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.
·

EXCAVATING MOUNTAIN, FINDING MOUSE

·

by Humayun Gauhar

·

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]

Page  1   2

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.
Source  Title image\
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.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

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.


Advertisements

Sraiki Suba, Yes or No?


The waderas of Multan have their eyes on Bhawalpur for which they even manufactured a plea that it was a Sraiki ‘speaking’ area. Former Senator, Mohammed Ali Durrani, a Bahawalpuri himself, led a spirited campaign showing Bahawalpur was not a Sraiki speaking area.
He contradicted this claim by saying that the people of Bahawalpur speak “Riyasti” , in Multan Multani, in Dera, Dera wali, etc. The claim that there is a Sraiki language is of recent origin.
·

JIFFY CREATION OF SOUTH PUNJAB

·

by Dr Samiullah Koreshi

·

Note for WoP readers:

Creation of a separate province based on Sraiki speaking areas of Punjab was hyped up by former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. Since this stance suited the ruling PPP too, therefore, presdient Asif Ali Zardari also put his full weight into a demand for such province.

After the departure of Mr. Gilani, th movement appeared to have almost died down. But recent appointmrnt of Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood as the new Governor of Punjab, has ignited once again the discussions about the pros and cons of a Sraiki province.

Had there been a sincere wish to carve out a separate province, which means to faciliate the people of the areas in southern Punjab, nobody would have opposed such a move. But as the things are, such slogans are raised just to gain political mileage, perticularly [as has been pointed out by almost every analyst] the stance has a design to do more damage to the PMLN’s vote bank than to serve the people of the Sraiki belt in south of Punjab.

All the ruling dynasties of Multan i.e. the Gilanis, Gardezis, Khakwanis, Makhdooms so on and so forth have been in power not from today, not from the time of the creation of Pakistan but far beyond that period. The fact is that during the British colonial rule, it were the same ruling families of Multan who ruled the roost even in those days as they do so now as well.

Surprisingly not for a single time, any one of them raised the demand for a separate province for the Sraiki areas. Why then now?
The idea behind this move is more for the princes of Multan to have their full control over the resources of the whole Sraiki belt, which they have to get out of the total budget of the whole province. However, in case of a separate province the resources of the new province will be completely at their disposal, same way as they control the rural masses on their estates, the poor mazaras tilling their lands, dependent upon their feudal lords for their bread , their health and the education, employment of their kids. In other words a state of perpetual slavedom of the people in Sraiki areas.[Nayyar] (more…)

Caesar’s wife and the burden of suspicion


So does My Lord the Chief Justice, on whose side emotionally guys like me will always gravitate, realise how the wheel comes full circle? He was our St George pursuing the dragon of corruption and wrongdoing in high places. And since the stars are not without their share of irony, sharp and interested eyes are seeing the footprints of the dragon reaching up to his own front door.
It doesn’t matter whether young Arsalan, his son, was the beneficiary of gifts coming from the generous hands of Malik Riaz, arguably the most powerful person in Pakistan today, more powerful in my opinion than the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army. Former generals and admirals are in his pay. Islam may be our avowed faith but the passion which really sways our good and great is connected to the holy kingdom called real estate, whose crowned head is Malik Riaz.
What matters is that Arsalan has been touched by the breath of suspicion and when it comes to Caesar’s wife, or son as in this case, that is enough. Both, if the state of the Republic is to be counted as healthy, must be above suspicion.
·

CAESAR’S WIFE AND THE BURDEN OF SUSPICION

·

by Ayaz Amir

·

So does My Lord the Chief Justice, on whose side emotionally guys like me will always gravitate, realise how the wheel comes full circle? He was our St George pursuing the dragon of corruption and wrongdoing in high places. And since the stars are not without their share of irony, sharp and interested eyes are seeing the footprints of the dragon reaching up to his own front door.

It doesn’t matter whether young Arsalan, his son, was the beneficiary of gifts coming from the generous hands of Malik Riaz, arguably the most powerful person in Pakistan today, more powerful in my opinion than the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army. Former generals and admirals are in his pay. Islam may be our avowed faith but the passion which really sways our good and great is connected to the holy kingdom called real estate, whose crowned head is Malik Riaz.

What matters is that Arsalan has been touched by the breath of suspicion and when it comes to Caesar’s wife, or son as in this case, that is enough. Both, if the state of the Republic is to be counted as healthy, must be above suspicion.

