[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/feed.php on line 173: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3884)
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/feed.php on line 174: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at [ROOT]/includes/functions.php:3884)
ThePakPolitics A leading World Political Forum- ThePakPolitics.com International Politics Forum in PK Politics, Pakistan 2013-10-28T11:58:33+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/feed.php?f=17 2013-10-28T11:58:33+03:00 2013-10-28T11:58:33+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1741&p=7715#p7715 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Sect in motion]]>

On Friday, September 6, 2013, Fazeelat Shah alias Phul Shah and his devotees were gathered at a communal space in Jassoki village of Gujrat district when four armed motorcyclists appeared. As Shah lifted his head to confirm his presence, after one of the gunmen enquired about him, a hail of bullets followed. Five people died on the spot. At least six others, including Shah, were injured. He was rushed to the district headquarters hospital in Gujrat but succumbed to his wounds soon after arriving there.
6 - Remains of khokha at Hussaini chowk, Kotla Jam,

Members of his family as well as residents of Jassoki say that Shah, who had a sizeable and growing spiritual following, did not have any personal enmity. The police have also ruled out the possibility of his murder having taken place as a result of a feud within his family. This leaves out only one possibility: Shah was targeted by some terrorist group.
“The police and other law enforcement agencies have found some leads that could prove helpful in tracing the attackers,” Ali Nasir Rizvi, the District Police Officer (DPO) in Gujrat, tells the Herald. One of these leads is video footage captured by a closed-circuit television camera at a shop in Sarai Alamgir, a town on the other side of Gujrat district from Jassoki, just one day before the attack on Shah.

The footage shows four armed men riding two motorcycles – one, a Honda CD 70, and the other, a Honda CG 125 – with the drivers wearing helmets. They stopped in front of the shop, owned and run by a member of the Ahmadi community; one of them rushed into the shop armed with a 0.22 pistol but came out soon after without firing a shot. Their target – the shop owner – was not in, say police officials. Those wounded in the Jassoki attack have testified that the motorcycles and helmets shown in the footage are the same as the ones used by the men who had attacked them. They have also identified the other two motorcycle riders as their attackers.

DPO Rizvi says that this points to the presence, in Gujrat, of target killers on a mission to kill for religious and, possibly, also sectarian reasons. He, therefore, is certain that Shah’s killing was an act of terrorism though he does not want to call it an act of sectarian violence — at least, not yet. “Investigations are still under way,” he says.
But Chaudhary Manzoor Hussain, the district president of the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), a Shia political party set up in 2009, has no doubts about the motive behind Shah’s killing. “He was targeted because he was a Shia,” says Hussain.

In another part of Punjab, Muhammad Asghar, a small trader in Khan Bela village of Rahimyar Khan district’s Liaqatpur tehsil, was killed on September 14, 2013, in a sectarian clash which started after he showed a text message that he received on his cell phone to his friend, Aali, who thought its content insulted his Shia beliefs. Enraged, Aali and some others beat up Asghar, who went on to approach local activists of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), a Sunni sectarian-cum-political group, seeking revenge. This led to a scuffle, which left many injured on both sides. Asghar, who was struck on the head during the scuffle, was admitted to a hospital, where he died three days later.

A few weeks before his death, an ASWJ rally in Bhakkar district passed through a Shia-majority village, Kotla Jam, resulting in a clash that left 10 people dead on both sides, and many more injured. When some of the bodies and injured reached Darya Khan, a nearby town, rioting and firing erupted immediately, leading to the death of two more people, one from each sect.


2 - Visitors in Lahore mourning the death of Professor Dr Syed Ali Haider and his son

Earlier in the year, on February 25, to be exact, Professor Dr Syed Ali Haider, head of the ophthalmology department at the Lahore General Hospital, and his 12-year-old son, Murtaza Haider, were killed in a drive-by shooting incident in Lahore’s Gulberg area. His relatives say Ali Haider was not a member of any sectarian organisation. The police, however, believe that he was murdered for being Shia.

If these incidents are anything to go by, the country’s most prosperous and ostensibly the most peaceful province, Punjab, is simmering with sectarian tensions that have already boiled to deadly clashes on many occasions and may cause more sectarian violence in the coming months and years. Data collected by South Asia Terrorism Portal, a Delhi-based group monitoring incidents of terrorism in the region, shows a similarly worrying trend: Sectarian violence claimed 64 lives in Punjab in 2011; another 43 people were killed in sectarian clashes in the province in 2012. “Sectarian mindset is everywhere in our society,” warns Lahore-based political analyst Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi.

The heaven of harmony, no more

Sectarian violence was unheard of in Gujrat until recently. Hussain, the local head of MWM, claims that a sectarian organisation belonging to the Deobandi/Sunni sect has intensified its activities in the district since the May 2013 general election. Suggesting that the members of the organisation could have provided support and assistance to Shah’s killers, he says: Local support is crucial for sectarian assassins to strike their targets effectively. The killers do not belong to Gujrat, he says, adding that they have come from outside but received help from their local supporters in getting information about their targets and putting together the logistics for the attack.

Hussain accuses the ruling Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN) of supporting the sectarian organisation. “Some influential political figures belonging to the PMLN have a very close association with the rogue elements of the sectarian organisation,” he alleges. “Covert support to such saboteurs by two well known politicians belonging to the PMLN is an open secret in Gujrat,” he adds. This, to him, appears to be one of the reasons why not a single PMLN parliamentarian representing the district, let alone a provincial or federal minister, visited the victims of the Jassoki attack. Even local leaders of the ruling party have not issued any statement condemning the attack, says Hussain.

Official sources confirm to the Herald that a support system for sectarian assassins exists in Gujrat and that two PMLN parliamentarians could be a part of it. According to intelligence reports sent to the federal and provincial governments by local operatives, these parliamentarians have a close association with banned sectarian outfits and participate in gatherings and activities that have an open sectarian agenda. Intelligence officials fear that DPO Rizvi could also be attacked for vigorously pursuing Shah’s assassins. Senior administration officials in Gujrat, however, tell the Herald that, so far, authorities in Lahore and Islamabad have not taken any steps to stop the two parliamentarians from being sectarian partisans.

This worries local residents. Dr Tariq Saleem, a member of a committee set up to maintain sectarian peace in the district and a local leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, says the Jassoki attack should serve as “an eye-opener for the political, as well as religious, leadership” in Gujrat. “These killings should be taken seriously and a multi-sect conference should be convened by the district administration to ensure that such violent incidents are not repeated,” he says.

Some local leaders of the PMLN, too, are concerned that sectarianism is rearing its head in the district. Haneef Awan, the party’s member of the Punjab Assembly, representing Sarai Alamgir area, says the activities of some elements previously belonging to banned sectarian organisations are increasing, which should be taken seriously by the government to maintain religious harmony and peace in Gujrat. He, however, rejects the allegation that his party is covertly supporting any militant or banned organisation. “The PMLN has always condemned terrorism in all its form and manifestations,” says Awan.

Trouble down south

4 - Imambargah in kotla jam

Rahimyar Khan, Punjab’s southernmost district, is chock-a-block with sectarian graffiti. Even tree trunks along roads and streets have sectarian slogans scribbled on them. Both Sunni and Shia organisations in the area regularly hold public meetings where inflammatory speeches are made and incendiary slogans are raised. Aerial firing at these gatherings is also routine practice. Even though the local administration makes efforts to remove sectarian graffiti, propagators of sectarian hatred bring it back more swiftly than the officials remove it. “If the government does not take concerted measures to stop the propagation of such hate material and the publishing of books carrying objectionable material, a civil war might start in the [south Punjab] region,” warns Shafiq Moavia, the district president of ASWJ in Rahimyar Khan.

The least the district administration can do is register cases against those involved in producing graffiti and other incidents of sectarian nature. In the last 20 months alone, the local police registered 20 cases against more than 1,000 Sunni activists for sectarian wall chalking, for writing derogatory remarks outside the houses of Shias and for raising anti-Shia slogans in public meetings and at other public places. During the same time, two cases were registered against more than 30 Shia activists for firing at participants of public meetings of the ASWJ.

More often than not, sectarian tensions in the district have led to incidents of violence. This August, a local leader of Shia Ulema Council, Sheikh Manzoor Hussain, and his son were shot dead in Rahimyar Khan. In January 2012, a bomb blast targeted a Shia procession in the district’s Khanpur town and claimed the lives of 17 people, leaving 30 others injured.
Moavia says one reason for sectarian clashes in the district is incidence of sectarian violence elsewhere in the country. “Whenever bodies of ASWJ activists from Karachi and other cities arrive [in Rahimyar Khan], it becomes difficult to keep people calm here,” he tells the Herald and adds that recent clashes in Bhakkar have also led to increased sectarian disharmony in the district.

Sajjad Ali, the caretaker of an Imambargah in Khanpur and the local head of the Shia Ulema Council, complains that a couple of mosques of the Deobandi sect, in his town, routinely hold public gatherings on anti-Shia subjects and raise anti-Shia slogans from their loudspeakers which “hurt the feelings of Shias”. But he claims that members of his own sect “do not react” to such provocations.

That Sunni sectarian organisations have an upper hand over their Shia rivals in the area is quite apparent from Abbas’ conciliatory tone. It is even more noticeable in the rather belligerent tone ASWJ’s Moavai adopts while talking about why Shias should confine their religious activities within the four walls of their homes or places of worship. Shias often take their processions to roads and streets they are not allowed to, he says. Even if a majlis (gathering) is held in one house, the entire locality suffers due to security checks and traffic blockades, he adds. This, Moavia argues, causes problems for residents of the area, who get irritated with the situation, often leading to brawls between members of the two sects. His solution to the problem is as simple as it is one-sided: “Shias should hold their religious programmes inside their Imambargahs; they should not come out on main roads and streets because that disturbs entire areas for hours”.

Impartial observers, too, verify the relative strength of Sunni organisations. “ASWJ’s people have resources; their leaders usually have armed security guards and the latest vehicles to roam around in,” says S Israr Hussain, the president of a traders association in Bahawalpur and a Sunni member of an inter-sect peace committee in the area. “On the other hand, Shia activists used to be resourceful two decades ago. Now, it seems they cannot afford to carry out armed activities,” he tells the Herald.

Bloody days

Ghulam Muhammad, a cloth merchant and the district general secretary of the ASWJ, was walking to his shop from his home in Bhakkar city on August 21, 2013, when unidentified attackers killed him. While investigators are still not sure if the motive of his murder is sectarian, local Sunni activists took out a protest procession two days after his death, demanding the arrest of his killers. The protesters were soon joined by another big procession that began from Panjgaraeen village and moved through Darya Khan town and Kotla Jam village before entering Bhakkar city. As participants of the latter procession were returning to Panjgaraeen via the same route they had used to reach Bhakkar, they got entangled in what could easily be described as the worst incident of sectarian violence in Bhakkar district in recent years.


5 - Women protest at Hussain chowk on Aug 24

Like all things sectarian, the details are controversial. Depending on who you ask, you will get a different answer about how the whole thing started. “When we reached Hussaini Chowk, in Kotla Jam, on our return journey from Bhakkar, Shia activists opened fire on us,” says Abdur Rahman, a Sunni activist from Panjgaraeen. “They also pelted stones at us and attacked us with axes and knives. Within a few minutes, two people were killed and many others injured,” he says and adds that the police fired in the air to end the clash.

Abdul Hameed Khalid, the principal of a Sunni madrassa and a senior leader of ASWJ in Panjgaraeen, claims that Shia residents of Kotla Jam held participants of the Sunni procession hostage for six hours, killing some of them in a gruesome manner. “Mufti Ahmed Hassan was drilled in the head and nailed to death. The eyes of Hafiz Muhammad Ashraf were taken out and his private parts were chopped off. The arms of Hafiz Ahmed Ali were mutilated. The bodies of all the five Sunni activists killed in Kotla Jam had brutal torture marks,” he tells the Herald.

But Muhammad Nawaz Cheena, a resident of Kotla Jam, says Sunni activists raised anti-Shia slogans as soon as they reached Hussani Chowk. “Some Shias sitting at a roadside tea stall at the Chowk responded by raising anti-Sunni slogans. At this, one participant of the Sunni procession started firing with a gun. I saw a person getting shot in the head and collapsing on the ground,” he says.

Fiaz Hussain Kahawer, another resident of Kotla Jam, claims to have seen something similar. “As the participants of the procession started chanting anti-Shia slogans, some Shia activists responded to them in the same coin. Some people in the procession started firing with guns and I saw some people wounded and lying on the ground. I immediately lay down on the ground to save my life,” he says.

How the police handled, or mishandled, the situation also presents contrasting views. Khalid goes to the extent of alleging that some Shia police officials fired upon the participants of the Sunni procession. He also claims that the DPO did not heed to his demands to act while the participants of the procession were stranded in Kotla Jam.

Kahawer, on the other hand, claims that the police vans accompanying the participants of the Sunni procession kept moving out of Kotla Jam even when the Sunni activists had stopped at the Chowk, raising slogans. Safeer Shahani, a MWM leader in Bhakkar, claims that the Kotla Jam incident could have been avoided if the district administration had disallowed Sunni protests over Ghulam Muhammad’s murder. “If the police had taken stringent security measures, such a horrific incident would not have happened at all,” he says.

The violence, however, did not end at Kotla Jam. Firing erupted in Darya Khan as soon as participants of the procession arrived there along with the bodies of the slain Sunni activists. As police vans shifted the injured to a hospital in Darya Khan, news of the clashes at Kotla Jam spread like wildfire in the town, says Arif Sadiqui, a local journalist. “A Shia cloth merchant, sensing trouble, started closing down his shop but a Sunni activist fired at him, leaving him injured. In a few minutes, the entire town was shut down. Everyone was harassed and everyone wanted to reach home as soon as possible,” he says. “Sounds of firing could be heard all over the city. The situation came under control only after a heavy contingent of the police arrived from Bhakkar and elsewhere,” Sadiqui adds.

To avoid further trouble, the district administration imposed Section 144 in the entire Bhakkar district, disallowing the assembly of more than five people, and prohibiting processions, carrying of weapons and delivering of provocative speeches. All schools, banks and markets in the district were closed down, Rangers were called in to patrol Kotla Jam, Darya Khan and Panjgaraeen, and a curfew was imposed to ward off any untoward incident, says Muhammad Asim, a local journalist in Darya khan.

The next day, police arrested the 20 nominated accused in the two incidents of violence, says Sarfraz Falki, the DPO in Bhakkar. Authorities also took 67 people, belonging to both sects, into custody under the rules pertaining to the maintenance of public order. These detentions incensed the local Shia population and dozens of women belonging to the sect brought out a protest rally in Kotla Jam, staging a sit-in at the Darya Khan-Bakhar Road.

