Vandalism by Defenders of the Law

While many were enjoying the Valentines’ Eve with their loved ones, I was working hard at my little Dhaba, Grill’n’Bake. Around midnight a drunk and rowdy neighbour, AFTAB AHMAD BAJWA, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, along with his servants, attacked a nearby property (203-L Block, Model Town Extension) and severely beaten and injured a few occupants. All this is preserved in CCTV footage. After ransacking that place, he came to Grill’n’Bake. He thumped me a couple of times and then his servants broke most of the furniture.

Mr. Bajwa had demanded a couple of weeks ago for me to provide him with 2 security guards, if I wanted to run my business at the current location. All this was the result of not surrendering to his unjust demand.

After doing all this, he made a call at 15 and asked for the Police help. Another 15 call was made by myself requesting the same.

The police arrived and went straight to Mr. Bajwa who wanted the officers to arrest the occupants of 203-L and myself for disturbing the peace of the locality. He kept on swearing loudly at me. When the Police apparently resisted his demands, he called some Mr. Sukhera Sahab (a very senior police officer) and made him talk to the A.S.I. Don’t know what conversation took place between the two, but the police did not take any action and later went away.

The occupants of 203-L have gone to the Faisal Town Police Station to register an F.I.R against him. Don’t know what will come of that, BUT I am still WAITING for the response of my call on 15.

I see no hope of getting justice for all the financial loss, physical torture and verbal abuse dished out to me by Mr. Bajwa. However I still intend to seek justice. I know that he is a ‘Lawyer’ and he claims to have Mr. Sukhera on his Side, but I have Allah Subhaan’Wa’Taala and that’s enough.

Grill’n’Bake will remain open and serve its Patrons. We will not surrender to the Vandalism of this man. I will approach all the Bar Councils and fight to get his name struck off their Members’ Lists.

Your prayers and guidance will be highly appreciated. JazzakAllah Khair.

(As documented by Mr. Afrin Hussain on Facebook)                        

 

 

The perpetrator:           65605_571647856200903_728651555_n

 

 

 

My comment from the post:

A dedicated show of support is called for, against this behavior from this apology of a human being! Unless society stands united against such hooliganism there will always be individuals like him around the Motherland!
Consumers U N I T E !
I offer my blog page, as a platform for any/all who wish to express themselves against such miscreants or those who wish to narrate their experiences! Remember, we are as strong as our weakest victim if we stand alone, as a Community we are a force to be reckoned with!

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Morally Bankrupt

Reading the Newspapers makes one stop and think! What a fine cumulative mess Pakistan is in!
From its people rich n poor alike to its political parties left, center or right orientation to its Armed Forces!
All it’s taken, is a completed term of a corrupted political party n the current term of another corrupted political party!

They have both successfully raped n pillaged the economic resources, the wealth and the morals, blatantly without so much as a whimper from the citizens!

Do we deserve them and this Motherland?!

Singapore

Most wanted terrorist captured from hotel in Pakistan

 

NADEEM F. PARACHA

Updated 2013-09-04 13:49:40

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ISLAMABAD: In a daring raid, Saudi Special Forces arrested one of the most wanted extremist leaders, Abu Jarara Al-Yemeni, from a hotel located in one of Pakistan’s most popular vacation spots in Murree.

The news spread like wildfire and people were seen cursing the Pakistani government for allowing the Americans to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty, again.

However, when it became clear that the raid was not conducted by the Americans but by the Saudis, the frowns turned into smiles and many were heard saying, ‘Jazzakallah!’

Only minutes after the raid, Pakistan’s Prime Minister appeared on state-owned television and congratulated the nation and thanked the Saudi regime for helping Pakistan in its war against terror.

Interestingly, religious parties like Jamaat-i-Islami, (JI) Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and some banned sectarian organisations, that had originally called a joint press conference to condemn the raid, changed their stance half-way through the conference when told that the raid was by Saudi forces and not the Americans.

