Tag Archives: War On Terror

TheMuslim.ca | Bin Laden the Vindicator, US a Chronic Liar

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By LINH DINH

Osama Bin LadenSINCE September 11, 2001, Bin Laden had been mostly an absence. His few video or audio tapes were highly suspect, and speculations about his death had often surfaced. On July 11, 2002, Amir Taheri wrote in the New York Times, “Osama bin Laden is dead. The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan almost six months ago: the fugitive died in December and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan […] With an ego the size of Mount Everest, Osama bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long if he were still alive. He always liked to take credit even for things he had nothing to do with. Would he remain silent for nine months and not trumpet his own survival?”

But save for one doubtful video, Bin Laden never took credit for 9/11. In fact, he repeatedly denied any responsibility for those mass murders. On September 28, 2001, he was interviewed by the Karachi Ummat, an Urdu language newspaper. The US Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a component of the CIA, translated:

[…] I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. Neither I had any knowledge of these attacks nor I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people. Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel. There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia? Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies [of Muslims]. The US has no friends, nor it wants to keep one because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates […] Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed […] The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive […] Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This [funding issue] was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger. They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usama and Taliban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of $40 billion. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance. Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US President, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks […]

Judge for yourself. Does this sound like the raving of some mad man with an ego the size of Mount Everest? He sounds quite composed, actually, and far more lucid, perceptive and concise than all American politicians and most intellectuals. In any case, this interview was the last substantial utterance from Bin Laden. After this, he more or less disappeared.

 

THE REMAINDER OF THIS ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT THE MUSLIM.CA


This article is taken from another source. Views expressed in this article are those of the author and may or may not be the views of From The Pulpit and DiscoMaulvi. To submit content for From The Pulpit, please email FromThePulpit [at] MuhammadAly [dot] Com.

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Some Thoughts on the death of Osama Bin Laden

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Some thoughts on the death of Osama Bin Laden, written as part of a collection of tweets and thoughts by writers and Shayooks at MuslimMatters


As a Pakistani, the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death brought a mixture of emotions:

Relief – Well that’s one less “problem” to worry about.

Skepticism – Yeah right, he was in Abbottabad! Just how in the whole world was he a stone’s throw from the Military training academy in Kakul and no one knew about it?

Dismay – The claim that he was in Pakistan all these years was true!

Fear – May Allah protect us (the citizens of Pakistan) from the backlash that is surely going to stem from this.

Cynicism – So what if he’s dead? There are many more such monsters out there that will continue to haunt us.

Anger – Why is the Pakistani government / military not issuing any statements about an event in which they obviously participated.

Mistrust – Was Osama Bin Laden really alive all these years? Or was he part of some grand conspiracy? Why did they do a sea burial without showing the body to anyone?

Sadness – A misguided individual died without being able to see the light.

Osama #BinLaden – The Terrorist with Nine Lives | #OBL

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After trying, unsuccessfully, to get my son out of bed to get ready for school, I sat on the bed and checked my email.

The subject “Turn on CNN or whatever news station you listen to” catches my eye!

Seems like the US has Bin Laden’s body. Obama is going to give a speech in a few mins!

A quick channel flip on the TV (sorry Diego, Bin Laden was more important right then). Lo and behold we have the CNN people claiming OBL died last week in a “mansion near Islamabad”. So the next move is to see what my tweeps on Twitter say. And then this post on Osama and whether he’s alive (reproduced below) I wrote back in June 2009 pops up in my head!

Seems like OBL has finally run out of lives. Killed in an operation carried by US Forces in Abbottabad, in an operation inadvertently tweeted by fellow Pakistani Tweeter Sohaib Athar.  Well in a way good riddance really, however, the question that leaves to be asked is:

Oh and for the record, to all the media people saying he was killed “near Islamabad”, Abbottabad is not near Islamabad!


DiscoMaulvi


Osama Bin Laden, the 25th son of Mohammed Bin Laden, a Saudi billionaire of Yemeni origins, carries a USD 25 Million price tag on his head. Among his alleged claim to fame are being Number One on the FBI Top 10 Most Wanted list, wanted for the bombing of US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya (1998), creating a gaping hole in the skyline of New York City (what is commonly referred to as 9/11), and finding a way to speak from the grave.

