You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Roaring of the Lion and Glimpses into the Future


It is as though he has returned from the dead. Just a few days after destiny dragged him through the dark vale of death on the other side of the mountains of the moon, the Lion of Pakistan returned. And he was roaring. In a rare moment of mental concentration, our otherwise punch-drunk nation listened intently and agreed. We are a people who had almost forgotten what it feels like to listen to a leader who truly and eloquently voices our concerns. The all-too-frequent meek howls of jackals and the wily mutterings of foxes – they could never strike a chord with Pakistan’s aspirations. It was in the thunderous roaring of the engulfed Lion, that we finally found vindication for that basic right long denied to us – the right of representation in the highest halls of power.

When Nawaz Sharif came all out with his charge sheet against our praetorian overlords, who have yet again le the nation down, it was a great national cathartic moment. And more than that, it was a moment of destiny. Absolutely unpredicted by anyone. It wasn’t just the self-obsessed khakis who were taken aback. So inexplicable the whole episode was, that even after it has happened, the carrion-eaters who flourish on analyzing our multifarious miseries and misfortunes, the dementors who build personal careers and reputations by feeding upon whatever little is left of hope in our people, and the great political pundits, they are all dumbstruck. Bewildered, they are still trying “to explain the underlying factors” that might have “caused” this “political gesturing.” But they find nothing to support them; this time round, the Lion has roared and there is little that the misery-mongers can add.

The problem with the carrion-eaters is that their theoretical framework cannot accomodate a major factor which drives history - a factor that clearly does not hold complete sway over the unfolding of history but, equally so, can only be ignored at one’s peril. I am referring to the rare emergence of a moment of destiny accompanied by a man of destiny, who work in tandem to make history. This is what explains the roaring of the Lion. And it even offers us a glimpse into our national future – which turns out to be more promising that what the carrion-eaters would allow for.

At times like these, the professional cynics are left with little to say. By all rational calculus, the Lion of Pakistan had everything to gain by making his peace with the khakis, just like all the other political stakeholders did, even if this meant being treacherous to his temporal political sovereigns – the  People of Pakistan. Only a few weeks ago, as the Lion waged a personal battle for his life in a hospital in London, swinging every hour between life and death, back home, the carrion-eaters were predicting his political demise. And it was quite clear that the forces-who-must-not-be-named were making every possible effort to unite all those who stood against the Lion – so as to deny him an other expected landslide electoral victory, whenever the next elections are held. And yet it is that just two weeks later, when destiny offered the Lion a perfect chance to oblige the khakis for ever by saving them from the wrath of the plebians, he just wouldn’t do it. Right at a time, when the olive branch would make the greatest personal sense for him, risking further enmity and embracing political isolation, the Lion, true to his instincts, decided to roar. Some of his own aides tried to pull him back. But he went all out. Thankfully, the nation has listened, and stands mesmerized by this man of destiny.

The critics cannot make any sense of this because in their profane calculus, there is simply no room to account for a man of destiny and a moment of destiny, even when they do encounter one. This has happened before. It was not too long ago, when another man of destiny, surrounded by five towering men in uniform, trapped deep in the lair of the khakis, simply refused to bow down.  He stood. And the my people stood behind behind. That day, and long after that, the carrion-eaters couldn’t explain what was afoot. Yet, the man of destiny has not ceased to perform his daily share of miracles.

No less a man of destiny is the Lion. The People of Pakistan cannot agree more with him. He has taken a difficult stand and he will have to fight for it, paying a heavy price of blood, sweat and tears. Yet the People will stand with him, just at they stood, and even marched, not too long ago.

The critics still stare with disbelief. In the year 1999, the Lion took a stand. And then, in his hour of need, when he looked back, he found that there was absolutely no one standing behind him. He suffered long years of solitary imprisonment, exile and deceit. By all calculations, he should have learnt his lesson. And after all this, somehow he has again found the courage to become the Lion that he now is. What could possibly explain this? Destiny is one factor, clearly. But so, I dare say, is death.

