Fall from grace

This is the last in the series of 3 articles on Talibans/Clergy by the author.

Barring the Buddhism and the early Christianity where Christ can be cited as preaching nonviolence, we see the human mind generally inclined to find solution to a given problem only through the force of arms because the gravity of the situation shows that there is no other alternative open to opt for.  In such a context, the phrase “turn the other cheek” is apparently not likely to present an ideal choice. Of course, sometime the use of force becomes inevitable but those situations are exclusionary. We can say for example a country taken over by the enemy drives its citizens to armed struggle, which makes the emerging violence and bloodshed fully justified by the simplest of logic. On this analogy, we become interested to know Talibans and what they are up to? Are they fighting USA and Pakistan as a religious obligation? If that should be the reason then why, in the first case, did they enlist the help of these two nations financially, materially and morally in order to fight the Russians and chase them out of their country – purifying their soil from encroachment of the infidels? Their struggle to storm Jalalabad and take it over was well orchestrated in minor details by the combine of back-up agencies but they were comprehensively routed by the superior combat ability of the Afghans. Had they embarked on this mission on their own, they would definitely have been annihilated. This should conclusively prove that they are even now getting all possible moral and material support from somewhere otherwise they must have been decimated by now. As a rule, every nation has its enemy and in case of trouble enemy of the enemy by itself comes to help. When they were fighting Russians, USA and its allies were helping them and now when they are fighting USA the enemies of USA are bound to provide them with all possible assistance – solicited or not. Take for example the freedom struggle of India. All the independence movements like Ghaddar Party, INA etc. were fully supported by the Germans and Japanese only to hasten the fall of the British Raj by compounding its problems in India.

The whole conflict erupting in Afghanistan gave rise to a hot war spawned by the decades old cold war raging through subtle schemes of enhancing the international clout. The parties fighting it out were drawn into two hostile opposite camps of Warsaw and NATO. As the western propaganda would have us believe, the USA intervention in Afghanistan was only to help Afghans realize their ambition of seeing the backs of Russians who had come to occupy their country. It is a wholly rotten idea and can be debunked straight off inasmuch as the Soviet Russia never invaded Afghanistan to find new markets for dumping its products there. Their arrival was solely on account of an invitation from the revolutionary Afghan Government to interfere on their behalf and save the revolution. The change in the overall scenario of Afghanistan was ideological and, though it did come about by force, it was – nonetheless – meant for the good of the common man. Did Tarakai belong to Afghan aristocracy or, to be precise, was he a warlord, chieftain or a a top religious guy whose commercial interests were in jeopardy? The interests of the tribal Chieftains and the religious hierarchy stood directly threatened.  So, they rebelled in the name of God to befool the general public. The uprising was clearly masterminded by USA and, seeing the opportunity, it threw in its weight on the side of these interest groups and concurrently drew in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to contribute financially to lay out a strong foundation of insurgency and impregnate the resistance. The underlying purpose was to get even with Russians after the Vietnam reversals and Muslims were only used as ancillary.  This was also the case in Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Kosovo etc. where the Muslims were exploited to bring down the Russian edifice and blow out communist influence in the Balkans. The story of the whole combative struggle in the post revolution period in Afghanistan is not too unfamiliar.  Millions of poor Afghans died with their posterity left at the mercy of the freaks of history? You can see in Pakistan where their third generation is scavenging, in the frosty mornings of our freezing winters, the heaps of refuse/leftover thrown out from our dining tables to keep our houses clean. The children who would be going to school are clearing our drains. I am one of those who firmly believes that the Russian presence in Afghanistan could have at least proved a great leveler by defusing the vested interests of the chieftains and the religious pecking order. At least, Russia should have been accepted as a lesser evil. Please make no mistake that no Muslim can be a communist or an atheist. At best, he will be looking for economic reforms to help his people. Ouster of Russians from Afghanistan vitiated the prospects of improving the condition of the common man. The emergence of an enlightened society was foreclosed and obscurantism of the divine warriors (khudai faujdars) took over.