Around the end of 2001, OBL was thought to be dead by several governments around the world, including that of George W. Bush. His video released in December 2001 prompted the following comments from CNN Terrorism analyst Peter Bergen:

“This is a man who was clearly not well. I mean, as you see from these pictures here, he’s really, by December he’s looking pretty terrible. But by December, of course, that tape that was aired then, he’s barely moving the left side of his body. So he’s clearly got diabetes. He has low blood pressure. He’s got a wound in his foot. He’s apparently got dialysis … for kidney problems.

I mean, this is a man who has a number of health problems, apart from the fact that anybody running around the Afghan mountains is not going to be in great shape.”

A wounded, almost dying OBL in 2001 revived miraculously and was in the best of health in 2004 (must be that great hospital in Tora Bora or a real life Benjamin Button). Following this, over the years, several people have voiced their belief that OBL was no longer amongst us. Hamid Karzai, Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf, FBI, and Israeli Intelligence all have publicly stated that OBL is dead.

laden2001decbinwho3
2001 and 2004 – Miraculous cure?

Based on the intelligence and the statements of the above mentioned, it can only be that OBL was conveniently replaced by an actor. Since then he (and his boy Ayman Al-Zawahiri) have a knack of appearing with a new production conveniently coinciding with major events on the US Political calendar. Just last week, a group of friends were discussing how OBL, Mullah Omar, and Zawahiri were missing in action. And this week to coincide with Obama’s maiden trip to the Middle East and Richard Holbrooke’s visit to Pakistan, we see OBL speak up from the dead. How convenient.

OBL & Zawahiri (in 2001)
OBL & Zawahiri (in 2001)

What lends credence to the beliefs of many, of OBL now inhabiting a Tora Bora on the other side of the mortality divide, is that the last video of OBL was seen in October 2004 (OBL’s messages) and all subsequent messages from OBL have been audio tapes or videos with a voice over. Thus, it is theorized that the man we now believe to be OBL is in fact an actor. More on this can be found here.

But whether this OBL is the real man, or whether he is a better and more improved version (OBL 2.0 or Osama Bin Elvis as Angelo M. Codevilla refers to him), the question that one should ask is this. Why is it that a man whose head carries a tag of more than USD 25 million has not been found yet? Surely someone out there would be so tempted by that figure. And why can’t the US (or any other country’s intelligence agencies) find OBL? In an era where you can see someone on the street of New York using Google Earth from Antarctica, is it really that hard to find this guy? Or is it just that everyone’s looking in the wrong place? Instead of the mountains of Afghanistan (or even Pakistan as some speculation goes), maybe the US Intelligentsia should be looking for OBL 2.0 in a desert 83 miles from Las Vegas.

Some Suggested Links

Is Obama Really Osama?
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? – Documentary
OBL 2.0 – A Terrorist Resurrected

OBL Dead – President Zardari

Pakistan | Youth Resources: Untapped Potential

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A Guest Post by Majyd Aziz

Preamble

PAKISTAN is fortunately placed at an envious demographic position as one of the “youngest nations on Planet Earth” with nearly 70% of the population below the age of 35. In fact, the peak youth share is around 21% within the ages of 15-24. The advantage of a young population should enable the country’s planning managers and policymakers to prepare a visionary agenda taking into account the benefits, potential, and value of this young force.

Present Scenario

PAKISTAN is still unable to enjoy the demographic dividend that this young population can bring. The pathetic educational system in the country does churn out graduates but most of them are not worth having within the working environment. Technical training centers are set up all over the country managed by the various provincial authorities. At the same time, organizations such as Skill Development Councils have played a defined role in providing skill development and vocational training opportunities to the youth. The Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Program (BBSYDP) is a visionary and practical initiative undertaken for the youth of Pakistan. Moreover, the employment opportunities for the youth, at this moment in time, are relatively very few, very uncertain, and very low paying. In fact, the absorption of youth in the labor market has been limited to a large extent.

Present Challenges

PAKISTAN is in the midst of the unrest being generated by the sense of deprivation and dejection faced by the youth. The young people are entering or ready to enter the job market and are waking up to the stark reality that jobs are scarce, that they are not properly trained to deal with the available jobs, and that they are not sure of the tenure of the position if they are lucky to land a job.

