Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Let Us Build PakistanIn a joint political rally by Imran Khan’s PTI and Sheikh Rashid’s Awami Muslim League in garrison town of Rawalpindin, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed called upon the Chief Justice of Pakistan to “kill the bast***d before he kills you”. He is alleged to be referring to President Zardari.There can be no doubts about Sheikh Rasheed’s intent which is incitement to murder. This gives rise to some uncomfortable questions: 1. Why would a failed Jihadist politician refer to the judiciary to kill anyone, let alone the elected President of the country? 2. Can Pakistan’s upper-middle class, the bulk of whom support PTI, PML-N, MQM and the Judiciary afford to associate themselves with such reprehensive, violent and abusive behavior. Given Pakistan’s bloody history of military coups and extremist violence, this question answers itself. 3. Will Pakistan’s Judiciary take notice of this incitment to murder and more importantly, will it prosecute Sheikh Rashid for his public admission of such crime? President Zardari is the symbol of the federation of Pakistan and has been elected by the Parliament. Parliament must take notice of this incitement to murder and take action against Sheikh Rashid. If the Supreme Court does nothing, then by default it becomes a party to this incitment to murder. The failure of the higher judiciary to take action on this may make it complicit in this hate crime. In such an instance, Parliament must also take action against the Supreme Court. Will Pakistan’s elected parliament show enough spine to take appropriate action against a judge who is so blatantly hostile to constitution and parliament? Sheikh Rashid like his fellow DPC comrades, Malik Ishaq of ASWJ-LeJ and Hafiz Saeed of JuD-LeT, does not belong to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). By now Pakistanis know that this PCO Judiciary is only concerned in derailing the elected Government. Jihadis, PTI, PML N, family members and the ISI enjoy immunity from the Law. To reiterate, failure of the Judiciary to take notice of this incitment to murder makes them complicit. A judiciary that undertakes judicial activism for two bottles of liquor, a slap inside a polling booth in a remote town in Sindh and the prices of samosas cannot pretent to ignore this incitement to violence within a few miles radius of the Supreme Court! It will be most interesting to see the response of Pakistan’s partisan media (both English and Urdu) and civil society on this. Will their romance with the PTI, CJP and its violent Jihadi allies continue? Like many of the earlier questions, the answers are all too clear. Barring the exception, much of Pakistan’s media continues to mantain a silence on this issue. Failed politicians like Shiekh Rashid and Imran Khan are after all media darlings. Unlike elected PPP leaders, they are given ample and disproportionate media space to spew their hateful, bigotted and xenophobic message. Nusrat Javeed is one of the few journalists who took up this issue in his Bolta Pakistan show yesterdayNot only did Sheikh Rashid incide the CJP to murder, he also called Mullah Omar “Amir-ul-Momineen” (Leader of the Faithful) and requested the latter to issue Imran Khan with a visa for his pro-Taliban rally in North Waziristan later this year. Similarly, he extorted General Kiyani, albeit in a more roundabout manner, to stop the military operations against the various Taliban militias in Swat and North Waziristan. And this man is the political ally for Kaptaan Imran Khan. Enough said!
Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa on Tuesday alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was provoking the people to damage public property over the issue of loadshedding. “If the chief minister is so fond of warfare, he should join us to wage a war against ignorance, poverty, loadshedding and other social issues. He would find us in the front row,” he remarked while addressing a function of special children held at the Governor’s House in connection with Independence Day celebrations. The governor also asked government servants not to obey illegal orders of the chief minister. “Governments come and go, but civil servants stay, thus they should be loyal only to the state”, Khosa observed. The governor feared that democracy may be in danger if second prime minister was sent packing. “Instead of infighting, the institutions should find solution to problems by putting their heads together,” he added. In an obvious reference to the chief justice of Pakistan, the governor remarked that if somebody believed that he was doing great service to the country by making the parliament and the executive subservient to the judiciary, he was mistaken. On the 66th Independence Day, he said, all leaders should solemnly pledge to work together for keeping the spirit of democracy intact; and all institutions of the state, be they provincial or national, must cooperate with each other. On this occasion, the governor announced free education and boarding facilities to the special children in all public sector universities of the province. He further announced a two per cent job quota for the disabled in all government departments and directed their heads to ensure the immediate effectiveness of the new plan. Earlier, the governor visited the mausoleum of national poet Allama Iqbal and laid a flower wreath on his grave. Meanwhile, talking to a delegation from India, Khosa said that Pakistan and India should address their outstanding issues through dialogue. According to an official handout, all issues including Kashmir and water came under discussion.
