waLKInG tHe taLK ZARB-E-AZB AND BLOWBACK COver StOrY:
BAD HAIR DAY THERE HAS TO BE A METHOD IN THIS MADNESS OPInIOn: Arif Nizami
ZARB-E-AZB: NAWAZ ANNOUNCES LUDO TOURNAMENT BETWEEN WAR SCEPTICS AND TALIBAN SatIre: Khabristan Today
THE MAN WHO SAW NW’S TOMORROW IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL TO TIME THE MILITARY OPERATION IntervIew: Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
editoriAl Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami
Arif Nizami Editor
The future of Iraq Chief News Editor
Lahore – Ph: 042-36375963-5 Fax: 042-32535230 Karachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9 Fax: 021-35381208 Islamabad – Ph: 051-2287273 Fax: 051-2818125 Web: www.pakistantoday.com.pk Email: email@example.com
A police guide to self-embarrassment
Punjab’s saviours at their best
ErE’S a script that only Punjab’s government, and its bullies, could have done justice. First a late night meeting where Punjab’s law minister demands that Pakistan Awami tehreek (PAt) upstarts be taught a lesson. the commissioner protests, but is snubbed. the ‘lesson’, it seems, was forcibly removing court sanctioned security barricades from outside the Minhaj ul Quran secretariat, that too in the middle of the night. then, when shown the court order allowing the security, the police (DIG, no less) lied about a court order to remove them. then the police tear gassed, baton-charged, and directly shot at protestors. More than 12 people got killed. then they paraded their goon, Gullu Butt, practically in front of the camera, smashing cars, etc, as the police looked on. then the Model town SP hugged and patted Gullu for his good work,
all in front of the camera. But then the media exposed much of their brutality, and their lies. So they tried to fudge records at the hospital. then they got caught again, and fled the scene. they bungled again, when forced to arrest the goon and present him before the magistrate. trying to play smart, they tried to rush Butt through proceedings, face hidden and with only two policemen. But the public caught on, and gave the villain a good thrashing. And as this tragic-comedy rolls on, surely the police will do more to embarrass their institution even further. But somewhere in this farcical investigation very serious blame will need to be laid at someone’s door. Lives were lost. Men and women died. And the usually hands on chief minister, so ready to suspend senior and junior staff alike for the slightest slackness, will not be able to talk by this episode
with just a long face and some sad words. And not the easiest of his questions will be just where and from whom the order to open direct fire came from. that is not to say, of course, that events before and after the shooting were any less significant in terms of violation of the law at the hands of its upholders. Police officials, too, can no longer be allowed to walk away from practical murder just with light suspensions. Soon they will make calls, get the official corrupt machinery in motion, and find themselves out in the field (with all its advantages), the deaths and the disgrace being a distant matter. But this time, thanks largely to the media that has exposed police brutality yet again, the people will not allow the powerful to simply walk away from such grave excesses. the CM is in the spotlight. He had better deliver, and ensure justice is done, or be prepared for a worse public backlash. g
Football World Cup What sports mean to Pakistan
t is with good reason that football is the most famous sport in the world. the way it brings people, of all nationalities, religions, and ethnicities, together is inspiring. Sadly Pakistan has been unable to compete in this sport at the international level, even though it has a strong following in the country. Sports are an interesting reflection of a nation’s trajectory as a whole. Back in the two-superpower days, it was instructive how American and Soviet teams tested each other at the Olympics, and other sporting encounters. And now, with China on the ascent, we see the Asian powerhouse increasingly challenging US domination at the Olympics, besides making impressive gains in other domains. But Pakistan’s sad story is not restricted to soccer. We have had our share of successes. In cricket, hockey, snooker, and squash, we have been world champions and dominated like no other. Some of our superstars, like Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan, dominated their sport for years on end. Yet now such stories are well in the past. the squash pride is long gone, hockey is hardly anything to write home about, and even cricket, the national passion, now brings more losses than victories, more shame than pride. Considering the country’s course over the last decade or two, though, it is not surprising that we
have regressed in sports, along with almost every other area. For far too long now corrupt politicians and controversial generals have fought over executive power. And throughout their fights and feuds, each government’s prime agenda has been mere survival, which has often meant sidelining opposing forces. Little surprise, then, that the people missed the rulers’ attention, and the human resource base as a whole suffered a qualitative degradation, sports being just one feature of the bigger tragedy. However, there is still hope. the recent street football world cup, in which boys from our slums made it to the semi finals, was ample proof of the level of talent our children possess. It is just a matter of harnessing this talent, and fine tuning these individuals into smart, competitive sportsmen. And that is where the official machinery plays a very significant role. Again, the football world cup shows how seriously most countries take such events, and how much hard work and heavy investment they put into such endeavours. On top of its exciting moments, the world cup also carries important lessons for countries like Pakistan. Sports are part of a nation’s personality, and leading sportsmen and women among the most important ambassadors. It is time we paid more attention to our sports. g
And implications for other countries
HAt is foremost at stake after the ISIS blitz is the integrity of Iraq. the militants who have established new records in brutality have succeeded in demoralising the Iraqi troops. this is visible from the way three divs folded despite Iraqi army’s reputation as the best trained and best equipped force in the Arab world. As the advance by the ISIS continues, there is little hope of the demoralised Iraqi troops taking a stand anywhere. the Maliki government’s sectarian policies have alienated the sunni population, thus forestalling any possibility of a national front against the militants. An intervention by Iran would give further boost to sectarian divisions. Any move by the US to support the government is also likely to be resented by the sunni tribes. Maliki meanwhile continues to pursue brinksmanship. His resignation, as suggested by Washington, could have led to US airforce coming to the rescue of the Iraqi troops. Maliki however refused to resign,
hoping that the global implication of the ISIS victory would force Washington to intervene whether it likes it or not. As ISIS occupied Mosul, the Kurd Peshmarga militia found it convenient to establish control over the oil fields of Kirkuk. there is an urge in a large section of the Kurdish population for having a separate state. the control over Kirkuk makes an independent Kurdistan economically viable. Unless major powers intervene to maintain the unity of Iraq, it is likely to be divided into three separate countries. the ISIS victory in Iraq could also unsettle the Middle East. the outside powers who intervened in Syria are responsible for the rise of the ISIS and other extremist groups. It is their turn now to face the music. Soon the foreign militants would return to their own countries to wage jihad. Prime Minister Cameron is the first to express concern over the Britons fighting side by side with the ISIS. He is likely to be followed by others. g
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There was a time when Chaudhry Nisar was a darling of the Sharifs, both elder and younger. his was a my-way-or-I’ll-resign nakhra that was put up with by both the brothers. That all seems to be a thing of the past, apparently. For starters, he started to, umm, not have his way. he was of the opinion that the government should go lightly on Musharraf; the prime minister wasn’t. he was of the opinion that the Taliban need to be talked to a bit more; we know what became of that. Apparently, there was a tantrum that didn’t quite have the effect that it used to. Then, it was rumoured that the fellow was having heart trouble (unless that is yet another ruse in the nakhra.) Meanwhile, SAFrON minister Abdul “Yeah, that N General” Baloch is giving more and more interior minister looks. g
********** ThINk tanks have become a favourite amongst former parliamentarians. And these parliamentarians either have big bucks themselves or have managed to get donors. either way, they have managed to get an impressive roster of names on their boards. humayun Akhtar khan has one now. So does khurshid Mahmud kasuri. Some media men have also gotten in the game. expect more in the future. g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
Bad hair day
There has to be a method in this madness
Sanaullah should have been put on the spot for his gung ho approach. it is yet a mystery that where did the orders to sort out Qadri come from? Was it someone in the bureaucracy or at the federal level? Certainly, the stated noble intention of removing “illegal barricades” in front of Qadri’s headquarters was not the actual reason behind storming it with an armada of trigger-happy policemen armed to the teeth. it was also an odd time to remove barricades in the immediate aftermath of the start of the military operation in N Waziristan. incidentally such barriers infest Model town. Especially around the PML-N The writer is Editor, Pakistan Today. secretariat and Sharifs’ residence, both housed in h-block. the incident, ironically, highlights ight now, it is a bad hair day governance PML-N style — relying on a moment for Shahbaz Sharif. the cabal of a few trusted elected and unelected Punjab chief minister had to advisors running the show. Barring a few proclaim in a meeting chaired by family members and ministers, only some his elder brother that he was ‘out super bureaucrats at the federal level and in of the loop’ about the operation at the the Punjab wield real power. the rest of the Minahjul Quran Model town secretariat in cabinet members of the parliament and of which more than 12 people died as a result the provincial assembly hardly matter. of indiscriminate police firing. in this kind of ethos, people exerting As if this was not enough, Muttahida brute power can easily graduate being on MNA tahira Asif succumbed to her injuries, autopilot. Nonetheless, this is no excuse for inflicted by yet to be traced assailants. the a hands-on chief minister to claim MQM claims that it was a targeted political ignorance about such a grave matter. assassination. to add insult to injury, a it is somewhat similar to the explanation woman trying to get ration though a proffered by the iSi that it had no government scheme in Rawalpindi was knowledge about Osama bin Laden’s abode crushed to death in a mad scramble for free a stone throw from Pakistan’s premier food. military academy in Abbottabad. Nor, it is All of the above happened on Shahbaz claimed, was the military aware of the US Sharif’s watch. the chink in his ostensibly Navy SEALS taking out bin Laden in a impenetrable armour is visible to all and successful operation on May 2, 2011. sundry. in this backdrop there will be only Of course the iSi was either complicit or few takers of the Punjab chief minister’s negligent about Osama’s presence in professed lack of prior knowledge about the Abbottabad and the successful US operation incident. to get him. in either case, our premier if actually Shahbaz Sharif was not on intelligence agency was left with a lot of egg board about the disastrous Model town on its face. operation — and we have no reason to doubt Similarly, Shahbaz Sharif has a lot of the veracity of his statement – some serious explanation to do for the massacre that actions should follow. that Rana Sanaullah happened on his watch on that fateful has been relieved of his law ministry tuesday morning. Who is gullu Butt and portfolio, and made to fall on his own why was he facilitated by the large police sword, is a good start, but more needs to be contingent present at the scene? After all, done. there has to be a method in all this madness. Despite the fact that like a true Perhaps the police force was too busy gentleman Sharif has offered to resign if shooting defenseless demonstrators that found guilty, no one is included two women and buying the judicial looting close by shops. commission set up by good governance is not ‘The sense of outrage him to inquire into the merely building against the massacre tragedy. the sense of motorways and metro outrage against the trains or distributing can be judged from the massacre can be judged laptops. it also means fact that even those who from the fact that even providing a sense of have no truck with Tahirul those who have no truck security to the citizen. with tahirul Qadri or his Whatever happened Qadri or his firebrand firebrand demagogy have to the much-touted demagogy have been been forced to condemn police reforms that the it in unequivocal terms. PM-N government had forced to condemn it in the question being promised to introduce unequivocal terms’ asked is how his within a year of being in subordinates could keep power? the rulers should Shahbaz Sharif, who outgrow their sense of prides himself of his hands-on, 24/7 kind of arrogance that they quintessentially exude. governance in the province, in the dark. it is the Sharifs should realise that the almost unbelievable that an operation Pakistan they had governed in their second virtually in the backyard of the chief term has changed in many ways since then. minister’s residence in Model town, being there is a need to show restraint even in the spearheaded by Rana Sanaullah since the face of negativity by the opposition and also wee hours of the morning, was kept as a to respect the right of the opposition to closely guarded secret from him. Sharif protest. claims that he only learnt about it in the Of course the shoe being on the other morning while watching a television news foot hurts and sometimes hurts badly. it is channel. not considered to be politically correct to it was indeed ironic that the chief praise predecessors of the present ruling lot minister, after the media had exposed all the for anything. But despite all its faults the lies and half-truths, gave a press conference Zardari led PPP government exercised a lot the same evening flanked by his law of restraint and in the process inculcated a minister. More appropriately Rana democratic culture. the same kind of live
‘Whatever happened to the much-touted police reforms that the PM-N government had promised to introduce within a year of being in power?’ and live ethos needs to be inculcated in our body politic. this, however, should not mean an endorsement of those who are fishing in troubled waters, Qadri included. the Chaudhrys of gujarat are much excited about a grand opposition alliance with the maverick Sheikh Rashid in tow. there are reports that Pti chief imran Khan, who till now has studiously avoided the politics of alliances, is now tempted to join in. he had rightly postponed his planned Bahawalpur rally. But now it is being held on Friday. it will be a pity if the political opposition takes up arms against a beleaguered government that has just completed a little over a year of its five-year term. First things first, political forces should put their full weight behind the ongoing military operation in N Waziristan. it is an existential struggle for Pakistan to
