Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hey CNN, 2 Indian Girls Burned Alive

An Indian beheads a granddaughter but you won't see CNN or BBC carrying the story, but if a woman slips in Pakistan the vultures would celebrate for a week. Here's another example. Read it, and when done, make sure to check out this: an American woman stripped naked and another one about this poor woman being beaten by Indian Hindu terrorists. Also check out Indian Beheads Granddaughter For Good Harvest. This purpose of this post is to show you how biased the mainstream American and British media is when it comes to protecting India, their new slave-soldier in Asia, and how even the smallest stories on women in Pakistan or any other Muslim country are blown of out proportion but everyone ignores the world's largest graveyard of newborn baby girls: India. Now read:

BHIWANI: As Kaluvas, a village just three km from Bhiwani in Haryana, celebrated Diwali, the festive smiles amid the din of firecrackers and ritual exchange of sweets may just have hidden a horror no one has till now either dared or wanted to speak about. Almost 13 days after the incident, it now transpires that Rajender Shivran, who claims he couldn’t sleep under the weight of the unspeakable crime, had on November 1 given a written complaint to the Bhiwani SP’s office saying two teenaged girls of the Dhanak community were ‘‘attacked by machetes and axes and stones as soon as they got down from a car on Diwali night (October 28). The villagers had waited for them after getting wind of their movements. They were unconscious, but alive, when some of the men brought out jars of kerosene and set them on fire.’’ The complaint, a copy of which TOI has retrieved, was quite shockingly dismissed by the police who have not acted on it even two weeks after the girls were butchered and burned. More surprisingly, Bhiwani superintendent of police Sanjay Kumer said he hadn’t received any ‘‘written or verbal complaint’’ though Shivran went with his petition right to the SP office. Shivran, who had sent copies of the complaint to the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women, DIG and DGP of Haryana, goes on to say in his chilling report that the two girls, whose fathers have been named, were waiting for them to come back after they went to some boys’ house to wish them on Diwali. The enraged family members even chased the car that dropped them home but couldn’t lay their hands on it. ‘‘The girls were alive when someone started pouring kerosene over their bodies. They were then dumped in the cremation ground,’’ the complaint goes on to say. ‘‘Everyone knows about it but is keeping quiet as most are in it together and those who dare to speak about it have been threatened with dire consequences.’’ Sources told TOI that though the Bhiwani police had received the complaint on the same day it was filed and even marked it for verification of facts with a rider to ‘‘report within three days’’, no attempt was made to investigate or even visit Kaluvas. Sanjay Kumar, however, said he has marked an inquiry into the allegations and police teams have been sent to Kaluvas to check out the facts. But Kaluvas, the village India came to know after local boy Vijender Singh won a boxing bronze in Beijing, is keeping mum about what exactly happened that Diwali night. The entire village had watched as two young girls were assaulted with sticks and axes, hauled to the cremation ground half-dead and set on fire by their family for the sake of “honour” on Diwali. The girls had returned from an outing late in the evening, escorted by unidentified men. The incident had cast a smear on the glory won for Kaluwas in Bhiwani by pugilist Vijender Kumar. But, in an even more damning evidence of the system’s casual acceptance of the scheduled caste family's act, not even an FIR has been registered in the October 28 incident to date.Rajender Shivran, a Kaluwas resident, had brought the matter to the notice of the district police in writing on October 30. Copies were sent out to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), SP, Bhiwani and the National Commission for Women (NCW). The complaint was formally shown received in the SP's office on November 1 and marked by police officials concerned to SHO, Bhiwani Sadar Police Station, for verification of facts. He was asked to submit a report within three days. Bhiwani Superintendent of Police, Sanjay Kumar, when confronted by Hindustan Times on Monday, claimed that no written or verbal complaint with regard to the matter had been brought to his notice so far. “However, I have ordered an inquiry based on a news report published today in a Hindi daily,” Kumar hastened to add. At Kaluwas, meanwhile, villagers are guarded and vigilant against outsiders, allegedly for fear that word may spread.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Are US Nukes Safe

