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Friday, February 18, 2011

The Hypocrisy Of The Iranian Regime

It is no secret that Tunisian and Egyptian revolution have started a new tsunami of sorts in authoritarian regimes of the Middle East. It is quite heartening to see people on the streets of other major metropolis demanding similar rights and freedoms, as their Egyptian brethren have achieved, after such a momentous and historical movement.

When the 18 day long ordeal of the Egyptians was in full swing, the overly authoritarian regime of Iran was supportive of their struggle. The Iranians of course had a vested interest. According to their view, the resistance against Mubarik was symbolically against the US. As Mubarik was viewed and loathed as a US stooge.

Amazingly, not very long ago the Iranian people were out on the streets, much like their Egyptian brethren, but those protesters and their movement was brutally quashed by the so "righteous Iranian regime." The world witnessed the heavy handed response of the Iranian regime in sheer amazement. How the voices of dissent were silenced and how many precious lives were lost is of course a sad reality.

What the Iranian Supreme Council perhaps failed to realize about US is, that its foreign policy shifts based on ground realities. It is no secret that Obama Administration's foreign policy stalwarts were working behind the scene to facilitate the departure of Mubarik, in line with the raging sentiments of the masses. As once said by someone to this effect, "US has its interests, that it will always protect."

So the Iranian regime is sending favourable signals to similar demonstrations in Shite dominated Bahrain as well. The demands of Bahrainis seeking reforms in Manama are being welcomed by the hard line Iranians. Again according to the Iranian view, it may be a step in the right direction. Getting an "Iranian inspired" movement in Bahrain may go a long way. Eventually when in power, they may request the US to vacate the Naval base from the island kingdom.

Now looking at all of this from a distance, it makes you wonder that Iran is no different than the US. It has its own " interests" and it is trying to protect and advance those interests, whether it is Lebanon, Egypt or Bahrain. But when it comes down to its own citizens, the rules are not the same.

Then all of a sudden freedom and democracy become alien and "Western" phenomena to the Iranian regime. As "evil" as the US may be (according to the Iranians), it will inspire and support movements much like Eqypt around the Middle Eastern peninsula. Will let the sage and clever policy makers in Tehran figure out the reasons why.

The New Sphinx Of Egypt

If nothing else, when President Obama stands in front of the potential voters in a year plus or so, he has something to brag about. It is no secret that his team of advisors and experts were instrumental in bringing the momentous change in the history of the beleaguered nation of Egypt.

Thousands gathered with their unyielding spirits and sound determination to unseat an iconic dictator. Who would have imagined, a few months back, that this could possibly happen in a country proud of its historical background, stupendous monuments and iron fisted rulers who were symbolic for "stability."

A poignant reminder for many authoritarian dictators and the Pharoahs of modern times, there time is up. The information age has arrived and deceit and deception are commodities in absolutely short supply. People cannot be fooled and sold falsehood. The world has shrunk and we are truly in a global village. From Canberra to Somalia, New Foundland to Calcutta, we are all threaded into the same loop.

The human desires and needs are the same. The faces may be different, the eyes may have a varying shade, but hopes and aspirations are almost identical. Freedom to choose, elect and be respected. Freedom to acquire and market useful skills and freedom to prosper and progress. To live in peace and tranquility and leave the world with a legacy of dignity and character.

The streets of Cairo have given a new hope to the oppressed, to the masses in a region where force and fear have been the only language in comprehension. To those who find a conspiracy in any and every action of mankind, this may be another mysterious quandary to unravel. Simply speaking, there are certain events, which happen without any confounding mystery. The empty stomachs and overwhelming despair find their way on their own at the opportune moment. That moment typically is the tipping point for their bent up emotions. Emotions when released in earnest, are more powerful than any storms, floods or hurricanes. The impact of such raw yet pure and true emotions is irreversible.

Those wagging tongues and chattering faces on the mini screen, who are consumed in drawing parrallels between Egypt and Pakistan must take a break from the idiot box. If it was a few years back, the comparison would be more apt and appropriate. Our country by the grace of Almighty is out of the clutches of another dictator, much like many others who have shamelessly kept us deprived from the fruits of democracy and pursuit of betterment. Those who think that we are under mini Pharoahs of all times, who thrive on social injustice must raise their voice against such elements. Point to ponder on is, there will always be injustice of some sorts. Point to dig deeper and dwell on is, if the voices against such evil are collective and concerted, it gives the accurate signals to such dark elements rather loudly and clearly, their time is up.


