A military coup in Pakistan?

Restive generals represent the backers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda – bad news for the war next door

By Tarek Fatah   09 Dec 2009 The Globe and Mail (Canada)

A military coup is unfolding in Pakistan, but, this time, there is no rumbling of tanks on the streets of Islamabad. Instead, it seems the military is using a new strategy for regime change in Pakistan, one that will have adverse consequences for Western troops deployed in Afghanistan.

A year after rogue elements of Pakistan’s intelligence services disrupted Indian-Pakistani peace talks by staging the Mumbai massacre, the democratically elected government of President Asif Zardari is facing a putsch from within its ranks, engineered by the men who run Pakistan’s infamous military-industrial complex.

The men who wish to replace Mr. Zardari represent the religious right-wing backers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, adding a new obstacle in Barack Obama’s war effort in Afghanistan. A change of guard in Pakistan will also place Canadian troops at a higher risk of attack from a Taliban that will get unimpeded access to safe havens across the international border.

In the West’s war against terrorism, Mr. Zardari is probably the only politician in Pakistan who has the guts to identify the cancer of jihadi extremism and order the Pakistani army to root it out. With reluctance, the army has complied, but only half-heartedly. With him gone, it’s almost a certainty that Canada and the United States, as well as Afghanistan and India, will once more face the deception and fraud that became the hallmark of Pervez Musharraf’s military regime.

For years, the Pakistani army received billions of dollars in direct American aid while it backed the Taliban and staged faked armed encounters to deceive the Pentagon.

The army views the government’s efforts at peace with both Afghanistan and India not only with suspicion but also with alarm. Peace with India would undermine the very raison d’être of Pakistan’s massive military.

The army’s patience with Mr. Zardari ran out in October, when the U.S. Congress passed the Kerry-Lugar bill that promised billions in aid to Pakistan, but with a crucial caveat: The money would go through the channels of the civilian administration and if the military interfered with the democratic process or bullied the politicians and the judiciary, the Americans would halt all aid to the military.

The generals were in an uproar. Having lived their entire lives with a sense of entitlement that rivalled medieval caliphs and emperors, the men in uniform started a campaign to dislodge Mr. Zardari and his ambassador in Washington, Husain Haqqani – the authors, they said, of their misfortune.

Addicted to the billions in U.S. aid that have made them among the wealthiest in their impoverished country, Pakistan’s generals are in a Catch-22. If they overthrow the government, they risk losing the manna from America. If they do nothing, they lose their veto over government policymaking, domestic as well as foreign.

Stung by this loss of power, the generals have asked the pro-Taliban media to whip up an anti-U.S. and anti-India frenzy in the country, claiming that Mr. Zardari has sold out to the Americans and the Indians.

Mr. Zardari also is being depicted as the epitome of corruption and thus unworthy of governing Pakistan. Working from within the government, military intelligence was able to coax a junior minister to release a list of thousands of supposedly corrupt politicians and public officials in the country. Leading them was Mr. Zardari himself – notwithstanding the fact that before he was elected president, he had been imprisoned for more than a decade by the military without a single conviction.

What irks the generals is not just that they are now answerable to a civilian but that Mr. Zardari belongs to an ethnic group that is shunned by the country’s ruling Punjabi elite. Mr. Zardari is a Sindhi.

The hysteria among Pakistan’s upper-class elites demanding a military dictatorship is best reflected in an article [ actually, letter – PTH] written by a retired military officer in the right-wing newspaper The News: “Military rule should … return. … The problem with democratic governments is that they remain under pressure to go with what the majority of the citizens want, not what is best for them. … People of several South American countries that have returned to civilian rule after a long time are now beginning to feel they were better off under dictatorships.”

If Mr. Obama wishes to succeed in bringing the Afghan war to an end, he had better make sure Mr. Zardari’s elected civilian administration is allowed to govern until the end of its term. A coup in Islamabad will mean failure in Kabul.

Tarek Fatah is a former activist in Pakistan and founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. He is author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State.

112 Comments

Filed under Army, Democracy, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, USA, War On Terror, Zardari

112 responses to “A military coup in Pakistan?

  1. Milind Kher

    If Zardari is removed, and if Pro Taliban elements dominate the top brass of the Pakistan army, it will spell disaster for the region.

    The anti American and anti Indian sentiment that such people whip up is only to protect their own vested interests. Pakistan will not benefit.

  2. ved

    Give some chance to democracy to take roots, to democratic installations to stabilise. President Zardari is liberal ruler who want peace but I don’t think his PM is in sync with him. Otherwise he will not be hobnobbing with opposition and military.

    If military rules returned then again same story will be repeated where Generals after a long rule have been ousted either by public pressure or murdered in mysterious conditions.

    One more thing, they will not posture against US interests overtly, otherwise they will be ousted by CIA. Remember “sending to stone age” statement from one US official.

  3. Anwar

    This is an over simplistic analysis. Considering the fact that Pentagon has much deeper links with the army compared to the Sate Department, it is not likely that even in case of a coup, military efforts by Pakistan army will be curtailed to an extent that operations in Afghanistan are compromised. On the other hand, military may use squeezing Zardari as a leverage to get sophisticated weapons for night time warfare – something it always asked but never got for the fear that it may improve surveillance capabilities on Eastern border….

  4. sharafs

    YLH
    CONSPIRACY THEORY not worthy of the blog you moderate.

  5. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear simon uncle,

    I didn’t put it up but we represent all views other than who represent intolerance.

    I have a very low opinion of the author though and he has confirmed it with this piece which is inaccurate and out of sync with reality.

    No the military is not coming back. Instead a healthy balance will develop in the medium term and then let’s see where it goes from there.

    Tarek Fatah is a wannabe.

  6. hossp

    Tarek Fatah is a certified nutcase. He was in NSF in Karachi before my time. One of our common friends from Karachi wrote me that in his opinion, Tarek is trying to pull that famous Somali-Swede girl on us to make some dough.

    Let us not just ridicule the man instead just ask some pertinent questions.

    Was it not a deal that Benazir cut with the Army under Musharaff and the Bush Admin in the US that brought the PPP to power?

    Is it not true that Musharaff was ousted in the same type of coup that now Tarek is implying in this article?

    Is it not true that Zardari commitment to never proceed against Musharaff brought him to Presidency?

    The truth is we are in a catch 22 situation. I wouldn’t like to see Zardari go. I would prefer that he stays in the President House; I also prefer that he keeps some powers such as the appointment of COAS etc. but on the other hand the cases against him were always believable. He spent 8 years in jail but he never really spent any time to clear his name in the courts.

    Here is my conspiracy theory: The NRO was really launched to protect Zardari. Benazir wanted removal of the three terms restriction. She never asked for protection from the cases. Zardari needed the protection. Is it possible that he double-crossed his wife and made a deal with the Army through his friends in the US?

    Sharaf , what do you think about my conspiracy theory?

  7. stuka

    The MRO is definitely a putsch to bring the Army back in power through the back door.

    I will put my theory to test – Kayani retires before Zardari’s term is up. Let’s se if Kayani retires, or Zardari is deposed, or if there is a compromise and Kayani is given extension.

  8. PMA

    hossp (December 16, 2009 at 12:03 am):

    “Tarek is trying to pull that famous Somali-Swede girl on us to make some dough.”

    For a moment I thought you meant that other “african girl”. But then I realized that she is neither Somali nor Swede!

    And about Zardari, Nawaz et al. I remember what Senator McCain once said when Musharraf was in power: “We must have more than one phone number in Islamabad.”

  9. Ayesha

    Interesting that of all the multitude of opinion pieces and editorials in The News condemning military takeovers, Mr. Fatah would manage to dig up one that actually supports military rule. As a matter of record, the newspaper that has supported military rule most is the Daily Times, which is one that has far less readership than either The News or Dawn. But perhaps Mr. Fatah is just too detached from the political reality in Pakistan to know that.

    Incidentally, I support Zardari staying out his term, not because of my love for the Canadian soldiers (though I am sure Mr. Fatah’s heart bleeds for them) but for the fact that democracy needs to be supported in Pakistan for Pakistan’s sake. Failure in Kabul hinges on a lot more than Zardari being allowed to stay his course btw. For starters, perhaps they can recruit some people in the ANA who would take their jobs half as seriously as they take getting stoned—watch this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-_hqig-TK8

    Also, the fact that Zardari is Sindhi has little to do with his unpopularity. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (also a Sindhi) was the longest running civilian PM in Pakistan’s history (yes, longer than his Punjabi counterpart, Mr. Nawaz Sharif). The Pakistani people elected Benazir Bhutto—a Sindhi and a woman—not once but twice. So let’s tell it as it is instead of being victims of deluded conspiracy theories—this makes about as much sense as India, American and Israel are behind the suicide blasts.

  10. yasserlatifhamdani

    Punjabi,

    I think Hossp (a Sindhi leftist colleague of GM Syed and Bacha Khan) , myself, Simon Samson Sharaf (a christian and a thorough secular Pakistani nationalist) etc cannot be considered “rabid Islamists” any more than you may be considered a Hindu fascist. But then again we are not any more interested in coming to terms with Indian national sentiment which is tainted with Hindu fascism.

    Infact …. I think my claim to “anti-Islamism” is sigificantly greater than this little canadian crook. Unlike this crooked Fatah, I fight Islamism every day in the thick of battle. His fights against “Islamism” are limited to his third rate “Muslim Canadian Congress” … when Bhutto was going around creating his little Islamist fantasy of global Ummah, Tarek Fatah was a beneficiary settling down in Saudi Arabia. I am not sure what his views on the Pakistan movement are and frankly I don’t care… but I do know and I can produce emails to this end… where Tarek Fatah defends an Islamist like Mufti Mahmood (one of the leading lights of anti-Ahmaddiya movement in Pakistan and also the father of Maulana Fazlurrahman the father of the Taliban).

    The fountainhead of Islamism has always been crooks like Majlis-e-Ahrar, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind… who were doggedly opposed to the Pakistan idea. And those who apologize for them …. crooks like Tarek Fatah… are themselves part of that immature and unthinking left which has long sought to ally itself with Islamist bigots…. No wonder crook Tarek Fatah abuses Irshad Manji…

    It is this kind of ignorance and arrogance on part of people like you … that makes any honest compromise impossible.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    Also… Punjabi – an Indian Hindu fundamentalist of RSS Kind- recently posted as “ak” – an Islamist Pakistani- abusing Ahmadis…

    That should be grounds for permanently barring him from PTH altogether.

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tarek Fatah the apologist for Islamist bigots …

    From: Tarek Fatah
    To: yasser_hamdani1
    Thu, February 21, 2008 6:50:30 PM

    You don’t know Mufti Mahmood from adams. I travelled with him extensivley in the 1970 as well as the 1977 elections.

    I worked on Ajmal Khattak’s failed bid for the NA seat in 1970 and know the dynamics between the NAP and JUI. Comrade Khattak refused to campaign against his JUI rival because that mualana had been Khattak’s childhood Quran teacher. The ties between communists and JUI type mualanas goes back to the time when Maulana Hasrat MOhani chaired the first CPI convention in the 1920s.

    Did you know that Mufti Mahmood presided over the natrional convention of the NSF in 1969 where Mian Mahmood Kasuri was the keynote speaker?

    Fazlur Rahman and Mufti Mahmood are two entirley different people and for you to equate them as one and the same is wrong.

    Now the facts…

    Islamist Mufti Mahmood was a crook of the highest order and a leading light in the 1974 constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim. He was ofcourse Congress’ chief Mullah in NWFP before and was well loved by the anti-Pakistan lobby.

    What is interesting ofcourse is that in 1977 Tarek Fatah claims to be travelling with Mufti Mahmood… in other words Fatah was part and parcel of the “Nizam-e-Mustafa” campaign which laid the groundwork for General Zia’s coup in 1977.

  13. RS

    @hossp
    “He spent 8 years in jail but he never really spent any time to clear his name in the courts.”
    ………………………………………………………………………..

    That is a classic of ignorance! Since when it has been the discretion of imprisoned person to ‘clear’ his name? Musharaf’s regime was all about keeping people in prison untill they were willing to ‘clear’ their names. The next morning superior courts will release them on bail and here comes a portfolio of a minister.

    Examples? Faisal Saleh Hayat, Shepao, Chaudhri’s…..whoever wanted their name to be cleared was successful but with a price.

