Turkey’s Erdogan shows his iron fist


Erdogan is going about ruthlessly settling scores with the military. There is a moral here for Pakistan. Imagine, if the present civilian leadership had gone for the jugular veins of Pervez Musharraf, locking him up in a prison cell and putting him on trial for high treason. Pakistan’s all-powerful corps commanders would have understood by now what could happen to them if they acted unconstitutionally by destabilizing an elected government. 
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ERDOGAN ASSERTS SUPREMACY OF THE CIVILIAN RULE IN TURKEY. PUTS FEAR OF GOD INTO MINDS OF THE TURKISH PASHAS. IF THEY EVER DARE AGAIN TO SUBVERT THE CONSTITUTIONAL RULE, THER WILL BE A PRICE TO PAY.

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by M K Bhadrakumar

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The Turkish government’s move to detain the former chief of army staff General Ismail Hakki Karadayi for his role in the so-called ‘post-modern coup’ in 1997 against the first Islamist government in Ankara led by Necmettin Erbakan becomes a stunning development.

To be sure, the decision to go for Karadayi can be attributed one hundred percent to Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. Erdogan is not only asserting the supremacy of civilian rule but is putting the fear of god into the minds of the Turkish Pashas that if ever they dared again to subvert the constitutional rule, there will be a price to pay.

A big slice of Turkey’s current history is breaking loose and drifting away. Karadayi was a four star general and a legend in his time. He had just retired from the army when I took up my diplomatic assignment as ambassador in Ankara in October 1998. Those were the halcyon days of Turkey’sPashas.

They put Erbakan under house arrest and banned his Islamist Welfare Party — just like that. At the embassy parties in Ankara, when the Pashas strode in, a hushed silence would descend and diplomats would drop their trivial conversations and make a beeline toward them, the ‘powers that be’.

Indeed, Erdogan himself was facing a 10-month prison sentence at that time in 1998 – all for reciting a poem during a public speech in Siirt in 1997. Apparently, Erdogan (who was the Mayor of Istanbul at that time) recited, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

By the way, those were lines written by a well-known pan-Turkic poet and activist Ziya Gokalp who lived in the early part of last century and, ironically, was an influential figure in shaping the reforms of Kemal Attaturk. Curiously enough, Gokalp was a staunch Turkish nationalist who rejected Ottomanism and Islamism alike.

Yet, the Pashas censured Erdogan. The point is, Kemalism very often provided a mere facade behind which the Pashas pursued the corporate interests of the Turkish military — perks, privileges, immunity from parliamentary scrutiny of the military budget, vast holdings in Turkey’s economy, etc.

Unsurprisingly, Erdogan is going about ruthlessly settling scores with the military. There is a moral here for Pakistan. Imagine, if the present civilian leadership had gone for the jugular veins of Pervez Musharraf, locking him up in a prison cell and putting him on trial for high treason. Pakistan’s all-powerful corps commanders would have understood by now what could happen to them if they acted unconstitutionally by destabilizing an elected government.

Erdogan is also setting an example for the Middle East, especially for Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi. Erdogan treaded carefully during his first term as prime minister, taking care not to provoke or confront the established political order where the military always behaved as more equal than the civilian leadership.

Looking back, he was determined not to meet the fate of Erbakan. But then, Erdogan didn’t forget anything; nor was he going to forgive. He has turned out to be an entirely different political personality after winning the parliamentary election in 2011 with a magnificent mandate of 52% of votes.

With Karadayi’s detention, Erdogan has proclaimed that he has no more reason to be apologetic about his political agenda. He is asserting that Islamism is Turkey’s political reality and Kemalists have to learn to live with it.

However, Erdogan is also in the process of drafting a new constitution that will transform Turkey into a presidential form of government, and he is intending to become a candidate in the presidential election in 2014. There is no one to match his towering personality on Turkey’s political landscape and his election is all but a foregone conclusionNow, what kind of a president Erdogan will make?

There is uneasiness among thoughtful Turks that Erdogan has an authoritarian streak in his personality. The way he has become intolerant toward dissent, his vindictive acts against journalists, etc. have certainly dented his profile as a democrat.

The paradox is that it is the Turkish military that would have worked as a check and balance on him if he ever became dictatorial. There are indeed many parallels that one can draw with the calculus of power in Egypt.