Those who are hell bent on seeing the unrepentant rage in many of our nation to spill over and initiate new chapters of mayhem, must learn to live and let live. Tyranny of any sorts is unacceptable to the masses. Whether it is of a person, a flawed idea or a group of misguided people. Nations move together, when the ideals are uniform and goals have an over arching purpose. Imposition of any thing by force of fear has no life at all. The ideas that envelope everybody and touch the chords of every heart are truly liberating. Those ideas that are inclusive and instill mutual respect for the mankind, bond and gel us together forever.

To the valiant people of Egypt, the world saw your faith and determination. We witnessed your resolve and undying patience. It is so moving to see the jubilant and triumphant faces, the fluttering flags and the uncontrollable excitement. We are with you in this moment of victory, we are with you in this time of blessing.

To those empty stomachs and pale faces, here comes the bigger and harsher reality to cope with. Your woes and cries will not come to a screeching halt. Your protests may have come to an end, but the pains will still carry on. Any new administration, will have a juggernaut of a task to deal with. A torn nation to unite, opportunities to create and invite prosperity to reign. That's where time and efforts will be needed from one and all. Often the charged populace expects miracles from the new faces, which would be next to impossible. When the pace of change is not up to the expectations, you may be overwhelmingly dismayed and disgruntled, and lose faith in the process. Please do not trade your triumph with despair at any cost.

By the sides of Nile, your 18 days of struggle has created a new sphinx. The one and only sphinx, which will speaks for itself. Lions ought to seek courage from that sphinx. Long live the new sphinx of Egypt and may it ever stand proudly overlooking the banks of the Nile.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Davis's Foes Are Qadris Valentines

There has been so much noise from all and sundry about Richard Allen Davis, in Pakistan that it is beyond deafening. Almost every media, electronic, print or audio visual has weighed in on his fate. One wonders even though the matter is sub judicious, is it really by now?

Life is strange in our Pakistan. The honour of the entire country is hanging on the shoulders of the US Embassy employee or consultant (There are conflicting reports about his status so one has to tread with caution).

Here in the US, there are no marches, no protests, no howling, no chest thumping going on for his immediate release. No effigies of President Zardari being burnt, no Pakistani flag being desecrated and nor the Paksitani restaurants or stores paying the price as retribution for his incarceration at Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.

On our end, we have the usual howls, screams, protests, the channel talk show wars, the political leaders and their views causing a never ending stir in the ever melting national pot. It seems like everything in Pakistan is at a stand still. Everyone is watching this with a bated breath. If the accused is convicted and tried and perhaps awarded the harshest sentence, only then Pakistan's dignity and honour will be restored.

The ever fragile and spine less "liberal government", is impacted by the usual broo haha at every level. The President to the Prime Minister are cautiously looking towards the court to weigh in. There are differences within the rank and file of various faces of the government. This has added more fuel to the fire.

What our overly charged crowd as always tends to disregard as usual, is the element of pre meditation. Was this a conspiracy that some within our so well informed TV anchors are hell bent upon making or was it an accident? As this scribe had indicated earlier, and endorsed by some other compatriots here at PTH, US Embassy personnel do not appear to be trigger happy cowboys when in Pakistan. What benefit could Davis gain by killing the two individuals on a whim, as a lot of our emotionally charged crowd wants us to believe?

Senator Kerry's visit to Pakistan and President Obama's press conference demanding the release of Davis, of course have not made much of ripples in the general public opinion. The PM Gilani's request to the clerics to find a solution through religious law of "Qisas" and compensation of victims is logical, however the laws are fairly clear in the Holy Book. All it does is, widen the credibility gap between the so called the government and the mighty clerics. The idea of making the clerics the supreme authority in religious laws, which are fairly plain and simple is mind boggling.

One of the leading English Daily has produced a document of Davis's compensation to establish that he was an employee. This scribe's opinion about the issue is known and it will not be repeated here. However, the document produced by the Daily only establishes the compensation breakdown of $200,000 per year. It establishes only one thing that Davis was a contractor. The employees of US Government have a paycheck with appropriate deductions on the payroll statement. The US Government typically is on a bi-weekly pay cycle for its hourly employees. (This is scribe's personal and professional opinion, which of course may alter, if any other corroborating information is provided, which proves his employee status).

This whole episode has shifted the focus from the clear and thorny issue of a truly cold blooded murderer, Qadri. Who confessed to the murder of Late Governor Taseer with the element of pre-meditation. In the meantime, we have Qadri's fans gathering outside Rawalpindi Jail to wish him, Happy Valentine's Day with flowers and cards. Admitting that Valentine Day is not a Muslim celebration, these fans are touched by his love for our Holy Prophet. This in short tells us how blind we are in our emotions. Any rhyme or reasoning sure a'int gonna work.

