Friday, September 26, 2008

Can we kill Ahmadis?

Dr. Amir Liaqat, excellent orator, GEO TV host and a former Minister for Religious Affairs, is once again in trouble. This time trouble seems to be going big.

Two Ahmadis have been reportedly murdered after he called on his viewers to kill Ahmadis as they have insulted our Prophet (PBUH). Asian Human Rights Commission details:

In a program aired on 7 September 2008 the anchor of the religious program 'Alam Online', Dr. Amir Liaquat Hussain--also former federal minister for religious affairs--declared the murder of Ahmadi sect members to be necessary (Wajib ul Qatal) according to Islamic teachings, because its followers don't believe in the last prophet, Mohammad, peace be upon him. Dr. Amir repeated his instruction several times, urging fundamentalists Muslims to kill without fear.

While on air the anchor person also pressured the other two Islamic scholars (from two different sects) on the program to support the statement. This resulted in a unanimous decision among the scholars, on air during a popular television show, to urge lynching with the intent to kill. This was not a one-off. On September 9, Mr. Hussain answered a query with the comment that blasphemers are liable to be put to death.


According to the information received, at 1:15pm on September 8, 18 hours after the broadcast, six persons entered the Fazle Umer Clinic, a two-story hospital at Mirpur Khas city and two of them went to the second floor and started pressuring 45 year-old Dr. Abdul Manan Siddiqui to come downstairs to attend to a patient in crisis. Dr. Manan left his office and descended into an ambush. He was shot 11 times and died on the spot. His private guard was also shot and is in a serious condition. A woman was also injured by firing. The killers remained at the hospital until the doctor was declared dead, then they walked out of the building's front entrance. Police registered the killers as unknown.

On September 9, 48 hours after the broadcast, Mr. Yousaf, a 75 year-old rice trader and district chief of the Ahmadi sect was killed on his way to prayer in Nawab Shah, Sindh province. Yousaf was fired on from people on motor bikes, and sustained three bullet wounds. He died on the way to the hospital. The assailants had taken a route past a police station. No one was arrested.

One thing must be noted clearly. Islam does not tolerate any non-sense when it comes to Prophet (PBUH). Therefore, it is advisable to all Muslims and Non-Muslims that they respect the sancity of the Prophet (PBUH).

But, is a commoner allowed to allow himself murder of a fellow human being? If that be the case, country would be left in total bloodshed. We've seen how Wahabis treat Shias and vice-versa. The cycle of hatred would come full circle and would certainly engulf our country (if any iota of peace is still left within). My personal view on this is that if someone finds out that there has been a travesty of faith, he may file a petition against the offender in Shariah court. The idea being that proper investigation is carried out to ascertain the truth instead of knifing the person in fit of emotional outburst.As for the case against Dr. Liaqat is concerned, I think we should not allow these media big-wigs to get away with incitement of murder (if there is any). But I must say I did not find any direct incitement of murder in the program. Therefore, it would be near impossible to directly indict Dr. Liaqat or the Ulemas present on 7th September, 2008.

Is USA directly involved in Marriott bombing?

I have always been suspicious of US and its forces in the region. But forces we see are not as dangerous as those we don't see. For the main back-end jobs are done by men and women whom we consider as normal Americans. In fact, the real men in the war are those who might just have had a tea with you 10 minutes ago. And that's telling too much.

On the same day when I saw footage of the attack I commented to someone in the house that how come fire first caught up with the 4th floor - exact location where American CIA / Marines / FBI agents were staying - and not the ground up? No one really suspected any foul play and no one, not even Mr. Hashwani, ever questioned the implications of such an outstanding fire. He in fact denied that any special movements of American men had ever taken place at any of his hotels and told media that it is very common for an International hotel to have various nationals around.

In Pakistan, Mr. Hashwani is as much suspected of being an American spy as Mr. Karzai is in Afghanistan. Even more so. But no one ever gave a damn about him being an American agent until that bombing brought out some startling facts. For one, we now know from report published in Dawn that some unknown caller (or callers) has been asking the management of Marriott to empty the hotel of any American marine / CIA agent they might have. Off course, management thought better of it and denied their presence. It was Marriott's stupidity that American movements were not being noticed by common visitors to the hotel. Some of those common visitors could have been linked to any number of terrorist outfit being presently self-funded or funded by India / Israel / Afghanistan nexus. We don't know those details yet but what we know is that Marriott knew and Americans staying there knew that somehow they were being watched by someone with rather increased interest. The caller was never identified and his location was never tried to be deciphered. I am sure our technology, if used properly, could have allowed narrowing down of possibilities. But who cares.

That caller was right about blowing Marriott up if the management did not empty the rooms - 4th floor rooms and 5th floor rooms which have been in permanent use by the American along with three extremely suspicious, interconnected ones on the 4th floor - of the American and their equally suspicious luggage. Metal boxes not being scanned by any security apparatus present at Marriott is not only ridiculous by any standards but speaks volumes about our national helplessness in the face of crass American policies on our land.

Then the blast happened. And as reported by various local TV networks (and mind you CNN has yet to say anything on the subject) media men are not being allowed access to those floors where suspected American Marines were staying. Why, one may ask? Well, the answer is that they've been carrying out lot of terrorist activities in FATA region and in Swat and were probably carrying a laptop or two which had complete information about future targets to be made inside the country. No wonder that we hear today that the first thing Agent X did was to go into his washroom and burn some specific chemicals along with his laptop and other dangerous (?) luggage which he and his colleagues had. It also needs to be noted that we don't find any American Marine (dead, injured, etc) footage in any TV channel though we find footage of other nationals. Where were the dead shifted? And where were the injured shifted? We may never know. But what we know is that as time goes on American gets more and more involved in terrorism in the country.