PAKISTAN is at a crossroads when it comes to handling the youth. The benefits of the demographic dividend are not possible if the youth do not enter the labor market, but then if there are no opportunities to become economically active then the youth would be stranded and lost at sea. This here is the challenge. Youth unemployment is endemic and continues to rise. The rhetorical statements of politicians assuring the youth that jobs would be available become stale news once these politicians are safely ensconced behind the portals of power. The dissatisfaction among the youth increases especially when they are exposed to the electronic media that is showing them a different world and in the process creating wants and desires which cannot be satisfied.

PAKISTAN is also subject to other negative outcome of the frustration of these young people. These youth become readily available fodder for extremist forces who take advantage of this deplorable situation. At the same time, many youth, especially in urban areas, have become unwilling partners in crime and this is substantiated by the phenomenal increase in street crimes and petty burglaries. The proliferation of drug use among the youth is a matter of serious concern too.

PAKISTAN is also beset by other factors that have impacted negatively on the economic viability of this country. The billions that are spent on the Global War on Terror, the burgeoning inflationary trends, the pressure on the currency, the increasing cost of petroleum imports, the physical infrastructure handicap, the dependence on borrowings from the multilateral agencies resulting in a dictated economic policy framework, the disconnect between the provinces due to parochial and ethnic compulsions, the political instability, and the excessive non-developmental expenditure, have not only been demoralizing but have seriously affected the viability and sustainability of trade and industry. Unemployment has become the Number One cause of gloom and doom among the populace.

The Way Forward

PAKISTAN government must plan and promote the National Agenda for Youth Resources (NAYR), in consultation with industrial and trade associations, WEBCOP, economists, and educationists, etc. There is an imperative and urgent need to focus on the various modalities and concepts that would enable the formulation and implementation of the NAYR. The major areas would be:

(a) Ensuring literacy

(b) Provision of skill development and vocational training

(c) [Alternatively, entrepreneurship development]

(d) Internship and practical training

(e) Placement opportunities

PAKISTAN is endowed with talent and resources, both natural as well as human. There is a high priority requirement to indulge in out-of-box thinking and prepare this NAYR. The major areas enumerated above can be further elaborated as follows:

PAKISTAN policymakers have to revisit their educational priorities. A sad reality is that the allocations for education in the Federal as well as Provincial budgets diminish every year. The dismal environment in the government-owned schools has affected the proper schooling of children and this has been transformed into a horrific foundation for the youth. At the same time, most of the private schools profess to provide superior education but the cost to parents is alarming, Of course, the educational institutions set up by social or community-based organizations are playing a paramount role in providing decent education. It is proposed that trade and industry associations, chambers, as well as large enterprises must be mandated to set up educational institutions on their own or must financially support organizations such as Citizen’s Foundation so that quality education becomes universally available.

PAKISTAN government must ordain TEVTAs that have been set up in every Province to initiate projects on Private-Public Partnership basis to modernize, upgrade, and renovate the existing technical and vocational training institutions and also must prepare and plan centers and curricula in consultation with WEBCOP and Skill Development Councils as well as trade associations so that the Pakistani youth can enter the global economy as a well-trained and tested professional.

PAKISTAN has a functioning Higher Education Commission and this organization must assist and direct the various educational institutions to develop alternate programs to introduce and impart knowledge-based education to inculcate entrepreneurship in the youth of Pakistan. This would enable trained or skilled youth to become owners rather than depending on employment.

PAKISTAN has not been successful in ensuring that most of the present technical institutions have a working relationship with trade, industry, or the service sectors whereby programs could be planned to provide on-job-training as well as practical working knowledge of the concerned skill. There is also no system of mentoring the youth. This gap has to be reduced and it is essential that the trainee is able to obtain this hands-on facility and resource.

PAKISTAN political government must ensure that it is essential to take on board the chambers and associations to come up with a systematic and pragmatic program that would encourage the members of the associations and chambers to tap into the pool of these trained or skilled youth and utilize them in their establishments. However, it is pertinent to note that market-demand skills should be taught to the youth rather than depending on outdated or routine curriculum.

Essential Areas of Employment

PAKISTAN policymakers have to accept that the objective of NAYR would be to ensure that training is provided in sectors that conform to the requirements of the global economy as well as addressing the cultural, traditional, and national dynamics of the country. It would be beneficial to the nation, to the individual and to the employer.

