Monthly Archives: April 2010

Our Inner Demons

By Adnan Syed

It has been 30 years since Pakistan took the fateful steps of sponsoring the Jihad on a state level. The fight against the Russian aggression in Afghanistan was probably justified. It was a blatant attack on a sovereign nation by a teetering super power. However when Pakistan went on to label the fight as a state sponsored Jihad, flock of die hard Islamists started congregating in Pakistan to fight the godless communists. This was precisely the turning point in Pakistani history when all the internal confusion of Pakistan’s relationship with Islam translated into a thoughtless action by the state that still haunts us to this day.

We can blame General Zia-ul-Haq or Jamaat-e-Islami, or our dreaded indescribable “establishment” for pointing out the path of state sponsored armed Jihad. General Zia and his protégés have already begun feeling the stiff verdict that history has begun recording in its annals. Yet, the conflict was the physical manifestation of Pakistan’s unresolved relationship with Islam. This confusion was fully exploited by Al-Qaeda, Afghan-Jihad oriented splinter groups, and their affiliates in Pakistan. As an internally bankrupt USSR retreated from Afghanistan, the Jihad slowly turned towards the West, the infidels and the vague alliance of Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and the Hindus).

Continue reading

41 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, FATA, Islamabad, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Justice, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, psychology, Religion, secular Pakistan, state, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism

Pakistan Weighs Attack on Militant Lair

By SABRINA TAVERNISE, CARLOTTA GALL and ISMAIL KHAN

Published in The New York Times: April 29, 2010

 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/world/asia/30pstan.html?hp

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistani military, long reluctant to heed American urging that it attack Pakistani militant groups in their main base in North Waziristan, is coming around to the idea that it must do so, in its own interests.

Western officials have long believed that North Waziristan is the single most important haven for militants with Al Qaeda and the Taliban fighting American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has nurtured militant groups in the area for years in order to exert influence beyond its borders.

The developing shift in thinking — described in recent interviews with Western diplomats and Pakistani security officials — represents a significant change for Pakistan’s military, which has moved against Taliban militants who attack the Pakistani state, but largely left those fighting in Afghanistan alone.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, India, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror

Traitors and Reactionaries

Dedicated to Hameed Gul and Nadeem Farooq Paracha
 
By Raza Habib Raja

The political spectrum in our country is polarized between two extremes: patriotic conservatives and the liberals. Both these extremes are often in complete conflict and accuse the other of naivety and even fanaticism. While conspiracy theories of the rightwing are well known, I have seen that liberals are not at all far behind and churn out their own conspiracy theories in which they try to absolve the PPP government of everything under the sun. Following are the “pearls” of wisdom uttered by both sides.
 
 
The Patriotic Brigade
 
1.      We are patriots and love our motherland like hell. We are macho and believe in jingoism. Our favorite terms are: Islam; nationalism; traitors; baigharat liberals; strategic location; CIA; Mosad; RAW; corruption; and independent judiciary.    Of course those who do not agree with us are traitors or liberal fanatics.
 
2.      Liberalism is an anti patriotic philosophy and has the sole aim of westernization and thus weakening of Pakistan.
 
3.      The entire world is united against Pakistan because we have the nuclear arsenal for “peaceful” purposes.  Although critics say that it is a crude copy of Chinese technology (which itself is of low quality) but since our engineers copied it therefore it is our pride. Continue reading

47 Comments

Filed under dynasties, Humour, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan, Society

Pakistan’s Constitutional Reform (CRF analysis)

The Council on Foreign Relations has produced this brief – we are sharing it with the Pakistani readers with profound thanks to the CRF. Raza Rumi

Pakistan's Constitutional Reform

In a significant move to strengthen its democratic institutions, Pakistan’s political leaders have signed into law constitutional reforms (BBC) that include limiting the power of the presidency and restoring power to the provinces. Many hope the reforms will help the country tackle its many crises–security, economic, and political. Some experts in the United States also see constitutional reforms that support the implementation of the provincial autonomy provisions as essential to Pakistan’s security, otherwise threatened by ethnic and separatist tensions.

Pakistan’s stability is important to Washington, which depends on Pakistani cooperation to fight extremism and achieve its goals in Afghanistan. Washington acknowledges that economic and political reforms are essential to Pakistan’s future and has promised aid and resources to “support civil society and electoral processes to help ensure the continuation of elected civilian government and constitutional rule.” Yet some experts question whether a stronger parliament, empowered by the provisions of the eighteenth amendment, will prove an effective counterweight to the country’s powerful military. Continue reading

Comments Off on Pakistan’s Constitutional Reform (CRF analysis)

Filed under Pakistan

Giving credit where it is due

Published in the Daily Times

Giving Credit Where it’s Due (Daily Times 04/26)

By Agha Haidar Raza

Pakistan recently had two major delegations visiting the US. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the first contingent under the auspices of a new ‘Strategic Dialogue’ with the US. In the second trip, Prime Minister Gilani led his team to President Obama’s first Nuclear Summit. Attended by over 47 heads of state, the summit was the largest gathering of world leaders to descend upon the US soil since the 1940s. Recognised as one of the world’s safe-keepers of a nuclear stockpile, Pakistan gained a nod of approval from the world’s seven nuclear bomb carriers.

