The recent from the land of the Pure!

This week, for anyone who is living in Pakistan has been full of a lot of downs. It has been full of tragic news, of a state of trance and utter bewilderment. Hardly any of us got a chance to breath as one bad news after the other came

Margalla Plane Crash

through.

If the shock of the Plane Crash wasn’t enough, we were then surrounded by the tragedy of the Flooding in Khyber Phaktunkhwa. And then was the ultimate man hunt that is taking place in the city of Karachi. Since the death of the MQM MPA Raza Haider, Karachi is literary burning. And although I know that the families of the people who crashed would finally move on, and I know that the villages and the towns and the cities that came under the wrath of the Flood would be able to rebuild, and start all over, but what I don’t know when is this going to stop in Karachi! For how long are we going to act dumb and pretend that we don’t know who is doing this and who is responsible?

For those of you who don’t know the story of my city, let me tell you in brief what is happening here. There is “Ethnic Cleansing” going on in the city of Karachi. The Muhajir are simply killing the Pathans – an ethnic group belonging to the province of Khyber Phaktunkhua.Pathans make up one of the major chunk of our economy, including the construction and transport sector.

At the moment, they are being labelled as the “Talibans” and under that cover they are being “Targetted”. But things are never as simple as they seem. The Land Mafia is a growing phenomena in the city, and at the moment it is the Pathan’s that seem to be doing it dominantly. This is not to say that they are the only one doing it, it simply means that they are the one most highlighted at the moment. And in a city which is considered the fort of the MQM, this is not acceptable!

These muhajirs that are making these accusations and acting upon these prejudices seem to have forgotten their own history. Most of them sit and live in areas that they encroached and then had converted to a legal status. Why is it then that the Pathans would not follow suit?

And once more Karachi burns....(Photo from:http://focus-fen.net/index.php?id=n227194)

Is it really any mystery who is doing it? An MQM leader dies and since then the city burns! Are we really that naive to pretend we don’t know? Since the death of the MQM MPA, buses, rickshaws, Mobile Markets, Stalls, Shops, Trucks, all of which belong to Pathans have been burned. Last night an interesting sms was making the rounds in the city. The message was along the following lines

If you want to keep the city safe, then you should discontinue all sorts of contacts with the Pathans. Otherwise what is happening in certain areas would spread all around the city.

After any such event, I always wonder does this propoganda really works? Do people really start looking at every Pathan as a possible threat? I know I always think that! Whenever a Pathan passes me, I think does he think that I have this hate inside of me for him just because of his identity? Does he think that I would want him dead? You can never know what is going on in the head of a person.

The flags are up! We are celebrating 63 years of Independence, but what do we have that we are celebrating? Tragedy, Minority Killings, Religious Fundamentalism, Ethnic Targetting? On the eve of this Independence day, we would be almost 150 years behind from the rest of the world! What is there to celebrate?

What would it take to be bombed?

On Sunday night, while reading the newspaper and going through the headlines that were already a few hours too late, I came across the statement by American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The statement was clear, and there wasn’t any doubt about what it can mean to us. It read,

Hillary warns Pakistan of ‘severe

consequences’

I turned to my dad and asked ” Can America really bomb us?”

He looked at me with a look (that I have yet to decipher) and then laughed (again which has to be decoded) and said “Ofcourse they can ”

Could this happen to Karachi Yesterday?

Now please don’t go on assuming that this question reveals the skeptic, naive, or politically unaware person inside of me. I am well aware of the fact that there is a war going on in half of the country, a matter of a couple of miles from our capital, but the fear (yes I am not scared to say that I was worried) that this “severe consequences” can mean the same fate for cities like Karachi as for Waziristan was a bit too much for me. Continue reading

Why the Bomb Blast?

Yesterday’s Lahore blast in RA Bazar and Sadder Area can only be understood in the light of the fact that how have we reached the current scenario of Politics in Pakistan and who are the characters that are involved in it. So what follows below is my own analysis of the Country’s Political – Economic Situation.

Pakistan after its Independence, thanks to the many Influence left by the British, was a relatively modern country. Indications of this were the many social, and recreational facilities, and also the General mindset towards accepting these places. This example would include the many bars, cinemas, restaurants, and Cabire. Girls used to cycle, skirts and foreigners were common on the streets of Karachi, and not only that but the country was also one of the most hip places for Westerners and Hippies, who can be seen sleeping on the streets.

Most of the people in Pakistan who would read this would know how much it is stressed in our course books about the location of Pakistan in the World Map. You have India and then Afghanistan, Iran and China as your neighbors, but it is only recently that the importance of this country of ours of God knows how much population (All figures in this regards are guesses. The last consensus happened in the year 1998) has taken a serious impact from its location.

Pakistan in its Context

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The Burden on a Democratic Government

I think we as people like to live under the curtain of illusions, we like to pretend that things are not what they are and thus we always seem to be invaded by the massive propaganda machine that surrounds us. This point was very beautifully voiced by Hajrah Mumtaz in her today’s article in Dawn, one of the few voices that I have come across that are saying something real in this jungle of noise.

Since the NRO decision by the Supreme Court, it seems that the only people who are being called for accountability are the members of the Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) especially President Zardari. I beg people not to take this post as a sign of my support for the current Government or for President Zardari. I have my differences with the government and they will remain in their place, but i am however in support of the process that is democracy and thus I would support however is the President, let it be Sharif’s, Gillani, or the Chaudarys.