PAKISTAN has a strong agriculture base. The youth should be trained in operating equipments that are imperative for mechanized farming. This would increase productivity as well as streamline the cultivation of various crops. Training in proper usage of fertilizer, seeds, and other inputs would surely make a marked influence on the economies of the rural areas. At the same time, there is immense scope in fruits and vegetables, right from plucking down to the eating. The fruit and vegetable farms can provide much needed employment to the young people.

PAKISTAN is also increasing its share in the services sector. Educated youth can fill the demand for human resources in various fields in the services sector. Call centers, software programming, hotel and restaurants, sales representatives, cell phone repairs, food catering, enumerators, security services, event management, and transport drivers are areas where formidable job opportunities can be created.

PAKISTAN is going to witness a boom in construction, especially in low-cost housing. There is a backlog of over nine million housing units that have to be built to cope up with housing demands. Private sector is ready to provide training for trades associated with the construction industry. Skilled operators are required for bulldozers, dumpers, loaders, and other construction equipment. BBSYDP does provide short term training for masons, plumbers, electricians, floor tilers, painters, etc. At the same time, there would be ample job opportunities in cement, paint, sanitary fittings, cables, fans, geysers, tiles, and other nearly 40 industries due to the housing boom. There are not that many skilled workers at present to cope up with the upcoming demand by the housing sector.

Conclusion

PAKISTAN can get out of the economic morass if concerted efforts are made with passion and with sincerity. It is also incumbent upon the youth to be serious in acquiring the skills and knowledge to prepare for a career in their chosen fields. Needless to mention, a working youth will generally not resort to fraternizing with extremist elements nor would the youth subscribe to unethical and objectionable activities if one is busy with his vocation. It is only then that Pakistan will greatly gain from and benefit from the demographic dividend deriving from the large potent youth population. The Great Poet Allama Iqbal expressed his admiration for those young people who are achievers:

Mohabat mujhe oon jawano se hai
Sitaron pe jo daaltay hain kamund

 

Majyd Aziz is a Karachi based Entrepreneur and a senior leader of the business community. He is a former Chairman of SITE Association of Industry, former President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and has held posts on the board various public organizations and companies. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of BBSYDP Sindh

Views expressed in guest posts are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of DiscoMaulvi and From The Pulpit…

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Pakistan: Traditional security challenges and response

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Majyd Aziz

A Guest Post by Majyd Aziz

PAKISTAN is on the global radar nearly every day. The world leaders, the universal media, and the international analysts and think-tanks have their daily dose of news and views from Pakistan. The country has never been so embroiled in safeguarding its sovereignty and its security than in these intense and severe times.

EXTERNAL THREATS

  • GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR:

PAKISTAN has, over the past some years, become the flashpoint as well as the most important country in the Global War on Terror. The Al-Qaeda obsession, the fear of Pakistan’s strategic assets falling into the hands of militants and extremists, the Western penchant for containing political Islam, the ever-increasing thirst for Middle Eastern oil, the fascination with mineral resources in Afghanistan, the domineering and influencing China factor, and the fixated concern for the safety and defense of Israel, have all resulted into an ominous scenario for the Islamic countries, with the paramount brunt being borne by Pakistan.

  • MUSLIM BATTLEGROUND:

PAKISTAN has, directly or thru outside influence, become one of those Muslim countries that is now a battleground where the armed forces of various countries have joined as a coalition to achieve the American great game objectives enumerated above. The oft-repeated American mantra of “Do More” has created a deep chasm between the Washington’s flawed Af-Pak policy and the pragmatism of the High Command in Rawalpindi.

  • GEO-POLITICAL LOCATION:

PAKISTAN is in an unenviable geo-politically strategic location and is the sole Islamic nuclear power. It also borders China, India, Iran, and Afghanistan and thus any vibrations from these countries are strongly experienced within the borders of this nation. Pakistan’s international commitments to the Coalition Forces has put a disastrous dent in the already-strapped financial resources of the country, although since 2002, the United States has pumped in over US$ 10 billion in security-related support and nearly US$ 4 billion in economic support.

  • PROXY WAR:

PAKISTAN has also, for many decades, become involved in a proxy war between the two major sects of Islam. This has primarily been supported by Saudi Arabia and Iran thru financial resources, thru ideological guidance, and thru tapping of the myopic approach of the clergy of both the sects in Pakistan. This has also intensified with the rise of militancy and extremism that has played havoc with the peaceful internal environment of Pakistan.

