Sheikh Rashid – a pretentious talker

Sheikh Rasheed

 

Sh. Rashid has been playing fast and loose for quite sometime. Given the free rein, he began mouthing insults and abuses against just about everybody including the serving Prime Minister, former Premier Gilani, Husain Haqqani et alia. Still nobody took any notice of him. Then he had his show on the road – blustering and bullying – but it failed to excite the people and flopped miserably at Liaquat Bagh despite hoisting banners and billboards all over the city. Bringing in Imran Khan to lend the ‘luster’ did not help either. Disappointed and dismayed, he issued an unsolicited advice to the highest judicial forum of this country to “kill these bastards“. These were the words of a man who had himself been bastardized by every politician of any consequence. He has been living like a pariah since the ouster of Pervez Musharaf, failed to make his way into the mainstream of the country politics, despite his frantic efforts, and began feeling jittery and then started to jerk by swooping down on leaders left, right and center without pausing to think of the adverse public opinion that will grow against him as a reflex. This was frustration and very obviously so. Besides, he is crestfallen because he is jobless. From the time of Gen Zia he has been in the power corridors ceaselessly, courtesy the sources projecting him. Like every self-important person, he considers himself the man who can steer the country out of the squally situation and place it on the highway to the heaven of progress and prosperity. Pray, tell me if this is not self-delusion, over-estimation of oneself, or an idle boast of a sick-mind after all?

This man is now busy making predictions, giving the countdown to people for the departure of this Government. Little does he realize that, by the time the Government is gone, it will have completed its legitimate tenure. So, the Government will not be making an unceremonious exist any time soon either at the hands of military or judiciary. The poor guy is desperate to get back into the limelight again. It would, therefore, be in order to either give him a job to keep him quiet or shut his big mouth up for good by giving him a fitting reply like reminding him of the way he behaved to let NS and his family down at a time when they were almost down and out. May be someone can step forward from the common people of Rawalpindi to put a tape on his mouth. The media continues to invite him to Talk Shows. Why? To improve the ranking or there are some other motives. Anyway, it is very irritating to see him on the TV every other day. In my opinion, the TV Talk Shows are being sullied by his very appearance. Currently, he is nothing more than a social outcast and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody likes him. He is espousing eccentric political notions and can be safely described as belonging to the lunatic fringe. He has made his fortunes from politics and that should be sufficient to serve him well to live in clover until he reaches his final resting abode. Shakil Awan belongs to the grassroots, his loyalty to the Sharifs is above board and he fully deserves to be where he is now. That he cannot hold his denture in place while talking, does not take away anything from his overzealous efforts to serve his leader by making all kinds of nuisance in the talk shows.

Being a handy man of the agencies, Sh. Rashid is eager to see the return of army or the so-called technocrats not for the good of this country but to make sure that he gets a slot on the administrative set-up that will emerge in such a scenario. He is playing corruption corruption to a fault. Don’t bother to worry your head on corruption and single out Zardari for it. It won’t be wise to dump everything dirty in his backyard. Yes, corruption and crime is soaring in the country but so it has always been as a backlash of our less than adequate political system. Corruption is part of life. The planet earth is not inhabited by angles. Was there no corruption in nearly 3 decades of military rule? Did the cesspools of corruption like MES, CDA and PWD then renounce their evil ways of accepting graft and offered penance for their past guilt? MES stands for Military Engineering Services but because of this very corruption its been nicknamed ‘Money Earning Services’ yet the media did not say a word. A point to ponder here is that Malik Riaz, our country’s business and real-estate tycoon, started off as a clerk in the MES. One can imagine the amount of money a clerk makes is no where near what he made at that time. On the contrary, our media was busy in bringing out supplements/special numbers on the family members of the Generals riding high, especially, Zia ul Haq. Jang Group was always to be found in the forefront. Those who did dare to protest were flogged and reduced to fleeing for life. We are all corrupt and self-righteous one way or the other. Corruption is not likely to end before the onset of the last millennium after the return of Jesus and the outcome of last war between the good and evil at Megido has been determined. It will be an era when man will know no evil. So, let us wait until then when the corruption will be thrown into the bottomless pit and there will be no Asif Zardari roving on our minds. We are earthly people and, as corruption grows with us from the earth, we just cannot avoid to enjoy it for sheer pleasure and to outshine our fellow men in the rat race to gather riches. After all, riches cannot be gathered without sin and evil means. Greed drives man to sin and the penalty of sin is death, yet we all waste no time to sin regardless of the consequences.