http://statesman.com.pkA FATA delegation comprising Senators and Members of National Assembly led by Haji Munir Khan Orakzai, MNA called on Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf at PM’s House on Tuesday. Haji Munir Khan Orakzai, MNA congratulated the Prime Minister on the occasion of Independence Day. He also hailed the decision of the government to introduce local governments system in tribal areas. The delegation thanked the Prime Minister for the government’s special focus on tribal areas and informed him that people of tribal areas are appreciative of the efforts being made by the government to improve their standard of living. The Prime Minister said that the tribal people are brave, hospitable and an invaluable asset of the country. They have always been on the forefront whenever the nation has called upon them to play their role. The Prime Minister said that Peoples Party is a Federal party which has representation from all over the country including tribal areas. The role of National political parties is of paramount importance in furthering democracy and bringing progress and prosperity in the country, he emphasised. The Prime Minister praised the political acumen and the constructive role played by the Senators and Members of the National Assembly hailing from FATA. The delegation apprised the Prime Minister of the development projects and on-going schemes in their constituencies. The Prime Minister assured the delegation that the government will extend all possible assistance for the early completion of development projects in the tribal areas. Those who called on the Prime Minister included Engr Shaukatullah Minister for SAFRON, Senator Abbas Khan Afridi Minister of State for Commerce, Senator Hidayatullah, Senator Najamul Hassan, Senator Muhammad Idrees Khan Saafi, Senator Moulana Muhammad Saleh Shah, Sajid Hussain Turi MNA, Jawad Hussain MNA and Noorul Haq Qadri MNA, reports INP. President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Monday that the system of local governments would be introduced in tribal areas next year. He termed it another step forward in efforts to bring the people of the region into the mainstream of national life. “I have great pleasure in announcing the introduction of local governments in tribal areas. The coming year will be the year of giving local self-governance in accordance with the wishes of the tribal people, and in accordance with their customs and traditions,” President Zardari said at a special ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr to mark the country’s 66th Independence Day. Interestingly, the ceremony attended by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, federal ministers, the chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, services chiefs, governors of the four provinces, members of parliament and diplomats was held hours before the president’s departure to Saudi Arabia to attend the OIC Summit and was recorded and telecast on Monday midnight. “We owe it to the people and to the peace and stability of the country and the region to bring these areas into the mainstream of national life,” he said. “Last year, on the eve of Independence Day, I had signed the regulation for reforms in tribal areas. Under that package, the FCR was replaced with Fata Regulation 2011. The political parties were also allowed to reach out to the people in tribal areas with their message,” he said, adding: “This was our gift to the people on the Independence Day last year. It was a major change in hundred years. It was historic. The process continues.” In an apparent reference to the ongoing confrontation between the government and the judiciary, the president called for safeguarding the dignity and honour of the elected parliament and for protecting it “from new forms of assaults”. He said parliament was the voice of the people and could not be silenced and would never be. The Independence Day this year, the president said, was being celebrated at a time when a democratically-elected government was about to complete its mandated term in office. “This is a historic milestone. It augurs well for democracy and democratic traditions in the country. Unfortunately for most part of our independent existence, people were often denied right to rule and the Constitution was repeatedly abrogated.” It was reassuring that the present parliament had unanimously restored, to a large extent, the ‘democratic’ Constitution of 1973, he said, adding that today the people of Pakistan had reasons to celebrate as they were an independent and a strong nation. But, he continued, there were dangers and threats also and said militants posed the greatest threat to the country. “A great challenge that we are faced with is defeating the militant mindset,” he said, adding: “For this, we must defend democracy and promote tolerance, discussion and debate.”