JI chief was first heard lambasting Pakistan’s civilian government for letting the country’s sovereignty be violated by the Americans, but after a reporter confirmed that the raid was executed by Saudi forces, the JI chief turned towards the JUI chief and embraced him.

Mahshallah!’ he exclaimed. “Today is a glorious day for our Islamic republic!”

JI and JUI chiefs had earlier questioned the real identity of the man arrested from the hotel, saying that even if it was Jarara, we should be ashamed because he was a freedom fighter, conducting a liberation war against the Americans.

However, after it became clear that the arrest was made by Saudi forces, both the men then claimed that Jarara was no friend of Pakistan and that he was not even a Muslim.

In a joint statement, JI, JUI and the sectarian organisations congratulated the nation and said that they had been saying all along that the extremists were Pakistan’s greatest enemies and should be exterminated.

The statement also said that the JI and JUI (along with PTI) will continue to hold sit-ins against American drones, which were parachuting evil men like Jarara into Pakistan and violating the sovereignty of the country. For this, the statement suggested, that Ahmad Shah Abdali should be invited to invade Pakistan and defeat the Americans.

When told that Abdali died almost two hundred years ago, the religious leaders termed this to be nothing more than western propaganda.

PTI members at the conference added that Pakistan’s most prominent revolutionary and youngest nuclear physicists, Zohair Toru, was building anti-drone missiles.

Toru, who was also present at the conference, confirmed this while licking a lemon-flavored Popsicle. He said it was a very hot day and popsicles helped him concentrate.

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Zohair Toru at the press conference.

However, soon things took another twist when sources suggested that the Saudis captured Jarara and handed him over to the Americans.

The Americans – who had accused Jarara for committing crimes against humanity – actually plan to use him to lead a revolt against the Syrian government that the Americans accuse of committing crimes against humanity.

After this, the chiefs of JUI, JI and the sectarian parties again changed their stance. In another joint statement, they said Jarara indeed was a great Muslim warrior. They then embraced each other and distributed Saudi dates among the gathered media personnel and asked them to pray for Jarar’s success against the evil Syrian government.

But when asked what they thought about Jarar working with the Americans and vice versa, they said they cannot answer this question because it was time for the afternoon prayers.

When asked whether they will answer the question after the prayers they said by then it will be time for the evening prayers.

When asked if they would be willing to give an answer after the evening prayers, they said by then all of them would be on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

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Members of religious parties after being told the raid was conducted by the Americans.

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Religious party leaders after being told Jarar will be used by Saudi Arabia and US in war against Syria.

Religious party leaders after being told Jarar will be used by Saudi Arabia and US in the war against Syria.

The raid

A military spokesman also held a press conference to give the media a briefing on the details of the raid.

He said the raid was executed by Saudi Special Forces who came on four helicopters from Saudi military bases in Raiwind.

The helicopters then landed on the Margala Hills in Islamabad. On the lush hills, Saudi soldiers disembarked from the copters, got on camels and rode all the way to Murree in broad daylight.

They were twice stopped at checkpoints by the Pakistani police but were allowed to cross when some Saudi soldiers promised the cops jobs in Saudi Arabia and year’s supply of Zamzam water.

An eyewitness claims the cops smiled and waved to the departing camels, cheering ‘marhaba, marhaba.’

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A passerby captured this photo of the Saudi Special Forces on their way to Murree.

The camel army reached the in Murree at 11:00 am and right away rode their way into the sprawling premises.

The camels were also carrying rocket launchers, sub-machine guns, pistols, grenades and popcorn, all concealed in large ‘Dubai Duty Free’ shopping bags.

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One of the items left behind by the Saudi raiding party.

The military spokesman added that although the Pakistan Army had no clue about the raid, there were a dozen or so Pakistani security personnel present at the hotel.