Isn’t it amazing just how many times has death, both physical and political, engulfed him, and yet been turned back. In the early years of this decade, he seemed destined for the gallows, just like the equally popular and courageous ZAB before him. But in the last hours, destiny saved him. Then, in the opulent surrounding of a posh Jaddah neighborhood, isolated from his soil, he seemed destined for a slow political death – like a flower plucked from its roots. And yet destiny saved him. When the late Mohtarma returned to this country and made here NRO-guaranteed peace with the general and imperial powers, the Lion seemed destined for exclusion from the political process. And yet, just a day before the last date for filing nomination forms, riding on the wings of destiny, he touched Pakistani soil. Still, in the aftermath of Zardari’s election and being played around by the Dogar Court, under whose directions Shehbaz Sharif was disqualified, it again seemed that political death would finally get its long sought target. And yet again, he emerged unscathed. Now, just a few weeks ago, his failing heart seemed finally to be giving in to sorrows that surround my people. His enemies were multiplying, conspiring and consolidating. Yet, there he is. Back in the game. Repeated encounters with death have transformed him. And this is why, today, he is roaring. But where is destiny driving the Lion of Pakistan?

Here I can only share glimpses into the future which in the eye of the heart I beheld, even as I heard the Lion roar. This is the year two-thousand-and-fourteen. For all the critics’ warnings, Pakistan is still very much there. It has a more vibrant Parliament that ever before, now led by the Lion and his compatriots, both the young and fierce and the old and mellowed. Pakistan has the most civilianized executive it has so far had, and, in the wake of their embarrassment after the OBL debacle, the khakis are retreating, bit by bit, to their barricks, doing only that which they do best, leaving everything from governance to urban planning and education to those better suited for these jobs. And we also have the most independent and honest judicial system that we have so far had, since the cursed imperialists stepped in. I look back at 2004. Whatever I see there - a spineless judiciary, a corrupt executive led by khakis who worry about nothing more than their institutional interest, a pliant, King’s Parliament, a nation qietly digging itself a political and economic hole which it would soon plunge into – all of this seems history, by-gone, almost forgotten.

As the Lion roared, in the eye of the heart, this is the Pakistan I saw. The return of truth and courage in politics is an earth-shaking development. It is not just that we are seeing destiny at work, only amidst individuals and moments. My people are all a people of destiny. And it is their dawn, the spotless dawn which they are destined for, which has drawn nigh. Those ofus who can see things, can see it already. It is that close, I tell you. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MQM’s “revolutionary” success in bi-election

Following picture shows one of the many reasons for MQM’s recent success in bi-election of PS-94. Altaf Hussains later said that Orangi Town has proved to be the “Altaf Town” in his usual funny and dramatic style.

ps 94 bi election
PS-94 Bi-Election: MQM’s supporters are there to vote on behalf of their dead male relatives. This shows the “popularity” of MQM that even dead ones cast their votes in favor of MQM. [Caption Translation]: Photo Source

May be i am being jealous on MQM’s yet another “historic” victory, but how come they have managed the turn out of PS-94 to 70% when the situation was such tense and the opposition had boycotted the election? Seriously, 70% is much more than extraordinary turn out which is never seen even in western where people are such aware of their responsibility to cast their vote. In Pakistan, during general elections (when law and order situation is nothing like that day in PS-94) a turn out of 50% has never been witnessed.

It is worth mentioning that this “revolutionary” success of MQM cost 48 lives, which again they claim were their worker and sympathizers. It would be stupid to rule out the MQM’s role in those killings as well as of PPP and ANP. All of the three parties are coalition partners and yet worsening the life in Karachi. They will keep complaining and blaming each other BUT none of them will ever leave the Govt. On point of leaving government coalition, MQM has a distinction … as long as they think that government is not going anywhere they will remain in power and whenever they felt that government is collapsing they will immediately chant for “revolution”, feudal lords, landlords etc. and get out of the government.

I think that’s enough about MQM for today.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Aleem Dar wins 2010 ICC umpire of the year award

darAleem Dar has won ICC umpire of the year award of 2010 for the second time in a row. His has also beaten five times winner Simon Taufel second time consecutively, after 2009. The other nominees in the category were Steve Davis, Tony Hill and five-time winner Simon Taufel. This award is named as David Shephered Trophy and it was the 7th time that this award ceremony was held. Simon Taufel has won it during first five years consecutively and now it seems that Aleem Dar is going to get it for the next couple of years as well. Previously he was nominated for this award in 2005 and 2006 but was beaten both times by Australian umpire Simon Taufel.

