Tag Archives: 1971

Fatal obsession

Raza Rumi

It is a matter of public record that the founder of Pakistan had stated that Indo-Pakistan relationship will resemble that of the USA and Canada. Even before the Partition, Jinnah in a 1946 press conference stated, “the two states (Pakistan and India)… will be friends and will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Munroe doctrine more solid than America…” This vision along with other pronouncements by Jinnah is buried in the debris of Pakistan’s national security paranoia. The spectre of India and its ‘hegemonic designs’ to use an oft-quoted phrase remain central to Pakistan’s security paradigm.

The unwavering view on India is what explains the context for the discussion paper entitled, The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents -authored by Matt Waldman from the prestigious platform of the London School of Economics. Pakistan’s real power-centre, its security and intelligence apparatus are a self-sustaining reality. Other than the financing, of which plenty comes from the Western Capitals, there is a solid national opinion behind the xenophobic worldview carefully cultivated by a decades’ long well coordinated state policy. The centre of this argument is the ‘Indian threat’ and any conception of Pakistan’s security is linked to the evil designs of the powerful ‘enemy’ across the border. Continue reading

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Filed under India, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, south asia, violence, war, Zardari

Cricket and Islam

Is Pakistan winning this year’s Twenty20 a symptom of the receding influence of the Tableeghi Jammat in the team, asks Nadeem F. Paracha.

In 1996 when the underdog Sri Lankan cricket team created one upset after another to finally win that year’s prestigious Cricket World Cup, the then decade long Civil War on the island between the Sinhalese-dominated government and the Tamil Tigers took a subtle but definitive turn. [1] Continue reading

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Conduct Un-becoming

Source

Brigadier (retd.) F.B. Ali, who fought in the ’71 war, gives his account of the events that resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and left behind a legacy of shame.

The Supplementary Report of the 1971 War Inquiry Commission (headed by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman) has recently been published in the magazine India Today.  There is little doubt that this is a genuine document.  It is unfortunate that, even though 30 years have passed, the Commission’s report has not been made public in Pakistan, and we are forced to depend on foreign sources to learn of its contents in dribs and drabs.

Why this report has been buried so deep in secrecy is a simple question to answer: it is a scathing critique of the conduct of many leading politicians and senior military officers, and recommends that many of them be tried for their actions and failures which led to the shameful defeat and dismemberment of the country.  Since neither Z.A. Bhutto, who set up the Commission, nor any succeeding government was prepared to execute these recommendations, they were unwilling to make them public and then face the inevitable questions and public anger.  In Bhutto’s case, his complicity in the breakup of the country (which must have been clear in the Main Report of the Commission) was added reason to keep the report secret.

The devastating account in this Supplementary Report of the despicable actions of a large number of senior officers in East Pakistan in 1971 could create the false impression that these strictures apply to all officers in that theatre, even though the Commission has itself cautioned against this.  Even among the senior officers there were outstanding exceptions.  Major General Shaukat Riza, one of the finest officers to serve in the Pakistan army, vehemently disagreed with both the military strategy adopted as well as the policy of excessive use of force against the civilian population.  He was promptly removed from East Pakistan, as was Major General Khadim Hussain Raja later, for similar reasons.  Many officers, such as Lt. Colonel (later Brigadier) Mansoorul Haq Malik, refused to participate in the violence against civilians and other unethical military conduct, even though there were very strong feelings of revenge among the troops because of atrocities committed by the Mukti Bahini. Continue reading

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1971: the forgotten silence

by Raza Rumi

This week marks the 37th anniversary of the tragic events of 1971 that led to the dismemberment of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. This time the sixteenth day of that deadly December invited little attention in the mainstream media as the new Pakistan struggles to manage the multiple crises of statehood, governance and cohesion.

Whether we like it or not, history and its bitter truths have to be confronted. When the united Punjab was being ruled by the Unionists and the Congress and the NWFP had a chief minister from the congress-Khudai Khidmatgar alliance, and almost all the custodians of South Asian puritanical Islam were opposed to Pakistan, the peasantry and the intelligentsia of East Bengal were spearheading a movement for Pakistan. There were indeed economic reasons, but there was an unchallengeable mass support for and belief in Pakistan. What happened after 1947 is well known; and within two decades or so, those who wanted Pakistan in the first place were subjected to state excesses and brutal treatment by the groups and elites that had actually little commitment to Pakistan or its idea. Nothing could be more ironical. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Islam, Pakistan, Partition, Politics, public policy, Society, south asia, violence, war

A Bangladeshi’s Visit to Pakistan

Fariha  writing on her trip to Pakistan with such heartfelt emotion and sincerity. I must thank my friend AJ for pointing out this excellent piece.