When asked whether these men questioned the camel riders, the spokesman said that they did see them enter the hotel but were at the time busy interrogating a 77-year-old Caucasian male whom they had arrested for smoking in a non-smoking area.

“After the Abbottabad incident, we are keeping a firm eye on Europeans and Americans,” the spokesman said.

Even though the white man turned out to be an old Polish tourist, the spokesman praised the security men’s vigilance. “Our country’s sovereignty is sacred,” he added. “And, of course, smoking is bad for health.”

According to the Pakistan’s security agencies, the Saudis then rode their camels into one of the hotel’s kitchens and fired teargas shells.

This way they smoked out the chefs, cooks and other kitchen staff out into the open. From these, a Saudi commander got hold of a fat, hairy chef with an untidy beard.

The Saudi commander looked at the chef and compared his face with a photograph he was carrying. He asked: ‘Al-Jarara?’ To which the chef was reported to have said: “No, al-chicken jalfrezi. Also make very tasty mutton kebabs.”

The commander then asked, ‘Al-Yemeni?’, to which the chef said, ‘Yes make Yamani tikka too. You want?’

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A photo of one of the raiders who entered the hotel disguised as a friendly camel.

A reporter asked the military spokesman whether the Pakistani security men present at the hotel witnessed the operation. The spokesman answered in the affirmative but said they didn’t take any action after confirming that Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being violated.

The reporter then asked how the security men determined that Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being violated. Answering this, the spokesman said that since the camel riders were speaking Arabic there was thus no reason for the security men to charge them for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty.

This statement made the media personnel at the press conference very happy and they began applauding and raising emotional slogans praising Pakistan, Ziaul Haq and palm trees.

Soon after the announcement that Al-Jarara was arrested by Saudi forces, the country’s private TV channels became animated. One famous TV talk-show host actually decided to host his show in a Bedouin tent. And instead of a chair, he sat on a camel.

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Set of a TV talk show held on a local channel to discuss the Saudi raid.

Though most of his guests — that included prominent ex-generals, clergymen and strategic analysts — praised the operation and heaped scorn and then praise at Al-Jarara, there was one guest, a small-time journalist who disagreed with the panelists.

He asked how a wanted man like Jarara was able to live in Pakistan undetected and that too while working as a chef in a hotel. He also said that Jarara had also been appearing on various cooking shows as a chef on TV food channels.

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An alleged shot of Al-Jarara on a Pakistani food channel. Apparently, in this particular episode, he taught viewers how to cook biryani.

To this, the host snubbed the journalist telling him that he was asking irrelevant questions.

‘But before this raid, everyone was accusing the USA!’ the journalist protested.

This made the host angry and he slapped the journalist. He threatened the journalist by saying that he would lodge a case against him in accordance with the Islamic hudood ordinance.

The journalist responded by saying that the Saudis had violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. Hearing this, the host slapped the journalist again, saying he will get him booked for blasphemy.

At the end of the show, the host and the panelists set fire to a Guatemalan flag and sang the Pakistani national anthem in Arabic. Then, after handing over the treacherous journalist to the authorities, they proceeded to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.

However, they were soon deported by the Saudi regime for violating Saudi sovereignty.

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American and Israeli officials welcoming the induction of Al-Jarara into the fold of the Syrian rebels.

What Punjab can do and what it has never done

Ayaz Amir, Friday, May 31, 2013
From Print Edition

Islamabad diary

Mystics and divines, poets and singers, men of enterprise and of daring, of quality and base instinct, the best dancing girls in the entire sub-continent, Punjab has given birth to them all. What, through some quirk of geography or history, it has never been able to produce is the able ruler.

Except of course for a single exception: for over 2000 years, from Alexander’s invasion to the Partition of British India in 1947, only one ruler of ability and distinction in its turbulent history, the great Maharajah Ranjit Singh. Apart from him, governors and vassals in plenty but no independent ruler, principally because Punjab was never an independent kingdom except when Ranjit Singh raised it to that status.