Why is Govt. of Pakistan afraid of asking tough questions? Who allowed Americans access to the hotel premises without as much as a routine security check? What were they carrying in their steel boxes? And what was so special about the laptop which was eventually burned so fast that it gave out blue flame even though other rooms of the hotel were giving reddish/yellowish flames?

I even suspect that this large scale destruction of the hotel rooms, especially the room which were far from the actual blast site, was carried out not by the burning mass of the dumper filled with TNT (C6H2(NO2)3CH3), but due to this use of some special chemical which was used to fire up all the steel boxes along with even the clothes of the Marines / CIA agents, their data sheets, and their laptop(s). I am not convinced that fourth floor should burn first followed by all other floors. And that special chemical, whatever that might be and we could know if we are allowed access to the premises, helped actually inflate the risk to the hotel. I also suspect that Americans were hoping that Marriott would come down within those night hours. This would have relieved them completely and would have made investigations by ISI and other security agencies even more difficult. But now that hotel stands the only thing Americans can do is to stop all movements of media and investigating agencies to those suspicious floors due to which the bombing actually took place (and the Pakistanis asked who would want to kill Mr. Gilani or Mr. Zardari?). Those who asked this question that day were actually dead right.

We don't expect to find any suicide bomber head as the 600Kg packed explosives is not something which would leave any head for further review, bomber or otherwise. But we can expect is that our investigations may look deep inside the truck carcass and find DNA related to the bomber and trace his origins. We are being told by Mr. Ghani that now most of these suicide attackers are not from FATA but from Punjab. If that case be, at least DNA would solve this issue within no time. What DNA won't solve is the solid evidence of actually who attacked the Marriott and why? We can always say it was due to Americans, and indeed it looks that way, but we need further proof of that. And the only way is that we are allowed access to the entire hotel and that footage be matched to the description provided by Marriott about who was staying where.

The game has just begun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marriott Hotel suicide attack

It is once again that we've seen a truck loaded with explosives (some say it was a car) ramming into the building. Last time it was FIA center in Lahore and more than 50 died that day. This time it is a favorite hotel for foreign visitors as well as local elite. From the photographs and the video it is very clear that nothing of the hotel is left except for the carcass. It is a sad reminder of things going too bad for us.

Who can blow up fellow Muslims in the holy month of Ramazan Sharif?

Our brand new Security Macho and Zardari-favourite, Mr. Rehman Malik, tells us that it can't be a Muslim. Well, most probably it is a Muslim from somewhere in FATA or probably Swat valley, where intense military operation is under way. So called Pakistani Taliban and their friends, Mujaheddin, have been fighting our forces, blowing up girls' schools, killing men suspected of aiding USA; trucks carrying oil supplies from Karachi inside Afghanistan for NATO forces have been targeted; trains carrying supplies have been derailed. And we've seen lot of other attacks openly being carried out against our various security agencies. And yet we have no solution. Just before this devastating attack (some say a 1000 Kg of explosives may have been used to create a 15ft deep Crater) we were listening to Mr. Zardari telling us that he has this vision to fight out the terrorists. And lo, terrorists struck again, this time in a zone marked as 'Red'. Either we've lost every sense of the term or we just can't stop these marauding men. I am perplexed about the efficiency of our security apparatus. If we spend so much on them, what we get in return is more fatal suicide attack. This is surely the biggest and most powerful suicide attack in the world, as far as my knowledge is concerned.

Can we ever come out of this mess?

I have earlier stated that it is USA's policy to first create conditions which are suitable for attacking a country. It can only be done when a country becomes so weak that it cannot save the lives and properties of its citizens. With so many fatal suicide attacks it seems that USA is underway. But we have no evidence at this point that USA (or India) is behind this attack. Pakistanis tend to blame lot of things on both these countries. It looks, by the style of it, that it was carried out by a group of men who've lost everything in this world. Maybe they came from Waziristan where USA have been killing innocent men, women and children at will using drones. Maybe they came from once-peaceful Swat valley where Pakistan Army is carrying out a massive search and kill operation. Maybe the men behind the steering wheel came from some outdated madrassah or from some disoriented family. We cannot be sure. We have so many suicide bombings now that it is a routine work and probably our security agencies are not deeply studying the causes of such massive attacks. And that's bad news for all of us who want to know who is behind it and why. (I am ruling out poverty-stricken men because purchasing 1000Kg explosives is not for the poor or the weak).

One thing which I have noted is that more we take aid from USA / EU more our country comes under attack. It is a familiar pattern. Whenever some big American appears in Islamabad some sort of attack is carried out somewhere in the country. Off course we cannot rule out RAW's work, but it surely is related somehow to the aid we receive (economic, military, knowledge base, co-operation, etc.). And someone somewhere in the country is not happy when our govt. unabashedly receives aid bowl. But to justify suicide bombing as a measure of protest would be taking things too far.

So, can we disallow Americans (and their tragic aid) for at least three months on our soil and see the results? Just for the sake of experiment if nothing else.

p.s. This bombing and bloodshed of so many Muslims just after Iftar must have made RSS and BJP Hardliner Hindus quite happy. And surely pressure to bomb Pakistani market places must have eased on RAW. Just an idea...