“ Apko kia pata, ke humara dil apke liye kitna rota hai. Jab aap logo ko koi taklif hota hai to humain lagta hain k taklif humain ho raha hai. Bohot pyar karte hai hum aap se. alag ho gaye to kya hua. Bhai to bhai hota hai. Bangladeshi to humare bhai hai.”
Rafe, 60-something, Bus-driver, Lahore

I’ve met people from different parts of the world and traveled to a few places myself. But never, not once, in any of my interactions or travels, have I ever come across a race of people who have made me feel so proud of my nationality: Bangladeshi. But then, I visited Pakistan. I was born in an independent Bangladesh. I’ve never had to struggle to get my voice heard, I was allowed to vote (till quite recently) and I’m allowed to speak my mind. Until my trip to Pakistan, I had never realized how precious all these things are. I had always regarded Pakistan, a distant country, as a bitter chapter in our history. But only after meeting the people did I realize how close we could be and how much my heritage means to them. Never before have I received so much respect for just being Bangladeshi.

Till quite recently, I had never visited Pakistan. Neither had my parents. Since the only Pakistanis I’d met belonged to the educated bourgeoisie class, I had assumed that it was only this select lot who were aware of the atrocities committed in 1971. I had always believed that most Pakistanis believed that Bangladeshis were Kafirs who had let India take them over and regarded us with disdain. Don’t ask me why I thought all of this or what explanation I have for my notions. My notions had stemmed from the prevalent attitude of our pro-liberation buddhijibis, who have, through their own glorifications of our War of Liberation, somehow equated patriotism as anti-Pakistani feeling and instilled that in some of us. In fact, I still know people who think that to be a true patriot you would have to hate Pakistan, with all its institutions and people. Our elders in Bangladesh, somehow always let us think that Pakistanis don’t care about Bangladesh. I’m not blaming them for my ill-conceived ideas. I was partly to blame for judging a whole race simply on the basis of the half-truths I had heard. I am not proud of what I thought. But my recent trip to Pakistan has made me feel proud of who I am and I am proud of my newly acquired views. Though I think that I now face the threat of being termed a ‘paki-lover’ or ‘Rajakar’, I am writing this because I think that our generation needs to know the other side of the story. Continue reading

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BD court gives stranded Pakistanis citizenship right

Picture and text by Raza Rumi

I took this photo at a Bihari camp in Dhaka. Thousands of ‘Pakistanis’ are stranded in Bangaldesh since 1971 and both the states refuse to acknowlegde their existence. Hence, a few generations have been born in the refugee ghettos who live in sub-human conditions.

I was extremely happy to read this report in the NEWS today that is a little ray of hope:

BD court gives stranded Pakistanis citizenship right

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s High Court ruled on Sunday that some 200,000 Urdu-speaking refugees have the right to be Bangladeshi citizens, a lawyer and a news report said. Continue reading

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The Last Encounter: Subverting the discourse of exclusion – part 1

by  Shaheryar Ali

The problem in front of the great Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci in the fascist prison was the “problem of sustenance of capitalism” in Europe despite its great logical contradiction. Why the Revolution was not coming when all the conditions were right? In his famous “prison notebooks”, he takes the question into the realm of ideology. This was the start of analysis of “ways of thinking”. He gave the concept of “cultural Hegemony”. Capitalism Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion , but also ideologically , through a “hegemonic culture” in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense‘ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the Working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.

He also made a distinction between the “Political society” (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent. Its this “civil society” whose “thoughts” are being “controlled” to suit the masters [If only Pakistanis understood]. In order to understand these thing the “discourse analysis” was developed. “Discourse” is nothing but all “written and verbal communication”. In line of Gramsci and later Foucault we have to understand “discourse” as “institutionalized” way of thinking, or in words of Judith Butler “limits of acceptable” speech. Its these limits which must be subverted in order to reach a true libertarian discourse. The discourse is controlled by means of “exclusion”, no other opinion simply exists. Foucault writes:

“I am supposing that is every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organised and redistributed according to a certain number of procedures, whose role is to avert its powers and its dangers, to cope with chance events, to evade its ponderous, awesome materiality. In a society such as our own we all know the rules of exclusion. The most obvious and familiar of these concerns what is prohibited

Of the three great systems of exclusion governing discourse — prohibited words, the division of madness and the will to truth ———“

“I believe we must resolve ourselves to accept three decisions which our current thinking rather tends to resist, and which belong to the three groups of function I have just mentioned: to question our will to truth; to restore to discourse its character as an event; to abolish the sovereignty of the signifier…. One can straight away distinguish some of the methodological demands they imply. A principle of reversal, first of all…. Next, then, the principle of discontinuity ….”

I am planning to do all this , i am trying to bring forward the “prohibited voices”, those which have been totally eclipsed in the society by the dominant discourse. This is not “endorsing” one and rejecting “others”, rather, its simply a act of breathing , an act of subversion ,of saying what is not pleasant to hear, Its simply an act of living in the rotten stagnant conformity. “The Bengali Genocide” is one such “absent voice” in Pakistan. We only hear “India -America-Jews divided Pakistan”, the act of liberation and resistance against one of the most brutal fascist militarism is “dismissed” as “sakoot”. The Last encounter is a short story by Kazi Fazalur Rehman , its taken from the anthology of stories from 71 by the name of “Fault lines”

The Last Encounter

By Kazi Fazlur Rahman Continue reading

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