  • INDIAN INTERFERENCE:

PAKISTAN has also been embroiled in the never-ending militaristic, propagandistic, and diplomatic onslaught by the traditional nemesis India. The non-resolution of the Kashmir issue and the atrocities committed in the Valley by the Indian armed forces, New Delhi’s skewed mindset for blaming Pakistan for every event or problem faced by India even if these are concoctions or perpetrated by third forces, the blatant interference in Balochistan by Indian-supported militants, and the demonic influence of India in instigating Kabul against Pakistan have played a disastrous toll on the resources of Pakistan.

WAY FORWARD

PAKISTAN policymakers have to juggle various options in order to maintain its relationship with the Coalition Forces and at the same time, address the concerns of citizens who see Pakistan being a pawn in what a former American National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, referred to as “The Grand Chessboard”. At the present moment, there is an exploding anti-American sentiment and its negative consequences are directed towards the political and at times the military hierarchy. The army is the last bastion of assurance for the people and thus this must be further consolidated and strengthened. This requires that a proper approach should be initiated by the GHQ in which the denizens of Pakistan are taken into confidence and the ground realities are presented thru a correct media approach. It is imperative that the population be mobilized, it is important that the country’s strategic assets must be modernized and deployed within a given time frame, the nation’s political elements must have the stamina and critical mass to generate diplomatic and moral support for the armed forces, and more importantly, trade and industry must provide the needed back-up thru mobilization of financial resources, thru international image building, and thru private–public partnerships in areas crucial for the military to become a potent power. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs to be pro-active in economic diplomacy, in promoting a soft image of the country, and being aggressive in public international relations. This rethinking is essential in the countering the negative implications of external threats as well as removing the perception that Pakistan is subservient to Washington’s dictates.

INTERNAL THREATS

  • ISSUES:

PAKISTAN also suffers from the ignominy of being in a quagmire of internal problems that either are fallout from the effects of the external threats or are also self-created or self-generated due to non-resolution or diffidence to these issues in the past. These threats are as follows:

  • ECONOMIC FRAGILITY:

PAKISTAN has witnessed a severe economic downturn over the past couple of years. The nation has seen inflation inching towards the 20% mark while the State Bank of Pakistan is religiously increasing the discount rate in every Monetary Policy announcement. The unemployment lines are increasing daily while industrial investment has stagnated. Non-performing bank loans have breached the Rs 500 billion threshold, while the government keeps obtaining loans from commercial banks and the State Bank of Pakistan. The foreign exchange reserves are positive and at an all-time high, but at the same time, the external debt is over US$ 57 billion and growing. IMF has blocked the release of the next Tranche citing the inability of the government to undertake taxation reforms, specifically Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST).

  • NATIONAL NON-INTEGRATION:

PAKISTAN is currently facing the negative ramifications from various actions taken or ignored by successive governments especially in trying to achieve national integration. The hard stand taken by the Musharraf government in the Kalabagh Dam issue pitched Punjab against the three smaller Provinces. The Akber Bugti episode alienated a significant percentage of Balochis resulting in the influence of the Balochistan Liberation Army which itself became fodder for Indian and other countries’ manipulations and machinations. The renaming of NWFP as KPK brought Pakhtuns and non-Pakhtuns at loggerheads and the issue continues to create heartburns. Even the disastrous Lal Masjid imbroglio created rifts within the country. Recently, the exercise to amend the Law of Blasphemy has further vitiated the already traumatized nation. Punjab’s Governor became a fatal victim due to his vociferous views on this law. The obsession of various political parties to use the parochial card also aggravates the delicate environment. While PML (N) uses the Punjab Card, the PPP depends on flashing the Sindh Card to achieve desired objectives. Of course, the Raymond Davis problem is another gigantic headache for the government and other political parties.