Before lecturing Pakistan on our nuclear safeguards, maybe the US government might want to check its own backyard: On August 30, 2007, crews at Minot Air Base in North Dakota loaded a B-52 strategic bomber with air-launched cruise missiles, which were slated for decommissioning. When the aircraft landed 3 1/2 hours later at Barksdale Air Base in Louisiana, air force personnel realized that (according to estimates) six of these cruise missiles carried actual nuclear warheads. That such a mishap could occur was so hard to believe that it reportedly took almost ten hours for the chain of command to absorb the message and issue the orders that allowed the warheads to be moved to secure storage. Maybe it's time for the United States to ask itself whether it can handle its nuclear weapons in a safe and secure manner. Click here to read this fascinating article, U.S. Loose Nukes .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Indian Beheads Granddaughter For Good Harvest

No, this is not about some ‘anti-women’ Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, or some fake Taliban in northern Pakistan flogging a girl whom America is using as a pretext to destabilize Pakistan. This is India, the world’s biggest graveyard for newborn baby girls who are buried alive in the thousands each year. But you won’t hear about it in the American and the British media. Washington and London are two countries that are grooming India to be their new slave-soldier in Asia. And for this purpose, the mainstream media in the two countries is projecting India like never before [how strange that the free and democratic media in Britain and US faithfully mirrors their government’s national security objectives?] This is why you won’t see this story in the mainstream American and British media. In fact, I did a non-scientific survey and discovered that only one newspaper in the entire Free World published this story: the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The story was not published in Washington or London because it probably hurts the image of a rising power that America and Britain are cultivating for India. Or maybe because mainstream British and American news networks [esp. CNN and BBC] have inducted so many Indian faces that these won’t allow such stories about India to come out anyway. The inductions of Indians in CNN and BBC, for example, are highly disproportionate to the numbers of Indians living in both America and England. They are also disproportionate to the global figures. Going by those, there should be more Chinese faces on CNN and BBC. So this is enough to shut up any CNN or BBC official who tries to hide behind excuses such as ethnic diversity, etc. Everyone should remember that these are the same ‘major news networks’ that peddled the lies of Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice about Iraq. So here’s the story that you won’t see in the Anglo-American press. Imagine if this had happened in Pakistan? Worse still, imagine if this news report about thousands of baby girls killed in India each year was actually about Pakistan? Or if this video of an American woman and another one about this poor woman being beaten by Indian Hindu terrorists happened in Pakistan? Please watch these two last videos, one from America and the other one form India, and see who treats women worse: The Taliban [even if they’re fake, in Pakistan’s case] or the Americans and the Indians? And then read this story: [BTW, the picture above is of a decomposed body afloat in Ganga, India's most sacred and holy river, where dead bodies are burned and then left to wander.]:

April 28, 2009 - 2:02PM

A 10-year-old Indian girl was beheaded by her grandfather, who believed that sowing seeds mixed with her blood would yield a bumper crop.

The killing, spurred by age-old superstitions, took place on Sunday in the tribal region of Sambalpur, 450 kilometres west of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state, the IANS news agency reported.

The barbaric crime was detected after the villagers caught the man, Rajesh Hembram, and handed him over to the police.

Hembram, who owned 1.2 hectares of farmland, planned to sow seeds mixed with the blood of his granddaughter on Monday on Akshaya Tritya, a day considered auspicious by Hindus, police said.

"He cut off his granddaughter Bernaka Kandulana's head with an axe in a room when nobody was at home and drained her blood into a pot," P.C. Nayak, a police inspector said.

"We found some seeds in a steel pot that were mixed with blood," he said. Police said the man was arrested and had admitted his crime.

India has a centuries-old tradition of human sacrifices to appease deities, gain prosperity or ward off evil. Some cases are still reported around the country.

In recent years, parents in Orissa sacrificed their two sons on advice of an occult practitioner that it would please the gods and bring them prosperity.