I am unaware if many journalists or citizens in Pakistan read foreign newspapers, magazines or even blogs, but over the course of the nuclear summit, many international media outlets praised our country. From the words of admiration showered on Pakistan by President Obama for keeping its nuclear arsenal safe, to the positive role played by Prime Minister Gilani, it was our time to be in the limelight. Much attention was directed towards the professionalism of Army Chief General Parvez Kayani while the brilliant display of diplomacy carried out by Ambassador Husain Haqqani did not go unnoticed. Penned as a key ally of the US and taking the war to the very militants who threaten the fabric of our peace and security, Pakistan garnered much respect from the world community. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, India, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Judiciary, Kerry Lugar Bill, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, public policy, state, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari

Pakistan: Clear and present danger

Raza Rumi

If the parliament and judiciary want to continue exercising their newfound powers, they have no option but to act strictly within the framework of the Pakistani Constitution

Pakistan is a surreal country. Only here we have long, protracted struggles for democracy and only here we are almost always ready to scuttle democracy. Perhaps Iskander Mirza was not all too wrong while making the assessment that democracy does not suit the genius of our people. An added qualification is that it does not suit the genius of the elites, in particular the unelected institutions of the state.

There is now a clear and present danger that the judicial review of the 18th Amendment will lead to a potential clash of the key organs of the state: the legislature and the judiciary. Pundits have also predicted that if such a situation arises, then a logjam will benefit the third force — Pakistan’s well organized formal institution, which is readily available to undertake crisis management. Perhaps such fears are slightly exaggerated and misplaced. But the reality is that Pakistani history teaches us some interesting though unsavoury lessons.

Curse of history

The Constitution of 1956 was drafted, almost after a decade of the new country’s formation, as the elites were not interested in changing the colonial structure of the state and its institutions. After much negotiation and a bit of arm-twisting, parity between the Eastern and the Western wings was achieved to finalise the basic law. However, the 1956 Constitution could not be enforced let alone implemented, as new elections were a risk for the national security establishment, which took charge of the country in 1958. The second moment arrived in 1970, when a political consensus arrived through election with divisive results, was once again scuttled by the unelected institutions and the West Pakistani elites. The results were tragic. 1977 was a third moment when the Bhutto administration and PNA movement agreed on a workable package for the future course of politics in the country. Even before this accord could reach the public domain, the Islamo-fascist General took the reins of power and thwarted the political consensus. There is a clear lesson here: a political consensus — wide-ranging, legitimate and inclusive — is a threat to the post-colonial state and the inherent contradictions of the Pakistani polity come into play the moment such compacts are arrived at. Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Constitution, human rights, Judiciary, Justice, Law, lawyers movement, Media, minorities, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Rights, secular Pakistan, Society, state

PTH Exclusive: Interview with J. Jawwad Khawaja

Posted by Raza Rumi

We are grateful to Babar Mirza who has translated an interview given by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja to Sohail Waraich in June 2007 which is recorded in Waraich’s book ‘Adlia ke Arooj-o-Zawaal ki Kahani’. The interview is a must read for all those who are interested in Pakistan’s politics and institutions. A biographical note is also available for those who wish to know more about the life and times of J. Khawaja. The latter resigned when J. Iftikhar Chauhdry was illegally deposed by the Musharraf regime. Later, he was part of the lawyers and judges movement and he was re-inducted into the Supreme Court after J. Chauhdry was restored as the Chief Justice in 2009. The interview also explains why Justice Khawaja took oath unde the 2000 PCO during the Musharraf regime.

Just as in any other part of the world, Punjab too has its share of stigma. Leaders from other provinces and many historians allege that the people of Punjab are not brave or courageous. Only time will establish the truth or falsehood of this allegation, but, in the recent judicial crisis, only one judge in Pakistan resigned from his office and that judge was a Punjabi from the Lahore High Court, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja. Perhaps this was why Sindhi nationalist Rasool Bux Paleejo had to admit that Punjab’s strong stance in the judicial crisis had compensated for her many misgivings in the past. The Punjabi judges who decided to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry have further helped clear the judiciary of many an allegation and perhaps the mistakes made by Punjabi judges in the past would now be remedied. Bold and fearless though the role of judiciary has been, the first drop of rain was Justice Khawaja and that will always remain to his credit.

 Justice Khawaja is a very private person. He shies away from the world of fame. Perhaps this is why he did not give any interview or try to gain prominence after his resignation. Had any other judge resigned in similar circumstances, he would have justifiably lead protests, presided over meetings or at least given interviews to newspapers and television channels. But the reclusive nature of Justice Khawaja kept him away from all that. He felt the reference against the chief justice to be a burden on his conscience and resigned to free himself from that burden.  Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under Activism, Judiciary, Justice, Law, lawyers movement, movements, Pakistan