Rahat's Detention In India: Not a Pleasant Surprise

Rahat may have his foes in India. There may be professional rivalry and prejudice and what have you, but his recent detention at New Dehli's airport for allegedly carrying $124,000 in cash is sure another egg on our faces.

Undoubtedly, Rahat is an icon in himself at this stage of his career. His defence for such an act, is to say the least very weak. According to the electronic media, his comeback has been that he is a high school drop out and unfamiliar with the customs laws etc.

Being an ardent fan like many, I must say that I am utterly disappointed. It defies any reasonable intellect. This was not the first time that Rahat had done this "innocent blemish." The large currency laws of almost every nation are fairly similar. Besides, according to the reports, the currency was being carried in the accompanied and the unaccompanied baggage.

Now every one, no matter how ignorant they are with the laws of any country, know that you do not let a large sum of money go into the baggages. Besides, no matter where you disembark, the "Customs Declaration" form is handed to you In the flights, almost prior to landing. The purpose is to acquaint you with the laws of the land, so you do not miss anything.

Rahat has been a frequent traveller not only to India, but almost every part of the world. Last year in April, this scribe truly enjoyed his concert here in the US. He seems to be familiar with English and in his interviews, has used English words and phrases. The impression, one gets that he can read, write and understand English. So he could easily comprehend what the "Customs Declaration" really means. Being an astute singer and businessman, he must be familiar with contracts as well. Mostly, those in India and most other countries are written in English. Even if he uses the excuse of all such matters being handled by his Agent or Manager, both were reportedly accompanying him.

Our charged friends in Pakistan, are pegging this act of our hero into the usual "conspiracy hole." There may be some truth, that some one tipped the Indian Customs. But the tip supposedly was genuine and a law was being broken. People who are using the usual pathetic reasoning of "so and so did it as well" are again solidifying the "dubious notoriety" of us Pakistanis. Whenever we are in a pickle, so to speak, its always someone else's fault. That my friends is the "biggest national issue."

The Pipe Dreams Of Musharraf

Our "saviour and moderately enlightened leader", none other than President and former General Musharraf was facing a shoe in London. Some disgruntled person at the meeting of newly originated party called, "All Pakistan Muslim League", dislodged the footwear. It never made it to the intended target and there was no harm no foul.

Last checked, it was not a female sandal and the shoe hurler was definitely not Ms. Odho. It was a male and the Security Personnel removed him from the crowd (if there was any), in a rather expeditious manner.

One has to ask, what Mr. Musharraf is facing nowadays. According to the media reports, he has been included in the list of murder probe of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. This is of course and should be standard operating procedure. After all it was Mr. Musharraf on the saddle, when a heinous murder took place in broad daylight and another Bhutto was brutally murdered. No one is pointing fingers at him, but at least as the Head of the State and the person responsible for the safety of the entire nation, he at least has some clarifications to do.

This brings us to another subject, what is our so dear friend lecturing to the various different forums around the world? I mean it is all the information that entire world is so amply familiar with. Is it memoirs of our former General, who took one step and brought us thousands of feet away from the norms of civility and the rule of law.

He still has cronies around the globe and in the country, hoping to bring him back to the throne of Islamabad. From the current read, it seems like they are banking on the wrong guy. The fact is quite plain and simple. PPP and PML-N pretty much have the territory well covered. His Q Leaguers and MQM and some religious fundamentalist parties will align with him at due time, if it ever happens. It is utterly unlikely that in presence of PPP and PML-N, he has a chance to form a government. The only way he can make it, if he forms an alliance with either PPP or PML-N. Chances of that are very slim. But in politics as they say anything is possible.

But what about a glut of cases against the former Commando in the Land of the Pure. Some are really serious and may take him to the slammer. He often has reiterated that he is not afraid of any of those cases and he will face them with full force and head on. Only time will tell, when the rubber finally gets to meet the road. Until then these are all pipe dreams of our dear friend Musharraf.

The Upcoming Kasab Verdict In India

Mr. Ajmal Kasab, the sole accused of Mumbai Terror Attacks, as dubbed by India's media as their 09/11, will be facing a verdict towards the end of this month. It is a forgone conclusion, what would be awarded to him. Perhaps the harshest and well deserved punishment as allowed by the Indian Constitution and the governing laws of the jurisdiction.

A few years ago, when Mr. Kasab and his accomplices, terrorised the glitzy city of Mumbai for several days, it just took the entire world, by utter surprise. The non stop shooting rampage and murder and mayhem created by these despicable characters, reversed the course of the ongoing pleasant dialogue between the two arch rivals.