  • SECTARIAN DIVERGENCE:

PAKISTAN also suffers from the menace of sectarian divide. The Sunni-Shia issue is exploited by inimical forces to create a disturbing law and order situation in the country. The Deobandi and Barelvi routinely fight over ideology and rituals and this has been intensified by suicide attacks on shrines and mosques. Ahmadis, Christians, and Hindus also face threats to their lives, property, and places of worship. Hindu families prefer migration to India rather than living in perpetual fear. Theocracy has managed to exert control over many aspects of daily lives of citizens. Unrestrained leeway is accorded to rabble-rousers who cash in on the misguided sentiments of people and use this to further their own agenda. The misuse of the Madrassahs has eroded the sanctity of these important learning institutions

  • ETHNIC POLARIZATION:

PAKISTAN is also facing suffocation due to ethnic distrust or ethnic hegemony. The emergence of ethnic-based political parties has further intensified this polarization. The country is still trying to figure out how many ethnic nationalities are dominant in the country. Turf wars between the land mafia or the drug mafia or even criminals are portrayed as ethnic clashes and this tainted colorization destroys civic peace and harmony. Karachi is a perennial hostage to the conflict created by the two major ethnic groups, each with its own vituperative agenda and blatant disregard for the consequences.

  • POLITICAL STABILITY:

PAKISTAN is endowed with juvenile politicians who are still unsure whether they have grown out of the influence of military rule since they still harbor the draconian tendencies and wield the proverbial machete on real or perceived political enemies. The concept of a democratic order is espoused ad nauseam and every action or statement against them is defined as an anti-democracy offensive. Opposition for the sake of opposition is the norm and the advent of talk shows on electronic media has further stoked up this instability and this infighting. Moral as well as material corruption has generally been the hallmark of a political government and this has ensued into a situation where institutions are brought to the precipice of disaster and where the country’s resources, whether these are financial, human, natural, infrastructure, or strategic are ravaged, plundered, and brazenly exploited.

WAY FORWARD

PAKISTAN is a country that in the past six decades has been subject to five or six wars, that has seen devastation due to floods and earthquakes, that has never reconciled to the fact that all its residents are Pakistanis firsts, that has seen political experimentation that has always boomeranged diabolically on the experimenters, and in the process, brought pain and sorrow to the citizens. What is imperative is a sincere effort to achieve reconciliation and integration that would usher in progress and prosperity, and would open new avenues of economic support and improvement in the quality of life for the citizens. What is essential is that intellectuals and social activists must ensure that people are motivated towards achieving a better and livable Pakistan rather than developing an apathetic mindset that gradually erodes every sense of nationalistic participation.

PAKISTAN has the largest percentage of youth in the world. 60% of the population is under 25 years of age. At this moment, the present, as well as the future, looks bleak for them. This negativism leads to resignation and that in turn impels them to drift towards anti-state elements who then use these young people as human cannonballs. The passion and energy of the youth have to be harnessed in a positive mode thru a visionary process that can be possible only when the policymakers themselves become immune to narrow-mindedness and parochial biases. The Armed Forces can play a prominent role in this respect. ISPR can initiate and finance motivational programs that can ignite the fire of patriotism, national integration, and challenges in the youth of today. The business community can contribute towards the development of the youth by supporting programs for entrepreneurship, for skills development, and for venture capitalism. The reason why focus should be on the youth is very logical. Nationalism and patriotism are forgotten words today. The youth of Pakistan must be steered on to the right path as they hold the key to the future prosperity of this motherland. Chinese President Hu Jintao, in his speech to the Chinese Parliament stated, “Let’s build a harmonious society in which the no-holds barred economic growth will be replaced with a more socially responsible form of development, with increased spending on education, healthcare and rural infrastructure”.

February 18, 2011

Majyd Aziz is a Karachi based Entrepreneur and a senior leader of the business community. He is a former Chairman of SITE Association of Industry, former President of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and has held posts on the board various public organizations and companies.

Views expresses in guest posts are the opinions of the author and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of DiscoMaulvi and From The Pulpit…

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The Unjust Killing of a single human …

Pakistanis have been subjected to extreme violence over the years since independence, increasingly so in the recent years since we got dragged, screaming and protesting, in the Global War on Terror. Whether it is gruesome suicide bombs or the senseless ethnic violence that seems to erupt in Karachi every now and then, violence and unjust killing of the innocent seems to be on the rise.

The issue whether it is that of Mohajir / Pathan / Balochi / Sindhi / Punjabi or whether it is that of Barelvi / Deobandi / Ahl-e-Hadith / Shia, at the end of the day it is often the innocent that end up in the morgues.