Dar was voted by the captains of the ten full members of the ICC and the eight-man elite panel of ICC's match referees for the period August 24, 2009 to August 10, 2010. Their choice was based on his decision statistics and officiating skills over the past 12 months.

After collecting his trophy from match referee Chris Broad, Dar said:

“I think the fact that I'm still playing cricket in Pakistan makes me a good umpire. In the last four times I've played cricket I've scored centuries so I definitely think that has helped. I’m honored to have been named the winner for the second year in row.”

PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt has congratulated ICC elite panel umpire Aleem Dar on being named as ICC Umpire of the Year 2010.

“It is a great honor for the country that Aleem Dar has once again won the prestigious Umpire of the Year award for his honest and consistent performance over the last year. This is the second year running that Aleem Dar has been declared the best umpire in Cricket and it shows his hard work and dedication towards his job,” a PCB media release quoted Ijaz Butt. “Aleem Dar’s award has made all Pakistanis proud and we remain confident that he will continue to excel in his field On behalf of PCB I wish to congratulate him on being awarded this prestigious honor” Ijaz Butt added.

History

He made his international umpiring debut in an ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Gujranwala on February 16, 2000. In 2002 he became a member of ICC's International Panel of umpires. He was chosen to umpire at the ICC Cricket World Cup in early 2003. He was appointed to stand in his first Test match between Bangladesh and England at Dhaka, in October 2003. In April 2004, he became the first Pakistani to be part of the ICC Elite Umpire Panel. Aleem Dar also holds a record of umpiring 100 ODI’s in record time of just seven years, he umpired his 100th ODI on 17 Oct. 2007 and became 10th umpire to pass that number and first Pakistani to achieve this landmark. He was one of the on-field umpires for the final of the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, and this was not just one time when he was selected to umpire such a high profile match, later he was chosen to stand in the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup between Australia and Sri Lanka and was also selected to stand in the final of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 between Australia and England.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Proof of Indian hand in South Waziristan Militancy: army

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has found concrete evidence of India’s involvement in militancy in South Waziristan and decided to take up the matter with New Delhi.

This was disclosed by Information Minster Qamar Zaman Kaira and military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas at a press briefing on the progress of operation Rah-i-Nijat here on Monday. It was the first time in recent times that Pakistan had pointed fingers at India from a forum having representation of political and military leadership.

Mr Kaira said although it had been decided to raise the issue with India, Pakistan would not deviate from the peace process.

Gen Abbas said a huge quantity of Indian arms and ammunition, literature, medical equipment and medicines had been recovered from Sherawangi area, near Kaniguram. He said the Foreign Office had been informed and the matter would be taken up with the Indian authorities through diplomatic channels.

Sources in the Foreign Office said a dossier containing proofs of India’s involvement in South Waziristan would soon be handed over to officials in New Delhi.
KANIGURAM TAKEN: Gen Abbas said security forces had secured control of Kaniguram, a redoubt of Uzbek fighters.

He said there were fortified positions and bunkers in the area which were being used by militants in possession of modern weaponry. The entire area had been cleared of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Five truckloads of arms and ammunition were recovered from the area on Monday, he added.

Full Story: DAWN.COM | Pakistan | Proof of Indian hand South Waziristan: army
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Diya - A Hero's Daughter

Text & Photos by Fauzia Minallah


Diya with her father Pervez Masih's photograph

Diya 3 and her mother Shaheen

Diya is only three, she is lost and has many questions about her father Pervez Masih. Pervez was a janitor at the International Islamic University. On the fateful day when IIU was attacked by suicide bombers, he was the hero who stopped the terrorist from entering the cafeteria for female students. Pervez lost his life, while saving the lives of more than 300 students.
He will always be remembered as a true hero by us. Diya will always be remembered as a hero’s daughter.

The Minister of Interior, Mr Rehman Malik, publicly announced that his family will recieve a compensation of approximately $10,000. So far, the family has not been contacted by anyone from his office. The IIU administration helped the family with Rs. 10.000 for the burial costs, employed his widow Shaheen as a sanitory worker and promised to help with Diya’s education. Other than that there has not been any help from anyone for Pervez’s family. The only person who has helped this hero’s family so far is a young student of Behria University, Maham Ali . She motivated her friends to donate funds for Pervez's family. She collected Rs. 52,500 and bought toys and clothes for Diya.
Maham and Diya.