Afghan kings, kings of Turkish origin, Mughal emperors but only one Punjabi king. So while Punjab had other strong traditions, in agriculture, music, poetry, dancing, and, I daresay, the sycophantic arts which come so readily to subjugated people, the one tradition its superior classes lacked was that of leadership.

They knew best how to scrape and bow before authority. They were good at carrying out orders. But in 1947 history placed upon their shoulders the task of creating a nation and giving that nation a sense of direction. And they were not up to it, because nothing in their past had prepared them for this. True, Punjab’s elite classes, in alliance with the Urdu-speaking elites who had crossed over from India, managed to create order out of the chaos of Partition, a remarkable feat in itself. A country was thus born but something else as important proved elusive: the quest for nationhood.

Small wonder, misgiving arose from the very start, not everyone feeling that they were equal citizens of the new state, certainly not the people of East Pakistan who despite being in a majority felt excluded from decision-making. Baloch nationalists were unhappy, Pakhtun nationalists aggrieved, they who had been in the forefront of the struggle against the British. And winds of religiosity beat down upon the land, making what were still called minorities uneasy.

Jinnah had said that religion had no place in politics, the gist of his famous address to the Constituent Assembly just a few days before independence. But here something else was happening, religious rhetoric becoming more powerful even as political and economic performance lagged far behind.

Paranoia as regards India, an insecurity which sought relief in military alliances with the United States, an obsession with religious chest-thumping, truly bizarre in a Muslim majority country where Islam should have been the last thing in danger, or the least in need of artificial props – of such humours was concocted the doctrine that came to be hailed, and indeed flaunted, as the ideology of Pakistan.

The Baloch had no fear of India. For them Kashmir was a distant proposition. In Sindh where there was a large Hindu population, the people had no problem with India or Hinduism. Neither did the Pakhtuns have any mental problems with India, despite being very religious in their everyday outlook. In the tribal areas and in places like Swat there were Sikh and Hindu communities which felt safe and co-existed happily with their Muslim neighbours.

But it was altogether different with the official Punjabi mind and that of the Urdu-speaking elites where flourished the demons of fear and insecurity, more as a political tactic than a psychological necessity because it was a good way to keep the rest of the population in line. And because these classes dominated the upper echelons of the armed forces, the ethos of the services came also to be imbued by the same fears and compulsions.

Paradoxically, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who should have been the most enlightened man of his generation fanned the flames of this anti-Indianism more than anyone else, perhaps calculating (although there can be other theories on this score) that beating the anti-India drum would best appeal to the Punjab masses. But when the wheel came full circle the movement against him in 1977 received its most powerful impetus in Punjab, and it was the Punjab bazaar and trading classes which bayed the loudest for his blood.

When Gen Zia went looking for allies against Bhutto he found the fiercest in Punjab. When President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the ISI sought to contain Benazir Bhutto in her first prime ministership they groomed a champion in the form of one Mian Nawaz Sharif, a scion of Punjab. The fateful enterprises promoted in the name of ‘jihad’ found some of their first votaries and loudest advocates in Punjab.

Land of the five rivers – what hast thou not wrought? From thy bosom arising Guru Nanak and Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain and Waris Shah, Iqbal and Faiz and Munir Niazi, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Kundan Lal Saigal, Rafi and Noor Jahan, not to forget the great Sir Ganga Ram who had no equal when it came to giving, and Shaheed Bhagat Singh and his companions who had no equals when it came to laying down their lives in the cause of freedom. At the same time, land of our fathers, home to so much nonsense at the altar of faith and righteousness.

Pakistan today is largely what Punjab, for good or ill, has made it. Indian Punjab is a small part of India. Pakistani Punjab encompasses the best and worst of Pakistan. The social conservatism on display in our midst, the mental backwardness, the narrowness of outlook, the triumph of hypocrisy, the destruction of national education, the muddling up of national priorities, the temples erected to the false gods of national security – so much of this, alas, can be traced to the incapacities of Punjab.