The condemnation from our side was slow and muted. We went on the usual "dis owning strategy" and demanded proof from the Indian Government, asking if these were actually Pakistani people. The British media's investigative reporting nailed the accused as being a Pakistani and the local media followed the trail.

Needless to say, it was quite a wasted diplomatic effort and above all some global embarrassment to swallow. Then there were the usual conspiracy theorist, who vehemently called it an "inside job", much like the infamous 09/11. There arguments was, all this was done by India to malign Pakistan.
The evidence which the world saw on TV screens was to the contrary. That group will never be satisfied, no matter how irrefutable and undeniable the evidence is. It is their false pride and ego, which play as major impediments towards accepting some really harsh realities.

Arguably, there are some questions which are mind boggling about the precision of these ruthless killers, but the bigger question which supersede everything is, what has been done to avoid such a heinous episode to replay itself in the future? Pakistan's operations against such nefarious characters have at least slowed down. The likes of Mr. Kasab are wreaking havoc in the cities within Pakistan, with almost impunity.

The relations with the erstwhile neighbour are sour and every move made by Pakistan to bring the two parties, back to the table, meets with a rather tepid response. So in the wake of the upcoming and expected verdict, there will be some senseless characters within Pakistan, glorifying the accused. To them all one can say is to have some shame and avoid mocking the basic tenets of our faith. To the Indians, general Pakistani populace is not represented by Kasabs and Qadris. If in doubt, just cross the border and see it for yourself.

The "Goal Maze" Conference Of The President

On the surface, President Zardari's call for a Round Table Summit seems to be a very good and commendable idea. But why almost 3 years after taking charge of the nation, the President has called in such a moot.

Simply speaking the heat is on from the US Government. What the power quarters are being discreet about is the Davis issue. The main issue behind all of this sudden need for "national consensus", is this thorny immunity of Davis.

The street and the street peddlers aka "emotional leaders" are busy whipping up the American Pinata to death. I said this at another forum and I will repeat it here, it is all because he is an American, that we are seeing such broo haa haa. If he was Arbi, this ordeal would have been under the rug in no time. One of my readers comment was very aptly calling this a lottery ticket for the fundamentals.

The whole incident is rather unfortunate. It is a case of a lot of murky details and an overly worked up and negatively charged public. The spokeshole of the President has termed it as an opportunity to reach consensus on economy as well. The fact is that some how the "economy" and the Pak US relationships are intertwined. There are some who would like to perhaps avenge for Aafia or ask for a barter of some sort. That is going to be next to impossible as she has been convicted and serving her long sentence. Two totally different issues.

Chances are that US is going to repeatedly invoke the Vienna Convention and the diplomatic immunity of the accused. So it more or less looks like the handwriting on the wall. The President knows what the "goal" really is. It is to sell the idea to the political leaders of the other parties. The big "maze" begins from there. The political parties mostly wants him to take a plunge. So if truth be told, it would be perfect political move on their part to balk and let him take the heat from the US and the public. To bell the cat on this one is the real game.

The emotional rhetoric aside, the main issue here is if Pakistan is signatory to the Vienna Convention and it has to perhaps look for other avenues to save it face on both fronts internationally and at home. If Davis has to be set free, then perhaps some civil culpability of some sorts must be sought, provided there is some provision in that treaty.

Otherwise it all seems like it will be a round like a circle. President will perhaps end up where he initiated this dialogue with our so enlightened leaders and his fellow countrymen.

Our Hi Fi Anti Umreekan Sentiments

The killings of two individuals at the hand of an American Consulate worker, Mr. Davis are unfortunate and reprehensible. Although, Mr. Davis has indicated and maintained his stance that he acted in self defence, the majority of our nation is simply unwilling to buy his account. The reason is plain and simple, our infinite hate towards his country of citizenship.

There were conflicting reports in our media about Mr. Davis's diplomatic status and whether he did in fact act in self defence. Needless to say, our media and government provided a few confusing accounts and there you had a perfect storm brewing from all sides.

Where Mr. Davis's act should be condemned, but comparing it to Dr. Afia Siddiqui and making it look like the two situations were identical is down right ludicrous. To exacerbate the situation, the ever confused government played a "Ping Pong" of various accounts and status of the accused. The Interior Minister's involvement and digression towards Provincial Government were indication of we have "novice administrative people" on the saddle.

Of course, the pressure from US was concerning as well. From the Consulate to the Embassy, the State Department to the Senate Arm's Committee, reiterating the status of the accused and putting Pakistan in a rather precarious position. The ever hyper sensitive people took to the streets and vented their anger with the usual Anti American sentiments.

