic, mordant film ‘Bhajji on the Beach’, where the contrast between remembered manners and the corresponding manners of the contemporary from the old country are so starkly highlighted.

    Regarding the second point, the right wing element in migrant Indian opinion is now a raging pestilence. I can only hope that it is a less virulent plague in other parts of the sub-continent, although the contributions of some youngsters in these very columns (you only need to direct your glance one or two posts above) make me frankly pessimistic. Bradistan Calling is an honourable exception. However, the point again is that while one is a single-minded fanatic, who revels in the zealotry of Zaid Hamid and such, the other is too fair-minded to prevail against this degree of focussed hostility.

    To revert to your point, it is clear that you are correct in stating that ties and connections with friends and relatives are more persistent than my post might have indicated. As usual, your logic is left master of the field.

  22. Majumdar

    Bono da,

    Regarding the second point, the right wing element in migrant Indian opinion is now a raging pestilence.

    Incidentally this was pointed out and deplored recently on TOI by (of all people) Swapan Dasgupta.

    Regards

  23. PMA

    bonobashi (September 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm):

    You have made some keen observations. I concur with your conclusions when you say “the opinion and outlook of outsiders generally tends to be more conservative socially and in religious contexts, as well as seriously right-wing in political matters”. You may want to add that such opinions are also influenced by the socio-political environments of their host country and also upon their own socio-economic place in that country. Case in point being Pakistani migrant communities in Middle East, Western Europe, and North America. But let us not forget that we are speaking here in general terms. Individual cases my differ.

    Regarding your point “an increasing body of emigrant opinion which is detached from physical existence on the sub-continent, and which has declared a prescriptive right to opine on matters that one thought the migrants had in fact left behind”.

    Opinion is like an A Hole. We all have it. If some one living in India who has never been to Pakistan could comment on affairs of Pakistan, then certainly a person of Pakistani origin living abroad could do the same; perhaps with stronger conviction and sincerity. Remember you could take one out of his country, but can not take country out of him. It does not bother me whether they are left-leaning or right-leaning. I am happy that so many young Pakistanis are taking interest in the affairs of their country, even if they are not there physically.

  24. YLH

    Look mustafa shaban I already quoted zaid hamid and well we know your answers and their merit.

  25. Gorki

    Dear Majumdar Da:

    In all seriousness, thanks for drawing my attention to the article. Since you (and Bonobashi before) made the comments about Indian NRI’s on the PTH, I went to the TOI and read the above mentioned article by SDG and was frankly surprised to read the conclusion of the article. I reproduce the concluding paragraph from the TOI below as follows:

    “Taking advantage of a more connected world, the professional NRI (who knows no other identity) has stepped up his battles to cast India in his own confused image. No Indian website is free from the voluminous but pernicious comments of the know-all, ultra-nationalist NRI banging away on the computer in splendid isolation. From being India’s would-be benefactors, the meddlesome NRI has become an intellectual nuisance, derailing civil discourse with his paranoia and pseudo-superiority. It’s time he was royally ignored. ”

    I found it interesting in that previously others such as PMA Sahib too had complained that blogs such as the PTH had been overun by this unwanted and meddlesome Indian (NRI?) presence.

    Since it is important (atleast for this NRI) to know if that is indeed true in that NRIs are felt to be more ultranationalist and more of a nuisance than the average Indian blogger, I want to seek PMA Sahib’s permission to briefly discuss this India centric issue here on the PTH.

    I ask the above permission and the question(s) not with any bitterness or sarcasm but merely to seek some insight into how others percieve us and hopefully remedy the situation in future.

    Thank you all in advance.

    Regards.

  26. Mustafa Shaban

    Alright YLH , by the way…..no hard feelings….just expressing my opinion

  27. bonobashi

    @Majumdar

    Serendipity, but in an unhappy context. Swapan and Chandan Mitra, both juniors at La Martiniere, aren’t the best advertisements for the school, are they? There is another, Swapan’s contemporary, whose name temporarily escapes me, whose views are far less unkind to my BP.

    Swapan has started a trek away from his extreme views, and I hope very sincerely that he will come to approximately your position, or perhaps even better, before long. In that context, his remarks are very timely and most apposite.

    @Gorki

    There are NRIs and there are NRIs…..and NRPs, and NRBs. These worthies are not clones; their, erm, opinions, if I may be permitted to use this term after its recent most earthy and scatological juxtaposition by one of our elder brethren,

  28. bonobashi

    @Majumdar

    Serendipity, but in an unhappy context. Swapan and Chandan Mitra, both juniors at La Martiniere, aren’t the best advertisements for the school, are they? There is another, Swapan’s contemporary, whose name temporarily escapes me, whose views are far less unkind to my BP.

    Swapan has started a trek away from his extreme views, and I hope very sincerely that he will come to approximately your position, or perhaps even better, before long. In that context, his remarks are very timely and most apposite.

    @Gorki

    There are NRIs and there are NRIs…..and NRPs, and NRBs. These worthies are not clones; their, erm, opinions, if I may be permitted to use this term after its recent most earthy and scatological juxtaposition by one of our elder brethren, differ widely. One can only hope that your benign and calming influence will prevail over the strident and shrill brazen voices from both India and Pak that we encounter everywhere.