Practically, Sh. Rashid has been shooed away by PML(N) to join its ranks again and this has embittered him so much that he is now clearly showing signs of canine madness while aimlessly talking about politics and political leaders. Sometime, when he is talking to media, he is so woefully out of rhythm that it looks as though a blind dog is whining at the wind blowing around him. In my opinion, NS would have been well advised to take Sh. Rashid back in the party because he could have been used to do all the barking against the PML(N)’s unforgiving foes. Rana Sanaullah is not doing just enough. After all, one and one add up to 11 and make a formidable combination to quieten even the bitterest enemies with energy to spare. The backhanded compliment Sh. Rashid paid to Raja Pervfez Ashraf when he called him “mirasi“ should sufficiently expose the symptoms of the rabies he is carrying. Because of his outrageous conduct, perforce, BB had to read the riots act to him only to remind him to mind his language when talking to decent people. He learnt a lot from this and showed improvement for a while. Finding the time congenial, he now appears to have relapsed into his frolics. Old habits die hard. Some people are slow to earn and some do not learn at all.

Being a compulsory mischief-monger, he is using his foul mouth to see some undemocratic turnaround of the political situation in the country which is otherwise normal and not under threat from any side. Notwithstanding the cases against PPP, everybody wants a change through the ballot. No military upheavals are going to serve the cause of this country. Sh. Rashid can keep clowning around as long as he wishes but his political career has reached its end. Psychologically, he has become a split personality where his thoughts and mouth are not consistent with each other. It would be, therefore, advisable for him to quit politics and go to Himalayas to join a band of ascetics or, alternately, join the Trappists in a Cistercian monastry somewhere in Europe – this order of monks imparts a measure of austerity in the form of manual labor that encourages the adherents to live free from reliance on others and complete the tedious journey of life in a self-effacing way. The oracle has spoken against Sh. Rashid and if he fails to listen and continues in his unrewarding quest for a second coming to the politics, he will be in for a shock of his life.

Despite his loud talking – unnecessarily being garrulous – he has always very little to communicate of substance. Twice, he has been rejected by his people. So, why should any party risk to take him under its wings when he has become a proven liability? He blurts out words like the air gushes out of a windbag when depressed under the armpit. The people are not amused because all his pretentious talk evokes nothing but boredom. If he thinks that, by playing a court jester, he can entertain people he will be better of joining a theater of second rate comedians or a bevy of drag queens in Lahore. As for politics, he is no longer needed.

 

The writer is in his mid 70s and has to his credit a vast experience of working with national and international business executives. He can be reached at qadirs38@yahoo.com

We don’t need no education

Last night, I got a phone call from a friend who wanted to know if I was watching Capital Talk and told me to turn it on immediately. Why? I asked. What’s happening? I thought it was going to be something shocking. I guess it should have been, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Agha Waqar was back on the air peddling his science fiction water kit, this time facing Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr Shaukat Hameed Khan. Obviously, the water kit is old news, and why Hamid Mir gave this charlatan guy more publicity, I don’t understand. But it wasn’t just the water kit that sent my friend over the edge, it was the way Agha Waqar arrogantly dismissed the other guests as they questioned the scientific validity of his methods.

At one point in the programme, Waqar says:

“Inko mei aaj ye prove karkay dikhaonga ye nonsensy nahi hai, jo khood keh rahay hain ya tou unki aqal kaam nahi kar rahee, humary pooray muashray ko inhon nay aik circle hole mei band kiya hua hia ye ke hadood hain aur insay bahir apnay nahi jana.” (I will prove to them that this isn’t nonsense. What hes saying he doesnt have knowledge. He has put our entire society in a closed circle and said these are the boundaries you can not cross them.)

The ‘boundaries’ that he’s describing are the principles of science – something he claims is being imposed on our society by people like Dr Hoodbhoy.