    May be you remember that present CJ and SC of that time was one which gave Musharaf powers to amend the constitution and untill last moment allowed him to contest elections in uniform. You expect from such judiciary to allow ‘imprisoned’ Zardari to ‘clear’ his name? And this is not accused who proves him innocent….. check some law book for details.

    Simply disillusion!

  14. sharafs

    @HP,
    I do not have to discuss the double crossing. We know that it is least a conspiracy theory. BB had changed the name of PPP in Parliament to PPPP headed by Amin Fahim and officially Zardari is President of PPP and not PPPP. Amin Fahim lost his metal somewhere along the line.

  15. Hossp

    “I think Hossp (a Sindhi leftist colleague of GM Syed and Bacha Khan) ,”

    No, I was not their colleague…that would put me past 100 in age now.

    RS
    December 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm
    “whoever wanted their name to be cleared was successful but with a price.”

    So what do you think of NRO? Wasn’t that the price…and the result…a clean slate.

  16. Nadeem

    Peshavar Qatilo Tum Sipahi Nahin…..

  17. Milind Kher

    @YLH,

    There are many right wing RSS types that spew venom here.

    However, I have seen that PTH shows remarkable tolerance. I wish more and more Indians could see and appreciate this. The bonding between the two countries would grow stronger.

  18. Hayyer

    Jenab Nadeem Sahib:
    Kya main jaan sakta hoon ki aap kinse mukhatib the?
    Kaun hain woh peshawar qatil jo sipahi nahin?

  19. yasserlatifhamdani

    Uncle Hossp,

    and how old are you?😉

    Well in any event you did learn your politics from them didn’t you.

    NRO verdict expected soon…let’s see what happens.

  20. yasserlatifhamdani

    Breaking – you heard it here first … NRO declared void ab initio…

    Article 63 will come into play.

    I am breaking this news right now.

  21. yasserlatifhamdani

    The bad news is that it has been struck down under 2-A and not 25 which would have been much better and more logical.

  22. yasserlatifhamdani

    Strike that…they are relying on both 2 A and 25.

  23. hoss

    Defending Tarek Fatah

    I would say Tarek’s political fundamentals are right but since leaving the progressive mainstream, he has certainly regressed in to something unrecognizable. It happens all the time just remember that most of the neo-cons started out as Trotskyites.

    His Facebook page is full of quotes and links from the rabid rightwing sites. His campaign against the burqa and Hijab has some validity but it is really over the top. I share his opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and JI inspired Islamic groups such as ISNA, CAIR and many other organizations that have links with Muslim brotherhood and JI. But ISNA and CAIR have many people who truly don’t understand the ISNA and CAIR politics. Not all people are politically motivated; some are predisposed to respond stupidity to the events because that was the best reaction they could muster because of their understanding of the events.

    His thoughts on Pakistan are also from the 70s when the progressives in Pakistan believed that good relations with India would help bring democracy in Pakistan. But that was really before 1971. Pakistani politics changed after that. Mrs. Gandhi’s emergency and later the rise of religious nationalism veiled as Indian Nationalism made it hard to just believe that the Indian democracy could impact Pakistan positively.

    In the ’77 elections most of the progressives were against Bhutto but they stayed away from the PNA movement. They were against Bhutto because after 1974 Qadiani amendment, Bhutto took a dramatic turn to the right. He first kicked out progressives from his own party then pretty much attacked every progressive political group in Pakistan. Was this part of his deal with the army after the JI led coup attempts were put down by Gen. Tikka Khan or he realized that his chances of surviving in Pakistani politics were brighter, if he aligned himself more with the establishment? We would never know but can only guess.

    We must also realize that his military action in Baluchistan in 1973 helped restore the Army confidence that was teetering after the 1971 defeat.

  24. stuka

    dude, what does that mean?

  25. Milind Kher

    Striking down the NRO means that Zardari can now have charges pressed against him, whereas he previously had immunity.

    However, the charges cannot be made to stick against him till he continues in office.

    The above is what I have heard. Please correct me/add to it if needed.

  26. bushra naqi

    Tareq Fateh writes that there is a conspiracy to dislodge the government and above all Zardari. As far this assertion goes it is probably tright.

    His second assertion that the army will stage a coup is highly improbable. General Kayani has the reputation of being a highly professional military officer, who is not capable of staging a coup. He has done his best, and successsfully, salvaged the image of the army. Furthermore the army has learnt its lesson(at least for some years) and understands the public mood as well.

    But there are other hidden forces working behind the scenes, trying their level best to overthrow the secular government of the PPP.

    The fourth force could be working tirelessly behind the scenes, the hidden force that needs a new face. The politics of vendetta are in full swing
    and way is being paved through the NRO to overthrow the government.

    This hidden force needs a conservative face and this could be no other than Nawaz Sharif, who is presently the biggest stakeholder.

  27. Milind Kher

    As I understand, Nawaz Sharif hobnobs with JI and others of their ilk.

    So, if he comes to power, he may just do a marriage of convenience with the Taliban. If that happens, Pakistan could find itself in a more difficult spot than it is even now.

  28. Ayesha

    @ YLH,

    Since we are quoting correspondence with Tarek fatah, I had written to him after this piece (almost exactly what I posted on this site above) and here is the response I got from Tarek:

    “Dear Ayesha,
    I am a Canadian who has sworn an oath to protect my country and its constitution. Inside Canada, I have consistently asked for our troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan and have no bones about my opposition to NATO’s presence there.

    Having said that, I write primarily as a Canadian who has an Indo-Pakistan ancestry. I cannot be a hypocrite, ask for a secular social democratic world, yet owe my allegiance to some tribal or religious identity.
    Tarek”

    To which I asked: why is it that he is posting his pieces on a Pakistani forum (which is where I first saw it—not on this site—another forum) and not some Canadian one, but did not hear back. In my view, Tarek Fatah’s opinion pieces are the blowback of a severe identity crisis.

  29. Rabia

    The Globe and Mail is a Canadian newspaper…

  30. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hp,

    His political fundamentals are based on an ignorance of history.

    I would rather support his campaign against Hijab and Burqah…but I think it is hardly genuine.

    The point about 1977 coup stands…these Tarek Fatah types have done more damage to the cause of a progressive and modern Pakistan than anyone else.

  31. yasserlatifhamdani

    Pakistan is an odd country my friends. Everywhere else in the world, the left stands for ideology above parochial division. In Pakistan left supports “ethnonationalism” and in the process ends up – inadvertently – supporting both feudal lords and the Mullahs.

    This is because of bad analysis on part of lazy and uneducated self styled lefists like Tarek Fatah. Tarek Fatah is very much all about tribal and religious identity…after all isn’t he using his “Muslimness” to gain importance?

    Ladies and gentlemen let us separate the reality from the tall claims that people like Tarek Fatah make.

  32. hoss

    @bushra naqi

    Tarek did not say that army is staging a coup with tanks etc. He is referring to attempts of regime change through the courts and in his opinion it is army sponsored. It is not about an army coup like the one Musharraf or Zia led.

    It is frustrating to hear people repeating right wing media’s talking points when it comes to the army. What General Kiyani’s reputation of being highly professional or ethical person has to do with his not being capable of staging a coup?

    Where is the evidence that Gen. Kiyani supports democracy or even a civilian government in Pakistan? He supported the previous Army regime under Musharraf and still provides protection to the Musharraf and many other retired generals.

    The army’s coups in Pakistan were never about this person or that person. They were always about the clash that army as an institution had with the civilian politicians. They always happened when either the army felt that it is losing control or some politicians are growing bigger in stature. The army coups are all about army’s interest as institution. The COAS acts in the interest of institution and not in his personal interest. He develops some ambitions after he gets in to the power.

    If at any point the army felt that 1) the civilians will not protect its interests, and 2) if some civilian actions are against the army interests or desire to remain the power behind the throne, the army will act and you will see an army coup.

    If any such situation happens, we will see Gen.Kiyani moving his tanks right into the president house and the parliament. Kiyani is a gentleman as long as the army interest are protected, he will a beast when he feels otherwise.

    Of course there are more factors that go in to the consideration but his being a gentleman has nothing to do with anything.

  33. hoss

    The left supported the sub nationalism in Pakistan because all minority and in fact majority nationalities were impacted by the prolonged Army and civilian bureaucracy rule. Pakistan establishment from the day one refused to recognize the human rights of the people of the country. Languages were suppressed, cultures were suppressed in the name of Islam, they were denied the right to employment in their own backyards and they were denied the right of education in their local languages.

    Pakistan stands at the cusp of a democratic surge just because the left made the sacrifices. It took unpopular stands and it fought the army regimes when the new breeds of liberals were supporting the army generals.

    The left in Pakistan promoted politics that is being followed by everyone in the country now. The left opposed the army action in East Pakistan; the left opposed several army actions in Baluchistan, and Sindh.

    Now the people of Pakistan understand the antinational policies of the Pak army because the Left worked to expose them for years. For years it was hard to hear someone from Punjab favoring the Baloch rights but now the leadership in Punjab is more vocal about that.

    Tarek Fatah may have many faults but as a young man of 17 he spent his many nights….almost a year in the military jails. So just don’t go after the left in true JI style when your knowledge of what the left did is not enough. Faiz and Jalib did not fell off the sky. They were educated and developed in to what they became by the left.

  34. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ah uncleji why the polemics… I think I know a little bit more about the left than you are willing to admit. No one is attacking the left. I am attacking a few self styled leftists who are found wanting in their analysis. You figure prominently uncleji.

    I am not going after left in any JI fashion …the sad part is that you know that deep down. Waisay what is it with you so called lefists trying label everyone who criticises you guys. The reason why the so called left has no real credibility is your inability to accept genuine criticism when offered to you. The truth is you guys have not employed any real marxist dialectical analysis …and historically the so called left you praise has been out of step with reality. I am not talking about Faiz and Jalib…Faiz and Jalib did not sit in Canada …like Tarek Fatah and claim to be fighting “islamism”. They fought it where it existed.

    No one is after genuine left. But Tarek Fatah is not. And I am afraid I am not impressed with “I went to jail I am a democrat” type logic. This is ridiculous. I reject your contention…this nonsense of “revolution” and “agitation” that you guys seem to think is useful is going to take us no where.

    The issue in any event is not Mr. Fatah’s leftist credentials but this claim that this fool is fighting Islamism (in Canada) …and is somehow god’s gift to mankind.

    I stand for secularism, social justice and constitutional democracy more than anyone else…which is why I criticise you and Tarek Fatah types …because everything you foggies have done has been counterproductive to that cause.

    It is time that you hang up your gloves…you and Tarek Fatah…and other “knowledgeable” “leftists”. We don’t want old prejudices, dogmatic thinking and baseless ahistorical analysis clouding the objective before us ie creating economic and political freedom and equality in the Pakistani federation based on equality of opportunity for every citizen of Pakistan regardless of religion, caste, creed, gender or provincial origin.

    This is the only possible response I can think of to your post. Apologize for any remarks that may upset you. However since you love to throw in words which are obviously unacceptable, perhaps you would consider a taste of your own medicine.

    Btw…do you want me to name the leftists who supported military operation in Bangladesh? No doubt genuine leftists opposed the military operation…but those are not the ones we are talking about.

    Supporting Bengali nationalism is qualitatively different from supporting Baloch tribalism. In Bengal there was a middle class, a strong working class…unlike the rest of the erstwhile Pakistan federation, the whole genesis of Pakistan itself in the east was based on Peasant nationalism.

    Genuine analysis would require the leftist to give up the cause of Sindhi waderashahi and Baloch sardars ….and strengthen the one party that today shows actual transition in Pakistani society… Yes horror of horrors … MQM. They alone today have transformed themselves as the bulwark of petit bourgeoisie national democracy pitted against the mullahs and the feudal lords. Ordinarily a leftist would hail this … but here your analysis will fall victim to parochial prejudice uncleji. Thus the irony of the unthinking and lazy leftist not willing to apply Marx honestly to modern day.

    So just admit it…you want to re-hash your parochial prejudice as left politics when it is not. It is a facade.

  35. Ayesha

    @ Rabia

    I know that the Globe and Mail is a Canadian newspaper. I don’t live in Canada and don’t read it. Tarek Fatah had posted this same piece on a Pakistani forum that I am a member of and that is where the conversation I referenced took place.

