Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014 I Issue 22 I Pages 16 I Rs. 25
EnOUGH TALKInG FUTURE OF TALKS WITH THE TTP Much has changed since these people first played jihad
ON THE SAME PAGE It remains a point of conjecture, but the notes emanating from Islamabad and Rawalpindi now seem more in concord than before
Page 8 COVER STORY: Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad
Page 3 OPInIOn: Arif nizami
THE MOST ADVANCED MONKEYS
PAKISTANâ€™S DEBT CRISIS; NOT TO BE DISCUSSED
Are us, the humans
When does debt become a nightmare? Page 4
OPInIOn: Humayun Gauhar
Page 11 ECOnOMY: Hassan Shah
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
editorial Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami
Arif Nizami Editor
Chief News Editor
Facets of British soft power
Lahore – Ph: 042-36375963-5 Fax: 042-32535230 Karachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9 Fax: 021-35381208 Islamabad – Ph: 051-2287273 Fax: 051-2818125 Web: www.pakistantoday.com.pk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
the madrassah red flag!
Matters most urgent
he status of the state’s, especially military intelligence’s, alliance with the madrassah nexus is hazy at best as far as public opinion goes, which is odd considering the long years since this war on terror came to Pakistan. The same is true for proxy militias; not the FATA variety, but far more institutionally trained, in national nerve centres, a world away from the Durand Line. The word in Punjab, where these lashkars and jaishes are centred, is that they split with the state after the ’07 Lal Masjid operation, and have since found increasing common cause with Al Qaeda instead, hence the Punjabi Taliban. That would put some of TTP’s attacks in perspective, especially those involving military top brass and highest security installations, including the ISI offices and the GhQ. Yet pretty much of the local and almost the entire foreign press seem obsessed with the ISI, and its continuing patronage of Islamist militias, even after they declared war on the state. Why? Part of the reason is the official response. Granted, the military has clearly won most of the public’s admiration and
allegiance, especially over the matter of dealing the Taliban a military blow in Waziristan. But the insurgency is more than just a military nuisance. The jihad model first tried in the Soviet war relied heavily on forced indoctrination, and how religion was used to achieve political aims is no secret, especially for the military. And even though hardliners have spread this indoctrination virus right through the Deobandi clergy, there is still no official counter narrative, which has serious implications. Just like the Lal Masjid aftermath proved, these militants must be attacked on numerous fronts. Just force, though necessary, was not nearly enough. They were able to spin subsequent events in their favour to the extent that the religious right, even sections that had resisted militant tactics, gathered around to defend them, indeed believing they were defending the cause of Islam. If there had been greater official indulgence in the information part of the war, which the TTP waged far more effectively – Mullah FM, etc, – the far right would not have been able to hijack centre stage of the public debate at present, as talks seem
destined to fail once again. Then there are also certain actions, or rather lack of necessary action on occasion, that speak volumes. And there has not been enough action to neutralise the TTP’s logistical network across the country. Journalists, analysts, even the common man, and especially the military now know of the close working relationship between religious madrassas and the TTP. And once again journalists are risking savage reprisal attacks by bringing these linkages to the fore, yet the state lets them mushroom. The fact that they have dubious funding sources, outrageous anti-state and religion subverting syllabi, and outright treasonous political aims, is not highlighted often enough. They also facilitate kidnapping and extortion, along with other similar operations, which make for another attractive source of funding for the insurgents. So long as these practices are not checked, the war against terrorism will not be won. And however much the military exercises muscle in the badlands, it will not be able to control revenge attacks in urban centres. g
Right kind of literary festivals Or mere festivities
he literary festivals seem to have gathered impressive momentum. There was much anticipation for the Lahore and Karachi reruns, and both went down well. Islamabad, too, was fun aplenty for the participants just a few days ago. There can be no denying the importance of such festivals for a place like Pakistan. It seems that over the years when we, as a nation, tried to punch above our weight, got ourselves mixed in superpower games, and thought ourselves masters of the region, we allowed delusions to have the better of us. And looking back, it is little surprise dogmas and erratic idealism slowly, and quit comprehensively, replaced the spirit of enlightened, and educated, progress. Our literature suffered too, so attempts to safeguard it are always appreciated. But we must be careful, at the same time, that these efforts do not just erect showcase events for a limited urban middle class. In restricting intellectual revival to a self-appointed few, we risk creating a very dangerous class of the dispossessed, one which will eventually bend towards a more inviting but wrong side as the larger narrative of Pakistan enters a crucial stage. It bears noting that our traditional
literature, too, is mostly a product of the grassroots. It was often at its lower rungs that society founds its most fertile pool of intellectual and literary output. It is sad that for far too long our folk and cultural heritage has failed to evolve, and our ideals remain embedded in a very distant past, especially our literature, a sorry, stagnant shadow of its old self. These literary festivals, impressive as they are, must quickly expand not only to involve the street, but provoke it into creativity. Such small sparks have been known to light large fires. The national mindset is in a confused state of metamorphosis, unable to detach itself from growing influences of existentialism. But such times also carry important opportunity. They signify that there is still room for influence in the bigger debate, and voices of reason will find a place, no matter how restricted. There are interesting points of convergence where literary pundits, intellectuals, and popular media can come together. Not only can they help the state in countering a growing reactive and regressive mindset, they can also help the softer side of state and society, and do a service to the arts. Literary festivals from now on will test the organisers’ maturity. g
Pakistan and UK: cooperation needed
T a time when Pakistan faces an immediate and existential threat of terrorism and a lingering and long term problem of extremism, its multifaceted ties with the United Kingdom assume great importance. Pakistan and Britain have several links which bind the two countries in friendly relations. Many Pakistanis feel more at home in Britain than in any other country. This is not just due to the english language but also the presence of so many familiar faces of Asian origin over there. The United Kingdom hosts the largest Pakistani diaspora outside the Gulf. What is more, unlike the Gulf countries, the UK has given hundreds of thousands Pakistanis the British nationality. Quite a few of these have prospered in business while some have been elected MPs. The British Council has over the decades helped in the promotion of educational activities in Pakistan. Britain provided strong support to Pakistan for grant of GSP-plus status. Pakistan is currently the largest recipient of bilateral British aid. The United Kingdom pledged £665 million to Pakistan from 2009-2013 through its Department for International Development (DFID). Islamabad is set to receive £446 million ($750 million) of assistance this year. The DFID Pakistan’s programme is aimed at improvement in education and health as well as poverty reduction. While the seminaries set up
through Gulf funds have promoted extremism, the DFID programme has helped nurture liberal values and an enlightened outlook. The British lawmakers in the past have complained that funding at this scale was unjustified as Pakistani leaders themselves fail to pay the taxes and do not try to expand the tax net to get funds needed for social development. hopefully the earful that the finance minister is expected to have received while in Britain would encourage him to have second thoughts about his fondness for SROs. The British lawmakers also want to ensure that the funds allocated are helpful in reducing extremism in Pakistan. As Punjab is getting special attention from the British government, Shahbaz Sharif needs to ensure that steps are taken to curb the fast spreading extremist trends in the province. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has held talks with his British counterpart David Cameron as well as the British home and foreign secretaries. Decisions have been taken to expand cooperation in economy, health, education, defence and security matters. Unless there is peace in the country and the power and gas shortages are under control, there is little hope of any major private sector investment coming from Britain to Pakistan. Increased cooperation between the two countries can however be helpful in removing the two hurdles in the way. g
For feedback, comments, suggestions and, most importantly, tips, contact us at email@example.com
Life is tough when you’re a Musharraf impersonator. You see, a Nawaz Sharif impersonator will always find work. So will a Zardari look-alike. Ditto for imran Khan. But those who held on to power not through some organic politicking but by piggybacking on the back of ‘certain’ state institutions fade away into obscurity, more or less. Yes, their trial can bring them back into the limelight but that’s just about it. Our man at Geo’s Ham Sab Umeed Se Hain, poor fellow, is facing financial dire straits. A Musharraf well-wisher otherwise, he only got some work recently, when the former dictator was being tried. Well, he recently got some more work, if the rumour mills are to be believed. As a stand-in for the defendant in the latter’s last appearance in court! No one was any the wiser for it! g
********** TheY’LL talk about merit ad nauseum, but an influential board member of the nation’s cricket set up has appointed a close family member as the chief of the Lahore cricketing association. Bad, board member! g
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
On the same page It remains a point of conjecture, but the notes emanating from Islamabad and Rawalpindi now seem more in concord than before Arif nizAmi
The writer is Editor, Pakistan Today.
hE Martyrs’ Day speech by army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif was important not only for what he said but also for what he left unsaid at the auspicious, albeit somber occasion. So eloquently, without mincing any words, he spelt out the military’s views on a number of national issues, but especially on how to deal with the TTP (Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan) and with India on Kashmir. On Kashmir, his stance stood out, for the politicians have placated India for far too long despite the latter’s belligerent stance. No wonder it has stirred a hornet’s nest in India, both amongst the politicians and media. Gen Sharif also reiterated his institution’s belief in constitutionalism and rule of law. Thus he effectively quashed rumours rife that perceived military-civilian rift could possibly devour the still incipient democratic system. his message to the TTP conglomerate was clear: declare allegiance to the constitution unconditionally and return to the mainstream. Or be ready to face the full might of the Pakistani military. Theoretically the PML-N government should have been the one to deliver the message in unequivocal terms. But unfortunately Nisar Ali Khan, its lead man in negotiations with the TTP, is still hemming and hawing. It was Gen Sharif’s first public speech since he assumed the position of COAS about six months back. he comes out as a nononsense professional soldier who would not like to mince his words.
Unlike his predecessor Gen Kayani, who harboured the pretensions of being an intellectual general, Gen Sharif does not like to couch his utterances in platitudes and generalities. Kayani was present at the Martyrs’ Day, ceremony thus quashing rumours about him being gravely ill. The new military leadership is clearly a break from the past in more ways than one. For example the journalists present at the ceremony noted that the ubiquitous ’I word’ was conspicuously missing from Raheel’s narrative. An Islamist analyst noted with dismay the omission of word ‘Islam’ in the speech in his front page rant euphemistically dubbed
‘Reading between the lines in Gen Sharif’s speech an operation against the Taliban holed up in North and South Waziristan is no longer a question of if but when.’ as ‘News Analysis’. But this does not mean that Islam is no longer the mantra of the army. however it is obvious that it is no longer striving to defend the ideological frontiers as defined by the late dictator, Gen Zia ul haq. The COAS in his speech redefined the ideological frontiers altogether differently. he said, the Quaid’s golden principals: Faith, Unity and Discipline should be the watchword for all (democratic) institutions. It is clear that Jinnah’s Pakistan means a pluralistic democracy. The military after promoting obscurantism in the name of jihad for decades has hopefully belatedly realized that this counterproductive policy is devouring the state and hence no longer sustainable. Neither the constitution of Pakistan nor the UN Charter brooks terrorism as an instrument of policy. In this context reading between the lines in Gen Sharif’s speech an operation against the
Editor’s mail Send your letters to: Letters to Editor, Pakistan Today, 4-Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan. Fax: +92-42-32535230 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Letters should be addressed to Pakistan Today exclusively
Don’t bother us I don’t know why rest of the world keeps
‘Gen Sharif also reiterated his institution’s belief in constitutionalism and rule of law. Thus he effectively quashed rumours rife that perceived military-civilian rift could possibly devour the still incipient democratic system.’ Taliban holed up in North and South Waziristan is no longer a question of if but when. According to some reports a military operation against the militants is only a few weeks away. Utterances by the Taliban spokesmen and interlocutors also indicate that time is running out for negotiations. The Taliban have claimed that war and talks cannot go hand in hand. But at the same time they are not willing to stay their hand and are continuing with their terrorist activities. The TTP has proved to be better negotiators than the government interlocutors. They have effectively controlled their message through the media and in the process have successfully created the perception that they are equal stakeholders. In the backdrop of the ISI’s (Inter-Services Intelligence) current spat with the Jang-GEO group the general in his speech also reiterated the military’s belief in free but responsible media. The matter being before PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) GEO still faces threat of closure. hopefully the media group rather than unnecessarily taking on the ISI would consider tendering an unconditional apology for directly and unfairly implicating its chief in the murderous attempt on its anchor hamid Mir. The military leadership should also take an enlightened view of the matter by not demanding closure of a premier news channel. After initially backing the pro-Sharif GEO channel, the PML-N government has distanced itself from supporting the media group. In fact, Khawaja Asif, himself in the dock for his initial anti-army tirade, has
bothering us with repeated allegations while asking to ‘do more’. Recent report of the US defense department blames religious seminaries in Pakistan’s tribal area and Balochistan fomenting attacks on Afghanistan. Report questions freedom granted to sectarian outfits which are not only killing their own countrymen but also get involved in crossborder attacks on neighbouring countries. All such officially banned outfits are able to operate freely by simply changing the names; there seems to be no action to control and audit their local and overseas fundings. Earlier, Britain’s parliamentary international development committee asked its government
owned it up by signing the reference to PEMRA against GEO. Similarly, Nisar Ali Khan has been categorical in his statements against the media group. It is obvious that in recent weeks the civilian leadership has closed ranks with the military leadership. The defence minister and the information minister with PML-N stalwart Senator Raja Zafar ul haq in tow were present at the martyrs’ day ceremony. And unlike at the Kakul academy only a fortnight ago, Khawaja Asif was given proper protocol at the GhQ. Those who were banking on a civilian-military rift further widening must be sorely disappointed. The military is not in the mood or in a position to dislodge an elected civilian government. After a reality check the Sharif government is also aware of its limitations. This however does not mean that there are no irritants. And potential flash points remain. Former strongman Gen Musharraf’s fate still hangs in the balance. In the final analysis, Musharraf will be allowed to go abroad if he so desires. Perhaps a deal in this thorny matter, if not already done, is in the offing. Another potential sore point is negotiations with the Taliban. The military is a major stakeholder in
to divert presently allocated grant for Pakistan to poor countries. Pakistan is supposed to receive around one billion pounds in grant in development funds during the five-year period. Committee is critical of Pakistani government of its failure to take action against religious extremism; that’s why it considers British funding as waste of tax-payers’ money. But why these people keep interfering in our matters. It’s our own conscious decision to do everything which is being questioned by the rest of the world. What if a library in Lal Masjid compound is named after Osama Bin Ladin; what if Lal Masjid foundation declares to commemorate May 02 as ‘Day of mourning in