Perhaps Ranjit Singh was an aberration, a historic anomaly – out of the mould and thus one of a kind.

Our Punjab certainly has nothing in common with his kingdom. In his army found service men of all races and religions. There were Mussalman battalions in his army and his head of artillery was Mian Ghausa, just as his principal wazir was from the Faqirkhana family of Lahore. And his favourite wife was a Muslim, Bibi Gulbahar Begam.

The PML-N has been in power in Islamabad twice before but in different circumstances, Nawaz Sharif not quite his own man in his first incarnation and, despite his huge majority, an unsure man in his second. He now comes as someone who has seen and experienced a great deal. So can he make a difference? Disavowing his past, does he have it in him to write a fresh history of Punjab?

Another thing to remember about the Lion of Punjab (the only lion, others all fake and imitations) is that he knew how to handle his Afghan problem. He defeated the Afghans and took Peshawar from them. Peshawar was part of the Sikh dominions annexed by the British. So if Peshawar and its environs are a part of Pakistan today it is because of that earlier Sikh conquest, half-forgotten in the mists of time. As Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan go prattling about talking to the Taliban they could do worse than study the Maharajah’s approach to the Afghans.

So can we get our historical compasses right? For over 2000 years on the soil of what is Pakistan today no independent realm or kingdom existed except two: the kingdom of Lahore and the state of Pakistan. The first was a success, a well-run entity, at least as long as the Maharajah was alive; the second is the shambles that we have made over the last 65 years.

Now there comes an opportunity to redeem our past. Question is, can the new rulers of Pakistan be half as good as their most illustrious predecessor, the one and only King of Punjab?

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

Sethi’s gestures for the good of Punjabi

By Mushtaq Soofi | 5/31/2013 DAWN

Najam Sethi, after taking over as the care taker chief minister of Punjab, took some measure galvanizing the cultural scene that would have attracted little attention in the normal circumstances but as we all know, we do not live under normal circumstances in the cultural sense.

Thus his action is being perceived as very significant in view of the self-induced cultural amnesia the Punjab suffers from. In order to appreciate the implications of his cultural activism we need a perspective. The Punjab these days seems to be a cultural wasteland despite having more than 5,000 years glorious history. In view of our intellectual inertia, it will seem hard to believe that it was Punjab that created what we call civilization of the subcontinent as a result of confrontation and interaction between the Dravidians and Arya. It was Punjab where the Rig-Veda was composed or revealed to the `Rishis`, the sages. It was the universally celebrated Taxila University in the Punjab where great Panini wrote his Ashtadhyayi, the first book on linguistics and Chanakya Kautilya his famous Arthshastra, analyzing the dirty but real secrets of stat-craft for the first time in the recorded human history.

Ghandhara in Punjab produced some of the finest pieces of sculpture. And again it was Punjab that laid the foundations of synthetic Hindu Muslim culture after the arrival of Arabs from the south and that of Turks from the north, leaving indelible imprint on our collective life.

The visible sign of our cultural deterioration and decline is the disowning or rejection of our language by our elite, wallowing in its self created arrogant ignorance. If you lose language, the most vital element of culture, you are destined to lose your culture as it is language that enduringly preserves and transmits collective memory from generation to generation. Not just that! Language is a mode of thinking and each language has a mode of thinking specific to it. So by losing your lan-guage you lose your intellectual and spiritual evolution as well as your specific way of thinking.

The rot, as far as our language is concerned, started after the annexation of the Punjab by the British in mid nineteenth century. The British colonial administration deliberately demolished the vast network of indigenous system of education. The use of the Punjabi, the Persian and the Sanskrit was almost banned in the new European type schools set up by the colonialists where English was adopted as medium of instruction for upper class and Urdu for middle and lower classes.
Soon after the demolition of old educational infra structure, Punjabis were declared illiterate and ill cultured as Dr GW Leitner, one of the most celebrated linguists and educationists, pointed out in his famous survey known as `A report on education in the Punjab`.