All of this got me thinking as usual. I certainly have sympathy for the deceased and feel sorry for their families, despite their dubious characters as presented by the media. But with cooler heads may be we ought to re examine this whole episode. Put the sensitive nature of our area in perspective, where foreigners were beheaded in the past, and be in the shoes of a person like Davis for a moment.

Again, what Mr. Davis did, by all accounts is wrong. Mr. Davis should have not taken the law in his own hands. Here in the US, certain states allow the citizens to carry guns and if the fire arms are used in self defence which has to be proven, generally the accused is set free. People who were questioning Mr. Davis's fire arms ought to look in our own back yard as each day we see the misuse of heavy duty ammunition by our valiant countrymen.

Looking at Mr. Davis's previous record, according to our media, he made several trips to Pakistan in the past and did not show any disdain for its people or place. May be he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Looking at the track record of US Consulate employees, it is reasonable to deduce that, this unfortunate incident was an exception. Seemingly, there is no element of pre meditation. Of course the victim's families must be compensated. Whether it is the law of the land or international law, it must prevail.

The tragic angle of this whole situation is the suicide attempt by a spouse of a victim. This is according to our media in protest as the spouse feels that justice will not be served. I feel the pain of the young lady, but if every grieving spouse followed her path in despair, soon this earth would be half way empty. This act is equally pathetic.

Lastly, to the usual chest thumpers I raise this scenario. Suppose the accused was not an American, but a Saudi or Emirati or Kuwaiti and his name was not Davis but Bin So and So, and Prince or Prince in waiting, would they still be out on the streets with full hi fi volume. I think not.

Dictators Don't Leave Easily

It may be history in the making for Egypt. Thousands have gathered under immense pressure and against all odds with unyielding fervour to unseat a dictator. The handwriting may be on the wall for him, but it is hard for him to swallow some very harsh realities.

Regretfully, the Middle Eastern countries and some African nations are plagued by such regimes. Where a man's word and whim becomes the law at any given moment. The dictators do not leave easily, no matter how clear as day the reality may be. It is their false ego and pride, which becomes the biggest impediment in their way.

Undoubtedly, the people are praiseworthy who have taken the batons, the tear gas, the bullets and have still stood firm, all this while. Almost 3 weeks and their spirits have not dwindled. There is one thing for sure, with their undying presence at the streets, the spirit of the dictator is weakening day by day.

Behind the scenes, there are the "invisible diplomatic efforts", of Obama administration, which impact the day to day occurrence we witness in the news media. Mr. Obama's direct yet honest message to the Egyptian people has given them hope, that someone out there is listening, feeling and watching their agony rather intently.

It may be a forgone conclusion, that despite his desperate efforts to dig his heels, Mr. Mubarik may have to leave prior to his planned date of departure. The recent announcement of delegation of some of his powers to the Vice President Suleiman may be a precursor to the inevitable.

At several discussions with my readers at other forums, I raised a simple question of reasoning and logic with them. If people have the right to elect some one to the office, then they have the right to dismiss them from the office as well. It is like an employee who was selected for a certain job by a group of people with consensus. Now the performance of the employee has been so below par that, termination or voluntary resignation are the only options. Mr. Mubarik knows that his days are numbered and sooner he leaves, it will be a great service to his country and the disgruntled employers (read countrymen).

But to the valiant people of the gifted land of Egypt, those empty stomachs and pale faces, here comes the bigger and harsher reality to cope with. Even if the much loathed Mubarik leaves, their woes and cries will not come to a screeching halt. The protests might come to an end, but the pains will still carry on. Any new administration, will have a juggernaut of a task to deal with. A torn nation to unite, opportunities to create and invite prosperity to reign. That's where time and efforts will be needed from one and all. Often the charged populace expects miracles from the new faces, which would be next to impossible. When the pace of change is not up to their expectations, they are overwhelmingly dismayed and disgruntled, and lose faith in the process.

This is where US and its cautious diplomatic engagement will be required. Egypt is not Iraq and policy makers in Washington are hopefully familiar with the fact, that "one size fits all" policy will not work in the Middle East. By the same token, engagement with Israel and the Palestinians will be very meaningful. The stalled peace dialogue between the two must be revived and tensions in the Middle East must be diffused. Hopefully the pundits around Mr. Obama are giving him sound advice. It would go a long way and who knows, he may be able to prove his detractors wrong, who have labelled him the "One Term President", hands down.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Fanatics Have The Last Laugh

Truth be told, we are beyond a crazy nation. Any difference of opinion, having even a remote mention of non-Muslims, the west or, worse yet, the words, ‘the US’, ‘Americans’, can bring our fanatics into full-blown action almost instantaneously.