the matter. The primary narrative at the Martyr’s Day programme quite professionally arranged and well articulated visually and verbally by the ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) was the sacrifices that the military jawans and officers have rendered in fighting against terrorism. Incidentally the Pakistani military has the highest ratio of officers to the jawans killed in combat. Thus the morale and esprit de corps is high. The feeling that the only way the TTP can be brought around the negotiation
‘The COAS in his speech redefined the ideological frontiers altogether differently. He said, the Quaid’s golden principals: Faith, Unity and Discipline should be the watchword for all (democratic) institutions.’ table is from a position of strength is pervasive. Right now the traditional COIN (Counter Insurgency) strategy is being practiced in reverse with potentially disastrous results. Only after quelling the insurgents through military means the government can negotiate with them from a position of relative strength. In the present context, the government strategy seems to be kowtowing to the TTP’s demands from a position of weakness. The TTP wants to dictate its agenda. Perhaps hitherto the government was willing to lend a sympathetic ear. But now it is finally coming around to the military’s point of view. The army has been fighting the war on terror now for a little over a decade. It has 154,000 troops stationed in North Waziristan. And unlike his predecessor, Gen Raheel Sharif is not hesitant in employing them to crush the TTP. g
the remembrance of OBL’; what if outlawed sectarian and religious parties take out large rallies in support of ISI and army; what if the government feels no shame in holding peace talks with the killers of 50,000 Pakistanis; what if we keep supporting destruction of schools while madrassas are becoming collection points for Taliban’s funding; what if we feel proud of becoming epicenter of polio virus in the world which may lead to travel ban on Pakistanis. We love to live in contradictions, we only want to live in our own world. Please don’t bother us as we are from some other planet. MASOOD KHAN Jubail, Saudi Arab www.pakistantoday.com.pk 03
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
The most advanced monkeys Are us, the humans Humayun GauHar
The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
ocieties are dynamic, not static. so are the cosmos. Nation-states are dynamic too. thus they change perpetually, which has led to the phrase, ‘change is constant,’ though in Pakistan we might think that we are going round in circles whereas we are in a descending spiral of change. early philosophers could not understand why the world changed, so they ignored it, assuming a static world. that was one of the reasons why new discoveries are anathema, oftentimes blasphemy, for they challenge established beliefs created by clergymen, kings, rulers and jurists. Remember what happened to Galileo who said that the earth was round, not flat, that planets rotate round the sun, not the other way round? to this day many illiterate clerics issue mindbending edicts, like a mullah recently gave a fatwa that the earth is flat. even in cambridge there was a ‘Flat earth society’ when i was up. it was not until the philosopher Hegel that change began to be understood, though his philosophy was metaphysical. He assumed change to be inherent, formed the concept of the dialectic as the mechanism of change where thesis and antithesis constantly synthesize to create a new thesis and anti-thesis causing perpetual conflict through perpetual change. What was the norm yesterday is frowned upon today, like wife beating. Husband exploitation could be frowned upon next. Laws and societal norms change to control base human nature, be it the laws of the land, rules of faiths and religions, customs and rituals. Whereas in the past human sacrifice was acceptable to please the gods, today it is animal sacrifice to please the one God, as paganism and idolatry gave way to monotheism – mostly. Laws, religions, customs and rituals are always the controllers
‘Terrorists and Mafiosi have grabbed every lever of power. The biggest Mafias are the government and its agencies like police, utility bills and tax collectors and political parties in cahoots with private criminal gangs.’ 04 www.pakistantoday.com.pk
and governors of base human nature. thus when after a natural calamity formal and societal policing of human behaviour collapses base human nature takes over and rapes, kidnappings, thefts and murders happen. it’s a very tricky and fragile balance, which is reestablished only because the majority retains enough civilization to re-impose behavioural governors. Notions like rule of law and egalitarianism – that everyone is equal before the law regardless of station in life – supremacy of constitutions, parliament, executive and judiciary as the three branches of government that must be separate and independent of the others – have all been crafted to govern base human nature. Administered properly, these governors become very powerful. Administered badly,
‘The people of Pakistan are totally – and I mean totally, completely and utterly – unprotected against the State and its Mafiosi. God help us, but He will not until we help ourselves first. I think God has no time for a people who die apathetically while they are living.’ they crumble. if these governors are reduced to window dressing and rulers misuse them to perpetrate injustice, self-perpetuation and self-aggrandizement to propagate ‘democratic’ dynasties, society gets dis-balanced, the myth of the legal governors of human nature evaporates and base human nature takes over. By the same token, when laws break down the governors that keep the animal nature of rulers in check become ineffective too. there’s a lot of sense in the adage, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. it is part of human nature that when the governors of society break down the most powerful prevails. these are the rules of reality; if rulers respect these rules societies succeed. if they don’t, societies fall. if the most powerful has its fangs taken out it cannot replace errant rulers and save degraded society, it breaks down into chaos where there is a free-for-all in which the weak get trampled. society scatters to reform itself and create new realities. it is so in the animal kingdom; it has been so in the history of the most advanced monkeys. if you are wondering who the most advance monkeys are, it is not chimpanzees, it is us humans. even in older democracies, if it ever comes to the survival of the state, the most powerful force starts flexing its muscles, as the Pentagon did after 9/11 and virtually started running America in things that mattered. the Department of state lost
‘It is part of human nature that when the governors of society break down the most powerful prevails. These are the rules of reality; if rulers respect these rules societies succeed. If they don’t, societies fall.’
considerable importance in foreign policy making, congresspersons were brainwashed with strategic communications and their perceptions artfully managed to obediently do the needful, allowing security agencies to transgress the freedoms of American citizens, foreigners and important heads of state and government. the only force more powerful than the ruler is the ruled themselves rising as one entity. this is what happened in the French Revolution, a bloody upturning of the status quo that led to the end of monarchy. Revolution, as against anarchy, is not a one-off thing. it has to be permanent and perpetual to keep constitutions and their systems dynamic, alive and delivering. thus rulers need to understand that they shouldn’t push the limits of power crafted by societies to breaking point. today’s european colonizers first trampled upon the norms of what we call international law and democracy today, occupied twothirds of the globe and proceeded to denude it of its wealth to enrich themselves, leaving poor, hapless peoples in long-term penury. After they had developed economically they took on the luxury and mantle of democracy, not the other way round. Democracy and development don’t go together. Democracy comes after development. Before development come thought, research and invention. then come occupation and plunder of the resources of others and the creation of captive markets. Having enriched themselves first, development and universal education follow. After development democracy emerges, when an educated people understand what modern electoral democracy really is even though that is often tweaked against their collective will
without their realizing it. this pattern of human behaviour still persists, as witnessed in the recent conquests and takeover of the crimea by Russia and the earlier conquests of Afghanistan and iraq by America. of course pretexts are created, but only fools take them more seriously than they should be. More developed societies that call themselves democracies have found ways to beat the system by controlling the will of the people through electoral manipulation and propaganda done by the unseen ‘Deep state’ in the background. We the uneducated only follow the pantomime of modern democracy without understanding it. those regarded as educated mostly mimic Western behaviour and habits without knowing their historical backgrounds. thus we constantly change by collectively descending further into
‘Revolution, as against anarchy, is not a one-off thing. It has to be permanent and perpetual to keep constitutions and their systems dynamic, alive and delivering. Thus rulers need to understand that they shouldn’t push the limits of power crafted by societies to breaking point.’ deprivation, wretchedness and loss of freedom. We tout all sorts of bogus figures that economists pedal out to create the mirage of success while poverty in india and Pakistan is around 75 percent and more in Bangladesh despite them supposedly being democracies. our biggest problem – volcano really – is our population growth. Pakistan is the worst. We are procreating ourselves to death. Pakistan’s real population is around 230 million yet no one sees that the lights are about to go out because this land cannot sustain more than 250 million, if that. if our population had been half of what it is, which it should have been had we not, as i suspect, been descended from rabbits, we would have been an advanced middle-income country and ascending.
Karachi has an infrastructure to sustain eight million people; its population is around 20 million. education has gone down the drain. Medical care is a fiction. Prices are skyrocketing, real incomes are descending, joblessness and indebtedness are increasing, our currency devalues making imports dearer while our exports remain below our import bill, corruption has descended to loot and plunder, our social fabric has been rent asunder, security is non-existent as terrorists have taken control of large swathes of the state, lawlessness is rife, the army has been demonized, child abuse has increased and women reduced to chattel. And the government’s writ doesn’t run throughout the state; instead a lot of it has gone to criminals and terrorists, and increasing. Yet there are a certain breeds of monkeys the world over called finance ministers, economists, bankers and regulators who would have us believe that economies are improving. Does their gibberish reduce our pain? i can assure you that there is no physical pain, no degradation greater than hunger for an empty stomach starts eating itself. can you imagine how degrading eating grass can be? can you imagine how begging for food destroys a person’s self-esteem? can you imagine how humiliating it is to beg for work? it destroys one’s soul. if a society destroys a human being’s soul it wages war against the Almighty for Man’s spirit comes from God’s spirit. such a society eventually destroys itself because it cannot improve the human condition. the graveyards of empires and states stand testimony. those of you who have never experienced hunger and degradation might soon be experiencing it if things go the way they are. terrorists and Mafiosi have grabbed every lever of power. the biggest Mafias are the government and its agencies like police, utility bills and tax collectors and political parties in cahoots with private criminal gangs. the people of Pakistan are totally – and i mean totally, completely and utterly – unprotected against the state and its Mafiosi. God help us, but He will not until we help ourselves first. i think God has no time for a people who die apathetically while they are living. g
‘Our biggest problem – volcano really – is our population growth. Pakistan is the worst. We are procreating ourselves to death. Pakistan’s real population is around 230 million yet no one sees that the lights are about to go out because this land cannot sustain more than 250 million, if that.’
C M YK
A chilling reminder Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
is it now only a question of time? When and not why?
The writer is a political analyst and the Executive Director of the Regional Peace Institute. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
he speech of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on the occasion of the Martyrs’ Day at the General headquarters in Rawalpindi on April 30 is a chilling reminder of the vast gulf that separates the military’s narrative from that of the government. It was also an unequivocal reiteration of the role that the armed forces have played in safeguarding the constitution, democracy and the freedoms that we have become so accustomed to misusing. The speech contained two key policy statements. Theoretically, this should have come from the head of the government. There could be a million reasons why the COAS was forced to state what fell within the domain of the prime minister, the foremost being his inability to announce the priorities of the national agenda and his reluctance to do so for persistently compromising the national interest to further perpetuate his political stranglehold. The COAS advised the insurgents to unconditionally accept the constitution and subservience to the rule of law and return to the national mainstream. In the event they refuse to do so, he warned: “There should be no doubt regarding dealing with traitors of the state. The proud people of Pakistan and its armed forces know full well how to consign them to hell”. These are the same traitors whom the prime minister has legitimised by declaring them as ‘stakeholders’ on a par with the state of Pakistan. They are also the same traitors whom his government, the members of his negotiating team and leaders of some other political parties refer to endearingly as “our Muslim brothers’, “our angry brothers”, “our Pakistani brothers”, or just “our brothers”. They are the same traitors the government is bending over backwards to appease and accommodate even while they continue unleashing a deadly spate of violence that has already consumed over 50,000 lives and maimed thousands of others. They are the same traitors who do not hold allegiance to Pakistan’s constitution, its laws and its system of governance. And they are the same traitors whose death at the hands of the Pakistani troops is dubbed as ‘shahadat’ while this status is not accorded to those brave officers and soldiers who die fighting for their country. They are the same traitors whose goodwill is so integral to the government’s policy that it constitutes a committee of its own ‘Taliban’ to negotiate with them. In the process, the government provides them with critical space and time to regroup and launch their deadly incursions against the state of Pakistan, its armed forces and its people. The other unequivocal policy statement concerns the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The COAS said: “Kashmir is Pakistan’s
jugular vein. This is an international dispute and there are United Nations resolutions awaiting implementation. Its resolution in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people is absolutely vital for regional security and sustainable peace. The sacrifices of the Kashmiri people will not go waste. Pakistan’s armed forces desire peace, but they are forever ready to befittingly respond to any aggression”. I have not heard a political leader from this government, or the ones that preceded it, making any such unequivocal statement about the outstanding issue of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. On the contrary, their attitude has been mostly apologetic. Their representatives have preferred to remain quiet even in the face of an overtly aggressive stance that India has adopted at various international forums. even when they have been forced to respond to some Indian forays, they have talked about the desirability of the issue being tackled bilaterally by India and Pakistan. They have refrained from projecting the international nature of the dispute or the need for the United Nations to enforce its resolutions. The COAS has not only talked about the dispute in a candid and forthright manner, he has also projected its international relevance as it awaits to be addressed in accordance with the United Nations resolutions. The government has been taking undue pains to publicise that the military and the
‘They are the same traitors who do not hold allegiance to Pakistan’s constitution, its laws and its system of governance. They are the same traitors whose death at the hands of the Pakistani troops is dubbed as ‘shahadat’ while this status is not accorded to those brave officers and soldiers who die fighting for their country. They are the same traitors whose goodwill is so integral to the government’s policy that it constitutes a committee of its own ‘Taliban’ to negotiate with them.’
political leaderships are on the ‘same page’ when it comes to dealing with the challenges that Pakistan faces, be it from terrorism, or from across our eastern and Western borders. The prime minister went overboard at a recent function at Gwadar where he proudly presented the COAS ‘standing on my left’ and the Balochistan chief minister ‘standing on my right’ as a testimony of the military and the government being on the same page. None of that appears to be true. As a matter of fact, the opposite is the likelier scenario: the vast and almost unbridgeable gulf that separates the two leaderships. In all probability, the COAS was forced to make these two policy statements at the Martyrs’ Day Ceremony after having lost hope that the government would do the needful and take a position that would be in the best national interest of Pakistan. Now that he has made the statement, how is the government likely to react? The conflict between the political leadership and practically all institutions
‘In a further display of insensitivity, instead of staying back home to be part of the Martyrs’ Day Ceremony, the prime minister conveniently proceeded to London to evaluate his illicit financial empire. There appears no end to his insatiable lust for more.’