“The police trespassed our houses at midnight, harassed innocent people and detained sole breadwinners of Shia households,” says Hudaina Bibi, one of the protesters. “We could not even move a bail application for the release of these innocent people,” she tells the Herald. The women, however, peacefully dispersed after five hours, after the district administration assured them that innocent people would not be taken into custody.
The next day, however, Shia activists gathered again outside an Imambargah at Tibba Habib Shah, on the outskirts of Kotla Jam. The police resorted to a baton attack to disperse them. The same day, authorities also detained another 72 people from both sects.

It was only after five days that peace could return to the district.

The original sin


The Punjab police registered 20 cases of sectarian murders between the start of 2008 and August, 2013. Out of these, six cases were registered in Bhakkar alone. In 2011, a billiard club in Darya Khan was attacked, in which five Sunni men were murdered and six injured. In this year’s month of Ramzan, claims ASWJ’s Khalid, two members of his party were target-killed at Tibba Habib Shah and Kotla Jam.

“In recent years, sectarian hatred has increased in Bhakkar,” confirms Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khel, who represents the district in the National Assembly and is a member of the ruling PMLN. Many in the area believe that sectarian violence has increased in Bhakkar as a result of the exodus of Shias from the neighbouring Dera Ismail Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “About 200 Shia activists shifted to Kotla Jam and Tibba Habib Shah after leaving Dera Ismail Khan in recent years. This has given a new dimension to sectarian violence [in Bhakkar],” says Khalid.

Dera Ismail Khan and its adjacent Tank district – strongholds of the Deobandi/Sunni religious political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) – have witnessed religion-based confrontation, going as far back as the pre-partition days. These districts have had a long history of Hindu-Muslim riots since before 1947, says Zaffer Abbas Durani, a political activist in Dera Ismail Khan. This communal disharmony mutated into sectarian hatred within Muslims, after Pakistan came into being, he adds.

In the recent decades, a series of clashes have occured between Shias and Sunnis in Dera Ismail Khan, with the former having suffered a disproportionately high number of casualties. It was in 1985 when the current spate of violence was first triggered. That year, on the 10th of Muharram, a Shia procession was passing through Dera Ismail Khan’s Commissionary Bazaar when the awning in front of a shop collapsed and created a stampede among the participants of the procession. Rasheed alias Sheeda, a local Sunni resident, died during the stampede. Local leaders of SSP Pakistan (SSP), a Sunni sectarian organisation, which was banned in the early 2000s but has since re-emerged as ASWJ, called a meeting of local Sunni clerics, urging them to avenge Rasheed’s death.

The revenge came in 1986, when the local Sunnis did not allow the Muharram procession to pass through the Commissionary Bazaar. The following year, the local administration announced it had struck a deal with local Shia leaders to change the route of the Muharram procession in the city but most Shias in the district refused to accept the agreement. No Muharram procession took place in Dera Ismail Khan until 1990, when a new agreement was signed between leaders of the two sects and the administration, providing for the restoration of the old route by next year, says Fayyaz Hussain Bukhari, a local Shia leader.

The agreement, however, did not put an end to the violence. In fact, last year, a blast hit the Muharam procession, while it was passing through Commissionary Bazaar, killing at least eight people. Waleed Akbar, a former policeman and an ASWJ activist, was convicted and jailed for carrying out the deadly blast. He was one of the hundreds of prisoners who escaped when Taliban militants attacked the Dera Ismail Khan jail on July 30, 2013. Before his escape, he is reported to have killed eight Shia prisoners, beheading one of them.

Since 2009, to ensure a smooth supply line for the military operation in South Waziristan tribal agency, law enforcement agencies have started to clear Dera Ismail Khan and Tank of sectarian activists and killers, forcing many of them to shift elsewhere. This has resulted in a visible decline in sectarian violence in the area, says Saeedullah Marwat, a local journalist — others would say that this has happened only at the cost of allowing it to increase elsewhere.

However, demographic and historical evidence suggests that the relocation of Shia activists to Bhakkar from Dera Ismail Khan is a minor reason, if at all, for the latest sectarian conflagration in Kotla Jam and Darya Khan. According to official statistics, Shias (at 30 per cent) and Deobandi Sunnis (at 28 per cent) form almost equal proportion of the district’s population and the influx of Shia families from Dera Ismail Khan seems to have made little difference to this.

Historically, as well, Bhakkar has been a sectarian flashpoint since long. It was, in fact, here that the Shias set up their first political party – Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqah Jafria (TNFJ) – in reaction to changes in inheritance and family laws made under the regime of General Ziaul Haq, which they believed infringed upon their religious beliefs. One Syed Wazarat Hussain Naqvi, the custodian of a local Shia shrine, arranged an all Pakistan Shia convention in Bhakkar in 1979. It was at this convention that the TNFJ was created and Naqvi became its founding general secretary. (The party later split into two factions, with one of them changing its name to Tehreek-e- Jafria Pakistan in the 1990s; both factions were banned in the early 2000s, leading to the emergence of a myriad of Shia groups, some of which coalesced together and formed MWM in 2009).

Sunni sectarian organisations, too, have their institutional existence in Bhakkar dating back to mid-1980s. In 1985, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of SSP, visited Bhakkar to deliver public speeches. He set up a branch of his organisation in the district in 1986.
And the two sides have been clashing with each other since 1960s when the Deobandis first objected to the practice of bringing out a procession, on the 10th Muharram, from a Deobandi mosque in Darya Khan. In 1986, some Deobandi activists set fire to a taazia in that town, though it did not result in violence due to the efforts of a local peace committee. In 1991, Naveed Gohar, a Sunni student at a high school in Darya Khan, scribbled an anti-Shia slogan on his notebook, which triggered clashes between members of the two sects. Ejaz Hussain, a Shia student, was killed in one of these clashes.

Causes and effects


“We have a long history of sectarianism but it turned violent when General Ziaul Haq adopted religious orthodoxy. This orthodoxy fragmented the society. Now, people having bombs and guns are seeing Islam through their sectarian lenses, instead of seeing their sects through an Islamic lens,” says Dr Rizvi.

It was indeed in the late 1980s and 1990s when Punjab suffered from worst sectarian violence. SSP, the main Deobandi/ Sunni sectarian group, was founded and based in Jhang, which became a sectarian battlefield and remained so for many years. The Shia sectarian groups that emerged in the 1980s, like TNFJ, ostensibly had political objectives and did not use violence as a political tool. The increasing activities of SSP in the 1980s, however, led in the early 1990s to the creation of a violent Shia group, Sipah-e-Muhammad, which was based in Thokar Niaz Beg village on the southern outskirts of Lahore. Political analysts and government officials believe that the two organisations were engaged in hundreds of tit-for-tat killings with active financial and political support from Iran (for Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan) and Saudi Arabia (for SSP).

Many places in central Punjab, besides Jhang, experienced sectarian violence during the climax of confrontation between rival sectarian groups in 1990s. In 1995, Dr Muhammad Ali Naqvi, a Shia student leader, was gunned down in Lahore; in 1996, Syed Tajammal Abbas, the deputy commissioner of Sargodha, was shot dead for being a Shia; in 1997, a bomb attack in a Lahore court killed Ziaur Rehman Farooqi, the then head of SSP; and in 1997, Ashraf Marth, a senior police officer in Gujranwala, was target-killed for pursuing cases against Sunni sectarian killers. Khairpur Tamewali, a small town in Bahawalpur district, also became a major sectarian flashpoint with a number of violent and deadly sectarian incidents taking place there.

By the late 1990s, however, SSP became more active in parliamentary politics than many of its cadres would have liked. Some disgruntled SSP activists, therefore, founded Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) in 1996, with one Riaz Basra becoming its most known face. He was also perhaps the most dreaded sectarian killer in the country at the time. Arrested in 1992 and sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of Sadiq Ganji, an Iranian diplomat, in Lahore, Basra escaped from jail in 1994 to resume his deadly activities under the banner of the newly created LJ.

A lot has changed since then. Basra died in 2002 in a village in Vehari during a shootout and his associates merged their organisation in the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as the Punjabi Taliban, shifting their based to South Waziristan tribal agency, say officials in Lahore. SSP was banned in the early 2000s and its then chief, Azam Tariq, was killed in an attack near Islamabad in 2003. Sipah-e-Muhammad was also banned and its headquarters in Thoker Niaz Beg were uprooted in a security operation in the early 2000s.

On the face of it, the situation in Punjab looks much calmer on the sectarian front than it did in the 1990s. But is it really? Background interviews with Punjab government officials and official documents seen by the Herald show that even though most Sunni sectarian killers operating in Punjab in the 1990s have either shifted to South Waziristan or have gone into hiding, they have what anti-terrorism experts call “sleeper cells” all over Punjab. These cells consist of sympathisers, facilitators and financiers who perform different functions like reconnaissance, provision of lodging, boarding and transport to killers and procurement of explosives and weapons for them, says a senior Punjab police official without wanting to be named.

Finances are generally arranged through donations in the name of religion, which are readily available. Recently, a group collected seven million rupees from Gujranwala traders in just two days, for religious causes, says the official. Bank robberies and kidnapping for ransom are also sometimes employed as means for procuring money for sectarian attacks. Sources in Punjab Police say religious and sectarian terrorist groups could have collected as much as 650 million rupees as ransom only from Islamabad in just two previous years. In a number of bank robberies, security guards have been found to have links with the TTP and other banned organisations, say intelligence sources in Lahore.

It’s the madrasa, stupid


A 16-year old boy from Vehari district in south Punjab developed the spirit of jihad after listening to the speeches of some radical clerics. He traveled to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to receive ideological and military training. On return, he resumed routine life but was, one day, called for the ultimate task of sacrificing his life for killing ‘infidels’ belonging to other sects or religions. Those deployed to help the boy soon arrived on the scene, to prepare him for the strike. This is how police officials in Lahore describe the mental and physical preparation of a sectarian hit man. Though they refuse to reveal the name of the boy for security reasons, these officials claim to have encountered many cases in which young men were lured into becoming killers through promises of unearthly rewards awaiting them in paradise.

A senior police official in Lahore says sectarian organisations normally pick their potential strikers at an early age and madrasas and madrasa teachers play a prominent role in their training. A five-year-old boy sent to a madrasa to learn the Quran by heart is told, day in and day out, that he belongs to a certain sect and that those from other sects are not Muslim. By the time the boy reaches the age of 18, he cannot but see people through a sectarian lens. When these boys return home after graduating from madrasas, they propagate their views to their peers, becoming conduits for spreading sectarian hatred in society at large. With time, they attract many a young man, who lacks opportunity or promise to progress in life, towards their sectarian ideologies. Many of them, then, receive military training in camps mainly in the tribal areas and come back to their hometowns and villages as accomplished sectarian assassins. Punjab government officials dealing with sectarian terrorism confirm that there are many thousand young men across the provinces who have received some kind of training in militancy and target killing during recent years.

Madrasas remain the main breeding ground for training recruits. There are 9,221 madrasas in Punjab but only 3,153 of them are registered with any government department, official documents show. The documents seen by the Herald reveal that out of 4,230 Barelvi madrasas, only 1,512 are registered; out of 4,154 Deobandi madrasas, only 1,366 are registered; out of 636 Ahl-e-Hadees madrasas, only 224 are registered; and out of 201 Shia madrasas, only 51 are registered. Close to 50 per cent of all Deobandi madrasas in Punjab, according to official records, operate in the southern districts of the province.

The officials, however, are quick to clarify that only a few hundred madrassas have public affiliation with sectarian organisations. Refraining from pointing out which madrasas belong to which militant or sectarian group, officials say those with an open sectarian agenda exist in cities like Multan, Gujranwala and Lahore.

Promotion of sectarian sentiments, however, is not limited to Deobandi madrasas; Shia madrasas do just that, as actively as their Deobandi counterparts. “Madrasas of both Shia and Sunni sects play their role in promoting hatred among their students,” says Akhtar Hussain Zaidi who runs the main Shia mosque in Bahawalpur. In theory, hate material is not part of madrasa curriculum of any sect, but passing negative remarks against members of other sects is routine practice among students and teachers of madrasas. “Teachers verbally brainwash pupils,” says Zaidi. It is also at madrasas that students get exposed to speeches and writings of the main leaders of their sects, thereby imbibing a strong hatred towards those belonging to other sects.

Communicable disease


Hate material generally spreads through books, pamphlets, posters and, perhaps most importantly, through speeches by prominent leaders of sectarian organisations. Jhangvi, the SSP founder, gained all of his following because of his rousing, yet decidedly vitriolic, public speeches, which – propelled by cheap audio cassettes – captured the imagination of an entire generation of Sunni activists across central and southern Punjab. Of late, however, most of the propagation of hate material has shifted to cyber space, cell phones and social media.

Officials dealing with sectarianism in Punjab point out that it was easy to stop a sectarian leader from delivering a speech or to confiscate books, audio cassettes or any other published or recorded material, but it is impossible to stop people from propagating their sectarian views through the Internet or from sending each other hate messages through Facebook or their cell phones.

“Sending hate messages [through the Internet or cell phones] has become common for the last couple of years,” acknowledges Sohail Zafar Chattha, Rahimyar Khan’s DPO. Engineer Ashfaq Ahmed, the general secretary of ASWJ in Punjab, confirms the trend when he says that his group has “lodged around 500 complaints against hate messages sent through cell phones in different parts of the country”.

ASWJ’s Moavia says propagating hatred through cell phone messages and social media sites is playing a negative role in provoking the sentiments of people. “The government should make religious scholars of both sects sit on the table to figure out a solution to the problem. There should be a complete ban on hate propaganda either through books or through social media and cell phones,” he says.

Chattha, however, says all that the government can do is filter the Internet for hate material and try to get to the source of a hate message spread through a cell phone. And this is exactly what he and his associates have been doing, he says. Rahimyar Khan police arrested four people involved in circulating such messages six months ago, he adds.

The divide within

Another problem the government is trying to grapple with is internal divisions within Sunni sectarian organisations. For years, since the mid-1980s, SSP and LJ had been the face of Sunni sectarianism in Pakistan. But the organisational structure of both these groups withered away in the early 2000s. Even though most Deobandi/Sunni sectarian activists are still known by the public to belong to SSP, institutionally, they belong to ASWJ, whereas LJ is now merely the name for a loose group of Sunni sectarian militants who no longer follow an organisational structure or hierarchy.

In at least one part of the public imagination, however, SSP, LJ and ASWJ are interchangeable. “A number of people are, on the surface, leaders and activists of ASWJ but, practically, they champion violence. In fact, there is no great difference between ASWJ and LJ, as the former is a nursery which provides manpower to the latter,” says Fida Hussain Ghalvi, the vice-president of the Shia Ulema Council in Punjab.

However, ASWJ leaders vehemently reject this perception. Moavia, who heads the party in Rahimyar Khan, claims that “ASWJ activists do not participate in LJ activities”. According to him, his party strictly ensures that its registered workers do not take part in any violent activity. “If some people take part in such activities in the garb of ASWJ workers, it is not the party’s fault,” says Moavia.