USA-ISI relationship and International media

It is my idea that International media has begun a concentrated effort to belittle Pakistan's premier Intelligence Agency, ISI and its uniformed men. It is very clear from reports emanating from abroad and even local newspapers that USA and India are really concerned about the absolute power of ISI in the country. It is believed by almost everyone including artists, commentators, ambassadors and blog writers that ISI is the last standing force between total annihilation of the country by USA and its military / political setup.

I am no fan of ISI for it is blamed for every disappearance in the country. No other intelligence agency gets so much media attention as does ISI. RAW, CIA and FBI must be very jealous. But ISI has a duty towards this country and its people. Therefore, any agency, whether military or civilian, is a danger to USA geopolitics in our troubled region if it works for its own people. (USA supports only those groups and / or agencies which are most hated by local population).

Now, USA problem.

Recently, as USA intensifies its attacks on Pakistani soil it wants to clear things up. By which it means that it wants a thoroughly rigged ISI, an agency which is good for nothing and which toes the line of American way of Life (sic). And to do that Zardari must be showed the way. A recent try was made to bring ISI under civilian control. Within hours decision was reverted. Had it not been, an imminent coup could have taken place isolating Pakistan further in International community. And USA was embarrassed to such an extent that it regularly sends its men with arms with thick reports 'proving' that ISI is in fact behind every problem in Afghanistan.

It means two things to me. One, that USA now wants to open a clear front of war in FATA region of Pakistan. That has to be done to please American voters and show them some progress in war on terror (sic). It is very clear to all of us that Americans have badly failed in Afghanistan. Locals want them out and even NATO is embarrassed by its recent unilateral attacks inside Pakistan. Therefore, killing innocent men and women and kids inside Pakistan and labelling them hardcore terrorists is the only option. With ISI monitoring every American move, that looks not only inefficient but out of sync.

Secondly, I think that Americans want to declare Pakistani nukes unsafe and get the blame on ISI. This will allow them good enough reason to force Pakistan to dismantle this agency. Once that is announced (dismantling) chaos will ensue. Many of ISI men with 20-year old links within Mujahedeen, will spread among their former comrades and launch attacks against Americans and NATO forces openly. This will be the final reason for Americans to invade the entire FATA region including probably Baluchistan and parts of Pakistani side of Kashmir. Rest, as they say, would resemble much of what Afghanistan is today.

This is a standard practice of Americans. They first mark the agency which is a potential threat to their global aims. Then they set out their paid editors / writers across the globe and print articles which are biased. A global advertisement movement is launched to destabilize that organization and to belittle it in front of their own countrymen. Same technique seems to be underway for ISI.

I will blame ISI for their bad market reputation.

Firstly, on the instructions of Musharraf, ISI gathered and sold hundreds of Pakistanis to Americans. They earned billions, as Musharraf himself claimed in the first edition of his autobiography. Secondly, many Baluch and Sindhi nationalists were rounded and put behind bars. Some of them are still lying and their near ones have no clue about them. This case of disappearance of hundreds of ordinary Pakistanis was a major reason why CJ Iftikhar was removed from his post by Musharraf.

Thirdly, ISI has been responsible for helping out Mujaheddin in Indian occupied Kashmir. When Musharraf suddenly ordered his troops to shut down LOC for any traffic these fighters were left with no job. So they turned nasty inside the country. First they targeted Shia men of status and then they turned towards anyone who was engaging with western lifestyle (restaurants, hotels, games, etc.). In a later and a more devastating stage, these holy fighters (sic) turned their rage towards Pakistan Army (Lal Masjid was the key moment). And since then we've seen hundreds of men and women blown up to pieces in horrible suicide bombings. High security zones like FIA Center in Lahore and Wah Ordinance Factory were mercilessly targeted. Surely, USA was (and is) enjoying the turn of events.

Now, as Americans intensify their targeting of ISI more and more capable men are leaving the agency. When Musharraf came on the scene some senior men were either asked to vacate ISI (from orders of USA / Pentagon Think Tank) or were kicked out. That policy was not feasible for men belonging to second tier of ISI. This is because you don't know internally who supports Mujaheddin so how would you decide whom to kick out. In case of top tier men, Musharraf knew exactly who was with Mujaheddin all these years (commencing during Zia time) so he was able to retire those men and bring along his friends to the post (one good reason why some army personal wanted to blow him up while he was travelling in Rawalpindi).

It appears that only using negative propaganda against ISI won't work. So probably next step which Americans are likely to take is that they will step up their efforts and infiltrate ISI ranks using millions of dollars. Maybe ISI will survive this latest onslaught. That all depends on how Mr. Kiyani, Army Chief, holds his men.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Karachi after Ramazan 2008

Everyone in the street is unhappy over lot of things. KESC gets the most marks and every second citizen thinks that it is better to have no KESC at all. Or if we really want it it should be a governmental body rather than a profit making foreign occupied existence. Unfortunately, no one heeds to the local man on the street. Zardari, the all-powerful president of the country, is too busy shuttling between UK, Dubai and Islamabad. He has no time to give to us.