EDITORIAL : Time to introspectOn this Independence Day, as Pakistan turned 65, we find as many views on democracy, secularism and Islam as there are people living in the country. Confusion is one word the youth that comprises 65 percent of this country uses often to describe their understanding of the situation in Pakistan. There is complete disorientation as to the purpose of creating Pakistan in the first place, and then the direction it should have, and still needs to take. If the idea was to create a nation with multiple cultural dimensions, with human values at its core, then the way we have dealt with our citizens by depriving them of a decent living goes against that grain. There is a need to reinterpret, redefine and shed the dust covering the original concept of Pakistan envisioned by Jinnah and Iqbal. They certainly did not talk of a Pakistan enslaved by the current dominant and self-defeating narrow interpretation of Islam. So-called Islamisation, starting from Zia’s era, has reduced the state and society to being entrapped by religious intolerance and lack of direction. The phenomenon of extremism, with a handful of people hiding in the mountains of northern Pakistan demanding Shariah to be the leitmotif of state and society is an indicator of things getting out of hand. The country is fast moving toward a debacle woven into a pattern of hatred, religious intolerance and crude understanding of Islam. Did Muhammad Ali Jinnah dream of this kind of Pakistan? The oft-repeated speech of Jinnah that he delivered at the first session of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, clearly suggests the role of religion in the state that he envisaged. He delineated the position of minorities in Pakistan by granting them complete freedom of religion so that they could practice their faith in whatever manner they thought fit. This was the spirit that became the cause for the creation of Pakistan. Today it is a different country we are living in, where minorities are harassed and are forced to either convert to Islam or leave the country for safer havens in India or elsewhere. The domination of right wing groups and opinion in the political, social and economic spheres has affected our relations with the world. We are not at peace with our neighbours. An air of hostility swirls across Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. The India-Pakistan animosity paradigm that saw trillions of dollars lining the pockets of political elites and arms dealers from the western countries in the name of defence and security, brought nothing but economic deprivation for our general public. The case of US enmity sown in the hearts of Islamists played out as an expedient way to exploit public sentiment rather than establishing Pakistan as a country free of political, military and economic dependence. Pakistan is surviving on the periphery of the world’s mainstream, where the purpose, cause and reason for Pakistan’s creation is lost in a welter of noisy and contradictory voices, adding more heat and fury rather than reason and wisdom to the country’s striving for direction, stability and prosperity. We are unfortunately directionless even today after 65 years and the freedom that we so lovingly guard in the name of sovereignty has itself become a redundant formula of false claims of national success and pride. We are in need of deep introspection. And what could be a better time for this than Independence Day?
DAILY TIMESPrime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday said the Pakistan People’s Party is a federal party, which enjoys representation all over the country, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The premier was talking to a FATA delegation of lawmakers, led by MNA Munir Khan Orakzai, which called on him. Raja said the role of mainstream political parties was of paramount importance in furthering democracy and bringing progress and prosperity to the country. The PM said that the tribal people were brave, hospitable and an invaluable asset of the country. Orakzai greeted the PM on Independence Day. He also praised the government’s decision to introduce local government system in FATA. The delegation thanked Raja for the government’s special focus on FATA and informed him that the people were appreciative of the efforts being made by the government to improve their lifestyle. The delegation apprised the PM about the developmental projects and ongoing schemes in their constituencies. The premier assured the delegation that the government would extend all possible assistance for the early completion of developmental projects in FATA. The delegates were SAFRON Minister Engineer Shaukatullah, State Minister for Commerce Senator Abbas Afridi, Senator Hidayatullah, Senator Najamul Hassan, Senator Muhammad Idrees Khan Saafi, Senator Saleh Shah, MNA Sajid Hussain Turi, MNA Jawad Hussain and MNA Noorul Haq Qadri.