Balochistan Update


Balochistan is a sort of “tribal confederation” with its attendant internal pulls and pushes, competition and conflict. Baloch nationalism draws its inspiration from a refusal of the Khan of Kalat at the time of Partition to accede to the new nation-state of Pakistan in more or less the same manner in which the “princely” states of India acceded to the new nation-state of India, but with one critical difference. In India, the Congress leaders in Delhi negotiated the terms of accession patiently with the Hindu rulers of the Princely States – except in those states with Muslim rulers and Hindu majorities where the civilian carrot was backed by the military stick – whereas in the new Pakistan the Muslim League leaders tried to whip a fellow Muslim, the Khan of Kalat, into accession without due process and regard to the state’s rights.
Image above: Bugti tribal militiamen gather in Dera Bugti in Pakistani province of Balochistan. Many of these tribals are up at arms against the central government , saying that the centre takes their rich natural gas resource but gives little in return. The authorities refer these militiamen as ‘miscreants’.
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IS BALOCHISTAN

 ANOTHER COUNTRY

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by Najam Sethi

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In the following post Najam Sethi updates us on what is happening in Balochistan, what’s lacking and what needs to be done in that troubled land of Balochistan.  My friend Peter Chamberlin who has posted it on his blog, has also added a note which almost forms a part of this highly analytical narrative on the subject. [Nayyar]

Peter writes: The following article may seem like it was written by me, but it was not.  It was written by a Pakistani, a Baloch, who knows much more than I ever could from this great distance.  He comes to the same conclusions which have long seemed obvious to me–namely, that the great “dog fight” in Pakistan’s Tribal Region cannot let-up until the “big dogs,” India and the US, stop putting the “little dogs” into the fight.

The secret war in Pakistan is on the verge of blowing-up into a very obvious hot war, unless the powers who are driving the process back off. All of the wildest conspiracy claims about the situation in Balochistan are true–Yes, India and Afghanistan (meaning the US) are sponsoring the terrorism of the Baloch nationalists, who train in Afghanistan; Yes, the Pak Army is running death squads to silence the Baloch nationalists.

The only way to de-escalate the situation in Balochistan is for all of the various mob bosses to call-off the “hits.”

*** (more…)

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Shocking Truths


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GIVE US YOUR POUND OF FLESH AND WE WILL BRING YOU OUT OF YOUR DEBTS

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Again, Jeddy is back with a video that tells us what Uncle Sam has always been up to in different parts of the world, particularly the Muslim states.

Jeddy writes: For all of you who wonder where the US is heading and where it is taking all of us, here is another informative video of an interview by an outstanding authority and author.  He also says that it is the US which keeps the Saudi Kingdom propped up in return for their role in betraying their own country. [Applicable also to our land of the pure? Of course, the video has an answer]. They also similarly buy out traitors in other countries.

 

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Published in: on 25/01/2011 at 4:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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Tunisian Intifada, the outfall [2 of 2]


A message posted on a social networking site reads, “Arabs all over the world! Today is a big day for you, for us, our brothers and sisters in Tunisia have shown the world that we will not cow down to U.S. imperialist sponsored corrupt governments ANYMORE!!!”
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UNITED STATES HAS A CHOICE IN TUNISIA

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by Nicola Nasser

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The ongoing Tunisian Intifada (uprising) cannot yet quite be termed a revolution; Tunisians are still revolting, aspiring for bread and freedom. This Intifada will go in history as a revolution if it gets either bread or freedom and as a great revolution if it gets both.

Internally, “the one constant in revolutions is the primordial role played by the army,” Jean Tulard, a French historian of revolutions, told Le Monde in an interview, and the Tunisian military seems so far forthcoming. Externally, the United States stands to be a critical contributor to either outcome in Tunisia, both because of its historical close relations with the Tunisian military and because of its regional hegemony and international standing as a world power, but the U.S. seems so far shortcoming.

While the Tunisian military has made a decision to side with its people, the United States has yet to decide what and whom to support among the revolting masses led by influential components like communists, Pan-Arabists, Islamists, left wingers, nationalists and trade unionists. The natural social allies of U.S. capitalist globalization, privatization and free market have been sidelined politically as partners and pillars of the deposed pro – U.S. Zein al-Abideen Ben Ali’s regime. The remaining pro – U.S. liberalism among Tunisians are overwhelmed by the vast majority of the unemployed, marginalized or underpaid who yearn for jobs, bread, balanced distribution of the national wealth and development projects more than they are interested in upper class western – oriented liberalism.