  36. hoss

    Wow, Wow!! Bhatija is out of control now. Shazaday, you have no clue about the things you are writing about the left. This is what you wrote in your previous post, “In Pakistan the left stands for ethno nationalism and in the process ends up…..supporting both feudal lords and the mullah”

    I have left out –inadvertently- because you never meant it. It is a tirade against the left not against Tarek who does not show up until the next para in your post.

    In two provinces where the left had roots, there is no mullah dominance. Both in interior Sindh and Balochistan especially the Baloch parts are mullah free. Mullah had no influence whatsoever in Bengal. So where was the left supporting Mullah? I know you are going to bring out Mufti Mehmood but the left never had much influence in NWFP. He was a political partner of the KK and remained with them until 1973. Tarek volunteering for Mufti’s does not mean that whole left volunteered for him. Can you point out any Feudal the left supported? Making temporary political alliances with some parties on specific issues that had some feudal leaders, does not mean supporting feudal. Just remember that your hero Mian Iftikhar was no hari or kissan either. I guess you know his background. Tariq Ali and his family were not exactly turkhans. Many feudal joined the left for multiple reasons. Their joining the left does not mean that the left was pro feudal. More Baloch Sardars have given their lives for their democratic rights in Baluchistan than the lawyers in the whole country.

    Pakistan at the time of creation was a feudal fiefdom. All election politics swiveled around the feudal. But feudal barely have any political influence now. They can win elections but the politics is now in the cities and cantonments where feudal have no influence whatsoever. So the cliché about supporting the feudal is just a cliché. Hardly any feudal is in any leadership position. A few that do, have a long history of helping the democracy. If you think the left is supporting Gilani then you seriously lack the knowledge of what the left is doing.

    Please stop joking about the MQM…..

  37. hoss

    Ayesha,

    Rabia can express her ignorance in one line only.

  38. Ali Abbas

    @YLH,

    Wow, Tarek seems to have stuck a raw nerve, you really do sound bitter. Precisely, what is it about his current article that you disagree with. Whether he travelled with Mufti Mehmood as his supporter or in his role as a journalist would best be addressed to him. Both he and his friend, Intizar Zaidi shared a jail cell as NSF activists in anti-Ayub student movement; which is way than one can say of for some of the civil society types that took part in the recent “movement” and marched together with Jamaat Islami and the leading reactionaries and dictator-supporting bureaucrats like Imran Khan and Roedad Khan.

    I work with Tarek in the Muslim Canadian Congress and urge the readers to see for themselves what we stand for on our site. I was personally there after a panel discussion in Toronto when Tarek was threatened by an audience member for opposing the initiatives of Islamist groups to use the Arbitration Courts to set up Sharia tribunals in Ontario.

    Furthermore, he has condemned the apostasization of the Ahmedi muslims in Pakistan and did so on his TV show, the Muslim Chronicles where he hosted a Canadian Ahmedi representative.

    In his article, I simply disagree with the mode of intervention by the security forces and had discussed with him that it will not be a direct coup but conducted and lead by civilan proxies such as the media etc.

    However, that does not negate his very valid observation which, far from being dated, holds more true today and that is the strangle hold of the security establishment of the country. The “debate” ensuing after the KLB was a clear indication of how calls the shots. It was not surprising to see the same political leaders who were calling for Musharaf’s head just a week before fall in line behind the next army chief in rallying against the democratically elected president’s support for the Bill.

  39. Ayesha

    @ Ali Abbas,

    If the “debate ensuing after the KLB was a clear indication of who calls the shots,” then how come the KLA (as it is now) stands without any serious amendment. I think that is precisely the point Tarek is missing. Pakistan is changing since he was there and he is still stuck in a time warp and therefore not qualified as an expert on the matter, in my opinion.

    The fact that there is a brouhaha on most things, led by the “establishment” initially, but then things calm down and rationality prevails is a sign of changing times and increasing (perhaps at a very incremental level) power of the civilians vis a vis the military.

    Your claim that “It was not surprising to see the same political leaders who were calling for Musharaf’s head just a week before fall in line behind the next army chief in rallying against the democratically elected president’s support for the Bill,” is also flawed. If you watch the events unfold in Pakistan closely, as I do, you will realize that the PML-N, and Nawaz Sharif in particular, is thoroughly wary of the army and vice of versa. He hasn’t forgotten his ouster at the hands of Mush and they haven’t forgotten his constant shuffling of army chiefs. The two are not the conjoined twins they once were…..things are a changing…..when Tarek does not acknowledge that and moreover does not acknowledge in his write-ups all the follies of the western powers, he sounds like a Pakistan-basher and not a serious analyst. Did you read his last piece in the Calgary Herald where he claimed that Major Nidal red-flagged himself the day he wore shalwar kameez?? Don’t tell me you agree with that analysis as well.

  40. Ali Abbas

    @Ayesha, it stands without amendment because aside from civilian aide, there is also military aide. However, can you tell me what was the point of the ISPR release other than giving the signal to its civilian proxies to bash the Govt politically. If you see it differently, we disagree. While NS has moderated his stance in the last few weeks, why has the party lead by his family not come out unequivocally against the Taliban as the other mainstream parties like MQM, PPP and ANP have.

    And the correlation of the publically disclosed meeting between Shabaz and the COAS and the coordinated attack on the KLB did raise many suspicions. I hope you are correct about the change and I am proven wrong; it would be a far better outcome. However, I remain wary and feel that the security establishment still calls the shots.

    While Pakistanis continue to get blown to bits in sucide attacks, we are busy in dredging up cases selectively against one party’s leaders and against one province whilst giving a clean berth to all the other stakeholders. If corruption is such an important issue, then why limit it to the NRO. What about corruption by other, more powerful elements. Or is it just selective persecution, sorry, prosecution. I wonder what they call that. I await the day when there are notices issued to all those who have taken over public spaces and mosques and used them as bastions of hate and who have incited people to violence and who have supported and apologised for such murderous elements.

  41. Ali Abbas

    @ Also, regarding the KLB, all those who were vociferouly against it (and the PML N was clearly one of those) provided welcome support to the security establishment’s political hold. Atleast, we can safely assume that NS and PML N were only against Musharaf personally and not against the institution that represented him and that repeatedly has overthrown elected govts. (including their’s ironically).

    Re: Nidal and Fort Hood, what was the context of Tarek’s remarks regarding the shalwar kameez? Was it to bash Pakistan or was it to draw the links between Nidal and the “Arab Afghans”; the mercenaries who came in during the “Jihad” against the Soviets and continued with their “activities” upto the present. An Arab Palestinian raised in America who is wearing a Shalwar Kameez in the Jamaat Islami style of raised trousers whilst buying groceries in Texas does raise a flag when it is accompanied by remarks and writings that support violence and misogyny as well as links with preachers that espouse similar extreme views, not to forget wire transfers to Pakistan. Nonetheless, it is still technically a subjective observation and he might simply be doing so to impress his Pakistani friends on facebook with whom he was planning a hippie trek across Waziristan after his deployment in Afghanistan.

  42. Ali Abbas

    By support of the instiution, it is important to clarify the differentiation between the ordinary Pakistani soldiers who have made tremendous sacrifices since 2004 against the Taliban but the whollistic security establishment (inclusive of its civilan proxies) which is the largest feudal entity and a corporate behomouth.

  43. Ali Abbas

    @YLH
    “Unlike this crooked Fatah, I fight Islamism every day in the thick of battle. His fights against “Islamism” are limited to his third rate “Muslim Canadian Congress” … when Bhutto was going around creating his little Islamist fantasy of global Ummah, Tarek Fatah was a beneficiary settling down in Saudi Arabia.”

    Yasser, that is incorrect. Tarek was a PTV producer right uptil 1977-78 when he was fired and tried for sedition after the martial law. He left to work for a Saudi ad agency as employment was denied to him here and in 1987, he migrated to Canada. Why would you state otherwise?

    Furthermore, he has always been NAP (now ANP) and while I disagree with his stance on the PNA movement, what does that have to do with this article or the fact of his much appreciated stance against the shady Saudi-funded Islamist organizations in North America? You can disagree with him all you want but it seems that both of you want to take a stand against extremists. So why these comments…

  44. Hoss

    @ Ali Abbas
    “The men who wish to replace Mr. Zardari represent the religious right-wing backers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, adding a new obstacle in Barack Obama’s war effort in Afghanistan. A change of guard in Pakistan will also place Canadian troops at a higher risk of attack from a Taliban that will get unimpeded access to safe havens across the international border.”

    Please read the above quote from Tarek’s article. This is kind of fear mongering that Tarek indulges in on a regular basis. His Face book pages are full of similar diatribes. His sources for news are rabid right wing media outlets and on top of that he regularly distorts the news to fit his view point.

    In the above quote he is basically saying that if Zardari is removed, the Canadian troops would die. Do you also support this non sense?

    People who know Pakistani politics know it well that Zardari has no role whatsoever in the war of terror. It is an enterprise in which the US and Army deal with each other directly. Reference to Nawaz is below the belt, utter nonsense and totally ridiculous.

    In my article “the power struggle” I had tried to emphasis that since Zardari tried to pull KL bill on the army, he should expect something back from the army.

    He was jolted by MQM his ally in the coalition. Just remember that he made the deal with the MQM in 2007 knowing full well that MQM is army’s proxy. He made that deal over a widespread opposition in the PPP in Sindh. He knew that his position is because of his deals with the army and the politically parties allied with the army.

    You are right that the Army still calls the shot in Pakistan but did Zardari even for a day tried to bring his concerns to the people who voted for his party? Instead, he relied on the US and the Kerry Lugar Bill to contain the army. That, I am afraid, showed how politically inept he is. His counsel went up to the SC complaining about the GHQ and never really stuck to his guns but retreated quickly.

    Zadari missed many opportunity to create a consensus in the country, he never really tried to establish a sense of urgency in his government to deal with the issues and never leveled with the people of Pakistan or even Sindh about what is going on. Sadly, he will go the way he came in.

    I think it will be a temporary setback but this will teach politicians that by not catering to their roots they destroy any possibility of staying in power. The power groups that brought him to presidency have pulled the rug under him too.

    PS. Tarek Fatah might have a stellar past but his present is ugly and not worth any support.

  45. rex minor

    I am surprised to note the timing of the article. My gut feeling is that the author has heard some senior military officer thinking loudly and drew the hasty conclusions. There are quite a number of them travelling at present around the world. With all due respect, the facts in my judgement are that ;
    . the military in Pakistan is an independent institution and no longer subservient to the Civilian Govt. least of all under the authority of Mr Zardari.
    The plan was to bring military eventualy under the Civilian Govt. and the Parliment, but this process is not yet complete.
    . General Kyani is simply the military nominee for liasion with Mr Zardari. As I mentioned previously in this forum that the Corps Commanders are in full control of the military.
    . With the exception of the former military President, the military was always forced by the events to take over the helms of the Govt. when the Civilian Govt. was no longer able to function without the use of military force against its own citizens.
    . In as much as one feels sorry for the suffering of Mr Zardari at the hands of the former military President, he is carrying a large bag of worms which he should have unloaded rather than accepting the amnesty from his enemy.
    . Mr Zardari and his Co. at the behest of the US administration made the cardinal mistake to approve, not initiate as in the past, the use of military force against its own Pushtoon citizens calling them with names such as Talabans, extremists, radicals, etc. simply to maintain law and order in the country.
    . The complete civilian population of Swat and south Waziristan has been displaced and their houses destroyed. Let us not talk about the deads, life in that part of the world is very cheap anyway.
    . Now comes the reprisal for the first time in Pakistan’ history, the military personnel and its Institutions are the targets for the insurgents, no different from that experienced during the colonial times.
    . And what is the response from the Minister of the Interior, who is, by the way a regular UK resident, calling for the Clergy to give a “Fatwa” against those who are behind the attacks. Is the Fatwa going to bring back to life the military and their families who have perished. I should have thought that the Govt. would prohibit religous fatwas from the clergy in the Country.
    . In the shortest possible period the civilian Govt. has converted a large Country, with a strong military and a powerful first strike Nuclier arsenal, capable of taking on any power in the world, into a laughable Banana republic, or some kind of an african enclave taking advice and even orders from the rifrafs of the US military and house members.
    . Is there no civilian politician left in the country to control the events and to protect the integrity of the State? Do the elite in Pakistan are not aware that the anglo-saxon capitalism is on its last lap. Both US and England are bankrupt countries. AlCapone 2 does not even have accomodation for the prisoners in the US? Their infra structure in the country is outdated, they cannot design or manufacture modern cars What will Pakistan gain from the aid, most of which is for the services provided to their military anyway. If the US wants to channel the aid via the civilian Govt. so what is the difference? A large portion of the so called aid is meant for the services to be provided by the Pakistan military. Pakistan has an untapped reservoir of youth currently running around like headless chickens trying to obtain basic education mostly in english speaking foreign countries. This is nothing but a paradox.
    I hope that the civilian leaders would control their temper as well the rhetoric and the military would return to their Barracks. Mr Zardari should consider retiring his comrades and consider a leave of absence from his President post until the civilian court has cleared his name.