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 More from M K Bhadrakumar on Wonders of Pakistan 

1. Saudis Have Purchased the American Governmentand Victory for the Global “Caliphate” of Radical Islam 2. Syria: Regime Change and Smart Power 3. Pakistan gets a cuddle and a Zioconned hug…. 4. No, India Cannot Be the US’ Poodle [Viewpoint India] 5. Bear nettles the Eagle, Dragon smiles [in two parts] 6. Is India backing Obama’s gamble for Central Asian domination? 7. US sows discord in South Asia

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.
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Revolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?


The overthrow of the Saudi royals is finally a possibility. In an excerpt from a new Brookings Institution briefing book for Obama’s second term, Bruce Riedel on what a catastrophe it would be for Obama.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s last absolute monarchy. Like Louis XIV, King Abdullah has complete authority to do as he likes. But while a revolution in Saudi Arabia is still not likely, the Arab Awakening has made one possible for the first time, and it could come in President Obama’s second term.
Revolutionary change in the kingdom would be a disaster for American interests across the board. Saudi Arabia is America’s oldest ally in the Middle East, a partnership that dates to 1945. The United States has no serious option for heading off a revolution if it is coming; its already too deeply wedded to the kingdom.
Obama should ensure the best possible intelligence available to see a crisis coming and then try to ride the storm.
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The overthrow of the Saudi royals is finally a possibility. In an excerpt from a new Brookings Institution briefing book for Obama’s second term, Bruce Riedel dilates on what a catastrophe it would be for Obama.

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by Bruce Riedel

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Saudi Arabia is the world’s last absolute monarchy. Like Louis XIV, King Abdullah has complete authority to do as he likes. But while a revolution in Saudi Arabia is still not likely, the Arab Awakening has made one possible for the first time, and it could come in President Obama’s second term.

Revolutionary change in the kingdom would be a disaster for American interests across the board. Saudi Arabia is America’s oldest ally in the Middle East, a partnership that dates to 1945. The United States has no serious option for heading off a revolution if it is coming; we are already too deeply wedded to the kingdom. Obama should ensure the best possible intelligence is available to see a crisis coming and then try to ride the storm.

Still , the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a proven survivor. Two earlier Saudi kingdoms were defeated by the Ottoman Empire and eradicated. The Sauds came back. They survived a wave of revolutions against Arab monarchies in the 1950s and 1960s. A jihadist coup attempt in 1979 seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca but was crushed. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda staged a four-year insurrection to topple the Sauds and failed less than a decade ago. Saudi al Qaeda cadres remain in the kingdom and next door in Yemen.

Today the Arab Awakening presents the kingdom with its most severe test to date. The same demographic challenges that prompted revolution in Egypt and Yemen, a very young population and very high underemployment, apply in Saudi Arabia. Extreme gender discrimination, long-standing regional differences, and a restive Shia minority add to the explosive potential. In recognition of their vulnerability, the Saudi royals have spent more than $130 billion since the Arab Awakening began to try to buy off dissent at home. They have made cosmetic reforms to let women sit in a powerless consulting council.

Abroad they have sent tanks and troops across the King Fahd Causeway to stifle revolution in Bahrain, brokered a political deal in Yemen to replace Ali Abdullah Salih with his deputy, and sought closer unity among the six Gulf Cooperation Council monarchies. They also have invited Jordan and Morocco to join the kings’ club. But they are pragmatists too and have backed revolutions in Libya and Syria that fight old enemies of the kingdom.

If an awakening takes place in Saudi Arabia, it will probably look a lot like the revolutions in the other Arab states. Already demonstrations, peaceful and violent, have wracked the oil rich Eastern Province for more than a year. These are Shia protests and thus atypical of the rest of the kingdom. Shia dissidents in ARAMCO, the Saudi oil company, also have used cyberwarfare to attack its computer systems, crashing more than 30,000 work stations this August. They probably received Iranian help.

Much more disturbing to the royals would be protests in Sunni parts of the kingdom. These might start in the so-called Quran Belt north of the capital, where dissent is endemic, or in the poor Asir province on the Yemeni border. Once they begin, they could snowball and reach the major cities of the Hejaz, including Jeddah, MeccaTaif, and Medina. The Saudi opposition has a vibrant information technology component that could ensure rapid communication of dissent within the kingdom and to the outside world.