Second most important issue relates to the future of MQM and its appointed (mostly corrupt and highly illiterate) gang of ministers, sub-ministers, their jamadars, police-wallas, officers, etc. Zardari is very keen on getting his own Nazim the hot seat of Karachi. He does not care about other, smaller cities of the state. But being a Nazim of Karachi means that virtually you can hold the country in a fix. With your orders, imported items may not travel up-country, a potentially explosive and worrisome issue for Punjabi establishment. As a city nazim you can also run around and make importers / exporters pay extra taxes. Water is also dependent on you so are the key areas of the country, the hottest Estate right next to Arabian Sea. And Zardari, being a Mr.10%, won't really like to share this cake with people like MQM.

So when he really starts removing MQM appointed men and women from key posts including the post of Nazim, what will happen to Karachi?

People on the street tell me, with much fear in their eyes, that a return to bloodshed which we saw in 90s, is imminent. It is a haunting feeling and one which educated, business-minded, settled Karachites really dread. If Karachi is in trouble country can't be much behind. Therefore, this idea of a possible confrontation between MQM and Zardari is bound to get people sweating everywhere from Khyber to Arabian Sea.

But is that the real issue we are facing right now? Well, no. Some hidden forces seems to be working round the clock to make Karachi into an inferno which will eventually burn the entire country. You can note that no major businessman is happy with how things have been going around. Karachi has started resembling pre-war Baghdad, if you will. And that is not a sort of thinking we want right now. A major issue concerning Karachi, apart from the displacement, is the threat of Talibanization of the city with crude force. And backing them will be their brothers, the Pashtuns from the North. And I am sure no Urdu-speaking or Karachiwalla (any ethnic group) can match the will-power or the fire power of Talibans and Pashtuns. And this prospect of Karachi acting as a battleground for power-hungry MQM vs Islam hungry Taliban is not a good one. If something of that sort happens - and we hope our trained and professional army will do something about it - then we can be sure that Karachi won't a place worth a visit.

I hope that these things won't happen but man on the street has been saying such things for some time now and it is worrying me a lot. And Altaf bhai, Pir of London Town, won't be happy either.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Should we export Suicide Bombers?

Suicide bombing is bad for health. Doctors tell us that whosoever tries suicide bombing goes directly to God. Mullahs have other version to it. They tell us that whosoever suicide bombs Americans or Israelis or maybe Indians, he or she will directly go to heaven. It is not explained by the said mullahs of the country and beyond which heaven are they talking about.

Now, business studies.

I am told that as a good businessman I should be able to treat every item on the list as a commodity. I am further told, by my good teachers at MAJU, Karachi, that every commodity, no matter how good, should have a fine salesman at the helm. Otherwise it won't sell. I think we, as a nation we are a very bad sales team. We've got so much talent, a talent which causes anguish and horror in boardrooms at Pentagon and White House, and yet we have been unable to sell it. Oh, yah, Yankee doodle, I am talking about selling suicide bombers to potential purchasers. Well that looks outlandish. But when CIA can blow up (according to hundreds of thousands of Muslims) twin towers and get the small plane in Pentagon, then anything can happen. When Bush can smoke something in Iraq and when CIA (oh notty guys) can prove that Iraq indeed has thousands of nuclear weapons, then I can suggest exporting our most wonderful commodity, our suicide bombers.

Few months back I was told by someone from Waziristan that they have around 500 suicide bombers waiting for the right signal. He even told me that the lot included boys as young as 15 and their parents were very proud of their admission into the elite club. I was amply horrified but could not think of how a class of 500 suicide bombers full with knowledge of suicide bombing looked like? Did they look pensive? Or, did they act like crazy mad cap men out to undo American terror war guys in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, these suicide bombers seems to be wasting their precious time and limbs on killing common Pakistani Muslims. They would do pretty good in their final exams if they could go out and blow NATO forces and US marines holed up in Iraq and Afghanistan. But how? Who would help them?

Firstly, they need direction and maps. Maps are available at Google Maps. But I am not sure whether instructors at Wahabi Suicide Bombing Class A+ (Waziristan) teach something about reading maps and finding the right enemy. Nor am I sure whether these suicide bombers are willing to travel far off distances to target the right men and women (i.e. the NATO and the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan). Maybe they are willing but somehow they see a Pakistan Army van and decides to blow them up. Or, they see a resturant and kill people there. How sick?

I hope Zardari would read my blog and think about exporting these suicide bombers - successfully - to Afghanistan to blow the right people. I think we can earn some good foreign exchange. In fact, we can covert 90 at Karachi into a World Class university for to-be Suicide bombers and that we can teach other nations about how to blow enemy up. Afterall, if your people are being killed surely you need a commodity which needs to be trained to fix things up. Maybe my suggestions are a trifle adventurous but I cannot find a better method to take our KSE Index to 15000 points once again.

Lastly, it is requested to Zardari and his cabinet and his friends that the Suicide Bombers must be exempted from all duties and all taxes. They are not luxury items. They are our most worthy commodity.


Creative ideas are more creative and less real. Every blog must be read keeping this dictum in mind. Otherwise...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pakistan Army’s Repression of the Punjab Farmers’ Movement

I was reading HRW report on Pakistan Rangers abusive attitude and torture of farmers there. It is really sad to note that our so-called mohafiz are doing this to our men and women. Excerpts from the report are produced below. Detailed reading may be done here.