  46. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ali Abbas,

    There is no question of being bitter.

    As far as I am concerned Tarek Fatah is an apologist for Islamist crooks like Mufti Mahmood …

    Pakistan’s own inability to get its house in order has allowed people Fatah to become heroes.

    Also…thanks for informing us that Fatah was an outright supporter of PNA and the “Nizam-e-Mustafa”. Those crooks, cranks and madmen- without exception- who participated in that the PNA’s Islamist campaign in 1977 are mortally estopped from talking of coups because they laid the groundwork for the worst coup in Pakistan’s history…the consequences of which still shake us right down to our foundation.

    PNA’s Nizam-e-Mustafa containing all the religious parties and ANP and tehreek e istaqlal was backed, financed and funded by the capitalist class hellbent on avenging its own destruction at the hands of the illadvised and disastrous nationalization and was also backed by the US.

    General Zia took Nizam e Mustafa and implemented it with a vigor..and people like Tarek Fatah, the crooks in ANP and “progressives” and “leftists” are equally culpable for what subsequently happened.

    Then Fatah has the nerve to speak about coups etc?

    And btw…the Lawyers’ Movement showed just how Mullahs are kept out of important politics. What did the “anti-Ayub movement” achieve? Yahya’s martial law?
    There is no comparison between what we managed to do in 2007-2009 with the lawyers’ movement …and the movements in the late 60s and late 70s which were aimed at political power by certain machiavellian politicians though we have romanticized them to mean something else.

  47. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dr. Mubashir Hassan and Hafeez Peerzada said yesterday – “this is not the PPP of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto”.

    Though I am not a fan of any of the three…they have a point.

    Old crooks who were part of the Nizam e Mustafa campaign now support this PPP. It can’t be the same.

  48. “What is interesting ofcourse is that in 1977 Tarek Fatah claims to be travelling with Mufti Mahmood… in other words Fatah was part and parcel of the “Nizam-e-Mustafa” campaign which laid the groundwork for General Zia’s coup in 1977.”

    YLH:

    Huh? how does “traveling with” becomes “part of the parcel”? on what grounds did your genius come up with such a conclusion? Rather ironic, no?, to be calling out someone’s analysis “shody” by being shody?

    “To which I asked: why is it that he is posting his pieces on a Pakistani forum (which is where I first saw it—not on this site—another forum) and not some Canadian one, but did not hear back. In my view, Tarek Fatah’s opinion pieces are the blowback of a severe identity crisis.”

    Ayesha:
    Huh? identity crisis? which identity are you referring to? the one that was concocted at midnight August 14th, 1947? or the adopted? if it’s the former, well, what is exactly Pakistani identity? Punjabi? Pashtun? Sindhi? Mohajir? or? In any case, does posting in a “Pakistani Forum” requires one to be a Pakistani? Rather ironic too to be responding with nothing more than questioning intentions by making unqualified judgements about one’s identity? I suppose perhaps you’re a psychology professional why? or?

    “crooks like Tarek Fatah”

    “Pakistan’s own inability to get its house in order has allowed people Fatah to become heroes.”

    “and people like Tarek Fatah, the crooks in ANP and “progressives” and “leftists” are equally culpable for what subsequently happened.”

    Back to YLH:
    Huh? crook? What exactly is it that makes Tarek a crook? I have read through all your drivels, and aside a hint of an attempt of challenging assertions of his article all I see from you is name calling or taking cheap shots at a person who has taken time to formulate analysis of FUBAR that is Pakistan. If his analysis includes pointing out of the obvious decay that has plagued Pakistan from almost the day of its creation, what does it have to do with Tarek being a so-called hero? He, like many others, is doing nothing be stating the facts, and stating facts makes one a hero, then well yeah, he’s a hero, so what?!

    Oh and then the melodrama is epitomized, the same thing that your genius blames Tarek for, by your lump summing Tarek with those who supported Zia’s Nizam-e-Mostafa? Ironic, again, for that Tarek has spoken out agains Islamism, especially the kind borne out of intercourse between Zia and the Mullahs of his time…

    In any case, what about Tarek’s article is that you disagree with? and why? As far as I can see, his words ring awkwardly telling…

  49. yasserlatifhamdani

    ovais (possibly Mr. Fatah’s many different handles),

    You are obviously a very small minded person with no real analytical skills.

    Was Tarek Fatah part of the PNA’s election campaign and subsequent agitation or wasn’t he?

    There is no “Zia’s Nizam-e-Mostafa”. Nizam-e-Mustafa was a slogan adopted by the 9 stars… the Pakistan National Alliance… of which ANP was a part… and Islamist bigot Mufti Mahmood was the tallest leader of the PNA.

    As for the article… there is nothing “telling” about it unless ofcourse you are an idiot or Tarek Fatah himself and are reading things which you have no clue about…

    Here are the things no reasonable person can agree with…

    ” A military coup is unfolding in Pakistan”

    No. This is not true. The strengthening of the democratic system cannot be considered a coup.

    “the democratically elected government of President Asif Zardari is facing a putsch from within its ranks, engineered by the men who run Pakistan’s infamous military-industrial complex.”

    Military “industrial”? Does he mean Kamra is now running public policy… now that is news for me. Clearly he is mixing up Pakistan with the US… Read Hossp’s “Power Struggle” article which makes the point in a much better fashion.

    “Mr. Zardari is probably the only politician in Pakistan who has the guts to identify the cancer of jihadi extremism and order the Pakistani army to root it out. ”

    Nonsense. There are many other politicians and elements within the army as well who aligned with the idea that Jihadi extremism needs to go. This is bad analysis.

    “Addicted to the billions in U.S. aid that have made them among the wealthiest in their impoverished country, Pakistan’s generals are in a Catch-22. ”

    I dislike army and its intervention more than anyone else and army has no doubt benefitted from ruling the country…. but no army general has 3.2 billion dollars as personal assets. That is President Zardari’s net worth.

    “Working from within the government, military intelligence was able to coax a junior minister to release a list of thousands of supposedly corrupt politicians and public officials in the country. Leading them was Mr. Zardari himself – notwithstanding the fact that before he was elected president, he had been imprisoned for more than a decade by the military without a single conviction.”

    The list of beneficiaries of the NRO was released by public pressure. The NRO was debated and litigated before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Why do people like Tarek Fatah want to deny us the right to due process that they cherish in Canada?

    Pakistan must be run under the constitution and there must be rule of law. This is what our lawyers’ movement was all about. We cannot and should not be seduced by this spurious logic.

    And yes the media in Pakistan has been overly critical of the government but there are forces balancing that out… and public opinion has cut those anchors indulging in reactionary rhetoric down to size. This is a process of maturity. Pakistan’s constitutional institutions are coming into their own…

    “He, like many others, is doing nothing be stating the facts, and stating facts makes one a hero, then well yeah, he’s a hero, so what?!”

    What facts has he stated? He has stated no facts whatsoever.

  50. Intizar Zaidi

    The vitriole being spilt on this forum against Tariq Fatah is mindboggling.

    I have often found it strange that Pakistanis who otherwise should be on the same side as he is, are extremely hateful of him and that too on a personal level. Why is this?

    Could it be that Tariq Fatah is the only Pakistani I know who has openely supported gay rights? Almost every Pakistani I meet feels comfortable in his homophobia and considers gays as the scum of the earth. Perhaps this is why there is such a visceral hatred towards Tariq on this forum as well.

    BTW, on a day the judicial coup against Zardari has started to unfold, tariq fatah’s article is validated as spot on. Yasir however wants us to believe that the Choudhury who sits as the CJ on the SC is the embodiment of law and order, not the puppet at the end of the ISI string.

    Isn’t this the same judge who underwrote the last military coup against PM Nawaz Sharif?

    Why aren’t Pak Tea House and Yasir asking for an inquiry into the finances of SC judges, army generals (boths eriving and retired) and the TV anchormen and journalists who cannot explain how they aquired their massive fortunes?

    I have had the privilige of knowing Tariq since 1967 at the University of Karachi, having also spent a long jail senetence in Mach, Balochistan with Tariq (as a cell mate) in 1970 and being with him in Canada since 1987.

    Had he been a ‘crook’ I can bet you the Islamists whose life he has single-handedly made very uncomfortable, would have ripped him apart. If anything, Tariq is almost incorruptible. Not one of his many naysayers has ever even once suggested that the man is corrupt or has gained a cent from the work he has done for us liberal and secualr Muslims in the West.

    Yasir and his ilk remind me of my childhood when troops came out after the 1958 coup and started forcing people to clean the streets and for a month or tow Karachi was spick and span. Then too there were people like Yasir hailing the intervention as a move that would ‘clean up’ Pakistan.

    The SC action does exactly the same thing. Makes naive middle class Pakistanis happy that the country will be ‘clean’ of corruption.

    The fox is being asked to look over the hens while idiots are happy there will be order in the pen.

  51. yasserlatifhamdani

    Intizar Zaidi (another possible Tarek Fatah sockpuppet)

    Could it be that Tariq Fatah is the only Pakistani I know who has openely supported gay rights? Almost every Pakistani I meet feels comfortable in his homophobia and considers gays as the scum of the earth. Perhaps this is why there is such a visceral hatred towards Tariq on this forum as well.

    My friend… PTH and I have a very clear position on gay rights i.e. sexuality is a person’s private business and choice and should not be any grounds for any kind of discrimination whatsoever. We have always stood our ground in favor of gay rights and against homophobia. Homosexuality is actually quite common now in Pakistan and I don’t think I have ever discriminated against a gay person on those lines.

    “Had he been a ‘crook’ I can bet you the Islamists whose life he has single-handedly made very uncomfortable, would have ripped him apart”

    Even little ol’ me probably achieved more than Tarek Fatah did for you “secular Muslims in the west” in my short time as a student in the US…. than he has done. He is self aggrandizing pompous little man who doesn’t deserve the praise you are heaping upon him. Most Islamists don’t even give a damn about him. I suppose we can give him some credit for fighting Islamism in the Theocratic Caliphate that Canada is… oh wait there is no such thing.

    “Yasir and his ilk remind me of my childhood when troops came out after the 1958 coup and started forcing people to clean the streets and for a month or tow Karachi was spick and span. Then too there were people like Yasir hailing the intervention as a move that would ‘clean up’ Pakistan.”

    The judiciary striking down a bad law is not the same as military rolling in… how ironic that a self professed supporter of the PNA is somehow a “democrat” …. but we are somehow supporting of “dictatorship” because we believe in rule of law and constitutional norms.

    “BTW, on a day the judicial coup against Zardari has started to unfold, tariq fatah’s article is validated as spot “

    Ironically Fatah was supporting the Lawyers’ Movement and restoration of CJ Chaudhry… but let us leave that inconvenient fact aside. There is no “judicial” coup here people. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has struck down a bad law that the government refused to defend or validate in the national assembly. There is no validation of Tarek Fatah’s article. He doesn’t even refer to the SCP …. or the NRO challenge.

    Instead of making comments about people who you know nothing of… as you’ve done so here against me…. why don’t you try and realize that you should look at everything and everyone through the prism of your so called contribution to cause of democracy. Good for you that you went to prison. We all have served the cause of democracy and freedom in Pakistan in our own way. I reject this self righteousness based on how long your stint in prison was.

    There is a great article by the Indian writer Jawed Naqvi in Dawn today… it should be read by those who favor politics of symbolism.

  52. Hoss

    “The men who wish to replace Mr. Zardari represent the religious right-wing backers of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, adding a new obstacle in Barack Obama’s war effort in Afghanistan. A change of guard in Pakistan will also place Canadian troops at a higher risk of attack from a Taliban that will get unimpeded access to safe havens across the international border.”