The critical defender of the regime would be the National Guard. Abdullah has spent his life building this Praetorian elite force. The United States has trained and equipped it with tens of billions in helicopters and armored vehicles. But the key unknown is whether the Guard will shoot on its brothers and sisters in the street. It may fragment or it may simply refuse to suppress dissent if it is largely peaceful, especially at the start.

The succession issue adds another layer of complication. Every succession in the kingdom since its founder, Abdel Aziz bin Saud, died in 1953 has been to his brothers. King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman are the end of the brood; only a couple of possible remaining half brothers are suitable. Both the king and crown prince are ill, and both are often unfit for duty. If Abdullah and/or Salman die as unrest begins—a real possibility—and a succession crisis ensues, then the kingdom could be even more vulnerable to revolution.

As in other Arab revolutions, the opposition revolutionaries will not be united on anything except ousting the monarchy. There will be secular democrats but also al Qaeda elements in the opposition. Trying to pick and choose will be very difficult. The unity of the kingdom could collapse as the Hejaz separates from the rest, the east falls to Shia, and the center becomes a jihadist stronghold.

For the United States, revolution in Saudi Arabia would be a game changer. While the U.S. can live without Saudi oil, China, India, Japan, and Europe cannot. Any disruption in Saudi oil exports—whether due to unrest, cyberattacks, or a new regime’s decision to reduce exports substantially—will have a major impact on the global economy. In addition, the CIA war against al Qaeda is heavily dependent on the kingdom: Saudi intelligence operations foiled the last two attacks by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on the American homeland. The U.S. military training mission in the kingdom, founded in 1953, is the largest of its kind in the world. The Saudis also have been a key player in containing Iran for decades.

The other monarchs of Arabia, meanwhile, would be in jeopardy if revolution comes to Saudi Arabia. The Sunni minority in Bahrain could not last without Saudi money and tanks. Despite all their money, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are city states that would be unable to defend themselves against a revolutionary regime in what had been the kingdom. The Hashemite dynasty in Jordan would be at risk as well without Saudi and Gulf money and oil. Only Oman is probably isolated and strong enough to endure.

America has no serious options for effecting gradual reform in the kingdom. The Saudis fear, probably rightly, that real power sharing is impossible in an absolutist state. But we should plan very quietly for the worst. The intelligence community should be directed to make internal developments, not just counterterrorism, its top priority in the kingdom now. We cannot afford a surprise like Iran in 1978, and we need to know the players in the opposition, especially the Wahhabi clerics, in depth. This will be a formidable challenge, but it is essential to preparing for a very dark swan.

Bruce Riedel is director of Brookings new Intelligence Project. He has served as an adviser in the White House to the last four presidents. His next book,Avoiding Armageddon: America, India and Pakistan to the Brink and Back, will be published this month. 
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.
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Wink and Compromise [2 of 2]


“The pious exposed the thieves; thieves the pious. Black rocks, black stones, even thieves are shouting ‘thief, thief’.”
The imagery is of children stoning thieves out of their villages and neighbourhoods. When big thieves arrive not just petty thieves shout “thief, thief” but also black stones and rocks asking to be thrown at them.
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EXCAVATING MOUNTAIN, FINDING MOUSE

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by Humayun Gauhar

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Friday’s headline was at its best: ‘That’s all folks’. Quite. Drama and ‘dharna’ over: We excavated a mountain and found a mouse.

My friend Hussain Haroon phoned immediately after the government-Qadri compromise to ask: “Old chap, who do you think blinked?”

“Neither,” I said. “Each closed one eye. Both winked. The government got relief without violence; Qadri got a face-saving exit. The people got nothing.” Runaway inflation is still their lot as are unemployment, insecurity, no gas or electricity, no water, no schools or hospitals, no nothing.

The declaration is a compromise, not a consensus. Compromise is a copout, a sellout. Consensus requires a majority.

Qadri’s sellout reminded me of a Punjabi verse my late Uncle Tajammul would tell us children about Pakistani politics:

“Choran di pug Sadhuaan la lai, Sadhuaan di pug chor.
Kalay patthar, kalay rorh, chor ve kainday ‘chor o chor’.”
“The pious exposed the thieves; thieves the pious. Black rocks, black stones, even thieves are shouting ‘thief, thief’.”