The rise of the anti-science mindset such as Agha Waqar’s is often blamed on the poor state of education, particularly in science. That’s certainly part of it, but it’s not just uneducated people who have adopted this way of thinking. Consider Imran Khan, who accuses his critics of being ‘Westoxified Pakistanis’ and urges people to read his book to learn his true beliefs. Well, I did read his book, and what I found sounded a lot like Agha Waqar.

Page 51 of Imran Khan’s book says:

Our Western education also laid emphasis on science, which based everything on the premise that what could not be proved, did not exist.

This is, of course, utter nonsense. I was not privileged to attend Aitchison and Oxford, so I can’t speak to the quality of education provided by those institutions, but science does not hold that ‘what could not be proved, does not exist’. To the contrary, while there science includes laws, which have been proven, it also included theories and hypothoses which have not been definitively proven. For example, Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is worth noting that Imran Khan rejects Darwin’s theory of evolution, terming it a ‘half-baked’ philosophy. What evidence does the cricketer base his conclusion? Well, none, really. Apparently unable to reconcile both religion and science, Imran Khan rejects science. He explains this on page 111 of his book, where he says:

For someone who believes in reason and logic, it is difficult to blindly believe that the Quran is the word of God.

This is utter nonsense, but it has become more and more mainstream way of thinking. There are even people who claim to believe in both science and religion, but seem to believe that this means they have to twist science to make it fit their religious beliefs instead of looking for how the two actually compliment each other. Anyone who has ever listened to the nonsensical ramblings of Zakir Naik should watch the following clip in which a group of young Muslims who, unlike Imran Khan, do not have a problem believing in both science and religion.

All of this is particularly sad considering that the golden period of Islam is filled with major scientific discoveries – often while Europe was stuck in its own ‘dark ages’. Here is Dr Hoodbhoy explaining for the website Islamopedia Online:

Science, logic, and reason are not a Western conspiracy. They are not even Western. Historically, they are woven into the intricate fabric of our own culture and religion. Abandoning them has opened the door to all types of charlatans and con men. Treating science, logic, and reason as foreign concepts is not strengthening our society, it is tearing it apart.

Persecution of Minorities in Pakistan

Protest against religious discriminationThe protection of racial and religious minorities from the excesses of the majority racial or religious group in the form of either persecution or discrimination on any account has been codified universally. In a civilized society, the people have to respect the religious and political freedom of all races and creeds, however, small in numbers they may be. In short, the protection of minorities has been guaranteed and the countries like Pakistan, where communal riots are a common feature, are not held in high esteem anywhere in the world.

It is very unfortunate that our track record of providing due protection to the minorities of this country from the ever looming threat of religious zealots has been extremely poor. This has run counter to the advice of the father of this nation. After the birth of Pakistan, it was made clear that the minorities will have their individual and collective freedom of exercising their religious beliefs/rites in that the Christians will be free to go to their churches, Hindus to their temples and Jews to their synagogues. Later, the religious zealots took over and the situation began worsening. By and large, it became a nightmare.

The politicians, by nature, have always an axe to grind and if the religious bigotry helps their cause, they won’t miss the opportunity of fomenting it and then utilizing it to their advantage if they can. In the earlier days, anti-Qadiani agitation ignited by some self-seeking politicians proved disastrous. A peculiar case in point could be that of Salman Taseer.  He was not a member of any minority group but fell a victim to religious persecution when he was killed because of his affiliation with PPP.  Otherwise had Rana Sanaullah said the same thing Gov. Taseer had said, nothing would have happened. Religious sentiments were exploited. I say this from experience because I come from a remote area where communal frenzy is always very high. Benazir was branded infidel on the pulpits with full religiosity. This led to her ultimate assassination and investment in it came from the interested quarters.