The irony of this callously belligerent attitude is that we are extremely oblivious to certain basic facts — some very basic realities of life. There is one basic principle of universal acceptance, the principle of right versus wrong. We take pride in killing people at close range on suspicion or difference of opinion. Barely a month ago, we witnessed such a pathetic scene in our capital, where a governor was killed in broad daylight. To add insult to injury, there was no collective condemnation from the nation. Voices of reason were threatened and a murderer was glorified in unison.

Our boiling fanatics with their overflowing and seething rage took the streets by storm. They shouted for death and destruction to anyone who dared to disagree with them. The so-called ‘liberal’ government became literally terrified of such mass protests and gave in rather easily. Instead of siding with a stalwart of its own party, who stood firm in his bold stand, it went into defensive mode. There were multiple clarifications from various quarters within the administration, trying endlessly to appease the fanatic crowd.

Thousands have gathered at various venues and reiterated their stance about a law, which, in its theory, may be right and well intended. However, in its practicality or implementation it has been extremely biased and discriminatory. The unyielding position by our fanatics, to say the least, is shameful and illogical. Drawing a parallel between injustice towards a minority based on subjective hearsay or innuendo and real blasphemy is downright lunacy.

The government, facing pressure from the vociferous ‘morality brigade’ and certain partners in its fragile coalition, has made every effort to bury this issue forever. A parliamentarian who had introduced a bill for an amendment to the application of this law has been threatened. Now the bill has been withdrawn.

Here lies the biggest irony of this whole episode. Morality and righteousness are being enforced at gunpoint. I have argued with many who wrongfully accuse our religion of being spread by the edge of the sword. With this misplaced fervour of our so awfully pious people, I am left speechless and dumbfounded in front of the critics of my faith.

Dissent is being killed almost every day in bloody suicide bombings and indiscriminate shootings. Any place of worship, any gathering point and any moment of happiness and joy are all being tarnished by such ‘saviours’ of my faith. It is these same saviours who once thought that carving out a homeland for a significant majority of the Indian subcontinent by a ‘supreme infidel’, was a gross error of epic proportions. What a pity that the same crowd is considered the only band of patriots in my land. They dictate their terms and the otherwise sturdy corridors of power crumble like sawdust in minutes. Day in and day out the business of hate and bigotry is traded like the hottest commodity on the stock exchange.

Pakistan has become a place where those of differing viewpoints are considered as being ‘sub-humans’, where self-analysis and self-criticism is unacceptable, where ‘conspiracy’ is the operative word in any and every conversation, where fault or blemish is always attributed to another person, party, faith or nation, where glory is awarded to those who demonstrate the highest acts of cowardice and where we are the judge, jury and the executioners.

A sane though very young person from a distant land with a straight spine took a stand against such ruthless cowards. But he is still way too young, naïve and unprepared to take this crazy crowd head on, a crowd that consists of those who are laughing out loud and mocking the basic principles of my faith. There is no distinction between my faith and the basics of humanity. If my faith is the divine message brought to this world by the best of all humans, the Prophet (PBUH) of all prophets, it does not need to be in the clutches of such hoodlums. It can withstand any malicious attack; after all, it is always truth that keeps evil at bay.
Original Article: Daily Times Dated: February 09, 2011
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C02%5C09%5Cstory_9-2-2011_pg3_6

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Fanatics Have The Last Laugh

If truth be told, we are beyond a crazy nation. Where any difference of opinion having even a remote mention of Non Muslims, West or worst yet the words, "America or Americans", can get the fanatics in full blown action almost instantaneously.

The irony of this whole callously belligerent attitude is, that we are so oblivious of certain basic facts. Some very basic realities of life. There is one basic principle of universal acceptance, the principle of right versus wrong. We take pride in killing people at close range on a suspicion or difference of opinion. Barely a month ago, we witnessed such a pathetic scene in our capital, where a Governor was killed in broad day light. To add insult to the injury there was no collective condemnation from the nation. The voices of reason were threatened and a murderer was glorified in unison.

Our boiling fanatics with their over flowing and seething rage took the streets by storm. Shouting death and destruction to anyone who dared to disagree with them. The liberal Government was literally terrified of such mass protests and gave in rather easily. Instead of siding with a stalwart of their own party, who stood firm with his bold stand, it went into the defence mode. There were multiple clarifications from various quarters within the administration, appeasing the fanatic crowd.