Engineer Ashfaq Ahmed, the general secretary of ASWJ in Punjab, endorses Moavia’s argument. “Those who support terrorism and violence can never be the part of ASWJ. Those who use guns to achieve their goals must not be associated with us,” says Ahmed.
But Malik Ishaq, long the second most important leader of LJ after Basra, is now vice-president of the ASWJ and – if sources close to him are to be believed – is demanding a key post within the organisation. When he was released from jail in May, 2013, he joined the ASWJ on the condition that he will be given an important position in the party. But he was given only a nominal position. “ASWJ leaders fear he may overshadow them if he is given a key post in the party,” says a police officer.

Ishaq’s son, Malik Muhammad Usman, a bearded man in his 30s, tells the Herald in Rahimyar Khan, that his father has renounced violence as a means to achieve his objectives. Sitting in a small room lined with six AK-47 rifles, a repeater gun and two bags of ammunition, Usman warns: “If Shias continue to hurt the feelings of the Sunnis, we will also resume taking the right action against them.” Even if that means quitting ASWJ, he adds. “If [Ishaq] changes his non-violent policy after his release [from the Punjab government's protective custody], he will quit ASWJ, even before the party decides to do something about him.”

Moavia, on the other hand, insists that ASWJ will not support Malik Ishaq if he continues to command LJ. “If that happens, the party’s Shoora will take the right decision, in this regard,” he says. Usman responds to this with a shrug: “We are the actual SSP”. Officials fear that a falling out between the followers and critics of Ishaq within the ASWJ may split the organisation and lead to bloodshed.

Action begets inaction

If and when that happens, the government will be ill-prepared to handle the situation — like always, perhaps. Officials say there is no national policy to combat sectarian violence, not even a state-sanctioned response to sectarian propaganda. “The state has no counter-narrative [to sectarianism],” says a senior official in Lahore.

Law enforcement agencies are generally ill-equipped and not trained enough to combat sectarian violence. The Punjab Police have a Counter Terrorism Department but it lacks the wherewithal to perform effectively. For one, it has no “listening” ability, officials say. It cannot intercept communication between sectarian killers and groups and has no formal links with the intelligence agency that has the “listening” ability, they add. Due to gaps in institutional cooperation, the police often receive information too late to use it effectively. “We lack real time information and thus are unable to strike at the right moment,” says a Lahore-based police official.

At the local level, the provincial police still operate through thanedaars, the Station House Officers (SHOs), who are neither trained in fighting against sectarian killers nor are they motivated to do the job. Even the Counter Terrorism Department has to go through a local SHO to monitor or arrest a sectarian hit man. Local police and SHOs, however, wouldn’t dare arrest a hit man if he is taking shelter in a madrasa. If and when that happens, it is always followed by rowdy protests by teachers, students and supporters of that madrasa, says the official.

As per Punjab Police’s record, arrests made on charges of sectarianism and people sent to court for trial in such cases are far less than the actual number of cases registered in this regard. Only 12 of the 20 cases of sectarian murders registered in Punjab, between the beginning of 2008 and August, 2013, have been sent to a court for trial. Even more disturbing is the fact that the police have arrested only 88 out of 366 people nominated in such cases.

Dr Rizvi says the state lacks capacity to curb or even control sectarianism. The government has a weak policing and legal system, he says, and it refrains from proceeding against sectarian activists, fearing opposition from religious groups and parties. “Most importantly, the State lacks the will to eradicate or, at least, control sectarianism,” he says. “But life will become difficult if it is not controlled,” he warns. “Not everyone can migrate to another country [to stay safe].”

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, however, rejects claims that law enforcement agencies in the province do not have the ability to counter sectarianism. He also denies that the provincial government has a soft spot for Sunni sectarian organisations, as is alleged by many Shia activists, especially with reference to Phul Shah’s assassination in Gujrat, and media commentators who view some recent electoral alliances between ASWJ and PMLN suspiciously. Punjab is witnessing less sectarian violence as compared to other provinces; not because of some secret deal the provincial government has cut with some sectarian organisation, Sanaullah says, but because of better vigilance and preventive measures. “We are more organised and more awakened [than other provincial governments]. That is why we are preventing violence. Peace is not the result of any agreement; it is because of the fact that we are on our toes,” he tells the Herald. “We have recently arrested a very dangerous group of terrorists from Raiwind; an al-Qaeda operative from the Punjab University; a top terrorist leader from a Punjab city and some extremists from a couple of Gujranwala madrassas. Why would we make these arrests if we had an agreement?” says the minister.


Malik Ishaq believed to be a leader of banned organization Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is release on bail.

Sanaullah claims it was the PMLN’s government in Punjab that in the late 1990s, smashed “the rackets of two warring sects involved in bomb blasts and killings” in the province. “We never allowed them to regroup,” he adds. Many sectarian activists once linked to Sipah-e-Muhammad or SSP are now living in different parts of the province, after their organisations were banned, says Sanaullah. “But they are under a strict watch and are nabbed when even an iota of suspicion of their involvement in any violent activity arises.”

Responding to allegations that sectarian activists operating from and based in Punjab are responsible for killings in places like Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan, he says the Punjab government has offered to hand over Malik Ishaq and ASWJ chief Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi to Balochistan if a case is registered against them or if there is any evidence of their involvement in sectarian violence there. “But no evidence was given and there was no case against them.”

The light at the end of the tunnel?

Sanaullah’s rejoinders notwithstanding, there is consensus among government officials, observers and sectarian activists that Punjab is sitting on a sectarian powder keg, waiting to explode. As incidents in Rahimyar Khan and Bhakkar indicate, any small provocation has the capacity to trigger a chain of events too difficult for the government machinery to handle.

In some places, such fears have convinced people of the need to do something about them. In Khairpur Tamewali, a small town in Bahawalpur district which was wrecked by sectarian violence in the 1990s, people have gathered together across the sectarian divide, under the banner of a bipartisan peace committee, to ensure that no untoward incident takes place.

In May 2010, the town could have revisited its gory past had the peace committee not acted promptly and with a presence of mind. At the time, graffiti appeared in a local neighbourhood, which, ostensibly, was offensive to Hazrat Umar and Hazrat Usman — the two companions of the Holy Prophet, revered highly by Sunnis. Serious tensions followed as charged ASWJ activists from nearby villages started thronging Khairpur Tamewali to avenge the offense. Members of the local peace committee, however, told them to wait until the culprit behind the graffiti was revealed. When the committee ultimately found out that the graffiti had nothing to do with sectarianism, everyone went home peacefully. “We found that two children of the area, namely Umar and Usman, quarreled with each other and expressed their mutual anger through graffiti,” says Makhdoom Syed Mahmoodul Husain, a Shia member of the committee.

Interviews with local residents reveal that the main reason behind peace and sectarian harmony in Khairpur Tamewali is the positive role of religious scholars and influential leader of both sects. “Sunni clerics accompany Muharram processions and Shia leaders pay regular visits to Sunni madrasas,” says Mufti Muhammad Abdullah As’ad, the principal of a local Sunni madrasa and the member of the peace committee. “Such gatherings and visits have removed misunderstandings and played a vital role in bringing people of both sects close to each other,” he tells the Herald.

The members of the committee ensure that all Muharram processions follow their prescribed route and observe mutually agreed timing. They also ensure that Sunni activists do not raise any objectionable slogans while a Shia procession is passing through their areas. If and when an issue arises, no matter whether big or small, the committee members immediately intervene and resolve it before it leads to an unpleasant incident, local residents say. “Even if sectarian violence erupts in the entire country, the peaceful atmosphere of Khairpur Tamewali would not be disturbed,” says Husain.

Peace committees are similarly effective in maintaining sectarian peace in Multan. “Clerics of both sects often try to provoke people but members of the peace committees play an effective role in maintaining peace and harmony,” says Amir Dogar, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in Multan.

For a peace committee to be able to maintain peace, however, its members have to come up to one condition: They have to be sincere for their cause. When members are not sincere, they make great speeches in meetings of the committee but when they go into their respective communities, they do the exact opposite of what they had said in their speeches, says Israr Hussain, a member of a peace committee in Bahawalpur.
Basing the peace and harmony of an entire province on as elusive a commodity as sincerity may turn out to be not a good idea, after all.

Two reporters from Lahore contributed to this report but their names have been withheld due to security reasons.


Statistics: Posted by semirza — Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:58 am

2013-09-13T12:24:09+03:00 2013-09-13T12:24:09+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1684&p=7545#p7545 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • The Gangs of Karachi]]>

http://pique.pk/print_images/616/2013-0 ... 9-4866.jpg

The gangs of Karachi

A sharp study on who controls what — backed by political parties — in the ‘city of crime’
Habib Ullah

Karachi has been bedeviled by ethno-political violence for the last three decades. Unabated targeted killings on ethnic, political and sectarian basis, turf wars between different political and other criminal groups, activities of land grabbing, drug, and other mafias, gang wars, extortion, kidnappings for ransom, dacoities, robberies and other criminal acts are legion.

The law and order situation is not only taking a punishing economic toll on the city but also weighs heavily where social, psychological, political impact is concerned.

The situation has assumed such an alarming proportion that industrialists are relocating their units to other countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Cambodia.

Dozens of criminal groups have emerged besides the political parties who are involved in multifarious crimes. Political parties are engaged in turf wars to further their influence or cement grip on the areas they hold. On average, about 12 people lose their lives to the ongoing bloodletting every day.

The PPP-led coalition government appears itself aloof to the ongoing bloodshed in the financial hub of the country, which contributes about 70percent of the total revenue generated.

The authorities have fallen abysmally short in taking concrete measures to control the situation. Karachi police has become virtually dysfunctional in the face of ethno-political groups and gangs roaming the city.

It is instructive to analyze the city as per the Capital City Police Karachi’s administrative division of the city and the groups and stakeholders who control these areas.

Karachi Capital City Police has divided the city into three zones:

West Zone: Has 30 police stations and areas falling under the jurisdiction are SITE Town, New Karachi Town, North Nazimabad Town, Gulberg Town, Liaquatabad Town, Orangi Town and Baldia Town.

East Zone: Has 34 police stations and areas under its jurisdiction, include Gulshan Town, Shah Faisal Town, Landhi Town, Korangi Town, Bin Qasim Town, Malir Town and Gadap Town.

South Zone: Has 32 police stations and areas under its jurisdiction are Kemari Town, Clifton, Saddar Town, Jamshaid Town and Lyari Town.

West Zone

The West Zone is the most affected by the ongoing ethno-political violence. Sindh Industrial & Trading Estate SITE was established in 1947 and has grown into the largest industrial area in Pakistan with more than 2,000 industrial units spread over 4,500 acres (18 km2), west of the Lyari River. This industrial area is one of the favourite hunting grounds of extortionists.

SITE is a Pakhtun-dominated area with Banaras Colony, Frontier Colony, Haroonabad, Islamia Colony, Metroville, Purana Golimar, Qasba Colony and Pathan Colony.

Awami National Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Muttahida Qaumi Movement have a strong footing here while Pakistan People’s Party and several religious organizations also have a presence. Banned sectarian organizations are also active.

According to intelligence reports, almost every political and religious party operating in the area has armed wings involved in fund collection or extortion.

A law enforcement agency officer told Pique on the condition of anonymity that over Rs100 million are being collected every month by these groups from this area in extortion or funds.

The armed outfits of political parties are engaged in turf wars. Hundreds, including activists of different parties, have been killed as a result. A group of criminals with more than a hundred armed members is being supported by MQM while Akber Khattak is the head of the armed group of ANP. Baloch criminals, who are also active in the area, are being led by Naeem Baloch alias commando.

The armed group of Pakistan Sunni Tehrik is fighting with rivals under the stewardship of Amin alias Bhora, who is a resident of Choona Bhatti but operating in the area on the instruction of his party command.

Different political parties are operating in Orangi Town but primarily, the turf war is between MQM and ANP. The area has witnessed a large number of ethnic, political and sectarian killings during the last few years.

According to data collected by the police, more than 2,000 people have been killed in this town alone since 2008.

Baloch Goth, Iqbal Baloch, Benazir Colony, Ghousia Baloch Colony, Iqbal Baloch Colony are belts where the Baloch community is in a dominant position while Gabool Town, Khyber Mohalla, Madina Colony, Pakhtunabad, Banaras Chowk, Toori Bangash Colony are Pakhtun-dominated areas.

Ghaziabad, Gulshan Bahar, Hanifabad, Haryana Colony, Shah Khalik Colony form the dominant Urdu speaking population.

In these areas, activists of ANP and MQM are locked in a fight with Balochs supporting the former. The majority of other communities like Punjabis, Seraikis and Kashmiris also back anti-MQM forces.

The ANP armed group is led by Tariq Tareen, the former president of Pakhtun Student Federation, while the MQM group operates under the command of Ajmal Pahari, the arrested terrorist, whom is now running his gangs from the Central Jail.

More than 500 terrorists of both sides with heavy weapons operate in their strongholds. Sunni Tehrik is led by Sikandar Qadri alias Quetta Wala in this area. All groups boast hundreds of activists armed with sophisticated weapons.

Liaquatabad Town is an MQM stronghold but some areas, including Ilyas Goth, Haji Mureed Goth and others are ruled by Baloch and Sindhi communities. Balochs support the PPP while the majority of Sindhis in these areas actively back Sindhi nationalist groups.

All domineering communities retain armed groups, which are engaged in heavy fighting. On the other hand, Liquatabad has several markets from where these groups collect extortion money.

The situation is the same in Gulberg Town, Nazimabad Town and North Karachi Town, where MQM dominates. There are only street crimes in these areas while sporadic incidents of targeted killings have also been reported. In these towns, ANP and MQM are locked in a fight.

In Mujahid Colony, Pahar Ganj, De Silva Town, and other surrounding areas of Nazimabad Town, both parties are baying for each other’s blood. The bordering Katti Pahari is the flashpoint with armed groups attacking each other’s positions routinely.

In North Karachi Town, MQM and Sunni Tehrik routinely engage in armed clashes to wrest control of the town’s industrial area. The groups are also involved in land grabbing and occupying plots and parks. Imran Qadri and Owais alias Kaka are leading the armed ST group against the MQM.

Baldia Town is host to multi-ethnic communities with MQM, ANP, PPP vying to seize control while other criminal groups are busy in loot and plunder. Baldia Town has Mohajir, Pakhtun, Baloch and Sindhi-dominated areas.

Armed groups of each party have constructed pickets in the areas which can be identified by the flag hoisted atop. Asif alias Dhaga, Ali alias Babu and Amir alias Bapu are commanding the ST group while Naeem Chota, Shahbaz and Kamran run the People’s Amn Committee. The ANP group is steered by Yasir Kabari, Mohabbat Khan and Ameerzada.

East Zone consists of six towns of which Gulshan Town is MQM-dominated but the rural and some central areas are controlled by ANP. Safoora Goth and Pahlwan Goth are under the control of ANP while in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, ANP and Sindhi nationalists are jointly fighting MQM.

The central areas of Gulshan Town, including Hassan Square, Sabzi Mandi, Ghareebabad and others are controlled by ANP. Muneer Khan and Akhter Khan alias Murghi wala are leading the armed wing of ANP in this area with more than 50 activists.