Cases of such sacrifices have also been reported from other states such as Uttar Pradesh and the rest of India, including urban areas.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Underdog Sharif

Once Pervez Musharraf, Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were travelling in an auto rickshaw. They met with an accident and all three of them died.

An Angel was waiting for this moment at the doorstep of death.

He asks MUSHARAF and Zardari to go to HEAVEN. But, for Nawaz Sharief, Angel had already decided that he should be sent to HELL.

Nawaz Sharief is not at all happy with this decision. He asks Angel as to why this discrimination is being made. All the three of them had served the public. Similarly, all took bribes, all misused public positions, etc. Then why the differential treatment?

He felt that there should be a formal test or an objective evaluation before a decision is made; and should not be just based on opinion or preconceived notions. Angel agrees to this and asks all the three of them to appear for an English test.

MUSHARAF is asked to spell " PAKISTAN " and he does it correctly. Zardari is asked to spell " ENGLAND " and he too passes. It is Nawaz Sharief's turn and he is asked to spell " CZECHOSLOVAKIA ".

Nawaz Sharief protests that he doesn't know English. He says this is not fair and that he was given a tough question and thus forced to fail with false intent. Angel then agrees to conduct a written test in Urdu (to give another chance assuming that Nawaz Sharief should at least feel that Urdu would provide an equal platform for all three).

MUSHARAF is asked to write "KUTTA BOLA BHOW BHOW". He writes it easily and passes. Zardari is asked to write "BILLY BOLI MYAUN MYAUN". He too passes. Nawaz Sharief is asked to write "BANDAR BOLA GURRRRRR.... ." Tough one. He fails again.

Nawaz Sharief is extremely unhappy. Having been a student of history (which the other two weren't), he now requested for all the 3 to be subjected to a test in history Angel says OK but this would be the last chance and that he would not take any more tests.

MUSHARAF is asked: "When did Pakistan get Independence ?" He replied "1947" and passed. Zardari is asked "How many people died during the independence struggle?". He gets nervous. Angel asked him to choose from 3 options: 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000. Zardari catches it and says 200,000 and passes. It's Nawaz Sharief's turn now.

Angel asks him to give the Names and Addresses of each one of the 200,000 who died in the Independence struggle. Nawaz Sharief accepts defeat and agrees to go to HELL.


Dog Disrupts Indian Cricket Launch; Indian Media Set To Blame ISI

The Daily Mail is the only Pakistani newspaper that publishes simultaneously from Islamabad and Beijing. Yesterday, Christina Palmer, the paper's longtime correspondent based in Johannesburg, South Africa, filed this interesting story. I copy it here in red without change:

Johannesburg: Indian media is looking into a surprising incident during inaugural ceremony of Indian Premier League, shifted due to security reasons from India to South Africa, as to weather the dog which disrupted the ceremony for half an hour has really any links to ISI, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, which is blamed by Indian media for all wrongs happening within their country. Considering their past pattern, Indian media may certainly blame ISI for this incident although most likely they would not find any proof thereof but certainly the poor dog would not be able to speak that he was not sent by any intelligence agency for that the ISI.
Surely, the IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi will talk to South African authorities for sure to keep that aspect of security in mind while chasing barging dogs in the IPL arena.

Rizwan Razi, our colleague from CNBC Pakistan, read this story and emailed me this question: "Just checking: Is it an ordinary dog or a 'Slumdog Millionair'?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mrs. Zalmay Khalilzad, David, And I