including the army is rooted in the prime minister’s preoccupation with accumulating unchallengeable power in his person to the exclusion of others. This is not the first time that he has ended up in this blind alley. So was also the case in his previous two stints in power when he repeatedly took on other state institutions including the presidency, judiciary and the army in his insatiable lust for total control. That led to the ouster of his governments in the past and that may well be the case this time round also. Let us put the sequence of events in place leading up to the current spat. It all began with the unwarranted statements of the two senior government ministers disparaging the army and the ISI for conveying their concerns regarding the manner the government was handling the case of the former president and the army chief Gen Musharraf. This created a lot of agitation within the army whose response came when, visiting the base of the Special Services Group, Gen Raheel stated: “Pakistan Army upholds the sanctity of all institutions and will resolutely preserve its own dignity and institutional pride”. That brought the two chief crooks together – the former president Asif Zardari and the incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – in a display of comradeship in the face of perceived threat from the army. In the midst of the reported tensions came the attack on a senior journalist and his unsubstantiated accusation against the ISI and its Director General Lt. Gen. Zaheer ul Islam. For an inordinately long time, his photograph was flashed across the television screen of the channel as if he were the proven culprit. There was even a demand for his resignation. The prime minister, in a public display of brazen provocation, rushed to Karachi to visit the recuperating journalist in the hospital who is widely known for his antiarmy and anti-ISI feelings. This was followed by visits to the hospital by the senior ministers of his cabinet. It appeared to be a pre-meditated case of singling some people out as more equal than others. I say so because the country has lost over fifty-thousand people to the scourge of terrorism and the prime minister has never shown his caring side concerning any of the other deaths including that of some senior army officers. he has also not had the decency to enquire about the welfare of the bereaved families either. In a further display of insensitivity, instead of staying back home to be part of the Martyrs’ Day Ceremony, the prime minister conveniently proceeded to London to evaluate his illicit financial empire. There appears no end to his insatiable lust for more. The unwarranted and unsubstantiated assault, aggravated by the government’s pregnant inaction, deservedly evoked a fiery response from the army and the ISI. The COAS visited the ISI headquarters
within the next forty-eight hours in a show of unflinching solidarity with the principal spy agency and its command - a sentiment that he repeated in his Martyrs’ Day speech also. Subjected to immense pressure, the defence ministry promptly sent a note to the Pakistan electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PeMRA) asking it to probe the charges of anti-state activities by the concerned channel which, in turn, has already sent a letter to the channel asking it to explain its position within 14 days. Simultaneously, a number of organisations started staging pro-army and ISI demonstrations throughout the country. In the aftermath of the strong reaction from the army, and gripped with a fit of jitters, the government has shown signs of backtracking as some of its ministers have come out with facile explanations of their statements. A retinue of them was also seen at the Martyrs’ Day ceremony sitting glum-facedly staring into blankness! That is where the matter stands at this moment with either of the combatant parties waiting for the other to blink. While the army leadership has gone on with its job unflustered, it is the prime minister and his government that is in the grip of palpable panic. The leader of the opposition’s meeting with the defence minister is a clear reflection of the danger the government fears from the army and those forces that are agitating against it and its nexus with
‘The government has been caught in a brazen and premeditated act of leading the charge for maligning the armed forces and the premier intelligence agency of the country to serve its evil ends. Can this uneasy relationship, riddled with deep-set doubts and even rancour, be allowed to linger on in the midst of the state facing existential challenges? The obvious answer would be in the negative. If that be the case, how and where the matter is going to rest?’
the then-chief justice that resulted in substantially rigging the elections to the benefit of the PML-N. It is the same nexus that has put in extra hours to spearhead the ghastly campaign to cast slurs on the army and the ISI in conducting certain matters of the state. The government has been caught in a brazen and pre-meditated act of leading the charge for maligning the armed forces and the premier intelligence agency of the country to serve its evil ends. Can this uneasy relationship, riddled with deep-set doubts and even rancour, be allowed to linger on in the midst of the state facing existential challenges? The obvious answer would be in the negative. If that be the case, how and where the matter is going to rest? howsoever one may look at the situation, the government apparently appears to be adrift a tidal wave that is gushing forth with full might that is likely to cause irremediable destruction. The momentum is likely to gain in speed and ferocity given the prospect of further blunders by the prime minister and his myopic and hate-driven advisors. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 05
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
“Hidden hands” and body count
Some 2007 of 19,200 missing persons found dead in Baloch insurgency IsmaIl DIlawar The writer is a researcher and a working journalist. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
he long-neglected people of Baluchistan claim to have collected as many as 2007 corpses of their loved ones who, Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) claims, have fallen prey to stateterrorism committed in the insurgency-hit province by security and intelligence agencies. The body count continues, however. VBMP leader Mama Qadeer Baloch puts the number of “innocent” missing Baloch persons at 19,200, all of whom, the movement perceives, stand “martyred”. Human plight in numbers human Rights Commission of Pakistan (hRCP) tends to disagree as the VBMP claims that the victims of enforced disappearances include at least 170 women, mostly school teachers, and 169 children of one to 10 years of age. “Since 2001 we have lifted some 2007 bodies with mutilated faces and this trend of extrajudicial killing is accelerating,” Mama told this reporter at a pictorial protest camp that VBMP erects onand-off outside Karachi Press Club. hRCP Chairwoman Zohra Yusuf does not take this “politico-humanitarian” issue as a number game, saying forced disappearances are “illegal” no matter what the numbers are. “Our figures show they (missing persons) are in thousands. Women and children, however, are not included therein,”
she told this reporter on telephone. Claiming to have handed a list of missing persons to his “last hope” namely the United Nations and european Union (eU), VBMP’s Mama insists that “suspicious” lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers and other highly educated people lifted over the years include women and children. Well-illustrated in this regard, Mama says, was Zarina Marri, a school teacher who is still missing along with her two-year-old son Murad Marri. “Children have been abducted along with their parents,” claims Baloch leader. Protesting orphans Ask any protester at the KPC’s missing persons camp and he or she would point to a photo displaying a friend or relative purported to be “martyred” or missing for months. Buragh Baloch, a seven-year-old school-going kid from Quetta, was seen showing V (victory) signs to photojournalists snapping protesters at the camp. Buragh had taken leave from his school to protest the killing of his father “Shaheed Mir Jaleel Raki” a couple of years back. “I don’t know,” the kid innocently replied when asked why his father was killed. Chakar Rind was there to vent his anger over the enforced disappearance of his cousin Naveed Akhtar on his way back to Karachi from Quetta. Akhtar, Rind says, was a student activist for Baloch rights and was therefore lifted at Awaran some 18 months back. Lesson not learnt If not addressed politically these sad narratives of human plight and the undeclared use of force against suspected Baloch separatists would further alienate the under-privileged people of Baluchistan, turning the insurgency into a popular separatist movement, warn independent analysts including hRCP. hRCP chairperson Zohra minces no words in flaying the country’s all-powerful military establishment for not learning a lesson from history. Bengalis, she warns, had started a
movement for their rights and had got Pakistan dismembered in 1971. Worse than bangladesh Siddique Baloch, political analyst and editor of Baluchistan express, still remembers the “unbelievable” protest demonstrations that had broken out spontaneously in hundreds of cities and villages of Baluchistan after the bombing of Nawab Akbar Bugti in August 2006 during the Musharraf era. “It was a situation worse than Bangladesh,” recalls the veteran journalist who opines that the military was bent upon crushing by force the separatists regardless of human rights issues involved. Counter-productive use of force has the use of force proved counter-productive in Baluchistan? “Absolutely it has”, said the hRCP chief. The claim seems to carry enough weight when analysed against the backdrop of deadly terrorist attacks at Sibi railway station and a fruit market in Islamabad that saw on April 8 and 9 at least 41 people killed and 161 others injured at the hands of outlawed United Baloch Army (UBA). According to Dr Mutahir Ahmed Shaikh, chairman International Relations Department at University of Karachi, Baloch insurgency has intensified especially during 20062014. This, the analyst says, is because of an “over-centralised” undemocratic state structure haunting the country since the post-colonial era. “Baluchistan has been under fire in (19)70s, 90s, 2006 and then now. State agencies cannot be made accountable. The missing persons case is a fallout of the relational gap between state and society,” the political scientist told this reporter. Dr Shaikh says some “frustrated” elements in Baluchistan had turned separatists after breathing hard for decades under the oppressive regimes of military dictators. BLA in the making While innocent Buragh thinks of security agencies, the perceived killers of his father, as “bad guys”, VBMP
activist Zahid Ali Baloch laments not having enough courage to join antiPakistan militants: Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA). hailing from Dera Bugti and also possessing agriculture lands in Larkana (Sindh), Baloch finds in himself no patriotic feelings for Pakistan where, he claims, genocide of Baloch people was going on. “I would have joined BLA if I had enough courage,” the protester told this scribe. To him, all of the missing persons were “martyred” and none of the institutions in Pakistan, including the Supreme Court, was reliable. Killing hidden hands While facts remain shrouded in mystery, stakeholders keep pointing fingers at local and international “hidden hands” for the rampant extrajudicial killing of the missing persons in the resource-rich province. Mama Qadeer of VBMP blames the Frontier Corps (FC), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) for lifting, interrogating, torturing and killing “suspected” Baloch people. Citing witnesses, hRCP Chairwoman Zohra tends to buy the impression that local security and intelligence agencies’ are responsible for the enforced disappearances. Funders of insurgency While political analysts slam Islamabad for its failure to resolve the issue through dialogue, they do not rule out claims that Baloch insurgents have a backing from regional and extra regional forces. Local authorities are said to have been dealing with the separatists with an iron fist because of the latter’s covert affiliation with Pakistan’s foreign rivals. The PML-N leadership in Baluchistan sees neighboring India meddling in the insurgency-hit province by funding the insurgent. In a statement reported Friday, Sardar Sanaullah Zehri claimed that Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was sabotaging the peace of his province. Nature of conflict
Intellectuals never die
It is believed that while human rights and political entities tend to sensitise the Baloch missing persons case along humanitarian lines, the country’s civilian and military leadership sees the issue through a strategic lens. “The state-centric view of the issue is strategic in character. Generally speaking, it is a political and human rights issue,” says Dr Shaikh. Political scientists, therefore, warn Islamabad of geopolitical repercussions in case the insurgency intensifies in Baluchistan. Dr Shaikh thinks that regional and extraregional forces would certainly intervene if Pakistan got weak internally. Siddique Baloch also sees chances for intervention from Iran and the United States if alleged state suppression continues in Baluchistan. Remedy hRCP Chairperson Zohra suggests the PML (N) government to assert its authority to find a political solution to the longstanding conflict in Baluchistan. “If you can talk to the Taliban, the killers of more than 50,000 Pakistanis, why not to Balochis, even if they are separatists?” she wondered. Also, the human rights activist wants the local security and spy agencies to come under civilian government control. “While dealing with insurgency they should also take the rights struggle of the Balochs into account,” she said. Dr Shaikh too proposes dialogue with the militants. Besides, the redressal of genuine economic issues, provincial autonomy and strengthening of democratic institutions, he says, would isolate the separatists. To Siddique Baloch, what can resolve the issue politically would include a state amnesty for militants, the withdrawal of forces from the province, and the release of all Baloch people allegedly abducted by the agencies. Despite all the heart burning he and his disgruntled companions have, Mama Qadeer of VBMP wishes the country’s constitution to be a yardstick for the judicial trial of Baloch accused, particularly the separatists. g
History is replete with human sacrifices without which mankind would not have progressed
N pronouncing my sentence, your fear is greater than mine in hearing it,” so claimed Giordano Bruno in the face of an impending torturous death. Bruno, a priest of Dominican Order, and also a philosopher and scientist in the sixteenth century, was tortured and burned at the stake for speaking the truth about the position of the earth in the universe. This revelation was not only an open challenge to existing geocentric conceptions of the universe, but it also put the divine concept of life on the planet at test. The mettle of Giordano Bruno should not be underestimated. The outspoken priest, having known the facts of universe already revealed by Copernicus, did not recant and was brought back to Rome and handed over to Inquisition, where he remained in prison for eight years and was brutally tortured. even in the face of unimaginable torture he remained composed and uttered “I neither ought to recant, nor will I.” Immediately after the death sentence, Giordano Bruno’s jaw was clamped shut with an iron gag, his tongue was pierced with an iron spike and another iron spike was driven into his
palate. On February 19, 1600, he was driven through the streets of Rome, stripped of his clothes and burned at the stake. But irony of time is that now the image of Bruno stands erected in Naples in honour of his services in philosophy and science, but his tormentors have long been rubbished to the dustbin of history. history is replete with such human sacrifices without which mankind would have not made progress, not only in the field of science and technology but also in his moral and social development. Unfortunately, these days Muslim countries across the world are deficient of intrepid intellectuals who would dare to speak their minds freely, even in the face of torture and death. Progress in the western world, be it in the arts or sciences, has been made possible by the sacrifices of such brave and dauntless people. Before the introduction and consequent popularity of humanism in western countries, there has was a tug of war between the clergy, the symbol of retrogression, and anti-clergy, a symbol of enlightenment and moderation. And for all intents and purposes, the latter won this struggle because of sacrifices by their fearless intellectuals. That is why great minds like Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), John Locke (1632–1704), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), Voltaire (1694–1778), physicist Isaac Newton (1643–1727), Francis Bacon (1561–1626), David hume (1711-1776) and many others are praised
the world over for their rational mindsets. Similarly, Pakistan today is now in the grip of a ferocious vortex, a vortex which has in its own fold a number of religious and political ambivalences and contradictions. At the religious level, it is divided into two main factions, Sunnis and the Shi’a. The venom and hostility between them can be gauged by the fact that they will go to any length to subdue the other. In the same way, in political matters, one faction advocates accepting the role of religion in politics, which is evident from the demands of peace talks with the Taliban by some political parties, whereas another faction is advocating ruthless military operation against the outfits that are continually challenging the writ of the state. In this sorry state of affairs, the government tends to remain dormant, allowing circumstances to worsen. As a matter of fact, political philosophers in their own times have been proffering political solutions best suited to their societies. In ancient times the purpose of such philosophies was to establish a safeguard against the impending dethronement of kings as opposed to the welfare of the masses but it does not mean that these political philosophies were totally bereft of the idea of public welfare. Ancient philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, etc, certainly strove painstakingly to politicise the people and laid great emphasis on the establishment of constitutional arrangements
that would ensure checks and balances between sovereign and subject. Political philosophies take birth according to the social and economic environment of the society. In ancient times when societies were dogmatic the political thoughts were formed by giving gods and goddesses the supreme power. But with the human intellectual growth, reason stepped forward to play its role, leaving behind the notions of power that were metaphysical. No doubt, in Pakistan some are trying to promote the culture of rational inquiry and inculcating the principles of equality, justice, individual freedom and respect by casting aside religious fanaticism, but their voices so far have remained unheard. In this respect, the case of the deceased Punjab governor Salman Taseer speaks volumes about our callousness. had we raised our voice with the governor right at the beginning, when he began to face a media trial, not only his fate may have been different but it would also have paved the way for the liberals to be able to speak their minds without fear. The growth of Taliban has become possible only due to the vacuum left by seculars. Liberals, being in love with their own lives, do not dare put their life in danger, and the result is an imbalance that tilts society towards dogmatic cultures. Given the situation the only pragmatic solution available to the liberals is to organise and raise their voice to thwart further deterioration. g
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
Scourges, past and present Tempers start rising along with the temperature as the load-shedding intensifies
Khawaja Manzar aMin The writer is a freelance columnist.