There is another irony at work here. The same media forces which gifted us Memogate, making a fireworks out of a molehill, are behind this latest scandal. Not a shred of evidence has been produced showing the money connection between Arsalan and Malik Riaz. It may well exist but we could have done with some evidence and investigative reporting. The commentaries could have come later. But it has been the other way around here, the Supreme Court calling for details and everyone concerned earnestly engaged in scurrying for cover.

This is exactly what happened in Memogate, the media blitz so strong that the CJ and the army chief both fell for it. This time there’s been no blitz, just a whispering campaign. But so insidious that CJ Chaudhry felt constrained to act. But, I fear, he may have acted in haste. After all, this was a matter involving his son. As a trained lawyer, a former advocate general of Balochistan, it should not have been difficult for him to get at the truth, sitting Arsalan across the table, and then, if any impropriety was established, deciding what to do.

Even if there is any truth to the worst of the allegations about Arsalan, he is guilty of impropriety. A son of My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry of all people should have nothing to do with someone like the honourable Riaz Malik. If they do they are courting temptation. And if, as a consequence, they find themselves in a soup they have no one to blame except themselves.

When the Islamabad Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Bill came up before the Defence Committee of the National Assembly I opposed it strongly and wrote a dissenting note, on the simple grounds that the army should receive no special favours when it came to housing colonies.

Malik Riaz had a deep interest in the matter and kept calling me. (Where his interest is involved, let me say, he is nothing if not persistent.) Against my better judgment I was persuaded to come on a guided tour of DHA Islamabad, the great Malik at the wheel himself and I on the front seat…taking in the vast construction work underway, bulldozers working day and night, the land acquired, some of it forcibly. It was all very impressive and I felt some of my cynicism subsiding. Then there occurred an error which set me thinking. When the tour came to an end and it was time for coffee, ready for a PowerPoint presentation, stick in hand, was a rather sheepish-looking administrator of the DHA. What on earth was he doing there, less administrator and more like a hired underling? I knew I had made a mistake. Making my excuses I hurriedly left.

Arsalan being who he was should have known what company to keep. Even if the sums being bandied about – 30, 40 crores – are put to one side, the mere association between him and the tycoon in question should count as an impropriety, especially when we are talking of St George on his white horse and the king of real estate with so many irons in the fire.

But such things are not easily proven in the Islamic Republic. We are a remarkably free country in this sense: anything goes. Who’ll depose against Arsalan? If we know our Malik Riaz, not him. So my guess is that all we are likely to get is another Memogate, sound and fury amounting to very little, Chaudhry partisans solemnly shaking their heads and saying that in investigating his own son he has emulated the example of the first caliphs; and media gladiators, of whom there is never a shortage in our land, throwing dark hints about the forces behind this conspiracy, and foretelling disaster and constitutional mayhem.

The silliness has already started. Malik Riaz may be the man behind the rumours but he has said nothing on record, nothing that can be quoted or held against him. Giving currency to the rumours and bearing witness are some champions of the TV screen. But if the case is to proceed and My Lord the CJ clear his name and honour, it must rest on something more solid.

So, not surprisingly, we are being treated to the spectacle of My Lord the CJ trying to glean information from Malik Riaz’s Bahria Town whose officials, retired generals amongst them, are playing mum, as was only to be expected. And since we are not going to get media personalities deposing anything on oath anytime soon, what we will be left with is another trail of unsubstantiated rumour.

The record of recent judicial commissions is not very inspiring. The Abbottabad Commission is still dancing in the shadows. Memogate is something the SC would give anything to forget. In the Asghar Khan case the SC is taking its time charting a clear course even though solemnly-affirmed testimonies are available in this case. Given this shining record, are we likely to see anything clear-cut or dramatic in something as hazy as the Arsalan allegations?

What this latest episode emphasises is a truth we are all familiar with: in the Turkish bath of Pakistani politics no one is fully clothed. To a lesser or greater degree everyone appears to be on the take. Standards that should be guiding us simply aren’t there. We all seem to be in a hurry to get ahead, no matter what the means. Hence the conundrum we face: while the country as a whole seems to be doing poorly, favoured individuals, and their number is not small, seem to be doing very well: collective regression or impoverishment, individual progress.

One can go on and on and make a dismal litany of it. But just imagine the consequences of this latest piece of national theatre: for all his faults, and uncharitable souls can point to a few, My Lord Chaudhry is someone so many of us have looked up to. Our history is full of judicial stuffiness, the higher judiciary pandering to the whims, dancing to the tunes, of tin-pot dictators. Chaudhry has asserted judicial independence and taken up issues, like those of missing persons, no apex court has dared touch before. Dragons may not have been slain but a host of good causes have been upheld.