From the report:

'Torture, beatings, kidnappings, and arbitrary arrests of tenant farmers and their families became increasingly commonplace between May 11, 2003 and June 12, 2003, when the Rangers mounted its second siege on parts of Okara district. While the abuses are ongoing, most of the violations identified in this report are from the period of the siege. '

Further a case of Bashir Ahmed is presented:

Bashir Ahmed

'On January 7, 2002, Colonel Mohammad Ali, the commanding officer at Renala Estate Military Farm, personally led a contingent of some thirty to forty armed men on a mission to confiscate land cultivated by the elderly farmer Mohammad Ali Kumboh, resident of Village 21/1-RB. According to witnesses, fewer than ten of the armed men were serving army soldiers and the rest were private thugs. Two farm employees told Human Rights Watch that it was common knowledge that Colonel Mohammad Ali personally ordered the confiscation “at any cost” as he viewed the Kumboh land as a test case that would set the right precedent in the village: Kumboh had refused to sign the new contract.

'Initially, Kumboh’s family alone—Kumboh, his brother Aslam, Aslam’s wife Aziza Begum, and their twenty-one-year-old son Ejaz—offered resistance. Kumboh, Aslam, and Ejaz were beaten, overpowered, and tied up by Colonel Ali and his contingent. Colonel Ali and his armed group then apparently set the family dairy and the grain depot on fire. At this point, Aslam’s three teenage daughters, Zahida, Shahida, and Nazia, emerged from the house armed with sticks and tried to free their family. The women were severely beaten by Colonel Ali’s men, who also began firing in the air.

'It was the fires, the gunshots, and the screams of the women that finally attracted the attention of the rest of the village. Nadeem Ashraf described the scene to Human Rights Watch:

'We heard firing and went to see. Bashir, who lived in the neighboring village also came with us. The women from the village came armed with sticks as did the men. We went and untied Ejaz. In the rush, I heard Colonel Ali shout the order to start firing. Instead of firing in the air, the army officers then started firing at us. Ejaz, Bashir Sidiq, and Hameed sustained bullet wounds. The colonel’s men then retreated while firing in the air.22

'Bashir Ahmed died on January 9, 2002, two days after the attack. He was twenty-one years old'.

More cases may be read here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Should we help Kashmir free itself?

Kashmir has haunted Muslims of India and Pakistan since long. Everyone you talk to in Pakistan feels a special heart beat for Kashmir no matter whether the person concerned has ever travelled to the land itself or not. In India, talking about Kashmir may be dangerous for a Muslim. But when those Muslims are here some of them free up and talk about it; others ignore the issue fearing certain consequences.

But Kashmir remains the core issue whether we like it or not and no matter what Indians call it. And now Indian side of Kashmir is on fire. This fire is much different from previous ones. Since 1989, Pakistan supported Mujahideens crossed LOC and attacked Indian soldiers to help free Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims, being mild-mannered and educated, never really associated themselves with these foereign Mujahids. Therefore, the insurgency was only on the face and as a result Indian army got free hand to rape and kill Muslims at will. And off course most of the Muslims killed used to be Kashmiri Muslims and not the LOC crossers.

This time around insurgency and a voice for freedom is totally indigenous. The shout for freedom is coming from the homes and hearts of Kashmiris themselves. And the cause is a huge blunder of Indian govt. which alloted big and precious land to Hindu militant group (RSS type men). These Hindu extremists have been instrumental in killing over 3000 men and women in 2002 in Gujerat. These same people were responsible for killing Muslims and looting their property during riots in Bombay early in 1990s. Now, if these Hindus are firmly installed, in the name of Temple, in the heart of Kashmir, surely there is an issue which needs to be solved either by vote or by gun. Muslims have sensed that Hindu extremist group won't go away peacefully so they need to be pushed out. And the result is obvious: cry for freedom from Hindu yoke.

Should Pakistan support Kashmiri Muslims at such a crucial time in their freedom struggle?

First, the issues.

India is clearly supporting BLA, a terrorist organization which gets funding through Kabul. Many weapons originating in India have been caught by our army but no concrete action has ever been taken against them due to political reasons. India is clearly enjoying this. And Baluchistan celebrated India's independece this year; they held black day on 14th August. What a shame? Should we support Kashmiri Muslims by arming them so that they may be well equiped to blow up Indian defences and speed up freedom?

This year, in a fit of irony, Kashmiri Muslims (Indian side) overwhemingly celebrated 14th August as independece; 15th August was a black day!

We can arm Kashmiri Muslims across LOC through Kashmiris back home. We can send in ammunitions and maps of installations of Indian army at various crucial routes which joins larger Kashmir to mainland India. By doing this we can atleast cut out Indian Army travel route(s) during winter season and it would be really difficult for Indians to make a come back. But in a world where both countries are nuclear-armed, is this really feasible?

Answer, sadly, is no. We cannot do this openly. Satellites are watching our every moment and USA want a weak Pakistan not a country which adds up Occupied Kashmir as an added entity. And India won't be leaving Kashmir for all the wealth of this world. It is not only strategic location of Kashmir which India wants but its glacial waters. You can't do away with waters when rains are increasingly getting nasty or rusty.

Another option is to wait and see. Zardari told our journalists that they will hear something good on Kashmir. Benazir said a similar thing when she was PM. So no one takes these husband-wife team seriously on Kashmir. In fact, India is now such a powerful country that no one really thinks Pakistani politicians can do anything on the issue except covertly supporting the freedom movement there. And they won't drop their political mileage in Washington for Kashmir.

Another basic issue with freedom of Occupied Kashmir is that once that portion of Kashmir gets freedom Kasmiris this side of the border will start chanting for freedom. A common idea about Kashmiris in Pakistan is that they are not the type whom you can trust easily. Similar things are said about Punjabis and one can find hoardes of people from all walks of life saying exactly the same mantra. Therefore, intellectuals think it is not the best of times for Occupied Kashmir to get un-occupied. And we can just watch India and their Hindu Right Wing lobby.