In tropical climes, there are certain times, Of day, when all the citizens retire, To tear off their clothes and perspire, It’s a rule that the greatest fools obey, For the sun is much too sultry, And one must avoid the ultra-violet ray. –Noel Coward ur historic city, Lahore has witnessed many vicissitudes over the course of its thousand year plus recorded history. It has had to endure repeated sackings at the hands of rapacious conquerors that using one pretext or the other (both usually invented) invaded and plundered the easily accessible city lying conveniently in their path on the onward journey to the capital Delhi. Famines, floods, drought, earthquakes, fevers and epidemics, like Biblical plagues, have also been regular and unwelcome visitations, leaving death, destruction and misery in their wake. But today, the great city (as indeed the rest of the country and more particularly the rural districts) suffers a torturing presence equal to if not worse than all the human pests and pestilences of the past, in that its cursed presence is now a permanent feature in people’s lives, leaving them utterly demoralized, with no light (pun intended) at the end of the tunnel. Adventurers from the north-west came and left with their camel-loads of loot, but the present scourge is a domestic affliction, one which just doesn’t show signs of ever going away. One refers of course to the agonizing loadshedding that has burdened the lives of the citizens beyond human endurance and is also constantly testing their sobriety to the limit. For tempers begin to rise along with the temperature, and the Punjabi vocabulary is particularly rich in its choice of vivid expletives. Hell, indeed, hath no fury like a citizen without electric power and water, with the mercury hitting the mid-forties (centigrade, that is). And also when, to add salt to the wound, the power rates are continuously increased by the kindly and benevolent government. More taxation without any power (electric) seems to be its motto. But as everybody knows, the key words here are corruption, the mafias, meter readers and line losses, nepotism, inefficiency and the lackadaisical approach of the top leadership, past and present, which failed to tame the problem by radical steps. Leadership inertia and lack of political will have allowed the symptoms to grow almost beyond recall. We do not need the services of the shrewd fictional gentleman of 221 B, Baker Street, London, who would probably, by instant observation and deduction, remark that ‘it seems to be one of those simple cases, which are so extremely difficult’. Out of the box thinking and swift action is imperative to alleviate the people’s ‘current’ plight. An essential step is to regulate the timing of offices and markets. When the Tsunami struck Japan a couple of years back, damaging its nuclear reactors and cutting electric supply by over 40 percent, the Japanese people responded magnificently by ‘power lowering’, reducing electricity load to avoid blackouts. Housewives used washing machines once a week only, the air conditioners were fixed voluntarily at over 20 degrees, senior
executives gave up formal suits and started wearing aloha, a loose fitting dress of Hawaiin origin, imported of course from China. The Japanese government also changed the timings of all government offices to close by noon, starting work as early as six in the morning. Since we as a people are not much given to sacrifice (unless it is by someone else), imposed measures, seriously enforced in practice, offer the only pragmatic short-term solution.
‘Load-shedding, whether scheduled or of the instant variation, breaks up the cohesion of a 24-hour day into meaningless chunks or bits and pieces of time, a fractured, staggered day in which no plan or programme can be counted as certain.’ As the world’s first private detective Sherlock Holmes would instantly deduct, much of the electricity being used in our huge markets is stolen, with the meter reader in the starring role. Most of these markets open at around noon, and do not down shutters till well past midnight. For a nominal monthly ‘fee’ to the above functionary they run their air conditioners and electric heaters all day without a care in the world, knowing that the billing axe will actually fall on someone else. So the first and most urgent thing needed is to make the markets open at ten, which in the summers is late enough, and to close promptly at eight without fail, irrespective of generators or uPS on the premises. It must be lights out at eight, or else. Similar restrictions must be placed both on government and private offices and their use of ACs, and also on educational institutions for a couple of months during the height of
summer when the power crisis is at its peak. The government has belatedly started a recovery drive against defaulters and most of the names that are cropping up are not surprisingly those of influentials, big business, the GOrs, public offices and august places or palaces, like the President and Prime Minister Houses, and many other sacred cows, but the list also includes predators such as the police, many of whose thanas are running on borrowed juice. It is moot that these astronomical sums will ever be recovered. And to make matters worse, an inter-provincial war has broken out over the matter of payment of outstanding bills, with the Sindh Assembly passing a resolution of condemnation and the KP government also showing thumbs down. But the government has to pull some rabbits out of its hat swiftly, or it will face the same storm of condemnation over this issue as the last regime. To refresh the government’s memory, people are also voters, something the leaders are much inclined to forget after the election. Load-shedding, whether scheduled or of the instant variation, breaks up the cohesion of a 24 hour day into meaningless chunks or bits and pieces of time, a fractured, staggered day in which no plan or programme can be counted as certain. Apart from the physical torture (and that includes sleepless nights) which repeated load-shedding entails (in collaboration with squadrons of dive-bombing mosquitoes), the stress of waiting and watching for power to resume cannot but leave psychological scars on a peoples already prone to start at sudden noises or even at their own shadow. Years of adversity and daily horrors have left their choleric stamp on the national psyche. There is ‘neither peace within nor calm around’. Manufacturers and exporters are forced to slow down or shut their mills and factories and are unable to meet their foreign orders and export deadlines. The skilled craftsmen, the common labourers and the daily wagers
all suffer the financial impact of load shedding the worst. Of the foreign ‘balaas’ of the past who ventured our way, there was the Supreme Khan Changez, ‘the punishment of God’, who thankfully turned back from the north-west without crossing the Indus, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, ‘the scourge of God’ who regrettably didn’t, Nadir Shah, the ‘son of the sword’ and Ahmed Shah Abdali, the ‘pearl of pearls’ or the ‘northern robber’, take your pick, whose ferocious credentials need no introduction.
‘Apart from the physical torture (and that includes sleepless nights) which repeated load-shedding entails (in collaboration with squadrons of dive-bombing mosquitoes), the stress of waiting and watching for power to resume cannot but leave psychological scars on a peoples already prone to start at sudden noises or even at their own shadow.’ These men of action behaved in an inhumane and brutal manner, waged war, tortured and murdered civilians and had towers of their heads erected. But in the end, they went the way of all flesh, ‘Tamburlaine the scourge of God must die’. But our present ‘balaa’ of load-shedding continues to cause havoc year after year and as for the elected leaders they can be reincarnated thrice, and if they do hand in their dinner pails, they are instantly renewed in the person of their offspring, who eagerly wait in the wings to take over and begin where the fathers left off. Help, Supreme Khan or the rest! g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 07
C M YK
cover sTory: enough TAlking
Future of talks with the TTP Much has changed since these people first played jihad
Aziz-ud-din AhmAd The writer is a political analyst and a former academic.
here never was any chance of the success of ongoing talks with the TTP. The leadership of various militant groups in the umbrella organisation would lose their authority in the tribal areas if there was peace. They would no more control huge amount of funds, caches of arms and private armies. The only way to put an end to militancy is through an effective operation that forces the leadership of the militant groups to sue for peace. That would be the proper time to tell the militants to join the mainstream or face perdition. The army operation is feasible. The Taliban supporters constitute a mini minority while opposition to the militants is growing in all sections of society. Among those who oppose military operation is Jamaate Islami, a party which has supported all sorts of ignominies in the past After whole heartedly supporting Gen Ziaul haq throughout the eleven years of the darkest military rule in Pakistan’s history Jamaat e Islami is now critical of the army. It blames Musharraf, not Zia, for involving Pakistan in a conflict with which Pakistan has nothing to do. Munawar hasan has declared hakimullah Mehsud a martyr and maintains that if an American who died on the battlefield was not a martyr, then his backers were also not martyrs because they were chasing the same goal. For the army which had patronised the Jamaat for decades this must have been the unkindest cut of all. The Jamaat also opposes the US now. The
party had during the Cold War put its weight behind the US against the communist Soviet Union maintaining that the Americans believed in God and his holy Book while the russians were atheists. hundreds of Jamaat workers participated in US sponsored jihad in Afghanistan. The PTI once opposed any military operation against the TTP. It is now agreeable to deploying military against those who are not willing to put an end to militancy through talks. Once the attacks in KP come down as a result of the operation, the party would fully support it.
The top leadership of the PMLN comes from conservative families where children received religious instruction from prayer leaders. Jihad was a religious obligation for them. As they grew up they were fed on Nasim Hijazi’s jihadi fiction which idealised heroes fighting the crusaders for the glory of Islam.
The JUIF leadership has no love lost with the TTP which has tried to kill Fazlur rehman several times in the past. The JUIF’s differences with the PML-N arose when it was not consulted and instead the PMLN took its rival faction led by Samiur rehman on board. The PPP will support the operation. The PPP and its workers had accused the US and the army for the judicial murder of ZAB. henry Kissinger, it was alleged had threatened Bhutto of dire consequences for the latter’s keenness to pursue the nuclear programme. General Ziaul haq had acted as a hangman. The PPP has now no quarrel with the US and stands by the army when it comes to operation against the TTP. The liberals who were once known for
opposition to the US and the army’s interference in politics are supportive of the US and the army as far as dealing with the militants is concerned. Nawaz Sharif too is changed man in a number of ways The top leadership of the PMLN comes from conservative families where children received religious instruction from prayer leaders. Jihad was a religious obligation for them. As they grew up they were fed on Nasim hijazi’s jihadi fiction which idealised heroes fighting the crusaders for the glory of Islam. The PML-N emerged on the political scene as a party of the establishment. Under Zia and for quite some time in the 1990s it stood by the army and was hand in glove with the ISI. Many Lahorites would still remember the big hoarding on what was left of the Seetla Mandir near the Shah Alami crossing before 1988 elections. It portrayed Nawaz Sharif in the camouflage uniform of a commando, gun in hand, ready to attack. Who could think that one day Sharif would became the most vocal critic of the army’s role in Pakistan. The generals, Sharif said in 2011, have done more harm to Pakistan than India. The PML-N however needs the army for getting rid of the TTP and would hopefully have good relations with it as long as the army abides by the constitution. Some of the younger PML-N leaders who are in the federal cabinet emerged as student leaders opposing the left wing in colleges and universities and were often close to the IJT. Some of them took active part in the PNA led agitation against ZAB in 1977. Subsequently they too imbibed the jihadi culture. Circumstances have however forced most of them to realise that there is no way other than military operation to put an end to terrorism There has been a visible, though partial, change in the army’s thinking also. The present military leadership was nurtured in the army culture introduced by Ziaul haq. In his zeal to impose an extreme version of Islam on society Zia began by giving the army a new motto “Iman, Taqva
‘The present military leadership was nurtured in the army culture introduced by Ziaul Haq. In his zeal to impose an extreme version of Islam on society Zia began by giving the army a new motto “Iman, Taqva and Jihad fi sabilillah”.’ and Jihad fi sabilillah.” Follow up measures didn’t take long to come. Army messes became dry. religiosity was widespread. More devout officers would encourage the reluctant ones to accompany them to the mosque to offer prayers. Beards of the Salafi type flourished with the result that it became difficult sometimes to differentiate an army officer from a TTP commander. The eleven-year long campaign to turn a professional force into an Islamic army received further support from the US led Afghan jihad where the ISI was assigned the duty to train the international jihad brigade comprising fighters collected from all over the world. Many in the services and the ISI got radicalised in the process. It was quite a task to motivate the army to fight the Taliban who claimed they were not paid soldiers but were fighting solely for the glory of Islam. The army had to take innumerable casualties before the common officer or the soldier could understand that it was necessary to fight the Taliban. While the religiosity in the military persists, the army is prepared to fight the new enemy. Problems persist though. The army high command has yet to overcome its fondness for the good Taliban. It still treats certain groups as assets. The haqqani network is one, Jamaat-ud-Dawa another. hafiz Saeed is considered an invaluable asset and the real minimum credible deterrent against India. It is time the mainstream parties hold mutual consultations and put the option of military operation before the National Assembly for vote. g
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
Finally there or more lingering? An ironic soap opera coming full circle? shAhAb JAFry The writer is a Lahore-based journalist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
O we finally come to the final round of the talks that never really began. No surprise, really, since the TTP’s principal demand was, and is, “supremacy of (their) sharia” while the government was bound by the constitution, and never the twain could meet. N’s boys boast the 50-something day ceasefire as a major achievement, even if other groups, allegedly no longer aligned with the TTP, continued with high profile attacks. But the Taliban’s gains are more remarkable. remember Mian sb’s option for talks was something of a surprise, not the least because he himself had indicated military action in no uncertain terms? And, interestingly, since then the religious lobby has been paraded on primetime media, influencing the orthodox periphery, particularly the deobandi lobby. The Taliban have also gained precious time to regroup. They never believed the military was behind the talks, and said so throughout the sea-saw, so they probably didn’t ask their donors to suspend arms and monies while they gave talks a shot. And they have emerged as the figurehead of all things sharia and khilafat, which is a major achievement for an insurgent group at open war with the state, with 50,000-plus casualties to its credit. All religious organisations, including the Jamat, have given them their stamp of sharia approval, and even a growing section of the press seems to echo Molana Sami ul haq’s understanding of the TTP, that they are “not at war with the state, but at war for the state”. Yet for some reason, as important as the sharia factor remained throughout the negotiations, the TTP’s reading of it was never explored in any detail on popular media. They are, after all, a proven proxy of the NDS,
Afghanistan’s security service, and there have been numerous charges, in the local and foreign press, of Indian and even American intelligence aiding their cause. The NDS link was first raised by the New York Times when it broke the story of Afghan intelligence cajoling hakeemullah’s numbertwo Lateef Mehsud shortly before the former commander’s Nov1 assassination in a drone strike in North Waziristan. There were also reports, and pictures, of present TTP head Mulla Fazlullah’s second tier commanders being briefed by NDS officials in Kunar in a prominent hong Kong based online newspaper. Yet within Pakistan nobody – government, military, and especially media – debated sharia credentials of crossborder sponsors. What now? The TTP’s most impressive gain in these talks, however, has been hoodwinking the government into releasing some of its personnel, that too without informing the military, deepening the civ-mil cleavage at a very crucial juncture for Islamabad. And as much as the army has been upset with the government, and, for all intents and purposes, is all set for a military sweep of North Waziristan over the coming months, there is still much confusion about what might follow, especially since the government continues to attach hopes with the talks, TTP spokesmen openly rubbish the government’s position, and both soldiers and civilians continue to die in attacks not claimed by the Taliban. “I don’t think there is much practical sense in remaining committed to the talks anymore”, said Dr hassan Askari rizvi, a prominent defence analyst. “The government will raise the issue of the constitution, etc, in the next round, and if the Taliban still avoid a firm commitment, there is no option left but military action”. The next few weeks are crucial, according to Dr rizvi. The army will not give the talks anymore time because it needs to secure the tribal area before the Americans depart later this year. And considering any operation must be wound up by