‘The question being asked is how his subordinates could keep Shahbaz Sharif, who prides himself of his hands-on, 24/7 kind of governance in the province, in the dark. It is almost unbelievable that an operation virtually in the backyard of the chief minister’s residence in Model Town, being spearheaded by Rana Sanaullah since the wee hours of the morning, was kept as a closely guarded secret from him. Sharif claims that he only learnt about it in the morning while watching a television news channel’ survive as a pluralistic democratic country. however, the onus is on the ruling party to bring the opposition on board at all costs. Unfortunately it has not lifted a finger to evolve a consensus amongst political stakeholders even in the parliament. Unfortunately a sanctimonious attitude bordering on apathy still prevails. g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
cOver StOry: WALKING the tALK
Zarb-e-Azb and blowback
Are they really on the same page? ShAhAb JAfry The writer is Associate Editor, Pakistan Today. He can be reached at email@example.com
peration Zarb-e-Azb came as a surprise, even though, in hindsight, all signs were in place. the Karachi airport attack had, in effect, rendered the talks useless. it was claimed by ttp proper, not some mysterious breakaway group that did not agree with negotiations. this was for Hakimullah, they proudly claimed, promising hundreds more attacks, yet leaving the options for talks still open. and even if the interior minister, missing since then, still avoided directly blaming the taliban, the army, apparently, had no two views about it. it was just not possible for islamabad to return to negotiations with Fazlullah’s ttp. not after the Karachi insult. But whether nor not the prime minister, and his close circle, also reached the same conclusion as the airport attack went down remains open for debate. and there is reason to believe that however much observers expected the military operation, the timing still caught the prime minister off guard, and his sudden “same page” solidarity is just a political turnaround to avoid getting egg on its face. rumours doing rounds in the capital speak of a high level meeting late last week, when the military high command finally put its foot down, and informed the civilian leadership about initiating the operation over the weekend. and it is believed that the interior minister, the driving force behind the pM’s previous about turn and sudden liking for talks, expressed some reservations. not mentioning the taliban among “internal and external elements” that Ch nisar held responsible for Karachi was deliberate and calculated. He still wished, apparently, to persist with the dialogue. and the resulting exchange with the brass, some say, left the minister nursing a mild heart condition; hence his sudden disappearance from the scene. this is not to discount, of course, the other story drowning in all the noise in islamabad. that nawaz is simply unimpressed with the outcome of nisar’s doctrine, and is looking to keep a different mind frame around him as the war enters a different phase. Element of surprise nevertheless, with political parties and the military now firmly committed to the operation, with only the odd centre-right party still expressing reservations, expectations of a clean sweep are high. the army has been ready since mid-winter, when the pM first hinted about the military option, so it has had plenty of time to complete and revise its homework. Yet all the time the talks lingered meaninglessly also carried a
geographic and logistic spillover. and a number of elements have converged that, according to some, limit pakistan’s options and increase its problems. “if there had to be an operation, it would have been better to strike in the winter”, said Gen (r) Hamid Gul, former iSi chief, president of the ex servicemen society, and part of the conservative Difa-e-Pakistan council. “the snow would have prevented militants from leaving the agency”. not only would it have ruled out the usual sanctuary in afghanistan, it would also have limited movement towards urban centres. now, both are a concern. a large number of terrorists are feared moving down to settled areas to bolster sleeper cells. and the afghan government has predictably not helped check crossborder movement despite repeated requests from islamabad. and militants have been on the move since before Zarb-e-Azb. By being tough about striking back, Gen raheel telegraphed his approach. Hardliners knew what to expect following Karachi, especially after the previous week’s sorties that left scores dead, and hordes evacuated from the badlands. there is also the question of iDps (internally displaced persons). the South Waziristan operation of ’09 came with a clear refugee problem, and considering the government’s unpreparedness again, it seems few lessons were learnt. and this is where the surprise element of the attack has come into question. the forewarning policy – announcing an attack to allow civilian migration – was debated at length during Gen pasha’s time, but ruled out in favour of surprise for this operation. Militants had already gained precious time because of the talks, and many had ex-filtrated. But the military aspect being one thing, the pti is still furious that the provincial government was not given time to prepare for the fallout. “We were kept completely in the dark, which is ridiculous”, said
‘The forewarning policy – announcing an attack to allow civilian migration – was debated at length during Gen Pasha’s time, but ruled out in favour of surprise for this operation’ ejaz Ch, pti’s punjab president. “now there are close to a hundred thousand refugees with no water and no shelter form the terrible heat (especially bothersome because these people come from much colder areas). What is more, busses that usually charged rs7000 per trip are now charging five times as much. it’s completely out of control”. the pti did not agree that its government should still have made contingency plans considering there is a war going on and it could not have been given much time to prepare in the best of times. But the people of nW are clearly suffering, which compounds the government’s problems, since their hearts and minds are the most important to win. “Local people are unhappy about a few things”, said Mansur Khan Mehsud, executive director at the fata research centre, and islamabad based think tank that focuses on the insurgency. “the operation, bombardment, curfew and closed roads have made things very difficult for people trying to leave. and they will face many more problems once they are able to leave the agency. the camps are inadequate, and most will head for cities”. in ’09, when a few hundred thousand fled SW, they refused the iDp camps; they were poorly set up and the Pashtuns have a distaste for refugee living, and instead relied on clan shelter in cities like Bannu, peshawar and Di Khan. in the process they put unbearable pressure on the cities’ limited resources. now the problem is set to worsen, with a
few more hundred thousand headed their way. Going forward the operation is clearly targeted, aimed at the core ttp structure, foreign militants (mainly Uzbek), and their ammo dumps and training facilities littered across the agency. previously favoured groups, like the Haqqani network and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, are not being targeted, once again triggering the old good vs bad taliban debate in the foreign press. incidentally, failure to understand this peculiarity, according to analysts, was the main reason for the talks to fail. “the talks were very badly handled”, said Gen Gul. “they did not consult with the military, and did not grab the initiative when a split emerged between the Mehsuds. Half the battle should have been won there, but the government kept talking to the wrong people. these talks were insincere”. the good taliban are considered agency assets not only because they did not extend the ttp’s war on pakistan’s army, but also because they helped control terrorist excesses. Mullah nazir in South Waziristan was instrumental in pushing out Uzbek militants and guaranteeing years of peace in his area, Molvi Faqir brought fighting to an end in Bajaur, the original birthplace of the ttp, and the Haqqanis and Gul Bahadur helped ease the ttp’s genocide against parachinar’s shi’a in Kurram agency. also, provoking such players into the war against the state, especially at this time, would have amounted to suicidal war policy. instead, people like Gen Gul believe, these forces should have been mobilised during the talks also. they would have helped identify pro-peace elements and isolate troublemakers. But that’s not the only aspect of the talks that didn’t go down well. “the composition of the teams was unbelievable”, said ejaz Ch. “not only was the government’s side non-representative, but the
taliban’s team had no one from the ttp. How could the government appoint a team to talk on the ttp’s behalf? it was a joke”. But, all things considered, the operation had become unavoidable, and surprise was important. not only was the internal situation no longer sustainable but the international picture was also about to change. and time was running out. the american withdrawal from afghanistan will undoubtedly create a security vacuum on the Durand Line. and securing the agency was essential, which meant any operation had no later than pre-ramzan to start at the latest. the border threat will remain elevated even if the americans stay, of course. “if the new afghan government signs the BSa, which is doubtful, then we have had it”, added Gen Gul. “they are setting up india as the region’s proxy, and Modi’s foreign policy, especially its antipakistan agenda, is perfectly suited for this purpose”. But does that mean that the operation is limited to securing nW and controlling the border? or is it really a fight to the last terrorist, which will mean extending it to the rest of the country? Coin officials, on condition of anonymity, hint at a broader, very different sort of operation for settled areas. While the military will smash terrorist safe havens in the tribal area, depriving ttp of its nest, the cities will feature more “intel-intensive” operations. this means locating and monitoring sleeper cells, following their communications, and liaising with local law enforcement agencies for the “cleansing process”. “there may be limited search operations in big cities, but the military sweep will remain limited to nW”, added frc’s Mehsud. “also, most punjabi taliban leaders are also in fata, so the military will probably focus there”. the coming days will show, among other things, how far the taliban’s claims of savage reprisal attacks were true, and how prepared the government and its security agencies are for possible blowback. the highest threat level, according to security officials, is in punjab, where the rural south has been brimming with taliban agitation for years. So far the province’s pML-n government has displayed a sense of priorities that has baffled opposition and media circles. it’s handling of the tahirul Qadri’ situation, especially employing police brutality for which punjab police is notorious, betrayed an astonishing interpretation of the threats it faces. Clearly it was more unnerved by the prospect of Qadri’s sit-in than the ttp threatening ‘drowning the province in fire’. the ruling party’s posture has not only alienated opposition parties, but also distanced the military, which could prove costly as the operation unfolds. that is another thing the immediate future will show; how much the military and civilian leadership are really on the same page. g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
Four milestones towards peace The first is the expulsion of the terrorists from North Waziristan
Aziz-ud-diN AhmAd The writer is a political analyst and a former academic.
ir strikes are the first phase of the war against TTP and are likely to entail no casualties on the part of the military. The shock and awe effect has already stunned local and foreign militants. Their leadership has been dispersed and lost contacts with one another and with the lower ranks. The real fight will begin with the troops entering in force in a few days. The terrain will pose difficulties. So will an alienated population as people have lost relatives and friends and have been deprived of the means of livelihood. The tribesmen could be less than cooperative and in cases hostile. The militants would take recourse to iEDs and landmines and launch surprise hit and run attacks. The graph of the casualties in the army will start rising. Despite all these ups and downs, the army will finally prevail on account of its training, better weapons and air support. Compared to the next three stages the physical occupation of NWA would be the easiest. The next fight will take place in urban centres of the country. The terrorists here would have the advantage of invisibility. Acting from the shadows they will try to destroy major installations and target law enforcement personnel. As soon as the TTP high command is out of shock and is able to renew contacts with its functionaries in the
interior of the country, it will take the battle to areas which constitute the state’s Achilles heel. The TTP would thus try to reverse the gains made by the army in NWA by attacks on urban nerve centres. The interior minister, who was supposed to ensure an effective security system, failed to carry out the assignment. Being a man of a limited vision he had no understanding of the global terrorist threat and the connections of the TTP with Al Qaeda and other violent networks. Ch Nisar’s total stress was on talks with the militants. Every attack launched by the TTP was explained away by him as an effort by some dissident group to sabotage the peace talks. The TTP, according to him, was not against the state of Pakistan. The interior minister simply refused to entertain the possibility of a military operation against the militants. What is likely to facilitate the terrorists is the interior ministry’s failure to evolve a security system ensuring coordination between the numerous intelligence agencies and their cooperation with law enforcing agencies. While Ch Nisar talked about setting up a National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) as a centrepiece in the national security strategy, the body was allowed to remain dormant. Among other things that stood in the way of activating NACTA was the dispute about its status. Ch Nisar wanted the organisation to be under his thumb, but other stakeholders desired it to be directly controlled by the prime minister. The PML-N government remained committed to peace talks as a one point counter terrorism policy till the start of the
‘Media reports tell of thousands of IDPs facing difficulties in arranging private transport to reach Bannu soon after the curfew was lifted. Some reportedly had to walk all the way’
‘Despite all these ups and downs, the army will finally prevail on account of its training, better weapons and air support. Compared to the next three stages the physical occupation of NWA would be the easiest’ ongoing operation. With a blind commitment to peace through parleys, the government did little to evolve a comprehensive security policy that it could rely upon in case military operation had to be undertaken. Security for the cities thus remains a soft spot. The third milestone is the transfer of the population from NWA to the iDP’s camps, providing them with basic amenities and protection so that they realise that the state cares for them. That hundreds of families have already moved to Afghanistan to live with relatives indicates a lack of confidence in government agencies running the iDP’s camps. While in Afghanistan, many are likely to come under the influence of the Taliban, or affected by anti Pakistan propaganda launched by the Karzai government. Media reports tell of thousands of iDPs facing difficulties in arranging private transport to reach Bannu soon after the curfew was lifted. Some reportedly had to walk all the way. The iDPs who had been confined to their homes for three days feared starvation and were keen to get out of the agency. Some couldn’t collect their belongings. This indicates a lack of concern on the part of the government, which does not promote patriotic sentiments. Why couldn’t the iDPs from NWA be evacuated through transport provide by the government? Was it due to the usual lack of coordination between concerned government departments or due to sheer irresponsiveness?