And now ugly rumour arrives at his door. But he should take it in his stride. Such things happen but they come and go. If there is one thing constant about life it is that nothing is permanent, everything passes. This too will pass. And perhaps, if we are lucky, we may learn something from the experience.

Tailpiece: A newspaper picture says it all: former generals Shaukat Sultan and Ehtisham Zamir representing Bahria Town in the Supreme Court. Generals of the Wehrmacht acting as real estate agents: mind-boggling thought.

Ayaz Amir is a columnist and a politician. A member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Amir is known for his op-eds which appear in the leading national dailies of Pakitan. Ayaz Amir is a liberal who passionately argues the case for rule of law, democracy, and an end to failed militay rule alongwith extremist versions of Islam.  Email:: winlust@yahoo.com

More from Ayaz Amir on Wonders of Pakistan

1. What the ages couldn’t accomplish… 2. Pakistan’s Punjab problem 3. Where nonsense has a life of its own 4. Punjab can no longer live in a state of denial 5. Changing the Way We Have Been 6. What’s Pakistan being taken for?
Source
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.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

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.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use 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.

Pakistan pays the price of defiance as Obama shows his true colors


Around midnight on May 21, 2010, a girl named Fatima was killed when a succession of U.S.-made Hellfire missiles, each of them five-feet long and traveling at close to 1,000 miles per hour, smashed a compound of houses in a mountain village of Mohammed Khel in North Waziristan along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Wounded in the explosions, which killed a half dozen men, Fatima and two other children were taken to a nearby hospital, where they died a few hours later. Image above shows Al-Qaida commander Mustafa Abu Yazid; debris from a Hellfire missile; and Fatima, shortly before her death.
From the viewpoint of the Pakistani government, the treatment the Pakistani president had at the Chicago summit was a defeat, any way you look at it. If even the reputedly corrupt Asif Zardari cannot bring himself to reopen the supply routes while the drone strikes continue to wreak havoc on the civilian population of North Waziristan, and cause upheaval in the general population of Pakistan, then it might be time to revisit the policy. However, the self -proclaimed Masters of the Universe do not see it that way. This is their world and they will have their way. Violence, humiliation and oppression are their tools of choice. The lives of individuals have no meaning for them, and their mantra of freedom and democracy is meant to drown out the cries of the impoverished and brutalized masses of their victims.
·

OBAMA PLAYING GOD!

·

by Judy Bello

·

Leading up to the NATO Conference in Chicago last Friday, the U.S. was hopeful that President Zardari of Pakistan would announce the reopening of   U.S. military supply routes in Pakistan , according to  an article published  in the Guardian of London on May 21, but their hopes were dashed.   Zardari, who was invited at the last minute for a trilateral conference with U.S. President Obama and Afghan President Karzai, said, in a bilateral meeting with Hillary Clinton, that he would open the supply routes, but first the U.S. would have to apologize for killing 24 Pakistani soldiers during an air attack on a military base on the Afghan border last December and commit to ending Drone strikes inside Pakistan.  President Obama did not give a private audience to the Pakistani President.  In fact, it appears that American officials were not shy about expressing their displeasure with Pakistan at the Conference.

Obama, at the opening of the second day of the NATO summit Monday morning, demonstrated his displeasure with the Pakistan government by singling out for mention the Central Asia countries and Russia that have stepped in to replace the Pakistan supply route. He made no mention of Pakistan, even though Zardari was in the room at the time. To ram home the point, he US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, also held a meeting at the NATO summit with senior ministers from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic , Tajikistan, Turkmenistan , and Uzbekistan. Panetta expressed his “deep appreciation” for their support.”

This is a sharp rebuke, given the level of ongoing support that Pakistan has provided to the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan , which has lasted more than 10 years.    Mr. Zardari was apparently under some serious pressure to capitulate.   According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor on May 22, there were high hopes for a deal when he attended the NATO meeting.   It appears, however, that he offered to reopen the routes, without demanding the cessation of the Drone Strikes, at a price about 20x higher than what the U.S./NATO had been paying before the routes were closed, an offer unlikely to be accepted.   Meanwhile, back in Pakistan , according to any number of sources, Prime Minister Gilani has been convicted by the powerful Supreme Court of Pakistan for refusing to reopen an old corruption case against President Zardari.  Their government is in a very vulnerable position.