    Ali Abbass, Intezar and Ovais have not responded to this quote from Tarek’s article above.

    Is Tarek not suggesting in the article above that if Zardari is removed or resigns, the Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan would die.

    His articles and other items on facebook are full of stupid comments like the one above.
    Does he think fear mongering is the only way to advance his cause?

    Please visit his Face book page for more of the similar non sense that he lifts from the rabid right wing sites and quotes them on his page.

  53. Hoss

    Intezar is plain wrong and perhaps he moves around in circles that are homophobic.
    There are tons of Pakistanis including me who support the guy rights. He needs to meet the right people.
    Btw, the current voting results from many states in the US have shown that majority of Americans have some doubts about the guy rights.

  54. I would add that this is an attempt to break up PPP into three wings as well:

    1. Led by Zardari/Bilawal supported by the new guys he’s got around him with some support from Sindhi PPP leaders.
    2. Led by Aitzaz Ahsan with support from the Punjab based PPP including Iftikhar Gilani
    3. Feudals from Sindh who’d distance themselves from Zardari and the Punjab PPP but would seek to benefit from any future government.

    This judiciary has absolved Nawaz Sharif of the hijacking case!!! has reinstated the Lal Masjid bastards and is now after this lame-but-functioning secular coalition..

  55. Shareef Baloch

    The Punjabi, Urdu Speakers and Gujrati Memon elites always preferred military dictatorships so that they can get fat contracts and get easy access to Islamabad. These are the people who dance on the tune and music of Pak Army. These are the people who distributed sweets in Karachi when Bhutto was Killed. These are the same people who called Benazir the most corrupt Premier of Pakistan. So any indigenous would be a nail in their eyes, be it Zardari or any one else.

  56. Shareef,
    Who is indigienous? and who isn’t?

  57. Ali Kamran Chishti

    If we take a hint from Israel where democracy functions and prime ministers and government’s keep on changing without the policy of the state changing. The whole argument to keep “one person” on top as President is ridiculous however, no-one should deliberately try to destabilize the current government unless and until there’s a vote against the government in the parliament.
    Pakistan is certainly changing and those who think that it would be a one-man show in Pakistan are living in a fool’s paradise. The Security Establishment will continue her policy of rooting out the terrorist talibans – obviously the current government or who-so ever elected will comply…

  58. Shareef Baloch

    The people who inhabit a geographic region with which they have the earliest known historical connection.

  59. yasserlatifhamdani

    I don’t know how supporting rule of law, constitution and due process is “supporting military dictatorship”.

  60. Bloody Civilian

    don’t know how supporting rule of law, constitution and due process is “supporting military dictatorship”.

    it most certainly is not… provided it equally applies to the military. people still remember musharraf leaving the military and judiciary out of his accountability drive. there was no great hue and cry about it though, of the kind there has been about the NRO.

    i’m cautiously optimistic about this verdict of the SC. not pessimistic. although if the news is true that the home ministry has put the country’s president’s name on the ECL, then that is not on. cautious optimism demands that we don’t lower the guard just yet.

  61. AZW

    I vehemently disagree with Tarek’s article and his thinking that the abolition of NRO is somehow a conspiracy against the elected government. NRO was a bad law, went against the spirit of rule of fair laws, and in the long run is a positive development for Pakistan.

    I do not agree with Tarek when he quotes the rabid right wing commentators and websites to bolster his stance against the extremists. For his message to be heard, he needs to connect with the mainstream Muslim community and quoting the far rabid anti-Islamic right does not help the cause.

    Yet I have known Tarek for almost three years now and I have a lot of appreciation t for his work in fighting the Islamic extremism that has permeated the Pakistani and Muslim Diaspora. There is not a single voice in Canadian Muslims community who is so outspoken and so consistent in the message that Muslims need to let go of the Sharia inspired grandiose schemes that they plan for the Muslim countries as well as the Western nations.

    The invective that Tarek gets for his message and the hostile reception in the right wing Muslim community across the world probably is the biggest testament to Tarek’s efforts.

    I have the highest regard for many of my colleagues here at PTH who speak out against the evil perpetrated in this world in the name of our religion, all the time risking their personal safety against the rabid anarchists who stalk our streets in Pakistan these days. However the cancer of extremism is present in Europe and North America, at a lot less scale, yet still there. For any sceptics who believe that Canada is free of the scourge of Islamic extremism, I will gladly take them for a Friday sermon at two of the choicest mosques in Toronto to hear the implicit venom spewed against the infidel west, while at the same time enjoying all the benefits West has to offer to these folks. This is why I believe Canada, or other Western nations with healthy Muslim population have to have Tareks and the left wing outspoken activists who speak out against extremism and all the wild theories that those groups espouse.

    By all means, condemn this article for its inaccuracies and wild conjectures. But personal invective against the author is highly unwarranted.

  62. yasserlatifhamdani

    Imtiaz baloch,

    So whoever opposes this apologist for Mufti Mahmood (grandfather of the Taliban) and PNA activist Tarek Fatah becomes “taliban”. How spurious can the crooks who support this crook be?

    Who stands for what cannot be easily swept under the rug Mr. Baloch. Ethno-fascists and Taliban are one and the same and I stand against both.

  63. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Adnan,

    Don’t be misled by this crook. He is an opportunistic little freak who can’t make sense if his life depended on it. And don’t insult the left by calling him left.

    He is a bogeyman…the only really consistent voice in Canada is that of Irshad Manji who Tarek Fatah abuses.

  64. “You are obviously a very small minded person with no real analytical skills.”

    LOL! YLH’s holier-than-thou-ness has been tickled by me… In lieu of painting me as such, your paranoid moronic ness has you start out with this:

    “ovais (possibly Mr. Fatah’s many different handles),”

    YLH – keeping inline with my small mindedness – this makes YOU sound like a pest of a character under the name of Oli that use to troll about Tarek’s FB page… is YLH and OLI Xidi blah blah one and the same?

    “There is no “Zia’s Nizam-e-Mostafa”. Nizam-e-Mustafa was a slogan adopted by the 9 stars… the Pakistan National Alliance… of which ANP was a part… and Islamist bigot Mufti Mahmood was the tallest leader of the PNA.”

    “As for the article… there is nothing “telling” about it unless ofcourse you are an idiot or Tarek Fatah himself and are reading things which you have no clue about…”

    Uh oh – analytical genius of YLH is amazingly awe inspiring – wow I am impressed! I do stand corrected for that “Nizam-e-Mostafa” was NOT a SOLE CREATION or CONCOCTION of Zia – However – Uh – it was Zia that thrusted “Nizam-e-Mustafa” upon Pakistan – therefore making Zia the proprietor of the resulting abomination that Pakistan today has become. This why it then make’s it “Zia’s Nizam-e-Mostafa” in my book!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zia-ul-Haq's_Islamization

    I actually watched Zia’s speech live – and remember it very well.

    “No. This is not true. The strengthening of the democratic system cannot be considered a coup.”

    Oh wow!! Big minded (*blush*) and analytical genius YLH making things up – what shamocratic system exactly are you referring to that needs strengthening?

    “Pakistan must be run under the constitution and there must be rule of law. This is what our lawyers’ movement was all about. We cannot and should not be seduced by this spurious logic.”

    Here shows the “proof” that YLH’s head is shoved far up some dark crevice… Huh? when was the last time you read Pakistan’s constitution? what about it that makes it a rule of law? The one that discriminates against Pakistanis by allowing only Muslims to lead the country? the bit that negates any laws that un-Islamic? the bit that sanctions Shariah Courts? or?

    For your edification here’s something YLH you should read once you manage to free up your head from that deep dark crevice:

    http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/

    “What facts has he stated? He has stated no facts whatsoever.”

    LOL! and here we have the classic pot (YLH) calling the kettle black…

    P.S. I am Ovais – a real person – who loves to stand up to self-righteous morons like Yasser Latif Hamdani

  65. “Is Tarek not suggesting in the article above that if Zardari is removed or resigns, the Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan would die.”

    Hoss: While Canadian soldiers are already being killed, not speaking for Tarek, my take from this is that if Zardari were to be removed, the frequency of attacks would increase… Of course, it’d be nice if this assertion could be backed by some evidence even if the evidence is of speculative nature…

    -OvaisTheCrook
    p.s. Since the posters love to willy nilly label anyone those they disagree with a crook is why the pre-emption on my part😉

  66. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS. I have lived long enough in the west to know the kind of Islamic extremism cooking there…I think I did do my part in fighting it…

    But I also understand the impulse on which Fatah is moving. He is a self aggrandizing self promoting careerist of the worst kind who is not really interested in anything other than creating his own wild theories which never make sense – case in point the article above.

    In the US, in many states in the midwest right wingers had a nasty habit of introducing “test cases”…usually a left winger, a communist or someone who is gay. This person would then be used as a scapegoat to stir up hate…and rally people against progressive action.

    Inadvertently … Or perhaps very deliberately… Tarek Fatah does the same thing within the Muslim community. He has become a test case for the Islamists through his shock value. And he fits the bill…everything about him is sinister and thus he becomes the perfect bogeyman for Islamists to discredit genuine liberals and progressives.

    Given that he admires and praises Islamist bigots like Mufti Mahmood, suggests a confusion and a contradiction that fits in all too well with the kind of sinister alliance of the so called “left” and Islamo-fascists.

  67. “He is a bogeyman…the only really consistent voice in Canada is that of Irshad Manji who Tarek Fatah abuses”

    LOL! and thus making YLH the bogeyman who abuses Tarek – LOL!

    EDITED!

  68. yasserlatifhamdani

    Owais the crook aka Tarek Fatah,

    Instead of going in circles like the crook you admit to be, how about being honest for one second and telling us in clear terms.

    “Were you Tarek Fatah part of the PNA’s election campaign which had as its slogan nizam e mustafa?”

    And if the answer is yes…do you agree that you laid the groundwork for Zia ul haq’s horrible dictatorship which imposed your election manifesto on Pakistan?

    Thanks for informing me of something I already know ie Zia was the worst dictator of them all but then it is you Tarek Fatah in cahoots with your ANP and Islamist colleagues who paved the road for that Islamo-fascist horrible eleven years.

    I love it how people like you state the obvious as an argument. General Zia’s Islamization is a known fact of history. The question is what Tarek Fatah’s role was in PNA.

  69. AZW

    Yasser:

    I am not enamoured with anyone. We all are human, we all have our faults and weaknesses. For those who are in the limelight, their actions get more critical eyes. I have mentioned where I do not agree with Tarek. But his stance and efforts stand on their own for their work. His efforts against introducing Sharia legislation in Ontario, against the hate mongerers here in Canada and abroad, and initiating interfaith dialogue have been his achievements, among many.

    I do not see any self-aggrandisement. I say it because I have been met him quite a few times, I have been to his house and seen how he and his family treats everyone kindly. You are being extremely unfair to him based on fixed ideas. Yes his mode of spreading his message is open to question; but his dedication, not a chance. He has been at this message for quite a while now, and it is not easy following a lonely road.

    Adnann

  70. AZW

    And Yasser:

    I believe Ovais is a very much real person, whose last name I believe starts with a Q. Let’s not insert any crooks or frauds in any names commenting here, based on our assumptions. This is wrong and heavy handed. PTH has given everyone full right to air their views, even the extreme right coming here and praising Moudoudi. Let’s not make any exceptions here as well.

  71. yasserlatifhamdani

    “PTH has given everyone full right air their views”

    Yes everyone except Ahmadis like Rashid expressing their point of view.

    I call my veto on Tarek Fatah.

    Tarek Fatah has in the past posted under several nicks and I am positive this Owaisthecrook (that is the name he posts under himself) is Tarek Fatah himself.

  72. yasserlatifhamdani

    Btw what Sharia legislation are you talking about exactly?

    I have heard a lot about this but as a lawyer my view is that this was the case of limited arbitration tribunals using as lex fori the relevant Islamic fiqh whatever that maybe. I for one favor secular civil law but who am I question time honored principle of English law of giving the individual the choice so long as it doesn’t trample the fundamental rights of anyone involved.

    Isn’t it hypocritical of a man who claims to have been part of the 1977’s PNA Nizam e Mustafa campaign which plunged Pakistan into an Islamic dystopia to turn around and make noises about the so called Sharia legislation which as far as I know existed only in Fatah’s head.