According to Leitner`s findings Punjab was not only most literate in the entire subcontinent but also had the highest female literacy rate. The colonial officials were so hostile to the indigenous education imparted in the independent Punjab that after the occupation, an incentive oriented public order was issued which declared that a person who returned his sword would get prize of one `Anna` and the one who re-turned `Punjabi Qaida`(primer) would be rewarded with six `Annas` After the emergence of Pakistan, muddled vision of culture and language further confounded the issue. Linguistic and cultural diversity of the country was perceived to be a threat to the ill conceived notion of national unity.

The Bengalis, who spearheaded the Pakistan movement, were the first to debunk the newly invented myth of monolithic uniformity that denied the rich diversity of the federating units of the country. They rose in protest and got their language recognized as one of the national languages.

Sindh declared Sindhi its official language. Punjab, Balochistanand Khyber Pakhtunkhwa pretended as if no such issue ever existed in their territories. It is only recently that the government of KPK introduced the teaching of various languages spoken by the people in its area.

As a result of the struggle waged by Punjab`s writers and intellectuals against all odds the department of Punjabi language and literature was established in mid 1970s at the Punjab University. With the passage of time subject of Punjabi literature was offered at BA and FA level that attracted a huge number of students though a few teachers were appointed to meet the requirement. The teachers of other subjects voluntarily offered their services to teach the language and literature to the great delight of the students who opted for the subject.

Sadly top to down approach was adopted which was lopsided to say the least. It should have been other way round. Pakistan Punjabi Adbi Board, a representative cultural body of all the Punjab, brought the situation to the notice of Mr Sethi requesting him to take remedial steps. And steps he took indeed and took very promptly. With no ifs and buts like a culturally conscious intellectual that he is, he approved generous grant for some of the institutions and ordered the immediate release of official ads for the regional newspapers and magazines.

He also discussed the issue of introducing the teaching of mother language at primary level with the officials concerned. He, to the delight of millions whose language is treated with contempt by the bankrupt elite of the Punjab, expressed himself in Punjabi in some of his public appearances.

Thank you Mr Sethi, you have done Punjab proud.
Nothing less was expected from an intellectual of your caliber.

A verse of Shah Latif, the great poet of Sindh, comes to mind: `Not all humans carry mark of beauty nor all birds are swans / rare are the men who emit the fragrance of spring`. Let us hope, the incoming chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, will build on what Mr Sethi has done in his short stint. Cultural infrastructure is as important as the material one if human development of holistic nature is the goal.

This is why George Galloway was chief guest of the KLF closing ceremony

 

By Zahra Peer Mohammed

Published: February 18, 2013

George Galloway. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI:

“Stop invading Muslims lands! How can you expect Muslims to love you when you are forcefully occupying their lands and murdering their people?”

This one statement was enough to prove why scores of people had gathered at Beach Luxury Hotel to hear the closing speech of the chief guest of the fourth Karachi Literature Festival, MP George Galloway Sunday.

He spoke from the heart with such passion that many were wiping tears from their eyes – even those who had stood at the far corners of the ground for lack of space to sit.

Renowned British author, politician and journalist, Galloway’s speech focused on the War on Terror.

He made his disdain for Obama’s government obvious by quoting his foolish statement that the boys suddenly surrounding his daughters are like drones – in that you ‘don’t see them coming’.

“Well, yes you don’t see them coming, President until your wife is sitting without her head and your children are in pieces,” stated a clearly emotional Galloway.

The MP made it clear that drones are not the way to counter terrorism. “They only feed the swamp of hatred which is what 9/11 was — pure hatred for a country that has meted out injustice to Muslims.”

To end this hatred, the rulers of the world must do the opposite of what they are doing at present. And so he listed three points.