The imagery is of children stoning thieves out of their villages and neighbourhoods. When big thieves arrive not just petty thieves shout “thief, thief” but also black stones and rocks asking to be thrown at them.

Qadri entered the gang of those he calls thieves (amongst other choice titles and expletives) and joined the class of beneficiaries of the status quo that he claimed that he had come to change. I feel sorry for his mesmerized followers, sorrier for the simpletons who joined his ‘long march’ that was actually a ‘short fatigue’ and sorrier still for the couch potatoes who romanticized that revolution was upon us.

Revolutions are not made from seven-star bunkers; they take years of struggle or jihad that our Prophet (pbuh) waged. He didn’t fight battles from comfortable container-bunkers, lost a tooth in Badr and had a torn tent atop the nearest hillock.

Any ordinary intelligence can articulate the frustrations and aspirations of the people and mobilize some of them. But to implement them is another thing. When you don’t even intend to implement them but only want to get entry into the ‘Beneficiaries and Brigands Club’ then rhetoric has no chance of becoming reality. Qadri is now a member, to be consulted on some silly things, with some meetings to be held in his office. Such symbolism does an oversized ego massage.

For days Tahir ul Qadri called the politicians thieves while for years he kept trumpeting his own piety. On January 17 the ‘thieves’ exposed his piety and showed him up as a charlatan. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police added syrup to this trifle: they want to question Qadri for getting a Canadian passport under false pretenses. Is this what a trustworthy, honest man is made of? Qadri has given a diametrically opposed meaning to the words ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ – in his dictionary they mean ‘rascal, charlatan and freebooter’.

Qadri left Lahore to save the country and upturn the status the quo. He arrived in Islamabad screaming revolution. He ended up joining the status quo; his revolution ended in the whimper of a meaningless declaration and a shameless escape. Welcome to the fold of liars and brigands, Mr. Qadri.

But look out: you are now in bed with the savviest, wiliest political operators in Pakistan, to wit one Asif Zardari and Chaudhry Shujat Hussain. Whilst the latter will take you into the emerging fold of the ‘Grand National Alliance’ against Nawaz Sharif’s ‘Grand Opposition Alliance’ to seal your permanent membership of the ‘Beneficiaries and Brigands Club’, Zardari will give you the haircut that you’ve never known before just as he has given many to Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain. Then he will give you a head massage. Then you will become a zombie.

Zardari came to an agreement with Nawaz Sharif but declared when he reneged: “Agreements are not in the pages of the Quran; they are not in the Hadees. They are just ‘mufahamat’ – compromise.” That was Nawaz Sharif’s first haircut. He has had many more since. Qadri’s ‘mufahamat’ declaration is his first haircut. How would you like another, Mr. Qadri? An American Navy Seal type crew cut, perhaps? Mr. Zardari is very good at that, though he is better at shaving heads. Like his late great father-in-law, Mr. Zardari’s strength is that he is not burdened by principles. But unlike his father-in-law he is not burdened by a jumbo jet-sized ego either. Thus he is not vindictive. Mr. Bhutto was and took revenge for petty and imagined slights and made enemies where there were none. In the end he outmaneuvered himself and was hanged by his pet general who he thought was his stooge. Zardari makes no such mistakes – except if you have diddled him in business, as many escaped businessmen have discovered. So be careful, Mr. Qadri. No point in keeping your hat on. Bhutto could insinuate his nimble fingers under a bird and take its eggs away one by one, Zardari can give haircuts with hats on, as you have discovered.

Qadri kept proclaiming his piety to the point of distraction. He implicitly claimed the Imamate of Hussain (RA) by likening his march to Hussain’s march on Karbala and likening our rulers to Yazid who slaughtered Hussain and much of the Prophet’s (pbuh) family. After all this invective Qadri invited these same ‘Yazids’ to his designer bunker, all smiles and hugs when he received them, and signed the paperwork for joining their exclusive club. Worse, he signed it with the man whom he had declared ‘ex’ prime minister. Even the president was declared ‘ex’. He prayed to God in gratitude for deliverance when the Supreme Court hastily ordered the prime minister’s arrest.