Nobody has, so far, come out with a satisfactory answer that if a jihad had become so necessary after the Russian arrival in Afghanistan, why was the American landing in Saudi Arabia given a religious immunity and a contingent of Pak army and Afghan fighters was sent to fight Saddam in tandem? Do the Talibans know that the resistance movement in Afghanistan, created by the imperialist block, was unfit to fight the Russians with their handheld weapons? These weapons were so primitive and outdated that USA thought it prudent to replace them to increase the combat ability of its mercenaries and so the Afghan insurgents were supplied sophisticated arms carefully brought into Pakistan and stockpiled for free distribution to them duly overseen by our religious patriarchs like Sami ul Haq, Qazi Hussain Ahmad et alia. Now, this avant-garde of Islam is hurling all kinds of abuses on USA and its allies. I would dare highlight a couple of instances to deconstruct the religious myth of these leaders. One is when I saw Sami ul Haq talking to an anchor during his TV interview. When asked why did they accept the financial support of USA for as holy a mission as Jihad in the way of God, he said “we used the money of infidels against the infidels”?  Second, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, answering a similar question during a TV Show, said “by accepting the financial and material aid of USA, we made a fool of them”.  Can anything be more dim-witted than this? The readers can best decide for themselves as to who was making a fool of whom? The early visits of the Afghan religious .leaders to the White House during the incumbency of Ronald Reagen is only too recent to be easily forgotten which amply clarifies as to who was behind the creation of these religious mugs? When the Taibans crucified Dr. Najibullah, they only proved that they were imperialist hangmen.  In the same way, if my memory serves me well, the Indonesian clergy was brought on line to avert the people’s resolution which had emerged very strongly. The genocide there is only a part of history now.

After a rather detailed prelude, I would now come to the letter written to Hamid Mir (Jang: 18-10-2012) by Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman of the Talibans, in which he accuses Malala of being a spy working for the enemy and used a dirty language against her declaring her fit for lynching. Abusing Hamid Mir, he also termed democracy a heretic code of political conduct. You cannot expect anything better from an obscurantist, can you? The people like him do not understand that the holy war they claim to be fighting was never declared by any legitimate Government. Zia was only a surrogate and a usurper. Discretion is a better part of the valor. They would, therefore, be well advised to use their discretion and give up arms to work for the good of the people in order to create a society based on social justice. They should sketch out a program of at least half a century to educate a class of selfless people who would bring a change in the thinking and revolutionize the socio-economic set-up of this country. Producing fanatics for internecine conflict with Shias and other communities will drag the country into the quagmire of instability. Best brains should be preserved regardless of who they are.  Don’t try to thrust yourself on the people of other dispensations. Live and let live. Being religious, people listen to you. Use this x-factor to guide the people and change the socio-political backdrop of the country. Drone attacks are not of our making. Read out the alliances we entered into and the commitments we made in these one-sided compacts. The provisions of these security pacts were tempered carefully to make Pakistan assume the role of a front line of defence against Russian expansionist designs towards South Asia. Talibans were brought in only as auxiliary forces. Attacking women in any society is detested. What they have done to Malala has only earned them disrepute/disrespect and they have fallen from grace in the eyes of the people the world over and are detested in every nook and cranny of this country. Why don’t they realize that their hero Osama should better have fought Israel instead of traversing all the way to this region and also contributing to facilitate imperialist campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo. The USA-trained mujahideen supported by NATO killed Qadhafi and are now after Bashar Al-Asad in Syria while taking guidance from outside. Israel has been conveniently glossed over. The imperialist interests have been well guarded to save the M.E. oil for them. I have no doubt in my mind that the struggle of these mujahideen shall continue until the vestiges of left-oriented politics in the world are reduced to nothing. If this is jihad then I shall love to be called an apostate. Hizbullah – a Shia outfit from Lebanon – had Israel on the run. He did something which Osama or any other Arab failed to do. There lies the difference between the true jihadists and the chamberlains of imperialism.

To exercise international clout it is necessary to have dominance in the spheres of military, economy, culture and technology. According to Brzezinski this has been achieved and there is no single nation at the moment to challenge USA. Clinton believes that, after realizing its objectives, USA has become indispensable. The world cannot ignore USA or else it will descend into a total anarchy. Should that be true, then thanks are due to the holy warriors all over the world who have made USA’s position unmatched and unassailable. It can, therefore, reign supreme for as long as it wishes. As for us we can go on day-dreaming for the return of Muslims to dominate the world, for which no timetable is available.

 

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

Will the sanity ever return?