Taken by surprise by the evolving political drama in Tunisia, the U.S. cannot by default contribute to a revolution for bread at a time its economic system is unable to provide for Americans themselves. However, it can play a detrimental role in contributing to a real Tunisian revolution for freedom by making an historic U-turn in its foreign policy.

In June 2005, the then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told an Arab audience at the American University in Cairo that, “For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region — and we achieved neither.” But Rice did not elaborate to add that this same policy was and is still the main source of instability and the main reason for the absent democracy.

Her successor incumbent Hillary Clinton has on January 13 in Qatar postured as the Barak Obama Administration’s mouthpiece on Arab human rights to lecture Arab governments on the urgent need for democratic reforms, warning that otherwise they will see their countries “sinking into the sand.”

But Clinton missed to point out that her administration is still in pursuit of its predecessor’s advocacy of democracy through changing regimes in Arab and Muslim nations by means of military intervention, invasion and occupation, an endeavor that has proved a failure in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Israeli – occupied Palestinian territories, as well a policy that was and is still another source of regional instability and absence of democracy.

The Tunisian Intifada has proved that democracy and regime change can be homemade, without any U.S. intervention. Ironically any such U.S. intervention now is viewed in the region as a threat of a counterrevolution that would preempt turning the Intifada into a revolution. U.S. hands-off policy could be the only way to democracy in Tunisia.

But a hands-off policy is absolutely not a trade mark of U.S. regional foreign policy. However, the United States has a choice now in Tunisia, but it is a choice that pre-requisites a U – turn both in the U.S. approach to Arab democracy and in its traditional foreign policy.

The U.S. risks to loose strategically in Tunisia unless it decides on an historic U – turn, because politically the Tunisian Intifada targeted a U.S. – supported regime and economically targeted a failed U.S. model of development. On November 13, 2007, Georgetown University Human Rights Institute and Law Center hosted a conference to answer the question, “Tunisia: A Model of Middle East Stability or an Incubator of Extremism?”

But Tunisia now has given the answer: Tunisia is neither; it is an indigenous Arab way to democracy and moderation.

Indeed the U.S. has now a choice in Tunisia. The Arab country which is leading the first Arab revolution for democracy is now a U.S. test case. Non – U.S. intervention would establish a model for other Arabs to follow; it would also establish a model U.S. policy that would over time make Arabs believe in any future U.S. rhetoric on democracy and forget all the tragic consequences of American interventions in the name of democracy. But this sounds more a wishful thinking than a realpolitik expectation.

A U.S. long standing traditional policy seems to weigh heavily on its decision makers, who are obsessed with their own creation of the “Islamist threat” as their justification for their international war on terror, which dictates their foreign policy, especially vis – a vis Arab and Muslim states, to dictate a fait accompli to their rulers to choose between either being recruited to this war or being condemned themselves as terrorists or terrorism sponsors, and in this process exclusion policies should be pursued against wide spread representative Islamic movements.

The U.S. perspective has always been that Arab Democracy could be sacrificed to serve U.S. vital interests and Arab democracy can wait! But the Tunisian Intifada has proved that Arab democracy cannot wait anymore.

Exclusion of popular Islamic movements while at the same excluding democratic reforms until the war on terror is won has proved a looser U.S. policy. The U.S. exploitation of the “Islamist threat” now is not convincing for Arab aspirants for democracy, who still remember that during the Cold War with the former Soviet Union the U.S. exploited the “communist threat,” then “Pan-Arabism threat,” to shore up autocratic and authoritarian Arab regimes.

In Tunisia, the prisons of the pro – U.S. regime were always full long before there was an Islamic political movement: “In the 1950s prisons were filled with Youssefites (loyal to Salah Ben Youssef, who broke away from Bourguiba’s ruling Constitutional Party); in the 60s it was the Leftists; in the 70s it was the trade unions; and in the 80s it was our turn,” leader in-exile of the outlawed Islamic Nahda movement, Rachid Ghannouchi, told the Financial Times on January 18.