This is not a happy circumstance in a country where the civilian government has frequently been removed by a military coup, and Mr. Zardari’s father in law was actually executed by Zia-ul-Haq, the military dictator, supported by the U.S., who removed him from office. From the viewpoint of the Pakistani government, this is a defeat any way you look at it.   If even the reputedly corrupt Asif Zardari cannot bring himself to reopen the supply routes while the drone strikes continue to wreak havoc on the civilian population of North Waziristan, and cause upheaval in the general population of Pakistan, then it might be time to revisit the policy.   However, the self -proclaimed Masters of the Universe do not see it that way. This is their world and they will have their way.  Violence, humiliation and oppression are their tools of choice.   The lives of individuals have no meaning for them, and their mantra of freedom and democracy is meant to drown out the cries of the impoverished and brutalized masses of their victims. As you may imagine, an insult to an already debased opponent was hardly an adequate response to the refusal of a chattel to provide the expected services.  So, that wasn’t the end of the affair.   http://papillonweb.net/wordpress/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

Even as the beleaguered President of Pakistan was being shown the  good will of the U.S. Government and their NATO allies along with their contempt for himself, his country and the rest of  the people who live there, a successful Drone Strike that targeted an Egyptian Jihadist named Saeed al-Masri, or Yazid, killed  half a dozen men and 3 small children.    The Face of Collateral Damage, an article by Jefferson Morley on Salon.com provides the details and  a photo of one of the children , a small girl named Fatima .  Fatima was not a member of Yazid’s family (not that that should matter) but the child of an associate who had already been killed along with his wives and other children in a previous drone strike on his vehicle.   Fatima was killed in the compound where she lived in the village of  Mohammed Khel in North Waziristan not far from the other villages listed below.   Apparently this strike was not counted with the ones listed below because there was an actual ‘militant’ targeted.   Despite the deaths of several children, it didn’t play into the global accounting.

Beginning the same day the conference closed, on May 21, 22 and 24, 3 separate U.S. Drone Strikes in North Waziristan killed 20 people and wounded many more.   On the Monday the 21st of May, a compound (in our frame of reference, that would be a home) in the town of Miranshah was hit with 2 Hellfire missiles, resulting in 4 deaths and a number of injuries.   On Tuesday, a Mosque in a nearby village was struck by 2 Hellfire missiles during morning prayers, resulting in 10 fatalities and more injuries.  On Thursday, a bakery in another village in the region was struck with Hellfire missiles, resulting in 5 fatalities.   My Google Drone Alert was flooded with these events for the entire week.  Headlines in India, Pakistan, Russia, China, the U.S., U.K. and Canada echoed  ” Drone Attack Kills 10 “,  ” US Drone Strike ‘Kills 5’ in North Waziristan ” , ” 5 Killed in Pakistan Drone Strike ” ,, ” Drone Attack in North Waziristan Kills 5 ” and on and on.  These were so called  Signature Strikes so they did not target any identified individual.

Local people said that those killed in these strikes were ‘villagers’.  Across the international press, the victims were referred to variously, as ‘militants’, ‘suspected militants’ and ‘people’.   Some of the U.S. press presented them as ‘suspected’ militants and ‘supporters’ of terrorists.  Even after looking at all those articles, I don’t know their names.   I don’t believe the people who called the strikes know who they were.  ABC News referred to the victims as militants in every case, and helpfully provided a Google terrain map with a single marker designated ‘ Pakistan ‘.     At least I can name the towns, and provide maps showing the locations of the strikes.   The town struck on Monday was Miranshah, a significant town in the region.   The Mosque struck on Tuesday was in the village of Mir Ali , about 15 miles East of Miranshah, and on Thursday the Bakery was struck the village of Khasso khel, not far from Mir Ali.

Here is a map of the locations of the villages where the drones struck.  The markers show drone strikes that occurred between 2004 and 2011. The yellow highlighted area on your left indicates the location of Mirinshah, and the yellow highlight on your right indicates the general location of both Mir Ali and Khasso khel.   If you click on the map, it will open the Googlemap with all the drone strikes and the legend.