Would Imam Hussain have signed a declaration with Yazid? Would he have smiled and hugged him? The Charlatan did so without a blush or a blink, just a wink. I didn’t see any Yazid in the bunker, not all were thieves either but I did see one demagogue: one Mr. Qadri with his son and putative heir, like Dr. Evil and Mini Me (not another one, for God’s sake). Dynasticism is alive and well, thank you.
What did Qadri achieve?

1. Two women and three children reportedly died of the cold and rain.

2. The ‘Pakistani Spring’ turned out to be the ‘Pakistani Winter’. But it certainly exposed our ‘Winter of Discontent’. 

3. The marchers left behind so much filth that even wild boars that thrive on filth ran away.

4. Qadri got uninterrupted media coverage in Pakistan for days and a lot abroad: the coming of the new messiah, the arrival of the deliverer, the moderate face of Islam and all that jazz. 

5. He got an exit route and entry into the charmed circle of the rapacious that make our people ‘the wretched of the earth’. 

6. Now he will be consulted – only consulted – in the government’s proposed names for caretaker prime minister: this is not in the constitution but Zardari can certainly consult anyone he wants to. 

7. A gaggle of lawyers – the usual suspects – will hold meetings in his secretariat of Minhaj ul Quran (by the way, ‘minhaj’ means path) to discuss how to change the election commissioners and ensure compliance of the constitutional criteria for qualification to contest elections. How election commissioners can be removed is in the constitution (it is near impossible) and the qualification and disqualification articles are clear: they only have to be implemented. Now they certainly will be on the opposition’s candidates. As to the government’s candidates, Mr. Zardari will be only too happy to be rid of some. 

8. People got a chance to vent their pent up anger and frustration and daydream for a while. Steam was let out of the volcano; its eruption was delayed – but only for a while.

The volcano rumbles still, it still spews smoke. And the heart of the earth beats in agitation. It is the ‘Winter of Discontent’. The volcano will erupt when a real leader, not a charlatan, emerges. That will happen after people have suffered more and learned further lessons for their mistakes till their eyes and minds are opened and they can differentiate between a charlatan and a real leader.

“I go for a while with every fast current, for I don’t recognize the navigator still.”

People who are scraping the bottom of the barrel and clutching at straws is just so much balderdash. “Qadri showed the world the moderate face of Islam,” they bleat, “the people showed that they are disciplined.” Forsooth, the world is not made of fools. It knows that Qadri was acting according to the ‘Get Nawaz Script’ and that the vast majority of Pakistanis are moderate and disciplined. It is the rulers of these unfortunate people who are extreme in their plunder and immoderate in the language of their politics. Nawaz may be on the back foot, but he is not done. As to Imran Khan missing the bus, it was certainly a bus worth missing.

Don’t feel depressed. This is not the end for every ending contains the seeds of a new beginning. Ghalib said: “The candle burns in all colours till the dawn.” Wait for the dawn.

Concluded.

Previous: Wink and Compromise [1 of 2]

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More from Humayun Gauhar on Wonders of Pakistan

1Libel and Blasphemy 2. Blasphemy and Shirk 3. Age of Darkness 4.Granny’s Marriage 5. Jihad and Anti-Jihad 6. The Worm Does Turn 7Peace the only option 8.US Aid To Pakistan: Numbers Contradict American Statements9. Decade of Destruction 10. Delusions of being Islamic
Humayun Gauhar is an accomplished writer. He comes on talk shows and is very forthright with his opinions. He is also the Editor in chief of Blue Chip Magazine. Contact him at humayun.gauhar786@gmail

Related Posts:

1.Why Maulana Qadri and Cricketer Khan can’t save Pakistan 2. Pakistan: The End of Time for Rulers! 3. Libel and Blasphemy
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author (s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statement / s contained in this post.
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Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy. We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.

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DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

We at Wonders of Pakistan uses copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.


Wink and Compromise [1 of 2]


To the world beyond Islamabad, after the great dharna ebded in the capital of Pakistan, victors were harder to call and the revolution tough to locate. After all, the vehement Qadri was not able to get the National Assembly dissolved, nor accomplish a sending away of the President or his Ministers. They all stayed in place, many of the reviled waving from the same podium where they had been denounced so heartily by the man in the silver cap.
To the angry revolution seeker, the end was an anti-climax, a hand holding that seemed in its neat reliance on the basis of an agreement, of future meetings and detailed delineations wholly unsatisfactory.
To those seeking relief from theocratic overtures, the relief was just as mixed, coming after too many crowds and too much capitulation and without the decisive excision that would thwart future attacks.
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THE MESSIAH AND HIS MEN

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by Nayyar Hashmey

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The great drama staged by Professor Dr. TUQ has been a breaker. News and views, comments and columns continue coming up on national as well as international media. I though profess to know not much about TUQ but my personal experience on two different occasions tell a totally different story.