What has happened to the minorities like Shias, Christians and Qadianis is in everybody’s knowledge. The villages of Christians have been ransacked. The religious places of Shias have come under sniper fire in which even the children were not spared and, to quote an incident from the recent past, one of the mosques of Qadianis was attacked in broad daylight in the heart of Lahore wherein nearly 30 persons died during the congregational prayers of Friday including some prominent members of the community.  They showed the remarkable courage of refusing to file an FIR when asked to do so by the Government agencies.  This was a slap straight in the face of those whose favorite pastime is to trigger of such an act of bestial ferocity to satisfy their brutal religious compulsions.  It was most shameful to see such a staggering loss of human lives at the hands of those who had lost their way because of a warped religious vision. To cite a quote from Democritus “a man should feel more shame in doing an evil before himself than before all the world”.   But we refused to heed to this excellent piece of advice. On the contrary, I even heard people rejoicing and appreciating this carnage.

Who is aiding and abetting this religious rage?  There are many groups standing on the sidelines and encouraging the disruptive elements.  One of these outfits is Difa-e-Pakistan Council for which Sh. Rashid is most vocal and playing a contributory part in promoting the communal fury, the victims of whose wrath are only the minorities. What is most disappointing is that an enlightened person like Imran Khan is throwing his weight on the side of these people, little knowing that religious groups like Difa-e-Pakistan Council are, in fact, the hotbed of communal riots and persecution of minorities. Sh. Rashid has nothing to lose. He has been rejected twice by the people of Rawalpindi and is trying to resurrect himself from the depths of political obscurity. Imran Khan has every thing to lose if he continues entertaining people like Sh. Rashid and Difa-e-Pakistan Council. I am a great admirer and well-wisher of the great Khan and would advise him to keep Sh. Rashid at a distance instead of closely associating with him.  The time has come to put the last nail in the coffin of this clown from Rawalpindi in the coming elections and dispatch him to the dustbin of history to be forgotten forever.  Imran Khan should play cool and distance himself from the extremists in the larger interests of the minorities of this country.

The writer can be reached at gulzar.anwar1@gmail.com

Open Season on Pakistanis

Pakistan bleedingWhen Raymond Davis shot two men in the street, the nation erupted in anger. The streets were packed with angry souls who demanded justice. As his true identity as a CIA agent became known, anger fueled paranoid nightmares that saw trigger happy Americans in every burger restaurant and behind every boundary wall in Pakistan. Internationally acclaimed Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid expressed this anxiety most eloquently in his piece for The Guardian.

The affair has brought home what should have been obvious to us Pakistanis for a long time. Pakistan has become a game preserve, a place where deadly creatures are nurtured, and where hunters pay for the chance to kill them.

It’s a terrifying picture. What makes it all the more terrifying is that, like many nightmares, there is some small piece of truth to it. But, then, like most paranoid conspiracies, it deflects from the reality. Pakistan has become a place where deadly creatures are nurtured, and where where hunters pay for the chance to kill. It’s not, though, American Raymond Davises that are killing Pakistanis like game.

16th August 2012: 20 Shias pulled off bus and shot dead

Local police official Shafiq Gul told AFP that the gunmen were masked, but said the victims were pulled from three separate vehicles in the district, which neighbours the Swat valley, a former Taliban stronghold.

“They stopped three vehicles, searched them and picked up people in three batches of five, six and nine and shot them dead. They were all Shias,” he said.

20th September 2011: Sectarian atrocity: 29 killed in Mastung, Quetta ambushes

The Shia community in Balochistan came under intense attack on Tuesday when 29 people were killed in two separate, targeted incidents claimed by banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

At least 26 people were killed and six others injured in Ganjidori area of Mastung, about 30 kilometres southeast of Quetta, when a group of armed men attacked a passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Quetta to Iran.

Hours later, three more people, hailing from the Hazara community, were gunned down near Akhtarabad area of Quetta as their rescue team made its way to the site of the bus attack. Two others were also shot.

Not CIA. Now RAW. The initials of these killers are LeJ. And the leader of the hunting party is Malik Ishaq, the man invited on stage with Sheikh Rashid, Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed, and others of the so-called ‘Difa’-e-Pakistan Council. The same Malik Ishaq who was paid by Government Punjab ever since Sharifs came to power in 2008.

In case you are thinking, “Oh but I am not Shia this is not my problem…” please let me remind you that this was not the only terrorist attack inside Pakistan that day. Same day, militants attacked PAF Minhas airbase martyring two soldiers before being defeated by our security forces.