The 80 percent areas of Shah Faisal Town are controlled by the MQM while surrounding areas and Goths have a strong presence of Baloch and Sindhi communities.

Malir also boasts multi-ethnic communities but most of the area is controlled by the MQM. Rural Malir hosts a large number of Sindhi and Balochs, which offers stiff resistance to the MQM. The net result is strong deterioration in law and order.

Bin Qasim and Gaddap Town comprise over 80 percent of rural areas and are dominated by Sindhi and Baloch communities. In these areas, the Sindhi Nationalist Groups are fighting with each other for lead in extortion and land grabbing. Government land worth billion of rupees on National Highway has been grabbed by these groups.

Landhi and Korangi Towns are also multi-ethnic towns with the MQM in control. Some areas like Quaidabad, Dawood, Shairpao Colony, Chakra Goth, and the rural belt are dominated by ANP and Baloch. Armed groups of these parties are fighting over industrial zones of both towns, which accrue large sums of extortion.

The South Zone is the worst affected by the ongoing law and order situation. It seems like a la-la land. Armed groups of political parties are fighting only for sway over extortion here.

The zone boasts the largest business area of the city with 70 percent revenue generated by Karachi coming from here alone. Keemari, Saddar and Lyari Towns are known as old city areas. All groups are involved in an armed conflict to wrest control of the towns.

Huge amounts of extortion are collected from this area while businessmen are routinely kidnapped for ransom. Criminal elements in Lyari are supported by PPP and, in Saddar Town, the militant wing of MQM holds sway. The ANP rules the roost in Keemari town.

The police conducted an operation in Lyari Town in May this year but faced strong resistance for days. More than 1,500 people, including innocent Balochs and Urdu speaking citizens, have fallen victim to the gang warfare so far.

Basically, the war among the groups is only to seize the control of the markets as millions of rupees in extortion are being collected from this area.

The other two towns, Jamshaid Town and Clifton Town, house the elite. Clifton Town falls in the Red Zone while Jamshaid town is facing street crimes only.

Some areas are in the grip of severe violence. Gulistan-e-Jauhar is one. It was under the control of MQM but in 2009, ANP made inroads into the area and a strong group headed by Liaquat Bangash seized control of half the territory.

But the turf war has resulted in the killing of more than 300 people during last three years. Now, another group led by Mudassir alias Chief, is fighting the ANP with the support of MQM. Mudassir Chief was arrested a few months ago but released on bail at the behest of MQM.

On June 17, Liaquat Bangash was killed in an encounter with Rangers and after few hours, the MQM-backed group tried to seize control but failed in the face of strong resistance by the ANP group.

In PIB Colony, the armed group of MQM is fighting criminals of the banned People’s Amn Committee. PIB is a stronghold of the MQM but one belt of Pakistan Quarters is under the control of Balochs. Ahmed Ali Magsi controls the area. More than 35 people belonging to both sides in this area have been killed within months.

In the rural areas of the city, the activists of Sindhi nationalist parties hold sway. Land is rife and after converting land into plots, the same is being sold with fake documents. Land worth billions of rupees has been sold so far.

The groups of nationalist parties, including Jeay Sindh, Sindh National Party, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, and several others are fighting over land and have killed dozens of rival activists and innocent citizens.

These groups are active, especially in Mosmiat, Gulistan-e-Johar, Khokhrapar and other rural areas. A strong group of land grabbers led by Safdar Sarki, Ameer Ali Rind, Akhter Barohi and the leaders of Jeay Sindh operates here.

On the other hand, extremist religious groups are also active in the city. They are involved in sectarian violence, including Tehrik Taliban, Lashkar Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Muhammad. These organizations are working in pockets.

TTP and LJ activists operate in Banaras, Sohrab Goth, Quaidabad, Sherpao Colony, Keemari, Baldia and other areas. Sipah-e-Muhammad is active in Jaffer Tayyar Society, Abbas Town, Hussain Hazara Goth, Rizvia Society, Ancholi and several other areas.

Sunni Tehrik prevails in Poorana Golimar, Nazimabad, Garden, Morton Quarter, Jamshaid Road, Godhra, Qasba Colony, areas of Korangi, Landhi, Shah Faisal and other areas while the rival of ST, the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba, is also operating under the aegis of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat.

The mutually destructive conflict between the LJ and SMP has led to the killing of more than 2,000 activists in the last half-a-decade.

Several religious scholars of both groups, including Ahsan Ullah Farooqi, Mufti Saud Ur Rehman, Maulana Aslam Shaikhpoori and several others of SSP while Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Ammeni, Dr, Zakir Hussain, Imran Ali Zaidi of the Shia community have been target-killed in sectarian violence.

The main activists of LJ like Waseem alias Baroodi, Usman Kurd were arrested before being released on bail. Police and CID have arrested more than 600 terrorists of banned organizations but due to affiliation with political parties, security forces have been forced to let them go.

The writer is Karachi-based crime reporter.
http://pique.pk/security/01-Jul-2012/th ... of-karachi

Statistics: Posted by Patriot — Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:24 pm

2013-05-11T18:38:17+03:00 2013-05-11T18:38:17+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1433&p=6578#p6578 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Wake-up call for America]]> Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sat May 11, 2013 6:38 pm

2013-05-11T06:53:19+03:00 2013-05-11T06:53:19+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1433&p=6551#p6551 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Wake-up call for America]]>

Paul Balles, Posted on » Saturday, May 11, 2013

I'M tired of politics, of the injustices, the corruption, the assassinations, the gross illegal behaviour of the strong, the plundering of the poor and the indignities wrought on the weak.

While decent working people lose their homes, thanks to Wall Street's Ponzi schemes, the market manipulators pay themselves outrageous million-dollar salaries and bonuses.

Millions of children go hungry as warmongering US Senate crusaders groan and gasp that not enough is spent (wasted) on military interventions around the world.

According to a Pentagon report, the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba - dubbed the most expensive jail on earth - costs Americans $903,614 annually per prisoner.

Meanwhile, millions of children in urban America, urban South America, urban Africa and urban Asia starve while $150 million annually is spent operating Guantanamo.

In a New York Times article, Scott Shane cited an independent review of interrogation and detention that says: "It is indisputable that the US engaged in the practice of torture and that the nation's highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it."

He outlined some of the abuse that took place.

"The CIA not only water-boarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end," he wrote.

Celebrated human rights organisations blabber their disapproval and nobody listens, nobody cares, nobody acts.

Nothing changes except the rich get richer, while prisoners in Guantanamo would rather starve themselves to death than remain innocents locked up under threat of enhanced interrogation.

Politically disenfranchised children waste away without medical care or food, while the US government gladly pours billions of dollars into Israel's military coffers.

America's current agreement elevated Israel's annual aid from $2.4 billion to $3.1bn and Israeli officials expect the follow-on package to provide incremental boosts to nearly $4bn per year.

Eight thousand structurally deficient bridges in America need urgent repair and maintenance, but American politicians ignore dire infrastructure needs while making overtures to buy drones to spy on the public.

During the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US, hundreds of journalists and people with mobile phone cameras were arrested for photographing the actions of police.

Americans are not stupid, but they are ignorant. They've been dumbed down in the schools and at home by the media.

They go off to fight wars in places they've never heard of.

They don't know more than one language; and some don't know that.

When they discover they're going to fight Arabs, their minds respond to the brainwashing they get from Islamophobic films they watch at home.

Anyone who has read Jack Shaheen's Reel Bad Arabs knows that the media has twisted many ignorant American minds.

Not long ago I wrote an article on Americans' love of violence and how part of that comes from violent films they watch, even down to Tom and Jerry cartoons.

In a letter to the editor, one American wrote: "Violence is not actively taught in America nor is it the result of cartoons - the same cartoons are available worldwide."

He forgot to connect gun violence in American films with the availability and popularity of guns in America (and anywhere else America is supplying arms).

The National Rifle Association is fighting its cause by pushing its terrorist message on two fronts: to a Congress that fears a loss of votes and funding and to a public frightened that the government will bring the military down on them.

Wake up America! Stop the injustices! End the corruption! Make politics a patriot's joy for people like me.

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDeta ... yid=353067

Statistics: Posted by semirza — Sat May 11, 2013 6:53 am

2013-05-10T11:59:04+03:00 2013-05-10T11:59:04+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1420&p=6520#p6520 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Machiavelli turning in his grave]]>
Imran's role in Pakistan is even more tremendous than simply bringing about a change in government. His declared aim is to create a nation. And it is on that promise alone, if not for the rest, that we'll cast our vote in his favour tomorrow.

Here we come, Pakistan, in our millions, our past sins of indifference cast aside, to save our beloved homeland at long last.

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Fri May 10, 2013 11:59 am

2013-05-10T08:21:33+03:00 2013-05-10T08:21:33+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1420&p=6517#p6517 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Machiavelli turning in his grave]]>

May 09, 2013
Dr Haider Mehdi

With the general elections in Pakistan only a day away, we, this nation of 180 million people, need to ask some very basic questions and, at the same time, reflect, analyses and understand the significance of our political response (meaning voting behavior) on May 11. Following are some of these important questions:

Trending Discussions
Pakistan expresses concern over unnatural death of Sanaullah: FO
Pakistan expresses concern over unnatural death of ...

• Why is there a mysterious silence by the PPP leadership on the eve of the May 11 elections?
The COAS, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, strongly and enthusiastically supported the
conducting of the polls and the advancement of the democratic process in the
country in his speech at the GHQ. Why did he do so at this particular time? What
motivated the General to deliver such a strong political statement?

•Would the PML-N leadership accept the incumbent President for another five-year term as
the Head of State (that is, if the PML-N wins the election and is in the position to form the
government at the center)? Why has it promised the nation a bullet train from one end of the country to the other?

•Why is it likely that PTI, a newly emerging force on Pakistan's political horizon, might
have a landslide victory on May 11? Would the PTI leadership accept the incumbent
President for another term of office, should PTI win? If not, why not?

Machiavelli, the early 16th century Florentine political guru known for his methods of political expediency, craftiness and duplicity, must be turning in his grave, amazed and utterly surprised at the extent of the PPP Co-Chairman's artfulness in handling "the defense of the realm" with such a remarkable and sleazy approach to possibly carve a political future for himself as President for the next five years.

The President's plan for this ‘imagined’ eventuality goes as follows - the PPP leadership understands that it has nothing to offer the Pakistani electorate based on its performance in the last five years. Then why should they indulge in massive political campaigning - it might turn out to be counterproductive.

A blogger has brilliantly summed up Zardari's political strategy as follows: "President Zardari has been emerging as one of the strongest powerbrokers in the 2013 elections in Pakistan. He has remained successful to keep himself aloof from the ongoing tussle between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, which is now in the critical stage and which is closing the doors for any alliance between Khan and Sharif for the formation of government in the center. Thus, whoever takes most of the seats will solely rely on PPP, which is supposed to get a maximum number of 50 or more seats in the center and a considerable majority in Sindh.

The PPP's bargaining chip in the post-election scenario would possibly be unconditional support to any major party in the center in exchange for accepting Zardari for another five years as the President of Pakistan."

End of story. Triumph over Pakistan's politics of democracy by skillful exploitation of its parliamentary political system and the constitutional flaws within it.
The incumbent President envisions his comeback as the constitutional Head of State. He set the stage for the support of his incumbency in the Senate years ago.

Having said that, the vital question is: Eventually, "Oonth kis karvat baithe ga?" (let's see how the wind blows). Are all of the intermediate political forces going to work in absolute harmony with Zardari's plan? I dare not think so.

Let us move forward to question 2: In the aftermath of Musharraf's debacle, General Kayani has honestly, tirelessly and diligently worked hard during the last five years to restore the armed forces' image and prestige as a vital national institution. His address at the GHQ was an exemplary speech in public diplomacy, responding to the call of the nation and supporting the forces of political change to ensure that the general elections are held at all cost. Good move. Commendable act in the national interest. Congratulations, COAS!

But the vital question, in this context, is: Will the traditional political actors and the status quo oriented forces engage with the military establishment in a meaningful, constructive and productive manner? Will they offer the military leadership enough leverage for the armed forces to continue to carry on with their exclusive constitutional role in the future? That will have to be seen. The fact of the matter is that Pakistan is on extremely shaky ground at the present.

Let us move to question 3: The PML-N quaid is on record to have said that it would be acceptable for him to take the oath of office as PM, if elected, from the incumbent President. That, indeed, in itself explains the party leadership's future political discourse and its strategic vision for the nation. They have termed it "the politics of reconciliation." However, seen from another perspective, it is clearly a "muk muka" strategy for mutual interests; is it not?

The PML-N leadership's promise of a bullet train from Khyber to Karachi is, once again, an echo of a traditional mindset, which believes that the people of Pakistan will respond positively to the symbols of grandiose projects. It seems that it is unaware that such slogans might be considered by people at large as the setting of flawed national priorities. China, the world's second most powerful nation, built a bullet train only last year - nearly seven decades after independence. But first came the people's mass mobilization - nearly full employment and literacy, huge improvements in health and educational facilities, new universities and vocational training sectors, scientific and technological innovation, massive industrialization, and global eminence in trade, diplomacy and commercial enterprises. Are Pakistani citizens, already deprived and suffering from inadequacies of all kinds, so ignorant and unaware of their fundamental requirements that they would prefer grandiose projects over their primary needs? I believe that this doctrine will not work for Pakistan anymore.

The last question: Can PTI win a landslide victory on May 11? Indeed, there are clear indications that it might. PTI advocates a political doctrine of change in the political structure and political culture in Pakistan - an echo of public sentiment in present-day Pakistan. It has demonstrated empowering the citizens by intraparty elections, and giving party tickets to youth and many new entrants in national and provincial politics. It has a straightforward stance on drone attacks, relations with the US, and the end of the so-called war on terror. It has vividly prioritized its economic planning in tune with public demands. And, added to this, is a massive and powerful force of new youthful voters, enhancing its chances to emerge as the leading winner in the polls.

And yet, above all, Imran has surprised everyone, his friends and foes alike, with remarkable and endless determination, synergetic and limitless energy, political campaign management capabilities (imagine six public jalsas in a day) and personal charisma.

Would PTI accept the incumbent President for another term of office? No - the forces of political status quo and the forces of political change have no fundamental or mutual interests to share. End of story. Watch out on May 11. It is your turn to empower yourself. Get my drift?

Postscript: The news of Imran Khan's fall has shocked the nation. Let us all pray for his safety, health and recovery.

The writer is UAE-based academic, policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a masters degree from Columbia University in New York.

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news- ... -his-grave

Statistics: Posted by semirza — Fri May 10, 2013 8:21 am

2013-05-04T15:22:05+03:00 2013-05-04T15:22:05+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1403&p=6464#p6464 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • جنرل پرویز مشرّف....ایک علامت]]>


Statistics: Posted by semirza — Sat May 04, 2013 3:22 pm

2013-05-01T15:02:58+03:00 2013-05-01T15:02:58+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1389&p=6424#p6424 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Long live Pakistan!]]>
Anwar Iqbal


The dust gathers on you, moving up slowly. Feet. Ankles. Knees. You try to wipe your face with sleeves and before you realise you are re-rooted into the soil you left behind so many years ago.