in the final analysis, the success of the operation will depend on the loyalty of the local population, currently forced to turn into iDPs. Loyalty cannot be enforced through lectures or by taunts or threats. The common tribesmen consider what has befallen them as an undeserved misfortune. After all, the hordes of terrorists had not come to NWA on the invitation of the common people of the area. The iDPs need all the help to minimise the disruption they will face and the hardships they will suffer. The fourth milestone is the formulation of a policy to ensure that militants expelled from the agency are not allowed to use Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks inside NWA or other parts of the country. Mullah Fazlullah and Omar Khorasani, who are currently enjoying Afghan hospitality, have launched some of the deadliest attacks inside the country. Kabul has provided them sanctuaries after demanding for years the expulsion of the militant networks which launched attacks on Afghan and coalition forces from North Waziristan. Those still considered good Taliban by the administration include the Haqqani network, Mullah Nazir group, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, and Sajna. All these groups maintain that they are waging jihad in Afghanistan. Mullah Fazlullah and Omar Khorasani on the other hand claim they are conducting jihad in Pakistan. This seems to be a neat arrangement among the two types of jihadis. Once foreign troops are out of Afghanistan, there is a likelihood of both joining hands to form a version of the islamic State of iraq and Syria (iSiS) in tribal areas on both sides of the Durand line. They could call it islamic State of Afghanistan and Pakistan (iSAP). There is a dire need to put an end to cherry-picking among the militant groups. Equally important is to reach an understanding with the Afghan government over zero tolerance for those posing as religious militias. Unless this is done the two countries might soon face the fate of Syria and iraq. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
cover story: walking the talk
the dynamics of the war against terror
An antagonistic political leadership cannot measure up to the magnitude of the task CANDID CORNER
The writer is a political analyst and the Executive Director of the Regional Peace Institute. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter:@RaoofHasan
he army has finally launched an operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) to cleanse it of foreign and local militants. The operation has been initiated on the insistence of the army and in spite of the overt and covert opposition of the ruling political family whose interests, through years, have been so inextricably linked with protecting and patronising the jihadist elements, particularly in the heartland of Punjab. The prime minister stated in the national assembly the other day that it took him fourand-a-half months of negotiations with the Taliban to decide that a military operation was inevitable. The All Parties Conference (APC) was held in September last year, a good nine months back. The question that automatically arises is: what was he doing for the rest of the four-and-a-half months? Thinking? Gosh, that is so cruel on him! There is general consensus that the army operation should have been launched a long time ago because this is only the first of a series of actions that are required to cleanse the country of the scourge of militancy, hatred and extremism. The militants holed up there in the NWA are only the vile manifestations of a sickness that grows elsewhere – in the seminaries that are impacting scores of impressionable youth and encouraging them to take up arms against everything that does not agree with their hateful ideology. The lessons being taught in the next-door seminary will have the element of hatred common with what is being taught at other such places, but nothing else because each one of these seminaries is guided by its own brand of Islam and its own brand of venom. That is what has divided the nation among illinformed and violent firebrands who use the gun to impose their regressive and degenerate writ. In anticipation of the operation, most of the militants have already crossed over to the other side of the Pak-Afghan border and it is well nigh impossible for even the Afghan government to push them back. The miserly remnants of the militant bands that still remain in NWA will either be killed or these, too, will be able to find their way across the border or filter into the cities and suburbs of the country now that the operation has started. Therefore, I don’t agree with assumptions that the time lost in starting the operation is not relevant in terms of its effectiveness, or that this is going to be a short and clinical operation. I believe that this is going to be a protracted and brutal exercise which will not end any time soon if the objective is to rid the country completely of the scourge of militancy. But, if it is meant to kill a few militants and indulge in some political sloganeering thereafter of having defeated militancy, it would be a cruel joke with the nation which the ruling political family has indulged in ad nauseam.
There are three key stages to the operation that would determine its success or otherwise: one, the military operation in the NWA and elsewhere in the country including the cities and the suburbs where the militants may be holed up; two, the operation to render dysfunctional the defunct organisations including the Lashkar-e-Tayaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and all other such outfits and their training centres that preach violence against real and imagined adversaries and, three, regulating the foreign-aided and sponsored seminaries spread over the length and breadth of the country that are incessantly engaged in preaching violence and injecting germs of sectarian hatred that would not be acceptable in any civilised society. If we stop at the first, even the second, and claim victory in having wiped out terrorism, it would be a travesty of the operation that has been launched after over 50,000 deaths and, by the prime minister’s own admission, a loss in excess of US$ one billion. It is like administering antibiotics to a patient that is in immediate need of a major surgical procedure. Or, it would be like tackling a few manifestations of violence, but leaving alone the nurseries of hate that produce them by the dozens every day to wage war against the state of Pakistan. If the objective is to kill a few terrorists without addressing the causes that create the scourge, it is an exercise in futility. Unfortunately, we are still reaping the spill-over of the jihad that we fought so blindly without paying an iota of heed to the detrimental impact this would have on our society and our short- and long-term national interests. We plunged ourselves in it thinking as if our very survival depended on its success. In the process, we refused to learn from our past experience of having pursued such misadventures and having had to pay an enormous price in the bargain. It is as if we were blinded by the passion of our argument without bothering to rationalise its immediate and long-term consequences. What is even more worrisome is that this approach has assumed the contours of a national narrative that we pursue blindly without bothering to comprehend the destruction that it would cause inevitably. This jihadist narrative has consumed our policy-makers and bulk of our people alike. Through this sickening indulgence, we are trying to compensate for our stark failures and shortcomings as a community of people because a nation we have not been able to become. There is no common voice that we have been able to nurture. It is only a collection of discordant notes that differ
‘The operation in the NWA is just the beginning of a long battle that will have to be fought to the bitter end to rescue this country from the clutches of the sick and the deadly pursuits that we have embraced passionately through decades. There is neither any reason nor any provision left to continue on this destructive trail any further. There never was. It has already caused enough damage in men, material and spirit, or whatever was left of it. As a country and as a bunch of people, we are perched on the edge of the precipice with nothing down there that would stop our fall. It is all the way to certain oblivion’
‘There are three key stages to the operation that would determine its success or otherwise: one, the military operation in the NWA and elsewhere in the country including the cities and the suburbs where the militants may be holed up; two, the operation to render dysfunctional the defunct organisations including the Lashkar-e-Tayaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba and all other such outfits and their training centres that preach violence against real and imagined adversaries and, three, regulating the foreign-aided and sponsored seminaries spread over the length and breadth of the country that are incessantly engaged in preaching violence and injecting germs of sectarian hatred that would not be acceptable in any civilised society’
from each other in content, essence and spirit, thus pitting people from divergent backgrounds at cross-purposes, even on collision paths. So, we continue to fight each other with venomous words as much as with deadly weapons. The operation in the NWA is just the beginning of a long battle that will have to be fought to the bitter end to rescue this country from the clutches of the sick and the deadly pursuits that we have embraced passionately through decades. There is neither any reason nor any provision left to continue on this destructive trail any further. There never was. It has already caused enough damage in men, material and spirit, or whatever was left of it. As a country and as a bunch of people, we are perched on the edge of the precipice with nothing down there that would stop our fall. It is all the way to certain oblivion. We should also understand that as long as the factories that produce and promote this deadly narrative are not taken care of, there is no stopping the mayhem that we are perpetually the target of. Treating the symptoms alone will not solve the crisis. It is tackling the causes that may provide us with a respite and space to chisel a future that would not be laced with terror and its equally destructive manifestations. That is going to be a difficult task. Political parties, defunct organisations, nonstate actors and a large number of people of all hues and colours have made lucrative businesses out of promoting terror. They have also made businesses out of extortion, kidnapping for ransom, brutal killings and just about everything else that would cultivate a fear syndrome to promote the petty interests of their own brand of myopic and self-serving polity. Professions are being blatantly used for promoting the causes of terror. Institutions are being subdued into silence so that mega corruption scams would remain unearthed. Prosecution is non-existent. Judiciary is scared to sit on judgement on the perpetrators of terror. There is a preponderant culture of complicity – each group willing, even eager to cooperate with the others promoting the ascendency of petty fiefdoms that call the shots within their domain of influence. The one thing that characterises all such pursuits is the commonality of illicit stakes that unite them in criminal undertakings. In an environment so grossly vitiated by competing as well as complicit interests, is a remedial action even a remote possibility? Let’s begin with the prime minister who remains a hostage of his vile interpretation of what a democratic rule is all about: a oneman show that would be paramount and unchallenged. emerging that it does out of an abominable intellectual paucity and lack of sincerity, it is bound to carry more negatives than positives, if any at all! he appears to be a man driven by a messianic belief that the army and the premier intelligence agency of the country are to be subjugated and controlled without any questions asked. his close coterie of
advisors, their later-day proclamations notwithstanding, also remain besotted with the same urge and are incessantly engaged in a vile campaign to lower the morale of those fighting on the borders. This approach is also manifested in the initiatives, or the lack of the same, that the government undertakes including the manner it handled the media crisis and the issues emerging out of the consequent free-for-all masquerade that unfurled on the national television screens. But the vilest act has been this effort on the part of the Sharifs to use the little space created as a consequence of the launch of the military operation in the NWA to come down hard on such elements that are challenging their political authority. The brutality of the pre-dawn assault in Lahore under the pretext of removing the barriers on the road to the offices of the Idara-eMinhaj-ul-Quran is reminiscent of the sickness of the divisive politics of the nineties. This act also reflects the delusional indulgence of the Sharifs to perpetuate a family fiefdom on the country to the exclusion of all others. That’s why one sees an unending trail of the family stalwarts lining up for promotion to the next tier. On the face of it, the Sharifs have again shot themselves in the foot, a selfdestructive exercise that they have mastered through their years in power. They are also notorious for creating an unmanageable situation when none exists and there is also no reason for fabricating one. This day-light brutality is likely to have serious repercussions for their hold on power. On the one hand, it will fail in deterring the parties that are out there challenging the legitimacy of the PML (N) rule secured through a grossly contrived election and, on the other hand, it will unite the opposition in the belief that the Sharifs do not tolerate criticism of their dictatorial and self-centred manner of governance. But the affliction is deeper and more wide-spread than can be gauged from any one act, be it as barbaric as the one committed in Lahore resulting in the death of a large number of people. It is hidden in the mindset that rules this country, in the mindset that the Sharifs have traditionally nurtured as a matter of habit. It is this mindset that is determined on working to the exclusion of all other state institutions, as a matter of fact, at their cost and peril. This mindset brooks no alternative narrative that may provide a clue to successfully confronting the existential threats that the state is confronted with and this mindset is bent on perpetuating a regressive and degenerate narrative that would take the state back into an embrace with the medieval times and traditions. That’s where they fit in best: with their brutal and insensitive preoccupation with perpetuating their illicit rule on the country. Can the state afford this regressionladen, all-consuming narrative? Can the state afford to suffer the Sharifs’ megalomania any longer? The future of the state may rest with a quick disposal of these questions. g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