The first one, he stated, was addressed in part to a major soft drink company.

“Stop supporting the crimes of Israel against the Palestinians.”

Palestinians have no country, no papers; they are marginalized and oppressed. The Western support of Israel has undoubtedly led hatred to grow among Muslims. “The double standards and hypocrisy of the West,” he spat.

Iran is being openly threatened with war when it doesn’t have any nuclear weapons while Israel possesses loads of them and goes unpunished – how is that for double standards? As long as Western countries are giving Israel money for weapons, inventing one law for Israel and another for others, how can you expect Muslims to look with equanimity towards a crime of such importance in such a place?

“Support the victims of terrorism rather than the perpetrators of terrorism,” said the MP to huge applause.

Coming to his second point, Galloway stated that the West must stop invading and occupying Muslim countries.

“How can you expect Muslims to love you when you are occupying Muslim countries in the name of democracy? Occupation of Muslim lands can only feed the fanatics and fill this swamp of hatred. This has to stop.”

Finally, he stated that the West must stop propping up the dictators who rule the Muslim worlds.

“Muslims are not stupid – they know that you arm them, finance them and support them. You give them political and diplomatic support in order to stay in power. We help the tyrants stay in power – the people know this.”

The crowd was won over – nothing else needed to be said.

Galloway stated that although he has visited Karachi after 25 years – mainly due to political reasons – he would want his next visit to be much sooner.

“Believe me, I could stay here for the rest of my life – if you promise to gather every day to listen to me – believe me I would never leave,” said the MP, to a crowd that was now a fan for life.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2013.

POST 2014

by Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

The Soviet pullout from Afghanistan in 1989 was a triumph for our military establishment. The ISI and the Zia regime, while not solely responsible for that outcome, had helped bring it about. But the American pullout from Afghanistan, now underway and to be completed in about a year’s time, far from being any kind of triumph looks set to be a disaster…one for which we are wholly unprepared.

Afghanistan in 1989 was a simpler proposition, the highs and lows of it etched in black and white. Afghanistan in 2013 is a place infinitely more complicated and dangerous…not just for itself but for us as well.

This is because of one vital difference. Afghanistan then was a country contained within its borders. Afghanistan now, to our misfortune, is stretched across the Durand Line. Ask yourself two simple questions: (1) Are the Taliban based in Fata more loyal to Mullah Omar or to the state of Pakistan? (2) Is North Waziristan, in real terms, more a part of Pakistan or Afghanistan?
When the American pullout is complete these facts will become starker. Does anyone in his right mind think that in a year from now Amir Hakeemullah Mehsud – amir of the semi-independent Islamic Emirate of North Waziristan – will come down from the mountains and lay down his arms before the army command in Rawalpindi?

The Afghan ‘mujahideen’ in 1989 exulted over the circumstance that they had defeated one superpower. Now they can lay claim to a far bigger triumph. Forget about the Afghan Taliban. Does any fool think that when the Americans have drunk fully from their cup of humiliation, the Pakistani Taliban will be in a more penitent mood, ready to settle for modest or moderate terms with the hapless representatives of the Pakistani state? What world of fantasy and make-believe are we living in?

We can fit that old proverb to our circumstances: with friends like the United States who needs enemies? The Americans made life difficult for us by coming to Afghanistan in 2011. They will make life more difficult for us by leaving the job they came to do not just half-done but utterly undone. The Taliban before were just an Afghan phenomenon, a curiosity to be observed from afar. Thanks to our American friends they are now just as much a Pakistani phenomenon.

And we will have to deal with this phenomenon not in the remote future but in a year’s time. When President Obama first said that American troops would be out by 2014, it seemed such a distant date. Now it’s upon us and, far from being prepared, we are seeing to it that we bury our heads deeper into the sand, with sundry paladins saying we must talk peace with the Taliban without being at all clear what this would entail.