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. If any proof is needed, examine this proverb in the light of the protests taken to the roads of this country to vent our disgust and dismay against the anti-Islamic movie made in the USA. We defied the law and did not do justice to ourselves. The result is that we stand exposed to the world as lunatics to whom the sanity has said good-bye for ever. Where we stand now morally? What message did we convey to the world? Before answering the call of the leaders, did we do some heart-searching to check that our religious affections were purified enough that would enable us to make our feelings known to the world with a mind unaffected by any corporeal defilement which may possibly compel us to do things contrary to the purpose we stood for? The call for this massive turnout of people was given by every single religious and non-religious party and their followers took out separate processions with their banners held high. The unity was missing and we failed to present ourselves in accord. It clearly looked that every party was out to make a political mileage for itself out of the collective agitation. The result was disastrous because of the rioting that followed. We will keep regretting it the rest of our life.

In the olden times it was the deluge, flood or conflagration which were considered a sign of visitation of the divine wrath as a punishing tool against iniquity of the people. Now our transgressions far outweigh those of the primitive people but it appears that the divine calculus to suggest the enormity of punishment for us has gone on a holiday. In some areas of the country people are suffering from heavy floods. As if it was not enough, we rushed to cause conflagrations by setting the private property alight. We did this, perhaps, to send out a general reminder that some invisible celestial forces were at work to punish the people of God who were disobeying His commands. In addition, the loot and plunder was done only to reward ourselves for the day long toil, so no need to take it seriously. What a way to register our protest against the offensive movie! The damage is incalculable and to do the body count of those who died for no fault of theirs is simply repellent. The man always forgets that when he kills a man he has already killed his potential descendants as well.

Who bears the responsibility? Obviously, those who gave the call. In the eventual concourse that filled the streets and open space alike, the banners of the parties were swarming the air but the leaders were missing. The people went berserk instead of remaining calm, disciplined and dignified. Even a church in Mardan was torched. The other day Hanif Qureshi in a talk show was admiring the people, responding so fervently to the call, but fell short of speaking about the madness which had rocked the country. A month earlier these incidents could have been attributed to midsummer madness but in a rather friendly weather it was a madness of our own making. Hanif Qureshi is known for his provocative speeches and he was the first to admire the lunatic murderer of the late Salman Taseer. Why should these people be called to TV talk shows needs to be justified?

When the passions rule the mind, an undesirable fallout is only a foregone conclusion. A couple of days before this disastrous D-Day given for the protests, two articles each written by Javed Chaudhry and Hamid Mir were definitely incendiary. These two persons consider themselves the vanguard of Pakistan media and how much they know about religion can be anybody’s guess. Some leaders are blaming the Government. This is politics readily understood. If the Government declared a holiday to facilitate the people to find a way to temper their feelings brimming with anger, what was wrong about it? Why were the party flags allowed to be taken out and if they were taken out under instructions of the elders or as a policy to outdo each other why did not the leaders come out themselves to lead and direct the people to remain within the bounds of modesty in such a charged atmosphere? To say that miscreants did all the sabotage under the cover of this huge demonstration is not acceptable and we should not try to hide our own failure to rise to the occasion and control the situation, which had become explosive. The allegations that police in civilian clothes was also involved in vandalizing has to be proven and measures taken to discipline those found guilty to make them an example for future.

In the western world we have hundreds of mosques and seminaries and are allowed to preach our religion freely, though at the cost of not hurting anyone. Pray, tell me if the Christians have the same freedom in this country to preach their precepts and build churches as freely as we build mosques in Europe and Americas. We have many a time ransacked Christian villages, killed Christians and razed their churches but there has not been a single instance of Christians retaliating in the countries where they are in clear majority. Suppose someday they react violently to our bizarre behavior, what do you guess would happen? On a couple of times, it has been noted, when Muslims were unable to get a place to build a mosque in a certain city, the church fathers came forward sparing a space in their churches to allow Muslims to say their prayers with such humane words and courtesy as ”we all worship the same God in our different ways“. I wish that God will help us to grow one day to be as caring for others as the others are for us so readily and without conditions. It is not difficult because all we need to do is to follow the path of heart and the unconditional love for others will lace itself within us.