Attacks on holy places (of any religion) are forbidden in Islam and the harming of civilians, women, and children declared a transgression by the Quran. Why then in this country that our forefathers demanded on the name of Islam are we blindly ignoring what Islam commands?

A recent billboard campaign was spotted in certain areas of Karachi (not the posh areas most of you frequent but the area of the masses) that hopes to highlight this issue of the death of the innocents. It is part of a larger effort to educate the masses by this medium.

The billboard is the gist of the message of verse 23 of Surah Al-Maida of the Holy Quran:

“O People! Whosoever kills a human being unjustly it is as if he has killed all mankind, and whoso saves a life it is as if he has saved all mankind.”

 

The group behind this campaign is a bunch of friends whose aim is seeking the pleasure of Allah (SWT). You may contact them through me if you feel you would like to contribute to such campaigns in the future (either financially or intellectually).

 

May Allah (SWT) protect us from the evil of those who spread hate and sectarianism amongst us and guide these people to the truth. Aameen!

IS THIS THE END OF INDEPENDENCE?

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The following piece was received via e-mail with the following message:

This is an article the Pakistani newspapers would not print
Please circulate as widely as possible
Circulated on the internet on 17 September 2009

The author does not have any affiliation with From The Pulpit and any views expressed within this piece are those of the author and may or may not conincide with those of From The Pulpit.

IS THIS THE END OF INDEPENDENCE?

By Ameer Bhutto

In his book ‘How the Steel was Tempered’, Nikolai Ostrovsky wrote

Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world – the fight for the Liberation of Mankind.

Such is the aura of intense romance that national liberation movements are born from. The struggle for an independent Pakistan too was rooted in just such a romance. But the romance began to turn sour at a very early stage as the basic premise of the independence movement contained in the Pakistan Resolution, i.e. equal rights for all nations in Pakistan, was never honored. A plethora of issues arising from the trashing of this grundnorm has systematically eroded the foundations of the state, steadily reversing the positive trends established in the early days. As a consequence of this, as well as subsequent failures of successive governments that opened the door for military adventurism, Pakistan now occupies a top ten slot on the list of failed states, whereas India has become a regional superpower. Not only that, but China, which gained independence two years after Pakistan, is a global superpower and even Malaysia, which gained independence ten years after Pakistan is among the most advanced and developed countries in the world.

The situation in Pakistan at present is worse than ever before. The edifice of state, already decayed due to the mistakes and misfortunes of the past, has been pushed to the brink of collapse under the present dispensation. Vital state institutions are in an advanced state of decomposition, our social fabric lies in shreds, the bond of nationhood is weaker than ever before, our national sovereignty is under attack and is in ruins and our survival as a state is at stake.

Superpowers have always exercised significant influence over Pakistan. The only leader who had the guts to resist their influence found himself on the gallows. But never before has the extent and scope of foreign influence been as all-encompassing as it now is. In the wake of 9-11, US security interests in this region escalated many fold overnight and the Americans felt they needed a strong foothold in South Asia. Hence the ‘You are either with us or against us’ ultimatum from Secretary of State Colin Powell to President Musharraf and Musharraf’s immediate capitulation. Since then, the United States has systematically extended comprehensive control over Pakistan, reducing it to a vassal state or a colony. They feel they have too much at stake vis-à-vis their own security to chance leaving things to incompetent, corrupt Pakistanis and they are well on their way to fully occupying Pakistan, as they have occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. The difference is that the Iraqis and Afghanis resisted whereas our government has welcomed them with open arms. Since the last several years, Americans have reportedly been deploying a significant number of personnel all over the country, particularly in Islamabad, where entire sectors of town are now under American control and even local law enforcement agencies are not allowed to enter, and also in Peshawar, where the Americans have reportedly decided to purchase the bombed ruins of the Pearl Continental Hotel to establish a consulate. The day can not be far when we too might be treated to the Blackwater horror show on our own soil.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke has adopted the airs of a viceroy and marches into the Aiwan-e-Sadar and Prime Minister’s House at will every fortnight. Pakistani politicians are told when to launch long marches and when to stop, whom they may criticize and whom they may not criticize, when they may speak up and when they must shut up. So pathetic is the state of our national sovereignty that now even the Saudis have gotten into the act. Immoral and illegal deals struck by disreputable and crooked politicians under the sheltering aegis of foreign powers to escape accountability for corruption and harm caused to the country have made a mockery of our constitution and laws, which are easily bypassed with a nod from the foreign powers. First there was the deal to patch up differences between Musharraf and the Peoples’ Party in October 2007, as a consequence of which the loot and plunder of the nation and even murder cases were forgiven. Then, less than a year later, another deal was struck to give Musharraf safe passage into retirement, with continued full presidential protocol and security and a full pardon of his heinous crimes against the nation. Recently, Zardari has admitted to being part of this deal, though later he denied any such admission. His denial, however, carries little water in light of confirmation on the part of Makhdoom Amin Fahim of such a deal. These shady deals have now replaced the constitution and writ of law as the foundation of the system of government in Pakistan because the narrow vested interests of our new colonial masters so dictate. After Zardari’s confession, all flimsy and hollow pretences of democracy and rule of law stand exposed as a cruel joke. Any lingering vestiges of national sovereignty and independence are gone. We are once again a colony. The Yanks have replaced the Brits as the new gora sahibs.