‘As important as the sharia factor remained throughout the negotiations, the TTP’s reading of it was never explored in any detail on popular media. They are, after all, a proven proxy of the NDS, Afghanistan’s security service, and there have been numerous charges, in the local and foreign press, of Indian and even American intelligence aiding their cause.’ September at the latest, or snow will begin to set it, the only suitable time is the window before ramadan, so something will happen in the next month or two. But as talks have lingered another argument has gained strength, especially in Punjab. The sudden pullback from the strike, and the bending over backwards to reach a settlement, is also because the TTP’s expansion into urban centres, especially in southern Punjab, has raised the prospect of deadly reprisal attacks in big cities. And if the TTP has regrouped, military intelligence has also revised contingency plans to limit blowback. “Swift action in Waziristan, which is the militants’ main hiding place, can limit urban blowback to a matter of 2-3 weeks”, added Dr rizvi. “Jamat ud Dawa would never support attacks on the military, nor would Jaish e Mohammad in Punjab. The Jamat is belligerent on occasion, but differences are not so acute anymore. So the military definitely has leverage in the provinces.” Too theoretical? But are things really this straight forward? Granted, N clearly played APC unanimity to strengthen his core right wing constituency in the garb of peace talks. And precisely how the ruling party has conducted these talks is one of the biggest sources of friction between the government
and the military. Secular parties, along with religious minorities who have been persecuted the worst during TTP’s sharia campaign, also do not share the government’s appetite for talks, and demand action. Yet it is still unclear what might be achieved. “The either/or approach can be very misleading in such circumstances, and simply concluding that talks have failed so action must follow is too theoretical”, said Gen (r) hameed Gul, former ISI chief and president of the ex-Servicemen Society, the most credible pulse of retired officers, who invariably remain in contact with the present brass. “This is an intricate war and the Taliban are very clever. There are clear divisions even within the Mehsuds, with the Sajna group advocating reaching an amicable settlement with the government. So there is still much to be squeezed from these talks”. Also, Nawaz’s, and the TTP’s, sincerity notwithstanding, it was perhaps natural for the talks to be delayed. Just as much as the military needs to secure tribal agencies ahead of the American drawdown from Afghanistan, both the government and military intelligence need a clear indication of what will really follow across the border once the election result emerges, which complicates the timing. And there are signs, Gen Gul belives, that the Americans might have finally had it with Afghanistan. The Indians arranging logistics with the russians, and offering to bear the cost, is an indication that New Delhi might have been hinted to go its own from here to protect its arrangements with Kabul, especially its intelligence agencies. Abdullah Abdullah seems in the lead, which might also change Pakistan’s calculus with Afghanistan, and open another avenue of cutting off support for the TTP from the outside. Much irony But whether or not the talks were delayed intentionally, they have failed to take any conclusive shape, and there might really not be much more time. And whether the government was cleverly
At the heart of the problem is the establishment’s relationship with the mullah lobby. As far as history goes, Nawaz is himself as much a product of the military’s power machine as these religious militias gone rogue and masquerading soldier clerics fighting for the old caliphate. playing for time by getting insurgents to cease fire, or the TTP has been cleverer and gained a window to recalibrate, there can be little denying that officially the government has come out weak, and needs to impress its authority on insurgents, whether through reason or muscle. “From here, we will either end up a country like Somalia, or one where the centre takes its writ very, very seriously”, said Dr rizvi. At the heart of the problem is the establishment’s relationship with the mullah lobby. As far as history goes, Nawaz is himself as much a product of the military’s power machine as these religious militias gone rogue and masquerading soldier clerics fighting for the old caliphate. There was once a time, when the jihad franchise was first market-tested, that the lobby was the darling of the military as well as the US, and now they are at daggers drawn. There was also a time, not long ago, when secular circles detested the military, especially its powerful intelligence services, but now see the military as their only hope of crushing regressive forces once and for all. But despite the long years of both talk and action, it is still unclear how clearly new battle lines have been drawn between the mullahs and their masters. And no matter how inconclusive these talks remain, even if they never properly take off, this question is sure to be answered sooner rather than later. g
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
Media and its consumers the first should avoid ideological tilts in its reporting and analysis while the second needs to become slicker in arriving at the truth
The writer is chief analyst at PoliTact, a Washington-based futurist advisory firm (www.PoliTact.com). He can be reached at: email@example.com, and on Twitter at: @ArifAnsar
iTh the availability of numerous on-line news sites and global information sources, deciphering a given situation, or affairs of a particular part of the world, has become quite cumbersome. Obviously, the readers are not actually present on the ground to understand the dynamics and grasp the different angles. They are relying on the one relaying the information to present the facts and the situation. Thus the credibility of the media house and objectivity of the reporter and analyst, takes on immense importance. however, to think that the author is independent and not influenced by his own ideological tilt and belief systems would also be naïve. A good writer, however, will constantly check to counter any such tendencies. Then there could be external pressures and influences that also come in to play. it is needless to say that if the initial reporting of the facts is flawed, it will cause all subsequent analysis to be erroneous as well. however, the user of the information would not know this, and it will lead him to develop an opinion that is not connected with reality, and this may result in a faulty and costly decision at some point. From the perspective of the reader, the best approach to take these days is to treat all information with suspicion, and not as the literal truth. Moreover, the users of these global information sources should learn how to understand and synthesize the news and analysis they are being presented, in order to develop an accurate assessment of an issue or a situation. it’s remarkable how a single event can have various interpretations. First of all, the reader should ask if someone is deliberately attempting to shape or create a certain perception as part of what is known as strategic communication. The free flow of information accompanies with it the risk that an actor is attempting to create a favorable opinion about an issue or policy related to the player’s interests. Research suggests the elements of soft power work best when people trust it. Through the strategic use of information, one can shape a version that is closer to ones interests and future outlook. No wonder global players like China (CCTV) and Russia (Russia Today) are now spending big bucks to open their own english media houses and convey their story to the world. A British journalist Chris Tryhorn wrote in Nov 2013, “With plenty of foreign faces on screen on its english, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian channels, CCTV doesn’t seem all that Chinese. in contrast with the consciously anti-western slant of RT (Russia Today) and iran’s Press TV, CCTV plays things pretty straight, but unsurprisingly avoids controversial issues facing China and its government.” According to Daud Moradian, a former foreign ministry advisor in Afghanistan, iran spends $100 million a year in the country. A major portion of this assistance goes to media, civil society projects and religious schools. Reports indicate nearly one third of Afghanistan’s media is either backed by iran financially or through providing content. Afghanistan’s intelligence department, National Directorate of Security, had alleged in 2012 that iran was meddling in Afghanistan and was funding weekly ensaf, including Tamadon and Noor TV channels. With significant changes taking place in europe,
the US recently decided to shift $10 million from the $1.5 billion Kerry-lugar-Berman annual fund meant for Pakistan, to support and expand Ukrainian, Balkan, Russian, and Tatar language services of Radio Free europe, Radio liberty and Voice of America. The reader should also attempt to understand the ideological slant. More and more, it’s the ideological underpinnings that are overshadowing the media coverage of the various events in Pakistan, and mimic the political divide that otherwise exists in the society. They can be defined as the liberal, nationalist, and conservative perspectives. it should be noted that such political divisions occur in many other democracies around the world. They reflect distinct outlooks for how a country should deal with its current challenges and move to the future. For example in Pakistan, the nationalists are of the belief that majority of the security problems being confronted by the country have external causes, and foreign powers are conspiring to manufacture a civil war in the country. Once such circumstances have manifested, the global powers will declare Pakistan unsafe to possess nuclear weapons. This is also the reason that some nationalists are weary of Pakistan’s involvement in the campaign against extremists, which has progressively destabilized the nation and weakened its economy. Moreover, the nationalists have strong antiindia posture and believe that country is bending over backward to improve ties and enhance trade with india, when the later has not reciprocated in a similar spirit. Furthermore, the nationalists believe that india and Afghanistan are conspiring to ethnically divide the country. Most importantly, the nationalists strongly support the military as an institution. On the other hand, the liberals are of the view that Pakistan’s past use of proxies in Afghanistan and india has produced a backlash against it, and that is the main reason for the predicament it presently faces. in other words, Pakistan should have never joined the Cold War and gotten involved in the Afghan Jihad. Since these actions were taken under a military dictator, it blames the army for what ails the country currently. The liberals strongly support improving trade ties with india and Afghanistan and that it may also result in improving the security situation. For all intents and purposes, the mainstream religious parties, such as Jamaat e islami, represent the Conservatives. The views of the conservatives are nearer to the ones held by the nationalists when it comes to policy over major domestic and international issues. especially relating to parting with war against extremists and over ties with india. The conservatives have also been staunch supporter of the military and have been sympathetic to the views of the militant and extremist groups. When it comes to major media houses of Pakistan, the ARY channel has presented an outlook held by the nationalists while express and Geo channels have catered to the liberal point of view, with both groups somewhat catering to the conservatives as well. This is similar to the US where Fox has voiced the conservative point of view while MSNBC has tilted more towards the liberal viewpoint. in the US, however, such differences have not created questions related to the loyalty to the country; and are taken as representing different approaches to solve the nation’s problems. Moreover, different international actors attempt to lobby the conservative (Republicans) and the liberal (Democrats) representatives based on their stand on different policies and global outlook. how the political leaders in US balance the national interest while catering to various international voices is a demonstration of how real power politics and diplomacy plays out at the world level. The consumers of media information in Pakistan need to get sophisticated in reading through the ideological divides and what they may mean. it’s not the loyalty to the country that is at stake but a lack of comprehension on the existence of different approaches to address the present predicament. Similarly, the media houses should not hide under the garb of their ideological tilts and present information as literal truth or reality. g
the Us should accept palestinian unity
Peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? Washington Watch
Dr James J Zogby
The writer is President, Arab American Institute.
hile Palestinians celebrated the reconciliation agreement signed between Fateh and hamas, the reactions in Washington and israel were reminiscent of the biblical “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” American political commentators were dumbfounded by the news of the pact, terming it “a dark day”, “a setback for peace,” or “a serious complication.” Members of Congress, meanwhile, were uniform in their threats to withhold aid if the Palestinian Authority goes forward with the unity arrangement. israeli government reactions were predictably harsh in their criticism of the Palestinian move. Those on the far right, who never supported the “peace process” in the first place and who had threatened to abandon the Netanyahu government if he signed any agreement with the Palestinians, saw the Fatah/hamas pact as justification to call for an immediate end to the peace negotiations. i detected more joy than anger in their overly-heated pronouncements. Prime Minister Netanyahu had undoubtedly the most disingenuous line of the day, asking of PA President Mahmoud Abbas “does he want peace with hamas or peace with israel?”— as if to suggest that “peace with israel” was actually in the offing but for Abbas’ “disappointing” decision. Putting aside all these displays of faux anger and misplaced regret, the Palestinians are right to celebrate. Reconciliation and national unity are not only good, in and of themselves, they are necessary if there is to be a lasting israeli-Palestinian peace. in the first place, the Palestinian people desperately want this unity in order to put their political house in order. They know that they have no viable future living in two captive Bantustans. in the face of continued existential challenges, the public has been demoralised by their squabbling fractured leadership. increasingly frustrated with their divided leaders’ failure or inability to bring an end to occupation, there has been a growing sense that unity would provide a solution. in a world that was out of control, healing their internal division was the one thing they felt they could control. Unity, of course, is not magical and will not, by itself, produce independence. But the public’s instinct was nevertheless right in understanding that unity, on the right terms, would be essential for independence. it is also important to understand the degree to which the leaderships of both the PA and hamas were facing challenges to their legitimacy. During the past seven years, hamas had
made a mess of their rump “statelet” in Gaza. Their indiscriminate rocket fire and deplorable use of suicide bombers, which they bizarrely termed “resistance”, had only served to damage the Palestinian movement and image. At the same time, this behaviour and the insecurity it created among israelis had empowered israeli hardliners enabling them to impose cruel collective punishment that brought increased suffering to the entire Gaza Strip. hamas, reduced to badly managing an impoverished population, was facing growing dissatisfaction with both their ideology and their governance. Polls now show that this once popular islamic movement had a significantly diminished support-base. The Palestinian Authority, thanks to israeli ill-will and intransigence has fared no better. They had made a strategic decision to pursue a nonviolent path to liberation by cooperating with the US and negotiating with israel. Their reward: they became financially dependent on the US and israel; they were repeatedly humiliated by aggressive and acquisitive israeli settlement expansion; and they continued to be subjected to israel’s efforts to impose its will on their every move. As a result, the Palestinian public had become increasingly cynical, despairing of the possibility of peace. And so in the face of a new breakdown in negotiations, israel’s refusal to deliver on a promised release of prisoners, and the announcement of yet another expansion of settlements, Palestinians turned instead to heal their divided polity. From what we know of the terms of the Fatah/hamas pact, it provides for the establishment of a national unity government of technocrats. This government will serve for several months preparing for national elections. The agreement also empowers President Abbas to continue negotiations and endorses his leadership in seeking a two-state solution that provides for peace between israel and an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in east Jerusalem. While israel has flat out rejected the reconciliation, the success of this effort to establish unity will depend on the US response. Up until now, the administration has not formally rejected the agreement and has been somewhat circumspect in their comments. it would be a fatal error if, without finding out the exact terms of the reconciliation pact, the US were to have rejected it out of hand and punish the PA. likewise, it would be an enormous error if the US were to force President Abbas to turn his back on the pact. This has happened before. At this point, such a move would not be accepted by the Palestinian public and would severely compromise the PA leadership. if, as senior Palestinian spokesmen affirm, the terms of the agreement comply with the wellknown Quartet conditions, the US would be well-advised to be supportive of the effort and insist that israel continue negotiations with a now-strengthened Abbas. g
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
Pakistan’s debt crisis; not to be discussed
When does debt become a nightmare?
overnment extravagant expenditures, fiscal deficits, reserves, balance (or rather imbalance) of payments, debt repayments and government optimism they are tied together in perfect rhythm, at least theoretically. they go hand in hand, and one cannot exist without the other. Government spokesmen and talk show hosts will occasionally visit different socio political aspects, run endless shows on not so trivial issues, yet very little is said or raised regarding the seriously vulnerable economy of Pakistan. the government, like its predecessors, instead builds a smoke screen around short term economic gimmicks such as the current rate of dollar, buildup of foreign reserves by deferring foreign payments, stock market ascent, while discretely evading the key question of mounting domestic and foreign debt of Pakistan. the most common argument most book driven economist throw is the famous Debt to GDB ratio, which is currently around 63 per cent, and is still within limits compared to economies like Japan, eU and the US. that, however, is like comparing apples to oranges, and amounts to a misleading comparison by many standards.