We moved from rally to rally, PML-N, PTI, PPP and JI. All noisy but smaller than previous election rallies. The PTI rallies are bigger than those of others, at least in the cities in Punjab and KPK.


Despite the bomb attacks that have prohibited campaigning in parts of KPK, Balochistan and Karachi, people want elections. And they want it now.

It is so different from what we had expected while returning to Pakistan after a long gap.

Terrorism scares people but it has not paralyzed life, at least not in Punjab. People go about doing their daily chores with a nonchalance that surprises all.

Our fears – although not false – were exaggerated. The country is not about to disappear. It is not about to split into small pieces. No foreign troops are ready to move in to seize its nuclear weapons. And the Taliban are not about to take over Pakistan.

I grew a beard before coming here because I was told that those without are vulnerable. They can be mobbed, lynched and kidnapped. I was wrong.

The overwhelming majority is not bearded. And they move about freely.

I convinced my wife to cover her head while landing at the Islamabad airport. I also asked her not to go out unless it was absolutely necessary.

My fears were unfounded. The number of women working outside their homes has increased dramatically and many of them do not wear hijab. Only few go to professions that are considered safe for women, teaching, medicine and dress-making.

Most go to non-conventional sectors, the air force, army, police, media and law. I also saw women working at gas stations, something unthinkable 10 years ago.

I had also forced my children – all boys – to wear full-sleeved shirts and had hidden away their shorts. But since returning to Pakistan, I have seen hundreds of boys in shorts.

I also saw hundreds of private schools, even in lower middle class neighborhoods. All use English as their medium of instruction. Most of them have more girls than boys. Also, there are more women than men at Pakistani universities.

The Pakistani middle class is alive and well. And while moving in middle class circles, you do not just meet Punjabis and Urdu speakers. There are as many Pashtoons too.

Sindhis and Balochs are also noticeable, although still a small minority. At a recent concert in Islamabad, they outnumbered the Punjabis, although the singer – Arieb – was a Punjabi too.

But this does not mean that all is well. The unemployment is high and under-employment is even higher. There are hundreds of thousands of educated unemployed. They can be recruited by terrorist groups, and some are.

The national economy seems non-functional. The underground economy, which some say is larger than the national economy, is thriving. Smugglers and drug traders have opened new outlets in all major cities for distributing their goods.

This ill-gotten money is then used for constructing new buildings and for making new investments. Some claim that this wealth is also invested in the country’s larger than life electronic media.

The fear of terrorism is always there, even when it is not mentioned. Bomb attacks happen at regular intervals. People quickly move away from the scene and try to forget what they saw.

Their silence is like the silence of the lamb. The butcher moves in, selects a few and slaughters them. Those left behind, quickly fill the gap and continue munching whatever the butcher gave them.

Chairs and tables occupy the place where Punjab’s former governor, Salman Taseer, was killed at Islamabad’s Kohsar market. People admire parrots and parakeets kept in a large cage nearby.

There are no reminders of the assassination that happened two years ago.

While the governor’s murderer, who was once his guard, is still alive and well in his prison cell, Taseer’s son is in the custody of the militants who support the assassin.

They want the governor’s family to forgive the murderer if they want their son back.

This is Pakistan, both weak and strong. Safe and unsafe. Militant and non-militant. Long live Pakistan!

http://beta.dawn.com/news/795040/weak-s ... e-pakistan

Statistics: Posted by semirza — Wed May 01, 2013 3:02 pm

2013-02-11T00:01:41+03:00 2013-02-11T00:01:41+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1143&p=5565#p5565 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: عمران خان اور پنجابی والا ہتھ]]>

Imran's own personal admirer, he should at least listen to him.

Statistics: Posted by resurrected — Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:01 am

2013-02-10T09:56:17+03:00 2013-02-10T09:56:17+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1143&p=5555#p5555 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: عمران خان اور پنجابی والا ہتھ]]>

http://dunya.com.pk/index.php/author/kh ... 7/61946675

Statistics: Posted by pkpolitician — Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:56 am

2013-02-10T00:47:17+03:00 2013-02-10T00:47:17+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1143&p=5548#p5548 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: عمران خان اور پنجابی والا ہتھ]]> Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:47 am

2013-02-09T19:10:48+03:00 2013-02-09T19:10:48+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1148&p=5540#p5540 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Orya Maqbool Jan - Articles]]>
http://www.dunya.com.pk/index.php/autho ... RZgy2eaaZY

Statistics: Posted by semirza — Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:10 pm

2013-02-09T14:18:49+03:00 2013-02-09T14:18:49+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=5537#p5537 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>
http://www.dunya.com.pk/index.php/autho ... RYwEme5Xcs

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:18 pm

2013-02-10T10:00:37+03:00 2013-02-08T22:13:51+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1143&p=5530#p5530 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • عمران خان اور پنجابی والا ہتھ]]>

http://www.columnpk.com/imran-khan-aur- ... rat-javed/

Statistics: Posted by pkpolitician — Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:13 pm

2013-02-07T12:26:42+03:00 2013-02-07T12:26:42+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=5508#p5508 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>
http://e.dunya.com.pk/detail.php?date=2 ... 8_54527898

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:26 pm

2013-02-03T20:53:40+03:00 2013-02-03T20:53:40+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1099&p=5451#p5451 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Why We Hate Pakistani Media]]> http://www.zemtv.com/2013/02/03/us-fund ... ni-actors/

Statistics: Posted by aftab — Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:53 pm

2013-02-02T12:13:01+03:00 2013-02-02T12:13:01+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1119&p=5445#p5445 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Mohamed Hassan Mirzj-English and Urdu Articles]]>
Muhammad Hassan Miraj

For whom the bell tolls

The 16th day of April 1853 is special in the Indian history. The day was a public holiday. At 3:30 pm, as the 21 guns roared together, the first train carrying Lady Falkland, wife of Governor of Bombay, along with 400 special invitees, steamed off from Bombay to Thane.

Ever since the engine rolled off the tracks, there have been new dimensions to the distances, relations and emotions. Abaseen Express, Khyber Mail and Calcutta Mail were not just the names of the trains but the experiences of hearts and souls. Now that we live in the days of burnt and non functional trains, I still have few pleasant memories associated with train travels. These memoirs are the dialogues I had with myself while sitting by the windows or standing at the door as the train moved on. In the era of Cloud and Wi-fi communications, I hope you will like them.



Row No 23, Butler County, Harrisville, Pennsylvania is an address in USA, however, the US Postal Services do not support it. There are no fascinating mortgaged houses of the American dream but rows of orderly laid out graves. These graves, once people, were significant, influential and authoritative. Of all their importance, only tombstones remain. The cemetery is full of life inscribed on stones. An ode to a fallen soldier on some far, far away battle field or a memoir of a young daughter lost to some strange spelling Latin disease; Mary with her innocence on one and Jesus in his pure crucified form on the other. In the 23rd row, Dr Maria White sleeps peacefully, forever loved, forever missed.

On reaching the Sialkot railway station in 1886, Dr Maria had no thoughts of going back. She had left her state and the States for better pursuits in life and joined the Indian mission. She set up her dispensary, which evolved into surgery and eventually into a large medical facility. On the road that carries the heavy name of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mission Hospital is the realisation of Dr Maria`s better pursuits in life. The visitors to the Butler County Cemetery remain minimal but the patients that pass through the gates of Mission Hospital do not do so without saying a silent prayer for Dr Maria.

Involuntarily replacing the “Kh” sound with “Ha” in their routine conversation, people of Sialkot are famous throughout Punjab for their peculiar personality. The bipolar personality carried by the city can be linked to the effect of the twin canals that leave Marala and flow downward for quite some time, hand in hand, like the twin children, or the influence of the adjacent Aik and Daik Nullah. An average Sialkoti, much like his non-resident country men, aspires for development but remains tied to the tradition. At best, he is a proponent of modernity and an exponent of conservatism. This is the reason that having made footballs for entire world, the city plays cricket.

The commerce story of the city is the story of chance and amusement. In 1895, a British officer broke his racquet and could not arrange to ship it back. He decided to get it repaired locally and the result was fairly good. Initially, the strings were manufactured, and then the frames, and soon the officers across India preferred Sialkoti racquets. In the early decades of the 20th century, cricket bats made of imported willow also started appearing in the market. The year of 1922 saw the first export award coming to Sialkot.

The surgical instruments of the Mission dispensary also played the same part in establishing the industry, which the world sees today as the leading industry of surgical instruments. But there is more to what appears in traditions. The earliest of the industry is said to be of the kiln-makers. These Koft-Gars (brick bakers), along with Islam, travelled from Damascus and set up their kilns in the city. Almost all historical buildings in the city were built by these bricks. Other than that, Raja Maan Singh, the valiant Rajput of state of Amber, also introduced paper making to the city. Man Singhi Paper, as it was usually referred to, was famous for many decades before the advent of other types.

The manufacturing skills of the city are not limited to surgical instruments, sports equipments and leather accessories. A street leads from the Trunk Bazaar going straight to Scotland, parting the two are the seven seas and joining the two is the industrious person of Nadeem Bhatti. Pipe band, Glengarry hats and Scottish Kilt have been the identity mark of his family in this street since the last four generations. Once leading soldiers, these Bhattis have now settled for the task of manufacturing pipe bands. They gave up the sword but could not give up their love for metal. The band which once ignited the spirits of Roman legions still sparks the chivalrous hearts of young cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy and the traditional regiments. Other than these pipe bands, the shop offers, quality Scottish kilts that beat any highlander cloth chain. The Caledonian connection is relived in this small shop, thousands of miles away.

The cantonment came to the city in the year of 1849. The place was surveyed by General Napier. The Moughuls left their imprints on Indian history in the form of the Shahi Qila, Shahi Muhallah and Shahi Masjid, similarly, the British left their mark in the form of Company Bagh, Churches and Cantonments. On one of the roads of the cantonment, two churches exist much on the lines of two mosques in one street. The construction of one of the churches was financed by Sheikh Mola Bakhsh of Sialkot. The city’s history does not offer much on whether it was an act of peaceful co-existence or the unfurnished demand of British administration.

In the Trunk Bazar, the clinic of Dr Gurbux Singh, father of Kuldeep Nayer, attended the patients. On the other side was the posh locality of Paris Road, with the residence of Barrister Roy towards the end. Next to it lived Seth Rai Bahadur, up ahead, the Haveli of Ghoolam Qadir and then the Connelly Park housings. All these residences now house government officials. Everything has changed, less the occupants of servant quarters of these houses.

The drawing Hall of Kothi Shiekh Niaz Ahmed has a show case of rare items. A ceramic sugar pot in that closet carries the mark, Ghoolam Qadir and Sons. There are no traces of Ghoolam Qadir and his sons anywhere in the city now. On inquiring further, it was revealed that Ghoolam Qadir was the largest store in Northern India. The clientele included the British officers of the cantonment and the Maharaja of Kashmir, Sialkot Club and Officers mess of Simla. From Cheese to fishing rods and English Jacquard to Chinese Silk, Ghoolam Qadir and sons, never said no to a customer. Ghoolam Qadir carried such a larger than life image that when the foundation stone of the Clock Tower was being laid, only two names appeared with the consensus of both communities: Ghoolam Qadir and Seth Rai Bahadur. The merchandise closed due to property litigation amongst the successors in 1970. The inheritance finally ate up the legacy.

Oberoi Sports was the largest sports shop in the city. Its owner Ganda Singh had employed Khwaja Hakim Deen, who attended all business. Factories, freight, labor, wages, raw material and finished goods were all managed by one man, Khwaja Hakim Deen. The industry has evolved a lot now, every house is a manufacturing unit and every street has online trading facility, the dry ports further facilitate the issue, with this network in place nobody really misses Hakim Deen and Ganda Singh, Oberoi sports could not be located.

The shrine of Imam Ali ul Haq satiates the city spiritually. He was a disciple of Hazrat Ali Hajveri of Lahore and a renowned saint of the area. Colorful cut glass, Quranic inscriptions and dervishes impart an aura of divinity to this building. Faithful devotees crowd the place throughout the day but the strange thing is that most of the visitors come here in gratitude rather in need.

In this city of brick bakers, industrialists, generals and traders, the money is minted alongside hourglass, but there are other faces of the city too. The way Dr Maria of the Mission Hospital healed bodies with her medicine, a lecturer of Murray College, Umera Ahmed, soothes the heart with her writings. The earlier has left Sialkot and is still missed but the latter lives in Sialkot and is still missed. Before the train whistled from Sialkot, a son asked his father, “What is common between educating and healing?”

The father replied, “There are two kinds which benefit the human being, one is the doctor that heals and the other is the teacher that teaches …that is the reason the prophets are mostly teachers or doctors…”

The author is a federal government employee.

