By Yasser Latif Hamdani
If you don’t nip a lie in the bud, it grows to be a tree. This is what has happened to the nationalist mythology perpetuated by General Zia. I don’t like wasting my weekly space in Daily Times to argue it out with specific lies of specific authors – which is why I tend to record my dissent here on PTH.
In his article today in Daily Times, Shahid Illyas, the self professed Pakhtun Nationalist and “secularist”, has reproduced the severally debunked and illogical arguments of the Jamaat-e-Islami and other Mullahs in Pakistan to bolster his own indefensible positions vis a vis Bacha Khan and Faqir of Ipi. Mr. Illyas is not bothered with the utter bankruptcy of his argument so long as he gets to abuse Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement. He is also unconcerned what his half truths would do to the cause of secularism. Like Ishtiaq Ahmed (and scores of other spent forces in our history ala Aga Shorish Kashmiri) he is seized with an irrational hatred for Jinnah, Sir Syed and the secular liberal leadership that Pakistan jettisoned – primarily through 1969’s education policy that specifically sought to down play Sir Syed’s and Jinnah’s modernity because it did not gel with the demands of Yahya’s political expediency. It is ironic that while Illyas criticizes Pakistan’s poor education system, he quotes Pakistan’s official narrative as the gospel truth. Continue reading
VIEW: Parliamentary theocracy —Yasser Latif Hamdani
The 18th Amendment reintroduces the requirement for the prime minister of the country to be a Muslim. Pakistan’s slide down the slippery pole of religiosity is quite clear
Frederick Douglass — the
great 18th century American statesman and abolitionist — once described democracy as a way to take turns. He was a one-man resistance to the tyranny of the majority and its confusion about democracy. It did not occur, however, to the framers of the 18th Amendment that this was also the principle on which Pakistan was founded, i.e. a permanent majority shall not, by sheer force of numbers, dominate and oppress a permanent minority.
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Duniya ki tareekh gawah hai, adl bina jamhoor na hoga
History bears witness, there shall be no republic (democracy) without justice
-From Aitzaz Ahsan’s Poem “Kal, Aaj Aur Kal” – the anthem of Pakistan’s Lawyers’ Movement.
“I am for the Law. We wish for a republic of laws.” John Adams- one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.
“The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.” Mahomed Ali Jinnah- our Quaid-e-Azam.
The decision on NRO was a historic one. Based on the short order, however, a reasonable apprehension exists that by invoking articles 62-f and 227, the Court has effectively brought into play dormant Islam-inspired clauses which shall further strengthen rightwing in Pakistan. This apprehension is obviously not without merit. Articles 4, 8 and 25 – 8 and 25 being fundamental rights which according to constitutional theory are supreme- were much stronger clauses and the court did well to invoke these but this is where the court should have stopped. Ofcourse this is entirely a conjecture without the detailed judgment. That said the important thing is that the NRO has been reversed and it has strengthened democracy whether nay-sayers accept it or not. The people need to see that the system works and punishes crooks no matter how powerful they are. And there is no doubt that the Supreme Court should also take to task those holy cows that have run amok in the country but that will also happen in good time. Continue reading
By Nadeem F. Paracha
Recently, while giving a speech to the Peshawar police, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that no one could separate Islam from Pakistan. One wonders what prompted the army chief to digress, and start assuring his audience about Pakistan’s Islamic credentials. I guess he chose the occasion to comment on the military’s take on a (albeit unsubstantiated) news report stating that the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) wanted to change the country’s name from Islamic Republic of Pakistan to People’s Republic of Pakistan. Even though both the ANP and MQM were quick to refute the news, General Kayani’s reassurance in this respect yet again underlines the dilemma the military and the state of Pakistan have been facing for years. Continue reading
By Juan Cole
Is Sarah Palin America’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The two differ in many key respects, of course, but it is remarkable how similar they are.
There are uncanny parallels in their biographies, their domestic politics and the way they present themselves — even in their rocky relationships with party elders. Both are former governors of a northwest frontier state with great natural beauty (in Ahmadinejad’s case, Ardabil). Both are known for saying things that produce a classic Scooby-Doo double take in their audiences. Both appeal to a sort of wounded nationalism, speaking of the sacrifice of dedicated troops for an often feckless public, and identifying themselves with the common soldier. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Gojra is Pakistan’s Godhra/Gujurat moment. For years we pointed to India and the horrific communal violence to claim that something like this couldn’t happen in Pakistan despite all of Pakistan’s flaws. The events of Gojra three days ago have changed all of that coming only days before the purported minorities celebration week leading to August 11th celebration of Minorities’ Day. Now the minorities will commemorate a week of mourning ending on a black day commemorating the betrayal of the promise that Jinnah made to all citizens of this country ie protection of life, liberty, religious freedom and equality of citizenship Continue reading