Other option is total mess of the entire region. We can go for a war which will cost God-knows-what but we will ensure that finally India's attention would be diverted from Baluchistan to Kashmir. We will hopefully save our largest province without much ado.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

US-China Cold War and Pakistan

US war on terror is clearly marked out as an American way of life. Nothing else can possibly justify this war or any other which US has led in this or past century. Area of interest, previously defined in terms of geography, has now expanded into every nook and cranny of this globe. In fact, US thinks it fit to call moon its area of interest!

Therefore, it is not hard to imagine that China's growing influence on world economy (and subsequently, politics) is in direct conflict with America's dwindling influence in world markets. No more does US dollar shakes European economy as it did perhaps 15 years back. And no more is US in the list of 'must visit' country as it used to be prior to this joke of war on terror.

Pakistan, therefore, is in big trouble. China thinks of Pakistan as a long term partner and friendly neighbour without bragging about it. US is no friend of Pakistan and in fact, has started bombing civilians inside F.A.T.A region without as much as apologizing. And still it brags about long-term interests with Pakistan and its people (sic and sic again). Pakistani army is finding it hard to say or do anything about this ever rising political drama on its land and today, Gen. Kayani, in a fit of rage, asked Americans to stop bombing inside Pakistan. He was very vocal that Pak Army has signed no deal with the Americans which may allow them to bomb hideouts inside our territory. We are waiting for US response.

Meanwhile, Chinese engineers continue to disappear. It is very interesting to note that no engineer or any other nationality is ever abducted. And this has been a case since long. We can clearly note that apart from USA no other nation has any interest in abducting Chinese engineers in Pakistan and eventually killing them.

It is then clear that US would do anything and everything to belittle China using Pakistan. Already, Gwadar port is malfunctioning due to extreme level of terrorism in Baluchistan. We now understand that US does not want to allow China access warm waters of Pakistan as it would allow China to do roaring trade with Middle-East and beyond and cut down transportation costs.

War on terror is also being deliberately pushed upwards towards Chinese border with Pakistan. We have already noticed something called Pakistani Taliban moving towards Swat and beyond. The tourist valley of Swat is now being touted as a safe heaven for terrorists and US is asking Pakistan to do more. You might hear similar things about Hunza Valley and Sost valley and eventually about Pak-China border in years to come. We have also see a spate of so called Islamists taking some time out during Beijing Olympics. I see red here. Why were these so-called Islamists not doing anything before the games? And how come they are related to Taliban in Afghanistan? And who supports them? For sure, many of these must have gone through Pakistan. And they are serving similar purpose of destablizing the center as Pakistani Taliban are doing here. The only major difference is that whereas in China these so called Islamists or Taliban are swiftly executed without much fanfare in Pakistan they lead pretty comfortable lives and blow up fellow Muslims on daily basis. It is very interesting to note that American interests are never harmed by these so called Jihadis and the only sufferers are Pakistani assets and Pakistani muslims.

For sure, US has reached the heart of our country and will surely harm our relations with China. It does not like the way China has progressed at world stage. It hates to note that non-English speakers, non-whites, small people are calling the shots. Therefore, Pakistani territory is the next hot spot and once again we are in the mess of what we call Cold War. This time, though, China won't forgive USA.

Sea View, Karachi

Karachi's sea front may not be the most environment friendly items on a traveller's list. But it surely is one of the finest place to enjoy life, to render thoughts in the oxygen; people come here to either remember their good times or forget their bad ones. Some do it by writing poetry, talking to themselves, crying, maybe smiling, others jump around and over such drains. Sea view, as it is called locally, is perhaps one of the last places in the city where rich and poor, Punjabi and Sindhi (and everyone else), policeman and lawyer come together to see the world through their own eyes. Senses here are fizzled out, if only for a moment; a breeze here is an ever-lasting joy.

More photographs here

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Musharraf's legacy and a broken republic

Musharraf is out but he has left Pakistan in a mess which would not leave us easily - or at all. It is clear Musharraf wasn't in power all the time and that Americans forced him to go naked on many things. For one, Americans used him to use our army against our own people. And we can see what may be achieved when you start killing your own sisters and daughters and young men after calling them localized terrorists.

He has left a legacy which is absolute and has left Pakistan with deep scars. CIA men and Israelis would be glad to know that Pakistan is weaker, and not stronger, after Musharraf. In fact, every successive government has left Pakistan weaker at the core. Now, young generation is not thinking of staying back in the country; everyone wants to leave at any cost and people can swear by God that Pakistan is lost. That is the charm of long-term US planning of the region. They wanted to leave a total mess in the region and with the help of Musharraf and so-called Pakistani Taliban, ably funded by US-led CIA and Afghan puppet govt., the entire region from Swat to the borders of Russia and in the south towards Iran, the entire area is just too dangerous in any and every sense of the word. Next step, if Americans get yet another Musharraf look-alike would be to create ultimate chaos in Iran, and the Muslim states of former Russia. Off course Russians aren't happy and are looking over their shoulder for any suspicious movement behind their backs.

It is also a part of US Think Tank planning structure to divide the entire region in manageable, smaller chunks of land (instead of big countries as they are presently) and rule over their resources. It is a return to old colonial mind-set and every move in that direction is emphatically termed as a victory for democracy (sic).