The damage has been done and the game is on to pass on the responsibility to others bashing the Government to account for the damage done to our reputation and giving the impression to the nations of the world that we are savages who have no respect or regard for the human dignity. We are self-righteous and always criticize others without doing any homework for self-appraisal. Simply saying that Government did not do enough to avert the damage will not absolve the parties of failing to control their people. The task to rebuke the slight intended against our religion was sacred, no doubt, but the people failed to prove equal to the task. If the situation has been exploited by the opposition to bring down the Government they have done so at the cost of human lives and public property and they should be ashamed of themselves. If they have gone by the age old axiom that end justifies the means then they have done no service to the people or the country. As for the people, do they still need guidance after over 3 score years to separate good from the evil? The entire show was arranged to convey to the world that how very devoted we are to the love of our holy prophet (PBUH) but could not suppress our inner passions which otherwise look clearly made to suit the street crimes only.

I have one solution in mind to the whole problem. Every other day, we have a grouse against the imperialist countries, especially America. So, why don’t we declare it once and for all that we do not like them and should ask our people living in Europe and USA to surrender their nationalities and work permits and return home to glorify ourselves? We should sever all diplomatic ties with them and live as a secluded nation to prosper or dissipate. Let us be another recluse like North Korea and live of our own as a forsaken nation. Tell the world that we will die but shall accept no aid or assistance – monetary or otherwise – from anyone. As a reborn nation, hermits though we may be, we must cease to live on any subsidy. Let us not dither to do it in order to hold our head high. Any takers? It’s time now to act than indulge in empty rhetoric. If we can’t do it, let us keep our mouths shut and be resigned to our fate.

In the fewest possible words, all the evidence leads to indicate that we have come full circle after 6 decades and a half which shows that we will never learn. We may scale the unsurpassed heights to reach the moon but will the sanity ever return to prove that we are decent people to talk to and be with? Sorry, it cannot be said with any measure of conviction at the moment.

 

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

Shamat-e-a’mal-e-ma soorat-e-nadir grift

She was precocious.  She raised the voice for education and peace at a time when everybody else was afraid even to speak out and chose to keep a low key stance in order to avoid a stray bullet of the so called God’s soldiers hitting his neck or even going past grazing it.  Gifted and talented as Malala was, she had a great future ahead of her.  But all this did not sit well with the heavenly curse clamped on our society called Talibans.  I don’t blame Talibans as they have appeared in the form of divine scourge to punish us for our innumerable misdeeds heaping up from the past.  Alternately, I can recount the agony of Muhammad Shah Rangeela after Delhi was sacked and pools of human blood, formed as an aftermath of the pogrom, were at places said to be knee-deep to the horses of the invading warriors.  The unfortunate Mughal king then tried to mitigate his failings by hiding behind the cliché “Shamat-e-a’mal-e-ma soorat-e-nadir grift”.  Our position vis-a-vis Talibans is no better than that of the hapless Mughal king.  So, whatever the Talibans are inflicting on us are the just deserts of our own deeds.

The man who trained his gun on Malala and fired the almost fatal shot must have been a barbarian who never saw in his life the light of the civilized world and ipso facto could not possibly have been expected to do anything better that would be worth the human dignity.  After all, this is how they have been trained and convinced to indiscriminately kill the young and old alike and then gatecrash into the paradise and enjoy the company of extraterrestrial damsels.

Malala has become a living legend in such a tender age.  The entire country had a vigil praying for her immediate recovery.  God has answered their prayers and, at the time of writing these lines, she is responding well to the treatment showing encouraging signs on her way back to recovery. She has, in fact, been evacuated from Peshawar and moved to Rawalpindi.  Readers, imagine, how hard it is to heal and how easy to kill!  However, what disappoints me is the vacillation of Imran Khan to denounce outright the blatant murder attempt on the life of an innocent girl still in her teens.  His journey to the promised-land and his cries in the wilderness on the way to South Waziristan have gone unnoticed  when he chose to go soft on clearly denouncing the Talibans who are a group of uninformed and untaught religious fanatics hell-bent on militancy which is helping no one.  They don’t realize that if the shedding of human blood comes so naturally to them, why do they undergo the training to kill?  Whenever they feel like enjoying, they can just take potshots and kill the people.

In summary, this was precisely the time when Imran and the religious leaders must have spliced together and come out categorically declaring the impious elements of Taliban insurgency as social evils.  Alas, this was not to be.  If they can storm the roads and streets of this country on a minor political issue why can’t they do so over such a horrendous crime?