The learned doctor who by passage of time, through is books, his oratory skills and his apparently elegant persona has got built for himself, a hallow of scholarly, noble conduct, full of reverence and vision in the eyes of his followers, his readers and to a good extent among the general masses.

The incidents I’m talking about relate to the time when Maulana had started his sermons on the state run PTV, which in those days was the one and the only electronic medium and therefore had a nation wide coverage without competition whatsoever, as in those days there neither were the private run satellite channels, cable networks, nor the mobile phones which today have become a ‘zarurat’ and at the same time a recreation for all and sundry.

It happened in those very days, that I was driving from Lahore to Sialkot. About 15 kilmeters ahead of Sialkot, on the highway connecting Gujranwala to Sialkot, all of a sudden I saw a sea of cars, trucks, Suzuki pickups and even trucks fully occupied by people carrying banners, flags and such other paraphernalia.

I was just surmising what had happened, when all of a sudden I was taken over by four SUV’s carrying men who all had loaded kalashnikovs and such similar fire power. While I was already drivng at the speed of 80 mkilmeters an hour, I was ordered by these deadly armed men to stop my car on one side of the road. When I asked them why should I, came the reply, “Professor Sahib is coming”.

I asked these armed men, who the hell this professor is and why should I stop my car, (BTW, I was already driving on the left side of the highway and causing no obstruction in anyway to the ongoing traffic). But to my utter dismay, I was told, “Janab ziyada baehs na krain warna ham apko sakhti se apni baat manwa lain ge”. Sir do not indulge into argumentation with us. If you do not obey us, we will make you obey.

Having seen no other alternative (as I love my life and didn’t want a ‘haram maut’ at the hands of such diehard followers of Maulana), I obeyed the ferocious looking hoodlums of the Maulana and parked my car on one side of the road. After a few minutes Maulana’s landcruiser passed and I had a sigh of relief.

I don’t know whether Maulana had ordered his bodyguards to ward off common sinners like me or not, but the incident was an indication to me for a man is known also by the bodyguards he keeps.

The next two incidents took place after some years at and near my residence. It happened so that one day at my residence [Before 2010 when I shifted to Rawalpindi, I was living in Lahore at Askari-I apartments, in Lahore Cantt.] a young boy knocked on my door and enquired whether I needed a domesticc helper / servant type of person. I asked my Gharwali whether she needed a helper / servant for his domestic chores.

My wife then talked to the boy named Iqbal. The boy was industrious and obedient, therefore, we were very satisfied from the help he rendered. Not only that we took him as a member of our family. The boy too was also very happy. Once when he went to his village in Tandlianwala on holidays, he came back with a big stock of fresh, juicy and sweet sugar cane for us.

The things were going smoothly when one day I was again knocked by a neighbour, a retired major. The person did not introduce himself, nor was there any courtesy but a ruthless order carrying some threat as well. I asked the genteman what had happened that made him talk so rude. To this he replied that he was sceretary general of the PAT and Dr. TUQ has been his class fellow at Jhang. OK, I said but Sir what has this to do with me.

‘You have snatched my servant and I take it as a big offence. I told the guy, the boy came on his own to me and if he wants to go back with you, Please take him along. It carries no sense that two neighbours enter in a row just becasue of a very very petty matter. But said the man, no you will dismiss the chap from your service at once. We are landlords and politicians, said my neighbour. We know how to tackle such Kammi Kameen. Its beyond you to handle such village rogues, its we the landlords who know them. We give them good beatings and so do they remain obedient to lick our boots. These damn poor creatures have remained like this for centuries, are still like this and so shall they remain forever, always, Neither will this chap stay with you nor will I allow you to retain him any more.