Following is Urdu translation of the same article:

ہندوستان کی سر زمین پہ سولہ اپریل ۱۸۵۳ کے دن پہلی بار ریل چلی تھی۔ جس طرح پل بنانے والے نے دریا کے اس پار کا سچ اس پار کے حوالے کیا ، اسی طرح ریل کے انجن نے فاصلوں کو نیا مفہوم عطا کیا۔ اباسین ایکسپریس ، کلکتہ میل اور خیبر میل صرف ریل گاڑیوں کے نام نہیں بلکہ ہجر، فراق اور وصل کے روشن استعارے تھے۔

اب جب باؤ ٹرین جل چکی ہے ا ور شالیمار ایکسپریس بھی مغلپورہ ورکشاپ کے مرقد میں ہے، میرے ذہن کے لوکوموٹیو شیڈ میں کچھ یادیں بار بار آگے پیچھے شنٹ کر رہی ہیں۔ یہ وہ باتیں ہیں جو میں نے ریل میں بیٹھ کر تو کبھی دروازے میں کھڑے ہو کر خود سے کی ہیں۔وائی فائی اور کلاؤڈ کے اس دور میں، میں امید کرتا ہوں میرے یہ مکالمے آپ کو پسند آئیں گے۔

قطار نمبر ۳۲، بٹلر کاؤنٹی بھی ایک طرح کا پتہ ہے، فرق صرف یہ ہے کہ امریکی ریاست پنسلوانیا کے اس پتے پر کوئی چٹھی نہیں آتی، شاید اس لئے کہ یہاں خوبصورت گھر نہیں بس قطاروں میں بنی قبریں ہیں۔

کوئی وقت ہو گا کہ یہ لوگ بہت اہم ہوتے ہوں گے، معتبر، وقت کی دھڑکن روک دینے والے، مگر اب یہ محض بے جان کتبے ہیں، جو تعارف کے بوجھ سے جھکے جاتے ہیں۔

کسی سل پہ محاذ میں مارے جانے والے نوجوان سپاہی کا نوحہ ہے، تو کوئی کمسن بیٹی کا مرثیہ چٹان پہ چھوڑ گیا ہے، کہیں مریم کی گود میں معصومیت ہے اور کہیں عیسیٰ مصلوب ہیں! انہی پتھروں میں تئیسویں قطار میں ڈاکٹر ماریا وائٹ ابدی نیند سو رہی ہیں۔

۶۱۸۸۱ میں سیالکوٹ کے ریلوے اسٹیشن پہ اترنے والی ڈاکٹر ماریا، ہندوستان کو اپنا دیس بنانے آئی تھیں۔ شہر سے باہر ایک خاموش مقام پہ انہوں نے اپنی ڈسپنسری بنائی اور خلق خدا کی خدمت شروع کر دی۔ ڈسپنسری نے سرجری کا روپ دھارا اور دیکھتے ہی دیکھتے ایک اسپتال بن گیا۔

ایوان صنعت و تجارت پہ اندر کی جانب واقع، مشن اسپتال داکٹر ماریا کا ہی خواب ہے۔ بٹلر کاؤنٹی کی قبر پہ کوئی پھول رکھے یا نا رکھے، مشن ہسپتال سے شفا پانے والے سینکڑوں مریض روزانہ اپنے اپنے خدا سے ماریا کی مغفرت مانگتے ہیں۔

گفتگو کے دوران ’’خ‘‘ کو ’’ح‘‘ بولنے والے سیالکوٹ کے لوگ پنجاب بھر میں اپنے منفرد مزاج کی بدولت مشہور ہیں۔ یہ ان جڑواں نہروں کا اثر ہے جو مرالہ سے نکلتی ہیں اور توام بچوں کی طرح دیر تک ایک دوسرے کے ساتھ چلتی ہیں یا ایک اور ڈیک نالہ کا اعجاز ہے، شہر کے مزاج میں بہر حال، دو پانی اکٹھے بہتے ہیں۔

ترقی یافتہ ممالک میں آباد برصغیر کے باسیوں کی طرح یہ شہر بھی دوج کا شکار ہے۔ آگے بڑھنے کا خواہشمند اور پیچھے رہ جانے کا دلدادہ، ترقی کا معترف اور روائت پہ جان دینے والا۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ شہر میں پوری دنیا کے لئے فٹبال بنتے ہیں، مگر پورا شہر کرکٹ کھیلتا ہے۔

صنعت اور تجارت کا قصہ بھی بہت عجیب ہے۔ کہتے ہیں ۱۸۹۵ میں کسی چھاؤنی والے صاحب کا ریکٹ ٹوٹ گیا۔ مرمت کے لئے پردیس بھجوانا ممکن نہیں تھا لہٰذا انہوں نے یہیں کسی کاریگر کو آزمانے کا فیصلہ کیا۔ پہلے ریکٹ کے تار بننا شروع ہوئے، پھر فریم اور آہستہ آہستہ ہندوستان بھر کے صاحب، سیالکوٹ کے ریکٹ استعمال کرنے لگے۔بیسویں صدی کی پہلی دہائی میں انگریزی لکڑی سے کرکٹ کے بلے بننے لگے اور ۱۹۲۲ میں سیالکوٹ کے حصے میں پہلا ایکسپورٹ ایوارڈ آیا۔

ایسے ہی مشن ڈسپنسری کے کچھ جراحی کے آلات کند ہوئے تو مرمت کے لئے شہر آئے، دھیرے دھیرے پورے ہندوستان کے مشن ہسپتال اپنا سامان سیالکوٹ بھجوانے لگے۔ مرمت کا سلسلہ آگے بڑھا تو سامان تیار بھی ہونا شروع ہو گیا۔ پھر مصر، عرب اور افغانستان کے اسپتالوں میں سامان جانے لگا اور اب یہ عالم ہے کہ ایک عالم ان آلات سے شفا پاتا ہے۔

مگر تاریخ اس شہر کا صنعت سے رشتہ اس سے بھی پرانا بتاتی ہے۔ کہتے ہیں حملہ آوروں کے ساتھ جب اسلام آیا تو دمشق کے کوفت گر بھی ساتھ ہی چلے آئے۔ ان کی بنائی ہوئی اینٹیں، اب شہر کی ہر تاریخی عمارت کا بوجھ اٹھائے ہوئے ہیں۔

امبر کے راجہ مان سنگھ سوائے نے شہر والوں کو کاغذ بنانے کا طریقہ سکھایا تو کئی دہائیوں تک مان سنگھی کاغذ شہر کی پہچان رہا۔

کھیلوں کے سامان، جراحی کے آلات اور چمڑے کی اشیاء کے علاوہ بھی سیالکوٹ میں بہت کچھ بنتا ہے۔ ٹرنک بازار سے نکلنے والی گلی سیدھی سکاٹ لینڈ جا کر رکتی ہے۔ ان دو جگہوں کے بیچ سات سمندر تو ہیں ہی، ندیم بھٹی کے نام کا پل بھی ہے۔

پائپ بینڈ اور سکاٹ لینڈ کا ثقافتی پہناوا، چار خانوں والی کلٹ، پچھلی چار نسلوں سے اس گلی کی پہچان ہے۔ جنگ میں آگے آگے رہنے والے ان بھٹیوں سے تلوار تو چھوٹ گئی مگر دھات نہیں چھوٹ سکی۔

رومی سپاہ کے خون میں ولولہ پیدا کرنے والی دھنیں، جس پائپ بینڈ سے نکلتی تھیں اب بھی وہ بینڈ جب ’’ اے مرد مجاہد جاگ ذرا ‘‘ کی دھن بجاتا ہے تو فوج سے برگشتہ دل بھی ایک لمحے کو دھڑکتے ضرور ہیں۔ ندیم بھٹی پائپ بینڈ کا سارا سامان بناتے ہیں، دھنوں کے اس دھندے کے علاوہ ان کی بنائی ہوئی کلٹ سکاٹ لینڈ میں خاصی مقبول ہے۔

۱۸۹۴ میں شہر میں چھاؤنی بنی، نیپئر روڈ والے جنرل نیپئر نے یہ جگہ منتخب کی اور وزیر آباد سے چھاؤنی یہاں منتقل ہو گئی۔ جس طرح مغل بادشاہ، شاہی قلعے، شاہی محلے اور شاہی مسجد سے اپنے اقتدار کی شناخت بناتے تھے، اسی طرح انگریز راج نے بھی چھاؤنی، کمپنی باغ اور چرچ تعمیر کر کے ہندوستان پہ اپنے دستخط چھوڑے۔

چھاؤنی کی ایک سڑک پہ دو چرچ بھی موجود ہیں، عین ممکن ہے کہ جس طرح جمعے کے خطبے میں ایک ہی گلی کے دو امام اپنی اپنی مساجد سے ’’میرے محبوب‘‘ کی تکرار بلند کرتے ہوں، اسی طرح ان دو کلیساؤں کے پادری بھی اتوار کے روز ’’میرے مسیح‘‘ کا دعویٰ کرتے ہوں۔

عجیب بات بہر طور یہ ہے کہ چھاؤنی کے اس چرچ کی تعمیر کا سارا خرچ شیخ مولا بخش نے اٹھایا۔ یہ شیخ مولا بخش کی رواداری تھی یا فوج کی ان کہی خواہش، اس کا ذکر البتہ کہیں نہیں ملتا۔

ٹرنک بازار میں کلدیپ نائر کے والد ، ڈاکٹر گوربخش کا کلینک تھا۔ دوسری طرف پیرس روڈ پہ بیرسٹر رائے کی کوٹھی تھی، ساتھ میں سیٹھ رائے بہادر کا احاطہ اور پاس میں غلام قادر کی حویلی ان سب سے تھوڑا آگے کونیلی پارک کے عالیشان بنگلے۔ ان تمام کوٹھیوں، احاطوں، حویلیوں اور بنگلوں میں اب سرکاری افسران کے گھر ہیں۔ سرونٹ کوارٹروں کے مکینوں کے سوا، سب کچھ بدل گیا ہے۔

کوٹھی شیخ نیاز احمد کے ڈراینگ ہال میں نادر اشیاء ایک شیشے کی الماری میں پڑی ہیں۔ ان میں ایک چینی دان کے اوپر غلام قادر اینڈ سنز لکھا ہے۔ شہر میں ڈھونڈا تو نہ غلام قادر ملے اور نہ ہی سنز.

پرانے لوگوں سے بات چیت ہوئی تو معلوم پڑا کہ غلام قادر اینڈ سنز، شمالی ہندوستان کا سب سے بڑا جنرل سٹور ہوا کرتا تھا۔ چھاؤنی کے افسران سے کشمیر کے مہاراجہ تک اور سیالکوٹ کے کلب سے شملہ کے میس تک تمام سامان یہیں سے خریدا جاتا تھا۔

غلام قادر سیالکوٹ کی اتنی مقبول شخصیت تھے کہ جب گھنٹہ گھر کی بنیاد رکھنے کا وقت آیا تو سارے شہر سے صرف دو نام متفقہ طور پہ سامنے آئے۔ سیٹھ رائے بہادر اور غلام قادر۔ سن ۱۹۸۰میں جائداد کے جھگڑے اتنے بڑھے کہ غلام قادر اینڈ سنز بند ہو گئی۔ کسی کی زندگی کا سرمایہ کسی کی یادوں کے سرمائے کو نگل گیا۔

شہر میں کھیلوں کے سامان کی سب سے بڑی دوکان اوبرائے اسپورٹس تھی۔ سردار گنڈا سنگھ کا یہ کاروبار فیکٹریوں سے مزدوروں اور تنخواہوں سے دوکانوں تک، خواجہ حاکم دین سنبھالتے تھے۔ اب گھر گھر سامان بنتا ہے، گلی گلی انٹرنیٹ پہ بکتا ہے اور شہر شہر ڈرائی پورٹ سے روانہ ہوتا ہے۔ اتنے بڑے نیٹ ورک کو نہ گنڈا سنگھ چاہئے نہ خواجہ حاکم دین۔

ایک طرف حضرت امام علی الحق کا مزار ہے۔ داتا صاحب کے اس خلیفہ کے اس حصے میں یہ تعارف ہے کہ آپ نے اس خطے میں اسلام کی شمع روشن کی۔ شیشوں سے مرصع قرانی آیات اور جذب سے سرشار درویش مزار کی فضا کو ایک کیفیت عطا کرتے ہیں۔ سارا دن زائرین کا تانتا بندھا رہتا ہے ۔ دلچسپ بات مگر یہ ہے کہ اس مرقد پہ زیادہ تر لوگ تشکر کے جذبے سے آتے ہیں تمنا کی کشش سے نہیں۔

کوفت گروں، صنعت کاروں، تاجروں اور سپہ سالاروں کے اس شہر میں ہر طرف مایا داس، مٹی کو سونا بنانے میں مصروف ہیں، مگر شہر کے کچھ اور چہرے بھی ہیں۔

جس طرح مشن ہسپتال کی ڈاکٹر ماریا اپنی دواؤں سے لوگوں کے جسم پہ مرہم رکھتی تھیں اسی طرح مرے کالج کی ایک لیکچرار عمیرہ احمد اپنی تحریر سے لوگوں کے دل مندمل کرتی ہیں۔ ایک سیالکوٹ سے جا کر بھی سیالکوٹ سے گئیں نہیں اور دوسری سیالکوٹ میں رہتے ہوئے بھی سیالکوٹ میں نہیں رہتیں۔

ٹرین چلنے لگی تو ایک بیٹے نے اپنے باپ سے پوچھا کہ وید اور ودیا کا کیا رشتہ ہے۔ بابا بولے ’’انسان کو دو لوگ فیض پہنچاتے ہیں، شفا دینے والا طبیب اور علم دینے والا استاد۔ شائد اسی لئے زیادہ تر انبیاء طبیب ہو گزرے یا استاد۔۔۔‘‘

مصنف وفاقی ملازم ہیں۔[/b][/size]

Statistics: Posted by semirza — Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:13 pm

2013-01-27T21:30:28+03:00 2013-01-27T21:30:28+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1099&p=5371#p5371 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Why We Hate Pakistani Media]]>
In a recent post titled “How much do you hate Pakistan’s media?” in “The Express Tribune Blog”, alternative media especially Facebook pages were targeted. The closing line of this post was “But what else could we expect? The media as an institution is after all, a mirror of the society it is operating in”. This is perfectly true and that’s what Alternative Media and the viewers are crying about. That is also the answer for “why we hate Pakistani Media?” Mainstream Media should be the mirror of society it is operating in but our media became the mirror of India and Turkey. It’s projecting their images, their plays, their stories, their views, their social values into our society. This reaction can also be found in the comments on this post. 75-80% agreed to the contents of alternative media. Question is not “How much we hate Pakistan’s media” the question is “Why we hate Pakistani Media”.

Ideologies of MM (Mainstream Media) and AM (Alternative Media)

To get a clear view of Ideologies of MM and AM it is important to refer to the ideology of Pakistan. Pakistan’s Ideology was based on the vision of its Founding Fathers, every nation crafts its National Purpose and vision on the basis of the vision given to them by their founding fathers, For Pakistan, it is without a doubt, the “Two Nation Theory” which meant being a separate nation. Muslims have their own religion, their own civilization, their own customs, their own culture and a totally different way of life from other religions, cultures, customs and traditions. Like any other distinct nation, Muslims also cannot be merged or sub-merged in or under any other nation because their philosophy of life is based on the principles of Islam, their religion, to which they refer as the complete code of life.

Social media is mainly an instrument not used by “Mass Media outlets”, who are busy in “perception management” through their instruments, it is crowded and “owned” by the same public, that Mainstream media claims to mirror itself. This domain of the public, strictly follows the Ideology and identity of Pakistan given to them by their founding fathers, and when this same public feels that Mainstream Media is not doing due justice, they jump in to do the job themselves.

On the other side the ‘two nation theory’ itself is criticized by SAFMA journalists by saying that the ‘two nation theory’ is not valid after the separation of East Pakistan, though, despite of rifts in between SAFMA journalists, we see that they are quite consistent on this one point agenda, “Change the Identity of Pakistan”. Unfortunately, in the name of enlightment and progressive approach, these media outlets are promoting, things that our society is not accepting. Hence, a clash of interest is visible between the two entities.

http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/201 ... QVxnsV8sQs

Statistics: Posted by aftab — Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:30 pm

2013-01-27T20:50:05+03:00 2013-01-27T20:50:05+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1097&p=5369#p5369 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Ride to the moon]]>
The first is that if those in power are bent upon fooling the nation, they can do so with utmost success and without much challenge — especially, if the fraud is incrusted with bewitching slogans of revolution and democracy. The so-called revolution at core was an attempt to activate a particular type of religious vote bank in the heartland of Punjab that would benefit the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), whose fortunes in this politically powerful province are fairly precarious. Since their opponent, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, seems to be drawing on the strength of more hardcore Deobandi and Alh-e-Hadith voters, the softer religious variant, the Barelvis, could be given a cause to rally around the PML-Q-PPP combine. This primarily explains the overflowing enthusiasm of the Q leadership to champion the cause of the Long March Declaration, whose real worth is less than the paper it is typed on. The international backing to this illusory tale of fictional revolution of the people, by the people and for the people, had to be there because a ‘softer mullah’ holds irresistible charm for the policy of promoting (or inserting) winning moderates in the world of Islam. So, it came to be — the four-day long saga, with its dazzling contradictions and exceptional media hype. In the beginning, even the most educated among us thought it to be real: such is the desperation to find an instant solution to our wide-ranging problems. They thought the day of final judgement is finally upon this terrible system of pelf-based on plunder, not realising that the system is so well-entrenched that no individual — certainly not Dr Qadri — shall ever be in a position of holding it to account.