Thousands have gathered at various venues and reiterated their stance about a law, which in its theory may be right and well intended, however in its practicality or implementation has been extremely biased and discriminatory. The unyielding position by our fanatics, to say the least is shameful and illogical. Drawing a parallel between injustice towards a minority based on subjective hearsay and real blasphemy is downright lunacy.

The Government facing pressures from the vociferous "morality brigade" and certain partners of its fragile coalition has made efforts to bury this issue forever. A Senator who had introduced a bill for an amendment to the applications of this law has been threatened. A withdrawal of this bill is on the horizon and by the time, these lines will be read, it may very well be off the docket for good.

Here lies the biggest irony of this whole episode. Morality and Righteousness is being enforced at gunpoint. I have argued with many who wrongfully accuse our religion of being spread by the edge of the sword. With this misplaced fervour of our so awfully pious people, I am almost speechless and dumbfounded in front of the critics of my faith.

A sane though very young person from a distant land with a straight spine took a stand against such ruthless cowards. But he is still way too young, naïve and unprepared to take this crazy crowd head on. Those who are laughing out loud and mocking the basic principles of my faith. There is no distinction between my faith and the basics of humanity. If my faith is the divine message brought to this world by the "Best of All Humans", the "Prophet of all Prophets (PBUH)", it does not need crutches of such hoodlums. It can withstand any malicious attack, after all it is always truth that keeps the evil going. Isn't it.

Egypt's Revolution: Its All America's Fault

At another of my hang out, I wrote about this developing though fairly critical situation in Egypt, a couple of days ago. Within a matter of a couple of days, the toll on human life has increased. Almost 100 people are no more, hundreds are wounded and the situation seems to be worsening day by day. When these lines are being written, a "million man march" of anti government protesters is being organised or perhaps on its way, trying to make history.

Here the 82 year old President Mubarik, has been literally grasping to straws and trying very idiotically to prolong his doomed rule. Our "champions of faith" in our land as always, are quick to jump to conclusions and somehow find the hand of the "Capitalists", behind such a monumental uprising.

Now, putting the two and two together, President Mubarik is supposedly a strong ally of US Government. So US Government was blamed for propping up an unpopular President Mubarik, by some of our so called "Champions." The question to be raised is, how come for 30 long years a President can retain to his seat, by just using the "American Danda?"

The fact is that US policy makers engage people, who are the stakeholders and seem to be in control or on the saddle. The moment US gets an indication of the inevitable, the policy shift happens rather quickly. If you read between the lines of recent statements of Secretary Clinton or President Obama, it appears they are neither dis owning Mubarik and nor are they approving the pressure tactics of his government on the masses.

However on our end, from the ever enraged clergy to famous politicians, never waste a moment to target the US with their "half baked" conspiracy theories. So now the US is being blamed for staging this protest in order to topple the Mubarik regime as well. Somehow, something just not measure up. How could US government send thousands of people to the streets of Cairo and other major cities across Egypt ?

The US is our convenient Pinata to beat. It is politically correct to put the blame on the US for any and everything. Where US does not seem to fit the bill, bring in Mossad and or RAW. This is all you need to get the rubble rousers screaming off the top of their lungs. The simple fact that always evades us, all relationships, personal or national are formed under the pretence of "self interest." Nothing in this world is free, every thing requires an exchange.

The fact is that, people in Washington are assessing the day to day activity and preparing themselves to deal with the "new players" of Egypt. It is rather ironic to assume that thousands of aggrieved people that represent virtually every class of Egyptian society are perhaps agents of the "Evil US." The pursuit of liberty, rights and justice are some what universal phenomena. These are basic human needs, and when people feel enraged and empowered at the same time, their movement is almost irreversible.

It is a foregone conclusion that Mubarik's days as a President of the beleaguered nation of Egypt are numbered. Of course, he found the usual support from none other than King Abdullah of KSA, who echoed the usual "conspiracy rhetoric." People who some how do not intend to face reality, seem to reside in a world of fantasy. Much like our illustrious leader from London, who was drawing a parallel between the Egyptian uprising and the Pakistani situation over the past weekend. One more question to ask our Brother from "Edgeware Shareef", before I conclude. In Egypt, with such a momentous defiance, the military is on the side of the people, who will our military support, GOD forbid, if we witness such seething public rage? I think I know the answer, but it is always good to hear from the horse's mouth.