Forget for a moment the modalities of peace talks, whether in the mountains or Doha or wherever. Can the knights proposing talks with the Taliban just spell out the terms of a likely settlement? We need some clarity here, not woolly statements…specific outlines of a settlement that would be good for Pakistan. If capable of this clarity, they should not waste a minute. If not, then perhaps it would be best not to brandish olive branches which can only encourage the Taliban and confuse our own forces risking their lives in the killing fields of Fata.

There has been no greater apologist for the Taliban than Imran Khan. Yet when he wanted to march to North Waziristan the Taliban would not allow him. Maulana Fazlur Rehman is a self-appointed mediator for talks with the Taliban. Yet the Taliban, in so many words, have made it clear they want to have nothing to do with him.

Do we take the Taliban to be a bunch of kids? They have been fighting the Pakistan army and air force for the last so many years. Having held out for so long will they settle for any kind of lollipops when, across the Hindukush mountains, vindication is so close at hand for their brethren under Mullah Omar from whom they derive their inspiration? And from whom besides inspiration they will derive more physical strength once the Americans are out of Afghanistan.

Are we in a position to dictate terms or negotiate from a position of strength? Quite apart from the balance of military forces, is there any internal cohesion on our side? If there are elements in Pakistani society hostile to the Taliban, there is no shortage of elements sympathetic to them. The Taliban suffer from no such confusion. We need no videos from the Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, to tell us that they are united in their aim: the recasting of the Pakistani state along lines prescribed by their own version of Islam.

What Swat was under Mullah Fazlullah, what North Waziristan is under Hakeemullah Mehsud, what the Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan will be under Mullah Omar, is what they would like the whole of Pakistan to be. And don’t forget that their support network in the form of friendly seminaries and friendly religious parties is now spread across Pakistan.

The MQM may have its own sins to answer for but it is not crying wolf when it says that spreading areas of Karachi are now Taliban-dominated, with their own jirgas to settle local disputes. Indeed, the Taliban are stepping into the shoes of the Awami National Party. And the MQM while not without its own power will, in times to come, be no match for these veterans of multiple jihads.

So the dynamics of the national situation are changing and we remain blissfully unaware. This is strategic depth in reverse; not Afghanistan our depth but Pakistan with its religious parties and Taliban sympathisers becoming, oh scary thought, an extension of Afghanistan. Does this sound too apocalyptic? But then could anyone have imagined in 2001 that in a few years’ time North Waziristan would become a no-go area where our military boots would fear to tread? Or that the spectre of Vietnam would come to haunt Afghanistan?

Afghanistan is only living up to its reputation of being the graveyard of empires. But who told us to play with fire there? Now it’s just not our fingers that are being burnt but much more.
Come to think of it, through our folly we are reversing 200 years of history. Once upon a time most of the territories now comprising Pakistan were part of the kingdom of Kabul. Then on these territories Maharajah Ranjit Singh established his kingdom and, as a measure of his power, wrested Peshawar from Afghan hands. With the Maharajah’s death his kingdom fell on evil days and it was not long before it was defeated and then annexed by the British.

Of this tangled skein we are the luckless inheritors, successors of course to the British but, at a remove, successors also to the kingdom of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. His was a secular kingdom but let’s not get into that minefield here. More to the point, he kept the Afghans at a distance. We have been less successful than him in our Afghan policy. Our military commanders talk strangely of training Afghan troops. Our own house in disorder, we have the hubris to offer free advice to others.

And as the Americans prepare to leave, forget all the hogwash about their continued interest in our affairs. A skeletal relationship will of course survive but we will be largely on our own, with the rupee in free-fall and the Taliban on the march, in spirit if not otherwise. This about sums up our predicament.

That is why 2013 is so crucial for us, for the governing arrangement that emerges from the coming elections will be the stewards of our discontent when the Americans are out and the Taliban are dreaming of duplicating in Pakistan their victory that side of the Durand Line.
And will we be prepared for all this?

Email: winlust@yahoo.com