Struggling economies cannot benchmark themselves with the likes of global giants like the US, EU, Japan and argue that their GDP to debt ratios are within limits.
Struggling economies cannot benchmark themselves with the likes of global giants like the US, eU, Japan and argue that their GDP to debt ratios are within limits. many political leaders can claim that the debt levels of Japan, US and some eU members are around 100 per cent at times of their GDP, a measure often compared when Pakistan’s debt is discussed, which stands at less 65 per cent of its GDP. Firstly, developed economies spend large proportion on public services which they heavily subsidise, for instance education, healthcare, insurance and many more. Strong focus on public accountability is the key trend in developed countries and hence people have trust in the tax system as well. So a system where people feel confident paying taxes, and expect subsidised services in return, is not one Pakistan can look to as a mirror image.
The right question Pakistan faces an enormous challenge with the pace of swelling debt levels. these questions have been avoided by the government at different forums. How big is our debt? How did we manage to accumulate so much debt and yet still remain a struggling third world country, with countless socio economic problems? Why did our economic managers not warn the masses that debt has swelled to unmanageable proportions? How sustainable is our current debt? And how vulnerable are we considering our proportion and size? Debt: origins and a bitter past
15,300 mark by year end. It is important to sum up the above in layman’s language. · the debt has been increasing for the last two decades at an alarming rate. It has doubled in five years. · the revenue stream which is meant to offset the debt has not been able to cope with the debt increase. So we are borrowing more than we can pay and this gap is widening yearly without any course. Implication: we will face far more serious issues than the US government, which may shake the entire economic paradigm and in the very near future. · As the government has exhausted the current domestic
Domestic Debt in Rs billion
Foreign Debt in Rs billion
Total Debt in Rs billion
Real Growth of Public Debt
Real Growth of Revenue
Interestingly, economic managers are boosting recently crossed $10 billion reserve mark, unprecedented gains of Pak rupee against dollar, and preferential treatment of exports, but little is being said about the swelling debt and its repercussions for the economy. If the US congress and global leaders are perturbed about the US debt crisis and dollar shedding its value, it is not possible that an economy as vulnerable as ours, infested with debt may not face similar perils. the above questions have answers hidden in our bitter past. the answer to our very first question, how big is our debt really, is shown in the above table. According to ministry sources, it may cross
borrowing ceiling, it has started moving to the extremely expensive, overly ambitious option of borrowing from foreign sources. · Last PPP government did not record debt the government owed to IPPs, or government debt in the circular debt of the oil companies, as debt. It parked under another head which meant that the actual debt position was not apparent in the books. According to some sources, the present government has started parking the outstanding from IPPs which it owes for power generation, under another heading. · even if the government has massive problems at hand, it cannot ignore or not share the plight of the debt situation. the government has a moral duty to inform the people, and
parliament, as to why the debt has risen to such unmanageable proportions? Why is it borrowing? Where does it plan to spend and how it plans to return the loan? · this amount of rs15,000 billion is eventually going to be returned by the people of Pakistan and they have every right to know where was this money spent in the first place and how is it going to be returned now? Deliberate or mistake? tax is the biggest source of revenue for any government. If taxes fall and debt keeps mounting, there is a mismatch which means you are borrowing to pay previous debts. Low tax collection pushes even some people who did pay taxes previously to stop, since they lose confidence in the government. this lack of confidence also stems from questioning how the money collected is spent. Government expenditure mainly constitutes debt service, interest payments, and defense, which account for nearly 60 per cent of the revenue collected. that hardly leaves any for the public services like healthcare, education, police, and judiciary and so on. the leftover is mainly consumed by government expenditure which includes government running, mismanaged departments, and paying for the bureaucracy. It is common word that government expenditure is unjustified when compared with Pakistan’s meager resources and plight of the common people. the “extravaganza” as some analysts call the government expenditure has been financed from borrowing, which is not only unnecessary but also one of the main causes for the debt to swell to current levels. Debt hence forth is being taken to fill its deficits, which government conveniently does not want to fill by running an austerity drive or reviewing its spending priorities. the debt is
Tax is the biggest source of revenue for any government. If taxes fall and debt keeps mounting, there is a mismatch which means you are borrowing to pay previous debts. mainly categorised into domestics and external. Domestic debt is the easiest to increase and has been reaching exhaustion levels lately as subsequent governments have reverted to it inadvertently for covering up their mismanaged deficits, unnecessary government expenditures and many misadventures. According to political analysts, whether it was PPP, PmLn or even others the domestic debt has been “over borrowed” and at times figures have been “distorted”. Domestic loans have been taken from commercial banks and state bank on commercial rates, which has been “economically disastrous”. Government of Punjab under PmL n has been borrowing on commercial rates amidst its development projects like Laptop scheme, Sasti roti, Youth festival, metro bus service, Danish schools. these projects have been under severe criticism for one reason or the other. Is it really such a problem? So how does debt become a nightmare? As it grows unchecked, at some point it will explode to unimaginable proportions, something which the US economy is currently facing and its repercussions indirectly the entire global economies might suffer. If you do simple math the debt is 15,000 billion and population comes out to be 200 million or 0.2 billion people in Pakistan who owe this debt. that means newborn every child will be in debt running into millions of rupees. only last year the US Congress refused to extend the debt ceiling to the current administration, and as a result the US government came to a halt. Stock markets came crushing down, US dollar lost is glitter; in short it was doomsday scenario for any economist, all because of unchecked and out of control debt scenario. World leaders are struggling to save the US economy from falling flat due to its debt issue, but the million dollar question is will someone care about a small country like Pakistan if we faced with the same dilemma? Can we afford to keep our public ignorant of the massive debt which our governments have accumulated? no one seems to be asking and no one seems pushed. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 11
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
Will people have a say? In managing and governing Lahore, citizen participation is of paramount importance, but will it be sought is a point of conjecture
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.
rban governance and management in Lahore, as in other cities of Punjab continues to exclude a large number of people from participation in decision-making and enjoy the benefits of development. If urban governance is the way decisions are made, the decisionmaking about public issues and laws in the cities of Punjab remains exclusive domain of the powerful politico-bureaucratic elite, planners’ and businesses’. If management is the way decisions are implemented, the implementation of policies and decisions and delivery of services is either not undertaken or undertaken haphazardly by the bureaucracies of all tiers. Unfortunately, the urban governance in Punjab remains as it was during colonial times but the urban management has deteriorated a lot. Of all the major decisions of government of the Punjab about Lahore, such as the Metro bus Service, the river ravi Front Project, the LDa avenue II, even the legislatures have not been consulted, what to talk about ordinary people. The way these decisions are implemented, which is the domain of urban management, is worrying. The roads are dug, the lands are acquired, and the places are torn apart like invaders do. The methods of construction and development are hazardous: only the dust from construction work gives lethal diseases even to those who travel even in the air-conditioned cars. The hundreds and thousands of citizens who have to spend many extra hours to travel to work because of route changes during roads construction is a painful story. These examples are of routine administrative matters. The situation of governance and management in the areas of emerging challenges is worst. What are the emerging areas of governance and management? They
comprise governance and management of: climate and environment; security; migration; and, public spaces. Climate change has posed new challenges our urban governance and management systems are unprepared to deal with. Take the example of urban floods which drown basements, shops, homes and stores in Lahore. Every year a lot of property and a number of lives are lost owing to our inability to drain rain water. Of all the institutions concerned with protecting environment either do not understand the urban environmental catastrophes we have fallen into or unwilling to act. Do environmental agencies responsible for governing and managing urban environment realize the drastically low number of per-capita green space in Lahore? Do they realize the ever increasing number of the citizens of Lahore will be unable to breathe in few years? as Lahore’s underground water is slowly becoming poisonous with arsenic and seepage of sewerage, the nature will have no choice except to take revenge from all of us for degrading it. The factories in Lahore, even those who produce deadliest of the chemicals, are free to throw untreated waste into the drains and sewerage of Lahore. Will our governance and management systems do something to deal with the poisoning of everything called natural? It seems difficult. Let us come to the governance and
‘Lahore’s urban governance is still reminiscent of the colonial era and only people can bring about change’ management of security—just the physical security, the barest minimum of all the securities needed to survive. My female students of urban policy course at Forman Christian College tell me, every year, that they fear leaving their homes after evening. a few days ago someone snatched mobile phone and purse from a female student of my college at a petrol station amidst many people. Even police was around the place. When she asked the police to chase the snatcher, they simply refused. Is this the state of crime management? Terrified, she has lost trust in whatever governance and management of cities we have in Lahore. The agencies related to providing security have simply given up their functions. Just think about the proliferation of hundreds of private security agencies owned by the exmilitary men. From shops to markets to schools to homes, people have turned to
private security. If everyone has to buy security privately, what is the government for? Is not it really scary? The governance and management of migration—especially of women—in Lahore is another big challenge. Every year more and more young women are coming to Lahore from all across Punjab to study, to find work and to stay. These women have aspirations of social mobility and progress. The city is highly insensitive to their needs as if migrant women are not the citizens of this country. as a result of this indifference, most of the migrant women have to live in pathetic, unregulated, exploitative private hostels. Imagine three to four women living in a room as tiny as a box of 10 feet by 10 feet for 5, 000 to 8, 000 rupees each for a month. Home owners in the city do not find migrants trustable enough to take their homes on rent. The transport arrangements hardly cater to the needs to women, local and migrant alike. The migrants are the main targets of the suspicions of our police to maintain an impression of the working of law and order. How Lahore will grow in trade and employment if it doesn’t treat migrants with respect and dignity? Why will not the best of the minds in Punjab prefer to leave this country if they feel intimated in the best of their cities? It should change. no model of urban governance and management can work effectively if a city has no adequate number of public spaces. as a lot of land in Lahore is being covered either with asphalt or bricks and cement, the public spaces are being eliminated at a fast speed. It seems the governance and management model currently in vogue in Lahore is working in tandem with the interests of businesses. Many of the urban spaces which were accessible freely to the people of Lahore have either been priced or converted into private spaces. The examples of anarkali and Lakshami chowk come to mind. The way anarkali is being gentrified has become a way of excluding the poor and lower middle classes from public life. Most of the restaurants have furnished, installed glass doors and increased the prices of their food. Some of the regenerated buildings have given the bazaar an ugly look. Even the Pak Tea House does not look like a place for the literati anymore. Thirteen years ago, I could hardly imagine that people will visit Pak Tea House to eat fast food and cold drinks. It is a pity! Current model of urban governance is promoting gentrification of public space which is nothing but exclusion and is an anti-democratic act. Urban management is unconcerned with the exclusion of majority of the people from the public life of the city.
The issue of public space is intricately linked with the larger issue of democratizing Lahore, to make it safe and secure, innovative, competitive, alive and exciting place. The social change or transformation Lahore is passing through can become a
‘Of all the major decisions of government of the Punjab about Lahore, such as the Metro Bus Service, the River Ravi Front Project, the LDA Avenue II, even the legislatures have not been consulted, what to talk about ordinary people.’ smooth and meaningful process if we have enough public spaces everywhere in the city where people from across the social diversities come together and express themselves. The street and mohalla level public spaces such as tharras, corners, takiyas, baithaks and deeras can contribute immensely to make these places safe for everyone. Especially for children and women. Unfortunately, most of the highdensity areas in Lahore do not have any parks or open spaces. It is actually these areas and people in them who need the parks and the public spaces the most. Shrines used to be the freely available and inclusive urban spaces in the city. Since the last ten years or so, the authorities in Punjab have done their best to reduce limit access to these spaces under various pretexts. not only shrines are closed early in the night but they also restrict women’s visits to the graves. a lot of this happens because the urban governance and management ideas and practices of Lahore are settled at a distance from people. both of them are constituted and practiced by the tiny elite coming from the privileged social backgrounds. It seems hard that these elite will voluntarily include people to reconstitute ideas and practices of urban governance and management. The enactment of Local Government act 2013 is the best illustration of this nexus. Instead of giving people of Lahore voice in making decisions about their city, the act reinforces the position of provincial rulers and bureaucrats in decision-making about Lahore. but this state of the affairs can be changed by the citizens of Lahore themselves by agreeing on nothing less than a role in the governance and management of the affairs of their city. g
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
Would you like a pill with that? pill popping friendly pakistan Fraudian Slip
The author is a staunch supporter of self-medication and prolonged medicinal use without prescriptions. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
uSt the other day I was feeling a little down in the dumps about my life. the electricity didn’t work as well as it used to a month ago and the sweat was making me feel oh so very unglamorous. What is one to do when one is snuggling against the rocks found only at rock bottom? you pop a pill. Let me be the first to
admit that the solution to all of world’s problems lies within medication. When administered by one’s self it’s a fool proof idea. It’s so annoying when people start telling you all these things about ulcers and brain damage. there’s no need to be so, so extreme about something as logical as self medication. and all this hue and cry about talking it over with a doctor first! Who knows you better than you do? How can a doctor, who’s met you for only 15 minutes, know what dose is appropriate? that doctor didn’t even taken the time to get to know you better and they’re supposed to know more about your emotional and physical wellbeing than you do? Does the doctor know all your hopes and dreams in life? Does the doctor have any idea what kind of a person you are? Does the doctor know your favourite colour? Well, when the doctor knows absolutely nothing about you why on earth would they know how much medication you should be taking? Whenever I’m feeling the blues I turn up the volume on my jazz music and start popping my favourite pills. admit it, we all have our favourites, whether it is some water flavoured with the best disprin in town or a couple of sleek Xanaxs to help jazz up your mood. you know if the ttP were better at self-medicating they’d probably be asleep half the time instead of bombing and killing people. Someone would go: “where are the angry taliban today?” and some happy taliban would respond, “well they were feeling angry at the world so they took some meds, and they’re fast asleep”. World peace achieved. It’s so simple it’s almost ridiculous. there’s no such thing as too much of a good medicine folks. you’re definitely not going to
Some doctors are trying to start a yahoodi sazish so that people won’t be able to take medication whenever they want it. They want us to live like the western world where you have to beg your doctor for simple medicine. harm your health or end up fatally hurting yourself if you self medicate. Some doctors are trying to start a yahoodi sazish so that people won’t be able to take medication whenever they want it. they want us to live like the western world where you have to beg your doctor for simple medicine. the madness has to stop somewhere. those gora doctors will actually tell you to let your body fight off the illness, imagine that! It’s no secret that drugs have side effects, but they also promise quick relief to problems our immune system takes far too long to solve. Ever since I can remember I have been a procrastinator. We are a nation of procrastinators. When I take so long to get things done on time, why should I place such a huge burden on my immune system? Can we start being fair to our bodies? Everything in life has a short cut and we willingly jump at the opportunity to get things done faster, then why not allow your body the same luxury? I’ve grown up in a family of people who could diagnose a disease faster than a doctor can sneeze. there comes a time when you become an expert. I know people can relate, we all have that one person who’s an absolute
authority at diagnosing problems. Why waste thousands of rupees on a doctor when you can just listen to the guru and get the relief you need? If you’re lacking a guru then turn to Google for help. one simple search and you’ll have the answers to all your medical problems. Lately I’ve been feeling just a tad bipolar. It’s coming along swimmingly with my oCD. those damn doctors keep telling me I’m a hypochondriac anytime I have an actual medical emergency, further proof that they know absolutely nothing. I mean I spent like five minutes online and I figured out that I have PtSD and I need to calm my nerves before I really crack. Drugs are the only way I can do it. Medicinal prescription drugs are heaven sent. they are easy to procure, effective at what they do, and so much fun. at times I see these shows about addicts and their heroin problems and I feel so sorry for them. Had they just found the right medicine at the right time they’d be illegal drug free, and so very happy. We all have some problem or the other that needs medication. I dream of a world where tablets filled with solutions, pills fitted with love and understanding, and capsules full of remedies will be free for all. Where we can pop all the pills we want without having to be judged by the entire planet. g
‘I dream of a world where tablets filled with solutions, pills fitted with love and understanding, and capsules full of remedies will be free for all.’
