Friday, July 20, 2012
Let Us Build Pakistan
by Shaheryar AliAccording to news reports, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Abdul Qadir Gilani has won the NA-151 Multan by-elections with 64,628 votes (19 July 2012). Independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Bosan, who was supported by all right wing parties including PML-N, PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, Sipah-e-Sahaba etc lost the elections with 60,532 votes, according to unofficial results. This is a big set back, not only to Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N and Imran Khan-led PTI but to the almighty military establishment in the grand scheme of things. Despite every effort of Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Police, Abdul Qadir Gilani defeated the candidate supported by every political paty of right wing, media, army and judiciary. That’s the power of PPP. It can take on all thugs together and defeat them! The judges should “pity the nation” and resign if there is any thing called “morality” left in them. Wounded by the loss of bye-election in Multan (NA-151), it won’t be wrong to assumed that Pakistan’s military establishment is now looking forward to reincarnate the anti-PPP alliance PNA of 1977 or IJI of 1990s! I am sure we will soon see the revolutionary PTI joining hands with PML-N. There is no otherway they (Pakistan army) will let the election take place. Five years of constant, uninterrupted, unilateral media trial of PPP plus its governance failures fail to shake its mass support to the extent that candidate enjoying support of Punjab government, all right wing, militant sectarian organizations, and also Election Commission of Pakistan, which by banning cadidate sponsered transport tried to inflict the fatal blow to PPP whose base lies in rural areas and in poor people, failed to win. This makes the establishment very uncomfortable. They will now try to repeat the 1977 scenerio. Pan right alliance and then a movement against alleged election rigging (under evil Zardari), today Rana Sanaullah of PMLN-ASWJ already started laying the ground work by saying “huge responsibility lies on Justice Fakhruddin G. Ibhahim, only “words” are not enough for “fair” elections”, no one should think that “we will accept “any results” given to us”. It is interesting to note that Justice Ibrahim is PML-N’s nomination not PPP’s.
The Express TribuneThe year 2011 remained unfortunate for women in Pakistan as violence against them increased by 6.74 per cent compared to the year 2010, a report released by Aurat Foundation on Friday revealed. The report titled ‘Violence Against Women in Pakistan: A qualitative Review of Statistics 2011’ states that 8,539 cases of violence were reported against women in 2011 as compared to 8,000 cases in 2010. According to the statistics presented in the report, abduction was the most prevalent in 2011 with 2089 cases reported across the country. The incident of murders was the second most prevalent form of violence against women. As many as 1575 women were murdered during 2011. However, this does not include women killed on the pretext of family ‘honour. The report segregated murders and cases of honour killings under which it classified 705 cases throughout the country. Categories of crime Out of 8,539 case of violence against women in Pakistan, 2089 cases of kidnapping, 1575 or murder, 610 of domestic violence, 758 of suicide, 705 of honour killing, 827 of rape and gang rape, 110 of sexual assault, 44 of acid throwing, 29 of burning and 1792 under miscellaneous. The category miscellaneous includes cases of child marriages, trafficking, attempted rapes and other forms of violence. Territorial distribution of violence Along with a breakdown of the form of violence recorded, the report attempted to map the violence as well. According to the report, most cases of violence against women in all categories were reported from Punjab with 6188 cases. Sindh accounted for 1316 cases of violence, while Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa reported 694 cases, 193 cases in Balochistan and 148 cases in the Islamabad territory. The report attempted to explain the number of cases reported from Punjab show that reporting mechanism is better than that in other provinces and the fact that Punjab makes up more than 54 per cent of the entire population of the country. The report raised alarm that Sindh accounted for a disproportionately high number in honour Killings, with Karo Kari in Sindh. The report said that 37.73 per cent of all cases (266 out of 705) of honuor killing tabulated were from Sindh. On the other hand, a disproportionately high rate of murder of women, 21.65per cent (341 of 897)of the total were reported from KP. Lahore the most violent city for women The report states that the highest number of overall violence against women cases were reported from Lahore with 754 cases. Faisalabad came in second with 667, Rawalpindi 459, Sargodha 381 and Multan 365. Districts in the list with the most reports include Chakwal, Okara, Vehari, Peshawar, Khanewal, Sheikhupura, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal, Lodhran and Rahim Yar Khan. Additional Secretary Law and Parliamentary Affairs Syed Mohsin Raza said legal system needed to be made remedial in Pakistan to lower these numbers. He said that even if those who did indulge in violence on women were punished, there wasn’t any way to get remedy for the victim. “Often women are beaten up by the husbands or family members and have to live in the same house with them. This is linked with financial independence. If women are empowered financially then violence against them will automatically drop. This is what Punjab government is working on and also given Women Empowerment Package 2012,” he added.