Federal Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar Thursday said the terror assault on Kamra’s Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Airbase is not a failure of the security institutions, but then, what else can we call it when terrorists plan and carry out attacks on our own PAF base inside our own country? Security is when agencies stop terrorists BEFORE they carry out attacks, not DURING attacks.

It’s time to stop making excuses and start defending our nation.

COAS Gen Kayani spoke the following words on the anniversary of the national Independence Day:

“The fight against extremism and terrorism is our own war and we are right in fighting it. Let there be no doubt about it, otherwise we’ll be divided and taken towards civil war. Our minds should be clear on this.”

Today, this has become crystal clear. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the jihadi killers in our midst, it will be all of Pakistan that is eventually buried. There is still time to save ourselves but we must act now to end this open season on Pakistanis.

Sovereignty Lost, Sovereignty Regained

Taliban

One of the most controversial topics in recent years has been the question of Pakistan’s sovereignty. Usually, this question is raised during discussions of drone strikes and the unilateral American strike that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Without saying that these are not important issues, there is another more pressing threat to our sovereignty that has gone ignored until it has reached a crisis point.

A new report tells how Afghan Taliban have actually taken control of Quetta.

According to the locals, the Quetta Shura has within the span of a decade gotten to the point where it “runs the show.” From managing neighborhood security and harassing those who oppose them, to investing in hospitals where militants returning from Afghanistan are treated and in real estate as far as Karachi, the Quetta Shura has not only become the face of insurgency in Afghanistan, but indeed, it has become the face of destabilization in Pakistan.

Several of the locals that I talked to suggested that Quetta Shura is openly collecting funds through its hoax Islamic charity fronts in major cities of Pakistan, and recruiting local Baloch to torch the NATO supply tankers. “They tell us that each truck that we will blow up will get us several ‘hoors’ in paradise. We don’t get fooled, but many do.”

As another local suggested, “[A] few years back, Quetta Shura was passive and was only urging people to wage war against the U.S., but now they are forcing people to wage war, not only on the US, but also on Pakistan.”

It is not just Balochistan where the Taliban appears to be seizing control of our territory. In an op-ed for Express Tribune, Ejaz Haider argues that the military should not go into North Wazirisitan. Even though “It’s our territory and we should be in control of it”, he says, “physical dominance of territory in irregular war is always of limited value.” He then explains that our security forces simply are not able to control our Western border or the areas of North Waziristan.

The Haqqani fighters will go into Afghanistan where they control large swathes of territory and where the bulk of their fighters are already based. Other groups will disperse inland: the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Punjabi Taliban and foreign fighters. The foreigners have nowhere to go and they will continue to operate against Pakistan until captured or killed.

At least in the short term this dispersal will result in heightened urban terrorism, though I am told by sources that the intelligence agencies have been more effective in busting urban terrorist cells and nabbing and killing their fighters. That may be so but all indicators tell us that our counterterrorism capacity — civilian law enforcement — falls short of what it will take to effectively neutralise urban attacks. The reprisals will take their toll.

In other words, according to Ejaz Haider, it would be useless to try to control North Waziristan because we can’t stop militants from crossing our border and our counterterrorism capacity is not up to the task of effectively neutralising urban terrorists. If Ejaz Haider is correct, the Taliban has achieved what India never could. They have effectively redrawn our border and taken over part of our territory. Perhaps this is why Sheikh Rashid appealed to Mullah Omar and not the Army to protect Imran Khan?

Some have found a clever way of avoiding this logical conclusion by demanding that it is America’s responsibility to secure the border with Afghanistan, but this is obvious nonsense. First, how can we claim to want no American military interference in our sovereignty and at the same time say that they are responsible for our border? Also, what happens when the Americans leave? Who will we demand to secure our border then? Either we can secure our own borders or we can’t secure our own borders.

Fortunately, I think Ejaz Haider and others are wrong and our security forces are up to the task of securing our border and controlling our territory. To succeed, however, the military leadership needs to take a strong stand against militants and their support networks, but armed and propaganda. The speech of COAS on the occasion of Independence Day was a good start, but it is not enough to stop there. Otherwise, what sovereignty will be left to defend?