NWA operation: where do political parties stand? The pendulum swings from here to there, but mostly in favour of the strike MuhAMMAd MuTAhir Ali
ow that war alarms have sounded and the civilian and political leadership have vowed to deliver the final blow to TTP’s terrorists, it is instructive to look at positions adopted by various parties. while addressing both houses of Parliament, the prime minister asked the entire nation to stand by the army. The troops lead the action on the frontlines, but keeping public opinion in favour of the military is an essential part of the government’s responsibilities. “once your troops go into battle, you have to provide them with complete political support”, said Asad Umar, senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), one of the strongest proponents of the talks prior to the military operation. However, the extent of support shown to the operation by political parties varies considerably. Change in stance As political parties began reacting to operation Zarb-e-Azb, the most anticipated announcement came from the PTI. Its core committee endorsed the operation, but the party has always doubted the efficacy of a military strike in North waziristan. That is why it pushed for peace talks, and
did not want to abandon negotiations even after the Karachi attack. But since the operation ended any likelihood of the talks continuing, the party decided to throw its lot with the military, and announced unequivocal support for the strike. when asked about the cause for the change in PTI’s stance, Umar said there is no sane option except standing behind your battling forces. He further stated that the “PTI leadership learned about the commencement of operation from television” and his party was not taken into confidence by the government. The concern is understandable, since the KPK government will face the major fallout of the operation. In addition to hosting a large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), securing cities against major terrorist counterstrikes will also be a challenge. Asked if the provincial government had prepared contingency plans in expectation of an operation, he said “no contingency plan can tackle the fallout on a 48-hour notice, however appropriate arrangements are being made”. Vehement supporters Then there are parties that have been calling for the operation for a long time. MQM, for one, has long advocated an extensive military operation to wipe out the Taliban. “we have been demanding this for ages”, said Ali Raza Abidi, an
‘As political parties began reacting to operation Zarbe-Azb, the most anticipated announcement came from the PTI. Its core committee endorsed the operation, but the party has always doubted the efficacy of a military strike in North Waziristan’ MNA from MQM, while talking to Pakistan Today. Abidi said MQM was not updated on the progress of peace talks, neither was it taken into confidence before announcing the operation, but still “MQM fully supports the operation”. He went on to say that “army and rangers should target the hideouts of terrorist in urban centres as well”. Similarly, the Awami National Party (ANP), which lost several of its leaders and scores of workers in terrorist attacks, had also been pushing for the military operation in North waziristan. “we always doubted that peace talks would be successful and now it is clear”, said Haji Adeel, a senior ANP leader, referring to the Karachi airport attack. “They did not stop their attacks even during the negotiations”. Adeel said his party was also kept in the dark. “But ANP supports the waziristan operation
as a matter of principle”, he added, and “the distinction between proand anti-Pakistan Taliban should now cease to exist. we should deal with all terrorists with an iron hand”. However, Adeel also warned of the huge number of IDPs, who will be left vulnerable if not attended to properly. He said there were complaints of difficulties faced by displaced people and many are still deprived of basic amenities like water and electricity in Bannu district. “we must keep in mind that those who have to leave their homes due to the operation are respectable people who must be treated with dignity,” he pointed out. The few skeptics But not all mainstream political parties are fervently supporting the operation, as some have expressed their reservations. In this list, the most prominent ones are Jamat-eIslami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F. JI has highlighted the potential collateral damage that the operation is sure to bring, besides criticising the government for not taking the political leadership on board. However, it did not directly oppose the operation and has appealed the militants to “shun terrorist activities”. JUI-F, on the other hand, has come out strongly against the operation. Giving his comments to Pakistan Today, Jaan Achakzai, the party’s senior leader and
‘JI has highlighted the potential collateral damage that the operation is sure to bring, besides criticising the government for not taking the political leadership on board’ spokesperson said, “we realise that it was the government’s right to retaliate after the attack on Karachi airport. But a tactical operation like this is not going to solve the problem. The government will have to adopt a multi-pronged strategy, inclusive of diplomatic means”. Regarding the talks, he said his party was not informed about their outcome, and cannot say with certainty that they “failed”. “The operation has even less significance now because reports suggest that most militants have already fled the area”, he added. As the nation goes into a decisive war against terrorism, it is of paramount importance that the military and political leadership are on the same page. Divisions within will only strengthen the enemy. In the coming days, developing a consensus among different political parties will be a serious challenge for the government. How successfully it handles the emerging situation remains to be seen. g
Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan
The military must be extended complete support
Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to a single individual. Website: www.spearheadresearch.org.
He government of Pakistan has given a political directive to the Pakistan army for a ‘full scale’ operation in North waziristan area of FATA (Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas and the centre of gravity of the Taliban insurgency under the umbrella organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan — TTP). According to the defence minister the operation will be against ‘local and foreign terrorists’ and will continue till ‘the last terrorist has been eliminated’. This announcement signals the end of the dialogue with the Taliban — a dialogue that never really took off and that the Taliban and others scuttled by vicious attacks — the most spectacular being the attack on Karachi airport.
The government’s directive to the military spells out the objective, the scale and the dimensions of the operation. The military has opted for a land-air strategy to implement the directive and in a major air strike 105 militants — ‘mostly Uzbek’ — have been killed. The operation has been code named Zarb-e-Azb — that being the name of the sword of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him). Details of the operation are — and should remain — classified but a buildup of weapon systems and surveillance means, fire power, ground troops including special forces and the devastating 24 hour accuracy of air strikes is already obvious. The nation is firmly behind the armed forces and all political parties are supportive except one or two that have chosen to either oppose the operation or sit on the fence. There are clear indications that the operation has been preceded by an external manoeuvre. The resumption of drone strikes, the visit by the army chief to Afghanistan for a trilateral meeting (US, Afghanistan and Pakistan), the prime ministers’ overtures to India, the continuous interaction with China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the formal request to Afghanistan to seal its side of the
‘Both India and Afghanistan should not allow planned and orchestrated provocations to distract them from cooperating with Pakistan’ border all point to a well thought out strategy based on the correct assumption that Pakistan needs external support and cooperation to complete a task that is in regional and extra regional interest. Considering the fluid and rapidly deteriorating situation in the Middle east, the US and UK must note that the PakistanAfghanistan region is the one area where a concerted operation can achieve total victory over terrorism and thereby give Pakistan and Afghanistan much needed stability. Both India and Afghanistan should not allow planned and orchestrated provocations to distract them from cooperating with Pakistan. within Pakistan various planned political activities like train marches, street protests, sit-ins, etc, should all be put on hold for as long as the operation is underway, because such activities
provide cover for movement of people and resources to be used in terrorist acts. The government has already pledged full support to the armed forces but they will also need support from the US, the UK and all the NATo countries. Vicious organisations like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and east Turkmen Islamic Movement (eTIM) with worldwide agendas found sanctuaries in North waziristan and established operational bases there linking up with the TTP and criminal mafias involved in kidnapping, extortion, robberies, and drugs and weapons smuggling. Sectarian and other attacks have been used to destabilise Pakistan’s urban areas to give them an environment for operations like the TTP-IMU jointly owned attack on Karachi airport. If this trend remains unchecked then linkages with the events unfolding in the Middle east cannot be ruled out. The Pakistan army has taken over the security of Islamabad, a sensitive jail and possibly other places and will probably be overseeing the security situation in the country because the Taliban and their partners will use proxies to retaliate in urban areas. Such retaliation will unmask those with anti Pakistan agendas and make
‘The Pakistan army has taken over the security of Islamabad, a sensitive jail and possibly other places and will probably be overseeing the security situation in the country because the Taliban and their partners will use proxies to retaliate in urban areas’ them legitimate targets for law enforcing agencies and judicial prosecution. Pakistan’s security and economy is linked not just to the end of the insurgency in FATA but also to the situation in its urban areas that threatens infra structure and human security. This internal battle is a battle that the ministry of interior needs to fight with all state resources — both federal and provincial. The Inter Service Intelligence Agency (ISI) should be made the lead agency for all intelligence coordination till futuristic plans can be implemented and all personal reservations put aside in the national interest. Zarb-e-Azb needs total support. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
Fascism at its best Democracy at its most beautiful
The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
he movie: ‘Ullu’ Butt Rules … OKAY?’ Starring: Gullu Butt, police tout and Commander of the Stormtroopers of the Brothers Sharif. The ‘G’ should be dropped from his name and Gullu should be renamed ‘Ullu’, as in stupid owl. He is a Kashmiri settler, as are the Sharifs, not really Punjabis, much as they would love to be. Having conquered Pakistan by capturing Punjab, they should now go and conquer their beloved Kashmir. Then they will get their muchyearned ‘normalisation’ with India. Co-starring: The fabled, much-feared Punjab police on a rampage. Location: Headquarters of Dr Tahirul Qadri’s political party and seminary in Lahore, capital of Punjab province ruled by the prime minister’s brother Shahbaz Sharif. The date: Night between 16 and 17 June 2014. The time: Around 1.30 am. The duration: About 15 hours. The event: Slaughter of innocent people. The result: On that fateful night and day the Punjab police and ‘Ullu’ got a chance to show their muscle, killed 12 and counting, including two women, injuring 80. Wielding big staves, Ullu Butt and his gang smashed many vehicles outside Qadri’s headquarters in posh Model Town where the Sharifs also have a house. The police not only looked on but their superintendent later
gave pats of approval to Ullu and his goons. Ullu broke into a peculiar dance that has taken Punjab by storm. Now young boys with staves are dancing the ‘Ullu Dance’. You cannot fault us Pakistanis for making the best out of the worst situation. One of the smashers was a uniformed policeman. Worse, the police kept beating the arrested mercilessly with batons, punches and kicks – men and women, old and young, children included. The idea was to intimidate by terror. Sleeping men, women and children were dragged out of their homes, beaten and shot dead. Many women are missing. The police are Pakistan’s top rapists. One fears for these missing women. The evidence: The carnage was captured on many television cameras. The evidence is there. After having done their dastardly deed, the police proceeded to loot shops, steal money and goods and treat themselves to ‘free’ cold drinks. Gamekeepers turned poachers with a vengeance, eh? Ullu rules…okay? So lump it. The cause: Fright at the return of Qadri to lead a movement to topple the political system of which all our rulers are beneficiaries and to amend the constitution to make it more democratic in which elections cannot be rigged and stolen easily. What force might be behind Qadri petrifies them most. Not the army or America, surely? The callousness: All this while our prime minister was on an irrelevant jaunt to Tajikistan. While the army chief could cancel his trip to Sri Lanka because of the importance of the army operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, the prime minister didn’t find it important enough to cancel his jaunt to Tajikistan to sign an irrelevant trade deal that his trade minister could easily have done. Sri Lanka has a special place in the hearts of our army chiefs anyway: that is where General Musharraf was when Nawaz Sharif illegally sacked him and eventually himself.