  73. AZW

    Yasser:

    I am not going into the details of how Sharia law introduction in Ontario was a very bad idea to start with. Thankfully, Ontario government has banned all religious based artibration courts due to the activism of Tarek and likeminded people.

    Ovaisthecrook is not Tarek Fatah. He is his supporter and his name is Ovais Qureishi. No one needs to be called a crook as his handle by the moderator on suspicion of being someone else.

    I also think calling Tarek Little Man is demeaning. I am sure we are all better than this. I highly respect him, and I admire you for what both of you are doing. And am very surprised that all we are looking at is prejudicial and tainted view of each other and nothing else. Let’s criticize Tarek’s article as much as we want, yet not hit below the belt for personal insults.

  74. yasserlatifhamdani

    AZW,

    Like I pointed out “sharia” was being introduced in Tarek Fatah’s head. Faith-based tribunals exist for other communities…right or wrong. Nor am I sure what Fatah had to do with Ontario dropping it (I thought it had more to do with right wing groups in Canada)

    I for one am against all faith-based initiatives but I also see the hypocrisy of someone who was part of the nizam e mustafa” movement in Pakistan to claim to fight Islamism in Canada. So it is not about going into the merits or demerits of a particular issue such as arbitration tribunals which in any event don’t govern criminal jurisdiction. Need I remind anyone that the world’s largest secular democracy has a community-based family law (where it is the RSS and the BJP who want to change it).

    You are also wrong that I called Owaisthecrook a crook for supporting Tarek Fatah. I merely called him Owaisthecrook by the name he has put up.

    How long are we going to allow crooks, cranks and madmen hijack legitimate causes. I don’t respect Fatah at all and I think it is ridiculous that well meaning person such as yourself are willing to give him credit where there is none to be given.

  75. yasserlatifhamdani

    Punjabi mian,

    Don’t waste your time after the trick you tried to pull posing as an Islamist Pakistani abusing Ahmadis.

    You are not allowed to post on PTH period. I will delete every post you put up henceforth.

  76. yasserlatifhamdani

    Tarek Fatah is welcome to come here and defend himself against my allegations.I won’t censor, edit or delete a word he says. He doesn’t come here because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Instead he comes here under the guise of sockpuppets…even Adnan knows and if he has forgotten I can dig up a case of exact match on the review of his book.

  77. Punjabi

    I shall document all of this on tarek’s page so people can see whats going on. your deleting won’t help.

    He has to come to you to answer your allegations?!

    AAAAAHAHAHAHA!!

  78. Punjabi

    actually, never mind. I don’t want to get into this.

    cheers.

  79. yasserlatifhamdani

    You’ve lost your mind now…. You are free to do whatever you want.

  80. yasserlatifhamdani

    “when was the last time you read Pakistan’s constitution? what about it that makes it a rule of law? The one that discriminates against Pakistanis by allowing only Muslims to lead the country? the bit that negates any laws that un-Islamic? the bit that sanctions Shariah Courts”

    Well I am on the record opposing the Pakistani constitution’s Islamic provisions- I have always opposed the 1. name Islamic Republic 2. state religion 3. limiting the office of president to Muslims 4. Article 227 5. Zia-induced Federal Shariat Court 6. Council of Islamic ideology 7. Limitation of freedom of expression by “glory of Islam”. I think these are absolutely and totally ridiculous. I also realize that Tarek Fatah types were both in power and opposition when this constitution was passed. PPP was in power and NAP was in opposition … and it was a unanimous constitution with one abstention for reasons unrelated to Islamic provisions.

    These shortcomings – be that as it may- is no justification for derailing the constitutional process and passing an unfair and illegal law like the NRO.

  81. Ash Khan

    Tarek, your analysis is right on the mark about the potential military coup. The military has always connived to keep that country from putting its democractic roots down. The simple Pakistanis have always been duped by the army that India is going to invade the country as such they are the only protector of the state. Nothing will change this scenario until there is genuine uprizing by the public that enough is enough and keep the army in the barracks where they belong as is the case in most civilized countries.
    Ash Khan

  82. rex minor

    Tarek fatah has taken into consideration the views of late Lal Khan, Ibrahim Paracha and Iqbal Din who voted in the referendum for Pakistan. They were not voting for a Secular State but an Islamic State and were not aware of the devious plans of the Muslim League leaders which some are now claiming to be the intent of the masters nor were they aware that their neighbours would leave them and be replaced by strangers of a different culture and speaking a foreign language.
    His views in closing paragraphs are not different from those of the current civilian and previous military establishment in Pakistan asking for charities and donations! Bon Courage, Mr Fatah in your newly adopted country. I wish your soldiers would leave Afghanistan soon.

  83. Dear Yasser,

    I had to look up the IT dictionary to find out what you meant when you claimed I was Tariq fatah’s “handle”. First I thought you meant ‘handler,’ but now I know better.

    No, you are paranoid. I am a real person who lives and works in Montreal with a family; I am not a handle or a sockpoppet, whatever that means.

    You claim to be a lawyer. Maybe you should talk to Abid Hasan Minto and Akhtar Hussain advocate to ask them if I am a real person or not.

    People like you embarass me. As someone born in Pakistan and now living in Quebec, I have to explain the irrational attitude of otherwuise educated young Pakistanis. You epitomise this irrationality. There are many young Pakistani kids from rich familes who come to McGill to study and after 4 or five years they leave without having any idea of what makes westren civilization tick and click. They come prejudiced against Jews and Hindus and they leave hating Jews and Hindus.

    They also have contempt for young people like my chidlren who were born in Canada, because they have to work for their education, while these rick kids, sons and daughters of generals, civil servants and other eltites of Pakistan, get money transfers from Pakistan.

    You seem to be one of them having picked up nothing from your stay in the US. Your inability to engage in a debate shows how inept you are. Calling Tariq a crook or me a ‘handle’ reflects your shallowness. Deleting Ovais’s posts and that of Punjabi is the act of a control freak who is obsessed with an infalted view of himself.

  84. This morning’s papers prove beyond any shadow of doubt that Tariq Fatah’s article in the Globe and Mail was 100% correct.

    The Pakistan Defence Minister was detained by his own security apparatus and denied an ‘exit visa’ by the airport authorities and yet people like Yassir and others hiding behind pseudonyms and claiming links to GM Syed and Bacha Khan say, there is no evidence of a coup.

    Imagine. The Pakistan Ministry of the Interior issues a notice barring the Pakistan MINISTER of Interior from travelling abroad.

    Who signed these orders? Not the civilian governement. The coup is unfolding and some people are stuck with their heads deep inside Hawkes Bay sand.

    Is this the way of Yasser’s law? Ministers stopped from travelling before they are convicted of any crime? What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? I guess you missed that course in the USA.

    Anyone defending this outrage is guilty of having been part of the illegal coup to overthrow Zaradari.

  85. nolikegohome

    pakistan is a failed state no matter who rules.

  86. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Mr. Zaidi,

    Can you point out where or how you came to the conclusion that I am prejudiced against Jews and Hindus? Can you point to anything in my writings or in my history that suggests this?

    “They also have contempt for young people like my children who were born in Canada, because they have to work for their education,”

    I worked for mine too… and I am not rich at all. I am what a real leftist would describe as a petty bourgeoisie and proud of it. Thanks for assuming ofcourse that my father was a rich general or a bureaucrat. My late father was a self made man who was a persecuted minority. Unlike you and tarek fatah, he lived his life like a man in this country fighting the odds as best as he could.

    “while these rick kids, sons and daughters of generals, civil servants and other eltites of Pakistan, get money transfers from Pakistan.”

    So basically you had no real arguments in defence of your crooked friend and you are assuming that I was getting money transfers while living in the US?

    First you came shooting with “you hate Tarek Fatah because you are homophobic” …. and now when I pointed out that it was not true….. you’ve gone in a completely different direction.

  87. yasserlatifhamdani

    Unlike Tarek Fatah and his apologists, I do know what makes the Western civilization work:

    Faith in rule of law ie equality before law …

    It means that law ought to apply equally to all defaulters including the defence minister …and when in such a bad state, flawed officials should resign.

    Tarek Fatah was actually proven completely wrong by the events of the last few days but intizar zaidi is defending the indefensible.

  88. yasserlatifhamdani

    All this abuse and personal attacks because I proved Tarek Fatah’s links to the worst kind of Islamists and hatemongers in the PNA and the “Nizam-e-Mustafa” Movement?

  89. hoss

    Zaidi Sahib, Is it true that Tarek Fatah has left the liberal Party in Canada and now supports the conservatives?

    Zaidi sahib since you are taking potshots at me please tell me what do mean by a coup. The PPP government is very much there. Do you think the PPP government is going to fold or Zardari is going to lose his seat?

    Zardari as president represents the country and not just one political party. He is supposed to be a constitutional head of the state not head of the government. He is already mocking the constitution by acting partisan and leading his party from the President House.

    Coups are engineered against the governments not heads of the states. So even if Zardari is removed or resigns, that wouldn’t amount to a coup as long as PPP stays in the government.

    You said you agree with the article a 100%, so you do agree with the point that he made about the Canadian soldiers getting hurt if Zardari is removed.

    If you want to defend the article, talk about the article and not gays or McGill or rich kids.

    I know Tarek through his face book page. I don’t see anything liberal in there. He is 99% of the time quoting rabid right wing sites or media. He seems to have a fixation about some issues and appears to be shilling for the Canadian right wing and strangely against the Muslim right wing. Opposing religions and using long brushes against everyone negates the basic liberal ideal. But then you really have no clue what liberal means.

    Learning the politics from Pro-soviet comrades is not liberalism. Liberalism is not just all about campaigning against some two bit mullah in your neighborhood.

    I think you don’t have a clue about the politics in Pakistan and still stuck in 1967.

  90. vajra

    @Intezar Zaidi

    Your anger and indignation is clear and unmistakable, but I still will ask you to stop and pause for a minute.

    On Pakistani blogs, Indian participants tend to get the short end of the stick, more often than not. This blog, and ATP, and to a considerable but far more whimsical extent, fiverupees.blogspot.com, are free of this bias.

    You mentioned several points in your passionate mail:

    1. You mentioned young Pakistani kids from rich families who come to McGill and other universities to study and land up learning nothing.
    2. You mentioned that these kids come to study with a prejudice against Jews and Hindus, and leave hating Jews and Hindus.
    3. You mentioned that they leave with no idea of what makes Western civilisation click and tick.
    4. At the outset, you were severely critical of both the propensity to see handles and sockpuppets where none were involved, and of being identified as a handle or a sockpuppet.
    5. Finally you mentioned that these youngsters lived on money remittances, and despised young people born in Canada who had to work for their living.

    I believe that none of these applies to Yasser Hamdani. I have not listed above his pugnacious style of debating, as that deserves separate treatment.

    1. young Pakistani kids from rich families who come to McGill and other universities to study and land up learning nothing

    Does not apply.

    I understand Mr. Hamdani studied Economics (not in Canada, but at Rutgers) and went on to take a law degree, and I understand that he practises as a corporate lawyer in Pakistan. My personal knowledge of his talent and learning is direct and detailed as far as historical matters are concerned. In this respect, he has had a profound effect on a small group of Pakistanis and Indians with a deep desire to understand what had happened in the days leading to partition and independence of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

    Many of us – I would prefer to speak of myself primarily and let others speak for themselves – came imbued with a generalised view of events, which in a way may be considered conventional wisdom in India. This does not cast personalities or the institutions on the Pakistani side in a favourable light – on the contrary.

    * Mr. Jinnah in particular is seen, in that general consideration, as a markedly communal individual, who ripped out a communal state from what would otherwise, under Gandhi and Nehru and a wise secular leadership, have been a secular democracy, from Attock to Assam, from Gilgit to the Gulf of Mannar.

    * The Muslim League, similarly, is considered a dangerously communal organisation, which prevented a broadly secular alliance against the common colonial overlord, the British, and whipped up a communal frenzy to bring about a forced partition.

    * It is considered that the Muslim League, under Jinnah, forced partition on a heart-broken Congress leadership, which was prepared to make considerable sacrifices to retain an unpartitioned secular nation.

    It was practically Hamdani working single-handed who marshalled a huge mass of evidence against this view, and over a period of many months, over a discussion which covered extensive and enormous depth, and which is fully captured in the archives of this blog and is available for inspection.