Where is our elected government in all this mess? Why have they not stood up for national interests? They are busy pandering to the new colonial masters to prolong their hold on power under their tutelage and, of course, making hay while the sun shines. The current dispensation has gone further than Musharraf in appeasing the Americans. The customary, toothless protests against American drone attacks are heard no more and they have thrown open the doors to the illegal entry of American personnel, reportedly without visas, and turned a blind eye to their de facto occupation of substantial portions of Islamabad. In return for the government’s cooperation, the new imperialists have given them a loose reign, for now, to set new records of loot and plunder and generally run amok. But in this wild feeding frenzy, the government has abandoned the public to its own miserable fate, believing like so many client regimes of the past, that US backing alone is sufficient to sustain them in power.

During eighteen months of power, apart from bending over backwards to appease the Americans, everything this government has done has been aimed solely at securing its hold on power. They sought to replace the elected PML(N) Punjab government with Governor’s Rule for which all they got was humiliation. They refused to restore the judges but then had to do so ignominiously under pressure of the long march. Most recently, they have unleashed Brigadier Imtiaz Billa on PML(N), which too is beginning to backfire. But throughout all this wheeling and dealing for power, there has been no relief whatsoever for the people. The Benazir Income Support Program, which is a new name given to the old Usher, Zakat and Baitulmal schemes, is riddled with corruption and graft. The distribution of cheap flour in Ramzan has led to bloodshed and horrifying degradation and humiliation of women who have no choice but to line up among crowds of men if they are to feed their children. Nineteen women are trampled to death while queuing for cheap flour in Karachi and all the government can do is ‘take notice’ of the incident. Unprecedented sums of billions of rupees supposedly allocated for development schemes have been placed under the ‘supervision’ of favored jiyalas as reward for past services. Despite the government’s best efforts at global begging, it has failed to secure significant economic aid from even close friends such as China and the so-called ‘Friends of Pakistan’, and now even America, have refused to cough up more cash until every penny can be accounted for. And all this while, unprecedented wastage on lavish government expenditure, especially pointless foreign junkets, lawlessness, high prices, poverty, unemployment and corruption are rampant and have made life unlivable for most citizens.

Ultimate sovereign political power rests with the people. The future depends on them and their disposition will decide the fate of the country. They have never had it so bad. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the workers and supporters of a ruling party have turned on their own government and the Sindh Chief Minister and other ministers are regularly humiliated at public occasions by their own party men. But, inexplicably, instead of withdrawing their support from a failed government which they clearly despise and looking for better alternatives, jiyalas continue to latch on in the vain hope that some scraps may fall from the high table of the rulers on which they might feast. Precious few care about what happens to the country or vital state institutions. Even fewer bother to distinguish between right and wrong or good and bad. The rulers understand this and from time to time toss some scraps to the bickering rabble to silence them and they are sated for a while, but national interests suffer.

With the United States embarked on the systematic occupation of Pakistan and our rulers concerned only about personal gain and holding on to power at all costs, who is looking out for Pakistan? We appear to be on a shortcut to a very bleak future. The only way to escape obliteration is for the masses to awaken and arise. Nothing can stand in their way. Nothing is impossible for them. Our rulers and their new colonial masters have their own vested interests at heart and it is futile to vest any hopes in them. This country belongs to the people and only they can, and must, save it. 

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