“When Nahda was in Tunisia … there was no al-Qaeda,” Ghannouchi said, reminding one that in the neighboring Algeria there was no al-Qaeda too before The Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was outlawed. In the Israeli – occupied territories, outlawing and imposing siege on the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas,” which won a landslide electoral victory in 2006, should be a warning that the only alternative to such moderate Islamic movements is for sure the extremist al-Qaeda like undergrounds.

Jordan proved wiser than the U.S. decision makers by allowing the Islamic Action Front to compete politics lawfully. Recruiting fake Islamic parties to serve U.S. policies as the case is in Iraq has not proved feasible impunity against al-Qaeda. The United States has to reconsider. Exclusion of independent, moderate and non – violent Islamic representative movements, unless they succumb to U.S. dictates, has proved U.S. policy a failure. U.S. parameters for underground violent unrepresentative Islamists should not apply to these movements.

The U.S. decision makers however still seem deaf to what Ghannouchi told the Financial Times: “Democracy should not exclude communists … it is not ethical for us to call on a secular government to accept us, while once we get to power we will eradicate them.” This is the voice of Arab homemade democracy; it has nothing to do with the U.S. – exported democracy.

he writer Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Previous Post: Lessons for Pakistan

Related Post: Big trouble in Tunisia for America’s Mideast Raj

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Tunisian Intifada, the outfall [1 of 2]


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Tunisian expatriates shout slogans while holding banners reading “Ben Ali & Co quisling” and ” Long live the revolution of the people” as they demonstrate on January 15, 2011 in Paris. (GETTY)

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LESSONS FOR PAKISTAN

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by Ahmad Quraishi

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Tunisian Intifada appears to have set new trend in the body politics of the Arab world. Quite possibly this trend, may not remain restricted to various Arab regimes only but also could lead non Arab countries like Pakistan to go for its own Pakistani Intifada. Why? Because the conditions in Pakistan are not much different than the conditions that have prevailed in Tunisia till now. To be more exact, the conditions here are much worse tan they have been in Tunisia. There are many things, therefore, to be learnt by different countries. In case of Pakistan a pertinent note by Ahmad Quraishi of PakNatuionalists.com has been put on his website. Titled Tunisia & Pakistan: Ben-Ali, Zardari & Kayani Ahmed Quraishi writes…

 

It is just a guess but two people must be watching the Tunisian news closely: President Asif Ali Zardari and Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

President Ben-Ali’s departure is bad news for our president for it shows that such departures are possible after all and no amount of ‘revenge democracy’ [‘democracy is the best revenge’ is one of Mr. Zardari’s best catchphrases] can prevent such an ending.

The Pakistani ruling elite is not just incompetent. It is ineffective, conducts uncivilized politics, and has almost no vision for the country’s past, present or future. What is worse is that the Pakistani ruling elite will not allow any mechanism for new Pakistani faces or talents to emerge. This stagnation is what led to President Ben-Ali’s escape.

You can add one more charge in the Pakistani case that does not exist in the Tunisian example: Pakistani politics has splintered along linguistic lines, dividing Pakistanis and enticing them to internal warfare. The country’s constitution does not allow our parties to do this but there is no one to stop them.

As for Gen. Kayani, his and his colleagues’ worry is simple. They do not want to find themselves in a situation where the military intervenes again in a traditional way and clean the mess, like the Tunisians have done. Pakistan needs to create viable state institutions to run the country. The military realizes the importance of this to avoid a meltdown.  But such a meltdown is almost knocking at Pakistan’s door. In the face of massive failures of the Pakistani political elite, the military knows it will have to step in eventually.

It is not hard to figure this out. But the million-dollar question is: What to do after an intervention. Traditional-style coups, where the army chief steps in and takes charge, like Pervez Musharraf had done, can no longer work. Whoever is in charge after a meltdown, tough decisions will have to be made to restyle the political system by removing crippling bottlenecks in the constitution and laws and in a manner that would stop political parties from becoming personal and family fiefdoms and allow for a healthy and civilize political growth and practice.

Like Tunisia, Pakistan will have to find indigenous solutions. Lectures and recipes from Washington and London won’t help. The Tunisians have clear red lines in this regard. But not in Pakistan, which is a contributing factor to constant instability.

Next: United States Has a Choice in Tunisia

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Related Post: Big trouble in Tunisia for America’s Mideast Raj

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Blind and stupid and savage


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LET NONE NURSE INTOLERANCE

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by Ardeshir Cowasjee

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MY generation and the one that followed have much to answer for. But we cannot, because it is now too late. We let things slip and slide.