    An amusing side-light of this effort of his is that recently, when the Indian politician, Jaswant Singh, wrote his book on Jinnah, we found that those of us who had participated in the debate on PTH were far advanced of those who sought to intervene in public forums in India or in Pakistan, and many subtle points were well-known to us through our discussions.

    A by-product of this was that several other young Pakistanis have come forward to absorb and extend the information so capably marshalled and presented, and have themselves become peers of Hamdani in some respects; his kind of knowledge, and his handling of his knowledge is not of the banyan tree variety, which does not permit any growth other than its own.

    The last accusation that can apply to Yasser Hamdani is of lack of knowledge, or of ‘having picked up nothing’, or of having ‘landed up learning nothing’.

    2. a prejudice against Jews and Hindus, and leave hating Jews and Hindus.

    A dreadful error in the arraignment.

    It was truly a difficult matter deciding which to address first, the charges of having learnt little or nothing, or the charges of communal prejudice, or of being anti-Jewish or anti-Hindu.

    I am a Hindu, as are many other Indians participating here. I can testify that we have never been criticised on the grounds of being Hindu by Mr. Hamdani; on our logic, yes; our historical facts, yes; our conclusions drawn from facts, yes; on our personal attributes, no, a thousand times, no.

    I daresay that this applies to the Sikhs too; I am aware of their presence and the even-handed purely secular handling of their/our views by Hamdani. After searching my memory carefully, I can safely aver that religious bias or prejudice has never been a feature of our discussions here, except with one exception.

    Yasser Latif Hamdani has defended zealously the right of Muslims who declare themselves Muslims to be considered Muslim under the law, and to demand that they be given the same treatment accorded to other Muslims in every walk of society. This, in the teeth of violent sectarian protests which alarmed a wide variety of commenters.

    The last accusation that can be levelled against Hamdani is any religious or sectarian prejudice, judging purely by his written and recorded testament.

    These are two outstanding characteristics of Hamdani, his deep and rich learning and his unflinching secular outlook, and I shall continue, with your permission, in a separate post for the other three factors mentioned by you.

  91. Milind Kher

    I would fully agree that YLH is very good with his historical facts and excellent in his legal arguments too.

    There is no doubt that he is a thorough secularist too, although at times he appears to be a little severe on people that have a strong affinity for religion.

  92. yasserlatifhamdani

    Vajra sb,

    I can’t thank you enough for your kind references to me and a detailed rebuttal.

    Milind,

    Thanks for the kind words. The issue with being one’s own man is that one is attacked from all sides.

    Zaidi sb,

    Follow the news. Sec of interior has been suspended for stopping the Defence Minister from leaving the country.

    Hope you are happy.

  93. vajra

    @Intezar Zaidi

    3. You mentioned that they leave with no idea of what makes Western civilisation click and tick.
    4. At the outset, you were severely critical of both the propensity to see handles and sockpuppets where none were involved, and of being identified as a handle or a sockpuppet.
    5. Finally you mentioned that these youngsters lived on money remittances, and despised young people born in Canada who had to work for their living.

    In my agitation at horribly inaccurate accusations levelled at Mr. Hamdani, I managed several solecisms: it is clear that I am unable to decide between accusations of shallow learning and accusations of sectarian prejudice as candidates for worst fitted to reality. They both turned out, in my previous mail, to be the ‘last’ accusations to be levelled against him.

    These were mistakes made by a sincere effort to refute a series of unfitting comments made about him. The remaining three are nowhere as important as damaging to what he represents and has stood for. I am judging by the written record, what the man has said, as I have no personal acquaintance with him, and no knowledge of his milieu and antecedents beyond the written record available to all of us in common.

    3. no idea of what makes Western civilisation click and tick.

    The charges are not clearly phrased; they are impossible to defend or to prove, as worded at present.

    On this, we might each of us have an individual and distinctly different impression of what might constitute the inner core of Western civilisation, what, in other words, makes Western civilisation click and tick. I would like to point to his secular outlook and his unflinching commitment to democracy, and with that on evidence, I would like to ask what aspects of Western civilisation are seen to be sadly missing. These, to me, are the most important two, and if there are more, please do elucidate, so that we may judge if Hamdani fails to have acquired an understanding of the core of the Western way of life and its philosophical underpinnings.

    I invite you, therefore, to let us know what in your opinion, is missing, apart from a secular outlook and a commitment to democracy.

    4. handles and sockpuppets where none were involved, and of being identified as a handle or a sockpuppet.

    Is this a relevant accusation?

    ‘sockpuppet’ is the quaint epithet applied to a commenter appearing under a pseudonym, or rather, under an assumed and misleading electronic identity.

    There is a history on this blog-site of ‘handles’ and ‘sock-puppets’, and I must draw your attention to that.

    In order to gain attention, in order to promote a spurious idea that their views have more support in the real world than is really the case, two opposite kinds of writers and commenters, the Islamic right, and the Hindu right, have frequently fired whole artillery barrages under false identities, very often in support of their own position while writing under another identity. So I write in as ‘A’ stating a position; soon I find I am in a minority, and nobody else agrees with me. A telephone booth later, ‘B’ is to be seen in action, actively and in verbose fashion supporting ‘A’ and his excellent line of analysis.

    You are already aware from our discussion that he has taken an aggressive stance against sectarian Islamists, who denigrate every other shade of belief or of theological detail other than their own. In addition to this, at the urgent request of some of us, agitated to see the utter folly and idiocy of the views put up by the Hindu right-wing, and with evident and clear reluctance to intervene, Hamdani has also tracked and exposed multiple postings by these poltroons. Again it is to be understood clearly that it was due to the urgency and importunity of people like myself that he and his other colleagues engaged in administration and moderation of this column checked the identities of the Hindu right wing, and on very, very rare occasions, cut off the worst perpetrators (to my personal chagrin and fury, very, very late on most occasions – or at least it seemed so to me as I viewed the situation through a haze of anger).

    Therefore, given that he ferrets out dubious identities in order to prevent false impressions being promoted by unscrupulous participants in these discussions, I am not sure why he should be called to account for this.

    5. these youngsters lived on money remittances, and despised young people born in Canada who had to work for their living.

    Completely wrongly directed charge!

    In this connection, instead of adducing volumes of evidence, I will only refer you to the blog he wrote on the flattering piece written by a senior politician’s child in support of the leadership of her party, or rather, her father’s party. It was so abjectly sycophantic that it was repulsive in the reading. However, Mr. Hamdani converted it into a matter of philosophy and principle, and pointed to the need for merit to prevail over family privilege for the better good of Pakistan.

    Not the language, you will agree, of a dynasty-builder, or a scion of an empowered house.

    I hope that with this detailed description of his actual behaviour on the blog over the past one year that I have followed events here, and followed events in the world and their depiction here, you will have enough evidence with you to reconsider your very harsh evaluation.

    I hope that you will find that the finer aspects of Mr. Hamdani’s advocacy of secularism and of democracy, and his relentless struggle against the forces that threaten the integrity and sustainability of Pakistan, not to mention his stern opposition to any solution other than the rule of law, supported by the exercise of their democratic rights of self-governance by the people, will make you consider him with a kinder eye.

    There can be no doubt that like all of us, he is vulnerable to error, on occasion, and I trust that there will no doubt, once you have understood what is going on, that you will be one of the constructive critics who will help him to sharpen his message for greater effectiveness.

  94. Ayaz Ahmed

    Yasser exposed Tarek Fatah’s links to “Islamists” and Hoss links him to the Canadian right wing? Is there someone ready to make up their mind here? What is so right wing or Islamist about Tarek? His support for women’s and gays’ rights? His position on the war? His criticism of Saudi regime / mullahs / Islamofascists?

    By the way, when one engages in a critique of Christian Right, Hindutva, Judaism, one is deemed left wing. So honestly, since when criticizing mullahs and asking Muslims to get their effing act together become the province of the “right”?

    p.s: Cheap jokes about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and “african girls” do not help, by the way.

  95. Ayaz Ahmed

    @ Ayesha.

    I see nothing objectionable in Tarek’s response to you. And your rhetorical response to that went unanswered. No surprise there. He is clearly stating his opposition to the war in Afghanistan there. What do you want him to do? Be for the war? And then you diagnose him with a “severe identity crisis”. Pray tell what is wrong with admitting that Canada is a decent place and has been good to the Pakistanis who live there? That he in fact is has Canadian citizenship and lives there, who do you want him to mainly talk to? Kenyans?

    Ayaz

  96. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Ayaz Ahmad,

    I am not sure how many of you Muslim Canadian Congress are going to make the rounds here but let us put things in perspective:

    1. My concern is Tarek Fatah who lays claim to “blocking” Canadian government’s arbitration tribunals sided with Nizam e Mustafa movement and has defended on the record Islamists like Mufti Mahmood. The objective was to show the various permutations of Islamism etc …it was mainly in response to someone who suggested that Hossp, myself and Simon Samson Sharaf – all people of differing points of view- were not agreeing with the article above because our so called “pakistani national sentiments” based on “Islamism” were outraged (frankly I find it ironic that three people who may not even be considered Muslims – one is Christian- are being accused of this). Don’t you think it is hypocritical for people like Tarek Fatah to now claim to be bullwark against Islamism given his close ties to Maulana Mufti Mahmood – the main inspiration of Jehad-e-Afghanistan and Taliban? Perhaps Canadian forces should look closely at Mr. Fatah’s history.

    2. Hossp’s criticism is based on political permutations in Canada. His point is valid because he is himself in with the politicians of North America. If Tarek Fatah is hobnobbing with the extreme rightwing, he is a right winger.

  97. yasserlatifhamdani

    3. Could you tell me why Tarek Fatah abuses Irshad Manji – a lesbian Muslim refusenik ?

  98. rex minor

    The only reason this forum attracts me is to learn and I must say some of the commentries are very impressive. I also make mistakes and write long winded sentences but fewer details. They are not meant for a quick analysis. The secular outlook and the commitment to democracy is not what the western civilization is all about; the political leaders in this part of the world talk about ” Our Values” . Of course secularism and the democracy are part of the western values, but not in total. The people of the Asian sub-continent have also got values, their culture and traditions but they never get communicated, simply because of the intellectuals educated in anglo saxon environment attending Oxford, Cambridge, Boston and New York not to mention the Texas so on and so worth. What they learn, and experience remains with them but they all talk about democracy since they do not experience it in their country. Does anyone believes in real honesty that the US administration is a democratically elected body. No sir, it is a farce. Their system brings out dictators who select their own people not answerable to the congress. I prefer the Indian democracy which is not perfect but manages to bring out a Govt. tolerated by the majority. Have I not read on this forum that the current civilian Govt. in Pakistan is an elected body? Are they? The civilian Govt. must resign if they are not able to keep law and order in the country and allow the formation of other civilian Govt. who could. In A western country you do not ask military to keep law and order.Most of the current ministers and appointees of Mr Zardari are regulary residents of the UK. Can one believe in all honesty that the Pakistan Intelligence is not aware of these things. I was surely hoping that the Judiciary would gradually stregnthen the democratic process and there is no reason why Pakistan is not able to follow the Indian example and have an administration who is commited to the democratic process. I know Nation Building is difficult and it is sad to note that slowly and gradually Pakistan is becoming similar to several south american nations who are in the vicious circle of having a strong military and a weak civilian society. This should be the million dollar question for this forum, and not talabans, religion, the clergy or why Pakistan came into being, secular system etc etc.

  99. Ayaz Ahmed

    Tarek never attacked Manji for being a lesbian. So your point is moot. He disagreed with some of her claims in the book she wrote. Although that dispute apparently has been laid to rest a long time ago by both Manji and Tarek.

  100. hoss

    Ayaz,
    The kind of responses that are coming from the “friends of Tarek” confirms my thinking that you all hardly have a clue about the liberalism, conservatives or any other ism. Now I am not denigrating his earth shattering work of saving the common Muslims in Canada from the shackles of the Sharia laws. That I think is admirable and I don’t take anything away from him. However, what surprised me was his leaving the Liberal Party and joining some other party which is not exactly liberal within the confines of the Canadian politics.