The official excuse: Qadri’s workers cast the first stone at the police that had come only to remove barriers that it had itself placed on the road outside some years ago because now it felt that they impeded traffic. Tell me another. They cast the first stone in their sleep? Even if they did, does it behoove a supposedly organised, disciplined, law abiding police force to behave like a conquering army? Who cast the first stone is irrelevant. Focus on police behaviour. There’s no excuse for it. The gibberish: The Sharifs’ attack dogs masquerading as ministers started talking their usual nonsense. “Qadri is returning to destabilise Pakistan and distract the army from the military operation against terrorists in North Waziristan”. What does that
‘Actually, they are scared that Qadri’s movement could force the army to intervene and end their joyride again’ have to do with it? Why should it distract the army? “He is destabilising democracy”. What democracy? Is this democracy? Actually, they are scared that Qadri’s movement could force the army to intervene and end their joyride again. The army would be stupid if it does for this is not the way. The system must be changed and the constitution amended by the people, if not through their ‘representatives’ in parliament then on the streets. Change by fiat rarely works. The smoking gun: If the police came only to remove barriers, why did they bring Gullu and gang along? The fact that they did betrays malfeasance aforethought. It was premeditated slaughter and the police cast the first stone and fired the first shot. Why in the middle of the night? Why with thousands of policemen and hundreds of gangsters? It was
pre-planned but backfired because like their bosses, the police have no sense. The hackneyed Sharif excuse: “I didn’t know”, says Shahbaz Sharif. “I was not in the loop”. The Sharif brothers think that they can fool all of the people all of the time. Just like Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed after he surrendered Kargil to India that he didn’t know his army had attacked the disputed territory, Shahbaz would have us believe that he didn’t know that his police had attacked Qadri’s people. We saw in a few hours what was happening – police brutality, the performance of Ullu and gang – on numerous television channels allowed by a socalled dictator. But the ‘democratic’ Sharifs didn’t know what was going on? Do you really think that the police would dare perpetrate such an outrage without orders from the very top? The question: Let’s take the Sharifs at their word and ask: what kind of prime minister are you Nawaz Sharif that you didn’t even know that your army had attacked a disputed territory occupied by India? What kind of chief minister are you Shahbaz Sharif that you didn’t know that your police was slaughtering people in Lahore with the help of your goon Ullu and gang? The conclusion: Both Sharif brothers are either so incompetent that they don’t deserve to hold any position of trust and responsibility, much less of chief executives of Pakistan and Punjab and must go, or both are liars and knew, in which case they are not democrats but criminals and must go. Either way, they must go. Go, in the name of God, go. The malfeasance: Instead of booking Ullu Butt, his goons and the policemen involved, police first booked Tahirul Qadri’s son instead. Later, they said that they had no evidence and withdrew. According to one source, the now transferred police officials are saying that they were ‘only’ carrying out orders to “teach Qadri’s workers a lesson”. After the carnage the police accompanied by an official of the establishment division proceeded to Jinnah hospital where the dead and injured were lying and tried to force the hospital administration to change its report and say that the dead and injured were hit by stones, not bullets. Television cameras recorded this too. The federal and provincial governments don’t have a leg to stand on, so they are desperately looking for crutches. To dilute public anger, the government transferred some police officials who will later sing like canaries. They registered a weak case against Ullu. When Ullu was brought to court the next day he was soundly thrashed by people and lawyers. Police advised Ullu to feign unconsciousness. He duly ‘fainted’ and they whisked away this prime witness and later obtained the remand. history of suicide: Have the Sharifs tripped over again and pressed their destruct button for
the third time? Attacking political opponents is their penchant. Their goons attacked the Supreme Court in Sharif’s second government, finally forced the targeted chief justice out and appointed their pet judge in his stead who shamelessly exonerated Nawaz Sharif and his goons of this calumny. Rived with hubris, Nawaz Sharif then attacked the army for the third time, the first being the forced resignation of army chief General Jahangir Karamat, the second trying to hang Kargil round General Musharraf’s neck. On that fateful day of October 12, 1999, Sharif went completely haywire, illegally sacked army chief Musharraf while he was in Sri Lanka, appointed an army engineer as chief, hijacked Musharraf’s returning aircraft and tried to send it to India. If I had told you on the
‘Shahbaz Sharif’s reaction was typical: set up a judicial commission. I’m sure he raised his forefinger too’ morning of October 12, 1999 that this would happen later that day, you would have thought I was mad, not realising that Nawaz Sharif would go mad in a few hours. Attacking Qadri’s headquarters was behaviour according to type. Shahbaz Sharif’s reaction was typical: set up a judicial commission. I’m sure he raised his forefinger too. How can we trust any judicial commission for obvious reasons? If Shahbaz Sharif had even a modicum of understanding of the best traditions of democracy he would resign forthwith and save himself. So too the chief secretary, home secretary and Punjab police chief. Even if the chief minister didn’t know, these people should have. What’s wrong with Qadri’s efforts to overthrow the status quo that benefits only the rulers and amend the constitution to make it more democratic? I said last week that if this system doesn’t go first, Pakistan will. To save Pakistan it must be overthrown. Don’t get distracted by Tahirul Qadri’s persona. Focus on his message. A terrified government spreads terror to intimidate people and force them to sullenly accept the status quo. The prime purpose was to intimidate Qadri’s workers before his impending return. I also wrote last week that Pakistan is being slaughtered at the altar of democracy. This real, not figurative slaughter should show you. I thought I had become immune to the worst that happened in my country, but today even I am shocked at the barbarity of the Punjab government. They have proved the hackneyed old Greek saying again: “Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad”. God enjoins us to choose ‘Amr bil ma’roof wan nahi an al munkar’ – “He who commands good and forbids evil”. What have we done? g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
The butchers of Lahore The Sharifs should be consigned to the abattoir to indulge their penchant for killing Raoof HaSan “As I look back, there is a parallel theme to my four-and-a-half years at war: love. By that I mean love – there is no other word for it – I came to feel for the troops, and the overwhelming sense of personal responsibility I developed for them. Toward the end of my time in office, I could barely speak to them or about them without being overcome with emotion. Early in my fifth year, I came to believe my determination to protect them...was clouding my judgement and diminishing my usefulness to the president, and thus it played a part in my decision to retire.” –Robert Gates: “Duty” n an act of unprecedented savagery, sickeningly reminiscent of the medieval times, ten people were shot dead in cold blood with another ninety admitted into hospital some of whom are reportedly fighting for their lives. The incident occurred when the police, in a pre-dawn swoop, tried to remove the barriers from the roads leading to the office of Idara-e-Minhajul Quran of Allama Tahirul Qadri. The police officers and jawans were reported to have fired directly into the crowd. Two of the dead were women. There has been widespread and intense condemnation of the brutal assault. Mutthida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Idara-e-Mihajul Quran have called for countrywide protests. Other parties protested inside the assemblies and staged walkouts. There have also been calls for the resignation of the prime minister, the chief minister, Punjab, the interior and law ministers of the province and the sacking of the inspector-general and the deputy inspector-general of police. not far from the offices of the Idara-eMinhajul Quran where the police operation took place are the residences and offices of the Sharifs which have been barricaded with not a soul allowed to pass through including those who live in the vicinity. One is at a loss to understand how two divergently different laws would apply to barriers that guard the Sharifs and the Idara-e-Minjajul Quran offices and residences. Or, just take a look at the citadel that Raiwind has become, completely inaccessible to the ordinary mortals. One would need an invitation from the Sharifs to even get within a few miles of
‘I could sense some such thing coming. With political pressure mounting, the Sharifs, driven by an inherently undemocratic and brutal instinct, were bound to launch some kind of surgical operation. Even then, one did not quite grasp the mindset that must have forced them to this kind of savagery perpetrated against men and women, even children. It happened, and it happened in broad daylight for all to see. One of PML (N)’s touts, Gulu Butt, alias Sher-e-Lahore, protected by the police, unleashed dandaterror against the vehicles parked in the vicinity, most of which were destroyed. As bodies fell, the firing continued disdainfully. The killing spree lasted a full twelve hours’
the area that has been completely cordoned off and is guarded round-the-clock by hundreds of security personnel who are paid their salaries from the government exchequer. Or, go to Gulberg 111, an area where a close friend of mine also lives, which has been completely blocked to public. Understandably, one of the chief minister’s wives lives there. There are 10-12 feet high bullet-proof bunkers, looking right into people’s homes, made to guard the area. The public has been barred to enter the park in front of the house. Walls up to eight-feet high have been built for additional protection. Even those living either side of the house occupied by the lady are stopped at the barriers to prove their identity to enter their own homes. I could sense some such thing coming. With political pressure mounting, the Sharifs, driven by an inherently undemocratic and brutal instinct, were bound to launch some kind of surgical operation. Even then, one did not quite grasp the mindset that must have forced them to this kind of savagery perpetrated against men and women, even children. It happened, and it happened in broad daylight for all to see. One of PML (n)’s touts, Gulu Butt, alias Sher-e-Lahore,
‘The Sharifs are no political leaders. More appropriately, they should be dubbed as the butchers of Lahore. A civilised country cannot be their domain. Instead, they should be confined to the abattoir to indulge their penchant for killing and leave the country alone’ protected by the police, unleashed dandaterror against the vehicles parked in the vicinity, most of which were destroyed. As bodies fell, the firing continued disdainfully. The killing spree lasted a full twelve hours. I cannot believe for a moment that such an operation could have been launched without the patronage and guidance of the chief minister and the prime minister. It was a criminal and pre-meditated assault on everything that the country may have gained through struggling with a democratic dispensation. It was as much a message to Tahirul Qadri and the workers of Idara-eMinhajul Quran as to the people within the PML (n) who have begun to voice serious reservations regarding the dictatorial manner of their governance and the palpable lack of commitment to the state institutions that are engaged in fighting an existential war to protect Pakistan’s sovereignty and long-term interests. This is not the first incident reflecting the savagery that the Sharifs are capable of displaying. Back in older times, there used to be rumours circulating regarding the manner they dealt with protesting workers at their factories. The younger Sharif, who lords over the province of Punjab, is notorious for having staged fake police encounters in the nineties that resulted in the death of countless alleged criminals. He is reported to have boasted on a number of occasions that this was the only way to deal with them and that he would continue doing so. The Sharifs have also kidnapped journalists in the past, at least one of whom has now forged a close political liaison with his tormentors. They have also resorted to attacking the Supreme Court and used bagsfull of money to bribe their way out of a brewing judicial crisis. The one who carried the bags to Quetta was later rewarded with the office of the President of Pakistan. They would stop, literally stop at nothing to save
‘Having been left with no option but agreeing to the launch of a military operation to rid the country of the scourge of militancy, the Sharifs have tried to use the occasion to move against their political opponents who were threatening their malevolent and dictatorial rule. They have chosen a time which, instead, should have been used for rallying public support for the military and the operation they are conducting at the risk of their lives. But the military it is that they hate and the military it is that they want to undo. I remember those times when the elder Sharif would go red in the face at the mention of the military or any of its oﬃcers, most particularly General Musharraf’
their illicit political office/s contrived through a fraudulent election with the support of a hand-picked administration, an inept and inefficient Election Commission and a complicit judiciary. The chief minister Sharif is notorious for degrading much lower than the rest. He works with a demonic preoccupation with how to further strengthen his illegitimate hold on power and how to add to the coffers that are already brimming with illicit wealth that rightfully belongs to the state of Pakistan and its more deserving people, very few they may be, who fulfil their obligations by paying their taxes and other liabilities only to be laundered away to foreign countries by the Sharifs and their criminal cronies, further adding to their lustful and insatiable grab. His megalomaniac preoccupation with developing an unchallengeable ascendency has resulted in eroding whatever legitimacy remained of the so-called democratic system that no one tires of propounding. The setting up of a one-man commission to investigate the brutal assault and apportion the blame and responsibility is going to remain just that: a commission like so many others that were constituted with little to no result. His comical antics notwithstanding, there would be a concerted effort to regulate the commission to secure a pre-dictated verdict. In one of my columns published in another newspaper a couple of years ago titled “The faces behind the face”, I had written that “trickery and duplicity can take you only as far as it can. Beyond that, the path is strewn with pitfalls that cannot be traversed by people of mediocre mettle and debatable integrities. The path beyond would be traversed by individuals who display the qualities of fortitude in adversity and maintain their dignity in trying circumstances. This is the path for no ordinary mortals whose ranks are swollen with myopic and self-perpetuating proclamations cloaked as service to the people. Let’s be done with it. Let’s get on course to accountability – more of those who go around pontificating to others. Let’s unmask the faces behind the face.” Having been left with no option but agreeing to the launch of a military operation to rid the country of the scourge of militancy, the Sharifs have tried to use
the occasion to move against their political opponents who were threatening their malevolent and dictatorial rule. They have chosen a time which, instead, should have been used for rallying public support for the military and the operation they are conducting at the risk of their lives. But the military it is that they hate and the military it is that they want to undo. I remember those times when the elder Sharif would go red in the face at the mention of the military or any of its officers, most particularly General Musharraf. Only if he could, he would move with alacrity to crush the institution and consign it to the dustbin of history. not much is different with his close cronies who sing his praises when he is puking venom against the institution of the army and the premier intelligence agency. The Sharifs wear masks on top of masks. Their corruption and indulgence in demeaning political tricks stink from miles away. Their continuing indulgence has brought the country to the brink of ruination. now, they have added the venomous culture of the nineties to their vast repertoire of criminal activities to subdue their political opposition, this at a time when the nation needed to be rallied to unite behind their armed forces. This reflects their unstoppable quest for absolute and unquestioned power. The choice for the Sharifs is between the Emirate of Punjab where they feel they could rule to eternity using coercive and inhuman tactics, or a unified Pakistan where they would be just another political party and where they would be forced to abide by the constitutional provisions and legal benchmarks. They have unmasked their preference through a cruel, calculated and brutal use of the state machinery and have thus laid the foundations of a return to the divisive culture of the past. The comic antics of the chief minister notwithstanding, the likely outcome of the one-man judicial commission can be easily foretold. The Sharifs are no political leaders. More appropriately, they should be dubbed as the butchers of Lahore. A civilised country cannot be their domain. Instead, they should be confined to the abattoir to indulge their penchant for killing and leave the country alone. g
‘The Sharifs wear masks on top of masks. Their corruption and indulgence in demeaning political tricks stink from miles away. Their continuing indulgence has brought the country to the brink of ruination. Now, they have added the venomous culture of the nineties to their vast repertoire of criminal activities to subdue their political opposition, this at a time when the nation needed to be rallied to unite behind their armed forces. This reflects their unstoppable quest for absolute and unquestioned power. The choice for the Sharifs is between the Emirate of Punjab where they feel they could rule to eternity using coercive and inhuman tactics, or a unified Pakistan where they would be just another political party and where they would be forced to abide by the constitutional provisions and legal benchmarks’ www.pakistantoday.com.pk 09
C M YK
IntervIew: Dr Hasan askarI rIzvI
The man who saw nw’s Tomorrow It wasn’t a big deal to time the military operation By shahaB Jafry
ne of the more interesting parts of journalism is information gathering; in order to process information it must first be acquired. That brings one across numerous shades of opinions, and sometimes some things stand out. For example, all through the talks with the Taliban and the follow up to Operation Zarb-e-Azb, there were different sorts of predictions. From ruling out the military option to a strike any day, pretty much everything did the rounds. But Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi was always precise about the timing. He was sure it would come, and he was sure it would be before Ramzan, with or without the civilian government’s consent. So when the operation did come, and that too just before Ramzan, we requested he let us pick his brains for the interview segment. He wasn’t surprised the operation had started, of course, but he was quite surprised that nobody read the timing as easily as he could. “It’s simple reasoning”, he says. “Just take emotions and political affiliations out of the equation and it becomes clear. The operation had to begin before Ramzan. Otherwise the army would have lost five precious weeks, which would have been very costly. now the major offensive will last a few weeks, then you will see small, more restricted, activity”. Internal security breakdown was one thing, but a major deciding factor, according to him, must have been the American drawdown due later this year. If not addressed in
time, it will result in a security nightmare on the border. “Of course the US drawdown is the decisive factor”, he stresses. “It has changed the military’s position altogether. Go back two years and the army was resisting an operation in the same agency”. But this time around, they have been clear, especially since Gen Raheel took over. They have, in fact, been pressing for a military sweep since the winter, when a strike would have been more
‘It is important to know the difference between counter terrorism and counter insurgency (COIN), he quickly adds. “This one’s about counter insurgency, which must come first. This will result in control of the area and deprive militants of their main base of operations”’ advantageous, he says, but were held back because of resistance from the civilian government. Throughout those days, whenever I approached Dr Rizvi for comments, he would repeat that the operation would come, and if the civilians did not agree, they will simply be made to agree. So, breaking it down, is that what really happened? Was the PM forced into it? “The decision was definitely led
by the military”, he explains, and “after Karachi there was no choice left really. The talks lobby had clearly lost the initiative, and the civilian leadership simply had to go along”. Gauging success It is important to understand the nature of this offensive, he says. The army chief’s claim that this war will be fought till the last terrorist is removed is technically correct, but the present operation in north Waziristan has very clear objectives. “This is indeed meant to secure north Waziristan and the border, which is extremely important”, he adds. “It is, without doubt, the epicentre of terrorism in Pakistan, besides being a launching pad for foreign militants. It would have been much harder to take after 2014, when the influence of both Afghan and Pakistani Taliban will be on the rise”. It is important to know the difference between counter terrorism and counter insurgency (COIn), he quickly adds. “This one’s about counter insurgency, which must come first. This will result in control of the area and deprive militants of their main base of operations”. Once the “epicentre” of terrorism is controlled, the operation can be expanded into different parts of the country, involving different strategies and tactics. “Additionally, a quick and authoritative assault in north Waziristan will not only demoralise the enemy, but also score an important psychological victory for the state”, he rightly says.