We might be going through tough times, but even in this darkness there is hope. And for me that hope is in young people like Maham. She was our pillar of support by collecting funds for our effort in helping the internally displaced Pakistanis.
As a society we need to recognise our heroes, we need to rise above our prejudices and name streets, buildings and squares after Pervez Masih. So what if he was a poor Christian sanitory worker, he saved the lives of 300 Muslim students. Atleast on November 16th on the 'International Day of Tolerance', Maham was there to cheer Diya- a hero's daughter.

--
Fauzia Minallah

www.funkorchildart.com
http://funkornews.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is America Serious in Fighting 'Terrorism'?

Pakistani army is advancing at a fast pace in south waziristan. Resistance by the opponent group is far less than expected. Question arises that why is the resistance that low when it was considered a safe heaven for the armed militants residing there for so many years? Answer to this question becomes evident if we note that american checkposts in afghanistan along the south wazriristan border were removed within a few days after the start of the operation (Reported Here). So we can easily conclude that the militants have moved to afghanistan (obviously they'd have, they were provided the chance by the troops on eastern border of afghanistan).
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Protest against Gojra victimization and in favor of minority rights, organized by FASTRising.org

Do issues die out when their intrinsic value diminishes? Or when there is no one left to agitate for their just resolution?

WHAT: Protest against the burning alive of fellow citizens at Gojra

WHEN: 5.00 PM, Saturday, 12th September, 2009

WHERE: Lahore Press Club

Join us if you feel the agony, if your conscience does not let this issue die out!

To Follow Updates: http://fastrising.org/?p=672

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Victims of The Half Law ( Samson Simon Sharaf on Gojra violence)

Samson Simon Sharaf is a well known columnist for THE NEWS daily english news paper. He is a respected Defence analyst, and is son of Mr. Sahraf, who was an active anti-Unionist activist of the pre-partition erra, and was instrumental in successfully aligning the Christian community in Punjab with Muslim League, owing in part to Mr. Jinnah's ideals w.r.t. minorities, in 1946 elections, to defeat the Unionist Govt. Here is what he had to say in one of his recent blog entries at Pak tea House.

This in part highlights the usual the inefficiency of the government, and their consideration of the protection of minorities as a non-issue. Exploitation of Blasphemy laws, still much open to interpretation by both the Muslim & Christian community to settle personal and political scores, and how easily can our public (we among them) be incited into mob mentality when it comes things which we don't want happening around us.


Victims of The Half Law

The recent incidents in Gojra are a grim reminder of how existing half laws can be manipulated for personal and political ends. Besides loss of life, property or the reputation of the country, it also reflects an opportunist political system in which strange bedfellows can be espoused for political expediency and where rule of law can be applied selectively. Worse, it exposes false claims of the provincial and federal governments over constant surveillance of banned militant outfits in Punjab.

The entire trail from Jhang to Gojra, Mian Channu and Shantinagar is littered with similar incidents of religiously fanned hatred spearheaded by banned militant outfits. Time and again such incidents take place with impunity and remarkable alacrity. It is to question why the local administration is caught sleeping and why no preventive measures manifest themselves in pre emptive actions.

There is no doubt that the working relationship between the Federal Government and PMLN Government is dysfunctional. It took the Government of Punjab three days to move into a belated action despite warnings given by Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister of Minorities Affairs. The provincial government dismissed the factual reporting of the federal minister for over two days and moved reluctantly after all the damage had been done and Faisalabad-Karachi Railway traffic blocked for two days. The Chief Minister has repeatedly postponed his visit to the city citing
security reasons. Meanwhile the frustrations continue to grow resulting in resignations of one federal and one provincial minister.

Reportedly, around 18th of July, intelligence agencies had issued a warning to the Government of Punjab of likely incidents of terrorism in which some enclaves of minority Pakistanis could be targeted. Rather than take this information seriously, the provincial government deemed it fit to act as it did, allowing free access to militant outfits for arson and murder. Perhaps they were too engrossed in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling sparing no moments for the welfare of its citizens.