I don’t think any trek to Waziristan by anyone is of any major value when it is intended to score points politically in order to enhance the chances of a swelling ballot during the course of the elections very much on the horizon already.  It has become imperative now for everybody, especially Imran Khan and religious leaders, to lay their cards on the table and declare where their sympathies lie – with the Talibans or with the people who are being butchered without remorse.   As for the tough time the Talibans are facing because of the reversals in their fortunes, it should be understood that they have been fighting a proxy war for long and were rewarded well for their efforts and if the tide has turned against them because of the change in the priorities of their former masters they should live with it.  Does not the situation look pathetic?  Just imagine a teenager returning from school with her schoolmates and surprised by an activist of the religious hooligans in such a cruel way?  The would-be  killer was, by all means, a human being and not a junkyard dog and he must, therefore, have shown due regard to the innocent child.  Are we living in a human society or it is a wasteland where criminals have taken roots?

Notwithstanding the above, the time has come that the great Khan and the religious patriarchs like Fazal-ur-Rehman, Sami-ul-Haq, Tahir Ashrafi etc. should clarify their position as to where they stand – with the killers on the rampage or with the society of civilized people who want peace and education for the children to flourish?   If they are pro-life supporters and have no hangover of an erstwhile implicit and think-alike association with these insurgents they should tell the people of Pakistan without mincing the words.  Do not use the drone attacks to justify the killing of innocent people and attempting to lynch a teenager who dreams of nothing but a better future for the children of her clime.

Targeting the child named Malala was a murder attempt by a human being on a human being and should not be let pass.  Or, we can say, it was an atrocity in the name of God.  People kill others in the name of religion only when they are unsure of their own dogma and dispensation being correct and standing to reason.  Those who resort to violence are people of low intelligence and are nurturing uncalled for notions.    Their defective knowledge can be seen where they try to draw parallel between the attempt on Malala’s life and the story of Moses and Khidhar in which the later killed a child and stopped Moses from asking questions.  Are not they too self-righteous and elevating themselves to the level of prophets?  They also monopolize to interpret the faith to fit their own vague ideas.

Where has General Hamid Gul gone by the way?  He has always subsisted over the achievements of Talibans.  Why has he not offered any comments?  May be he took to the safety of his dugout to avoid the public notice instead of getting involved in the raging controversy.  The time has come that he must weigh in decisively on either side i.e. either laud the crime perpetrated by Talibans or censure them for their reckless behavior.  He cannot get away with a detached position.  As for Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Hafiz Saeed, they can be excused for being people of the primus aevum.  Hafiz Saeed will be better advised to stick to taking over mosques by force and posting his gunmen to scare away the people whose religious views run counter to his perceptions.

In the end, let me advance my own opinion.  We can not let our resolve against militants be limited to TTP alone and no change can ever take place nor there will be an apocalypse to hold the evil-doers to account unless the people come out to bring the revolution or the drastic change themselves.  People are power and if they decide to bring the change, and cleanse the society of the unruly elements, they can do it otherwise we will always remain at the mercy of the ruthless and wanton killers.

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

Misuse of Secret Funds

Ch. Nisar

 

Recently Ch. Nisar has been upbeat about the misuse of some secret funds, which according to him betray the nefarious designs of the Government to bribe the journalists in order to use them against PML (N) in the upcoming general elections.  He is in possession of some vital taped piece of information which, he claims, is enough to cause consternation in the Government circles.  This means he has under-cover ties with the agency keeping a close watch on the official political activities and bugging Government telephonic communications to tip off Ch. Nisar about what is going on below the surface.  Obviously, Ch. Nisar has strong reasons for revealing the secret and his concerns surely need to be addressed suitably to boost up his morale and clear the way for the next elections to be free, fair and impartial.  The clarifications made by Kaira also reveal the break-up of these funds to be spent in different areas falling under the aegis of his Ministry.   Should we find a neutral referee to preside over this lingering contest of allegations and counter-allegations and give him a free hand to blow the whistle on whoever, he thinks, is overstepping the line or committing a foul?  Debates are always inconclusive and the verdict given is never acceptable to the losing side.  So, this option can be ruled out as an exercise in vain.  Let us accept, as decent guys, then that like any other Government in the past this Government has also its own priorities and has the prerogative to take its time and spend the funds allocated, the way it thinks best, in order to realize its stated objectives to satisfy its vote following and, at the same time, stabilize its own working apparatus.  Don’t single out this Government for using the funds to realize its own interests.  All the politicians, without exception, seek moral justification for their selfishness.