• Russia and China on Thursday, for the third time, vetoed a Western-proposed draft resolution. • Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the UN, told the UNSC that it "utterly failed" on Syria. • Ban Ki-moon said that he is disappointed at the UNSC's failure to adopt the resolution.The world seems to be still clogged up in their divide on how to solve the chronic and tumult crisis in Syria as a UN draft resolution was killed again on Thursday. Russia and China on Thursday, for the third time, vetoed a Western-proposed draft resolution, which threatens non-military sanctions by quoting Chapter VII of the UN Charter if the Syrian government fails to pull out troops and heavy weapons from populated areas.
The Express TribuneA Pakistani and two British universities have joined hands to benefit from each other’s experiences, exchange knowledge and promote understanding. The University of Swat has signed a memorandum of understanding with Leicester and Brunel universities to enable the exchange of faculty staff and students for academic and training purposes, said a press release issued by the university on Thursday. University of Swat Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan signed both the MoUs during his official visit to the United Kingdom. “Such linkage are no doubt, essential for university students and create a conducive environment for collaborative work in the field of higher education,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune. “The step will go a long way in the field of higher education and for the economic growth for the country,” he added. The academic circles in the valley have appreciated the move, dubbing it a positive step for the future of the newly-born university. “Exchange programmes are not only essential for students’ development but also indispensible for their intellectual growth and maturity,” commented Murad Ali, an educational expert. He opined that local students will benefit from orientation and exposure at foreign universities. “Such exchanges are instrumental in personality development. As students learn about traditional values and diversity of other countries, they get motivated,” Abdul Qayum, a professor at Jahanzeb College told The Express Tribune. “People learn from one another by human contact, they engage in discussions on various topics which change perceptions. This lends them an opportunity to widen their vision about different cultures and viewpoints of people.
Written by Lal KhanThis year July 5 marked the 35th anniversary of the military coup in Pakistan that toppled the democratic government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the pitch darkness of the night. This coup was led by General Ziaul Haq who deposed the first PPP government and imposed the most vicious and tyrannous military dictatorship in the country’s history. During the 11 nightmarish years of martial law, the masses of Pakistan suffered the torments and brutalities inflicted in the name of Islam. Thousands were publically lashed and incarcerated in prisons and notorious torture cells. Hundreds were hung on the gallows and innumerable perished in several massacres. In Sindh, the army killed thousands to crush the movement of 1983. In the Colony Textile Mills, in Multan, 133 workers were gruesomely slaughtered by direct firing. Zia was enjoying a wedding feast of the owner’s daughter in a plush villa nearby. Women were specially targeted with draconian Islamic laws like the Hadood Ordinance in which the rape victims were to be flogged for adultery. This barbaric dictatorship was imposed in connivance with US imperialism and was supported by them throughout its vindictive rule. Domestically, the religious parties and the conservative right wing supported it. Jamaat-e-Islami was part of the regime and shared power with Ziaul Haq. Pakistan in this period was transformed into a frightful society where relentless state repression and ruthless obscurantism crushed the masses. The state and the religious vigilantes monstrously intruded into the private lives of citizens. Hypocrisy, deceit, selfishness, treachery and malice became social norms. Islamic fundamentalism was propped up by the state and supported by the US to crush the resistance against the dictatorship. However, there were heroic and determined struggles launched against this despotic dictatorship by the workers and youth. Enormous sacrifices were made. But since its fall not much has changed for the masses. Instead, the social and economic conditions have worsened in many ways. There are important lessons to be learnt from this traumatic experience the oppressed classes had to endure for more than a decade of suffering and gloom. The late 1960s witnessed one revolutionary movement after another. The revolutionary movement of 1968-69 in Pakistan had not only challenged Ayub’s military dictatorship but also the system and state it was protecting. The masses wanted jobs, food, education, healthcare, housing – in other words, an end to their misery and exploitation. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the PPP provided an answer in the form of a programme of revolutionary socialism as opposed to “national or people’s democratic revolution” offered by our brothers and sisters of the left. This programme was synonymous with the fundamental aspirations of the masses in revolt. The intensity of the upheaval was so severe that it threatened the existence of capitalism itself. The region’s ruling classes initially tried to diffuse it through the elections of December 1970 and then even had to instigate a war and the breakup of Pakistan to quell the revolution. The pressure of the uprising and the fear of the revolution were still there and the military had to hand power to Bhutto at the end of 1971 who immediately initiated a rapid programme of the most radical reforms in the history of the country. Unfortunately, the PPP was not a Bolshevik party and hence, it lacked the cadre network and structures to replace the institutions of the bourgeoisie state. In spite of widespread nationalizations, the foreign corporate sector and several other sections of the commanding heights of the economy were left in private hands. The left within the party was slowly purged, land reforms were jeopardised by the bureaucracy of the bourgeois state and, instead, landlords penetrated the party. The old state apparatus remained intact and began to revive its despotic role. This was seen in the aggression of the army in Baluchistan in1974 under the PPP government. In the last analysis, capitalism was not abolished and its burgeoning crisis exploded in hyper-inflation that destabilised and ultimately led to the demise of the PPP government. It culminated in the assassination of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on the gallows in April 1979. The ruling classes who had been bruised by Bhutto’s reforms struck back with a bloody vengeance. In his last book, written in his death cell, If I am assassinated, which has acquired the status of his last testament, Bhutto wrote, “I am suffering this ordeal because I sought an honourable and equitable via media [middle road] of conflicting interests... the lesson of this coup d’état is that a via media, a modus vivendi, a compromise is a utopian dream. The coup d’état demonstrates the class struggle is irreconcilable and it must result in the victory of one class over the other. Obviously, whatever the temporary setbacks, the struggle can lead only to the victory of one class.” Paradoxically, the PPP leaders that emerged in the aftermath of Z A Bhutto’s assassination rebuked the founding chairperson’s last testament and the lessons he had drawn in life and death. The regimes of bourgeoisie democracy that followed after Zia’s demise did not change the fundamental policies and the capitalist/feudal system. To preserve and protect this system the ruling classes had imposed the Zia dictatorship that inflicted horrendous atrocities upon the toiling masses. It is not just his odious legacy that prevails in today’s Pakistan but the majority of politicians are former protégés of Ziaul Haq. The irony is that the PPP’s former prime minister, foreign minister and numerous other turncoats imposed in the hierarchy of today’s PPP are products of the nefarious Zia regime. This has resulted in the crushing of society. While the rich accumulate obscene quantities of wealth, thousands of working people fall below the poverty line every day. Corruption, nepotism and crime dominate the political spectrum. The military that became a mercenary force in waging imperialist wars during the Zia era is now indulged in the process of primitive accumulation. Zia initiated religious bigotry and terrorism has become a festering wound on the body politic of Pakistan. This bestial frenzy is being financed by the black capital generated by the narcotics trade that had an income of $30 billion this year, according to UNICEF. Hence, even after his physical elimination, the basic characteristics of Zia’s policies are very much intact. This reflects the real nature of Pakistani capitalism. In these excruciating times, the ruling class through the media is trying to restrict mass consciousness in the conflicts between different sections of the elite and various forms of bourgeois political superstructures. The most destructive feature of a military dictatorship is that it pushes mass consciousness backwards and illusions in a democratic setup of the elite develop in society that undermine the class struggle. Exploitation and agony persists. The harrowing conditions that are tormenting society can only be eradicated when this appalling system is abolished by the redemption of the 1968-69 revolution through a socialist victory, otherwise these revolutions cannot be victorious. The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.brecorder.comPresident Asif Ali Zardari has said that the electoral victory of Abdul Qadir Gilani in the sandy land of the saints will reverberate in the annals of time as a stark reminder to everyone that it is the people and people alone who pronounce the final verdict and are not afraid of overturning all other judgments. This he said in his felicitation message to Abdul Qadir Gilani, son of former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, on his victory in the bye-election in NA 151 Multan. According to unofficial results, Abdul Qadir Gilani secured 64628 votes and won the election with a lead of over four thousand votes. In his message, the President termed the victory as vindication of former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and the PPP and recognition of the sacrifices of Gilanis for upholding the constitution, democracy, and the Party and their services to the people of the area. The President termed the peoples verdict as ultimate in this world transcending all other judgments. The President also felicitated former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani saying that the Party joined him in celebrating his personal vindication. The President said that he was confident that as a member of the National Assembly, Abdul Qadir Gilani following in the footsteps of his father and the Party's leaders will uphold the constitution, serve the cause of democracy and Party and serve the masses.