A news item in today’s paper said that Nusrat Bhutto, the wife of the founder of PPP, is being summoned for accountability. At this point it becomes important to remind the Committee for Accountability that the women has suffered more than enough on the behalf of the democracy that we seem so fond of, and therefore today article by Ather Abbas in Express News became very relevant.

Nusrat Bhutto- Paid for democracy by losing 4 members.. but still not donw

I appreciate all that the courts are trying to do considering that their own independent is not such an old story, and therefore they do have to be careful, but why is it that whenever there is a democratic government all characters come running from all directions to destroy the reputation of it, or in some way to destabilize it. There are 8000 cases in the NRO, and there are the names of many of the leaders like Altaf Hussain, Waseem Akhtar, Farooq Sattar, Nawaz Sharif, and many of the army generals who have pardoned an amazing amount of money from the courts, and have now run off to greener pastures, why is it that the court is not asking them to come before the committee and explain themselves. Continue reading

Another blast rips the country

Every blast sends new waves of fears through out the country, and makes you reassess the entire political system of this country. Yesterdays blast at the Mosque at Parade lane in Rawalpindi were thus not an exception to this fact.. or at least that is true for me.

The day before yesterday, after many heated arguments I decided to change my stance towards the army. I thought that I would from today onwards limit my hatred towards the Generals and the majors only, and not towards the many soldiers that have lost their lives, either fighting in Swat or Waziristan, or for that matter even during performing their duties at the many residential quaters that they have so lovingly built for themselves and their families with our tax money. After all not everyone in the army is the like of  Zia’s and Ayub’s and Yahya’s and the Musharraf’s. I thought I would change my perspective, but then the blast happened yesterday and did it make my blood boil.

First, it boiled when I heard the news about the blast, then it boiled when I saw the nightly agonizing show of Kamran Khan.. a paid ISI man. He and to be fair, many of the other anchors on many of the other shows clearly highlighted the fact that the bombing of this mosque marks the darkest day in the Pakistani history.

Army cordons off the area after the bomb blast

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Lets close our eyes for our Army

Mubashir Lucman

That definitely has been a national policy for every person in this land of the Pure. It is an approach taken by every politician, citizen, and especially the media. I mean God forbid if someone can ever find a fault with the Army and especially when the army is in the government.

It is as though the army is the all almighty that can never be wrong or make a mistake, and that became pretty obvious in the media in the last few days. It seemed that everything that is happening in this country is the fault of the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari. Now I am not at all a supporter of PPP or the President, but it seems as though he is being blamed for even the death of a stray dog. It is as though there is a mental block towards the acceptance of a democratic government.

Yesterday in his show, Mubashir Lucman showed a video of a convoy going on the streets of Islamabad, and although he didnt know who was in the convey the point however of showing that clip was simply to inform the naive people of Pakistan how this government is misusing its authority.

I think that he simply has forgotten about the 2-3 hour-long traffic jams and blocking of the streets that used to happen when the ex-president Musharraf used to come to the city, let that be any city and how the petrol pumps used to be closed fro hours. No Sire the army should never be blamed! It is one of the commandments after all of being a reporter in Pakistan, isn’t it?

And then there is one more anchor who it seems have taken an oath to always take side of the army. And that is none other than Kamran Khan of Geo, who so clearly mentioned that “the establishment, by which every one knows means the army, is not so happy with the President.”

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Myths and facts about Kerry-Lugar bill

WASHINGTON: US Senator John Kerry, one of the co-authors of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, has issued a list of ‘myths and facts’ about the proposed legislation also known as the Kerry-Lugar bill.

This is how he explained the bill:

Myth: The $7.5 billion authorised by the bill comes with strings attached for the people of Pakistan.

Fact: There are no conditions on Pakistan attached to these funds. There are, however, strict measures of financial accountability on these funds that Congress is imposing on the US executive branch — not the Pakistani government, to make sure the money is being spent properly and for the purposes intended.

Such accountability measures have been welcomed by Pakistani commentators to ensure that funds meant for schools, roads and clinics actually reach the Pakistani people and are not wasted.

Myth: The bill impinges on Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Fact: Nothing in the bill threatens Pakistani sovereignty.

Myth: The bill places onerous conditions on US military aid to Pakistan that interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs and imply that Pakistan supports terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Fact: The conditions on military aid reinforce the stated policy of the government of Pakistan, major Pakistani opposition parties, and the Pakistani military and are the basis of bilateral cooperation between the United States and Pakistan.

Myth: The bill requires US oversight on promotions and other internal operations of the Pakistani military.

Fact: There is absolutely no such requirement or desire.

Myth: The bill expands the Predator programme of drone attacks on targets within Pakistan.

Fact: There is absolutely nothing in the bill related to drones.

Myth: The bill funds activities within Pakistan by private US security firms, such as Dyncorp and Blackwater/Xe.

Fact: The bill does not include any language on private US security firms. The issue of how private security firms operate in Pakistan has nothing to do with this bill. The laws governing such firms —which are employed by many US embassies and consulates throughout the world — are not affected by this bill in any way.

Myth: The bill aims for an expanded US military footprint in Pakistan.

Fact: The bill does not provide a single dollar for US military operations. All of the money authorised in this bill is for non-military, civilian purposes.

Myth: The United States is expanding its physical footprint in Pakistan, using the bill as a justification for why the US Embassy in Islamabad needs more space and security.

Fact: As the US Embassy in Islamabad works diligently over the next five years to properly distribute the $7.5 billion to the people of Pakistan, it will need to take into account its own personnel and security needs to make sure it has the right staff with the right expertise on hand. This is common sense.

(Originally published in Dawn Newspaper on Saturday 10th October 2009)