The narrative Slightly drifting from the topic, I ask him how it could be that it is easier to sell the narrative that polio drops cause impotency in males and help drone strikes track targets than the argument that they are an essential preventive medicine for all children. When and how did we become a country where such things happen? Wasn’t their (Taliban) outreach and ability to leverage technology becoming apparent by the time of Swat’s Mulla FM days? What has the state done to counter it, what can it do, and what should it do? He accepts that the state has
‘“The problem is that everybody is against terror, there is a clear understanding to that point, but there is little agreement about dealing with terrorism”, he points out’ completely failed in building a national narrative. Part of the reason is complete confusion in ruling circles. There are different opinions everywhere. even the ruling party, and at times parts of the military, is divided. “The problem is that everybody is against terror, there is a clear understanding to that point, but there is little agreement about dealing with terrorism”, he points out. And decision is indeed split. even after the Karachi incident,
according to reports, not only was the government still reluctant about the operation, but the other main pro-talks party, the PTI, also wanted to persist with negotiations. even the fact that the Fazlullah group accepted responsibility for the airport attack split opinion instead of uniting all political forces. Building a national narrative, though extremely important, is easier said than done in such times. And it does not help, of course, that the military and the government have been at odds through most of this government’s first year in office, especially with regard to the insurgency. The overall COIn policy has been one largely of confusion, according to him. even the good and bad Taliban approach is an extension of that confusion. And this confusion has played into the hands of all groups of terrorists. He does not believe that this terrorism is of the variety where we can still afford to take a liking to some groups and reject others. The threat confronting us is terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. And both the government, and the military, must be clear about short as well as long term objectives. Zarb-e-Azb is a good start. It has set clear targets, and brought everyone on the same page. And public response is excellent. now this success must be built on, step by step, to mark the beginning of a long process that, if successful, will see Pakistan coming out strongly from its present stage of internal destruction. But what direction the country itself seems taking, in the long term, is a different story, he says, so all that another time. g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
Viva la revolución? What revolution is Dr Tahirul Qadri talking about?
Saeed QureShi The writer is a senior journalist, editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. You can read this and other articles of the writer at his blog www.uprightopinion.com.
uring the past two years, Allama Dr Tahirul Qadri has staged three large rallies in Pakistan. One was in Lahore on December 23, 2012. The second mammoth rally was in islamabad on January 14, 2013, where his party workers and devotees staged a four-day sit-in protest that culminated in an agreement between the then PPP government and Dr Qadri. This agreement titled “islamabad Long March Declaration” promised electoral reforms and increased political transparency. it was in fact a convenient face saving way-out for both the sides. The latest third rally was held on June 17 this year at Model Town neighbourhood in Lahore in front of the Dr Qadri’s residencecum-PAT (Pakistan Awami Tehrik) secretariat. Tragically it turned into a bloody clash between charged members of PAT and Minhajul Quran on one side and the riot police on the other. This clash resulted in at least 8 deaths and scores wounded. in comparison the previous rallies were rather peaceful. However, this ugly encounter seems to be immensely instrumental, though by default, in advancing Dr Qadri’s mission of a revolutionary change. The Punjab government of PML-n has come under burgeoning pressure and looks like a culprit although seemingly the chief minister had no role to play in the police firing that was not intentional but spontaneous. Dr Qadri has spurned all government offers for a dialogue and rejected the formation of a judicial commission to probe the gruesome incident. On the contrary, he alleged that the prime minister, chief minister of Punjab, ig Police Punjab, and certain ministers were behind what he termed as the ‘premeditated murder’. The PML-Q stalwarts Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain have announced their unconditional support to Dr Tahirul Qadri in his opposition solely to the federal and Punjab governments run respectively by Mian nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif. The deep seated political animosity between these two groups is a public knowledge. imran Khan has too taken an unequivocal stand in favour of Allama Tahirul Qadri and even demanded resignation of the chief minister of Punjab and his law minister [Ed note: The law minister was removed by the CM. This article was written before this happened]. His overtures seem to be merely fortifying the bulwark against Sharif brothers. One may recall that a few days ago
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Ch Pervez Elahi had held a special meeting and even a press conference with Allama Dr Tahirul Qadri in London. Their blind support for Qadri’s mission is not a secret as Chaudhry brothers are sworn enemies of Sharif brothers. One could even assume that the PAT rally could be an offshoot of the complete understanding between two inveterate opponents of Sharif brothers. As far as imran Khan is concerned, he is adept in blowing hot and cold in the same breath while demonstrating a semblance of political acumen or restraint least expected of a politician. The antagonism for the sake of antagonism speaks for the immature or myopic attitude of imran Khan, evident in his attempts at debunking military action against Taliban in Waziristan. Thus by his mindless statements he rebuffs military anti-Taliban blitz. He doesn’t realise Taliban are the enemies of the people of Pakistan. They have been busy in destroying Pakistan’s assets and killed and maimed thousands of Pakistanis through incessant waves of blatant suicide attacks for almost a decade now. On May 25, 1989, Dr Qadri founded a political-cum-religious party under the name of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT). The manifesto of this party broadly is to “introduce the culture of democracy, promote economic stability, and improve the state of human rights, justice, and women’s roles in Pakistan and to remove corruption from Pakistani politics”. His other organisation that promotes and propels his objective of bringing revolution in Pakistan is “Minhajul Quran”, a kind of religious forum. The professed objective and charter of this outlet is to “promote religious moderation, effective and sound education, inter-faith dialogue and harmony, and a moderate interpretation of islam employing methods of Sufism”. The manifestos of both PAT and Minhajul Quran put together, as Maulana Dr Qadri claims, will unfold a green revolution in Pakistan. The green revolution also stipulates the revival of the “Charter of Medina”. Also known as the Meesaq-e-Medina, the Charter was a formal agreement between the Prophet of islam Hazrat Muhammad and all of the significant tribes and families of Medina, including Muslims, Jews, Christians and pagans. This contract formed the basis of the first islamic state. its main objective was to end the bitter inter-tribal fighting between the prominent clans of the Aus and Khazraj within Medina. The historic “Medina Accord” brought Muslim, Jewish, Christian and pagan communities in Medina under the fold of one fraternity named ummah for the first time. Allama sb asserts that while the “Charter of Medina” laid down the foundations of an “indivisible composition of the Muslim ummah or nation, it also guaranteed fundamental human rights to the entire community irrespective of their religious or racial orientations.