The entire incident belying the fragility of our system began at a wedding party in Korrian, a Christian village 6 Kms from Gojra on 29 July. A local guest was escorted out of the celebrations for being drunk. He took revenge by leveraging the Blasphemy slogan in cahoots with some local clerics and sleepers of the banned outfits. The Federal Minister Mr. Bhatti moved into action but all his cautions fell on deaf and defiant ears in Lahore.

The Christian enclave in Gojra is located close to Awan Town named after a local property tycoon Mr. Qadeer Awan. Qadeer also runs and controls many local businesses like CNG and Petrol Pumps. He is reputed to be a very influential PMLN member and financier of the party and sleeper militants. He is known to hold the neighbouring Christian enclave in contempt with a long record of confrontation. He saw the incident at Korrian as an opportunity to settle issues and extract advantage. He is the prime suspect in the FIR, registered after 48 hours of delay. Christians allege that he with his team of sons and relatives master minded the entire operation including movement of militants from Jhang and surrounding areas.

These militants moved on public transport with automatic weapons, explosives and incendiaries with complete impunity despite many Police Check Posts en route. Rather than risk confronting heavily armed militants, the baton wielding local police chose to by stand. A nearby sizable Christian Village Chak 424 was put on hold through an expected militant attack. This was done through messages by militants, clerics and local administration. The village was never attacked but the warnings served to block reinforcements to the besieged people of Gojra. The militants were seen taking orders on cell phones as also pass on information. If all calls on cell phones from the area were to be checked during the arson, it would reveal a long trail of connections leading to militant leaders, politicians and handlers residing outside Pakistan.

But there is a positive side too. Neighbouring Muslim communities gave shelter to men, women and children, escorted them out of the area on their own transport and provided food. Some Pakistani NGOs have also established camps and MQM relief has arrived in trucks from as far away as Sindh. Pathetically, the only missing group is the Government of Punjab.

Standing next to seven caskets on the railway crossing at Gojra, I was questioning myself why seven females were burnt alive with incendiaries and why innocent people shot in the head at point blank. As I write this, two more men have succumbed to burn injuries in the local hospital. The Punjab Government made no efforts to evacuate them to a Burn Hospital in Lahore. I ask myself, did they deserve this treatment. Do Pakistani Christians who put the opportunist Unionist of Punjab to shame by aligning with Jinnah deserve this?

Local Christians allege that PMLN Government is reluctant to act because it fears losing its vote bank in the area. The incident has become a political battle ground between PMLN and PPP in which justice, rule of law and criminal accountability would ultimately be eclipsed. I remain in awe of the political system to move beyond its petty politics.

In an environment where the legal community is charged and Supreme Court taking landmark decisions, it is incumbent to take a look at half laws that provide a pretext for mob justice. The Supreme Court needs to re evaluate Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code and direct the Parliament to frame it in a manner, wherein it cannot be exploited or manipulated.

Original Story at http://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/victims-of-half-law-in-gojra/

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Political unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan .. ( Abbas Ali for DAWN)

GILGIT-BALTISTAN is a simmering cauldron of discontent. The continued deprivation of political, economic and human rights is driving the people of this strategic northern end of Pakistan to desperation. They have been fighting for their rights not just since 1947, when they won liberation from Dogra rule, but since Dogra occupation of 1848.

A brief review of history will be in order to understand the current hostile attitude of the people towards the current political set-up in Gilgit-Baltistan. The British left the Gilgit Agency on July 31, 1947, two weeks before the independence of the subcontinent. On October 27, 1947 the people of Gilgit-Baltistan defeated the forces of Gansara Singh (Dogra Raj) and achieved independence to celebrate their own ‘Yaum-e-Azadi’ on November 1 and founded a new country ‘Islamic Republic of Gilgit’.

However, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan wanted to be part of the newly-born Pakistan. During the transitional period the ‘Islamic Republic of Gilgit’ approached the founder of Pakistan, Quid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah with a plea to join Pakistan. As a corollary, on November 16, 1947 Pakistan established its administration in the area. But until today the region has not become the legal and political part of Pakistan. Many people in the region think that their efforts and sacrifices of their ancestors have gone waste.

continue to full story