Musharraf has also left another legacy, that of hate towards Pakistan Army. Many Pakistanis, especially those who have a religious bent, favour in some sense destruction of the power of our army. That is the most dangerous thing and Musharraf successfully helped Americans achieve that target in a very short period of time. Constant bombings of madrassahs and masjids has caused this sense of anger and revenge. Just imagine what would happen to a country whose people are against its own army? It is a terrible thought, one that would have long lasting effects on the country.

Musharraf, for all his faults, atleast got some able men and women for the job. We know that many foolish army men were appointed at civilian posts (like SUPARCO's chief, KPT chief, etc...) but he still managed to get some good work going. For instance, his work along with MQM in Karachi is commendable. They joined his ranks and were amply rewarded lucarative contracts some of which led to some of the finest road projects in the country. In earlier times, Nawaz Sharif with his typical Punjabi mind-set had totally ignored Karachi causing massive capital flight from the city in his second term in office. (And this was one major reason why Musharraf was so much despised by the Punjabi Bureaucracy; he was an Urdu speaking General). Musharraf will be surely remembered for all these roads for which Centre provided fast funds to Mr. Mustafa Kamal, the ever-present and ever-talking MQM-appointed Nazim-e-Karachi.

Other legacy of Musharraf is ultimate insecurity. Before Musharraf travelling cross country was far easier and less hazardous. Now, that has unfortunately changed much to the chagrin of travellers like myself. FATA is off-limits so is much of Swat valley. Now, much of Baluchistan (in fact all of Baluchistan for Punjabi speakers) is also off-limits and may only go there with life in total danger of being destroyed at the earliest. We constantly recieve reports about daylight murders and it appears to me that India is finally catching up and providing arms and training and maybe satellite support to BLA, a terrorist outfit which wants Baluchistan hacked away from Pakistan. (This strategy of India's RAW is due to our support for Mujahedding whom we allowed easy access to Indian-side of Kashmir. Now, thankfully, Kashmiri muslims are fighting a peaceful battle against Hindu kingdom).

Musharraf will also be remembered for a press which is mainly bonkers. Take GEO for instance. It is free, alright, but in a FOX style. It reports things which are at best useless or dangerous for the country. And it closely follows the tradition of CNN where selective reporting is used. It hides lots of things and dares not speak against the atrocities committed by MQM goans. (Now, PPP goans are proving that MQM was a child play 2). But despite its many set-backs Musharraf can claim that he was much better than all the previous leaders combined in terms of freedom of expression. He allowed press to abuse him, to scrutinize him, and to challenge him. Let us see if Zardari would do the same.

Overall, Musharraf has been a good leader in his first four years and then started to drift away in egoistic behaviour and lack of common sense. He could have done lot of good things for us like not kicking out CJ and his party, not bringing Zardari and his ilk back; he could have also opened cases against land mafia and could have eased the business issues of our business community. Unfortunately, he failed in many respects and Kashmir being one of them. He will be mainly remembered as yet another dictator but will surely come out better than the likes of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.

American Boy: Asif Ali Zardari

Zardari is a wonderful player. No one really imagined, not Mr. Nawaz Sharif, that Zardari would turn out to be such a deft player with so many trump cards. He is not only playing with Nawaz or other likewise politicians, he is certainly playing with the entire nation. And till now he is winning. And that's bad news for all of us.

Zardari is now touted as the most powerful president of the country. This may not be yet true. For me, Gen. Musharraf was a more powerful, but less revengeful, president. And he certainly held sway over Pak army. Zardari is being looked with increasing suspicion by the generals in uniform. Till now he has done nothing to merit their displeasure or his ouster.

Lot of people think that Zardari is Mr. 10% (my uncle comments that now that he is the President of a god-forsaken country, he is likely to be Mr. 110%). Being 10% is not good especially when businessmen are sure that Mr. Zardari has been responsible for spate of kidnap-for-ransom. That looks pretty bad for a president. He has also spent over 9 years in Pakistani prison(s) for which he must have suffered a lot of mental displeasure. Most of those cases remain cases only. None of them have ever been proved by any court in the country. And the cases in Swiss court were swiftly withdrawn by then President, Musharraf. (Musharraf, while playing golf, would rethink his stupidity).

Writing in Guardian newspaper, Mr. Peter Preston has this to say on the present situation of the country and about Zardari's outcome:

'Yet the Taliban, whom the generals must defeat to get America's billions, are much more than a gang of terrorist thugs. They are also a madcap reform movement of young men disgusted by corruption and the godless wheeler-dealers they think have drained the purity out of Jinnah's "pure state", and the success they're experiencing in the borderlands and beyond shows that many ordinary Pakistanis agree with them. It's a battle for hearts and minds and, on his record, Asif Ali Zardari is the predestined loser of last resort.'

This is one more problem with Zardari: he is often referred to as the husband of Benazir Bhutto. Zardari has already shown the door, by not appointing any good friends of BB, to the loyalists of BB. He has also clearly noted distinction b/w friends and friends of BB. Zardari has another more serious problem. He is clearly seen as an American boy back in the country and that most Pakistanis don't approve of him.

Tariq Ali, leading writer on politics of the region and history, has this to say on Zardari in his article, published in Guardian on 7th Sep, 2008:

'Zardari fitted the bill. He is perfectly suited to being a total creature of Washington. The Swiss government helpfully decided to release millions of dollars from Zardari's bank accounts that had, till now, been frozen due to the pending corruption cases. Like his late wife, Zardari, too, is now being laundered, just like the money he made when last in office as minister for investment. This weakness will make him a pliant president of Pakistan.'