What a speech, General! COAS General Raheel Sharif ’s first public speech was a humdinger
ratory skills are a crucial aspect of leadership. and considering the fact that Pakistani military chiefs have a tendency of becoming leaders of, you know, more than just the armed forces, being a good speaker becomes all the more important. Chief of army Staff (CoaS) raheel Sharif’s first public speech since becoming the army chief, at the General Headquarters (GHQ), has revealed that the man has it in him to deliver effective speeches should he ever have to become the leader of, you know, more than just the armed forces – in the best interests of the country of course. that the civil-military relationship in the country has been tense over the past few months would be an understatement. there is the small
matter of a former army chief being tried for treason, the Geo-ISI episode, Khawaja asif’s – present at the GHQ – rant against the military and most of all General raheel’s moustache. that all army chiefs that have summoned military coups in Pakistan had moustaches is the biggest bone of contention in the civil-military ties. and even though the CoaS didn’t bring the issue up at the GHQ, other issues were masterfully tackled in his carefully worded speech. No revenge against democracy the CoaS paraphrased many a line from the book “rhetoric on Democracy” in his speech to soothe many a nerve. He followed it up by claiming that everyone needs to work together to take Pakistan forward – another hint that a military coup is not exactly prowling around the corner. Clearly General raheel Sharif by waxing lyrical for democracy has lowered some of the skepticism. Terrorising the terrorists another crucial message in the CoaS’s speech was for the taliban. By stating that all
‘It is now time for the rest of the institutions to follow the army chief’s lead and start acting sensibly. There seems to be a general consensus that democracy is now the way forward and that all institutions should work in tandem to strengthen its prospects.’ those who have waged a war against the country must accept the constitution unconditionally or be
ready to face the music, he has knocked down two birds with one stone. Firstly, that there is no dillydallying on the ttP front as far as the army is concerned. and secondly, again, by extolling the constitution the chief has taken the back seat on showcasing any intent on taking any “unconstitutional” measures. Having facial hair of course is perfectly legal. Mending the media the hullabaloo over the past couple of weeks has been all about Geo and the channel’s unsubstantiated accusations against the ISI. and so while the ‘democratic’ folks have been going all gung-ho against Geo, the CoaS’s – again – carefully worded message to the media was an absolute humdinger. Instead of launching xenophobic tirades against the media, the army chief first
acknowledged the role that media has played in the recent past and commended its sacrifices. all General raheel Sharif asked for was responsible reporting, and the media’s editorial decision makers can only envy the ‘responsible’ nature of the chief of army staff. What a speech it truly was, General! that Khawaja asif was present in the audience, basically tells everyone that the army chief is willing to let bygones be bygones. His pro-democracy message was as subtle as it was strong. It is now time for the rest of the institutions to follow the army chief’s lead and start acting sensibly. there seems to be a general consensus that democracy is now the way forward and that all institutions should work in tandem to strengthen its prospects. If everyone starts to act responsibly, and does what they are supposed to do, General raheel Sharif’s moustache and its historical connotation might be buried in the graveyard of history forever. g The writer is General Raheel Sharif’s groupie and a proud proud Pakistani. All aftereffects of reading The Horizontal Column are the readers’ headache. www.pakistantoday.com.pk 13
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
War on the rocks Five Pakistani militants everyone should be paying more attention to MIchael KugelMan
hen it comes to Pakistan’s bad guys, leaders of the country’s major militant groups— such as hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Mullah Fazlullah of the Pakistani Taliban— tend to hog the headlines. Many more are less well known— yet still highly consequential. Five in particular are worth singling out—not just because they threaten stability, but because they foreshadow Pakistani militancy’s future trajectory. The evolution of this trajectory will likely feature five distinct trends: Uncompromisingly violent antistate militant factions constraining Pakistani government peace efforts; associations with a resilient al-Qaeda that remains fixated on both local and global targets; a reemergence of India-focused militancy; sectarian extremists with strong political influence and associations with the state attempting to earn legitimacy from an increasingly radicalized society; and state assets violently turning on their patrons at a time when the Pakistani security establishment can ill afford new sources of unrest. The five men described below each exemplify one of these trends.
1. OMAR KHALID KHORASANI KhoraSanI, who heads the Mohmand tribal agency branch of the Pakistani Taliban, may be the most dangerous Taliban leader in the country. even by the Pakistani Taliban’s barbaric standards, Khorasani is uncompromisingly brutal. In recent months, while his organization was attempting negotiations with Islamabad, the former journalist was implicated in several high-profile attacks. In February, he ordered the execution of 23 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers held in captivity since 2010. Pakistani officials believe he was also responsible for the bombing of an Islamabad marketplace in april, and suggest he also may have had a hand in an assault on an Islamabad courthouse in March. Claiming responsibility for that latter attack was ahrar-ul-hind, which identifies itself as a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban opposed to peace talks with the government. Given Khorasani’s recent emphatic rejections of negotiations, there’s reason to believe ahrar-ul-hind could simply be a cover for his Mohmand faction of the Pakistani Taliban. Khorisani mocks as much as he murders. on april 19, the day prominent Pakistani journalist hamid Mir was shot in Karachi, Khorasani’s spokesman tweeted Mir that, in effect, an attack on him was inevitable (he did not assert responsibility, however). Khorasani has unequivocally stated
that Sharia law must be imposed throughout Pakistan. “We aren’t even in favor of 99 percent Sharia,” he said in a video released this month. “We want 100 percent Sharia.” In interviews, Khorasani insists that Pakistan—not afghanistan or the United States— is the core enemy. and he has vowed to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Such views are telling. Some commentators (including myself) have speculated that in the coming months, the Pakistani Taliban is likely to intensify its operational cooperation with the afghan Taliban in afghanistan. others have pointed to the organization’s increasingly international bent, as it has bragged of sending forces to Syria. Khorasani, however, is a reminder that the most bloodthirsty and maximalist factions of the Pakistani Taliban—including those outside of the group’s main sanctuary in Waziristan—remain uniquely focused on bringing down the Pakistani state. he also illustrates the challenges of negotiating with the Pakistani Taliban—yet at the same time, his staunch anti-peace stance amplifies the deep fractures within the Pakistani Taliban that a wise Pakistani government (and military) would seek to exploit.
2. ASIM UMAR UMar is an al-Qaeda propagandist (he is also affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban). While a relative unknown, his star appears to be rising. he was featured in an alQaeda film that commemorated the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and this month al-Qaeda announced he’ll be the subject of an “open” (presumably online) interview airing in mid-May. Umar’s ideology is classic al-Qaeda. he spouts the requisite antiamericanism (he has published a book on Blackwater called The army of anti Christ). he also emphasizes the global—and U.S.focused—dimensions of jihad. In a video message last year, he called for “global jihad to give a final push to the collapsing edifice of america.” he added that “lives are being sacrificed in this jihad to defeat america and its allies everywhere.” Since Umar is a propagandist, his messaging provides a window into al-Qaeda thinking. and on this count, it’s clear that the organization—at least rhetorically— remains fixated on america. For all the talk of a weakened al-Qaeda core in afghanistan and Pakistan giving way to a series of affiliated groups focused on local matters in the Middle east and north africa, it’s quite clear al-Qaeda central still has the far enemy on its mind—and from its long-time perch in Pakistan to boot. To be sure, Umar has also called for a Subcontinent-focused jihad— highlighting how Pakistan-based al-Qaeda is focused on the near enemy as well. and in this regard, al-Qaeda gets plenty of help from
its associated South asian militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and both the Pakistani and afghan Taliban.
3. MASOOD AZHAR azhar is the head of Jaish-eMohammad, an anti-India terrorist group thought by new Delhi—and many other capitals—to have received support from the ISI, Pakistan’s main spy agency. azhar spent time in Indian prisons in the 1990s, before being released in 1999 as part of a deal to end a hijacking crisis involving an Indian airliner. India believes he orchestrated an attack on India’s Parliament in 2001. he is also accused of involvement in an attempted assassination of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 (he allegedly conspired with adnan rasheed, a former member of the Pakistani air Force). not long after these incidents, azhar largely disappeared from public view. Until this year. In January, in the capital of azad Kashmir, an anti-India rally broadcast a fiery recorded lecture from azhar. and in February, he was scheduled to make an appearance at a university in Lahore—until administrators abruptly cancelled it. Since resurfacing, azhar has boasted of having 300 suicide bombers at his disposal ready to attack India, and threatened to kill narendra Modi if he becomes India’s next prime minister. With most international troops leaving afghanistan this year, many militant groups operating in that country—particularly those like Lashkar-e-Taiba that are antiIndia to the core—will likely redirect their attention to, and expand their operations in, India. azhar’s reemergence (possibly with the connivance of Pakistan’s security establishment) may be telegraphing this strategic shift, and particularly if seen in the context of asim Umar’s recent exhortations. Umar has explicitly called on Indian Muslims to mobilize for jihad: “how can you remain in your slumber when the Muslims of the world are awakening?” ominously, if Pakistani militants like azhar are indeed taking their fight back to India, they could find numerous willing accomplices there. In recent weeks, Indian security experts have warned of new Islamist militant cells popping up across the country.
4. AHMED LUDHIANVI KhoraSanI and azhar are militant leaders, while Umar is a jihadist propagandist. Ludhianvi is a sectarian extremist who, for a brief period this month, was a member of Pakistan’s Parliament. Ludhianvi leads the ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a front for (and effectively the new name of) Sipahe-Sahaba—a terrorist organization that sponsors violence against
Pakistan’s Shia Muslim minority (one of its spinoffs, Lashkar-eJhangvi, is arguably Pakistan’s most vicious sectarian group). Though he insists he has never used violence, Ludhianvi’s views are far from peaceful—and legions of his sectarian militant followers gladly enforce his rabidly anti-Shia dictates through force of arms. Last year, Ludhianvi unsuccessfully ran for a parliamentary seat in Punjab province. he filed a complaint with Pakistan’s election commission, arguing that the declared winner was a loan defaulter and hence unfit for office. on april 10, a Pakistani election tribunal ruled in his favor. Yet instead of calling for a special election, Ludhianvi was told that he could simply have the seat—until Pakistan’s Supreme Court reversed the tribunal’s decision on april 21. That the Pakistani state was willing to give him the seat should come as no surprise. The current government regards Ludhianvi as a strategic asset, and has leaned on him for various favors—from reaching out to the afghan Taliban about peace talks to (ironically) helping reduce tensions in violent neighborhoods. additionally, high-ranking officials of the ruling Pakistan Muslim Leaguenawaz party have made joint campaign appearances with Sipah-e-Sahaba leaders. and last year, in the lead up to national elections, rumors abounded of a “seat-adjustment” agreement: The Pakistan Muslim Leaguenawaz was to support the ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat in races for several national assembly seats, while in return the ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat was to withdraw its candidates from contesting a number of national assembly seats in Punjab. In a nation where the underlying views of sectarianism enjoy considerable public support—polls find that more than 40 percent of Pakistanis believe Shias are not Muslims—Ludhianvi’s next moves warrant close attention. Through his role as a government intermediary and seeker of political office, he is apparently intent on projecting a softer image. he may be part of a recent effort by numerous Pakistani militants to legitimize themselves in the public eye (the Pakistani Taliban’s peace efforts, and Khorasani’s expressions of sympathy for Pakistani drought victims, are additional examples). In a society growing increasingly radicalized, such legitimacy isn’t so hard to earn.