Dr Qadri envisions an “islamic state as a Muslim-majority country which respects freedom, the rule of law, global human rights (including religious freedom), social welfare, women’s rights and the rights of minorities”. The redeeming feature of Maulana’s mission is his resolute stand against terrorism which in regards to Pakistan is the religious terrorism of Taliban. it connotes that Maulana is a liberal and progressive reformer that shuns religious fanaticism propelled by the perpetrators through brutal means and terrorising the people and by killing them. in March 2010, Dr Qadri issued a 600page fatwa on Terrorism, in which he scholarly dismantled and categorically condemned terrorism without any ifs and buts. He argued that terrorism and violence has no place in islamic teachings and therefore no justification can be provided for it. Dr Qadri can be portrayed as a religious moderate and a steadfast follower of gentle Sufi traditions. This aspect of Allama Qadri’s mission therefore can be acceptable for the proponents of a modern liberal state and society. Dr Qadri aspires and struggles also for a democratic revolution through electoral reforms in order to elects people of integrity who will be subjected to a “pre-clearance” process to qualify for contesting elections to ensure that the candidates had paid their taxes and they had not defaulted on loans or got the loans written off. However Allama sb should understand that the modern day societies are not like that of Medina when the society was in the process of making. The complexion of the respective present day societies and systems is welfare oriented, are mostly democratic and responsive to the people’s needs and aspirations. The political systems by and large are stable and accountable and the governments come into being with popular franchise. The world community as a whole is prosperous and fraternal. The international community is connected through fast and all encompassing internet technology. People are not drastically divided along religious lines barring a few islamic countries. The people enjoy countless privileges and rights that are enshrined in the constitutions of the respective countries, even of the authoritarian regimes. The power tussle is rife in several societies but people socially and economically are more liberated and contented. The countries in the present time are huge and vast than the city of Medina 14 centuries ago. Even the present day Medina is a modern city, hugely populated and bustling with a galore of modern comforts and amenities. The Medina Accord offers an explicit and shining moral and human guidelines and its theme is literally prevalent in better part of the world. For example, the Bill of rights in the American Constitution offers inalienable rights such as right of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech, religion,
assembly and petitioning the government, to all the citizens. The man is no more slaves of the kings, and elite classes as they were are now a thing of the past. The rulers in many countries are elected by the people. in majority of the societies social morality prevails, the judicial systems dispense justice and media is strident and powerful to spread information of what was happening every moment. Because of an integrated world every society and leader is under an unremitting accountability and watch. The world despite deficiencies acts jointly in case of crisis, calamity, war or disaster. The Medina Pact was solemnised in a primitive and limited society under very peculiar circumstances. its revival is not needed as it is already being practiced on a much wider scale. Allama Qadri sb would look more credible and rather acceptable if he pursues his moral and political ambitions within the framework of the constitution and law. To bank upon aggression and mobilising people with powerful rhetorical speeches and show of self-righteousness is meaningless. Such a strategy would backfire because it leads to chaos and commotion. if Maulana doesn’t revise his reformatory mission and reconstruction approach, his dream of turning Pakistan into an ideal islamic state would never come true. Directing and monitoring an aimless movement while living a comfortable life in a distant secular and un-islamic land of Canada, looks hypocritical and contentious. Let him live in the slums of Pakistan and spearhead the movement and thus transform the destiny of the people of Pakistan. Example is better than fiery orations or hollow precepts. Occasionally he talks of Tehrir Square that uprooted a mighty dictator. But Pakistan is not Egypt. Pakistan is now a democratic country. My hunch is that Dr Qadri in somehow being used by the forces that are inimical to the incumbent government for one reason or the other. Dr Qadri seems to be playing in the hands of some political figures who want to have shortcut to power corridors. Mercifully the democratically elected government of PPP completed its five years in power. Let the present government stay at the helm for the same constitutional period. it would be up to the people to re-elect or reject it in the next elections. That is how the democratic tradition would be firmly rooted and flourish and that is what Pakistan is in need of. Dr Tahirul Qadri is blessed with enormous gift of public speaking and articulation. He has a huge and growing bulk of followers and also unlimited financial resources and a safe haven of Canada. H can utilise all these precious assets by entering the political arena of Pakistan and like other leaders can contest elections and attain power to transform Pakistan into an abode of his liking and lookout. That would be the best and decidedly rational way to establish his programme and plans. g
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
Mental illness: it’s not our problem Luavut Zahid & aLi Sajid imami Luavut Zahid writes about all the injustices she sees, whether they’re directed towards people, or the planet. She can be found writing about crisis response and disasters just as easily as she’ll pen a piece about the mistreatment of women and minorities. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and she tweets at: @luavut. Ali Sajid Imami is a doctor by training, a computer scientist by trade and a researcher and social activist by passion. Ali spends most of his time awake and staring at various screens. He tweets at @doctor_no.
aKIStan’S perspectives on mental illness have yet to shape up or gain momentum enough for it to be taken seriously. this area of wellbeing rarely gets the attention it requires, and when it does get attention, it is the sort of attention that cannot possibly help. to put it into perspective: can you remember the first time you hurt yourself as a child? you may have heard the stories and bear the scars, but the likelihood is that you can’t think back to a physical injury or ailment with precise memory. However, if one was to ask you of your first clear memory of being humiliated, it is likely that you could remember significant details down to the hotness of your cheeks and the sweatiness of your palms. the simple fact is
dr jameS j Zogby The writer is President, Arab American Institute, Washington.
ventually the question will be asked: “Who lost Iraq?” In a way it might be seen as an improper question to ask since it presumes that Iraq was ours to lose. the fact that it was not, however, doesn’t absolve us of responsibility. We have badly bungled Iraq from the beginning. Our invasion was irresponsible, our occupation and administration of the country were disastrous, and our departure, though necessary, left too many critical issues unresolved. What should also be clear is that no one is blameless. the Iraq war was conceived in sin. It was based on the lies of the Bush administration, the most notorious of which were not about “weapons of mass destruction”. More dangerous were the fabricated projections they presented about how the war would last only a few weeks and our presence would end in six months; it would only cost one to two billion dollars; our soldiers would be greeted as “liberators” with flowers at their feet; and Iraq’s new democracy would be “a beacon for the new Middle east”.
that we remember emotional trauma and it stays much longer than a physical wound. Mental health in numbers the situation is made worse by the fact that hospitals all over the country do not get nearly enough funding to continue running these departments. Only 0.4% of the country’s health expenditure is devoted to mental health. around 11% of that figure is handed over to hospitals that focus on mental health. Pakistan currently has only five mental hospitals to deal with a population of 193 million and their problems. there’s no real emphasis placed on mental health in Pakistan. Despite the obvious fact that we deal with physical ailments and injuries in a much easier fashion as compared to emotional trauma. Despite the magnitude of the problem, mental health continues to remain stigmatised in the country. Going to a psychologist or a psychiatrist almost always gets a person labelled crazy or insane. We can gauge how problematic the situation is from the fact that the term “mentally ill” is used more so as a slur than anything else. Not enough research the key to solving Pakistan’s mental health problem largely lies in research. any kind of mental illness needs contextual solutions that take into account the regional and national scenario at play. the solutions that can work in new york, uSa, will potentially fail in Karachi, Pakistan. the cultures, languages, ethnicities, etc come together to build a dynamic context that context can only be addressed through further research. While private hospitals like the agha Khan university Hospital have indulged in different projects for research, it is not nearly enough. By and large there remains a dearth of any kind of research work when it comes to this arena. Why does this matter? Simply because medical professionals are not prepared to deal with patients in an effective manner. Due to this, we have increased incidence of depression, schizophrenia and suicides.
Several cases of mental illnesses going wrong have even made it to the news. and there have been some clustered instances of students committing suicide due to their results and due to not getting adequate help in time. the number of people attempting suicide is on the rise but our hospitals aren’t equipped to deal with it. even the largest of Pakistan’s hospital have failed to develop any form of counselling groups and support systems. What we’re dealing with is a continuously developing pandemic that will not cease its detrimental path of destruction unless some serious steps are taken. a study conducted in 2000 by Hussain, Creed and tomenson, effectively proved that there is a higher prevalence of depressive disorders in Pakistan. their work showed a 57.5% prevalence of depressive disorders in women and 25.5% of the same in men. a person’s tendency for depression multiplied several folds if they were having trouble with finances, had a higher number of children and a lower level of education. Pakistan has a higher level of mood disorders than any other developing nation also because a much higher proportion of the people go through social adversity on a constant basis. Troubled training and broken policies It’s no secret that doctors in Pakistan are not trained in behavioural sciences properly. there are cases where a doctor will prescribe a patient time with religious scriptures instead of advising them on actual medication that is vital for their health. additionally, the doctors aren’t trained in proper techniques of informational care. Since they can’t provide proper information in a reasonable manner to patients and attendants, it leads to disagreeable instances where the doctors are beaten up or malpractice suits are brought when no one is at fault. the lack of proper counselling regarding hospitalisation and the disease result in stress, anxiety and the lack of compliance with treatments, thus further exacerbating the disease.
Who lost iraq?
And what we can do about it early on, in October of 2003, when our first poll of Iraqi opinion was released showing that Iraqis were dissatisfied with our behaviour and wanted us to leave, the Bush administration again lied. they tried to spin the poll into good news about how we were winning and the war was going well. By 2005-06, it was clear we were in a worse mess than we had ever imagined. the crimes of abu Ghraib had shocked the world, laying waste to american honour, sectarian strife had devastated Iraqi society creating waves of refugees and internally displaced persons, and both arab and american public opinion had decided that “enough was enough”. Back then, the american debate was waged between two poles: one which called for uS forces to double-down, and the other which envisioned an immediate withdrawal. It was then that Congress commissioned the “Iraq Study Group”, led by our most senior statesmen, to find a way forward. the ISG report was highly anticipated. When it was released, it was largely ignored. the Bush administration cherry-picked the parts they liked, ignoring recommendations they didn’t like. the result was to consolidate Iraq’s sectarian divide while reinforcing the country’s corrupt sect-based leadership. toward the end of the Bush
administration, the uS negotiated a Status of Forces agreement (SOFa) with the Iraqi government, requiring uS forces to withdraw from the country by the end of 2011. It was this agreement that President Obama was forced to implement. During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama had rejected calls to simply abandon Iraq, insisting that the uS must be “as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in”. the date for withdrawal had been set by the SOFa, and the Iraqi government insisted that it be honoured. But the challenge facing the administration was not the date we were to leave, but what they were to do before the date marking the end of the uS military presence in Iraq. One of the ISG recommendations that Bush had refused to implement was the establishment of a regional security framework. this required the participation of all the regional stakeholders: turkey, Saudi arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Iran. While many of the participants might have objected, all had an interest in and a role to play in Iraq’s stability. Moreover, many of these principals were already involved in Iraq, in ways designed to protect their own interests. the key reason behind convening them was that it would be better to have them sitting around a table working above board
there are no policies or resources in place to help the victims of domestic violence, terrorism, and natural or man-made disasters. even the police is not mentally trained to deal with any terror-related assaults that may take place. Mental illness infrastructure Resources and outlets that can help people suffering from a mental illness are few and far in between. there is absolutely no support system present for families that are dealing with a loved one’s issues either. there are no suicide or mental help hotlines available in Pakistan. no form of support groups or group counselling sessions exist at large. there are cases where mentally ill people were chained in basements or rooms for decades because of the social stigma anD the unavailability of proper healthcare. this also includes the less than sympathetic treatment of mentally ill patients by doctors. the unfortunate fact is that many of these problems are resolvable and can be taken care of if the right kind of focus is given to them. Mental health issues are often such that they can be maintained and managed if they cannot be completely cured. However, the approach that we’ve taken to these problems as a country shows that the situation will only continue to worsen with time. Pakistan is a country whose people are battered and bruised because of their everyday lives. Real steps need to be taken to address this problem. at present what’s needed isn’t just a large and significant boost in financial resources, but also several movements aimed at raising awareness about these issues amongst the masses. even if Pakistan is to build the largest facilities to tackle any number of mental health problems, none of it will matter unless they are able to effectively ensure that the public knows getting help is a real option. It’s high time we started taking the mental health issues in this country seriously; we’re quite literally en route to becoming a band of madmen. g
then to have them manipulating events under the table. this was not done, with neither Bush nor Obama accepting the challenge. In a wide-ranging poll we conducted in Iraq towards the end of 2011, the concerns of the Iraqi people were clear. they were deeply divided about our presence and our withdrawal. the majority Shi’a constituency wanted us out, but majorities among both the Sunni arab and Kurdish communities were concerned that with our departure they would be vulnerable and at risk. their biggest fears were that with our departure their country would explode in civil war, would divide along sectarian lines, and would become dominated by Iran. We had early warnings of what was to come. nevertheless, at the end of 2011, we left Iraq in the hands of a sectarian and increasingly autocratic government. In the absence of any regional security arrangement, the Maliki government became more closely allied with Iranian interests, increasingly alienating its Sunni arab and Kurdish constituencies, setting the stage for where we are today. It is just plain wrong for hawkish critics of the Obama administration to argue that “we never should have left Iraq”. they conveniently forget that we were obliged to do so by the Bush administration’s negotiated SOFa. and it is equally wrong for doves to argue that Iraq is none of our business. Whether we like it or not, we have become part of Iraq’s history. Our war and occupation have created a responsibility. after
all the lives lost and the treasure spent, we cannot simply abandon the country. that said, the uS should not commit force or political capital in support of the Maliki government. His sectarian policies are the reason why Iraq is imploding. the way forward is to implement the last piece of the ISG report and convene the regional powers in an effort to address both the situations in Iraq and Syria. Both have become connected — and not just because the ISIS has a base in both areas. equally important is the fact that Saudi arabia, Iran, and turkey all have direct interests in the outcomes of these conflicts. no one can afford further deterioration. and all must recognise that, in the end, a continuation of the fighting can only lead to greater destabilisation and greater extremism. Given the realities of both Iraq and Syria, there can be “no victor or vanquished”. a new order must be found that secures the rights of all citizens in both countries. Maliki and assad may see things differently, but they are leading their respective countries to greater conflict and ruin. Only a regional peace arrangement can end this downward spiral, and only intense uS political, and if necessary military, pressure can help to find a way out of this situation. the president is right to insist that he will not commit to the use of force without a plan. But he should not hesitate to use force to back up a plan that will convene a conference that would invest regional powers in support of an effort that would bring an end to Iraq and Syria’s long nightmares. g www.pakistantoday.com.pk 13
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
When you’re a journalist Everyone around you has an exclusive story Fraudian slip
The writer is sick and tired of listening to these stories, but if you have something to share, you can e-mail at: email@example.com.