  29. Majumdar

    Gorki sb,

    Since you (and Bonobashi before) made the comments about Indian NRI’s on the PTH

    My net experience is limited to chowk and PTH and the behaviour of some NRIs makes me blush. But equally there are others like you and Anil-ji who do great credit to the nation they come from. There are resident Indian hatemongers too but they are fewer in number- in fact by and large resident Indians on chowk/PTH are pretty rare anyway so there may be a sampling error in my above obs.

    Regards

  30. PMA

    Gorki (September 12, 2009 at 12:03 am):

    I am just a blogger like many others. No one needs my permission to post their comments here, earthy or otherwise. To response to your specific questions directly. Yes it becomes irksome when number of Indian gentlemen on this, or other Pak-centric sites unnecessarily bring in Indian issues and start discussing it among themselves. For those not interested in India or Indian affairs it becomes boring. Also it serves no purpose to compare India and Pakistan all the time. These are two different countries with very different political, religious, cultural and social make up and must be seen as such. That’s all.

    About the quality and nature of the comments. Since Afghan wars, Pakistan has become a permanent feature in the Western media. Kicking Pakistan around has become a common thing. In this electronic age it has become a hobby for millions of Indians to post hateful comments regarding Pakistan. But to the credit of the half a dozen Indian regulars here at PTH; they have refrain from such temptations.

  31. bonobashi

    @PMA

    There is NO temptation, speaking for myself, to badmouth a neighbouring country making valiant efforts in a direction that can only be described as admirable and demanding of its neighbours’ whole-hearted support, far less to badmouth its citizens. Even more, after becoming familiar with the views of the section of Pakistani society that constitutes PTH, including the radical element, it is quite impossible to see these intellects as hostile by any definition.

    Again, speaking for myself, my overwhelming feeling on reading some of the views and the positions articulated (including, if I may say this without seeming condescending, which is emphatically not the intention, your own) is of a desire that they should belong to the same college of thinkers as I, and that their nationality should be ignored for the purpose of permitting discourse. I cannot find it in me to make any distinctions, perhaps because there are none. In fact, this overdone business of distinctions due to states is quite outdated; we would not raise such questions in the case of Malaysians or Cypriots participating, so why are we, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, always so self-conscious about each other’s nationalities?

    This is not to say that the countries of the contributors should be compared. It is to say that these should be ignored where the context does not require it. The Jinnah debates possess both an undivided India context and a Pakistani context, which is why you may find a large number of Indians engrossed in these fascinating events and the analysis of them that has lately emerged. Other discussions see less non-Pakistani participation, since these are less conducive to meaningful contribution by those who are not thoroughly familiar with the facts.

    I just want a decent discussion on academic and intellectual topics, and this happens to be a most suitable spot, just as suitable as if it were to have been named Calcutta Coffee House. It is strongly tempting at this point to launch such a site, just in order to get rid of any residual national hangover, and also in order to consider matters of exclusive interest to India and Indian commentators. Mr. Rumi, I’m just joking – for now.

    On the other hand, to launch such a site is to surrender to the idea that Pakistan-centric sites are Pakistan-dedicated sites, and that no other matter, however germane to the situation in Pakistan, may be taken up. Perhaps rather than promoting Calcutta Coffee House, I should be promoting Insaniyat.com. That should take care of the national and civic residues.

    Could I please also say for the record that it is not a desire for cheap popularity that mutes my criticism; I feel quite free to criticise anything and everything, but as a personal preference, stay off matters religious, due to my early training that these issues were not discussed lightly or in social circumstances. And I am sure that I speak for Majumdar, Hayyer and other right-minded Indians (Gorki is technically not an Indian citizen, so he is not within the scope of this reproach, much though he may feel singled out), as much as for identical right-minded Pakistanis.

    However, there are baboons on both sides. Being slightly larger in numbers, we happen to have, in India that is Bharat, slightly more of them. For myself, I dislike Indian and Pakistani baboons equally strongly, and wish to make no bones about it. I am sorry, I forgot for a moment, the provenance for the baboons includes the third nation that was born out of the British Empire.

    @Gorki

    I want to set things right on one point: there was no criticism of NRIs in my post; please do take a look again. I was talking of NRIs commenting on India, and NRPs commenting on Pakistan, not on either of them commenting on the matters of the other. My point was that overseas Pakistani opinion is turning out to be significant, and I had exaggerated mildly to make a point, that they were more conscious and more vocal about certain matters than the residents of Pakistan themselves. It did not seem altogether appropriate, for reasons that I wish to enumerate separately. Swapan DasGupta’s piece, that Majumdar has brought to our attention, addresses the mirror image of this: our Non Resident Indians have a disproportionately large share of airtime on Indian blogs and guest sites. They are also distressingly light on facts and on logical thinking.

  32. Gorki

    I want to thank all the gentlemen who took the time to answer my post.

    PMA Sahib: Your point is well taken. This is a Pakistani site and deserves Pakistani oriented discussion unless there is an overlap as Bonobashi pointed out.