Literally speaking secret funds are meant for special purposes and do not have records to reconcile the spending.  It is not exclusive to this Government – every Government has been doing so and shall continue doing it.  To be precise, these funds are per se earmarked to oblige different individuals and groups of people to extract some political favors considered crucial to meaningful functioning of the Government.  I do not believe Ch. Nisar is not fully aware of it and the way he has tried to assail the Government is at best an attempt to score political points.  During his halcyon days, I am sure, Ch. Nisar must himself have been doing this and whenever he finds his way into the power corridors again he will not desist doing the same to support the Government he will be a part and parcel of.  If what the Government is doing with these funds reeks of corruption then every single Government in the past has been equally corrupt.   I quote a Persian proverb to prove my point:  “een gunahaist keh dur shehr-e-shuma neez kunand”.   The translation would roughly run like “This is a sin which is committed in your home town as well”.   In summary, I think, our leaders need the gravitas to show respect and tolerance for others to do what they themselves have been doing or shall be doing when their turn comes.

While on the subject, I would like to talk about a segment of these funds which has been set aside to build a Media Town for the journalists.  Ch. Nisar has not spoken about this part of the funds or, may be, he deliberately skipped because the media is involved on whom he himself has to rely for the projection of his own righteousness.  Every Government which assumes power in this country, first thing it promises invariably is providing a housing colony for the journalists of this country.  Shahbaz Sharif has not been far behind in making tall promises on this account.  Should these journalists be preferred over the homeless people of this country who cannot afford a roof over their head and are more in need of a shelter than this affluent media class?  Watch out for their lifestyle and the way they speak through their noses in the TV Talk Shows.  Their dress is neat and clean as a whistle and the way they talk looks like they are the quintessence of political sagacity and surpass even Socrates in wisdom.  They don’t fail to let an opportunity go for making a fun even of a notable lady like the late Fauzia Waha by asking her “Do you know how to scramble an egg?”   They enjoy life at the expense of others and their sponsored junkets overseas can be cited to qualify this statement.  Even a self-righteous person like Ansar Abbasi – the sole standard bearer of Islam and Pakistan -.shall not equivocate to avail of the facility the Government has in mind for the media and may just be the first in the front line to benefit from such a generous Government offer.  Will the Government muster the courage to ask these super models to declare their assets?

The misuse of Government funds is generally in two forms i.e. to offer money as kickbacks to achieve some specific purposes and defrauding the Government through misappropriation of these funds.  Even if the allegations are true, does Ch. Nisar not know that this is politics, first and foremost, and if the present Government is doing what he has claimed, was not Nawaz Sharif doing the same during his time against BB?   Let me make myself clear.  NS was using money to launch a vilification campaign against BB through the Punjab media and the Punjab clergy.  I would go even further to state with conviction that the groundwork for the ultimate assassination of BB was done during the time of NS as Chief Minister, Punjab, and the investment to bankroll this creepy campaign came directly from the Sharif family.   I come from a remote area in Sargodha and know first hand the propaganda campaign launched through the pulpits of the mosques and for the media side of campaign the services of the daily “Jang” were enlisted which so readily offered its pages for this noble cause.  I don’t think that either of these two main sources of propaganda went after BB voluntarily, they must have been fully briefed and compensated.  They both, in fact, worked overtime to scale back the impact BB was making on the psyche of the people as a new entrant to the politics of this country and fast becoming a force to reckon with.

I have noted over the years that whichever party takes up the reins of the Government, first of all, announces its plans to build a media town to beat the earlier Government which failed on a similar promise made to the journalist community.  My question is are the journalists living below the poverty line who deserve such a special treatment or is it a craft to buy them off to get some favors in return at the right time?  What about the common man like me who belongs to the streets of Pakistan? The ordinary people do not deserve similar consideration, perhaps, because they are the children of a lesser God.  I don’t think that even Ch. Nisar or his party will ever do anything for the poor and needy of this country.  Their focus will remain riveted on the pockets of influence in the form of media, religion and the newspaper industry.  I am calling “media” an industry on purpose because it is a business enterprise – pure and simple – carefully tailored to make money than doing something worthwhile which is designed to set our political house in order and force the Government-in-office to introduce far reaching reforms to improve the condition of the horribly oppressed and neglected section of our society.