5. MAST GUL This mysterious man’s career is a chilling example of what can happen when Pakistani militants turn on their sponsors. In the 1990s, Gul was a Kashmir freedom fighter, and Indian and Pakistani observers alike assert he enjoyed a close relationship with Pakistani intelligence. a U.S. diplomatic cable made public by
Wikileaks in 2011 even described him as a former major in the Pakistani army. Like azhar, Gul kept a relatively low profile in more recent years, though he occasionally gave interviews in which he vowed to continue fighting for Kashmir. and then, again like azhar, in just the last few months he has exploded back onto the scene—but with a very different game plan. In February, he claimed responsibility for a restaurant attack in Peshawar. Mufti hassan Swati, a Pakistani Taliban leader in Peshawar, announced at a press conference that the organization’s top leadership had tasked Gul—who appeared at Swati’s side—with the operation (interestingly, according to Pakistani media reports, officials believe both men are affiliated with ahrar-ul-hind). a spokesman said Gul had also carried out an assault on Shias at a bus terminal in the northwestern city of Kohat later in February. and, after an attack on the Iranian consulate in Peshawar killed two Pakistani paramilitary soldiers just a day later, the spokesman said Gul was behind that strike as well. hizbul Mujahideen, the Kashmiri militant group to which Gul once claimed allegiance (and which has had ties to Pakistani intelligence), has now disowned him. There are many troubling dimensions of Pakistani militancy, from anti-state violence and sectarian savagery to more regionally and internationally focused terrorism. Yet perhaps nothing is as scary as the prospect of Pakistan’s socalled strategic assets turning on their masters—scores of Frankenstein’s monsters stalking the state that spawned them. Gul isn’t the first of these creatures to emerge (Ilyas Kashmiri, a one-time anti-India fighter and ISI asset who became an al-Qaeda commander after the 9/11 attacks, is a prominent earlier example, as is asmatullah Muawiya, a Jaish-e-Mohammed leader who became a Punjabbased Pakistani Taliban commander in 2007), and he certainly won’t be the last. Yet Gul is particularly significant because of the timing of his transformation from asset to anti-state insurgent. With international troops leaving afghanistan and that nation’s security situation set to suffer, destabilizing spillover effects in Pakistan—from violence to refugee inflows—appear inevitable. Pakistan could soon be plunged into a new period of instability. There’s no worse time for Islamabad to be losing control of more assets. Yet so long as sponsorship of militancy remains state policy, the likelihood of blowback—as embodied most recently by Gul— shall remain strong. g Michael Kugelman is the senior program associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.
C M YK
The Reckoning Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
A cat-and-mouse game between terrorist and policeman in Tel Aviv has a potent legacy
n a world of murder, treachery and war, where no one is exactly what they seem, a by-the-book cop and a fanatical terrorist stalk each other through the ruins of other peoples’ lives. Only one can survive. Because this time it’s personal. Apologies to Hal Douglas, the veteran Hollywood trailer voiceover artist who died last week. But the story of the cop and the killer who form a mutual obsession and hunt each other down has become a cliché in popular culture: Manhunter, Seven, The Fall – a full list would be long. It’s a good plot device, but a silly one. It wouldn’t happen in the real world. Except that it did. Once upon a time in the Middle East. In the dark days of the Second World War, with Axis troops advancing through Egypt, the police in British-run Palestine found themselves fighting on an unexpected front. A splinter group of radical Jewish terrorists, led by a dandy poet named Avraham Stern, defied the mainstream Zionist leadership to launch a private war on the Mandate police, who had tried to curb their killings of innocent Arabs. So fanatical was Stern in his totalitarian racial ideology that he
sought an alliance with the same nazi thugs who were already murdering the Jews of Europe. The chief tormentor of the “Stern Gang” was Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Morton, London-born head of the Tel Aviv district CID, who personally blamed Stern (incorrectly) for the 1938 killing of one of his closest friends. In 1942 Morton was himself the intended target of an elaborate Stern Gang booby trap that succeeded in killing three other senior policemen – two Palestinian Jews and one Briton. Mainstream Jewish opinion was outraged, and the Zionist underground quietly helped to mop up most of the active terrorists. Finally, detectives found Stern hiding in a closet in a rooftop apartment in a run-down part of Tel Aviv. They arrested him without fuss and sent for Morton, who rushed to the scene. Minutes later, Stern was dead, shot several times as – Morton variously claimed – he tried to jump out of a window, or was feared to be about to detonate a (non-existent) hidden bomb. Patrick Bishop’s excellent new book The Reckoning is the enthralling story of this bloody vendetta, and of its long and fateful aftermath. Did Morton murder Stern in cold blood? The evidence, although never quite conclusive, suggests strongly that Morton’s account – which he successfully defended three times in the
London libel courts – was a lie. But then, “cold blood” is a relative concept. Bishop’s detective story offers a vivid portrait of the fraught, doomed world of the Palestine Mandate, in which policemen and soldiers were given an impossible job – keeping out hordes of desperate Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, whose arrival would threaten the native Arabs, while at the same time placating the formidable Palestinian Jews and their supporters in London and Washington DC. Facing Stern in that tiny apartment, Morton would have known that there was little chance of convicting him of his friends’ murders, and that politically motivated moves were already afoot to appease Jewish underground activists and terrorists (though not Arab ones). Stern, on the other hand, was a mystic nationalist who had predicted and even welcomed his own violent death. By shooting him, Morton snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Stern’s movement flourished in the wake of his killing, e ng: How th The Reckoni Changed an M ne O Killing of Land the Promised the Fate of op ick Bish Author: Patr rper Collins Ha r: he is bl Pu ice: £20 Pr 0; 36 Pages:
and even mainstream Zionist opinion began to swing against the police force. Morton himself was kicked upstairs then transferred; the scandal dogged him for the rest of his long life. In 1948 the British abandoned Palestine. Stern, widely reviled in the Leftist embryonic Jewish state, is now a hero of modern Israel’s Right-wing Likudnik mainstream. Two of his contemporaries and admirers, Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, went on to become Likud prime ministers. Shamir, who ordered the 1948 shooting of Un peace envoy and Holocaust hero Folke Bernadotte, had been morally outraged at Stern’s death, and vowed to avenge his dead leader. Begin, who killed 91 people with the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel, later managed to write angrily of how Stern had been “foully murdered”. It is part of Stern’s legacy – and Morton’s – that for some people “murder”, like “cold blood”, and “terrorism”, is also a relative concept. g
Documentary Review: ‘Not Business as Usual’
Progressing to ‘conscious capitalism’
Big business needs reform in its mindset to encompass social commitment and not just shareholder interests
MehReeN OMeR The writer is a digital media scientist and a cultural critic. Follow her on Twitter @mehreen_omer
n an age known by the ubiquity of greed and materialism, can social impact ever become a priority for the corporate world? As ‘not Business as Usual’ explores, yes there is a way out of all such excesses. And that does not necessarily involve shunning capitalism altogether but coming together to form a new social movement known as ‘conscious capitalism’. For some it may seem
an oxymoron, since the core purpose of capitalism is to make profit and the cost of social impact always mitigates profits. For the social business innovators however, such a phenomenon is very much plausible since according to them strategizing for social impact is not an expense but an investment that will reap a return in the long-run. Those businesses who do not make such an investment have to pay the cost anyway in the future, such as the Bangladesh factory collapse in 2013. Out of over 300 fabric mills in Bangladesh, only two had a waste water treatment plant, which means that all the dyes and chemicals were going straight into the river out of which millions of locals fetch their drinking water. Many brands later had to provide compensation to the families of victims; the cost of not investing for environmental good in the first place. During the time of the baby boomers, business became about adding book value to the shareholders, not adding societal value to the stakeholders. According
to the late Milton Friedman, who may be called the chief architect of modern-day capitalism, corporations have no social duty; they only have a duty towards those who own their stocks. But all this was to change when only a decade ago in 2005, Jay Coen Gilbert popularized the idea of a B Corporation; benefit corporations
created for having a positive societal impact and increasing ‘stakeholder’ value. These stakeholders include the customers, the public, the suppliers and the manufactures; all those involved in the value chain. now many corporations in the world are B-Corp certified. The documentary explores several businesses in the US who utilize the profits they make for social good. The Potluck Café is one such business that makes about million bucks a year and at the same time gives full life skills training to its employees. It takes care of the mental health of its staff and makes sure that it brings stability to the lives of people who had suffered so much instability before, especially emotionally in terms of relationships. nurse next Door is another business in the US healthcare industry that have built their company on strong values and ethics and they live up to their promise. One of their clients accounted for 80% of their revenue but it wasn’t very nice to its customers; it used to yell at people and treat them poorly. So nurse
next Door fired the client. They traded financial loss for customer goodwill. now that’s what’s called a long-term investment that will pay dividends in the future. The owner of Eco Apparel Boardroom says that consumers are increasingly concerned about a lot more than the price tag, such as whether the products are manufactured in toxin-free conditions. People today buy stuff not only because of its affordability but also if the brand is socially compliant; it’s not just about selling the cheapest product or selling more. The social enteprise sector, which connects non-profit ethos and for-profit motives, is still a very nascent sector in north America. Imagine what effect it will have on the world if it is adopted worldwide. now, as said in the documentary, people are inherently good. And when they see organizations doing good things, they want to be a part of it. So take your pick. The business paradigm is changing; it’s for you to decide whether you are going to be a follower or a pioneer. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 15
C M YK
Sunday, 04 - 10 May, 2014
TELLING IT LIKE IT ALMOST NEVER IS
Pakistan finally grants India My Fickle Neighbour (MFN) status
Our FOreign pOliCy COrrespOndent
He government of Pakistan has finally decided to grant india the long awaited My Fickle neighbour (MFn) status, the Foreign Office (FO) confirmed on thursday. the move comes after eons of deliberations amidst antagonism from the ‘aman ki asha’ brigade, who believe that both india and Pakistan should focus on building harmonious ties. However, sources privy to our correspondent on condition of anonymity revealed that both aman and asha support Pakistan government’s move. it is pertinent to mention here that india had
already granted Pakistan the My Fickle neighbour status after the 1993 Mumbai blast. according to sources within the FO the move to grant india the My Fickle neighbour status has come following the “verbal mudslinging echoing from the eastern neighbourhood”, amidst the ongoing elections in india. “the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and (narendra) Modi’s nonsense recently has obviously escalated the process,” a Foreign Office official told this scribe on condition of anonymity.
“Congress has joined in as well. i mean with all the bigoted,
Nawaz vows to provide gas to Balochistan, ice to Gilgit
isLamabad Our staFF repOrter
akistan Prime Minister Dr Mian Muhammad nawaz sharif has asked the Petroleum and natural Resources ministry to provide natural gas to Balochistan as soon as possible, and has followed this up by asking the snow and ice ministry to provide ice cubes to Gilgit-Baltistan, Khabaristan Today has learnt. speaking exclusively to Khabaristan Today, the prime minister said, “We are fully aware of all
the problems in Balochistan and the severe shortage of gas in the province is undoubtedly the biggest problem. We want a solution to this issue as soon as possible and the necessary steps will be taken to transfer gas from the gas-rich provinces to Balochistan. Ditto for GilgitBaltistan. Containers of ice cubes will be sent to the region as early as possible.” it is pertinent to mention here that both the regions of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan have been in the news over the past few years owing to a plethora of problems and turmoil. One must give credit to the prime minister for not only earmarking the biggest issues in the respective regions but coming up with the solutions immediately as well. g
Jose Mourinho blames bus driver for Champions League exit London Our FOOtball COrrespOndent
Helsea Manager Jose Mourinho has blamed the team’s bus driver for the UeFa Champions league semifinal loss against atletico Madrid in a press conference. after getting a hard fought 0-0 draw in Madrid in the first leg, Chelsea were favourites to qualify for the final. However, the team’s start player, the bus driver failed to perform and was highlighted as the principal culprit by the manager in the press conference. “Just look at our first half performance. Once we had taken the lead through (Fernando)
torres, it was the bus driver’s job to ensure that we hung on to that lead. However, not only did he delay parking the car, he parked it in all the wrong areas. and when there was no need for that bus, he refused to take if off the pitch,” Mourinho said. “Our star player let us down in the biggest game of the season, but maybe he was a little tired after all the hard work he put in the match winning performance against liverpool on sunday,” he added. Mourinho has always relied on his bus driver for success in Portugal, england, italy and spain and he is his go-to player in big games. Maybe the tiring performance on sunday took its toll on Mourinho’s key player. g
xenophobic, jingoistic jibes, the indians sound almost as fickle as Pakistan,” she added. Other sources also suggest that the verbal feud between Pakistan interior Minister Chaudhry nisar ali khan and BJP spokesperson Meenakshi lekhi has also accelerated the process. Chaudhary nisar had earlier stated that Modi’s election as indian prime minister would destabilise the region. “lekhi might have had a point in, you know, asking
us to mind our own business, but where does Dawood ibrahim come into the equation? What next? Will they start bringing up Mumbai attacks the next time we beat them in a cricket match?” another FO official asked. “so it makes all the sense in the world, and the timing is appropriate to finally, officially, dub india our fickle neighbour,” he added. When asked whether the decision to grant india the MFn status was dependent on who gets elected, and if it was only applicable if Modi wins the election, there was consensus in the Foreign Office. “they are all the same when it comes to Pakistan,” it was unanimously concluded. g
Geo to be banned for broadcasting Misbahul Haq tribute
Karachi Our Media COrrespOndent
akistan’s biggest news channel Geo tV has been under scrutiny recently following its recent tussle with the inter-services intelligence (isi). the way it launched accusations against the Director General (DG) isi has been considered treasonous and the channel has already been banned from army messes all over the country and many cantonments. However, Geo is showing no intent of stepping away from its treasonous path. On Wednesday it aired another anti-Pakistan documentary, a tribute to national cricket team’s captain Misbahul Haq, which will finally see the channel banned in Pakistan. “at a time when it is in the best interests of the country that shahid afridi becomes the captain, the antiPakistan channel Geo is paying tribute to anti-Pakistan cricketer Misbahul Haq just because he broke records in the past year and has been nominated as the iCC Player of the
Year,” an isPR statement read. “it is in the best interest of Pakistan that both Geo and Misbah are banned for life,” it further added. Former DG isi Hameed Gul also echoed those claims and has asked the pro-india duo of Geo and Misbah to be banned immediately. “Just compare the strike rates of Misbah and afridi. if we want to improve on our record of never having beaten india in meaningful encounters Boom Boom should be made captain,” he said. another army general at GHQ had a diplomatic take on the situation, but chose to praise the performance of shahid afridi in safeguarding Pakistan. “afridi is Pakistan’s pride and it is the responsibility of all Pakistanis to extol him as a national hero. and considering the external and internal threats to the country he is undoubtedly the best choice to captain the national side,” said the general. according to sources that preferred to live than reveal their name, Geo will be banned soon for airing the anti-Pakistan tribute to Misbahul Haq. g