If Zardari wishes to survive as the President of the country, he needs to take some really drastic steps. First, he should immediately get deposed CJ back to office. Secondly, he must get a negotiated settlement with the militants of Swat and FATA region. (We know for sure that most of these militants are trained in Afghanistan and funded ably by US CIA and India's RAW. Same is the case with BLA of Baluchistan). Zardari must also secure Pakistan's border and shoot down any militant crossing into Pakistan or from it. For this, he needs active support from Pakistan Army.

My prediction: Zardari will do US bidding with total dis-regard for the safety of the country. He wishes to throw the country in total chaos and will be instrumental in the future break-up of this country.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Altaf Hussain as a CNG Rickshaw driver…

I was thinking what would become of Karachi and the green CNG rickshaws, (legacy of debunked General & President Musharraf) if Altaf Hussain, Pir of London, Imam of Mohajirs of Karachi, were to suddenly transform from being a leader of MQM into an erstwhile rickshawala.

First, he won’t get any license. PPP wants all Sindhis, mostly un-educated and belonging to interior, to do everything. From sweepers to customs officers at port, to PIA’s various GMs, and the President of the god-damn country.

If in case he gets the license, he will do lot of things.

For one, he will not allow CNG rickshaw to remain green for ever. He will turn it into red blood with various slogans and his huge portraits, made white using extra box of talcum powder.

Non-Mohajirs won’t be allowed to sit in his CNG rickshaw. He will only allow Mohajirs to sit behind him (he likes everyone behind him!) He will also not use the traditional peep peep horn. In fact, he will use mulla-style speakers and blare MQM-zindabad slogans as he weaves his way across the city. His CNG Rickshaw will also not look like a CNG Rockshaw but more like a donkey fitted rickshaw. (Most of his party looks like a bunch of donkeys). And his CNG rickshaw will not climb the many idiosyncratic flyovers his assistant, Mr. Mustafa Kamal, has built around the city. So he being Altaf Hussain will flatten most of them much to the determinant of the city and its exploding population.

Altaf Hussain being Altaf Hussain will also not allow Pushtun-run buses to ply the city without harassing them. He will make sure that his red-blood CNG Rickshaw is always parked in front of their mini-buses. He will also try and poke Pushtuns and will try and provoke them. This will cause massive blood-shed in the city and Altaf Hussain being Altaf Hussain would ask all Mohajirs to carry arms so that they may protect themselves from the ‘terrorists’ Pushtuns. Thereafter, all CNG Rickshaws would be snatched at gun-point and other points from other drivers, painted red, with MQM flags installed and Altaf bhai portraits flashing with dark face and elephant white teeth. Then all these red-painted rickshaws will move behind Altaf Bhai’s rickshaw and will stop whenever he gives his comic speech to the millions of bhais and sisters of the city. (Meri behnoon tumhara kia, mein janoon mera Rickshaw janay).

Altaf Hussain is requested to remain in London and die there and not become the CNG Rickshaw driver in the city of Quaid-e-Azam. We can do without Altaf bhai riding the red-blood rickshaw. God Willing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Dawat-e-Islami is a Karachi-based Non-political, non-violent, Islamic tanzeem (organization) which has its head quarters at Old Sabzi Mandi. As little is known about its work or its people, I feel that I should introduce it to the people of Karachi. At most people know that they wear green turbans are often referred to as Janati Totay (Parrots from Heaven). Many people also claim that they are not spreading true word of Islam. We won’t go into the merits and de-merits of what True Islam or False Islam is. Here, I would just give a brief on their activities.

Dawat-e-Islami was founded in the early 80s by Mualana Ilyas Atar Qadri. He started wearing green turban out of the love of Prophet’s Tomb (PBUH) which is also green in colour. He also asked fellow Muslims to wear Turban as a measure of love. It must be noted that our Prophet has also has worn green coloured turban (evidence: Green turban associated with him is at Badshahi masjid museum).

Dawat-e-Islami believes in strict code of conduct for its adherents. It wishes to see people praying on proper time, paying their zakat, and all the Islamic injunctions that are part of our collective heritage (and tradition). It also feels that the moral backwardness of the Muslim Ummah is due the lack of following of the tradition of tolerance, positive thinking, obeying commands of parents, and respecting elders as well as young ones.

Dawat-e-Islami is presently working in over 60 countries and they regularly send out Madni Kaflas (their internal term for groups of people visiting places to spread the message of Islam). Their main points of interaction are South Africa, Dubai, Mozambique, India, and Central Asian states.

People dis-agree with lot of things which Dawat-e-Islami people do. For one, there is a strong disagreement over the Madni Munaas walk on 9th of Rabi-ul-Awal. As these are only very young kids, people say the entire exercise is un-necessary. Another criticism on them is why they wear Green and not white or black turban. Well, every school has its uniform. Why KGS students don’t wear the uniform of St. Michael’s School and vice versa?

People also associate Dawat-e-Islami with Sunni Tehreek, which is a militant form of Ahl-e-Sunnah Jamat and is just like Wahabi-led Sipah Sahaba. Although Dawat-e-Islami is a Sunni group it has no relation with Sunni Tehreek and its founder, Saleem Qadri, actually broke away from the main group to form his own party.