Ch. Nisar has enjoyed the luxuries of remaining in power right from the time of Zia.  He is a beneficiary of his family’s strong military connections.  I hope he knows the multiple ways in which the secret or overt funds are misused and wasted.  When in the Government he must have done some development works in his constituencies.  Can he tell that the funds were spent in a very upright way?  Was he not favoring the contractors of his choice from among his voters or the inner circle of his friends and/or well wishers?  Every politician of any description does so and Ch. Nisar is no exception.  So, would he agree that he did also like others misuse the funds and in some cases wasted them only to oblige his political sympathizers on whom he desperately depends during an election season?  Add Shahbaz Sharif, the world’s best administrator, to the syndrome and you will find that he wasted millions on sasti roti project which failed to take off to resolve the common man’s problem.  If I were his advisor, I would ask him to throw enough wheat in the market for people to buy at subsidized rates – the sasti roti will at once reach the doorstep of those who need it most.  Sponsoring the meaningless projects for self-aggrandizement on the basis of racial affinity in Lahore and Sialkot is a tantamount of misuse of public money.  This is an indirect reference and I need not be too explicit.  The bottom-line is only too obvious.  This can go on and on endlessly but a couple of examples given should suffice to serve as a sounding board for Ch. Nisar to visualize what is actually going on around by way of the misuse of funds in different ways and in different areas.  The tailpiece is that moralizing in politics is pointless, if not forbidden, but moral turpitude is definitely a part of the game and I hope the political hopefuls of this country are aware of this funny figure of speech.

Why after all take PPP to task for creating a cell in media which works according to the order of priorities set by it in the best interest of the country and the people.

 

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

The elusive peace

The elusive peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The struggle for independence started on a violent note in which the people were subjected to untold miseries on each side of the line of divide. The dichotomy of the subcontinent let out a river of blood, which had to be crossed before the independence became a reality. Once the most sought after separate homeland was secured, it was expected that we shall set up a society where there will be enormous scope to cultivate communal harmony among the people of different faiths and thus shall be able to present to the world a model civic structure where everybody will be in a position to live in perfect peace regardless of the color of his skin and the nature of his religious precepts.

Unfortunately, we failed to achieve what we had envisioned and the storyline of our ideology never really produced the final effect in the form of internal peace that had been so circumspectly scripted. Let alone promoting an understanding with the people of other faiths, our internal strife within the framework of our religious beliefs was overplayed by the politics of the time so much that the situation often became tense and the excesses now being relentlessly carried out against Shias, Qadianis, Christians etc. are a fallout of the past political blunders.  Even after over 60 years, we are nowhere near living in peace with each other. Being the majority, it was our responsibility to create conditions for the people of other faiths to feel at ease while living with us. On the contrary, the minorities are now living in fear. There is not only clear discrimination in providing economic opportunities to all the citizens, minorities are treated with scorn, they are looked down upon and live under a veritable threat ad infinitum. We have failed to extract anything positive not because of the smallness of means available to bring peace but only for lack of will to succeed in setting examples for others to follow.  Nothing succeeds like success but to achieve success you have to sometime move the heavens and earth to meet the demands of a colossal task on hand.

There are some basics to bring peace in the society. First of all we must make sure that access to law is easy for everyone and no one is treated with bias as redolent as is the case with us. There are allegations of forced conversions/marriages and we need to satisfy the affected families. Basic necessities of life and opportunities of education must be commonly available to all the citizens regardless of their religious attachments. Employment in civil and defense areas should be open to all the communities and not forbidden on the basis of their communal identity. Patriotism of minorities should not be questioned.  In India, Gen. Manekshaw was a Parsi and Abul Kalam a Muslim. There patriotism was never doubted.   Cecil Chaudhry, a Christian and 1965 war hero, stood out in the aerial combat at a time when we had our backs to the wall. We have before us the living example of Euro-American societies where millions of people from all over the world, belonging to different faiths and cultures, are living in peace and sharing the windfall of civil rights and social privileges equally with the autochthonous people. In case of any discrimination the local law is invoked and the situation redressed. The local people, in general, are not ethnocentric and education/employment opportunities are in easy access to immigrants as much as they are available to the locals.