    Majumdar and Bonobashi: Again thanks for elaborating and clarifying some points.
    You both are gentlemen.
    Having known both of you on the PTH I did not think either of you was specifically trying to drive me away but your comments do give me a new insight into how the comments from those living abroad can sound condescending at times.

    Perhaps this unscientific sampling (of Indians living abroad and commenting on things Indian\Pakistani) is indeed doing some damage to people back home.
    Like PMA Sahib wrote, Pakistan has been in the news lately and perhaps many Indians living in the US feel that since they once lived in the neighborhood, it automatically makes them an expert in this regard. Hence the often ignorant and jingoistic comments from those who feel compelled to say something even when they have no idea what to say.
    Hopefully the readership on the PTH is sophisticated enough to seperate the wheat from the chafe.

    Regards.

  33. Hayyer

    On matters that involve India, pre or post partition there is bound to be Indian interest. Indians also tend to comment freely on issues like dynastic succession and regional identity which are common to both countries.
    Indians sometimes tend to give Indian analogies, or Indian references such as the one to Nirad Chaudhuri, and then the discussion tends to drift into Indian channels which is the sort of thig that annoys PMA. It happens now and then.
    Even if Bonobashi were to set up Coffee House.com (which is a good thing if he can do it) it would not I venture to suggest, take Indian interest away from PTH.
    There are perhaps four Indian regulars on this site and an assorted intermittent lot who come and go. I don’t believe that hi-jacking is the right term, because discussion does not take away focus from Pakistan; it just drifts away occasionally into Indian contexts after the Pakistani element is discussed out. There are of course some Indians who cause stress but they are soon disposed of.

  34. PMA

    bano b: Please allow me to conclude this ‘thread’ before it gets too boring for others. The original article was about the Pakistani military ‘Dictators and their Sons’. Having lived through the dark days of General Zia-ul-haq, and having suffered because of his rule and the aftermath of it, as a Pakistani and a reader of PTH I felt compelled or perhaps obligated to add my voice to condemn that hateful monster. My September 10, 2009 at 11:37 pm comment, “Interestingly many of them [Sons and Daughters of Pakistani government officials] are very comfortably settled in America and Western Europe” was directly related to the subject of the article posted here.

    You sir responded on September 10, 2009 at 11:40 pm by saying: “Equally interesting: those lying outside Pakistan, it seems, are often the strongest voices for ‘proper’ democracy in Pakistan, usually much stronger than those inside Pakistan.”

    Why you chose to change the subject from the ‘sons of dictators’ to ‘Pakistanis living abroad’, who have very little to do with the earlier, is beyond me.

    In response to that I said on September 11, 2009 at 12:19 am that: “Line between ‘those lying outside Pakistan…..and……those inside Pakistan’ is not as sharp as you think.”

    In response to that, you sir on September 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm said: “I beg to disagree……The trend among the well-educated seems to be to settle down outside, in a definitive way, to the extent of seeking overseas citizenship…….I daresay that some speaking very confidently about affairs in Pakistan and about Pakistan are in that category, those who are ready to fight to the last resident Pakistani.”

    To which I responded on September 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm by saying: “Immigrant links minimise only after third generation. First and second generations remains linked to the affairs of their mother country.” Now mind you by this point both of us have left the original topic of this post.

    You sir came back on September 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm and said: “Your logic is impregnable. I have to agree with its precise point.”

    But then sir, in your customary eloquence, you decided to continue on and further expanded the subject of your choosing to the ‘Sub-continental’ level. This is a common habit among Indians so you are not alone in that. Soon other Indian commenters joined in and started discussing India exclusively, to which I protested. I suggest that you read this ‘thread’ closely one more time. You will see how Indians on this site ‘hijack’ discussions on subjects very important to the existence and health of Pakistan.

    These would be my last comments on this ‘thread’, unless I am challenged to come back and defend my point. Thanks for listening.

  35. bonobashi

    @PMA

    I will certainly not stoop to the crudity of challenging you in your role of a host to an unlikely guest. However, your analysis does not really get to the germ of my argument, in all but the last post. The last post was quite out of character with the subject matter of the preceding discussion, in which I see a certain organic unity, notwithstanding your scepticism on that account. Perhaps, once I have had a grace period of three to four days more to finish my essay on a subject which covers precisely this area, you may find my views more topical and related. Until then, I agree that it is the most socially acceptable thing to do to leave the other readers alone.

  36. Puzzled

    My knowledge of this subject is only limited to stuff published in the media from time to time, so I have some questions here for all the contributors.

    Is just because someone has made substantial economic gains in last 22-25 years, a proof enough that it has been through illegitimate means? I have read that a lot of people around the world have become business tycoons (worth in billions of dollars) in less than 10 years merely through business.

    What about non-politicians becoming rich, has that been through honest means?

    I have also read elsewhere that the richest Pakistani has a wealth of around $2.5 billion. That’s after generations of work!

    What are these corrupt sons of generals worth? Someone please put a figure on it! Only then we can analyse whether or not someone is humanly capable of becoming that ‘rich’ in 20-25 years (I’m using Zia’s death in 1988 as the base year, its been 21 years).