    I said in my post he appears, and the emphasis was on appears, to be a right wing shill when he quotes exclusively from the rabid right wing media such as the Washington Times and a few other that I can’t recall now but you surely can look them up on his Face Book. (if you can’t, I will go through his pages for you and post them here)

    Now the point that opposition to Hindutva or any other right wing ideology makes him a liberal is utterly ridiculous. Many independent thinkers who may be conservative in their leaning might oppose the extremist ideologies. So the opposition to Hindutva and others that you mentioned would not conclusively prove that he is a liberal. Neither would his opposition to the Islamists or the Islamofascist, makes him a liberal.

    Many conservatives or not liberally inclined oppose them too. In fact in the US and the Western Europe most of the opposition to the Islamofascist or the extreme groups within the Muslim communities comes from the conservative and often from the right wing extremist. In fact, the followers of Hindutva are the most vocal opponents of the Islamofascist.

    It may surprise you that almost all liberal groups in the west take an entirely different approach in dealing with the Muslims extremists. I guess the liberal Party in Canada too takes a line that does not fit Tarek’s approach and that probably is one reason he left the liberal Party in Canada.

    I find Tarek’s approach not a liberal approach; it is more in line with the right wing groups. This could really be the reason he joined the conservatives because ideologically at this point in his politics he is more in line with the Canadian conservatives than the Canadian liberals.

    I am not sure you would understand what I am saying but if you do please at least acknowledge it or refute it with arguments instead of picking a few lines from here and there and making feeble attempts to support Tarek’s apparently conservative or perhaps rightwing credentials as liberal.

  101. Bloody Civilian

    @intizar zaidi

    funny to see you criticise YLH for making an assumption and jumping to the wrong conclusion about your handle only to go and make several assumptions yourself, about YLH, his background and worldview.

  102. Ayaz Ahmed

    Hoss,

    Thanks for taking time out to write this message. I am aware that right and left mean very different things in different countries. I am more concerned about right and wrong, than “right” and “left”. Left can be totally bonkers on numerous issues, and occasionally some right wing people might make sense. Also, I have always been on the left side without necessarily taking that as some kind of “identity” issue.

    I do however believe that Tarek is being portrayed as some monster that he totally is not – I neither see that in his articles, nor in his book, nor when I have met him, nor when he has spoken in public / on TV. You can accuse him of maybe focusing on Islamofascists a lot and not paying attention to corruption in Swaziland and Lesotho – which I find mind-boggling and offensive because I am more interested in development in Africa. Ok, bad joke alert.

    Anyway, the merits of Tarek’s article will be seen as the events unfold. What I see happening here seems more like giving a dog a bad name and hanging him. I think we can be better people than that, whether on the right, left or off the track altogether.

    Regards, Ayaz

  103. Ayesha

    @ Ovais the Crook:

    You do sound a lot like Tarek Fatah himself especially since he wrote to me after reading my posts on this forum—complaining that “I was slandering him”. Apparently, he thinks by quoting him verbatim, i.e., lifting his entire email to me and posting it here, I am slandering him—I think he means he is slandering himself.

    Now to your illogical point:

    “Huh? identity crisis? which identity are you referring to? the one that was concocted at midnight August 14th, 1947? or the adopted? if it’s the former, well, what is exactly Pakistani identity? Punjabi? Pashtun? Sindhi? Mohajir? or? In any case, does posting in a “Pakistani Forum” requires one to be a Pakistani? Rather ironic too to be responding with nothing more than questioning intentions by making unqualified judgements about one’s identity? I suppose perhaps you’re a psychology professional why? or?”

    I don’t recall questioning any intentions since I am not in the habit of doing that. But, yes, I do maintain that Tarek Fatah is suffering from an identity crisis. He may have left Pakistan a long time ago and does not realize that there is such a thing as a Pakistani identity. There are also other identities such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Pakhtun, Baloch, etc. but they can go hand-in-hand with the Pakistani identity. As someone who has lived in three different provinces of Pakistan, is married to someone from another province, and also have a very large majority of friends who are married to ethnicities other than their own, we are quite proud of our Pakistani identity. This does not mean that there are no inter-provincial issues, there most definitely are but so there are in many other countries of the world—the Basque separatist movement does not mean there is no Spanish identity; most ex-colonial states have more than one ethnicity in them and also ethnic strife but similarly enough time has gone by so that an identity has been formed by the respective nation-states.

    And no, certainly, posting on a Pakistani forum does not require one to be Pakistani, but for someone to claim that “he is not a hypocrite” and owes his allegiance foremost to Canada and then write primarily about Pakistan and post his articles on Pakistani forums seems like an identity crisis to me. What’s more—the articles and other comments made by Mr. Fatah on these forums are extremely contemptuous in nature—he loves to lecture the rest of us on how he is the only secularist ever born—-whatever!

    The problem is with Mr. Fatah’s tone not with the people reacting to it. If he was more balanced and less full of venom and contempt perhaps he would have more people taking him seriously. The question he should be asking himself is: is he capable of that?

  104. YLH

    Dear Ayesha,

    Well said.

    On another related but tangential note the identity crisis is self evident in “Muslim” Canadian Congress.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a very good idea for there to be a Muslim organization fighting Islamic extremism as well as racial and communal prejudice …Muslim identity being an imagined identity is imagined by a lot of Muslims but whatever happened to Tarek Fatah’s “secular socialist world” and a “canadian identity”.

    The truth is that Fatah has presented himself as a Pakistani-Muslim immigrant leftist because otherwise he would have no real political future.

    The only thing is that in Canada the situation does not seem to me that Muslims there – all immigrants from different lands and cultures- have any real claim which is unique or separate from other immigrants. So why the Muslim Canadian Congress?

    People from countries of South Asia – India and Pakistan – so long accustomed to community family laws especially succession laws- tend to think of themselves – apart from Indian or Pakistani as Hindu, Sikh, Muslim etc. Nothing wrong with that except that when you transport a communal consciousness inherited from a legal and cultural system based on a multilayered identity framework (as in India or Pakistan) to a system that is completely blind to (or atleast the issue of identity does not affect) such legal distinction ie such as Canada or the US you find oddities such as ISNA, ICNA, CAF and Muslim Canadian Congress. Faith is clearly a personal matter in Canada legally, constitutionally and politically.

    Now let us come to the issue of arbitration tribunals. I submit – very consciously as someone who dislikes imposition of canonical law on anyone- that there was no danger of Sharia being imposed in Canada that Fatah was claiming. Fatah’s contention was based on a misunderstanding of the British legal system and the development of western civilization. For example in contract law, two parties can agree to apply in theory even the substantive laws of Klingon or Vulcan or those of Rohan or Gondor.

    The test of secularism is and should be whether a religious tradition is infringing on public sphere or being imposed on an individual against his or her will. Was Canada about to change its criminal laws to include the Islamic laws of evidence for rape and hadd? Was Canada changing its family law to allow polygamy or reduce Muslim women’s inheritance to one half of their male counterparts? Tarek Fatah’s contention was laughable. And it was right wing because other communities have faith based arbitration in Canada and thus creates discrimination on another grounds.

    Now this brings me to the criticism levelled by some of Mr. Fatah’s apologists of the NRO decision on the basis that Pakistan’s constitution is itself exclusivist to a large extent.

    As a secularist and a Pakistani citizen, I oppose the constitution of 1973’s exclusivist content based on Islam. I would also point out this content was in large placed there by a parliament which had a left leaning majority party and a left-led opposition. Indeed it was the same party ruling then that Fatah is claiming a victim of this constitution now.

    The issue at hand ofcourse has nothing to do with the debate on the role of Islam in the constitution of Pakistan. The NRO was invalid, void ab initio first and foremost because it violated Article 4 and article 25 of the constitution which promise equality of citizenship especially before law.

    I have been told that I don’t know what makes western civilization “tick”. Unfortunately those who favor NRO are unable to comprehend what makes western civilization work. West works because it promises due process and equality before law which is the principle being upheld by this historic judgment.

    It is not a coup people …it is the strengthening of institutions and democracy in Pakistan.

  105. rex minor

    The western civilisation in the US ticks differently than that in Europe. The west in the US was won and works in its own style. Let us for a moment become sober and stop bickering about the author of the article and try to understand what he means and not what he writes. The west in the US does not work in accordance with the due process of law since the;
    The President can;
    . authorise the torture of people in the country,
    . start military campaigns against foreign nations without prior approval of the congress,
    . order the arrest of foreigners and keep them as prisoners of war in foreign leased or rented facilities without observing the Geneva conventions.
    . order renditions and the target assasination of foreigners.
    .order the surveillance of citizens and tapping of phone conversations (throughout the world) without prior court permission,
    . authorise the removal of foreign heads of states and their replacement with others of his likings.
    Also, the citizens are able to ;
    . purchase lethal weapons without serious controls,
    . shoot down people at will in schools, in super markets, on the streets and highways.
    . introduce separate legal systems in different parts of the country.

    No thanks, those who believe that the US is a country of law, he has simply been indoctrinated without even being aware of it. This can be only explained by the massive propaganda machinery of the country which is under the control of Lobbyists. By the way, the millions of dollars payments to the political parties is not termed corruption as in other countries but simply” the lobbyists influence”.
    Would you prefer such a system of laws for your country? God bless America, and God save the humanity.

  106. Himayun

    Great article, Tarek. I not only agree with you but admire your honesty and boldness. Please keep up the great work against the real enemies of Pakistan. Here are some of my thoughts on this subject:

    Why only elected Sindhi politicians in Pakistan are targeted for the judicial murders and army overthrow. So many bodies of Sindhi and Baluchi nationalists and politicians have been sent to their respective provinces that one loses the count.

    The so-called NRO is dead and that means there cannot be such an amnesty or reconciliation with the politicians and nationalist forces of Baluchistan.

    97% of the targets are these decades old cases are directed only toward the people of Sindh and PPP. The Mush, Q-league, N-league, army generals and others are free as a bird. Corruption only occurs and happens in smaller provinces.

    The mullah/military alliance is free to rule Pakistan again, without the obstacles of a strong elected secular government in their way. The hatred of this unholy alliance against all elected governments and their authorities should be exposed.

    If NRO is so bad then why are the people who made it, approved it and implemented it are free of any charges?

    Why is nobody from the judiciary is charged for cooperating with Mush and Zia, for decades? Not only these tinpot dictators committed acts of high treason, these same courts provided them the legal cover. Why is there no voice against these people who arrested these same judges? Why would these “bold” judges not even touch these sacred cows of generals?

    Sorry for the rant, but it is so obvious, that mullah, military and judiciary alliance would once again try to undo the verdict of the people. Remember, when the first elected PM of Pakistan was arrested from his home in Karachi by the Punjab police and was hanged by the unanimous decision of Punjab High Court?

    Regards,

    Himayun

  107. YLH

    More ethnic card nonsense.

    NRO is a bad and unconstitutional law. Most of Sindh is as opposed to it as anyone else.

    Shame on those people who play such ugly politics.

  108. Himayun

    So once again the facts cannot denied and very conveniently ignored. I am not the one creating hate. The murders committed and the bodies coming to the smaller provinces tell the whole story. Spreading hate is not a solution.

    There are crimes and there are crimes. There is always a sense of proportionality when making a fair decision. The charges (still not proven in decades in the courts of the same judges) of corruption carries a few years of jail in all countries. While letting go the people committing multiple acts of high treason is the crime in itself. High treason means death by hanging!

    These same judges and the same courts never opposed any army take over. In fact they have been an accessory to the dictators. It was only when Mush fired them, imprisoned & beat the hell out of them, they started opposing one army dictator for a change. These brave souls still cannot dare touch even an ex-general let alone a sitting one!

  109. YLH

    We threw a general out lest you forget!

  110. Gorki

    luvly:

    Poor Pakistan.
    Early on someone ‘shot dead’ its head of the State and then tens of thousands were ‘shot dead’ in the East for asking for their democratic right right to be honored.
    A former PM was hanged and his son was ‘shot dead’ under suspicious circumstances.
    A PM candidate was ‘shot dead’ for trying to bring democratic rule.
    Now many more are being ‘shot dead’ because someone thinks that they should be ‘shot dead’.

    Just curious.
    What is it about the rule of law and other law abiding men that scares you and people like you?

    What are you running so scared of?😉

  111. AZW

    @ Luvly:

    From your brief comments, it is quite clear that the lowliness and emptiness in your arguments can do no better than insults that have now morphed into downright threats.

    I am deleting your post here. You are not welcome at PTH any more. I am sure you will have no problem finding a guest spot some where else. Internet is teeming with your folks who would welcome another empty mind in their midst.

    Adnan