Daily TimesSindh Revenue Minister Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar has said that Nawaz Sharif has conservative approach and his politics revolves around provincialism while Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is a federal party that has deep roots in all provinces, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. This he said while talking to various delegations here at his office on Thursday. Dahar said that whenever Nawaz visited Sindh, he did nothing but increased the problems of the people and did only verbosity. He advised Sharif Brothers to learn politics from a common worker of PPP who never left party in lurch. Dahar said: “People of Pakistan will never support those so-called politicians who enter into secret pacts and leave the country. The history of PPP is a history of martyrs and we believe in serving the masses in all circumstances.” He said that the workers and leaders of PPP are the backbone of the party and the people of Pakistan have elected us. “Our first priority is to provide basic facilities to the people,” he added. The minister said that the four and half years of our government were a clear proof that we had provided relief to the people in our tenure. “Thousands young men were given jobs on merit. More than one lakh young men had been provided technical training skills in order to enable them to earn respectable livelihood in the society,” Dahar added. On this occasion members of the delegations informed the provincial minister about their problems and he assured them that the problems would be solved soon.
EDITORIAL:www.dailytimes.com14 Shia passengers killed in a roadside bomb attack in Orakzai Agency point to a new pattern of sectarian killings across the tribal Agencies, which is cause for serious concern. The Parachinar Shia tribes of Kurram Agency are no strangers to long-standing sectarian differences that often erupt in episodes of violence, but the latest round of attacks, particularly this Orazkai incident, indicates an unprecedented blueprint, one that betrays logistical improvisation. Historically, Kurram has been the ideal staging post for all sorts of covert operations into Afghanistan. Its strategic ‘Parrot’s Beak’ enclave provides by far the most convenient infiltration point into Afghan territory. Hence its tactical significance, be it for mujahideen waging holy war against the Soviets, or al Qaeda/Taliban elements crossing over to disrupt NATO/ISAF forces. And whenever indoctrinated jihadists have passed through there, their Salafist tendencies have sought fit to engage in genocidal pogroms against the native Shia tribes. Of course, crushing a community they so openly oppose also serves to intimidate other potential pockets of resistance. Should continuing signs of unrest in Kurram, and now the obvious spillover in neighbouring Orakzai, be a fallout of the same proxy-sponsoring tendencies of the intelligence agencies, then there is an extremely disturbing, potentially existential, problem confronting Pakistan that the country ignores at its peril. Furthermore, intelligence chatter indicates that renewed attacks might spring from the move of the Haqqani network to the area, which is even more disturbing. Apparently no longer able to deflect pressing US demands for an offensive in North Waziristan to pursue the Haqqanis, elements in military intelligence saw fit to move them to Kurram and Orakzai, fearing a unilateral external hit. That their presence would embolden indigenous Taliban elements is natural, as the sectarian flare-up in normally non-controversial Orakzai seems to indicate. It may well be that the Haqqani hand in the recent violence is indirect, with those strengthened by their presence seeing fit to carry out their own agenda. Still, the responsibility must first be placed on the Haqqani network, then, and more seriously, on the sponsors that got him there. On an even more alarming note, with the US House of Representatives now urging the State Department to officially declare the Haqqanis terrorists, Pakistan may not be far from being sanctioned for failure to dismantle this network specialising in IEDs, targeted killings and genocide. As things stand, Islamabad must urgently undertake a number of steps to bring a semblance of normalcy to the situation. One, it must take official notice of targeted victimisation and murder of the Shia minority, especially in the tribal Agencies. This must include ending their isolation and ensuring protection along the Kurram-Kohat highway, which has been the target of Shia slaughter for far too long. Two, it must immediately order a detailed investigation into the present situation in Orazkai-Kurram, especially with regard to Haqqani’s movements. Three, it must investigate, expose and eliminate all forms of official clandestine help to elements like the Haqqanis, who are in violent revolt against secular society and should have no place in a progressive state. Four, it must brush up its own information outreach. Militants seem to leverage the media muscle far more effectively, be it the Mulla-FM of Swat, use of the internet or serious publications and fliers. Even in Orakzai, the Taliban openly took responsibility for the attack that killed, among others, two eleven-year-old and one three-year-old children, “because they were Shia”. They also vowed more attacks, with the government mum as usual. Eager elements in our security establishment are reminded that sheltering forces that, directly or indirectly, facilitate pitiless slaughter on our home soil for some sort of strategic gambit amounts to cutting off one’s nose to spite the face. Already sectarian violence has spread from its more usual centres to the Agencies. This is a self-defeating strategy that must be abandoned.