The second lesson is that this nation cannot take to be true all that appears on the media. This industry, like all industries, always had flaws and shortcomings. Long before television invaded national life, the seemingly serene waters of print journalism had terrible troubles of dishonesty and rigged news swirling just beneath. Editorials could be hatchet jobs and opinion pieces could be full of crochets because the writer was bought off. With the advent of private television, these chronic frailties have now become a full-blown disease. It spreads like an epidemic once triggered by devious individuals and their equally dubious money. The grand benefits of good messages reaching out to millions in no time, which cannot be denied, now have an equally weighty downside: propaganda overwhelming the market of opinion. Barring a few exceptions, the media, by and large, behaved like the unsuspecting crowd on the road that swayed and swirled to the high-sounding oratory of Dr Qadri. Acutely aware of the need to have the eyes and ears of the media permanently available to him, the passionate cleric made it a point to halt tackling even the most revered and sacred subjects if he found out that a messy wire had deprived a certain section of people to his sound or picture. His was a media show. The media gave him the stage to do the show. D-Chowk was the studio with 50 cameras rolling. Dr Qadri was the anchor with four-days airtime guaranteed.

There is not enough information available with me to suggest that this exceptional coverage was due to the money-factor. It could just be poor editorial judgement, which is quite possible, considering how little thought goes into news planning these days. Or it could just be competition. One heavy-hitter takes up a subject so the other one must follow suit, and so on. Political and sectarian leanings could also be a factor. It is amazing how deeply-rooted such biases have become in our media system and how audacious is our pretension that we are safe from such parochial divisions. The reality is that staff gets hired and fired on the basis of sectarian leanings and newsrooms and editorial boards are filled with party affinities, and yet, they all wear the garb of being unbiased and pass themselves as balanced journalists. Dr Qadri, endorsed by the MQM, appealed to a certain category of the media and they deified him. But money, too, was there. The ads, the paid content, the soft interviews and the celebrations at the ‘positive culmination’ of the Long March could not just be the result of lack of professionalism and unsound editorial judgement. These carried the unmistakable ideogram of cash at work.

The third lesson is that if you want to avoid the pain of being led up the garden path by a clever cleric, a fake revolutionary, a deceiving democrat, a misleading leader and a (potentially) misdirected media, use your own judgement, arrived at through careful study of individuals and their backgrounds. This place has become a gangster’s paradise. Sifting the good from the bad requires application of mind. Without this resource, the next container ride will take you to the moon and drop you from there.


Statistics: Posted by aftab — Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:50 pm

2013-01-11T20:26:42+03:00 2013-01-11T20:26:42+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1054&p=5133#p5133 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Questions on National Agenda]]>
A: The Auditor General of Pakistan has told the Public Accounts Committee that he has “ordered to conduct an inquiry regarding an audit report which mentioned that Minister for Railways had been using 51 official vehicles.”

Q: Do we as a nation want to continue with an electoral doctrine that allows the prime minister to divert Rs50 billion from development projects to his discretionary fund just before a general election?

A: The Ministry of Finance has slashed Rs17 billion from various developmental projects and diverted the money to Prime Minister’s discretionary fund. Budget 2012-13 had allocated Rs22 billion for the Prime Minister’s discretionary fund but that entire amount was consumed in the first three months of the fiscal year.

Q: Do we as a nation want an economic doctrine that allows PIA to loose Rs70 million a day every day of the year?

A: PIA’s half yearly report titled “Flying towards a prosperous future” reports that liabilities went up from Rs62 billion in 2005 to Rs200 billion in 2009.

PIA’s annual report titled “We stand for national values” reports that net losses at PIA have gone up from Rs4.4 billion in 2005 to Rs35 billion in 2008. At Pakistan Railways, the overdraft now floats around a hefty Rs48 billion. We desperately need a Public Sector Turnaround Strategy (PSTS).

Q: Do we want an electoral doctrine that allows the chief minister of Balochistan to disburse Rs300 million to MPAs just before elections?

A: In November 2012, Mehmood Khan Achakzai filed a petition at the Supreme Court of Pakistan to stop the disbursement of Rs19.5 billion to 65 members of the Balochistan Assembly on the orders of the chief minister.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2 ... nal-Agenda

I nearly fell off my chair when i read the following: "The Auditor General of Pakistan has told the Public Accounts Committee that he has “ordered to conduct an inquiry regarding an audit report which mentioned that Minister for Railways had been using 51 official vehicles."

Good God.......

Statistics: Posted by aftab — Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:26 pm

2013-01-05T14:11:55+03:00 2013-01-05T14:11:55+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1031&p=5057#p5057 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Talat's latest column - 5.1.13]]>

http://express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindo ... e=20130105

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:11 pm

2013-01-02T19:57:41+03:00 2013-01-02T19:57:41+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=1008&p=4997#p4997 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Dynastic politics]]>
Hafez al-Assad, the ninth president of Syria, was succeeded by Bashar al-Assad, the tenth president of Syria.

India has produced the only grandfather-daughter-grandson prime ministers; Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. General Ziaur Rahman and Begum Khaleda Zia have both ruled Bangladesh. PM Sheikh Hasina is President Mujibur Rahman’s daughter.

In Sri Lanka, PM Solomon Bandaranaike and his widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike were both prime ministers. Chandrika Kumaratunga, Bandaranaike’s daughter, served as the fifth president of Sri Lanka.

In Nepal, Girija Prasad Koirala, Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala and Matrika Prasad Koirala – brothers – have all been prime ministers.

Somehow, dynastic politics and poverty tend to coexist. According to the World Bank’s poverty headcount ratio at $2 a day, 68.7 percent of India’s population is poor. In Bangladesh, 76.5 percent of the population is poor. The poverty headcount in Nepal and Pakistan is 57.3 percent and 60.2 percent, respectively.

Somehow, dynastic politics and illiteracy also tend to coexist. According to Unesco, the rate of adult literacy in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh is 44 percent, 41.5 percent and 41.1 percent, respectively. Somehow, dynastic politics breed either poverty or illiteracy or both.

In Pakistan, look at the province of Sindh. Larkana, for instance, has produced two prime ministers but 43.33 percent of Larkana’s residents live below poverty and the literacy rate is a pathetic 32 percent.

Badin is National Assembly speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza’s constituency and Badin’s literacy rate of 23 percent is even lower than Larkana’s. Shikarpur and Thatta are two of the poorest districts in Sindh where half of the population actually lives in poverty.

Zoom into the province of Punjab. Jhelum, where the incidence of poverty is only three percent, is the ‘least poor district’ in Punjab.

Next in line are Gujrat, Chakwal, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad where the incidence of poverty is in single digits.

Rajanpur, barely five hundred kilometres from Jhelum, is the poorest district in Punjab. Guess why? Then there’s Muzaffargarh and D G Khan where the incidence of poverty is 40 percent. Answer: These are all strongholds of Legharis, Mazaris, Khosas, Dreshaks and Khars.

Somehow, illiteracy and poverty also tend to coexist. Of all the districts in Pakistan, Naseerabad, Jhal Magsi, Kohlu, Dera Bugti, Kohistan and Musa Khel have the lowest rates of literacy. Incidentally, these are the districts that are also the poorest.

Dynastic politics is the strongest where political institutions are weak and personalities dominate; and where political parties refuse to transform from family fiefdoms to genuine political institutions.

Dynastic politics is all about political exclusion, which results in economic exclusion – and widespread poverty.

Historically, South Asia has been the most prone to dynastic politics. Well, there are 1.7 billion poor people in the world. Ever wondered why 51 percent of all the poor in the world live in South Asia?

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9 ... c-politics

Statistics: Posted by aftab — Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:57 pm

2012-12-31T12:48:47+03:00 2012-12-31T12:48:47+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=999&p=4964#p4964 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Goodbye 2012]]> We shouldn’t be very excited about Kiyani, CJ, Zardari and prime minister going away during 2013 either, who knows what kind of imbeciles we'll chose as our representatives, if the chance is ever given.Wo can tell what they will do in the selection of next president? Have we erased the memories of last elections with obvious horsetrading?
The writer keeps forgetting that leaders are made of people and for that reason can’t be different than those they represent. He is praising BB and seems to be certain that she intended to bring about some great change. On what he base this assumption is unknown though. Why Zardari has to work for her dream even if that what the writers says is true? Hasn’t the widower and inheritor of the party more important task of collecting money for his coming generations?
Yes, the 2013 will be a vital year for Pakistan, when we all will struggle hard to change the tables but how this will take place remains hidden in fog surrounding the future events!

Statistics: Posted by resurrected — Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:48 pm

2012-12-31T09:32:41+03:00 2012-12-31T09:32:41+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=999&p=4962#p4962 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Goodbye 2012]]>
Anjum Niaz

The new normal should be authenticity.

Why do you think the world cares for Malala Yousafzai? Why would it want her as Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year?’ She came in a close second to Obama, beating the Apple CEO who was 3rd. Pakistanis know the answer. They acknowledge her chutzpah in defying the Taliban. Malala’s victory has swung open the doors for an ‘architect of new Pakistan.’ Someone authentic like herself. Wait we will have to until late next year when the ‘Big Four’ exit. They have merely pulled Pakistan in different directions.

If Barack Obama can be called the ‘architect of new America’ and bag the ‘Person of the Year’ title, who in Pakistan can engineer change? “We’ve gone through a very difficult time,” Obama told Time magazine’s editors. “The American people have rightly been frustrated at the pace of change, and the economy is still struggling, and this President we elected is imperfect, and yet, despite all that, this is who we want to be. That’s a good thing. All right?”

Obama has the humility to call himself “imperfect.” This word, I believe, is unknown to the Pakistani ‘Big Four.’ Visiting Malala in the hospital in England as President Zardari recently did is a ‘photo-op’ moment. He wants to look good. Owner of castles and mansions and penthouses scattered in Europe and US, a mere gesture like a hospital visit for a wounded school girl from Swat is next to nothing.
Pakistani people want smart, sincere and straight talking leaders. They have lived with empty gestures and words for too long.

Leaders who sponge on the nation’s wealth. Authenticity is what they crave for the chiefs at the wheel driving the executive, legislative, judiciary and defence. Ensconced in the Presidency, Prime Minister’s house, Supreme Court and the Army House, the ‘Big Four’ have exhausted their energies in a power-wrangle game instead of lifting the life of their citizens.

The first to go in 2013 is Zardari (September,) followed by General Kayani (November) and last is Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary (December). As for the prime minister — heaven knows how many more we will suffer in one year. Unsung the chiefs will depart. The zero-sum game each played would have ended in the total of all their gains and losses in a zero!

The losers would be the 200 million Pakistanis.

Flashback to a December five years ago when Pakistan lost its last flicker of faith — Benazir Bhutto. She pledged to change herself and the country she failed twice as the prime minister. We waited to be rescued after a 10-year reign of terror by Zia; instead the nation got ripped; it is national wealth stolen. This time BB arrived alone. She died leaving her promise invalidated. Her husband, we were told, was to carry on her mission.

Asif Zardari, had he wanted, could have fulfilled his wife’s wish and earned the blessings of a people living with crushed hopes for far too long. He took the wrong road; not the one BB had vowed to take.

When tragedy strikes, the burden to envelop the nation under one giant umbrella of comfort falls on one person — the president and the supreme commander.

Priming to say goodbye to 2012, the Americans have within a span of two months been twice knocked out by the name ‘Sandy.’

Imagine how a name can sometime be an ill omen. The superstitious among us often thump out the Urdu word munhoose (someone or something that brings bad luck) when hit by a catastrophe or a tragedy. Hurricane Sandy arrived on the East Coast of America on October 29, destroying everything in its path killing more than 100 people, leaving communities in coastal New York and New Jersey homeless. The loss, still being calculated, is in billions.

Federal and state governments were on hand to help the Sandy victims. President Obama along with mayors and governors of New York and New Jersey worked tirelessly to save lives, provide shelter and offer assistance to the neediest. Their visits to the destroyed areas were not photo-ops like the Pakistani leaders whose main motivation is to be accompanied by TV crews and press photographers. But our citizenry is not fooled anymore. The masses see their leaders not as their protectors but empty vassals heavily dependent on the title that props them and the moneybags they own. Strip them of power and their wealth, you will find under their overconfident façade a fraudster.
With Sandy behind Americans, a week later, the television cameras trained themselves on the victory that Obama triumphed.

Twice in two months — after his re-election and the death of 20 kindgarteners, the cameras focused on Obama choke up; hold back his tears that still rolled down as he tried wiping them with his fingers when overcome with emotion. The name ‘Sandy’ struck yet again when a deranged 20-year-old Adam Lanza first killed his mother with the guns she kept at home, then drove off in her car to Sandy Hook Elementary school and massacred 26 in a blink of an eye.
President Obama wept at the news conference immediately after hearing the killings and later when he flew one Sunday to spend private time with the bereaved families. He hugged the parents; kissed their kids and held toddlers in his arms. It was not a president but a father who grieved their loss. Later at the vigil, President Obama broke down as he mentioned each dead child’s name.

Yes, even presidents of America cry. And they are not ashamed of the tears that freely fall from their eyes. Have you ever seen a president or any other big gun in Pakistan cry? Personally, I have no recollection of seeing such an image. In fact it’s the opposite: when Zia hanged Bhutto, his eyes glittered with cruelty; when Zia perished without a trace in a plane crash, none cried except PTV anchor Azhar Lodhi. Watching Lodhi during the so-called funeral procession-turned-tamasha, was the biggest pain in the neck! The man couldn’t stop howling.

One cannot predict good tidings for Pakistan as the year turns and becomes 2013. Until and unless the ‘Big Four’ fade into the sunset, the narrative remains unchanged. The storyline as I have explained is called the ‘Zero sum game’ enacted by each player whose grand total comes to a zippo!

An authentic game changer is what Pakistan requires urgently.