We supported the wrong leaderships for the wrong reasons, or we acquiesced silently. We had benefits that today’s youth lack — we were given a liberal education by those who were amply qualified to impart it. We were taught the tenets of tolerance, of live and let live and of doing unto others as you wish they would do unto you.

But we lost it. We failed the nation, and most of all we failed the creed of the man who made this nation and who set out for us, and for those who were to legislate and rule, the manner and style in which he intended the country he had created to be run. Mohammad Ali Jinnah was let down with a big bang, mostly by those who lorded it over the nation when he was dead and gone. But, maybe unwittingly (and I would like to think so), we did our part. We had no prescience. Over the decaying decades we failed to foresee the dangers under our noses and the ever-increasing dangers that lay ahead.

All this has been on my mind for a long time but was brought home by an email message from a young reader who had read my last column on some of Jinnah’s sayings. “Where we are today, we deserve it 100 per cent,” he wrote. “And it’s not because of our generation. Where were you when Ayub defeated Fatima Jinnah in the elections? Where were you when Bhutto [and others] bartered away half the country [and parliament decreed who was or was not a Muslim]?

Where was your generation when Zia introduced this warped ideology? I’ll answer that: nowhere. Because of the cowardice of your generation, I and a lot of others find ourselves in distant lands to gain liberty and freedom.”

Yes, it is unforgivable. We should hide our faces in shame. In particular a great number such as me, for in the 1930s I had one of the finest teachers who laid down the law strictly and who made sure that we fully understood the knowledge he was imparting. Maneckji Nusserwanji Dhalla (1875-1956) was a Zoroastrian priest and scholar who received a master’s degree from Columbia University in1906 after studying Iranian languages and Sanskrit with minors in philology and philosophy. In 1929, following the publication of several books, he received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Columbia. In 1935 he was given the title Shamsul Ulema. At that time he was teaching us at the BVS Parsi High School, and to this day I keep close at hand one of his lectures entitled ‘Let none nurse intolerance’:

“Intolerance and bigotry and dogmatism are the bitterest enemies of religion upon earth. They make religion a tyrant, a persecutor, a veritable daeva, the demoniac perversion of angelic religion.

“The frog croaks that his well is the whole world and the bigot boasts that his is the only inspired and perfect religion. The truth and the whole truth is exclusively garnered in his religion, he avers. His religion is the crown and culmination of all religions, his religion is ordained to be the universal religion of mankind and salvation is possible only through his religion, he adds.

“All bigotry is blind and stupid and savage. Sectarian bigotry is as bad as inter-religious bigotry. Bigotry stifles reason and the bigot, in his frenzy, is out to force all to believe what he believes.

[Left: Ardeshir Cowasjee is an 82 year old Point Blank Parsi of Pakistan who shoots from the hip every week in the daily Dawn Karachi].

“All religions come from one and the only God, who makes himself known by many a name. From the same source, like the tributaries of a river, they flow. All religions make man equally good upon earth and with equal safety do they conduct his soul to heaven. One alone is truth and all religions teach this truth, for religion itself is truth.

“All open their hearts to the same God. All seek refuge in the same God. All seek fellowship with the same God. All commend their souls into the hands of the same God.

“Man has no right to demand that his neighbour shall address God after his pattern and shall pray in his own way and worship according to his liking and sacrifice unto God in the manner he does.

“No thinking man’s own idea of God and religion, at all times and in all conditions of life, is ever the same. For everybody’s views on religion, then, it is not possible ever to be alike. Monotonous would our world become, if all thought equally and in the same way without ever differing in religious beliefs and practices from one another. Nature shines in her luxuriant glory because of the wide variety of her form and colour and beauty. So do there bloom and blossom in the garden of the spirit pervading mankind, foliage and flowers of all shades and grades of devotion and religious emotions.

“Teach me, my God, to see that I have no right to impose my own way of thinking upon others. Teach me to acknowledge and honour the right of all to pray and worship and sacrifice in their own way. Keep me free from sectarian spirit, and give me strength to root out from my heart bigotry and fanatic zeal. Teach me
to discern true religion from religiosity. Fill my mind and heart with the spirit of toleration.”

This is what the early generations were taught. We all listened well then. But later, along the way, we failed to see or check the creeping darkness.

The writer can be reached via his email: arfc@cyber.net.pk

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