EDITORIAL:THE FRONTIER POSTWho can quibble with Mian Nawaz Sharif's pronouncement that for democracy strong political parties are a must? But strength and vibrancy come to political parties from their representative character and internal democracy. Can he in all honesty say this of even his own party? Aren't political parties that we have the fiefdoms of dynasties or personalities? Apart from admirable exception of Jamaat-e-Islami, isn't nomination not election their rule? Even the rising political star is as yet to establish if it is going to be any different with his political formation. So with what face could MNS speak of strong political parties when he is keeping his own under his thumb so autocratically? Can indeed he cite even one example from any world democracy where a non-elected politician could become the leader of his legislative party? Yet, after the 2008 election, he anointed himself the leader of the PML (N) parliamentary party, even though he was not even an elected member of the National Assembly, and appointed his younger sibling Shahbaz Sharif leader of the party in the Punjab Assembly, though he too was not yet elected to that legislative house. This much for his belief in strong political parties for the sustenance of a democratic order. But, then, we are no democracy in reality. It is just charlatans of his ilk who are branding democracy what actually is plutocracy pure and simple. A rule of the people for the people and by the people we definitely are not. A rule of the elite for the elite and by the elite we verifiably are. It is a clutch of elites that holds the nation's entire politics in its hands as its captive. They dominate the political parties, over which they rule and reign as little emperors. To hoi polloi, these are closed preserves. They can enter them, at best, as errand boys and foot soldiers, to beef up their political monarchs' public rallies and have their heads smashed by police lathi charge in protest processions and demonstrations their moguls stir up. The ladder to go up in the party hierarchy is just out of bounds to them. It is only in a real democracy that a grocer's daughter, an ordinary school teacher and a small-town lawyer can rise to pinnacles in the party as well as in the state. Not here. It is only some scion, sibling or lackey of the party supremo who alone can perform that feat in our plutocracy. And MNS is further advised to his own good not to dwell too much on his past. Our people may be an enslaved citizenry for the most part. But no nincompoops they are. They know what is what. He cannot mislead them into believing that his past was glorious when they know from one to all that it was all fraught, stinking unbearably foul. His was no institution-building era. It was a period of institution-demolition. He brawled with the nation's top judge, toyed with the terrible idea of throwing him behind the bars even if for an overnight, instigated revolt against him and saw him being ousted from his office. More horribly, in a case quite fit to go down in the Guinness Book of World Records, he scored a first-ever hit with his party goons physically attacking the Supreme Court, the nation's highest seat of justice, and driving the panicked honourable judges to run for their lives. That sigma he cannot wash off even with the oceanic waters of the Atlantic, what to talk of his self-touted pivotal role in the dysfunctional judges' restoration, particularly when his talk is all sham. All the credit of that restoration indisputably goes to the dysfunctional judges' own steadfastness of as well as the courageous protest campaign of the lawyers. Indeed, when the judges and the black coats were braving the wrath of the military dictator and the lawyers were having their heads broken by his ferocious lathi-wielding cops, MNS was nowhere on the scene. He was then cooling his heels in the cool climes of London, mounting such spurious political shows as the All Parties Democratic Movement, which of course he ditched later on by participating in the 2008 under the dictator's rule, contrary to his staged jamboree's vow. Little wonder, none in the legal fraternity seems endorsing his self-professed pivotal role in dysfunctional judges' reinstatement. Indeed, his second stint "of heavy mandate" in power was a saga of a parliament having been turned into mere rubber-stamp and a cabinet into a sheer formality. It was a select kitchen cabinet of ministers and bureaucrats, on whose shoulders he rode to rule autocratically. And had he had his way, he would have transformed this country into a theocracy, with himself perched on it as its lifelong Amirul Momineen, a law unto himself. There in fact is so much foul about his past that one is dissuaded away from buying even his mantra of being a reinvented democrat and a lover of judiciary and the rule of law.