Statistics: Posted by semirza — Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:32 am

2012-12-23T16:09:00+03:00 2012-12-23T16:09:00+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=963&p=4838#p4838 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Dr Qadri's jalsa: Delay 2013 elections?]]> http://www.columnpk.com/dr-tahir-ul-qad ... more-93869

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:09 pm

2012-12-20T21:01:18+03:00 2012-12-20T21:01:18+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=943&p=4804#p4804 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: SBP’s Russian roulette?]]>
http://www.sbp.org.pk/reports/annual/ar ... ucture.pdf

Statistics: Posted by aftab — Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:01 pm

2012-12-20T19:48:10+03:00 2012-12-20T19:48:10+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=943&p=4801#p4801 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: SBP’s Russian roulette?]]> Statistics: Posted by aftab — Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:48 pm

2012-12-20T13:54:20+03:00 2012-12-20T13:54:20+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=943&p=4793#p4793 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: SBP’s Russian roulette?]]> Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:54 pm

2012-12-20T02:07:13+03:00 2012-12-20T02:07:13+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=943&p=4785#p4785 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: SBP’s Russian roulette?]]>
Should we turn the gun around?

Statistics: Posted by stingingnettle — Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:07 am

2012-12-19T01:20:27+03:00 2012-12-19T01:20:27+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=943&p=4770#p4770 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • SBP’s Russian roulette?]]>
There’s a complete consensus that a “central bank’s primary responsibility is to employ monetary policy independently to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability” and that “independence (is the) essential element of effective central banking.”

Under the ‘Core functions of State Bank of Pakistan’, set by the SBP itself, the central bank has “full and exclusive authority....to regulate the banking sector, to conduct an independent monetary policy and to set limit on government borrowings.....”

In July 2012, the SBP disclosed that “from July 30, 2011 till June 1, 2012, the government borrowed Rs1280 billion from banks as compared to Rs645 billion during the previous year.” That amounts to a year-over-year increase of 100 percent.

In November 2012, the SBP revealed that the government had borrowed Rs561 billion as of October 19. For the record, the comparative figure from the last corresponding period stood at Rs185 billion – an enormous increase of 200 percent.

Now consider this: between July 2011 and Dec 2012, the SBP has slashed its discount rate at least five times from 14 percent to 9.5 percent. Imagine; the government is borrowing like crazy and the SBP is actively accommodating all that borrowing. Clearly, the SBP has lost any pretence of independence.

Our central bank claims that a lower rate of inflation justifies the consecutive cuts in the discount rate. According to the IMF’s Public Information Notice (PIN) of November 29, “Headline inflation has decelerated recently, but is likely to return to low double digits by the end of 2012/13.” Central bankers are supposed to be ahead of the curve – not behind.

Evidently, the SBP has gone completely partisan (read: politicised) and the only thing that SBP’s monetary policy is doing is accommodating the government’s Rs2 trillion deficit (the deficit stands at a hefty 8.5 percent of the GDP).

The SBP’s politicisation spells nothing but disaster – a disaster in the form of capital flight, further weakening of the rupee, an increase in debt burden and a debut of hyperinflation never seen before. Every one rupee drop in the value of the rupee against the dollar increases our foreign debt burden by a wholesome Rs60 billion.

Now try multiplying Rs60 billion by a factor of 39 (a dollar was worth Rs60 five years ago and it now fetches Rs99). Every one rupee drop in the value of the rupee against the dollar increases our import bill by Rs45 billion. Now try multiplying Rs45 billion by a factor of 39.

It is, however, argued that the rupee’s devaluation makes our exports more competitive. Remember, for us to be able to export we have to have an exportable surplus and in order to produce an exportable surplus we need electricity.

A mere five years ago, every man, woman and child was indebted to the tune of Rs35, 000 each. The per capita debt now stands at over Rs70, 000. Imagine: it took us 60 years to accumulate debt worth Rs6 trillion and in a short period of five years we have crossed Rs12 trillion.

Should the SBP be allowed to play Russian roulette with a beleaguered economy? Should the SBP be allowed to spin the cylinder and place the muzzle at the temples of 180 million people?

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9 ... n-roulette

Statistics: Posted by aftab — Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:20 am

2012-12-16T18:37:03+03:00 2012-12-16T18:37:03+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=790&p=4733#p4733 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Overpopulation is a myth]]> It was he, who came with the doctrine of Jesus Christ's dying for the sake of the World. He believed and preached that Jesus died for the sins of the race.

Statistics: Posted by resurrected — Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:37 pm

2012-12-16T17:20:24+03:00 2012-12-16T17:20:24+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=790&p=4732#p4732 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Overpopulation is a myth]]>
And now the question I need to ask you: What exactly is the Paulus doctrine and are we referring here to Saint Paul of Tarsus?

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:20 pm

2012-12-16T16:01:09+03:00 2012-12-16T16:01:09+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=936&p=4730#p4730 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Bushonomics in Pakistan]]> Statistics: Posted by resurrected — Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:01 pm

2012-12-16T15:52:11+03:00 2012-12-16T15:52:11+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=790&p=4728#p4728 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Overpopulation is a myth]]> A very interesting aricle but too lengthy to sit and analyze it in somewhat depth. It's possible that the Earths resources may be enough to feed and sustain huge human populations but that's not the point here but the will of strong and wealthy individuals and instiutions that matter if the normal growth o population is to be allowed or not. With complete control of wealth and resources, these factors can go on playing gods. The world peace and the stability of nations lay in few hands, not to talk about the health, employment and the rest that determine the scope of human population's expansion.
Wars, famines, pests and the rest in these unnitiated hands, which in itself proves that these forces are capable of diminishing the humanity to those levels these powerful people want and wish. The writer of the article seems to have forgotten the fact that in our present times, all is possible provided one has the resources to implement the wills.
Now to the Quote here above.
Wecan see the doctrine of Paulus working again,
To die in order to save the World, how very interesting!

Statistics: Posted by resurrected — Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:52 pm

2012-12-16T13:35:29+03:00 2012-12-16T13:35:29+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=4725#p4725 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>
http://dunya.com.pk/index.php/author/ha ... M2SV-Soouc

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:35 pm

2012-12-16T01:15:47+03:00 2012-12-16T01:15:47+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=936&p=4723#p4723 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Bushonomics in Pakistan]]> Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:15 am

2012-12-16T01:11:14+03:00 2012-12-16T01:11:14+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=936&p=4722#p4722 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Bushonomics in Pakistan]]>
Sayem Z Ali
Saturday, December 15, 2012

I received some interesting responses to my previous article titled, ‘Nawaz’s 3E formula’. Dr Abbasi in his letter to the editor defended Nawaz Sharif’s 3Es policy of massive tax cuts to big business and the top 10 percent income earners. According to Dr Abbasi, similar tax cuts to big business encouraged higher investment spending and created more jobs in Europe and the US. Hence, Dr Abbasi suggests Nawaz Sharif’s 10-percent tax formula will work in Pakistan. I strongly disagree.

The tax cuts implemented by George Bush for big business and wealthy taxpayers led to the worst financial crisis in the US since World War II and caused record unemployment and sharp rise in poverty. Corporate tax rate was slashed from as high as 39.6 percent down to 15 percent and hefty tax breaks were doled out to wealthy individuals. These tax cuts were supposed to encourage higher spending by big banks, oil companies and multinationals for new job creation. Instead, big business and wealthy taxpayers used the money to bet on the stock markets and real estate, leading to a flush of liquidity in speculative investments. Instead of investing in the real economy and creating jobs, the money from the tax cuts created asset bubbles.

When the bubble burst in 2008, the whole world was left reeling. A record number of Americans lost their jobs, and unemployment more than doubled – from 4.2 percent in 2001 to over 9.7 percent by 2010. Government debt increased sharply, from $6 trillion (60 percent of GDP) in 2002 to $16 trillion (101.7 percent of GDP) in 2012. Today the global reserve currency status of the mighty dollar, the pillar of US economic strength, is under threat with countries diversifying their reserves away from the dollar and into emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The bipartisan US Congressional Research Office states that the George Bush tax cuts “benefitted the richest individuals earning $200,000 or more per year and increased concentration of income at the top.” As the tax rate paid by the top 0.1 percent of the population fell, their share of income increased three-fold, from 4.2 percent in 1999 to 12.3 percent by 2008. Hence, all that the George Bush tax cuts achieved was to make the rich even richer, at the expense of all middle- income and poor households.

Pakistan cannot afford such failed experiments. The government is already near default, debt has more than doubled in the last five years and a record number of Pakistanis are unemployed, illiterate and without basic health and clean drinking water facilities. This is because the Pakistani government does not collect enough taxes. At 9.9 percent of GDP, our tax collection is already one of the lowest in the world, even less than in African banana republics. The rich don’t pay taxes, and giving them more tax breaks will leave the people worse off.

Nawaz Sharif’s 3Es policy of George Bush-style tax cuts to big banks, oil companies, sugar and cement cartels, 5-star hotels, multinationals and top income earners will cause a loss of 1.6 percent of GDP in tax collection. That is double the entire government budget on providing basic health facilities to 180 million Pakistanis. Such a massive tax break to big business will come at high cost to the masses. Lack of resources will mean less money for education, health and clean drinking water facilities for poor households. Who stands to benefit? This money will go straight into the pockets of the big tycoons, wealthy investors and shareholders in the form of record profits. This is not just bad economics, it is broad daylight robbery.

While the PPP tax amnesty scheme offers a one-time reprieve to tax cheats, Nawaz Sharif’s ten percent tax formula provides unlimited, unconditional tax breaks to the rich and wealthy. We should all be really concerned that political leaders are advocating highly irresponsible fiscal policies that will further aggravate the rich – poor divide in Pakistan. How can Nawaz Sharif justify a policy that effectively takes money away from the poor, only to stuff the pockets of the wealthy elite?

Unfortunately, Nawaz Sharif has made many mistakes in the past. Rewind back to the May 1998 freezing of foreign currency accounts. At that point Pakistani investors had $11 billion as savings in foreign currency (FCY) accounts with local banks, and all of that money disappeared following the freeze. Today the total FCY deposits stand at only $4.5 billion. Even 15 years later, Pakistan has not been able to recover from the damage that Nawaz Sharif’s government caused to local investors. The Pakistani rupee has plunged 120 percent since that fateful day in May and this is one of the main reasons why average Pakistanis have suffered from record inflation, unemployment and forced to hold a begging bowl for foreign aid.

Just imagine if we had $11 billion FCY in our banking system today! We would not need to keep running after the IMF and US aid money. The Nawaz Sharif government did realise its folly and within 30 days reversed the decision to freeze foreign-currency accounts. But the damage had already been done. Therefore, instead of copying George Bush’s tax cuts, Nawaz Sharif and his team of financial “wizards” should for once focus on the real problems of the people. Instead of big tax cuts for the rich, Mian Sahib should focus on cutting the taxes paid by the poor.

The writer is an international expert in economic policy and works with a commercial bank. Tweets @SayemZA

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9 ... n-Pakistan

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sun Dec 16, 2012 1:11 am

2012-12-12T14:40:24+03:00 2012-12-12T14:40:24+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=4670#p4670 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>
http://dunya.com.pk/index.php/author/ha ... 8/29846739

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:40 pm

2012-12-07T15:07:19+03:00 2012-12-07T15:07:19+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=4598#p4598 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>
http://dunya.com.pk/index.php/author/ha ... 3/22485484

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:07 pm

2012-12-07T02:09:02+03:00 2012-12-07T02:09:02+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=909&p=4593#p4593 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: ALTAF Bhai DONE FOR ?]]> Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:09 am

2012-12-07T02:02:26+03:00 2012-12-07T02:02:26+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=909&p=4592#p4592 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • ALTAF Bhai DONE FOR ?]]> http://e.jang.com.pk/11-30-2012/pindi/p ... ame=57.gif

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:02 am

2012-12-06T11:49:42+03:00 2012-12-06T11:49:42+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=4580#p4580 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>
http://e.dunya.com.pk/colum.php?date=20 ... 5_14848937

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:49 am

2012-12-01T21:04:02+03:00 2012-12-01T21:04:02+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=894&p=4528#p4528 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Rauf Klasra on PMLN inclusions and politics of "principles"]]>

Statistics: Posted by Scandinavian — Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:04 pm

2012-12-01T02:24:38+03:00 2012-12-01T02:24:38+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=889&p=4519#p4519 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Haroon-ur-Rasheed - Columns]]>

Statistics: Posted by Mirza Ghalib — Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:24 am

2012-11-12T23:58:17+03:00 2012-11-12T23:58:17+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=805&p=4240#p4240 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Politics without Morality]]>
Thank you for sharing the article, it did make me think and that is what life is all about. I look forward to hearing your voice on other threads of your choice.

Statistics: Posted by stingingnettle — Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:58 pm

2012-11-12T08:41:27+03:00 2012-11-12T08:41:27+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=805&p=4236#p4236 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Politics without Morality]]> Statistics: Posted by EasyGo — Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:41 am

2012-11-11T16:17:40+03:00 2012-11-11T16:17:40+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=805&p=4234#p4234 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Politics without Morality]]>
Yes, I realise he is not in favour of a Machiavellian state or rulers but what I find profoundly distasteful is the lie he is peddling that somehow the reason for the rot is the distance of the state laws from the 'true' version of Islam. His theocratic ideals are at best the delusions of 'true' believer and at worst the rants of a clueless neo-mullah. We do not need Oraya's superficial knowledge of Machiavelli to know that the most of the politicians of Pakistan a bunch of wasters who have no education, competence or ideas and they have no purpose or future in a just and thinking society. Every Pakistanis knows this, including the Zardari and Nawaz.

Oraya is not peddling an alternative he is selling an even smaller noose for our necks.

Statistics: Posted by stingingnettle — Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:17 pm

2012-11-11T12:00:14+03:00 2012-11-11T12:00:14+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=805&p=4230#p4230 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Politics without Morality]]> Statistics: Posted by EasyGo — Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:00 pm

2012-11-11T00:55:56+03:00 2012-11-11T00:55:56+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=805&p=4226#p4226 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Re: Politics without Morality]]>
Pakistanis are not the citizens of an unfortunate country but Pakistan is the unfortunate land of highly blinkered individuals and Oraya may be one of them. Not everything about Pakistan is bad, just like America , England or any other country of the world. The question is of proportion, what is the ratio of good and bad if you take personal salvation out of the equation. You see Mr Oraya's hot air balloon losing altitude rapidly once you take away personal morality from National duty and justice. Pakistanis suffer because they are told that they have a system that will save their nation but the condition is that first they must achieve some kind of karma from independent thought and then national salvation will follow.

Pakistan is a perfect example of the fact we can not disentangle fact from fiction, so we lie to everyone including ourselves. Leave morality to the individual, trying feeding and educating the people first. Oraya's suggestion is delusional that somehow there is a conspiracy at play to make Pakistanis mentally weak and deficient so that they can be more compliant and pliable. The conspiracy is the grand sale of salvation from neo-mullahs; this is what we are up against.

Statistics: Posted by stingingnettle — Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:55 am

2012-11-10T15:49:33+03:00 2012-11-10T15:49:33+03:00 https://thepakpolitics.com/viewtopic.php?t=805&p=4221#p4221 <![CDATA[COLUMNS and ARTICLES • Politics without Morality]]>

Statistics: Posted by EasyGo — Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:49 pm