The Winds Of Change In The Middle East

As these lines are being written, according to the reliable news media of the world, at least 20 people have lost their lives in Egypt. The anti government demonstrations have been defiant of the restrictions and the curfew. Scores of people have been wounded and injured. The 82 year old, I repeat 82 year old, President Mubarik has dismissed his government and promised to install a new one to alleviate the anger and frustration of the masses. (Poor move Sir, how about resigning yourself?)

Needless to say, the recent upheaval in Tunisia, has given many of the suppressed Arab world masses some hope. This is the age of information, where Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media streaming through the internet and mobile phones, can reveal anything and everything within minutes.

What is the first thing that our so intelligent and respected President Mubarik did to respond to such an irrefutable and potent resistance? He cut off the internet and mobile phones within the country to give a "befitting response" to the vociferous opposition. Little did the dear President know, that this information revolution is unstoppable.

People still communicate via land lines and even if land lines are cut, there is cable and satellite. If those are cut off as well, there are newspapers of the world. If those are banned, then people have couriers like DHL and Fed Ex and finally regular mail to transfer the news. The point here is that, when people want change, they will go to any length to get it. No amount of force or fear can really stop them.

The winds of change have started to flow through the Arab world. Many of our analysts would blame the "Evil US", for the recent Egyptian episode as well. I certainly do not agree with every foreign policy move of the US Government, but know at least this much, preserving self interest dominates most of the US foreign policy. Similarly, when the handwriting on the wall becomes obvious, often a 180 degree can be expected from policy makers in Washington. So the other Middle Eastern monarchs, must pay close attention to these rather unfamiliar events and do not consider themselves as the Pharoahs of modern times.

What all of this means for our part of the world? My last scribble briefly touched on this issue. If we do not embrace the supremacy of the law and implement it in letter and spirit, unfortunately we will lose the spirit of this country and the vision of its founding father. Regretfully, that scene may be worst than what we are currently witnessing in Cairo.

Thw Wrestling Match Of PML-N And MQM

By D. Asghar

It sure seems like the two parties at each other throats for quite some time. A few years back, our former Cricket star cum some what of a failed Politician, Immy Bhai went to London, with a lot of noise. He met another of our political big wig, who was in a self imposed exile, our own former Ameer ul Momineen, Janab Nawaz Sharif. Both of them probably had plenty of good desi food at Southall and came back with some really tall claims against our own and one and only, Peer Sahib of London Shareef, every one's brother and saviour, "Altaf Bhai."

Immy Bhai brought some "irrefutable evidence" against Altaf Bhai and said that he was going to consult his legal team in London. Well Altaf Bhai has been sitting pretty in London Shareef. Immy Bhai found another punching bag called "Amreeka" and seems to think that any every thing going wrong with our nation, is all due to the, "Global War of Error."

Immy Bhayya likes to be on TV talk shows as well and often seems to be saying whatever he feels like, in a "pukka kuptaani" manner. One humble request to Immy Bhayya, he needs to go back to "kirkit", and take control of the PCB and bring back life into our ailing "kirkit team." Lately, poor team has been marred with scandals over scandals about "Noora kirkit."

Getting back to our Ameer Sharif, who spent a lot of time in Saudia Shareef for no good reason, other than bringing a General Butt in the "hot seat." Well that started a whole new episode, which is of course another subject for another day. So when Ameer ul Momineen made a come back to our gifted land and that too without any "deal", that was another very big "deal."

After the "alaikshuns", the "kuntry" was divided along the lines of language and ethnicity as usual. Karachi as usual became the MQM territory and Punjab went to Nawaz League. Ameer ul Momineed Nawaz's "peepul" have identified all the "kulpruts" in Karachi, and posed their scathing criticism on MQM. Altaf Bhayya has turned his verbal guns on the PML-N and asked for a "Maar Shull Laa", only in Punjaab. (The land of Oyey Jageerdara and Surmayaydaara as he so fondly calls it).

Our National "Assumbly" has turned into a "Akhara", between the two rivals. The other day some real "harush wurds" were "axechanged" and the jabs were thrown at each other. Some how PML-N wallah's have an issue with Altaf Bhai's "Birtish Passporut." What is wrong with Bhai having a "Birtish Passporut." After all we were part of the same "Taaj e Burtanya." Bhai has sung the song very aptly, "Iss Puirchum (Union Jack) key sayey taley hum aik hain, hum aik hain."

On a serious note, it is rather ridiculous for the two parties to act as amateur and childish, as they have lately. Both have their respective power and vote base. Both have their area and people with a myriad of issues. It is about time, that both come out of their wrestling ring and pay attention to their respective electorate. Lastly, the ethnic and linguistic politics ought to be buried forever. The country should be open for every party to participate in any and all areas. That's what "demmo kraisy" is all about.