The irony is that here in this country we do not want to drink water from the same jug a Christian is drinking while overseas we sit smugly, sharing the same table, for dining with the people of those countries. Fortunately, there has been no such tragedy as Gothra in this country. Yet, isolated incidents like those of Rimsha and Aasia are enough to trigger of friction and defame us. There has, in general, been soft-pedaling and in the absence of an effective mechanism, it has always been infinitely impossible to deal with communal fermentations. If the communal tension then runs high, it can easily be understood. The politicians do keep contacts with unruly religious elements to utilize them against their political opponents. Take for example Rana Sanaullah’s close ties with Maulana Ludhianvi, which is a well-known secret. Sh. Rashid is going in tandem with the extremists like Hafiz Saeed whose byword is that all the nations in the world should pay jizzia or the poll-tax to Muslems and live as passive subjects in deference to their authority. Can there be anything more stupid than this?  Who created the Arab countries after Balkanization of the Turkish Empire and is still providing protection to all of them? Did anybody ask Osama as to why did he come all the way down to this part of the world to wage an unwarranted holy war against Russians instead of taking to arms against Israel on his native soil? He created troubles against Qadhafi, Asad and Saddam, the leaders of the frontline Arab states. Who benefited from his desperate desire to become a knight errant? He destabilized and devastated this region whereas Israel still stands towering over the Arab countries. I know neither Hafiz Saeed nor anybody else has a satisfactory answer to this serious enquiry.

The time has come now to take over the religious institutions and work them on the lines Arabs are doing (ironically). There are no private madrassas in the Arab countries. The mosques are built and Imams are appointed/paid for by the Government.  All the running expense is met from the national treasury. Friday sermons are prepared by the Auqaf Department in written form, which are confined to the basics and never allowed to run even a trace over 10-15 minutes. Imams only have to read them before the allocution (khutba). They are not supposed to add a word to them. Compared to this discipline, the speeches in this country in Friday’s congregations are generally prolonged, boring, irksome and provocative. Our holy book does not tie down the people unnecessarily, as it says “when the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday”, the Muslems are admonished to leave off business but after the prayers they are advised “to disperse through the land and seek of the Bounty of Allah”. In addition, the so called religious nurseries and academies in this country have clear commercial overtones.  If we succeed in realizing this end, a set-up like that of al-Azhar can be founded to provide education to all schools of thoughts under one roof.  In-house discussions, debates, disputations and/or bickering disallowed on even the smallest theological issues. We are living in the 21st century, after all, and not in the dark ages.  Tolerance should be the keynote of our education and the students infused with the spirit of leading the life by example so that the people of other communities are drawn closer to look at us with envy and admiration instead of choosing to stay away like the birds keep their distance from a scarecrow.

Unless, we are prepared to reform our system on the above lines, make no mistake that the peace in our society shall remain elusive as ever and that the incidents like those of Aasia and Rimsha, Qadianis and Shias shall continue to hang around us and the minorities left to live in horror. The latest twist is that the Hindus from Sindh currently on a visit to India are not coming back. I am not overambitious but the reforms can be made if we have the will to do it.  There will be resistance, no doubt, but somebody has to come along the line and introduce these reforms for the good of the country. It is a common knowledge that in the absence of a complete harmony among the people of this country, regardless of their creed and color, the progress and development will remain a distant possibility. A strong hand is needed to come down heavily on disruptive elements operating unchained in the country, foster amity among the people belonging to different hues so that the country retraces its steps and gets back on track to flourish while at peace with itself.

To qualify for a benediction, I would rather end the discourse on a religious note:  “Blessed are the peace-makers, because they are the children of God”. Follow the farewell words of Jesus, the prince of peace, to his disciples “Peace I leave with you”. So, bring peace to the people of this earth and the Almighty will reward you immensely in the heavens. God is love and He wants His people to love each other so that paradise is brought right down to the earth. Paradise – an epitome of peace and tranquility, with streams of milk and honey to boot! Bridal chambers are guaranteed in the list of trappings and the celestial company assured to enliven the solitude.

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