Now this was enough for me too, to bear such type of language and threats. I said to the man, Sir you may be landlord and you may be a politician. For me you are a neighbour and I respect you more as a neighbour than landlord and politician. And mind you Major Sahib, the days of landlords are over, neither am I a Kammi kameen of your estate in Tandlianwala nor do I care a damn about your political credentials. Now Sir, this boy is with me. I will not order his dismissal nor do I care a damn about your threats. If the boy is willing to accompany you, take him along and I have absolutely no objection. But if he does not want to go, nothing going, I will retain him because he is with me, no ghulam of yours on an estate.

So the Major Sahib left in indignation and while departing said, ‘Come what may I will pick the boy up from you. OK, I said, dear Major, let’s see what the boy decides.

This matter though a personal one and really a very very petty issue but what makes me relate these incidents is the mentality of such men in our politics who make emotion ridden speeches in the public and the innocent public thinks here is our Messiah.

A year after this second incident, the same guy i.e. my neighbour invited Dr. Tahir ul Qadri at his residence. Before the arrival of Maulana, our locality was given such a thorough search that we thought we were livining in a concentration camp where nobody could enter or leave the camp without proper scrutinies and searching [I’m talking of the days when there were no such things as suicide attacks, bomb blasts, target klling etc. Lahore was much peaceful locality in those days]. The overall nvironment in our area being located in the cantonment and the residential colony being a military run housing complex, was even more secure than other localities in the city.

But all these things perhaps did not ensure a security for the learned professor and hence all such search and rescue operations. Any way the learned professor came. My neighbour’s residence was the venue. At about 2 am, professor started his speech. The loudspekers were at such sound blasting volume that no one could sleep in the dead of night. I’m sure on that night every resident in our housing complex [except the office bearers and the followers of the professor], like me had a terrible restless night.

Dear readres, imagine when you are sleeping in your home sweet home and all of sudden the louspeakers start blaring at full volume piercing right through your ears, should I say it was all OK because it was by a learned professor who made so many common people like you and me to shiver in the freezing temperatures of Islamabad while he with his family, was sitting in cabin having all the comforts of a seven star hotel room trying to snatch niche in the arena of our national politics. I leave it entirely to you to decide if I am wrong in asserting my opinion on the much hallowed venture of Professor TUQ who of late is being eulogised by a big chunk of our people as saviour of the nation.

Note: The next post by Humayun Gauhar ;which forms part two of this essay is titled Wink and Compromise, but I would deem it more as ‘Shout and Compromise’.

Contd…

Next: Wink and Compromise [2 of 2]

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More from Nayyar Hashmey on Wonders of Pakistan

1. Wahhabi Doctrine: Origin and the Manifest under House of Saud [in three parts] 2. Will the Taliban opt for peace? [in two parts] 3.  Motorway and the Dark Ages [in two parts] 4Salam, Abdus Salam [in two parts] 5. ‘Project Malala’: The CIA’s Socio-Psychological Intelligence [in two parts] 6. Wave of Democratic Revolutions in the Southern Hemisphere 8. Achievers 6espite heavy odds [in three parts] 9. Rewinding the Tragic Saga 1947 10. The Quaid and the Significance of Pakistan

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The Algerian kidnappers and the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui


Those who knew Dr. Aafia Siddiqui recall: she was very small, quiet, polite, and shy, barely noticeable in a gathering, but would say what was needed when necessary. Her fellow students described her as soft-spoken, studious, religious, but not extremist or fundamentalist. She taught Muslim children on Sundays, and was dedicated to helping oppressed Muslims worldwide.
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DR. AAFIA SIDDIQUI

 THE MOST WRONGED WOMAN OF THE WORLD

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by Yvonne Ridley

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Those who knew Dr. Aafia Siddiqui recall: she was very small, quiet, polite, and shy, barely noticeable in a gathering, but would say what was needed when necessary. Her fellow students described her as soft-spoken, studious, religious, but not extremist or fundamentalist. She taught Muslim children on Sundays, and was dedicated to helping oppressed Muslims worldwide.

She spoke publicly, sent emails, gave slideshow presentations, and raised donations as part of her faith, activism, and sincerity. Yet she was targeted as “a high security risk” despite no evidence then or now to prove it. [Photo: Aafia Siddiqui upon years of U.S. torture].
The only thing that surprised me when I heard that the Algerian kidnappers had called for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui was that it hadn’t happened sooner.

Don’t get me wrong, as a former hostage myself, there is no way I condone the actions of what has unfolded in a remote corner of the Algerian desert. (more…)

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