The Western press coverage of these events provides the big picture.  The Global Post, an internet news source has ” Back  to Back U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan Test Diplomatic Standoff Over Supply Lines “, and then ” Drone Strikes Continue to Pound Pakistan’s Northwest “.  Yes, I’ll say that’s a test of the diplomatic standoff.  An ‘official’ is quoted in the article as saying the victims were Uzbeks and other foreigners.   They give no evidence of how he would know.   Speaking of officials, the day of the first strike, the Christian Science Monitor ran ” Pakistani Official: Position to Soften on NATO Supply Line “, where they cite a Pakistani official and a prominent Pakistani journalist saying that Pakistan is going to have to bite the bullet because they can’t win this one.  

They indicate that the negotiations were derailed by Zardari’s request for higher transit fees.   But the bottom line is that there is nothing to negotiate because the Pakistani people will no longer tolerate U.S. Drone attacks and the U.S. has no intention of discontinuing them.    The next day, the headline was ” US Drone Strike in Pakistan Highlights Divergent Interests if US, Pakistan “.  I would say, the strike[s] highlight the near infinite disparity in power between the US and Pakistan ; at least that is what the U.S. seems to be asserting.

The article elaborates the inconvenience that Pakistan has caused to the U.S. and NATO by closing the supply lines, and says that inviting President Zardari to the NATO Conference was a goodwill gesture.  So, Zardari spent 17 hours or s,o on an airplane twice, so he could spend a few hours schmoozing with the folks who matter because they thought he was finally going to give in and violate the wishes of his domestic constituency by offering them what they want, but he spoiled the gesture by refusing to do so.

Two later pieces of news summarize the U.S. perspective on this situation.   On Friday, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette ran ” Drone Strikes Continue in Pakistan as Tensions Increase and Senate Panel Cuts Aid” .   Punishment is being piled on punishment, insult added to injury, in an attempt to bring the Pakistani government to it’s knees.  All that is left is Regime Change.   Interestingly, if you look at the first few paragraphs of this article, it seems like that is where they are heading.   And then, today in the New York Times, ” Secret Kill List Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will “, 8 pages of arrogant, bluster, wherein we read such gems as:

“When a rare opportunity for a  drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.”

and

“Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies — rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention — that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks. “

following a reference to “the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.”

Then we have:

“Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.”

and

“Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And  he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America ‘s image and derail diplomacy . ”  [ You could have fooled me ]

and yet

In Pakistan , Mr. Obama had approved not only “personality” strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists,  but “signature” strikes that targeted training camps and  suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants .”   [ What principle guides this decision? ]

The Republicans ‘get it’:

“Their policy is to take out high-value targets, versus capturing high-value targets,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the intelligence committee. “They are not going to advertise that, but that’s what they are doing.”

Mr. President, I have to ask, “What Principles are reflected here?  It would appear that Mr. Obama is playing God.   Seduced by the power of the Presidency, and at the same time  barred from constructive domestic action, President Obama has turned to the minute details of day to day issues of life and death for strangers on the far side of the planet who do not have it in their power to protect themselves from his personally structured version of state terrorism.    And last week, his eminence apparently decided to teach the Pakistanis a lesson about defying the mighty powers of the American Olympians.   Perhaps, Mr. Obama,  you would deign to look down from your lofty post and say a few words of comfort to little Fatima and the dozens of others like her.

 

Judy Bello is full time activist with The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, and with Fellowship of Reconciliation Middle East Task Force. She often posts on their blog at http://forusa.org. She has been to Iran twice with FOR Peace Delegations, and spent a month in the Kurdish city of Suleimaniya in 2009. She also runs her personal blog, Towards a Global Perspective http://blog.papillonweb.net and administers the Upstate anti-Drone Coalition website at http://upstatedronereaction.org
Source    Title image and caption
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.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

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.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use 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.

More subas? — I


The rumour that President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to announce the formation of new provinces on August 14 is bogus. The president, even if he so wished, cannot do it because he is not authorised to do so. Factually, it is all about politics e.g. there is the problem over the concept around which the three-stage exercise of delimitation, delineation and actual demarcation would/should take place.
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz says the exercise must not be conducted  on ethnic basis because that would serve to deepen the ethnic fault lines. That”s one way of looking at it and the sentiment cannot be faulted per se. But if one maps the ground, it becomes clear that the demand is essentially ethnic.
We have two overt expressions of it Sraiki and Hazara Subas and we have the more covert MQM demand which manifests itself in the party’s support to ethnic groups asking for their own units.

·

ITS ALL ABOUT POLITICS 

·

by Ejaz Haider

·

Do we need more provinces? Yes, we do. Could we please have a few more tomorrow, or a week from now? No, we can’t.

