Category Archives: Punjabi

In Pakistan, ex-spy’s killing raises questions

Published on May 03, 2010

Karin Brulliard, The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/02/AR2010050202801.html?nav=emailpage

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Shrouded in white, the spy’s bullet-riddled body was buried Sunday, and with it clues to a cloak-and-dagger mystery gripping Pakistan.

The funeral was for Khalid Khawaja, 58, a former Pakistani intelligence agent who journeyed last month to the militant-controlled borderlands of North Waziristan, only to be killed by a little-known insurgent group that accused him of working for the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart.

That is where this whodunit becomes more of a why-done-it. Khawaja placed himself solidly in the anti-American, pro-Taliban camp. So did his traveling companion, a fellow ex-spy and U.S- trained Taliban architect with the nom de guerre Colonel Imam.

“How could the mujaheddin kill their supporter?” asked Mohammed Zahid, 45, an engineer who was among a modest crowd standing under a baking mid-morning sun at the funeral.

The answer, according to emerging clues and security analysts, is that North Waziristan, once a hub of Taliban fighters with links to Pakistan’s military, has evolved into a stewpot of militant groups, each with different loyalties. Old Taliban ties may have meant little to the Asian Tigers, the group that said it killed Khawaja and is thought to be a Punjab-rooted organization battling the Pakistani state.

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, Islamabad, Pakistan, Politics, Punjab, Punjabi, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, War On Terror

We Shall Overrun: The Young, Urban, Middle Class Pakistani Manifesto

By Nadeem F. Paracha 

http://blog.dawn.com/2010/03/20/we-shall-overrun/

1. Asif Ali Zardari is the devil incarnate.

2. The Pakistan Army is the saviour.

3. The Taliban are resisting American imperialism.

4. We hate American foreign policy unless it suits us. We are against American imperialism if it means we have to ditch the Taliban as that would be against the aspirations of our founding father, Mohammed Bin Qasim. We will no longer shop at Marks and Spencer because they are somehow connected to Israel. However, that does not mean we will switch off our computers and cell phones whose chip technology has been made possible due to major contributions from Israeli scientists. Continue reading

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, FATA, Humour, India, Iran, Islam, Islamabad, Kerry Lugar Bill, Pakistan, Punjab, Punjabi, Religion, Taliban, USA, War On Terror, Writers, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari

Pakistan’s South Punjab: politics of marginalisation

Raza Rumi

The discourse on South Punjab conceals the grassroots social movements and the clamouring for a linguistic identity in the region

The conundrum of South Punjab remains a major challenge for analysts, policy makers and above all the people of this marginalized region. Socio-economic data testifies to the impoverishment and the deprivation that exists in the region. Add to this the iniquitous land distribution and utter lack of economic opportunities for the local population. Despite the rhetoric of the establishment, the region has been neglected through decades of “modern” development in northern and central Punjab. The bulk of public resources were invested in Lahore, Rawalpindi and other urban centers of the North. Industrialisation, growth of private education facilities and the rise of the middle class are phenomena that have eluded the dusty environs of South Punjab.

The result is clear: the electoral patterns show support for redistributive agendas and which are deemed as pro-peasantry. In recent years, southern Punjab has also witnessed two conflictual yet interrelated trends. First, the rise of Islamism through a network of sectarian madrassas which train militants and mercenaries alike; and scattered yet influential social movements around the issues of linguistic identity and livelihoods. How does one make sense of these contradictions?
It is well known that the Wahhabi-Salafi ideologies backed by potent financing networks have played a major role in turning this impoverished region into a nursery for militant Islamism that targets the plural Sufi culture embedded in the cultural mores of the local inhabitants; and act as a bastion for the Taliban network across the country. There is insurmountable evidence to this effect and those who are not willing to confront this brutal reality are living in a state of denial. Since the Zia years, the state is no longer a neutral arbiter and it promotes a particular brand of Islamic ideology. It is also clear that a sophisticated regime of economic incentives addresses lack of public entitlements and a non-responsive state apparatus.

However, we have also witnessed that the peasants in Okara and Khanewal have valiantly resisted appropriation of land by security agencies and have set a momentum of challenging the state’s land policy. Similarly, issues related to water distribution and resettlement due to mega projects sponsored by International Financial Institutions (IFIs), have also come into public light due to the political mobilization that has been taking place in D G Khan, Muzaffargarh, Layyah and elsewhere. It is a separate matter that such stories do not receive adequate attention in the media which is owned by rich, powerful barons whose interests are integrally linked to an extractive state. As pointed by a leading activist, Mushtaq Gadi, the discourse on South Punjab willfully ignores the authentic voices from the grassroots that revolve around livelihood struggles and the quest for a regional identity.

Another dimension of the regional turmoil pertains to the growing movement for linguistic identity. The Saraiki language and its submerged identity is now a rallying point for most living in the southern most districts of the region. This movement for cultural expression has gained momentum with increased calls for a separate province and the fact that the disputed status of Bahawalpur State has been raised by politicians from the region is a case in point. The state of affairs, reported rather cautiously in the mainstream media, points to the fact that political elites are now forced willy-nilly to subscribe to the idea of a separate province. Else, they are likely to be rejected at the next general elections.

In fact, the decades’ long denial of rights and entitlements and a politico-cultural identity act as great catalysts for breeding militancy. If one were to add the economic deprivation and endemic poverty to the list then the situation is quite alarming. No wonder we are seeing history unfold in front of our eyes. The nexus between poverty and militancy is problematic but certainly undeniable. FATA and other parts of Pakistan have shown us how a poor majority finds ‘opportunity’ in the game of terrorist networks and their well oiled financing machines. South Punjab is no exception.

Pakistani state will have to think beyond its mantras of national security and ‘foreign hand’ and accept that its policies have led to the explosive situation in South Punjab. At the same time, this region is not Swat or a FATA agency that can be bombarded with troops and drones. Also, it is important to note that at the people’s level, Talibanisation has yet to take root. There is hardly any evidence to suggest that there is popular support for the Taliban agenda. A relevant book entitled, Probing the Jihadi Mindset , Sohail Abbas (2007) that looks at the profiles of over 500 jihadis shows that participation of South Punjabis in the ‘Jihad project’ is minimal.

What next? First, major investments in public works and programmes that enhance employment and livelihoods in the region must be the focus of the state. Second, a comprehensive madrassa reform should take place concurrently that should quite logically start with the registration, documentation and curricula standardization. Third, networks that finance militancy should also be traced and tackled. The issue of a separate province or an autonomous region within the monolith Punjab province will need to be confronted sooner than later. Brushing it under the carpet will not help.

If the political elites have settled issues such as renaming NWFP, provincial autonomy and NFC then why can’t this issue be resolved within the democratic framework?
FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE FRIDAY TIMES
Raza Rumi is a development professional and a writer based in Lahore. He blogs at http://www.razarumi.com

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Justice, movements, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Punjab, Punjabi, Rights, Society, south asia, Taliban, Terrorism

Terror’s Training Ground

By Ayesha Siddiqa

A few years ago, I met some young boys from my village near Bahawalpur who were preparing to go on jihad. They smirked politely when I asked them to close their eyes and imagine their future. “We can tell you without closing our eyes that we don’t see anything.”

It was not entirely surprising. South Punjab is a region mired in poverty and underdevelopment. There are few job prospects for the youth. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan, Punjabi, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism

From Russia with Love: Main Ney Russia Mee kya Dekha

Bradistan Calling

When Pakistan came into existence in 1947, Russia was known as the Godless Empire of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under brutal dictator Joseph Stalin. This inherent difference in ideologies resulted in tensions from the very start, but the refusal of the first prime minister of Pakistan to accept the cordial invitation of the Soviet leadership to visit USSR started the full scale Cold War. The rest, as they say, is history.

Pakistan decided to accept the invitation of United States of America (the head of ‘Free’ Capitalist and Godly world).Pakistan joined anti-communist military pacts and gave its logistic support for Korean War in 1950s.Despite the unwavering loyalty of Pakistani military and landlord elite, USA refused to provide military assistance and spare parts during 1965 Kashmir war with India. The Pakistani dictator of the time was madly in love with USA, titling his ghost written biography, ‘Friends not Masters’. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Citizens, culture, Economy, Education, Europe, FATA, History, human rights, Identity, Imperialism, India, Islam, Jinnah's Pakistan, journalism, Labour, Left, magazines, Media, minorities, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Peshawar, Politics, Punjabi, quetta, Religion, Sindh, south asia, Taliban, Terrorism, Urdu, USA, youth, Zardari

Pakistaniat : The Crisis of Identity

Bradistan Calling

 

What can I give to Pakistan as a present on its 62nd Birthday, What else than an article on its chequered history and identity. Bertrand Russell famously said,” There are three great civilisations in East i.e. India, China and Islam”. Pakistan is blessed to be located at the crossroads of all these great civilisations. In my humble opinion this is the biggest strength of Pakistani identity. Continue reading

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Bollywood,Reality TV and Indian secularism

Bradistan Calling

Indian TV has seen numerous Bollywood reality shows, competition where common boys (and occasionally girls) have won places on movies by top directors. The Show that I want to talk about is Bollywood, blind-date and arranged (and staged) marriage all rolled into one big media circus. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Art, Cinema, Citizens, culture, Dance, drama, Heritage, History, human rights, Humour, Identity, Images, India, Islamism, Kashmir, magazines, Media, men, minorities, Music, Pakistan, Partition, Politics, poverty, Punjabi, Religion, Rights, Rural, sex, south asia, Terrorism, Theatre, Women, youth