ap sahafi hain? Mein apko aik dou aesi batain bataonga jis se apka nazariya badal jaiga.” (You’re a journalist? I’ll tell you a few things that’ll change the way you see the world.) For any newbie journalist who is trying to make a mark those words can bring great joy. Who wouldn’t want information that’s so powerful it could change the entire country, right? However, scoops that we get
from random folk are generally like the tasteless sandwiches of regret you eat after realising that there are no free lunches in the world. For someone who’s been around a couple of years those words are nothing more than a broken old record. Not many journalists can claim to have not heard them, and several have heard them enough times to instinctively cringe each new time they’re spoken. The first wave of truthers hits you as soon as you join the industry. The Taliban story There are the good Taliban and the bad Taliban. The good ones like long walks in the park, caramel ice cream and hugs, while the bad Taliban will blow you to bits. If you haven’t caught on yet: the good Taliban are fictional. However, in Pakistan almost every other person has hidden secret facts only privy to them. They know things about the Taliban that the Taliban probably don’t know about themselves. And since you are a journalist it is your duty to sit and listen to all of these secrets and potentially put them into your articles and do one of two things: 1) Watch your career take off like Mubashar Lucman’s, or 2) Watch it burst into flames. There is no guarantee of either outcome. Imran Khan’s antics Imran Khan is most probably the only true Pakistani leader to grace the country’s political scene after Mehmood Ghaznavi. Despite the promises he’s made over the course of his campaign and his subsequent failures for some, the man is infallible. A PTI truther will sit you down and tell you about Immi’s time under the stars, he prefers to sleep outside. He eats with his servants and likes to spend his days praying. He also loves animals. A truther will basically try to tell you all these inside cute little stories that no one else seems to have witnessed or believes. The main aim?
To convince you that Immi ji is actually a very down to earth, humble fellow, instead of egomaniacal Taliban-obsessed disaster that he is. Osama bin Laden is still alive The number of times many of us in the field have heard this one should be documented as a form of psychological abuse. It’s one thing when random uncles and aunts will grab you by the hand and sit you down for a little chat about the good old chap, it’s a whole new territory when it’s someone you have to work with for another story. So there you are talking about the suicide rates in the country when you’re smacked with the “they’re hiding him somewhere, he’s not dead!” story. You shake your head and try to press on with the original topic but your truther, or conspiracy theorist, will remain persistent. Good old Osama wanted to change the world. He wanted to take revenge from the Yahood who were ruining our lives. He was on the good side. “What about the CIA training him then?” you ask, with some exasperation and hope that the conversation will die. “Yes, that was his brilliance. They never saw him coming.” You smile and live through the rest and stab yourself in the eye a thousand times. Dr Afia Siddiqui the True Daughter And in the same vein: all the different ways Malala is faking everything. The weirdness surrounding Malala is so grand at times that you could get away with telling people she’s a virtual character and not a real girl and they would believe you. Most people have no idea about Malala or Afia. They follow narratives fed to them by a myriad of people around them, but of course most of these narratives take a shape of secrets and hidden notions that the “media” can’t ever talk about. So you have to sit there and keep a straight face as
people tell you how a CIA trained woman with a dubious background is the nation’s lost daughter while someone whose only crime is to ask for education is Satan’s spawn. Everything is RAW This one is pretty popular and you don’t have to be a journalist to hear any of these theories: India hates us and it’s always trying to destroy us. But we don’t have enough of a spine to call them out on it despite the fact that we’ve been maligned time and again by their media for our literal involvement in ruining their country. When the Karachi airport was taken over we all sat and watched in horror as not one but two different Taliban groups took responsibility for the attacks. While most would think their personal testimony was good enough, our masses, it would appear, are bored of the TTP narrative. Modi coming into power has indirectly spelled disaster for all Pakistanis. Although most don’t have the remotest idea of who he is. “Ji, Modi ne bohat musalman maray hain… ”, one is told. “But Muslims die in Pakistan too…”, you respond. And then comes the not-so-shocking shocker, “aray ji, who tu ahmadi wageria hotay hain na!” So this was the opportune moment to bring back one of our oldest truther stories: India hates us, India did this, it was Indian weapons. These are just a few and there are many more. The most ironic part of these truthers and their half-truths is that they’re almost always based on things they heard from someone else, never something they found first hand. If you’re a journalist who has to work with facts and nothing but facts, sitting through these sessions can literally make your brain melt, but that comes with the job. So how’s that free sandwich working out for you? g
Celebrating a goal equals celebrating poverty the cupcake theory of joy that will ruin your World Cup
HeTHer it was Neymar’s strikes against Croatia, robin Van Persie’s header against Spain, Lionel Messi’s goal against Bosnia or Luis Suarez’s brace against england, if anyone of you at any moment over the past week or so celebrated a goal scored in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, you
celebrated poverty. You football fans are the enemy of the poor and it is a shame that all of you staying awake all night, watching the most useless sport known to mankind do not know the poverty level in Brazil. The next time you switch your channel on to watch football, remember that you are contributing to global hunger, especially in Brazil. Not to sound too narcissistic but you should all learn from me if you are not sure when you can and cannot be happy. Now, whenever I want to rejoice at anything, what I do is I take into account everything that has contributed to bringing that joy to me. Like, for instance, if I eat a cupcake, I factor in all the variables. How delicious the cupcake was; how fresh it was; how hungry I was and how
affordable it was. These are then juxtaposed with whether or not the cook that baked the cupcake, the waiter that served the cupcake, the accounts guy that billed the cupcake have been paid properly. I also factor in how many people in the world can afford a cupcake. I calculate the number of people who have ever eaten a cupcake. I then mull over the number of people who have actually heard of cupcakes. That number is then compared with how good the cupcake was. I draw a graph with the scrumptiousness of the cupcake on the Y axis and the hunger in the world on the X axis. And if it is worth it, I smile. It never is. This is called the cupcake theory of joy. Now all you football aficionados think of the cupcake
as your world cup. So when Messi or ronaldo score a goal, before jumping up and down with joy, think of all the poverty in the world, all those that are homeless – just think of all the misery in the world. Draw a graph between the poverty level in the world and the joy Messi or ronaldo gave you, and calculate if the joy is greater than poverty. Once you realise that it is not, sit down quietly, change the channel and watch some news channel where they will tell you about bomb blasts, honour killings, rapes and national and international misery. That would further vindicate your decision of changing the channel. In a world where people are being killed in the name of anything and everything, you actually give a damn about Messi and ronaldo?
Now let us make one thing clear here. The cupcake theory of joy does not apply on everything. It is called the cupcake theory because I do not like cupcakes. Do you think I apply all these graphs and calculations while eating ice cream? Of course not. I love ice cream! Similarly, when I saw the previous ODI World Cup in 2011, I did not factor in the poverty in India, and celebrated Pakistan’s run to the semifinal because I am crazy about cricket! So the cupcake theory of joy only applies to things that I do not like. Maybe I should have mentioned that in the beginning. g The writer is a sad little creature. all side effects of reading The Horizontal Column are the readers’ own headache.
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
satire: Captioned Yaay! I finally caught one!
Not that I loved the Taliban less, but that I loved the Army more...
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas reacts in his side’s match against Netherlands in the ongoing FIFA World Cup
PTI chief Imran Khan decides to support the military operation Zarb-e-Azb
So who else did you think was going to be made the scapegoat?
Pemra suspends ARY News’ license
“You go Gullu! “Easy, Tiger!”
C M YK
Sunday, 22 - 28 June, 2014
TELLING IT LIKE IT ALMOST NEVER IS firstname.lastname@example.org
Zarb-e-Azb: Nawaz announces Ludo tournament between war sceptics and Taliban
Our liberal COrrespOndent
akiSTan prime Minister Dr Mian Muhammad nawaz Sharif has announced extra “liberal” brownie points for those that were still being sceptical about a war that we have been in for over a decade. The prime minister has also announced that there would be a ludo tournament played out between the sceptics of the military operation in north Waziristan named Zarb-eazb and the Taliban, Khabaristan Today has learnt. The prime minister made this announcement a couple of days after iSpR had announced the operation on his behalf and a day after he addressed the national assembly.
Talking exclusively to Khabaristan Today the prime minister described the rules and regulations of the tournament. He also divulged the rationale behind organising the ludo tournament. “The liberals are against negotiations. They are against drone strikes. and they are against military operations as well. So now a ludo tournament is going to decide the future of terrorists in pakistan,” nawaz said, adding that, “the Taliban are on board.” it was not clear whether the prime minister intended that pun. The general consensus is that he did not. according to the ludo tournament officials the rules of the games would be simple and the tournament would be arranging a Sharia-compliant ludo board to make sure that the tournament is
played out according to true islamic spirit. “The matchups are going to be like the Davis Cup and Ryder Cup format in tennis and golf respectively. With each player
US created Iraq crisis 812 years before Columbus discovered America: report
Our iraq COrrespOndent
CCORDing to a report released by The Guardian columnists and pakistani conspiracy theorists, led by the indomitable Zaid Hamid, the United States of america actually managed to create the ongoing iraq crisis 812 years before the country was discovered by Christopher Columbus, Khabaristan Today has learnt. The report highlights how the US sabotaged the events at karbala in the year 680 aD, and earmarks george W Bush as the primary culprit. Tony
Blair has also been dubbed a major accomplice in the epoch making events of the seventh century. “The US is responsible for the actions of iSiS in iraq,” Zaid Hamid told Khabaristan Today. “They are the ones who have fuelled sectarianism in iraq and in the entire Muslim world. This is despite the fact that the Muslim World is united and strong. it is just the cunning West that somehow manages to exploit our minor differences, every single time,” he added. according to Hamid, the report mentions in detail how Maliki refused to include more Sunnis in the government and
the army as a protest against US drone strikes in Yemen and pakistan. “Obviously it is a case of the iraqi leaders protesting against what is happening in pakistan and Yemen. The drone strikes in these two countries are fuelling the sectarian conflict in iraq. and Maliki should continue to alienate the Sunnis till the drone strikes stop,” Hamid told Khabaristan Today. The report also reiterates that it is a myth that Columbus discovered america. The report suggests that the US was discovered by Muslims and that they were its rightful heirs. g
representing either the liberal team or the Taliban team, with every individual triumph signifying a triumph for their team. Every time one of the Taliban players kills one of the pieces of the liberals, the
I’m a MarxistLeninist-Sharifist: Gullu Butt
Lahore Our Gullu COrrespOndent
xplaining why he was on a car smashing spree on Monday, the now world famous gullu Butt has revealed his ideological motivation behind the rampage. “i am a Marxist-leninistSharifist. We are against capitalism, and cars symbolise capitalism,” gullu told Khabaristan Today. He said that being a Marxistleninist meant that he already had a violent streak, adding Sharifism meant that his lawlessness was protected by the law enforcing agencies. Marxism-leninismSharifism combines violent communism with the approval of law, gullu told Khabaristan Today. “The ultimate aim of Marxism-
liberal would actually be shot dead and every time one of the Taliban pieces is killed, imran khan would block the naTO supply. imran would also be the official tournament referee,” one of the officials told this scribe. another official told Khabaristan Today that the Taliban’s home on the ludo board would actually be a madrassah and that any of the four pieces of a Talib can blow itself up in case someone rolls three consecutive sixes or in case the Talib feels like doing so. “all Taliban gotis (pieces) would be wearing suicide jackets while the liberal pieces would be wearing small galloway, Chomsky and Said masks. Every time a Taliban goti dies the liberal goti would acknowledge that US imperialism had a part to play in it,” he said. g
leninism-Sharifism is developing socialism into communism, where everyone but those with the blessings of Sharifs remains classless in the social system and that the ownership of the means of production and whatever is produced becomes the Sharifs’ property. Shattering cars in front of police officers is the quintessential manifestation of Marxismleninism-Sharifism,” gullu added. gullu also said that his actions were the “apposite manifestation of a Hegelian dialectic”. “The cars were the thesis and i was the anti-thesis, and lawlessness was the synthesis. according to georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s dialectic such violence would go on until an equilibrium state is reached. according to Sharif’s dialectical materialism, lawlessness is that equilibrium,” he concluded. g