The challenge lies precisely in doing what needs to be done but which, for a host of reasons, will be resisted by various groups and parties, not because most oppose the carving out of more provinces but because each group has interests in the carrying out of such an exercise that run against those of the other group(s).

To put it another way, the very reasons for which some of the group/parties want more provinces are the reasons which would make this process difficult instead of facilitating it. The additional problem would of course be resistance from those groups that do not want more provinces — Sindhis losing Karachi; the Lahore-centred Nawaz League that would not want its political base diluted; the Baloch who claim all of Balochistan and so on.

The rumour that President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to announce the formation of new provinces on August 14 is bogus. The president, even if he so wished, cannot do it because he is not authorised to do so. Article 239 (4) of the constitution is very clear about the procedure for altering the limits of a province and adds another layer to any such constitutional amendment by bringing in the provincial assembly, two-thirds of whose members must assent before such an amendment can be sent to the president for his final approval.

·

·

It’s all about politics, however, before it becomes legal. The first problem is the concept around which the three-stage exercise of delimitation, delineation and actual demarcation would/should take place. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz says the exercise must not be conducted on ethnic basis because that would serve to deepen the ethnic fault-lines. That’s one way of looking at it and the sentiment cannot be faulted per se. But if one maps the ground, it becomes clear that the demand is essentially ethnic. We have two overt expressions of it — Seraiki and Hazara subas — and we have the more covert MQM demand which manifests itself in the party’s support to ethnic groups asking for their own units.

I asked Ahsan Iqbal how the PML-N would like to map this. He mentioned the former state of Bahawalpur. Sure, I said, prodding him on to give me some more examples. But he couldn’t. In fact, the Bahawalpur factor is interesting because there has been an internal fault-line in southern Punjab between the Riyastis and the Seraikis. However, Ayesha Siddiqa, who has recently done a survey, told me that while 60 per cent of the respondents said they wanted their own province, “their reasons for the demand related to better governance”.

Siddiqua’s take is that given the financial viability, or inviability, of the Bahawalpur suba, it would be much better to opt for a Seraiki suba. The same sentiment was expressed to me by Mohsin Leghari, a PML-Q MPA. Leghari, like Siddiqa, said that this dormant fault-line is being artificially revived and is part of the PML-N’s political strategy. He also gave the example of the ruckus in the Punjab Assembly on August 11 when an MMA member from Mianwali got up to ask for a resolution for a Thal suba.

“The PML-N doesn’t want to come out openly against more provinces because that will be politically disastrous so they are now resorting to muddying the waters for a viable Seraiki sooba,” says Leghari.

This is to be expected. Just like the Sindhis would not want to lose Karachi in any future delimiting of Sindh, the PML-N doesn’t want its power centre in the Punjab diluted. And it can resort to the tactics it is using and also mount serious arguments against the whole exercise while agreeing to have as many provinces as can be made on — its buzzword — ‘administrative’ rather than ethnic basis.

In a newspaper statement, Mian Nawaz Sharif has proposed that if the government (read: the Pakistan Peoples Party and its allies) is serious about creating more provinces, it should set up a National Commission for this purpose which can bring together, for consultation, all the interested parties. While Babar Awan has already dismissed the idea, saying there is no provision in the constitution for such a commission, the fact is that some senior PPP leaders agree that if and when it comes to this, and the PML-N presents a formal proposal in this regard, a commission can be set up and its terms of reference worked out.

“Such a commission doesn’t by its formation violate any constitutional provision especially if it is to be a consultative body which can do the spade work before the issue is taken to the assemblies,” said one senior PPP leader who asked that he not be named.

https://i2.wp.com/imgcdn.nrelate.com/image_cache/topics.onepakistan.com.pk/9a6dd3205e1f0752043a029bab3de1f1_thumb_Ejaz-haider.jpgThe writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at UIUC (1997) and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Studies Programme. Presently he is op-ed editor of Daily Times and host of Samaa TV’s programme “Siyasiyat”. He can be reached at sapper@dailytimes.com.pk

Related Posts:

 1. The dangers of new provinces 2. What if Punjab is too large? 
Source,  Title Image  Image next
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this report / article / Op-Ed are the sole responsibility of the author or the source from where this material has been taken. These may not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author (s) or the source. WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statement / s contained in this post.

YOUR COMMENT IS IMPORTANT

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR COMMENT

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. 
We at Wonders of Pakistan use 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.
 
%d bloggers like this: