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01 DNA Front-issue-14_Layout 1 3/15/2014 12:56 AM Page 1


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami

Arif Nizami Editor

Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

Agha Akbar

Asher John

Joint Editor

Associate Editor

Chief News Editor

Lahore – Ph: 042-36375963-5 Fax: 042-32535230 Karachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9 Fax: 021-35381208 Islamabad – Ph: 051-2287273 Fax: 051-2818125 Web: Email:

Too right to be soft!

Mistaking democracy for P governance

Not mutually exclusive

Who let this happen?


he So often in politics it is not what the incumbent does that matters so much as what he says. Political correctness is, after all, at the heart of politics. But centre the spin once too often on gimmickry alone and the façade will disappear rather quickly. The people will need to see things now and then. Sometimes their needs are more subtle, and far more serious, than roads and bridges. Then there is that other feature of leadership – the terrible burden of responsibility in the face of disaster, defeat, tragedy, and the like. And there needs to be a degree of justice – some form of promise that the wronged shall be attended to. And here what is seen, not what is said, matters. So who’s responsible for the Tharparkar deaths? Surely if there are no answers there can be no action. how could it be that hundreds of our children starved to death, as food lay rotting in

government warehouses, and anybody who could do anything did everything in their power to brush this under the carpet till it exploded on its own? And where are those heads, hanging in shame, forced to admit the truth that those children died because of these leaders’ inadequacy, and inhumanity? And where is that axe that the political masters – the people’s servants – swing and send some of these heads rolling? Yet there have been no answers. And there has been little action, not much beyond the rush-the-supplies and don’t-let-me-see-anotherfamine types. This is not the first time innocent parents have had to bury innocent children in our Islamic Republic. And this is surely not the first time there have been neither answers nor retribution. Democracy is about governance only when the elected are able to erect institutions that serve and protect the people. Perhaps it is because of our inability to nurture democratic traditions in our

fractured political history that we have come to celebrate mere elections and vote-counting as democracy itself. From national security to the economy to the people’s most basic rights, what the government proclaims hardly reflects facts on ground. News bulletins feature official spokesmen trumpeting peace as violence and militancy continues. An exogenous donation stemming from an illadvised international political embrace braces the rupee for a while and the finance ministry claims having rescued the economy. A bloated and ineffective civil bureaucracy remains paralysed whenever an emergency presents itself, and often enough the military has to intervene. And any question is treated as an attack on democracy itself. Maybe it is with good reason that democracy never strengthened in Pakistan. And rather than treat this suggestion as an insult, our politicians, especially those in government at this pressing hour, are advised to seriously consider the people and country as their real concerns, and stop mistaking democracy for governance. g

Snakes and ladders in Pak-India talks


he road to peace between India and Pakistan is filled with potholes. Successive governments on both sides have tried to improve relations between the two countries. Whenever formal negotiations backed by backchannel diplomacy promised a breakthrough, something happened that foiled the efforts. That desire for peace was expressed not only by moderate and democratic governments like those of the PPP and Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan and Congress in India but also by military ruler Pervez Musharraf and hindu nationalist leader Vajpayee, indicates that despite the presence of extremist fringes there is an across the board desire for peace in the two countries. equally important is the fact that despite marginal achievements these efforts failed to achieve any historic landmark. In Pakistan the urge for peace is shared by all mainstream parties. Another positive development is that the ineffectual peaceniks that originally comprised the peace lobby have been replaced by powerful forces like a strong section of the business community that sees improvement of relations as being in the country’s interest. The traditional opposition that came from the military has somewhat weakened on account of the new threat of terrorism but still continues to assert itself. The extremist elements in Pakistan along with a section of the religious parties with miniscule following are opposed to peace. This is seen by many to be enjoying the patronage of the military establishment. While the


army may not be against peace, it definitely is more cautious than the mainstream parties towards normalistaton. Unless there is a consensus between the mainstream parties to keep a check on the military it will continue to cast a shadow on Pak India relations. While in the past the military in India exerted influence from the background, letting defence minister to speak on its behalf, it is becomingly increasingly vocal and assertive in matters related to Pakistan. The strong reaction from Indian army chief on border killings and suspension of talks last year is an example. Manmohan Singh was committed to peace but will Narendra Modi too display similar enthusiasm for talks? The Indian business community, which plays an effective role in Indian politics, is keen to develop ties with Pakistan. The community had supported Congress before but is backing Modi now. What remains to be seen is if it would succeed in drawing Modi away from his nationalistic agenda to give more importance to the country’s economic and trade needs that require friendly relations with Pakistan. Another factor in peace talks in days to come would be the role of Indian media which is more prone to kicking up chauvinism than its Pakistani counterpart. It is hard to conceive of any significant move in Pak-India relations till elections in India are over and the new government is firmly in seat. The issue therefore is likely to remain on the back burner for a year or two. g

USh society too much to the right, especially in times of Sharia controversy and misguided Islamist militancy, and the Council of Islamic Ideology’s (CII) latest attempt at relevance is just what you get. So yet again we have discovered un-Islamic laws governing our country – ones like prohibiting child marriages or requiring the wife’s permission to remarry, etc. But why, after all the decades these laws have been in place, have they suddenly become so un-Islamic for the clergy? Perhaps the answer lies in parading the religious right on prime time mainstream media in the garb of peace talks and ceasefire. Much of the population, especially the rural majority, is deeply respectful of religion, and doesn’t quite understand the boundary between Sharia proper and indoctrinated militancy. And it seems not just the government but powerful media houses, too, have failed to realise the compound negative impact of having extremist maulanas and muftis legitimised as stakeholders, no matter how illegitimate their positions. And this comes when the government is trying to portray a soft image internationally, or so we are told. We want to settle differences with neighbours, explore and enhance trade opportunities, set world records, and build tunnels and bridges. And we also want to end nonsense about local militancy, insurgency, civil war, etc, once and for all. even if some upstarts keep killing, we will keep talking: be soft.



But what of these continuous spanners in the works – un-Islamic constitution, society, politics, and now marriages? Not to forget, of course, the trend of revering the bomb maker and user alike as mujahideen, not even their many tens of thousands of victims’ families allowed to protest. And the ruling party insists we are growing softer, and more self-sufficient, by the day. The question facing Pakistan today is far too deep for the CII, or its positions, to even matter. We must finally choose which direction we will need to invest all our energies in, be it a Sharia partnership with Taliban, more strategic depths across more frontiers, a more expanded religious lobby guiding the state, or a secular society with strong institutions and justice delivery. The system, nor the people, can afford conflicting strands anymore. That means the ruling party will have to overcome its own internal conflicts and dilemmas first. Nawaz Sharif’s likeness for softness, and his leanings far to the right, are both well known among the public. And however much he, and those closest to him, might think a working arrangement can weave the two together, events on the ground suggest otherwise, to the point that we have become a collapsing state, with a collapsed economy and an active insurgency. It may make for a soft spot, but does not make for a soft outlook as a country. It is time for the prime minister to take bold decisions, or at least not complain too much if public discontent snowballs into something he is only too familiar with. g

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A gift horse and a prime minister. You can’t shoot either in the face when they walk up to your door. This way Nawaz Sharif managed his charm offensive with Imran Khan when he went over to the latter’s house in Bani Gala. What was Khan going to do? Refuse him entry. But, somehow, even Imran Khan got good PR brownie points. The public got to see a softer side of the man, what with him playing a host. At the end of the day, Imran Khan is just a man. And the way every man has a thing or two to push through men in power, Imran Khan also put across a sifarish through the prime minister. Something about CDA objections on the path leading to his house or something to that effect. Mukmuka. g

********** In the age of the soundbite, strength is a weakness. Those adept in the art can find that pithy, razor-sharp barbs can also come back and bite them in the rump. Sheikh Rasheed’s oath of leaving politics indefinitely if the dollar were to come back to 98 rupees might have sounded crisp back when he made it, not so much when the dollar actually slipped to the 98-rupee value that the finance minister had earlier said it would. Immediately, the ‘Pindi politician fell into the “jaanwar ka rang kaunsa hona chaahiye?” mode. No, he has started saying, I want to ask how they did it. Something or the other, Sheikh Sb, as governments in power do everywhere, but what’s your excuse? It has since gone back to a hundred rupees, a value still lower than it has been since some time. g

********** The residents of an elite military housing society have to face a shutdown because a road that runs through it to the Walton airport in Lahore is used by the first family whenever they need to use the airport. Moreover, a women’s cricket ground in Model Town has been converted into a helipad for the same family. More or less around the World Women’s Day, actually. The first family, being Lahoris themselves, should realize the creatively colourful language of the Lahoris inconvenienced. g


Sunday, 16 - 22 MAR, 2014

All is well in the Islamic republic Celebrations are in order: The boys are getting their toys and the political-industrial elite getting its doles

ArIf NIzAmI The writer is Editor, Pakistan Today.


AWAZ Sharif who looked visibly burnt out and slightly off-colour in the first nine months of his third stint as prime minister is suddenly on the go. Whether it is talks with the TTP, building bridges with the opposition or taking the military on board he seems to have wrested the initiative that hitherto he was visibly lacking. On the plus side, a tenuous ceasefire with the TTP (Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan) is holding, while a semblance of a negotiating process is in place. Taking Imran Khan, his worst critic and potential nemesis, was also a clever move by Sharif. The PTI chief’s wholeheartedly endorsing the government’s Taliban policy gives Nawaz the much-needed space. Without calling another APC (All Parties Conference) the opposition is on board on how to talk to the TTP. This strengthens Sharif’s hands in dealing with the Army that has declined to be formally associated with the newly formed negotiating

committee of bureaucrats. Frequent photo-ops between Nawaz Sharif and the COAS Gen Raheel Sharif also seem to be a deliberate move meant to send a symbolic message that the military and the civilian government are on the same page. Nevertheless one should not expect a dramatic breakthrough in talks with the Taliban. Terms of endearment are yet to be spelt out. Demands of the TTP, like releasing prisoners in captivity of the state and withdrawal of troops from North Waziristan, relate directly to the military. And here lies the rub. Will Gen Raheel Sharif be willing to let loose those who perpetrated worst kinds of atrocities against his men? Similarly withdrawing the military from the badlands has far-reaching strategic ramifications inextricably linked to the post-ISAF forces withdrawal from Afghanistan expected to start in real earnest in a few months. According to some well-informed western sources, a military operation in the tribal belt right now does not serve short term US interests in the region. Washington is apprehensive of a blowback of the Taliban towards Kabul in case they are forced to flee from their sanctuaries disrupting Afghan presidential elections due to be held in a month’s time. Paradoxically recent dash of CIA chief John Brennan to Pakistan just to visit the GHQ and meet the COAS and DG ISI was to goad Islamabad not to launch an offensive against the Taliban and stay its hand for the time being. Hence the question of launching an operation remains to be, not if but when. Imran wants to give peace a chance,

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Still living in dark ages One just fails to understand if Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has any relevance in today’s Pakistan. Apparently the council has no other issue to ponder upon, other than women, marriages and rapes. Latest milestone achieved by CII this week was its ruling on laws which prohibit underage marriages. CII termed such laws as unfair as there can’t be, in council’s expert opinion, any age for marriage. We all know minor girls are married to aged men as part of deals out of tribal and family disputes, as part of penalties against girls’ families, Vani, Sawara — common

practices in rural and tribal societies of Pakistan. Council recommendations to do away with marriage age is in fact an attempt to support and legalise such evil practices. Council didn’t stop its expression of wisdom on girls’ age, it went ahead to question why a man, who intends to remarry, is required by law to seek permission from his first wife. Council demanded to scrap the 1961 Family Laws which were enforced to discourage polygamy practices in the society. Not long ago CII refused to accept DNA test results as primary evidence to prove rape crimes against girls and women. It insisted to keep intact the Gen Zia’s legacy, Hudood Ordinance, wherein a rape victim has to produce four male eyewitnesses to prove that she has been raped. Council has also rejected Protection of Women Act of 2006 and

saying that thousands of operations have been launched in the badlands of Pakistan, but none succeeded. But the contrary is also true. Peace deals with the Taliban have also invariably fallen through. A case in point is the Swat valley, where after an unequal peace deal bordering on capitulation, the Taliban played havoc with the local population. In the end analysis, the military had to launch an operation to flush out the militants from the valley led by the TTP’s incumbent head Mulla Fazlullah. This is not to say that incipient

‘All very good, but where lies the beef? Can getting external infusions be a substitute to reviving the economy by restructuring and initiating good governance?’ negotiations with the TTP are bound to fail. Nonetheless judging from past history and in the backdrop of the complicated matrix of the stakeholders involved, chances of success are slim. In this context Islamabad’s relations with Washington have visibly improved since the exit of general Kayani as COAS and, prior to that, advent of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. Sharif is going to have his second meeting since becoming prime minister with the US president Barak Obama later this month at The Hague on the sidelines of the Nuclear Summit.

declared its provisions are not in line with Islamic injunctions. It appears that the council has become an institution whose only purpose is to work against women’s rights. It has lost its credibility to be an institute to do ijtihad to meet the needs of today’s world. Its chair has been used to bribe the political affiliates. There is no way but to demand abolishment of the council altogether. Parliament should have the sole right to make and amend laws without the biased opinion of these so-called scholars and jurists. MASOOD KHAN Jubail, Saudi Arabia

Is death fate of Thar? The poor hapless people of Sindh and other parts of Pakistan shall continue to die as long as massive corruption is not contained, dams not built, social development projects ignored and strict auditing and regulatory controls not put in place on development funds which

Irritants like the suspension of NATO supplies have been removed through the fig leaf of an edict of the Peshawar High Court – probably a face saving devicefor the PTI. Limited but precise operations launched by the military in North Waziristan on the militants sanctuaries is more than what military ever did under Gen Kayani. All this is good news for Washington but not necessarily for the long-term interests of Pakistan. The finance minister, Ishaq Dar, glibly claimed that the US $1.5 billion parked by Saudi Arabia in Pakistan Development Fund is an acknowledgement of the strong economic performance of the government. Islamabad has also been promised oil on deferred payments for a year from the same source. Despite protestations of the foreign office to the contrary, a perception is developing that Islamabad is being roped in to be part of the anti-Syria and anti-Iran alliance on the bidding of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The government has procrastinated on the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project ostensibly to avoid sanctions. But the real reason is perhaps not to displease the Sharifs’ saviours, the Saudis. It is not merely a coincidence that our leadership that is so fond of visiting China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia at the drop of a hat has conspicuously omitted Tehran, its Islamic neighbor next door from its itinerary. Being part of the US-led CENTO and SEATO alliances or becoming the lynchpin of the west in the name of jihad in Afghanistan, did not serve Pakistan’s interests well in the past. Perhaps exigencies of personal survival force our leaders to keep flogging the dead horse of the economy through

external infusions. But all this comes at a price to be paid by the people of Pakistan in the ultimate analysis. Mishandling of the economy and alleged corruption of the Zardari government was the mantra of the PML-N government while in opposition. Of course, the Sharifs and their trusted lieutenant Ishaq Dar get brownie points for trying hard and running a relatively tight ship. The dollar-rupee parity coming down to around Rs100 to a dollar and successfully negotiating a loan from Saudi Arabia are being hailed as spectacular achievements. More money is expected from the CSF (Coalition Support Fund), proceeds from privatization and auction of 3G licenses. All very good, but where lies the beef? Can getting external infusions be a substitute to reviving the economy by restructuring and initiating good governance? For example, raising the tax to GDP ratio –one of the lowest in the world – remains an elusive goal, certainly not part of the feudal-urban ruling elite’s agenda. Meanwhile the finance minister met the COAS assuring him that the military’s financial demands will be met in the next budget. The boys getting their toys and the politicalindustrial elite getting their doles, all is well in the Islamic Republic. Celebrations are in order. The enigmatic former military dictator Pervez Musharraf remains comfortably ensconced in a military hospital. He has obstinately refused to appear before a civilian tribunal, thereby making a complete mockery of civilian courts. So much for democracy and respect for democratic institutions! g

are already insufficient because of institutionalised tax evasion. Thousands will die in Thar because of malnutrition, starvation and lack of basic health facilities as if this was their fate. Famine will ravage this country as long as dams are not constructed and fate of millions not left to elements. As long as men like Syed Jammat Ali Shah, responsible for betraying Pakistan’s interest in Indus Water Basin Treaty are facilitated to flee by ruling elite to Canada, fate that has befallen the poor in Thar will tomorrow in likelihood be for many others. It is an unfortunate reality that corruption and an individual’s capacity to excel in it have become a merit for promotion. Massive corruption in Sindh food department, police, irrigation, education, health etc is mind boggling. Educational qualifications and integrity have become secondary criterion and we have witnessed semi literate corrupt cronies being appointed to head important state owned corporations like OGDC, PIA, CAA, SNGPL, NICL etc in the past and even today. ANEELA CHANDIO Sukkur 03


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

cover story: hung out to die

The reign of death in Thar

A lot of lives of innocent children would have been saved if their plight had come to public notice in January

InayaTullah ruSTamanI The writer is a Hyderabad based freelance columnist and teaches English at a college.


OrE than 200 children died in Thar over the last three months. And this month alone, 60 more have lost their lives. News of these deaths hit the headlines only last week, which means nobody was listening to the sobs of mourning mothers all this time. Even the deaths of around 140 children during January and February could not move the hearts of insensitive and indifferent lawmakers in the area. It seems the People’s Party has no set procedure to judge lawmakers’ performance. This is one reason lawmakers from Thar took no pains to keep aware of the pain and suffering of people in their constituency. Even the media was busy elsewhere, fully engrossed in the Sindh cultural festival and talks between the government and the Taliban. The people of Thar continued to be ignored. When the media did turn its attention to Thar only this month, it appeared as if the tragedy had developed overnight. It seemed the media positioned itself to play the role of superman and savior, coming to the aid of Tharis when the rest of the world ignored them. A lot of lives of innocent children would have been saved if their plight had come to public notice in January. Such loss of life is criminal, and unpardonable. There seems little humanity left in the lawmakers and bureaucrats of Thar. They hoarded wheat out of greed and let poor people, especially children, die. My heart weeps, and head hangs in shame, when in shame when I see lawmakers using this tragedy for photo opportunities and uploading them on twitter. They have learnt nothing from this disaster. Firstly, it was the bureaucrats of Thar who did not declare emergency despite the deaths over the last three months. They showed callousness and indifference by not attending to the needs of starving children. Then the lawmakers of the area followed the same path of negligence, and turned a blind eye to the plight of the people. They should have taken the issue up with the Sindh CM and initiated a rescue plan on war footing. There is extreme poverty in Thar, which is why people there cannot fight for their rights, and are condemned to food shortage, contaminated water, and poor health. Last year I met a young Thari boy in Hyderabad. He was happy because he worked as a cook and drew a monthly salary of rs4000. He said he regularly sent all his earnings to his father back home. The federal and provincial governments have no strategy for poverty reduction. According to the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) report, Clustered Deprivation, prepared with the financial and technical assistance of United Nation Development Program, there are 58.7 million people below poverty line in the country. Balochistan tops the poverty index with 52 per cent of its households below the poverty line, followed by 32 per cent, 33 per cent and 19 per cent respectively for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Sindh and Punjab. In Punjab, rajanpur is on top of the list with 44 per cent households falling below the poverty line.


Pakistan Meteorology Department is being blamed for not informing Sindh government for no rains in Thar. Luckily, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has warned in advance about a severe water shortage in Karachi with the start of March. The director KWSB said the water shortage has developed due to less rains and little water in Hub Dam. The Sindh government has no plans for the moment to meet this water scarcity in spite of having been forewarned. The Sindh Government and the media have come into full action after the tragedy in Thar. The sudden media hype over Thar and the hysteric behavior of some columnists in their write ups are not justified at this stage. Such acts can be taken as an attempt of political exploitation of Thar issue. One wonders why the Sindh CM is being asked to resign when there were no such demands from the Punjab and KPK chief ministers after the Dengue disaster and DI Khan jail break. The provincial government’s poor track record is no secret, but the CM was the first to admit bureaucratic negligence. However, he will have to go one step further and demand resignation from the area’s lawmakers. A huge number of funds have been promised by the federal and provincial governments along with private stakeholders to lessen the pain and plight of Tharis. Fair and transparent distribution of the donations and funds to the affectees would be a huge challenge for the Sindh government in the face of dysfunctional and corrupt bureaucrats and feudal-minded lawmakers. Thar is the least developed district of Sindh and it needs development on immediate and permanent basis. Tharis need to be employed by the government and private sector stakeholders in order to control poverty there. There is need of a comprehensive poverty alleviation strategy to save the entire country from turning into Thar. g

Tharparkar allows religious lobby another foot in the door

Are they just lending a hand, or also playing politics as usual?

Shahab Jafry The writer is a Lahore-based journalist and can be reached at


eligious parties have traditionally played a leading role in disaster management. Their volunteers were prominent in bringing relief to the needy after the ’05 earthquake and floods in recent years. But as they help with the Tharparkar famine, there are concerns that the government is leveraging them not only to hide its own incompetence, but also to portray a soft image of the religious-right as a calculated part of its controversial ‘counter-narrative’ to militancy. A number of factors justify these concerns. One, the scale of the tragedy exposed the government’s inability to both prevent and handle such disasters. And having more hands, especially such, helps hide its shortcomings and infuse religious fervour in the relief effort, which usually sits well with people. Two, the prime minister’s peace initiative has drawn criticism for overaccommodating the religious lobby, even militant factions. By highlighting their welfare credentials, the government is feeding its own counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy, which revolves around allowing more mainstream space to the lobby instead of restricting its influence. Three, this legitimisation of non-state actors, especially recognised enemies of the state, triggered a media frenzy, allowing them deeper penetration into civil society at a time when a bulk of the population still does not appreciate the fine line between religious orthodoxy and militancy. Again, their relief effort will blunt criticism from secular circles and help tilt the larger narrative in favour of the government’s position. And four, the situation is complicated by allegations that the official machinery deliberately allows religious outfits a leading role, often by facilitating them more than other, more secular charitable organisations.

SOCIAL CONTAGION “This accommodation leads to a vicious cycle”, said Dr Khadim Hussain, an Islamabad based analyst and managing director of the Bacha Khan Educational Foundation. “These organisations expose state institutions as ineffective when it comes to catering to people, and then use their position of strength to strike against the state itself”. Dr Hussain believes the government actively facilitates religious organisations to assume the lead role in crisis situations, and does not extend the same help to NGOs and secular organisations. “I can speak from personal experience from Swat, Noshera and Charsadda floods, and also from the ’05

earthquake”, he said, adding that “it is clear that the government always promotes religious groups in such situations”. This, he says, is leading to “social contagion”, with the government itself promoting forces that are eroding its authority. Initially, the arrangement arose from three levels of failure in the official machinery. Firstly, local district level bureaucracies have long been incompetent, and needed all the help they could get. Secondly, security services are usually stretched, and need time to mobilise, and religious organisations, with official help, are able to respond more quickly. And thirdly, the central government, especially the interior ministry, caught in logjams of its own, is able to win crucial brownie points. “But continuing with this arrangement now is dangerous”, added Dr Hussain. “These heroics win these organisations more adherents, more donations, and more volunteers. And we all know where they are used now. This must stop immediately”.

EATING INTO THE STATE There are also concerns that the official narrative will now incorporate this softer side of religious outfits and extend the argument to the controversial madressa reform issue. “This is a very disturbing phenomenon”, said Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, analyst, writer, and author of the controversial bestseller Military Inc. “You will now see them appreciated as major welfare organisations, and the establishment will also put a positive spin on other prominent features of theirs, like the madressas, highlighting benefits they bring to a deprived society”. This helps keep these elements active and relevant. And as the government uses them to justify its own conservative leaning, they are also kept operational, ready for future strategic, especially military, use. But giving them increased influence at a time when religious circles are backing anti-state insurgents, and calling for Taliban/al Qaeda like shari’a across the country, is seen as a self-defeating strategy by secular groups, amounting to a steady surrender of the state. “These groups appear during crises because they are allowed to. The argument that nonconventional means must be resorted to when the civil machinery breaks down is flawed. It is the army’s primary responsibility, according to the constitution, to respond to national disasters and emergencies. And the military is fully capable of dealing with such situations’, said Dr Siddiqa. The army must also take the lead role because it is the institution most invested in by the state. And instead of propping up non-state actors to meet state crises, the government should empower relevant disaster management arms of the civil bureaucracy. “But the way the government is propping up the far right in spite of its risks, and how the media is giving it continued primetime space, it seems they are facilitating hardliners eat into the power of the state”, she added. Ironically, this behind-the-scenes maneuvering is being played out amidst the suffering of Thar’s innocent victims, who would struggle to make sense of the insurgency, much less understand how they are being exploited. The government is already guilty of allowing hundreds of children to die of hunger, even as its warehouses overflowed with rotting grain. In not being able to provide quick remedy, it lost even more credibility. But if allegations that it is using this opportunity to play politics in another extremely sensitive area prove true, it will be responsible for creating a crisis in which its preferred religious lobby will play a leading role, but not one of crisis management. “The way this government is acting, it seems bent upon chopping off its own feet, and the whole country will suffer for it”, concluded Dr Hussain. g


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

Timeto scrapCouncil of slamic Ideology Aziz-ud-din AhmAd

The writer is a political analyst and a former academic.


he CII comprises fossilised clerics trying to dictate to people living in 21st century. They continue the futile attempt to push the wheel of history backwards. While the performance of the Council since its inception has been uniformly dismal, under Shirani it has surpassed past records. The government spends millions on this outdated fixture. There is a need to seriously consider if the candle is worth the oil. If one was to name those who have contributed to projecting a negative image of Pakistan, CII would stand high on the list. The Council has taken several retrogressive stands that indicate its primitive thinking. Pakistan is a developing country visualised by Jinnah as a modern democratic state cherishing Islamic welfare ideals. It faces serious problems that it is trying to resolve. The CII only adds to difficulties in their resolution. Population growth has to be

Ceding space to archaic ideologists is not what a progressive Pakistan needs

controlled if Pakistan is to deliver on raising per capita GDP, and provide health and education facilities to citizens. Population control requires providing Pakistan’s female population with access to basic family planning services. The CCI is dead set against family planning. The clerics maintain it is un-Islamic and the family planning programme should be withdrawn. According to them the bigger the population, the greater the blessings of Allah! If someone asks who will feed the people, pat comes the reply, “the Almighty”. Women need to work side by side with men to develop national economy and make Pakistan a prosperous country. This requires treating women as equal partners with full rights. To the clerics’ chagrin

the equality between man and woman is enshrined in Pakistan’s constitution. They are ill at ease with constitutional provisions like ‘All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone. No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of sex… Steps shall be taken to ensure full participation of women in all spheres of national life’. Violence against women is all too common in Pakistan and exists in a number of forms that include domestic violence, sexual abuse and harassment, acid attacks, honour killings, restricted freedom of movement to downright barring of women from casting their votes in the elections. To give an idea of the scale of the problem, in the city of Lahore alone, police registered 113 cases of rape from January 1 to August 31 last year. In the same period, police in the provincial capital of Punjab registered 32 gang-rape cases. excesses against women like these have never bothered the CII. The clerics look at women from a purely male chauvinistic angle. A wife is man’s property who he is supposed to have purchased. She is no more than a plaything for man. The CII is unhappy with the prevailing family laws which require a husband to seek the permission of his wife before acquiring a second, third or fourth wife. The CII has therefore declared family laws against the injunctions of Islam. The gift to Pakistani women from CII comes on the eve of the world-wide celebration of the International Women’s Day. The husband, it is taken for granted, can torture his wife. The CII stonewalled the Domestic Violence Bill which was unanimously passed by National Assembly in 2010. The presumption was that if

Excesses against women like these have never bothered the CII. The clerics look at women from a purely male chauvinistic angle. A wife is man’s property who he is supposed to have purchased. She is no more than a plaything for man.

If one was to name those who have contributed to projecting a negative image of Pakistan, CII would stand high on the list. The Council has taken several retrogressive stands that indicate its primitive thinking.

husbands were stopped from beating their wives they would take recourse to divorce thus pushing the divorce rate up. The CII is deadly against women. The archaic mindset of the CII clerics opposes any relief to women who suffer from male domination, outmoded customs, traditions and injustices. In Pakistan rape, including gang rape, is a common way to take revenge or give vent to sadistic tendencies. It is by no means absent in the Western societies either, though its rate might not be as high as in the Islamic Republic. Modern science has provided a fool proof way to pinpoint the perpetrator in the form of the DNA test. The CII however rejects the DNA test as primary evidence in rape cases. It rejected the Women’s Protection Act of 2006, which provided relief to innocent victims of Zina Ordinance. The CII insists that the woman must produce four witnesses to prove she has been raped. Where will a house maid find four witnesses if subjected to humiliation and torture by master of the house in the absence of his family? Child marriage is a curse all over South Asia. Girls are thus handed over to settle blood feuds, to pay off debts or to seek favours from the powerful. Jinnah was one of the leaders of the British India who fought against the custom. he said he would even stake, if necessary, his standing with his Mumbai electorate on the issue. On Tuesday the CII declared that laws limiting the age of marriage for both the bride and groom were unIslamic and should be rectified. According to Shirani, the “Nikah of even minors can be solemnised, but only with the consent of their guardians and ‘rukhsati’ can take place only after the minors attain puberty.” In other words a girl child’s nikah can take place even at the age of four or five. This precludes the need to seek the girl’s consent. A young girl can be married off to a man double her age if her parents agree. It doesn’t matter to CII clerics that Pakistan is signatory to

international conventions barring child marriage. When asked if the CII ruling would violate international conventions signed by Pakistan, the officials said the conventions could not be violative of the Constitution or Islam and that some clauses did not apply to Pakistan. The CII is only an advisory body. even the arch reactionary Ziaul haq shrank back from enforcing some of its mindless rulings like the one against family planning. Such is the state of our politicians that the Women’s Protection Bill which was unanimously passed by the NA remained stuck up in a pusillanimous Senate. The bill was passed only after knocking out four crucial clauses as directed by the Federal Shariat Court, another outdated fixture. As the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) had put it, the FSC verdict negated all positive initiatives taken by the government and took the nation back to square one. The commission appealed to the government to take a firm stand against this ‘retrogressive judgment’ which was only an attempt to use religion for political purposes. “In effect the hudood Ordinance which had tormented and caused hundreds of innocent women to languish in jails and destroyed their social and family lives was being resurrected by the judgment.” The mischief done by the CII observations is that these feed and strengthen the extremist tendencies in society. extremism in turn strengthens terrorism. It is time the PML-N government guard the Parliament’s turf from extraneous incursions. Unless it does so it is going to find its authority being seriously abridged. The Parliament has enough members who besides having a better knowledge of law and Sharia also keep their fingers on the pulse of the masses. They are best suited to interpret the injunctions of Sharia in line with the needs and aspirations of the people of Pakistan. There is a need to say good bye to the CII which over the years has acted as a hindrance in the development of society. g



Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

befriending the enemy’s enemy – the Muslim way

Riyadh growing closer to Islamabad and Tel Aviv at the same time? Shahab Jafry The writer is a Lahore-based journalist and can be reached at


overing the Arab Spring as recently as last summer, it was difficult to find many correspondents or analysts noting an increasing convergence of interests between Saudi Arabia and israel. The Syrian civil war was in its second year, a hundred thousand civilians had been killed, and the iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, despised by riyadh and Tel Aviv alike, seemed collapsing. Yet much has transpired in the last ten or so months that has stood an already changing Middle east on its head, and little is even remembered of the revolutions that brought hope to Tunisia and egypt. even Pakistan is emerging as a crucial player in the conflict. israeli concerns about the three have been relatively easy to understand. They are, after all, the anti-israeli axis. iranian logistics and training, and Syrian rockets and land routes were essential in preparing Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia for the ’06 confrontation with israel. Hezbollah celebrated the 34-day stalemate as a victory; israel’s invincible air power myth was destroyed, and its land forces were forced into an embarrassing retreat from Southern Lebanon. israel is also understandably concerned about iran’s nuclear ambitions. Tehran has maintained peaceful nuclear ambitions throughout the standoff, but all the time hardliners of the Amhadinejad type promoted a carefully timed belligerence, a counterweight of sorts to israel’s own nuclear policy of ambiguity. But riyadh fumed at both Hezbollah’s victory and iran’s nuclear program for very different reasons. its sunni-shi’a differences with iran have played out in proxy skirmishes through much of the Muslim world over the decades. With 9/11, though, things began to change. Saddam’s ouster allowed the country’s shi’a majority into power, with subsequent iranian influence, and an emerging shi’a crescent seemed among the many unintended consequences of the war. And the Spring brought more complications, and unprecedented points of convergence with the Jews. Hosni Mubarak’s ouster was a landmark event in more ways than one. He was friends with israel and guarded the gaza border to


everybody’s satisfaction but a majority of the Palestinians. The Saudis supported him too, and poured billions to prop up his subsidy dominated economy. And Hillary Clinton called him “practically family” the day before his fall, a hint of how strongly the American ruling class feels about heads of states that do multi-billion dollar arms deals with Washington. Then the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood worried both israel and Saudi Arabia, the former because of its hatred for the Yahood and the latter because of its opposition to monarchical rule. Things changed more when the Spring rolled into Libya. it provided the first instances of nato airpower partnering with Saudi sponsored al Qaeda like militants on the ground. of course this happened when US/nato had just wound up the war against al Qaeda in iraq, while there were still droning similar militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Apparently the strategic aim

Riyadh fumed at both Hezbollah’s victory and Iran’s nuclear program for very different reasons. Its sunnishi’a differences with Iran have played out in proxy skirmishes through much of the Muslim world over the decades. With 9/11, though, things began to change. Saddam’s ouster allowed the country’s shi’a majority into power, with subsequent Iranian influence, and an emerging shi’a crescent seemed among the many unintended consequences of the war overrode lesser concerns. These were, after all, times of monumental change. So when the unrest spread to Syria, riyadh and Tel Aviv, it now seems all but certain, played a daring gambit. The international media paraded Syrian exiles as leaders of an opposition movement demanding change, rights, privileges, etc, while the Free Syrian Army fought on ground. But the Saudis also funded and armed extremist islamic militias including some they had just successfully deployed in Libya. The israelis had a ball seeing the Syrian Arab Army consumed in internal rebellion. The Americans didn’t draw nato into the fight, not while Moscow continued to back Bashar al Asad, but also had no problems with the typical Saudi game; funneling mujahideen to fight infidels, using al Qaeda proxies, etc. There were also reports and pictures, prominently in the Beirut based

newspaper al-Akhbar, of israeli weapons among the rebel armoury. The israelis also helped arm the mujahideen of the anti-Soviet jihad, but intelligence agencies involved were more careful in covering tracks. The famous book and movie Charlie Wilson’s War shows a troubled Zia ul Haq agreeing to the israeli role, but insisting, “i don’t want to see the ****ing Star of David on any of the boxes”. But the israelis grew wary when rebels briefly overran the golan border post late last summer, and began immediate mortar fire across the frontier. They even expressed public relief when a government air raid reclaimed the check post. The Americans, too, became increasingly suspicious as the spread of al Qaeda across Syria suddenly seemed to threaten the shaky status quo of the whole region. More recently, upon undeniable proof of the Saudi role in strengthening al Qaeda in the Levant, there have been reports that the Americans threatened riyadh with calling off President obama’s tour due shortly, and even sanctions for sponsoring terrorism if the Syrian program was not rolled back. This, and the measured American thaw with iran, has pushed Saudi and israel closer again. The israelis are clearly unhappy with the American nuclear deal with iran. And the Saudis understand that the days when the Americans shielded its wahabi regional policy, in addition to providing security to its

monarchy, are drawing to a close. And this realisation has now pulled Pakistan into the mix. it was natural for the Saudis to turn to islamabad for the security umbrella. They know how badly Pakistan needs their petrodollars, and how close the ruling n-League is to the al Saud hierarchy. But no matter how much the foreign office denies it, the Saudi embrace comes with a price to pay with regard to Syria. The prospect of Pakistani weapons eventually finding their way into Syrian rebel hands is very strong, especially since Saudi injections have already started strengthening the Pakistani rupee. Most Pakistanis have been cut off from developments preceding this strategic embrace and do not understand the implications of playing alongside riyadh. Since the iran-Saudi proxy war has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria, it is not likely that the two will reconcile their differences anytime soon. And with its long border with Pakistan, alienating iran may come with blowback lessons in Balochistan. it has already cost us the iP pipeline. it bears noting that riyadh has also upset other friends recently. Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood initially led to gCC foreign policy differences with regard to the new military regime in egypt. But now it has grown to produce the first public schism in gCC history, with

Saudi Arabia and UAe recalling ambassadors from Doha. it is interesting that Saudi pushes away old friends and comes closer to Pakistan just when its partnership with America is weakening, iran is again gaining legitimacy, and riyadh continues to get closer to Tel Aviv. According to the Arab press, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz, disagreed with the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, on whether there could be a truce with the Jews. Bin Baz argued that a truce (hudna) with israel is allowed and even an exchange of ambassadors is permitted, if it serves islam’s interests. in a fatwa he issued, Bin Baz endorsed the Middle east peace process, according to al-Akhbar. And now that riyadh has termed the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, there might be some concern within our own religious-political parties about how times are changing. no such debate in the government, though, and we are set to side with the world’s largest state sponsor of al Qaeda and the like just as we are deeply involved in an existential battle with the same enemy ourselves. g


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

‘Frontier of faith’ The irony is that it has been either the Malik or the state that patronized the Mulla enabling him to enhance his personal wealth and social authority to the extent that he could challenge at will the power of both the Malik and the state.

Basharat hussain QizilBash The writer is an academic and journalist. He can be reached at


akistan’s northwestern frontier, also called Federally administered tribal areas (Fata) is up in flames, again. ‘again,’ because this region has had a history of rebelling against the authority of state. in literary folklore, these tribal areas are called ‘Yaghistan,’ which means uncontrollable, unmanageable or simply the ‘land of the rebellious.’ today, hardly any Pakistani or foreigner can dare to visit it. the situation was somewhat similar a century ago, when Colonel Brazier Creagh of the india army during his travels in this region in 1893-94 observed: “When we went to the frontier it was called ‘Yaghistan’ (plundering land); it was a forbidden land… it was impossible to go [inside]; and if you did your bones would be left there.” although Fata does have elected representatives in the Pakistani parliament yet the unchallenged voice from there is of taliban, who claim to be the ‘religious men’ bent upon the imposition of their brand of religious order throughout the country. this raises an important question as to who has actually wielded the real authority there. Mullas or Maliks i.e. religious or tribal leaders. One argument is that the tribal power structure establishes the authority of Malik and not the Mulla. the other argument is that both are competing institutions which legitimize each other in the sense that Mullas approve the institutional authority of ‘jirgas’ headed by the Maliks whereas the Maliks approve the role of Mullas as the ‘social guardians’ of the society. the authority of the Pakistani state is as limited there as was that of the colonial British power. the British tried to assert control through the Maliks but then no tribal leader could stand up as the sole authority over all tribes. this power vacuum has been filled by the Mullas. two examples may illustrate this point. the British tried to exert control over the Wazirs and Mahsuds through treaties with their Maliks but on the instigation of Faqir of ipi, these very tribesmen defied the commitments of their Maliks by

attacking the British. How the authority of Mulla was more powerful than that of Malik could be imagined from the incident in which when a British girl, Molly Ellis was abducted by ajab khan afridi, the British officer Colonel Bruce secured her release through the good offices of Mulla Mahmud akhunzada and not a Malik. How did the Mulla acquire such a decisive influence? the irony is that it has been either the Malik or the state that patronized the Mulla enabling him to enhance his personal wealth and social

With control over the means of propaganda and backed by the armed ‘lashkars,’ the Mullas set out on their primary agenda of assuming power in the name of religious reform. What we hear now from TTP’s head Mulla Fazlullah or earlier on from Mulla Sufi Mohammad is a repetition of what their predecessors did in FATA in the name of ‘amr-bil maruf wa nahi anal munkir’ (promotion of virtue and prevention of vice). authority to the extent that he could challenge at will the power of both the Malik and the state. the Mughal emperors Jehangir and aurangzeb patronized the religious leaders such as Mulla asiri, shaykh Pir, etc. to use them in establishing the writ of the state. similarly, Dost Mohammad, the amir of afghanistan in his military campaign against the sikh ruler Ranjit singh in 1835 enlisted the support of the Mullas of tribal areas, who not only legitimized the battle as a ‘jehad’ but also sent a large number of their students and adherents to the battle at Peshawar. in return, Dost Mohmmad rewarded the Mullas, particularly one akhund (a title of respect for the learned) abdul Ghaffur with so much land in swat, Lundkhwar and Mardan that he could run a ‘langarkhana’ (community kitchen and quarters)

that fed 500 men a day and generated sufficient wealth that enabled his grandson Miangul abdul Wudud to establish the state of swat, seven decades later. the prestige of Mullas increased because of their ability to act as arbitrators in intra and inter-tribal disputes due to which they were also granted permanent privately owned lands by the local rulers. these material means allowed many of them such as Hadda Mulla, Haji sahib turangzai, Mulla Chaknawar, sandaki Mulla, Babra Mulla, etc to first maintain large retinues and later raise armed ‘lashkars’ to enforce their decisions during the conflicts. the more imaginative such as Mulla Powindah created an independent ‘dak’ network among the tribes under his influence as well as up to the far off cities of Peshawar and Lahore. such informal networks were so effective that despite a British ban on carrying letters and newspapers to or from the tribal areas, several newspapers from British –india such as ‘Zamindar’, ‘al Hilal’, etc were smuggled to be read publicly in the mosques. With control over the means of propaganda and backed by the armed ‘lashkars,’ the Mullas set out on their primary agenda of assuming power in the name of religious reform. What we hear now from ttP’s head Mulla Fazlullah or earlier on from Mulla sufi Mohammad is a repetition of what their predecessors did in Fata in the name of ‘amr-bil maruf wa nahi anal munkir’ (promotion of virtue and prevention of vice). those who feel aghast at the breaking of tV sets, burning of video shops or more serious corporal punishments today by the taliban need to read scholar sana Haroon’s seminal research entitled ‘Frontier of faith’ to find out how the Mullas confiscated the valuables and burned the houses of those, who refused to bow to their religious edicts and political directives. to extend their power in the tribal lands of india and afghanistan, they resisted tooth and nail the authority of the British and the afghan states. How menacing was their threat could be gauged from the letter written by the ruler of afghanistan, amir abdur Rahman to the British authorities in 1897: “Just as in the old days of Europe the popes used to profess to be the sole disposers of heaven and hell, and the people accepted the word of worthless priests so too these Mullas claim to possess the same power…. For fourteen years they raised every part of afghanistan against me… till thousands of men perished on both sides…” the calls of ‘jehad’ have echoed the tribal areas many a time. in their religious observance and in

How did the Mulla acquire such a decisive influence? The irony is that it has been either the Malik or the state that patronized the Mulla enabling him to enhance his personal wealth and social authority to the extent that he could challenge at will the power of both the Malik and the state.

its promotion during the last two centuries, the Mullas of Fata have generally followed the naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidya ‘tariqa’ or method based on the teachings of sheikh ahmed sirhindi also known as Mujaddad alf sani and his successors shah Waliullah and syed ahmed shaheed of Rai Bareli. Before martyrdom at the Battle of Balakot in 1831, syed ahmed had developed a close relationship with akhund abdul Ghaffur of swat and the latter had not only kept those ‘mujahidin’ under his protection that survived the battle of Balakot but also continued shah Waliullah’s philosophy in the form of the ‘tariqa-i-Muhammadiyya’ movement that put emphasis on the strict observance of the word of the Quran and the authenticated Hadith. in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Fazal Wahid known as Haji sahib turangzai went to Haj in the company of the ulema of Deoband and met Haji imdadullah, a member of the so-called Wahabi Movement in Mecca and took ‘bait’ to continue the mission of religious revivalism as espoused by syed ahmed of Bareli. in this regard, the Mullas have shown a propensity to be manipulated by the outside forces. if the religious radicals of Fata are sustained by funds from abroad or are housing foreign militants, today; it is just a case of history repeating itself. the ‘Jamat-i-Mujhaidin’ sponsored by the ulema of Darul Uloom Deoband had sent hundreds and thousands of non-Pakhtun Mujahidin recruits from all over india into Fata which were trained and settled by the local Mullas, in particular Mulla sandaki and Haji turangzai, the latter is believed to have settled at least 120 families of the members of ‘Jamat-i-Mujahidin’. Funds and weapons began to flow into Fata from india and afghanistan. in just six months, three thousand rupees and over three hundred rifles from india and about sixty thousand rupees from the afghan government of amir Habibullah were funneled for the realisation

of the objective of ‘Jamat-iMujahidin’ which according to Maulana Hussain ahmed Madni, a top leader of Deoband was to kick out the British from the subcontinent by the attacks of a revolutionary army of ‘mujahidin’ in which the tribesmen of kalat and Makran were to attack karachi, the recruits from Ghazni (afghanistan) were to attack Quetta and the Mohmands and Mehsuds were to attack Peshawar. the conspiracy was busted by the British but the afghan governments continued to meddle in the tribal areas by supplying cash and weapons to the Mullas throughout the 1920s and ‘30s. For instance, it is on record that Babra Mulla, Mulla Chaknawar, Haji turangzai and several others were sent pistols, rifles and cash for personal use as well as grants to perform Haj and build mosques and madrasas in Fata. the British adopted a policy of carrot and stick to tackle them. to woo the tribesmen from the influence of Mullas, they propped up the Maliks as an alternative

The British adopted a policy of carrot and stick to tackle them. To woo the tribesmen from the influence of Mullas, they propped up the Maliks as an alternative pillar of power through generous distribution of funds. How money works wonders became visible during World War II, when several hostile Mullas such as Mulla Powindah Fazal Din and Shewa Mulla declared open support to the British against the Germans… pillar of power through generous distribution of funds. How money works wonders became visible during World War ii, when several hostile Mullas such as Mulla Powindah Fazal Din and shewa Mulla declared open support to the British against the Germans whereas those, who continued to resist the government by armed ‘lashkars’ and guerilla raids on state’s forces and installations were attacked on the ground and bombed from the air first by the Royal air Force (RaF) between 1934 and ’36 and later on by the Pakistan air Force (PaF) in 1948, particularly to quell the intransigent Faqir of ipi in the tochi Valley. the tragedy bedeviling Fata has much deeper historical roots; the only difference, now, is that the actors are new but the script is definitely old. g



Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

What does Ukraine’s crisis represent? Spheres of influence, state sovereignty and non-intervention

Arif AnsAr

The writer is chief analyst at PoliTact, a Washington-based futurist advisory firm ( He can be reached at:, and on Twitter at: @ArifAnsar


he case presented by the Russians for intervention in Ukraine is as convincing as that by the west for why it should not have interfered. After all, the europeans were playing around too close to what is considered the traditional Russian ‘Near Abroad’. A couple of years ago in 2008, the bear had responded similarly in Georgia. It’s not clear what made the europeans think the response would be any different now; the Russians have not got any weaker and their dependence on its gas has not diminished either. So, why did the europeans go out of the way to invite the Ukrainians to join the european Union and provoke the Russians, remains a question. The crisis in Ukraine cannot be grasped simply by understanding european dynamics. Some have argued that this may be blowback for what is occurring in the Middle east, especially Syria and Iran, and the Russian role there. The best way to understand the crisis is by using the lens of emerging and established powers. While emerging powers like to avoid confrontation and buy time, an established power cannot allow that, especially if the behaviour of the emerging actor is perceived to be threatening. Countering Putin’s article in The New York Times published in


September last year, Obama stated in his speech at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly that America is indeed exceptional, and it will act when there are justifiable moral and greater reasons to do so. “But I believe America is exceptional. In part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self interest, but for the interest of all.” Putin had written in his piece: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that god created us equal.” In his UN speech, Obama went on to spell out the core American interests at stake in the Middle east: the free flow of energy; focus on dismantling terrorist networks; building capacity of its partners to fight extremists; and preventing the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. For this purpose, Obama stated: “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure these core interests in the region,” he asserted. It is in this context that the issues of state sovereignty and nonintervention have taken on added emphasis. They were paramount during the recent crisis of Libya and Syria, and have emerged again in Ukraine. Why Europe is more important? In addition to the Middle east, the european frictions over Ukraine have been going on for a while. The crisis there is most alarming because it represents the home sphere of influence for Russia and the other european powers. In turn, the US considers its security inexplicably linked with the stability of europe, which is its principal ally on the global theater. As happened in the World Wars, it was the european frictions that played out in different regions. Since the end of the Cold War, the west learned a

lesson and presented a united front when dealing with various conflicts. Now that unity is at risk, and this means that we are entering an extremely perilous phase. The dynamics of Asia Pacific Global power frictions are also evident in the Asia Pacific region where China is asserting its territorial claims as US pivots to the region. The country established a new air defense zone over the disputed islands in east China Sea in last November, and declared it will start enforcing fresh rules. The declaration was immediately tested when unarmed American B-52 and B-2 bombers intruded the zone without informing the Chinese, followed by Japan and South Korean planes. This has raised a discussion about the Chinese intent

Since the end of the Cold War, the west learned a lesson and presented a united front when dealing with various conflicts. Now that unity is at risk, and this means that we are entering an extremely perilous phase. and reaction, and with that the chances of escalation. If China does not enforce the new rules, it would seem weak. The question is why do Russia and China want to appear strong at this juncture? As the US shifts its strategic focus to the Pacific, there are fears amongst its Middle east allies that it may leave the region for the other european allies to deal with. In this regard, French, Australian, and moves of the Scandinavian nations towards Africa are of keen interest, while the British appear to be focusing more on the Gulf region. The establishment of the Chinese air defense zone, and the Russian moves in Ukraine, appears to be an uncoordinated response at this time. US-Chinese ties: As US-Russia ties deteriorate, western analysts are now closely looking at the

Chinese response to the Ukrainian crisis. Meanwhile, the statements emanating from China have remained ambiguous, and these analysts have interpreted them in their favour. After all, both China and Russia have consistently resisted foreign intervention in other nations, especially NATO moves in the Middle east, and that has complicated the operation of the UN Security Council. Now that Russia has violated this principle, a number of questions have been raised for China. Moreover, these stances were meant for positioning on conflicts far from home, when it comes to the home sphere of influence, Russia reacted differently. Can similar behaviour be expected from China if its primacy is threatened in its home sphere? Will the Russian move to defend its interest in Crimea impact the operation of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, dominated by the emerging global powers, is also yet to be seen. The fate of proxies: In the context of Middle east and South Asia, one of the most dangerous ramifications of the growing US-Russian tensions has to do with the role of proxies. After all, the present war on terror is one left over vestige of the Cold War. PoliTact has previously observed in this space that the Arab Spring, war on terror, and tussles of global powers have already merged in the Middle east. One of the perilous lessons of the Syria campaign has to do with the efficacy of non-state actors in urban fighting. had hezbollah not come to the aid of Assad, Syria’s conventional military would not have been able to sustain the regime. What this implies for the AfPak region is too early to tell, but the parallels are there for an imaginative mind. While China and Russia have been deepening ties with both the shi’a and sunni states using the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the US and NATO have remained disengaged from Iran and the shi’a states. Now this pattern appears to be heading for a historic reversal as US focuses on building a balance, first in Iraq, and now by engaging Iran, and

perhaps in the future attempt to pull them away from China and Russia. To what extent will this move disillusion the Gulf sunnis, and if this would push them in the arms of Russia and China, remains to be seen. In this perspective, the Pakistan-China-Saudi link has taken an added significance. Conclusion: As the global balance of power enters high speed of flux, the issues of state sovereignty and non-intervention have taken on added emphasis. They were paramount during the recent crisis of Libya and Syria, and have emerged again in Ukraine. Pakistan itself was recently caught in a controversy regarding its nonintervention stance on Syria and the potential shift under Saudi pressure. On the issue of Ukraine,

While China and Russia have been deepening ties with both the shi’a and sunni states using the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the US and NATO have remained disengaged from Iran and the shi’a states India has not directly criticised Russia and has spoken against imposition of any sanctions. The states that exist at the borders of the traditional spheres of influence are increasingly at the epicenter of tensions. These strains are causing weak states to crumble as they attempt to balance the various pulls and at the same time manage weakening economies and ethnic polarisation. On the other hand, states in the Arab world and South and Central Asia, are also under pressure from the extremists. This is further aggravating the undoing of fragile states, and creating the necessity for global powers to protect their influence and interests. As they act, the autocrats, military dictators, and other proxies are poised to make a comeback; certainly Gen Sisi has already sensed the change. g


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

Small battlegrounds can make a big difference

The prospect of success also creates the possibility of success

PeoPle at siege


Things Pakistan can learn from the Ukraine crisis

Mayank Jain The writer is a politics and finance lover who loves to spend time on the internet and in conferences that discuss and debate international issues. Mayank strongly believes in the power of knowledge and he can be spotted reading a thick book, writing poetry and articles or discussing relevant issues very often.

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” – Leonardo da Vinci


f there is any period in the southern Asia and not just Pakistan that reeks of discontent, it is this. Revolutions are happening all over the world and people are dying but they are also achieving what they always wanted by finding innovative and often compelling ways to bring back the focus of the authority to their needs and wants and that’s making all of us jealous, if not inspired. Pakistan as a country is a history written in blood and struggle. There have been numerous accounts of the tragedies the country has passed through and successfully though it still stands along with a republic in the world which is out to crush the smaller ones or invade the ones with oil in the name of peace keeping operations. The problems of Pakistan don’t seem to end there though. for as far as one can look back or ahead into the future, the situation seems only grim. With internet censorship and the subsequent ban on YouTube, the clear message that the country sends to its people is that of superior authority and rule by a few rather than a dispersed republic with personal freedom and individual rights to expression. The Ukraine crisis was no different. The government just didn’t listen to the voice of people and ended up being overthrown. President

Yanukovich of Ukraine is a forgotten name now as he left his seat and sought a safe harbour and another weakling has replaced him but the country and its people are in a mess just because the government failed to capture the pulse of the country. People would have been happier with efficient and intent government that is nonaligned rather than a corrupt government which went to seek refuge in Russia. On the other hand, things are further complicated in Pakistan due to the presence of Taliban and anti-government fronts that are vying for power at every point and hence, expecting the government to have a smooth run over its course almost a utopia. Notably so when there hasn’t been a prime minister who lasted for his

‘People might be a little too biased for your background at times but that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate another singer like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or another Shahid Afridi who rises like phoenix and paves the way for prosperity and glory finally coming to the country which has played the role of second fiddle for far too long.’ complete term of five years, and this speaks a lot about the troubled state of democracy in the country which loosely hangs on public expectations and takes life support from appeasing other stakeholders including religious groups which can’t be described as progressive. What catches one’s eye though, is not the ephemeral nature of government in the country but complicated issue of democracy which people don’t believe in. And they are too tired of the regimes that only further increase the bans and restrictions on free speech rather than work towards creating a globally integrated country that isn’t afraid to open its gates to foreign ideas and people.

‘Internet stands for a well-connected world and knowledge is power. Pakistan should empower its people and allow them to chart unknown territories for a while and discover what works for them.’ Strictly speaking, Ukraine should be an eye-opener for Pakistan since the country is similarly doing badly economically and remains squeezed between two big powers while the superpower of the world keeps keen interest in its affairs in the name of international peace. Having outsized neighbours isn’t a bad thing but being in Asia and not doing as west does is a definite source of self-destruction at the hands of sanctions and public loathing or ostracizing and experiencing aloofness like China did for a very long time after its revolution. Internet stands for a wellconnected world and knowledge is power. Pakistan should empower its people and allow them to chart unknown territories for a while and discover what works for them instead of throwing its own whims and fancies on them and burdening them further in the times when they fight more Taliban than one. The use of violence in public should be reduced at once and military strength should be portrayed if the need arises but those perpetrating fear shouldn’t be spared. This will go a long way in boosting international confidence in the country and the second rank among the world’s most dangerous countries can be expected to drop. India is nearby at the third rank, as a matter of fact. People might be a little too biased for your background at times but that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate another singer like Rahat fateh Ali Khan or another Shahid Afridi who rises like a phoenix and might pave the way for glory, and probably prosperity too, finally coming to the country which has played the role of second fiddle for far too long. g

He first general election of the next decade has begun. Its results will determine whether India gets stable governance or whether power in Delhi over the next ten years will be synonymous with fractious politics. If there is no stable government this year, we will not see one for a few elections to come. National parties which have offered a coherent centre to coalitions will fracture, and be replaced by makeshift alliances of incompatible but equal satellites. Those who understand the temperamental nature of any electoral season know that predictions are risky. It is far safer to keep your eyes open and mouth shut. But if you had to lay any bets, how would you start? Open up the map and check out what may be called pinprick constituencies. These are the marginal seats where victory went to one party by a statistically inconsequential figure of around 15,000 votes or less. This will be more illuminating precisely because their random existence, outside any cluster that suggests geographic logic. If there is consistency in disarray, it means consolidation towards a national party. If not, seats are travelling in disparate directions. The first challenge before Modi, if he wants to take his party to the top position, is to protect BJP’s few marginals and displace Congress from its thin space. It is only after this that he can attempt the surge to 200-plus by generating huge momentum in seats where BJP lost by substantial numbers. Delhi will let you know if this is going to happen, because in 2009 the winner was known long before counting was complete. Congress swamped BJP; its smallest win was in South Delhi, by 93,219 votes, and largest in east Delhi where Sandeep Dikshit got 241,053 votes more than Chetan Chauhan. Modi cannot take a switch in swing for granted, for while national factors do shape currents on the surface, there are always extremely strong local whirlpools just below which can pull in the opposite direction. In Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party is in play because it can mobilize anti-BJP electorates without the burden of anti-incumbency. In fact, AAP would have done significantly better if it had refused regional power. Still an infant, it is more effective as a toddler of promise rather than an adult on steroids. It was too early to risk the loss of

out of turn

MJ akbar The writer is a leading Indian journalist and author. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Guardian. He has also served as Editorial Director of India Today. innocence. Since the principal contenders in any seat generally take between half a million and 600,000 votes between them, a two per cent swing in favour of BJP will help it win those seats where the margin was 20,000 or a bit more. Nitin Gadkari will need just that to take Nagpur from Congress. But despite the current rise of confidence in the Shiv Sena-BJP camp, Gadkari understands the wisdom of an insurance policy in a volatile and over-leveraged business.

‘If one right partner generates arithmetical progression then two can fashion a geometric leap.’ Small parties with three to five per cent support provide such invaluable insurance. BJP has made this vital breakthrough in Maharashtra and Bihar. By himself Ram Vilas Paswan cannot win a seat in Bihar. But add him to a larger formation and it has a multiplier effect. If one right partner generates arithmetical progression then two can fashion a geometric leap. The prospect of success also creates the possibility of success. There are always a dozen reasons for a decision, but a key card prevails over competing negatives. In this election, voters want a stable government because that is essential for any resolution of the economic crisis. Small allies can see that as clearly as anyone else. Moreover, an alliance with a potential winner fetches higher rewards. In south India, BJP is the small party, and therefore needs to hitch a ride with someone else to maximize the conversion of support into seats, as is happening in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, where no one is offering a ride, BJP votes will wander in that useless space called purgatory; neither in heaven nor hell. Politics might be hell, but victory is heaven. g 09


IntervIew: AisAm ul HAq quresHi

Pakistan’s standout tennis star The most influential tennis player ever produced by Pakistan is its global super ambassador too By agha akBar


isam ul Haq quresHi is arguably the most influential tennis player ever produced by Pakistan since 1947. From his beginning as a junior prodigy when he beat andy roddick and Taylor Dent to end up just one spot shy of the top 10 junior world ranking, to his Davis Cup service for Pakistan and evolution into a topnotch doubles player on the international professional circuit, aisam has made his and his country’s presence felt for over a decade. in the process, he has handled himself with a gentlemanly grace. and today, no one can deny his status as a true role model for our aspiring sportsmen. On top of it, whenever he has had the opportunity, he always made a heroic endeavour to present the image of his country in the best possible light. Belonging to a family of tennis stars (his maternal grandfather was an all-india champion, his mother a Pakistan national number one), aisam found his own niche as a doubles player par excellence and is a formidable force on grass courts where his natural attacking game has earned him several famous wins. The only Pakistani to reach the finals of a Grand slam event, aisam did a double, reaching the men’s and mixed finals at the us Open. But it is his performances for Pakistan in the Davis Cup that remain etched in memory with wins against top asian players and an excellent doubles record with aqeel Khan. aisam is undoubtedly a fine ambassador for Pakistan wherever he goes – in fact, after the three legendary Khans, imran, Jahangir and Jansher, outside cricket he is the only one remaining on the international sporting scene still bringing laurels for his country. Excerpts: Q: As you approach the last few years of your career, what according to you have been the high and low points of your career? a: First of all, i don’t believe i am playing the last few years of my career. Definitely, reaching the finals of the us Open in 2010, beating roger Federer in Basel in 2009 ,qualifying for Wimbledon in 2007, getting three gold medals in the first islamic solidarity Games in 2005 and taking my country to world group play offs in Davis Cup are the main highlights of my career Having said that, there have been many low points as well but i know


all those low moments have made me a stronger person and a player and surely has helped me in working harder and made me achieve most of my goals. Q: Do you still have hopes of winning a Grand Slam title? If so which one would be the most likely? a: That is the main driving force now for me apart from getting laurels for my country and family – to win a Grand slam, and i truly believe i have the ability to accomplish this. i think i have a shot at winning all of them. i have made the finals of the us Open and reached the semifinals twice. i have reached the semis of the French Open three times as well. Twice i have reached the quarters at Wimbledon, so i know i have the ability to win either of one and that is what makes me push myself harder than ever before. Q: How are you feeling playing again with Rohan Bopanna after two years with Roger? Do you having to change tactics because of Bopanna’s different style of play? a: it’s good to be back playing with rohan again. i think we both have matured as players in the last two years. Obviously everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. i just try to work with my partner together and find the best way to use his strengths and neutralize his weaknesses. Q: Do you agree to the notion that tennis in Pakistan has declined to a new low? If so, why has it happened, and, if not, what are your reasons for optimism? a: like any other sport, in order to promote tennis in Pakistan, we need more international events and for me, the main reason for the downfall of tennis and other sports in Pakistan is the lack of international events ever since the attack on the sri lankan cricket team. i surely think that has been one of the main reasons for tennis’s downfall in our country because ever since i got recognized and there was a tennis fever in the country, there has not been any international tennis event in the country Q: When it is so obvious that the Pakistan Tennis Federation has done next to nothing to promote the game in the country, why have you chosen not to speak against the Federation? As Pakistan’s topmost player ever, is it not your responsibility to speak up

for the game and how it has suffered? What should be the preference: being politically correct or standing up for the future of Pakistan Tennis? a: Yeah, it is really sad that the Pakistan Tennis Federation has not been able to do anything to promote the game of tennis in our country or cash in on my achievements even till now. as much as i blame them, i do blame successive Pakistan governments as well for not providing the right facilities for the youngsters to play this game and the electronic media too for not promoting this game the way they can or could have. i have never taken any sides and i have always spoken what i felt was right that is why i have always been a part of controversies throughout my career. i always took a stand when i knew and felt that the Federation was wrong and still do but it does not mean that i don’t praise the good work they do and have done in the past. my preference would always be to take a stand for what is better for Pakistan tennis. One of the reasons tennis has taken a blow is that the federation or the government has not taken any kind of initiative to bring international tennis back in the country or arranged any ‘home ground’ away from home in order for us to excel in Davis Cup and world rankings ever since we qualified for World Group qualifiers. unless they do that, the level of tennis in Pakistan is going to keep on dropping Q: What would be the one thing that, in your opinion, could popularize tennis in Pakistan? a: The one thing that can surely help promote tennis in Pakistan is more coverage on the TV. We do have two sport channels in Pakistan and i think they can do wonders if they start showing national tournaments or at least finals of those events, give coverage to the Davis Cup matches we play and maybe some of the tournaments i play as well. it will surely help get more recognition and sponsors for the players and the tournament organizers Q: Do you regret not having performed as well in ATP singles as in doubles? What was the reason behind this? a: i don’t really regret not being able to perform as well in singles as in doubles because i know i gave it my best shot. unfortunately at that time, tennis was not that big in our country and people never cared how i did or how i was doing. i got to 103

in the world, became asian No 3, have wins against four top 10 players in the world. maybe i could have reached the top 100 mark in singles and sometimes that does bother me but i know i gave it all i had in singles and then after reaching finals of the us Open in 2010, i had to make a switch. Q: What has been your biggest tennis regret to date? a: Honestly speaking, i don’t really have a big regret in my professional career. ever since i started playing tennis, it’s always been a learning process and it still is. There are no regrets. at the end of the day, i know i have done and still am doing everything in my power to get laurels for my country and my family. You can’t always achieve all the goals and dreams you want in life but it does not mean one has to start giving up on the other goals that can be achieved. i also have not been able to achieve some of mine like making it to top 100 in singles or winning a Grand slam (yet) but i do feel blessed and lucky that all the hard work i have done in the past 15 years has helped me to get recognized as a top tennis player not only in my own country but all over the world. Q: You have been playing Davis Cup since 1998 with Aqeel Khan. Why is it that the same duo remains Pakistan’s top choice for more than a decade and a half? a: First of all, i don’t like to compare myself with anyone. We all have our own paths and destiny. Honestly speaking, i think there is a major gap and it’s going to take some time till someone can take aqeel and my responsibility in the Davis Cup and fills those shoes. i do really hope it happens soon as i have always tried to be a role model and a door opener for the youngsters and surely want even better players coming out of our country and representing it. Q: Do you see any Pakistan players who you feel can take your place on the Davis Cup team when you retire? a: it has been a great honour for me to represent my country for so many years in Davis Cup. it is definitely sad that unfortunately no one has been able to step forward to the task in the past 15-odd years. i just feel the youngsters now don’t have the desire and patience that is required to be a top level athlete and they are just happy with what they have achieved and are not willing to go all the way for their country or for themselves. secondly, i don’t think the federation has any confidence in

putting youngsters ahead of aqeel and me. Q: There has been some endeavor amongst your younger cousins to emulate you on the international circuit? Do you think they have the potential to make the cut? a: Tennis is an individual sport and it all depends on how much hard work and sacrifice one is ready or willing to do. Talent can only get you to a certain level but then it’s all about the hours and hours of hard work and dedication that helps one become a top athlete or tennis player. my cousins surely have a lot of potential and i personally think they can be very good but for that they need to dedicate all their time and life to tennis. Q: Was it not possible for you to play a few smaller ATP tournaments with Aqeel Khan so that he would have a chance to play regularly on the tour? a: No, it would never have been possible because our rankings were never the same and secondly, aqeel hardly travelled to play international tennis events. maybe at the start of my professional career we could have played some but then he never travelled. Q: What are your plans posttennis? a: i feel younger and fitter than ever. i can easily see myself playing for another six to seven years, inshaallah. Q: How many more years are you planning to play on the tour? a: i don’t really have certain plans as no one can predict the future. it depends a lot on what more i can achieve in tennis and where i finish my career. i do have a charity – ‘stop War, start Tennis’ – that focuses on providing wheel chairs and tennis equipment to people who have been affected by wars all over the world. i would surely like to expand it and help more and more people out all over the world and give them hope and a reason to smile. i am a Goodwill ambassador for the united Nations so when i have some more time, i would surely like to help them more in their projects helping Pakistanis and other people. Then i am sure i would like to stay connected to tennis and help the youngsters out in some way and try to help promote this game more in Pakistan. By the grace of almighty, i am sure there are few opportunities there for me to explore and inshaallah when the time is right, i would give them all a shot. g


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014 11


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014


doge-iStan Such irony, much Sincerity, So confuSion, how amaze… Syed HaSSan Belal Zaidi

The writer is a journalist currently working in the development sector. Tweets at: @mightyobvious_


happal-gate and famine-ism are the two latest trend-words on social media today. Both refer to incidents that may sound absolutely ludicrous, but for completely opposite reasons. the former is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the blatant plagiarism inflicted upon the shoemakers of peshawar by the UK-based apparel designer paul Smith. “that this opportunist, orientalistic englisher has had the audacity, nay the gall to steal so blatantly from the impoverished pashtun the very massive drought in the desert region symbol of their pride and hawk it on of tharparkar. Fingers have been the global market at nearly ten pointed and accusations leveled times the price of the real thing; against that most well-intentioned well, this is just unacceptable!”, of political scions, Bilawal Bhuttoraged a 39-year-old housewife on Zardari. But Super Saeen, it seems, her Facebook page. another is not impervious to all criticism. enthusiastic twitter user urged all however, despite insinuations about local product manufacturers to his manhood circulating in obtain patents before any more of cyberspace, the bright lad made an their designs and ideas are appearance alongside his mum’s old ‘appropriated’ by the greedy goras. rival, the current pM during a In a related story, the World trade hospital visit in the famine-stricken Organization is taking a renewed region. this was seen as a interest in pakistan and is calling confidence-building measure, as for comprehensive implementation prior to this impromptu visit, of all global Intellectual property experts had painted a picture of laws. therefore, as per their Bilawal in a fetal position, routine, local police have begun blabbering incoherently and cracking down on all pirate CDinconsolably with his thumb in his DVD-Blu Ray vendors. Mass mouth, crying, “Why isn’t Clark burnings of pirated content are Kent here to save us?”. taking place in Urdu bazaars, hall roads, Rainbow centres and Zaitoon plazas all over the country. the WtO says that it supports the cause of peshawari chappalmanufacturers and is cracking down on pirated DVDs in order to protect the chappalwallah’s rights. the chappal-wallahs, meanwhile, don’t see it as cool quite the same way and before it w e scandal at -g al p are protesting. “What ap Had a Ch will I do to keep customers entertained at On the hand, the chief coordinator my shops? No one wants to watch of relief services arbab ghulam geo News, all they want to do is Rahim – who was the star of his ogle punjabi mujra dancers and own chappal-gate episode only a pamela anderson, and maybe buy a few years ago – has blamed the chappal or two in the middle. I’m hindus affectees of the drought for ruined!”, exclaimed one artisan. not eating meat. “Of course, famineFamine-ism is a term also coined by ism is everywhere. But we Muslims internet-trawlers to describe the can kill cows and eat them for their outrage against the pakistan nutrition. But these hindus, they people’s party and its government in can’t, you see. hence, famine,” said Sindh for failing to prevent a Rahim, shrugging his shoulders.


Shahid afridi has lashed out against accusations that he is a misogynist. In a statement issued to the head chef at his swanky Splice Signature restaurant – named after his favourite cricketing shot – the fiery pathan made it clear that did not mean to be insensitive towards women when he made those remarks about how they should remain confined to the kitchen and that the curtness of his response was the inadvertent result of a mistimed burp. “You little imbecile,” he said to his chef mere hours after the tV interview that took him from national hero to national thing-we-are-sorry-for, “all of this bad press, this hate mail and this outrage on twitter, it’s all because you can’t cook to save your life. If I hadn’t been dreaming of maa kay haath kay tikkay during that interview, none of this wouldn’t have happened. and I wouldn’t have been hungry if you could have cooked me a decent afghan tikka before the interview. Now Nadia won’t talk to me and my daughters have unfriended me on Facebook. My life is ruined!” In a related development, fans of Boom Boom have been busy coming to their irreverent hero’s defence. articles have been appearing in various publications-where-anydelinquent-moron-can-call-himself-awriter-and-blogger, defending the actions of the Right arm Medium Fast leg Spinner. In a blog entitled ‘Afridi’s opinion on women is none of your business!’, a prudent lala-phile argues that because peshawar, or indeed the greater Khyber-pakhtunkhwa and Fata region, is not the most open of places when it comes to women’s involvement in “all-walks-of-life” and where even the slightest insinuation of women’s lib-type sentiment can get a

Speaking of which, the pM’s plan to score a peace prize by talking to the trigger-happy taliban hit a snag when the taliban committee and the erstwhile government committee agreed to a deadlock in the talks. this counterproductive, yet counterintuitive move has allowed the government to field its secret weapons: frustration, anxiety and red-tape, or bureaucrats for short. the appointment of career civil servants Fawad hassan Fawad, habibullah Khattak, Rustam Shah Mohmand and arbab arif to a freshly-constituted committee that will be negotiating on behalf of the government, is a masterstroke of inspired genius. the talibs are used to dealing with the exactitude and precision of the military, as well as the rhetorical onslaughts of politicians, but nothing can ever prepare them for a day with four tedious DMg babus who have done nothing but exercise their vocal chords for the bulk of their careers. anyone who has seen even one rerun of the iconic British drama Yes, Minister and/or Yes, Prime Minister on ptV World, is familiar with the average civil servant’s ability to run circles around hapless civilians and simple-minded brother in hot water with bandits so religious fanatics with their elusive badass even the government is forced puns and deceptive pronouns. In to negotiate with them, it is my opinion, the talibs of pakistan unsurprising that afridi would choose have had it. Fazlullah might as well to keep his views to himself. buy the DVDs and watch Sir I stand by the writer and believe humphrey dismantle a powerthat this principle should be applied hungry, unscrupulous yet idealistic across the board to protect the leader of his people on tV, before personal and public interests of all the same fate befalls him in person. public figures that live in similarly In a related development, plans are ‘suppressive’ and ‘hazardous’ afoot to transfer officials from the environs, as it has the potential to higher education save a great deal of lives. Imagine if Commission’s Malala had not spoken out attestation Wing to assist the committee with the negotiations. analysts are hailing this move and pronouncing these men the government’s Seal team. “If you’ve ever had to get anything attested by the heC, you will know just how cruel and inhuman these men can be. they can ting shoddy ou break is th et fs couldn't of university idi Tumblr fr A t is in m Even the Fe students, Mphil scholars and even tenured phDs with their against the endless paperwork requirements: taliban rule, she could have been photocopies in quadruplicate and sitting at home in the scenic valley, authority letters from now-deceased going to school, making friends, members of your varsity faculty are falling in love with nature while simply the smallest-caliber rounds wearing her dupatta properly over in their arsenal. however, the her head. Now that she went and unlucky students who must did the ‘brave’ thing, she’s had to continue to suffer, as the vacancies leave that carefree life behind and is left behind by this red-tape Seal now squarely in the eye and the lap team squad are being filled by of the international media. She’s volunteers from the Department of being forced into signing book Motor Vehicle Registrations, who deals, being force-fed filet mignon are skilled exponents of the subtle and champagne and turned down art of back-logging. g for Nobel peace prizes.


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014


Feminist aFridi and the chappaL revoLution

Pakistani Twitterati’s jihad against all the biggest evils in the country


hen it comes to initiating epoch-making revolutions there are few who are more capable, and indeed more profound, than the Pakistani Twitterati. Not only do they have this uncanny knack of identifying the biggest problems, but they make sure that they clamour enough to generate awareness about it as well. And more often than not they end up nipping the evil in the bud. Last week has been no different as the Twitterati found two massive causes to generate awareness about. First of all we have Boom Boom’s booming misogyny. Now, misogyny is not a small matter at all. Considering that Pakistan finds itself second from bottom in PEW’s Global Gender Gap standings, it obviously becomes clear that Pakistan is the hub of gender discrimination. However, logic would dictate that our revolutionaries would not expect someone like Shahid Khan Afridi to have feministic ideals. And so people expecting Afridi to be a feminist was actually far more surprising than him saying that women should work in the kitchen instead of playing cricket. And so to ridicule a man whom you can mock for a plethora of reasons (no, two miss hits against India and a cameo against the

mighty Bangladesh does not change that), for a lack of feministic ideals is not the most effective thing that you can do. In a country where an overwhelming majority follows a misogynistic ideology, where most of the people who have heard of the term feminism equate it with male slavery of some sort, you are expecting a man with a sorry excuse of a brain inside his skull to manifest ideals of gender equality? Seriously? But this is precisely what makes our Twitter revolutionaries special. They would never pause for a moment to think whether or not their noble revolution is actually well directed. What they do care about is that their own PR’s graph goes skywards, and that they establish themselves as this embodiment of perfect ideals. Feminism is a necessary ideal in the 21st century, but a feminist Afridi is a bit idealistic as things stand. Maybe let us work at the grass root level and then one day we can collectively whine about cricketing nut-heads not being feminists. Till then we have Paul Smith’s chappals and culture appropriation to whine about. I still fail to understand what the fuss was about. Was it because the chappal was being sold for 300 pounds in the UK, when one could get them for

around 600-700 rupees in Pakistan? Was it a case of “cultural appropriation”, because a British brand was selling what seemed to be replicas of Peshawari chappals? Or was it just a case of Paul Smith not giving credit to the creator of Peshawari chappals whose identity is, well, unknown? If it is the first option then let us cry bloody murder over the price disparity of other things as well. You see, the price of Peshawari chappals/Paul Smith’s Robert is not the only thing that has such a prodigious price gulf between London and Charsadda. If it is a case of cultural appropriation, or plagiarism, anyone making jeans or suits in Pakistan could be considered to be guilty of the same, and maybe should put in disclaimers stating that the design has been inspired by (whoever came up with the idea of jeans). Sure, if a brand copies a design without giving credit, it definitely should be pointed out. But a petition addressed to David Cameron and Sir Paul? Seriously? From Pakistan of all places where one would think that there are enough wrongs to sign petitions about. A British brand not giving credit to shoemakers in Peshawar (who seemed to be least bothered about it), is that big an issue? Maybe we should all go and get a Peshawari chappal from a shoe store nearby and smack ourselves with it. That might wake us up from our slumber. Launching chappal revolutions or expecting overhyped cricketers to miraculously turn out to be feminists and humanists, would do little to solve the actual problems in this country. g The writer is a professional sadist, and an armchair analyst. Any side effect of reading The Horizontal Column is the reader’s own headache.

Fighting for men’s rights

CII did its job and you are mad at them, eh? Luavut Zahid The writer is a journalist based in Lahore. Her writings focus on current affairs and crisis response. She can be reached at, she tweets @luavut


ARLIER this month the good folk over at the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) outlined the many reasons why laws regarding second marriages in Pakistan needed amendment. The main problem? At present, if the first wife doesn’t allow it, you can kiss your dream for a second wife goodbye. CII feels that this arrangement is utterly unIslamic, since the great divine did allow men ownership of not one, not two, but a grand total of four women. This isn’t the first time that the CII has cribbed about the marriage laws in Pakistan, and their requests for amendment echo as far back as 2008. Let’s get a little serious here; what exactly is the problem if this law is repealed? This will actually benefit women all over Pakistan instead of creating trouble for them. If this law is fixed to reflect the authentic ideology more accurately then the divorce rate will go down significantly. Right now if a woman says no to a second marriage for her mijazi khuda, she faces dire consequences. To get around to procuring a second wife the husband could go ahead and divorce the first. If she isn’t his current wife, there are no permissions needed from her. Then there is the problem of being forced into it. And no, this has nothing to do with marital rape, but it has everything to do with domestic abuse. The sky high rates of violence against women (who are wedded to the abuser) paint a grim picture indeed. The CII needs not put in a provision for this one because not only is it a no-biggie in terms of religion, it’s also culturally safe to slam dunk your wife against concrete. You want to tell your husband you won’t let him have another wife? Well, here’s a knuckle sandwich for you. No woman wants a dozen of those sandwiches every day. By the end of her ordeal any battered woman would be willing to help officiate the new lady into her husband’s life, as long as he leaves her alone, perhaps. With this law a man can enjoy two or more wives without having to get rid of, or violently abuse, any of his previous wives. Divorce is severely looked down upon both in a religious and cultural context, so this law’s revision is actually win-win. When it was first introduced the law seemed like it was a feminist propaganda, and that is all it is. The media, and now social media, are raising huge hue and cry over the news like it goes against everything Pakistanis have believed in all their lives. The truth couldn’t be far from it. Women in Pakistan have been

content and happily going along with a number of provisions, why on earth would they care about a second wife? For instance, a woman’s testimony counts as half. So anytime a woman wants to testify in court she either brings a sister from another mister or she has to leave the work to the grownups (the men) who can produce themselves as ONE full witness. Have you ever heard of a woman having issues with this? No, right? Then why would they care about no longer getting to sign their name to a permission form for a second wife? More proof that women absolutely don’t care about such trivial details is their supposed right to an inheritance in Pakistan. The son’s share is always to be twice that of a daughter’s. Now, this may offend some people, but who are those people? What women care about this? It is the media that is to blame. It’s gone and started this entire fiasco against the poor men down at the CII without actually stopping to ask whether women even care about these problems. This is a country where the large populace of women couldn’t give two hoots about their right to an inheritance even with a gun to their head – and we’re expecting them to revolt against their mjiazi khudas because of a second wife? Not going to happen. A storm unfolded after the CII announced that underage marriages being illegal was also problematic. Several people pointed out the potential that this could hold for pedophiles and child abuse. These people are only spouting western values – there is no child abuse in a valid nikah between a fully grown man and a young child in Pakistan. Even if we were to entertain this argument, what difference would the revision to the law make? By and large the ages of minors are already misquoted and falsely added to documentations when they are being pulled together in a lifelong bond. If the parents and Qazi involved in the child marriage are caught they can face up to a teeny tiny month in prison and they are fined the large sum of a full Rs1,000. The nikah, on the other hand, stands valid after all this is said and done. There is no question of the dulha’s right over his wife. The CII is only trying to weed out useless laws that have no place in our comfortably patriarchal society. What is the media going to do next in the name of their shameful gender equality escapades? Start asking why women can’t have multiple husbands if men can have multiple wives? Where will this madness end? A lot of pseudo intellectuals and self-proclaimed liberals have been harassing the CII and making jokes at the organisation’s expense. Some have gone as far as suggesting that the next request from the CII will involve needing legal sex slaves, and to those people we must ask the question: where’s the harm, really? Is it not something that men had a right to from the get go? This country needs to wake up and smell the air, one cannot cherry pick one’s way through divinity, there would be nothing divine left if that were allowed. So, yes, let’s welcome the change in family laws with open arms and wish the CII the best in its future endeavours for the rights of men in Pakistan. g 13


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014


India needs a proper account of the army’s war dead anIt MUKHerJee Caravan Magazine


n the night of 4 February 2000, an army post I was commanding in Indian-held Kashmir was fired upon. The next morning, a patrol went to investigate the site from where the shots were fired. One of the members of the patrol was Manokaran. At the site, the patrol discovered a backpack containing some clothes and a steel tiffin box. The patrol commander, an experienced Gurkha, ordered that the box not be disturbed, but Manokaran, with characteristic daredevilry, exclaimed, “Maut se kyun dartey ho?” (Why are you afraid of death?) and opened it. This triggered an improvised explosive device that killed him. Many years later, I gave up my uniform and started a new career as an academic. One afternoon I came upon a section of the Indian Army’s official website titled “Pay Homage to Your Martyrs”. It includes a database listing the name, rank, service number, home state, unit, and regiment of apparently every soldier who has died in all of India’s postindependence wars, as well as the name of the operations in which they died and their dates of death. In a way that other soldiers would understand, I searched out Manokaran’s name, and was happy to find that his death was listed and thereby honoured. But then, as academics do, I started to collate and analyse the army’s information. The overall picture that emerged was disturbing. The total number of “martyrs” listed in the army’s publicly accessible database is nearly 30 percent greater than the number of fatalities that have been reported by the government in parliament. In each of the country’s major military operations, except the 1962 SinoIndian war, more soldiers have apparently died than has been officially acknowledged by the government. It’s not clear what the inclusion criteria are for the casualties listed on the website, and it’s possible that the discrepancies are unintentional. But the size of the difference suggests, at the very least, a serious accounting failure. Perhaps more importantly, it suggests that we may not have all the data we need to properly look after the next of kin of those who have sacrificed their lives for the country; only if we know who the dead are can we fulfil our moral and financial responsibilities to their families. Honouring soldiers who fall in battle is an ancient activity and has been observed across societies. But it was only after the American Civil War, notes the historian Drew Gilpin Faust in her seminal book, This Republic of Suffering, that the idea took root that governments are obligated to honour their war


dead by naming and counting them. “A name upon a list was like a name upon a grave,” Faust writes, “a repository of memory, a gesture of immortality for those who had made the supreme sacrifice.” In October of last year, I enlisted the help of my father, retired Wing Commander Pulak Mukherjee (a fighter pilot turned software engineer), to collate and analyse the data on the “Pay Homage to Your Martyrs” web page. It is unclear who created and maintains this dataset, but it accurately reflects the details of fallen colleagues and friends I knew, as well as those of many soldiers often included in the pantheon of national heroes, such as Lieutenant Colonel Tarapore (1965 war), Lance naik Albert Ekka (1971 war), and Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey (Kargil war), to name a few. The dataset listed casualties in all known Indian operations, as well as one operation that I had never heard of. In total, the database lists at least 31,700 casualties. We collated information for those operations for which the government has presented figures in parliament: the 1947–48 Kashmir war, the 1962 Sino-Indian war, the 1965 and 1971 IndiaPakistan wars, the 1987–90 Sri Lanka operations, the 1999 Kargil war, and the 2001–02 mobilisation along the India-Pakistan border known as Operation Parakram. Sorting through the records, it became clear that the database was poorly maintained. Some of the data was coded incorrectly; for instance, 432 casualties that occurred during the 1965 war were listed under the 1962 war. We corrected for this in our analysis. There were also errors such as duplicate or missing service numbers, and fatalities dated years or even decades after the operation under which they were listed. We excluded these records from our final analysis. However, because of their large number, we included 2,354 records with missing casualty dates. Despite these problems, the database revealed a great deal. According to figures presented in parliament, the total fatalities

suffered in all these operations was 13,946. But according to the army website, we lost 17,874 soldiers—a difference of 28 percent. The website showed that, during the Kargil war, we lost 970 soldiers; as recently as november 2012, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh reported in parliament that the losses amounted to only 530—a difference of 83 percent. During Operation Parakram, which was launched after the attack on the parliament building in 2001, we lost 2,165 soldiers according to the website— more than in the Kargil war, or in the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. This is 271 percent higher than the figure—798—that the then defence minister, George Fernandes, stated in parliament in July 2003. (Interestingly, 52 percent of the soldiers who died in all of these operations are from Punjab, Haryana, Indian-held Kashmir, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh, according to the database—states that altogether account for only 7 percent of India’s population.) In addition to these discrepancies, there were 554 fatalities listed under Operation Dummy, not a single one with a date of casualty. It’s possible that this was a label created by programmers to test the database, or that it represents nonoperational casualties. Lieutenant General (retired) Amit Mukherjee (no relation), a thoughtful officer who has served in many key army positions told me via email, “In my long career of 40 years and 7 months in the Army, I have never heard of Op Dummy.” Any explanation for the existence of this operation is bound to be problematic in some way—as is the fact that we simply don’t know what it is. In november last year, I approached army headquarters in Delhi for clarity on this data. Through the media office, I was put in touch with the Veterans’ Cell, which is ostensibly charged to look after war widows. This office was created only in 2010, and wasn’t a part of central army operations until last year. The brigadier in

charge of it was unaware of the “Pay Homage to Your Martyrs” section of the army’s website. When I asked him if he had a list of all war widows, he said, “no, that information is not shared with us and is handled by another division. Do us a favour, file an RTI and when you get the information, please tell us!” I returned to the media cell and requested to be put in touch with the division dealing with wartime casualties—the office of Manpower Planning-5 (MP-5). An MP-5 officer in mufti told me that the official number of war dead is still classified. After hitting this wall, I met with the army’s deputy director general of public information, Brigadier Sandeep Thapar. When I told him about the discrepancy in figures between the website and what has been presented in parliament, his reply was immediate: “Information presented to the parliament is supreme. They cannot be questioned.” He promised to look into the matter and give me an answer. A few days later, a junior officer from the media cell informed me by telephone that they were pulling down the “Pay Homage to Your Martyrs” section as they were “unable to get the requisite information about both how the parliamentary figures were arrived at and actual wartime casualties.” When this piece went to press, the web page was still available at the following URL: yrs/Home.aspx. The mystery of these discrepancies aside, it is evident that India does a poor job of honouring sacrifices made in the service of the nation. If we are unable to reconcile the numbers of war dead, then naming and properly honouring every single one, and looking after their next of kin, is not possible. In fact, it is not clear whether all war widows or next of kin have been identified, and there is no single office or organisation in the army that focuses exclusively on their welfare. The army’s Veteran Cell does not have all the requisite information as the office maintaining the list of wartime

Indian army soldiers carry a coffin containing the body of a colleague at a funeral in Srinagar in February 2012. file photo

casualties—MP-5—claims that the information is classified. Perhaps more egregiously, it does not appear as if looking after war widows or next of kin is an issue of particular concern to the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The MOD is involved in handling pension cases, but it has left other responsibilities relating to next of kin to state and district administrations, and it does not monitor the effectiveness of welfare schemes. The most recent version of the MOD’s “Induction Material”, a 157-page document that lists the various functions and charters of responsibility of all the ministry’s offices, does not mention war widows or next of kin. Instead, in practice, it is left to army units and formations to organise welfare activities for veer naris, the widows of their fallen soldiers. But the military lacks the capacity and resources to be an effective welfare organisation. As a result, ad-hoc tokenism is favoured—like distributing sewing machines or food processors. The issue of counting and naming our war dead also dovetails with a current debate about a proposed national war museum and memorial. Generations of military officers have lobbied for the creation of a memorial that would honour soldiers who died in the line of duty in India’s postindependence wars. In August 2012, after years of delay, a Group of Ministers led by Defence Minister AK Antony finally recommended that such a memorial be constructed in the capital, in an area close to India Gate, which was constructed by the British to honour Indian soldiers who died during the First World War. But Sheila Dixit, then chief minister of Delhi, opposed this, arguing that it would spoil the area’s “ambience”. When I began investigating the army’s “Pay Homage to Your Martyrs” database, I was interested partially because of my guilt—there is always the guilt—over the role I played in Manokaran’s death. Each name that belongs in the database represents a lost son, father, brother, relative or friend—and it is callous to neglect them. This is not just an issue of misleading parliament—it’s about the debt that a democracy owes to soldiers who make the supreme sacrifice for causes determined by elected representatives. Perhaps more importantly, it’s about taking care of those that they leave behind. It would not be difficult to track the economic condition of the next of kin of our more than 31,700 fallen soldiers, and thereby ascertain the effectiveness of welfare measures. But this is impossible if we are unable to properly count every single sacrifice. Although we may not build shrines to honour our dead, we must list and name them all—correctly. Anit Mukherjee is an assistant professor at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. g


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014


HoW Can PakIStan EvEr dEfEat tHE talIban?


SuShant Sareen

InstItute for Defence stuDIes anD analysIs

s Pakistan fighting a losing war against the Islamists? It would appear so given the sort of confusion in the country about what this war is all about. There is also a lack of clarity on what is desirable (reconciling and reintegrating the Taliban, entering into a negotiated settlement the terms and conditions of which remain an enigma, or even an elimination and extermination of the Pakistani Taliban) and whether this is theoretically, let alone practically, possible. Then there is the nagging doubt about how much of what is achievable will be sustainable. Compounding to the problem are the multiple and often contradictory objectives (internal and external, tactical and strategic) which different agencies and organs of state seem to be pursuing. Worse still no one seems to have a clear idea on how to obtain these objectives, which is leading to state entities working at cross-purposes. The Taliban also have their internecine conflicts, turf wars, ego clashes and differences over tactics, for instance, on whether or not to talk with the Pakistani state. But despite this, they all are working (and killing) towards a common objective in pursuit of their ‘grand idea' of grabbing power and imposing their brand of Islam, first in Afghanistan and Pakistan and eventually in rest of the world. The Pakistani state and society, on the other hand, is split on who or what is the enemy, where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. The current Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, who is trying to take on the mantle of security czar and chief peacemaker rolled into one, declared in the National Assembly that ‘a clear majority of the Taliban were not enemies of the country...most Taliban groups had no animosity to the state of Pakistan' and that the elements that were targeting the state were doing to at the behest of foreign agencies (read CIA, RAW and Mossad). Amazingly, just days before he gave the Taliban a certificate of patriotism, Chaudhry Nisar had triumphantly unveiled the National Internal security Policy to stem the tide of terrorism and Talibanisation in the country. surely there is something seriously wrong. In a country where the government spends nearly nine months to come up with a policy document to fight terrorists responsible for the deaths of nearly 50,000 people, and yet the man who makes the policy doesn't consider these terrorists enemies of the country! Of course, this comes as no surprise in a country where TTPs denials of involvement in an attack readily lapped up even though their fingerprints and footprints are clear in the involvement. Instead of condemning terror and demanding action against the perpetrators, politicians and religious leaders blame the government for its lapses and its inability to make peace with the terrorists. It is also a country where politicians and ministers in charge of the security policy are so terrified of coming into the cross-hairs of the terrorists that they are reported to be sending messages to the TTP about how they have carefully avoided saying anything against the Taliban. In these messages these leaders have washed their hands off the air strikes which they have

explained as being ordered by the army in retaliation to TTP attacks, and have pleaded with the TTP to announce a ceasefire so that they could push ahead with a dialogue with them. From this it should be quite clear how this ‘phony war' is being fought and why it can't be won. It isn't just the politicians who are playing both sides of the game. The security establishment hasn't quite been able to make up its mind on whether the Taliban and other sundry jihadists are assets or unacceptable liabilities. There is a significant section within it that isn't ready to make a clean break with the radical Islamists just yet. This section continues to attach utility to the jihadists for achieving objectives in both Afghanistan and India. It would like nothing better than to isolate and eliminate only those Islamists who are not willing to dance to its tunes and then continue the joint venture with the other radical groups. In other words, it has no real ideological or cultural problem with the Taliban/Al Qaeda combine per se; it only has a problem with that segment of the Islamist conglomerate that is targeting it. As Pakistan becomes weaker because the ‘war of thousand cuts' it inflicted upon its neighbours has now started making more cuts in Pakistan, the establishment is now caught in a terrible bind. If it continues to flirt with the Taliban, the latter will continue to gain in strength. On the other hand, if it has realised its monumental mistake of backing the Taliban in the fond belief that they stand the best guarantee of a friendly Afghanistan not becoming India's playground, then it might be in even greater trouble because undoing this mistake will involve a complete overhaul of practically every aspect of Pakistani national life and narrative. That in a country that is deeply divided is almost a mission impossible. Notwithstanding the usual bombast of Pakistan about how she can clean up the terror in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) within a matter of days and weeks, things are not looking good. Although many people claim that the Taliban announced a ceasefire as a result of the aerial bombing on terrorist hideouts in NWA and other Tribal Agencies in FATA and some areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Taliban don't seem to have suffered any major loss of commanders, cadres or capability as a result of these bombing runs. In any case, conquering NWA is the easy part; the tough part is to bring the peace and establish the writ of the government, and on this there are no clear answers. As for establishing the writ, even though the Taliban have no visible presence in a city like Lahore, one letter from them to traders is enough to ensure a bonfire of all pornographic CDs, something that all the laws and police could not manage ever. The simple truth that has eluded Pakistan is that fighting the Taliban is like fighting a shadow. The Taliban are but a symptom, admittedly a malignant one. The real problem is of religious extremism which is manifesting itself in radical Islamism and has struck deep roots in state and society. But instead of doing something about this fundamental issue, the Pakistanis are busy hiding behind the fiction of the nebulous ‘third force' which they claim is standing between them and their brethren, the Taliban. With such a self-defeating approach, how can Pakistan ever defeat the Taliban? g

InSIde ChIna'S $132 bIllIon defenCe budget IHS Jane, a defence consultancy, projects Chinese military spending will reach $159.6 billion by 2015— and will surpass all of Western Europe by 2024. lIly Kuo



hINA’s newly announced 802.2 billion yuan ($131.57 billion) defense budget certainly makes an impression, especially when it’s accompanied by the government’s muscular assertion that peace in the region can only be “maintained by strength,” and a promise that China’s military would respond to all provocations. The new military spending figures are a 12.2% boost from the year before. This is the third year in a row that military spending increases have outstripped overall economic growth, and China’s military budget is now second only to the Us’s massive outlay—which is bigger than the next nine countries’ military budgets combined, although it is shrinking a bit. “This is worrying news for China’s neighbors, particularly for Japan,” Rory Medcalf, a security analyst at the Lowy Institute in sydney told Reuters. some analysts argue that China’s spending is even more aggressive than Beijing admits—they estimate it reached $240 billion last year, almost twice the official figure. Ihs Jane, a defense consultancy, projects Chinese military spending will reach $159.6 billion by 2015—and will surpass all of Western Europe by 2024. Perhaps more worrying for China’s Asian neighbors, several of them caught up in territorial and historical disputes, is China’s intent to increase the People’s Liberation Army ability to project military power across the region. Chinese premier Li Keqiang, in announcing the budget, said spending would focus on “new and high-technology weapons and equipment” and enhancing “border, coastal, and air defenses.” All of that, though, should be taken with a more than a grain of salt. China’s military is beset by all kinds of problems. “As a military that has not fought a war for 30 years, the People’s Liberation Army has reached a stage in which its biggest danger and No. 1 foe is corruption,” wrote former Chinese colonel Liu Mingfu in 2012. While there’s no credible estimate of how much of the budget is siphoned off, the

recent crackdown has offered up a plum example of how badly funds were being misused. Last month, police raided the home of Lieutenant General Gu Junshan, the former deputy head of the People’s Liberation Army’s logistics department, who resigned over allegations of corruption in 2012. Police removed four truckloads of items from the general’s house, including a statue of Mao Zedong made out of pure gold, a gold wash basin, a gold model boat, and crates of the luxury Chinese liquor Maotai. he reportedly owned 10 homes in downtown central Beijing. Chinese military officials are also concerned about the quality of Chinese soldiers, most of whom lack real combat experience. soldiers spend almost 40% of their time in “political training,” according to Ian Easton, a military analyst from the Project 2409 Institute. Even China’s headline projects have had technical problems. Its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Ukrainian vessel now known as the Liaoning, had to be returned to port shortly after its unveiling because of engine problems. China is the only permanent UN security Council member who hasn’t built and operated its own aircraft carrier. As China’s officials are fond of pointing out, as a percentage of GDP its military spending is lower than the global average. A good chunk of this year’s increase is likely to go to pay raises, according to Dennis Blasko, a former military attaché at the Us embassy in Beijing. And although the defense budget has been increasing by double digits, growth as a percentage of GDP has been declining over the past several years and may decrease again this year: The Chinese military’s weakness may make it more dangerous. Easton argues that China is investing in unconventional weapons to compensate for its lack of experience and technological edge, including cyber warfare and over 1,600 ballistic and cruise missiles that the Us and Russia have outlawed since 1987. “Experienced combat veterans almost never act this way,” Easton writes. “Indeed, history shows that military commanders that have gone to war are significantly less hawkish [afterward] than their inexperienced counterparts. Lacking the somber wisdom that comes from combat experience, today’s PLA is all hawk and no dove.” g 15


Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014


American power declines as Washington quarrels Although democracy has not so far swept all the major economies, the number of electoral democracies around the world went from about 35-40 to more than 100 today.

FrAncIs FukuyAmA New Republic I have two points to make about the relationship between economics and foreign policy. The first is to distinguish between the domestic economic and domestic political constraints on power; and the second is to argue for a new conceptual approach to the integration of politics and economics. –Political Constraints on American Power


et’s begin with the first issue, the distinction between domestic economic constraints and domestic political constraints. the first has to do with the economic resources available to the U.s. government relative to those of other political units, economic growth rates, and the fiscal sustainability of the underlying growth models. the second has to do with the degree to which the political system can translate those resources into effective foreign and security policies. the latter might be thought of as a kind of discount rate applied to the former, and that discount rate varies for different political entities. Many of the discussions of American “decline” (or lack thereof) have failed to distinguish between the underlying economic base and the political discount rate. I believe that American society is not in decline because the overall situation of the economy is relatively strong, but that the political system has been subject to considerable decay. Of the major political actors in the world today, the political discount rate is probably highest for the european Union (eU). the eU as a whole is somewhat larger in population and total gross domestic product (GDP) than the United states (though not in per capita terms), and it has had some success in turning that economic power into political outcomes (for


example, in exporting its policies on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, to Africa). But overall (and by design), it lacks a sufficiently hierarchical decisionmaking structure that can delegate power and resources to an executive. It is hard for the eU to be a strong unitary actor. this is the most true in foreign and defense policy, where its inability to stabilize the Balkans in the 1990s or prevent the United states from invading Iraq in 2003 were widely recognized. But this lack of political decisiveness also extends to economic policy, where the european Central Bank (eCB) has significantly weaker powers and autonomy than the United states Federal Reserve. China’s discount rate, by contrast, is relatively low, since it is ruled by a relatively disciplined Communist Party that brooks no internal dissent. China’s underlying economic power has been exaggerated, but has grown quickly and is rapidly being turned into political influence in east Asia. I do not believe that there are any fundamental short- to mediumterm economic constraints on America’s ability to remain the world’s dominant power. the American economy has finally returned to growth on the back of a domestic energy revolution, and is poised to achieve perhaps 3% growth in 2014. America’s debt-toGDP ratio peaked at over 12% in 2009 (including federal, state, and local), but has fallen this past year to 6%, and according to the CBO will fall to 4% next year. the real deficit problems lie further down the road, when our aging population and health care costs will force the ratio up again by the early 2020s. the long-term deficit problem is a very big and serious one, but it can only be solved through entitlement reform, and not on the back of cuts in discretionary spending (which includes the defense budget). If we fail to take on the entitlement problem, then yes, defense and foreign policy will be heavily constrained—but cutting the defense budget preemptively to solve the anticipated deficit problem strikes me as a foolish strategy because it will not deal with the real problem. However, I do believe that the political discount rate that translates economic strength into internationally usable power has increased for the United states as a result of the political polarization in Washington. What is different now is a much more poisonous partisan atmosphere in Washington, which sees virtually any policy issue as an arena for political combat and point-scoring. there are two recent cases of this: the murder of Ambassador stevens

However, I do believe that the political discount rate that translates economic strength into internationally usable power has increased for the United States as a result of the political polarization in Washington. in Benghazi and the current negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran. As suggested by the recent senate report, the Obama administration made numerous mistakes in the actions leading up to Ambassador stevens’s death, but these tended to be errors of judgment by middle-ranking officials (including perhaps the ambassador himself), and not by Hillary Clinton or President Obama. the administration was guilty not of a cover-up, but of trying to spin the incident to minimize damage in an election campaign. similarly, the bill currently before the senate setting forth in great detail the terms that any final nuclear agreement with Iran would have to meet is an unhelpful infringement on the executive branch’s discretionary powers. It is hard to see how any complex negotiation could ever be completed when Congress lays down so stringent a bottom line. this of course does not mean that the administration should be given a blank check; Congress will have to approve any agreement that eventually emerges, since many of the existing sanctions are legislatively imposed. But this is a very poor way to proceed in a negotiation. New ApproAches to the INtegrAtIoN of ecoNomIcs ANd polItIcs A second issue is a conceptual one concerning the way that we think about the relationship of economic and political policy. From the Reagan years on, the United states has been the foremost proponent both of economic liberalism (often dubbed “neo-liberalism”) in the global economy and of democracy in the political sphere. the economic part of the agenda took the form of the Washington Consensus, a series of liberalizing measures to lower tariff barriers and push for a global free-trade system, privatization, deregulation, and a general cutting back of state sectors. Liberalization would lead to economic growth, which would produce larger middle classes, which in turn would be more critical of authoritarian governments.

economic freedom was seen as part of a package of liberal political rights. the policy of promoting both economic liberalization and greater democracy succeeded to a great extent. Global output quadrupled between 1970 and the 2008 financial crisis, largely as a result of this liberalization. Although democracy has not so far swept all the major economies, the number of electoral democracies around the world went from about 35-40 to more than 100 today. there were two critical weaknesses in the economic liberalization agenda. the first was the fact that liberalization works much better in the real economy than in the financial sector. In the late 1990s, there was almost universal consensus among economists that freer and more globally integrated financial markets would lead to more efficient capital allocation and thus higher growth. However, it turned out that global financial markets are not necessarily efficient; they are subject to bubbles, manias, and irrational exuberance, whose costs are ultimately borne by taxpayers. Much of the apparent growth during the 2000s was illusory and based on excessive bank risktaking. Countries such as Mexico, thailand, and south Korea quickly got into trouble after they followed American advice and opened up their capital accounts in the 1990s. those countries that did not liberalize, like China, found themselves protected from the damaging impact of volatile hot money. the second weakness was distributional. As Michael spence’s article indicates, the combination of globalization and unfettered technological advance has had some rather unfortunate distributional consequences. America and other advanced democracies have undergone a prolonged period of deindustrialization, as manufacturing employment has stagnated, along with the incomes of many working-class Americans. During the 1990s and 2000s, the United states lost a great deal of its manufacturing base and supply chains to China and other countries in Asia. this was partly the inevitable result of capital’s search for higher returns, but it did not have to take as extreme a form as it did. Under the rubric of fighting protectionism, the United states passively stood by as China undervalued its currency and moved U.s. jobs to China. the economists insisted that we not mix political goals with economic efficiency considerations, while our rival was doing just the opposite. the early phases of this liberalizing

period were good for global democracy, as middle classes spread across the developing world. Perhaps someday this will lead to pressures for the democratization of China. But it has had a potentially negative impact on democracy in the developed world, and in the United states. With increasing recognition of the fact of unequal development has come populist pushback against those elites who have profited from globalization. At the moment, none of this populism has undermined the stability of democracy in the developed world. But in the end, unequal distribution of the fruits of economic growth is likely to erode the legitimacy of democratic systems. the problem as I see it is to define a different way of integrating economics and politics that avoids the exuberant neo-liberalism of the 1990s, while at the same time avoiding a return to growthundermining populist or redistributive policies. No one to date in the United states or europe has clearly articulated what such a model would be. It would have to dethrone growth as the single measure of the performance of the economy and raise the priority of employment and even distribution. It would have to define a new, larger role for the state, particularly in the regulation of financial markets. It would need to focus on middleclass employment, and perhaps consider ways of channeling innovation into labor-utilizing innovation. Internationally, definition of such a model will be important in maintaining American leadership and “soft power.” Because of Wall street’s failures, the neo-liberal model has been discredited around the world, and countries such as Brazil and Argentina are falling back into bad habits with regard to industrial policy and subsidization. the United states needs to figure out how to modify its neo-liberal model, owning up to past excesses but preserving the core of an open international order. Free trade and deregulation cannot be our only goals; indeed, re-regulation of the international banking sector is a critical requirement if we are to avoid another financial crisis of the sort we suffered five years ago. But neither domestic stability nor the projection of soft power abroad will be possible without a different approach to economic policy. Francis Fukuyama is Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a member of the Hoover Foreign Policy Working Group on Grand Strategy. g

Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

Books A Malang smoking chillum at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

Pappu Sain

Carrying a chader to the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

StorieS of the Soul

Entrance to the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

AghA AkbAr

The writer is Associate Editor, Pakistan Today.


cholarship is alive and well, but in the West! There are some works that, considering the writer’s foreign background, the many cross-cultural diversities he must have faced in his various researches and indeed the sheer physical dangers of roaming about in another country’s backwaters, can well and truly be qualified by that otherwise overworked epithet, a labour of love. peter pannke, the author of this beautifully produced book on sufi shrines and sufi music in pakistan, has spent some four decades in conveying this localized art genre to a wider world audience through his writings (and inevitably the medium of cDs and lps). This is the English translation of his book which first appeared in German in 1999. after starting his travels in the East, as they say, he first paid homage at the tombs of Jalaluddin rumi and hafiz, but was enraptured by the malangs of sehwan sharif and Bhitshah, the dervishes, fakirs and Qalandars of the punjab, among whom

Hamid Ali Bela

he lived for some time, and also fascinated by the preponderance of such shrines scattered over the sindh and punjab, each with its own mythology and distinctive poetry and music. peter pannke manages to establish a close rapport with the many musicians that he encounters on his travels, who sang for him, and regaled him with stories and sayings of the various saints: even today, the beauty of ‘Mera ishq bhi tu…’ sung to him in Kot addu one afternoon by none other than pathaney Khan haunts him to this day. and apart from this peculiar interest, pannke, who is German (and hence Tuetonic thoroughness and precision must come naturally to him) is also a scholar of sinology, indology and comparative religions, not from some Monticello fly-by-night institution, but from universities in hamburg, Marburg, Benares and Munich. and that is not all, he also just happens to be a composer and producer with more than eighty cDs and lps to his name. a genuine scholar, thorough in his work and curious about


Mohammad Fakir

Qurban Fakir

other cultures, a man who is a stout bridge between East and West, deserves at least the simple tribute, that his present work be read by all

‘A genuine scholar, thorough in his work and curious about other cultures, a man who is a stout bridge between East and West, deserves at least the simple tribute, that his present work be read by all lovers of Sufi mysticism here and abroad.’

lovers of sufi mysticism here and abroad. and the full page photographs, by horst a. Friedrich that accompany the text and dominate the entire book are without exception a delight to watch too, each Saints and Singers: telling its own story. Sufi Music in the Indus Valley it is just as well that Author: Peter Pannke peter pannke last Publisher: Oxford University visit to pakistan in Press, Karachi Pages: 151; connection with his Price: Rs2800/research was in 1997, his first being in 1969. a great deal of water has flowed in his beloved indus since then, and it is a moot point if he would have had the same freedom of movement and ready access to his subjects in the present time, when even holy shrines are not escaping the wrath of our Mr Ts. The topography of the regions of the sufis of sindh, the mighty indus stream, and chapters on sufis and music, Data Ganj Bakhsh, sehwan sharif, the annual Urs and much more about all the famous. g


RemembeRing Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan

Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014

The man and his legacy are larger than life ‘Explaining what he meant by moral problem, Dr. Khan said, the Japanese observed morality by returning post WWII Marshall Plan loans to the US within three years of their receipt whereas the Pakistani rulers continue to ask for more and more dole-outs.’

Dr ImDaD HussaIn

The writer is Assistant Professor at Centre for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College University Lahore. He also works with Punjab Urban Resource Centre.


lot has been written about Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan: the man who changed the lives of the millions despite coming from an elite family, and despite being a member of the powerful Indian Civil Service. A lot more will be written about him, probably because the man and his legacy are larger than life. His contribution is marvelous and his ideas will continue inspiring people for a long time. A number of people would keep writing about him because he lived what he said and he said what needed to be said in the field of development from 1960s to 1990s. And this is the crux of his ideas: ordinary people are the drivers of history and development and it is the modernly educated people who should actually learn from the ordinary people. His human sensibilities were so amazing that his observations of the lives of the poor in British India and post-colonial Pakistan turned him into a friend of the poor for the rest of his life. Khan’s family was related to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s. It is with socially aware and selfless families such as Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s that Akhtar Hameed Khan socialized. But unlike others with whom he socialized, Akhtar Hameed Khan lived a simple life. His persona was a combination of insights from the philosophers of the East and West, from the leaders of the East European communes to the American philosophers, to Gandhi, and not the least to Muslim mystics of medieval times. His wholesome well-rounded personality emerged from imbibing from all of them. When he came to Orangi in 1980, Dr. Khan developed his model of low-cost, self-help development by observing the lives of people in Orangi. He acknowledged open heartedly that people of Orangi were helping themselves, solving their problems without government support, and had the desire to make their milieu and surroundings better. Observing this, Dr. Khan designed his model of development which can be summarized as this: supporting what people were already doing. Having remained under Dr. Khan’s tutelage for long, one of his ablest protégés, the slain director of the Orangi Pilot Project late Perween Rahman would often remark: “Go to the communities. Participate in their lives. It is not the communities which have to participate in the development programmes of anyone. It is the development workers who need to participate in the life of the community.” Tasneem Ahmad Siddiqui, who pioneered the incremental housing scheme, Khuda Ki Basti also practiced the same idea. He often says: “We learned the incremental housing schemes from the dallals. The dallals of informal sector would get a piece of land, legally or illegally, mostly illegally, make subdivisions and sale them to the poor on easy installments. We have formalized this approach in Khuda Ki Basti… The government also needs to formalize this


Dr AkhtAr hAmeeD khAn (15 July 1914—9 OctOber 1999)

‘The crux of Dr. Khan’s development theory is: If poor people are provided low-cost development models and technical support, they can become own their development. The biggest achievement of Dr. Khan is in his demonstration of the possibility that development is not the property of technical experts but lies very much within the domain of ordinary people’s everyday living.’ approach in its housing programme.” In early 1980s, when Akhtar Hameed Khan read Peter Jan Ver Linden’s 1979 book The Bastis of Karachi: Types and Dynamics (Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit), he acknowledged that the expression of urbanization would be informal in Pakistan. Realizing this, Akhtar Hameed Khan would always invite his disciples to understand the informality of the urbanization. Akhtar Hameed Khan developed a theory of development which was highly different from the development theory taught in universities around the world. The central features of his development theory were self-sufficiency, use of local resources, and eschewing foreign money. Quite remarkably, he identified disconnection between state and society as the source of our problems. Contrary to many other development experts, he would dub Pakistani problems as moral and not as economic.


Once explaining what he meant by moral problem, Dr. Khan said to Anwar Rashid, director of Orangi Charitable Trust, the Japanese observed morality by returning post WWII Marshall Plan loans to the US within three years of their receipt whereas the Pakistani rulers continue to ask for more and more dole-outs. Dr. Khan further said, austerity was the best morality and had the key to solve our development problems. In the 2000s, the model created by him was replicated across the world. The few countries where OPP is being replicated are: South Africa, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. One would be surprised that Dr. Khan’s ideas have been replicated even in developed countries such as Japan and America. Dr. Khan’s theory is not fixed or static. He did not ask his disciples to follow it. Rather he always stressed the need of observation and reflection

based research and extension. His method of learning could be used by highly educated professionals and uneducated people alike. Muhammad Hafeez Arain, one of his ablest disciples, acquired education only to the primary school. But he expanded Dr. Khan’s model with such wisdom that is difficult to find in contemporary times. Hafeez practiced research and extension in Lodhran and Khanpur. Besides, he trained hundreds of people in Dr. Khan’s model. Hafeez was such a humanist that he took personal care of the workers, and tried to make their lives easy. All this became part of Hafeez’s life as a result of his discipleship of Dr. Khan. In the 1950s and 1960s, when development elite across the world were obsessed with grand development projects, i.e. big dams, big industries and big roads as the only route to development, Dr. Khan knew that it was not the big but the small projects at small scales such as mohalla, village and urban neighborhoods which promised prospect of development to the poor. As early as in 1959, Dr. Khan founded Pakistan Academy of Rural Development, Comilla [then East Pakistan] where he organized village cooperatives and initiated micro-credit and micro-savings. The cooperatives formed by him helped hundreds and thousands of peasants change their lives with savings as small as a few rupees on daily and weekly basis. The Comilla model influenced development theory a great deal by introducing a number of participatory approaches to the development and poverty eradication literature and practice. In fact, Comilla the model became a precursor to the development of microfinance we now have around the world. By 2012, the Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB), which uses the Comilla model, had 63,000 cooperatives, with 2.3 million as its members. In 1980, Dr. Khan started walking around Karachi’s informal settlement Organi, with the purpose of learning from its people to enrich his theory of development. The same year he found OPP to provide technical support to what people of Orangi were engaged in to solve their everyday problems. Under his guidance, the OPP helped more than 100,000 homes in 7,000 streets to construct latrines and sewerage lines. More than a million people are now benefitting from the OPP’s self-help programme. In fact, he made the construction of sewerage so affordable and so easy that anyone could build it without any difficulty. This model of development, which is termed as low-cost, self-help model is being replicated across Pakistan. The crux of Dr. Khan’s development theory is: If poor people are provided low-cost development models and technical support, they can become own their development. The biggest achievement of Dr. Khan is in his demonstration of the possibility that development is not the property of technical experts but lies very much within the domain of ordinary people’s everyday living. g

Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014


The story of a Club Chenab, and its rich history

syeD afsar sajID The writer is a Faisalabad based former bureaucrat, poet, literary and cultural analyst, and an academic. He can be reached at:


HE word ‘club’ signifies ‘a group of people who meet together regularly for a particular activity, sport, etc.’ With the import of coffee into England from Turkey (1652), coffee houses gradually became meeting points for social gossip, for men of common taste that over a passage of time converted to clubs of different denominations. Social activities (which also embrace the cultural) clubs are stated to be ‘a modern combination of several types of clubs and reflect today’s more eclectic and varied society’. These clubs focus on the activities available to their members on the sites where they are located. The activities common to such clubs are sports, social parties, musical concerts, and cultural events like art and craft exhibitions, book launchings, fashion shows, and poetic recitals. Most clubs have limited their membership and restricted the events to members with a view to increasing their sense of security as also camaraderie. There are a number of social and country clubs in Pakistan of which some were founded in the British era while the others have conformed to the tradition historically associated with the clubs. They include Islamabad Club, Rawalpindi Gymkhana Club, Lahore Gymkhana Club, Lahore Garrison Golf and Country Club, Lahore Defence Club, The Chenab Club Faisalabad, Services Club Sialkot, Services Club Multan, Sahiwal Club, Sind Club Karachi, Karachi Gymkhana Club, Defence Authority Country and Golf Club Karachi, Peshawar Club, Abbottabad Club, and Quetta Club. The Chenab Club Faisalabad is one of the oldest clubs in the country. It was conceived and founded by deputy commissioner M.W. Douglas (a serviceman seconded to the Indian Civil Service), on a 72-kanal parcel of land adjoining the Company Garden (now Bagh-eJinnah) in the heart of the city, in the year 1910. He was also its first president. There are two distinct epochs in the history of the

club viz., the pre-Partition (1910-47) and the post-Partition (1947-todate). Irrespective of this division, it has always been a centre of gravitation for a variety of social, cultural, sports and other recreational activities in town. Up to the year 1942, membership of the club was restricted to the white members from the civil service whereafter native elite too began to be inducted into the club. Golf, polo, ballroom dancing, and bar were deleted from the charter of its activities soon after the Independence. In 1966, an English bulletin titled Chenab Chatter, covering the whole range of club engagements, saw its maiden publication. By the 1960’s, literary gatherings, poetic recitals, musical concerts, and intellectual moots became the generic components of club programmes aside from sports, exhibitions, and indoor chatting. In the course of time club membership, numbering around 2700, has assumed a distinctive group character with major groups being those of businessmen, doctors, teachers, lawyers, intellectuals and government officials. Pot-luck, later substituted by tambola, and film shows came to be organized in the club with greater frequency. Upgradation of the library and emergence of the Chenab Forum were two marked events in the 1990’s. Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former British High Commissioner in Pakistan, a descendant of Sir James Broadwood Lyall (1837-1916), lieutenantgovernor of the Punjab and the first VC of the Punjab University, to whom the then tehsil (1896) of Lyallpur owed its name, inaugurated the Lyallpur Hall at the Chenab Club in 2003. He was also granted honorary membership of the club on this historic occasion. Another significant event was a re-union of the old presidents and secretaries of the club organized by the management in 2003. Late Prof. Ishfaq Bokhari’s The Chenab Club – A History of its Culture is a recent publication of the

‘The Chenab Club Faisalabad has thus come to stay as an authentic emblem of communal integration besides upholding the rich socio-cultural traditions of the Rachna Doab, its geophysical reference.’ Club highlighting its history and related aspects. The club celebrated its centenary in 2010 by holding a series of events like sports, a grand mushaira, quiz programmes for children, food mela, and Meena Bazaar etc. And now some interesting historical facts about the club! Its record shows that DC Ram Chandra (1917) was its first native Hindu member whereas DC Malik Muhammad Hayat Khan Noon (1929) was its first native Muslim member. Lt. Col. (Retd) Gul Sher KhanNoon (1944) was the only non-official president of the club. Besides its founder and the afore-mentioned three gentlemen, some other eminent presidents of the club include names of CV Salisbury, AWM Jesson, KB Sheikh Noor Muhammad, J. Ortcheson, AD Arshad, Shafi-ulAzam, Mian M. Yusuf Saigol, Syed Qasim Rizvi, Malik Karam Dad Khan, Masood Mufti, Faridud-Din Ahmad, Ch. Abdul Waheed, Sami Saeed, Nasir Mahmood Khosa, Saeed Iqbal Wahla, and Noor-ul-Amin Mengal. It would also be interesting to recall names of some prominent persons on the club roll. They are Lala Murli Dhar Shad and Khan Ahmad Islam Khan of The Lyallpur Cotton Mills, Mehr Muhammad Sadiq, Makhdoom Syed Nazar

Hussain Shah, Ch. Azizuddin, Prof. Hashmat Khan, Ch. Ali Akbar, Shakil Ahmad Khan, Maqsood Elahi Arshad, Mian Maudood Akbar, Ejaz Kunwar Raja, Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, Ch. Sher Ali, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Haji Bashir Ahmad, Prof. Ishfaq Bokhari, Rana Muhammad Nawaz Khan, Kh. Abdullah, Raja Riaz Ahmad, Mian Muhammad Latif, Altaf Salim, Sh. Mukhtar Ahmad, Mian Muhammad Hanif, Dr. Maqbool Akhtar, Prof. Ghulam Rasool Tanvir, Dr. Riaz Majeed, Siddiq Nasim Chaudhry, Sh. Nasim Shaukat Akhgar, Muhammad Idrees, Saeed Ajmal, Muhammad Asif, and many others. Secretaryship of the club is a coveted position. Important names on this list are: Dr. Dilip Singh, Lala Murli Dhar Shad, HL Dunlop, Mian Fazal Ahmad, Mian Waheed Akhtar, Ch. Irshad Muhammad Khan, Dr. Riaz Ahmad Khan, Rana Aftab Ahmad Khan, Mian Muhammad Adrees, Muhammad Islam Sheikh, Dr. Zafarullah Salimi, Dr. Qaiser Mahmood, and Dr. Syed Ejaz Hussain. Late Shah Muhammad was the oldest employee of the club who served here as office worker from 1947 to 2013. The club could also boast of the presence of celebrities like Jigar Moradabadi, Josh Maleehabadi, Hafeez Jalandhari, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Nasir Kazmi, Qateel Shifai, Ahmad Faraz, Anwar Masood, Munnoo Bhai, Shahzad Ahmad, Iftikhar Arif, Abeer Abuzari, Parvin Shakir, Kishwar Naheed, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Parvin, Farida Khanum, Iqbal Bano, Arif Lohar, Ataullah Eisa Khelvi, Qur’atul Ain Haider, Abdullah Hussain, Zia Mohyuddin, Mushtaq Ahmad Yusufi, Prof. Ahmad Rafiq Akhtar, Abdullah Malik, Mustansar Hussain Tarar, Athar Shah Khan Jaidi, Ayaz Ameer, and Abdul Rauf Roofi, at different points of time. The Chenab Club Faisalabad has thus come to stay as an authentic emblem of communal integration besides upholding the rich socio-cultural traditions of the Rachna Doab, its geophysical reference. g 19



Sunday, 16 - 22 MARCH, 2014



Coucil of Islamic Ideology declares women’s existence anti-Islamic Islamabad sharia Correspondent


HE Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) concluded their 192nd meeting on Thursday with the ruling that women are un-Islamic and that their mere existence contradicted Sharia and the will of Allah. As the meeting concluded CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani noted that women by existing defied the laws of nature, and to protect Islam and the Sharia women should be forced to stop existing as soon as possible. The announcement comes a couple of days after CII’s 191st meeting where they dubbed laws related to minimum marriage age to be un-Islamic. After declaring women to be un-Islamic, Shirani explained that there were actually two kinds of women – haraam and makrooh. “We can divide all women in the world into two distinct categories: those who are haraam and those who are makrooh. Now the difference between haraam and

makrooh is that the former is categorically forbidden while the latter is really really disliked,” Shirani said. He further went on to explain how the women around the world can ensure that they get promoted to being makrooh, from just being downright haraam. “Any woman that exercises her will is haraam, absolutely haraam, and is conspiring against Islam and the Ummah, whereas those women who are totally subservient can reach the status of being makrooh. Such is the generosity of our ideology and such is the endeavour of Muslim men like us who are the true torchbearers of gender equality,” the CII chairman added. Officials told Khabaristan Today that the council members deliberated over various historic references related to women and concluded that each woman is a source of fitna and a perpetual enemy of Islam. They also decided that by restricting them to their subordinate, bordering on slave status, the momineen and the mujahideen can ensure that Islam continues to be the religion of peace,

prosperity and gender equality. Responding to a question one of the officials said that international standards of gender equality should not be used if they contradict Islam or the constitution of Pakistan that had incorporated Islam and had given sovereignty to Allah. “We don’t believe in western ideals, and nothing that contradicts Islam should ever be paid heed. In any case by giving women the higher status of being makrooh, it’s us Muslims who have paved the way for true, Sharia compliant feminism,” the official said. The CII meeting also advised the government that to protect Islam women’s right to breathe should also be taken away from them. “Whether a woman is allowed to breathe or not be left up to her husband or male guardian, and no woman under any circumstance whatsoever should be allowed to decide whether she can breathe or not,” Shirani said.

Bilawal announces Sukhbir’s concert to raise food for drought victims Thar staFF report

Pakistan Peoples Party (Chairman) Bilawal Benazir Zulfikar Asif Ali Zardari Bhutto (short Bilawal Bhutto) has invited renowned pop singer to Thar for a concert to raise food for the drought victims, Khabaristan Today has learnt. Bilawal believes that Sukhbir’s show, which he dubbed the Thar Festival, will generate enough money to serve the hungry people in the region. “You have no idea how much the situation in Thar is hurting me personally. The Sindh government is trying so hard to make sure that everyone in the province is happy, and yet we see such appalling pictures. I really feel like I might have to organise another Sindh Festival here,” Bilawal told Khabaristan Today. He then went on to explain how inviting Sukhbir over for a concert will solve the hunger crisis in the region. “I guess I will have to make do with a mini Thar festival, since another Sindh Festival might not be possible right now. In any case we are inviting Sukhbir over for a concert and all the money generated from the concert would go straight to the relief fund dedicated to the Thar victims,” Bilawal added. The PPP chairman further said that if concerts can


529 Paul Smith outlets open in Charsadda on the same day Charsadda Fashion Correspondent

make Imran Khan’s (the former cricketer, not the singer or the actor) Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf the second biggest party in the country, they can “sure as hell” make PPP the second biggest party in Sindh. “Sure, we might be calling the shots in the province but everyone knows who the biggest party in Sindh is, I mean come on,” Bilawal reiterated adding that,

“Sukhbir’s party might help us establish ourselves as the second biggest provincial political party and help solve the Thar crisis simultaneously.” The PPP chairman then went on to do a bhangra dance on “Ishq Tera Tadpaay” exclusively for Khabaristan Today, forcing our camera man to resign unconditionally.

In what was a historic day for fashion 529 Paul Smith outlets opened simultaneously in Charsadda on Tuesday, Khabaristan Today has learnt. Another surprising fact about these outlets was that the outlets only seemed to be dealing in Paul Smith’s latest offering, “Robert”. Even so, in a surprising turn of events the original version of the shoe that is being sold for around $600 worldwide, is being sold merely for Rs600 in these outlets. We cannot seem to pinpoint the reason behind these bizarre happenings. But Paul Smith seems to have taken global and Pakistani fashion industry by storm this week. Robert seems to be here to stay, despite the fact that sales in Charsadda aren’t particularly high. Locals don’t see anything different in Robert as compared to what they have been wearing for generations. “I didn’t even notice that all these outlets had opened in this city. Probably because all they seem to be offering are these shoes that my family has been wearing for a couple of centuries now,” a passerby told this scribe. “And they are selling it at the same rate as Peshawari chappals. No wonder no one’s buying them,” he added.