Early last week I had a brief interaction with Mrs. Zalmay Khalilzad. Her name is Cheryl Benard, originally a Swiss citizen and currently an analyst for Rand Corporation, the think tank famous for its close association with CIA in the 1980s. I was on Aljazeera’s Inside Story hosted by Mr. David Foster, apparently a well known British TV host that few might know outside Britain. All I can say is that I wasn’t disappointed after hearing the views of Mrs. Khalilzad. Every bit a Pakistan-hater like her husband. The thing that struck me is her arrogance that reflects the arrogance of those who share her views on Pakistan in Washington DC. In every word she uttered, you could see how she saw herself as a better judge of Pakistan and what Pakistan should or shouldn’t do, as if the rest of us Pakistanis here are a bunch of imbeciles destined to look up to sheer talent in U.S. think tanks to run our country. Mrs. Khalilzad saw nothing wrong in America inviting India to Afghanistan. India is involved in terrorism against Pakistan and we’re concerned about Indian actions on Afghan soil. Even American commentators are beginning to concede this point. And American needs to listen to us if it is a real ally and not simply deceiving us and buying time for India. God forbid if Pakistan has some genuine security concerns. No sMrs. Khalilzad won’t have any of it. America should go on achieving its objectives in Afghanistan and screw up everything while Pakistan should shut up and play the role of a slave. That’s why I had a good time dealing with this arrogance in my own way. We Pakistanis have our own interests in the region and we will pursue them to our satisfaction. Click here to watch the video. But my surprise came from Mr. Foster, the British host who was extremely biased against Pakistan and personally took sides in the debate instead of open-mindedly moderate the views of all parties on such a sensitive issue. It was an apt reminder that it is the British and American media that is playing the dirtiest role in demonizing Pakistan. No other country or media is doing it. The big surprise was that after the show, a senior official from Aljazeera English called my cell phone and apologized for the behavior of Mr. Foster. To put this on record, I sent this email to Aljazeera English:

Senior Editor
Al Jazeera English
Doha, QATAR.

Dear Mr. Daw,

I am writing to you to bring to your kind attention something that immensely disturbed me during the recording of Inside Story on Sunday, 29 March 2009.

I was the guest from Islamabad, Pakistan, joining Mrs. Zalmay Khalilzad (Cheryl Benard) from Vienna and an Afghan speaker from Kabul.

Your host, one Mr. David Foster, the host, indulged in an overtly biased hosting. The subject was U.S. President’s new policy speech on Afghanistan. The host, Mr. Foster, was openly undignified toward the speaker from Pakistan and brazenly sided with the likeminded two guests representing U.S. and Afghanistan. Mr. Foster's objective was more Pakistan-bashing than to have an open minded discussion.

I have no problem with Mr. Foster’s personal views and sympathies. But I protest what happened next.

I was trying to represent a studied and reasoned critique of the U.S. President’s speech and policy, which I am sure is no crime. However, Mr. Foster, who has spent time in Kabul and is apparently openly sympathetic to the positions of U.S. and U.K., would have none of it. When the other two guests made outrageously inaccurate remarks about my country, Pakistan, Mr. Foster saw it fit not only to stop me from responding for the remainder of the show to the accusations made by the two guests back to back, but he also refused to allow me to respond to his own condescending rant when he joined the two guests in what appeared to be a gang-up.

This should have been an enlightened and open minded discussion. I am quite sure that in the midst of the constant one-sided Anglo-American propaganda on Afghanistan, your viewers would have appreciated to hear a refreshingly new take on the issue from a Pakistani speaker.

In the end, Mr. Foster had ample time to exchange niceties with Mrs. Khalilzad (“Could you be Afghanistan’s next First Lady” and “Will you go to Kabul to twist the arm of your husband”) but he could not spare 20 seconds for me to quickly respond to factually erroneous allegations against Pakistan made by the two guests and joined by the host himself as the third party.

I am left wondering why you invited a speaker from Pakistan if the purpose of the show was to praise Mr. Obama’s speech and suppress any opposite views.

Mr. Foster could have hidden behind an excuse such as time constraints, but he didn’t. When I protested in the end saying this wasn’t fair, his rude and quick answer was, ‘this is television.’ There was a hint of racism in Mr. Foster's concluding remarks when he joined his only European guest in dismissing the two other speakers from Afghanistan and Pakistan by saying 'they will keep fighting'. The tone and tenor of Mr. Foster was demeaning, as you can see if you review the tape. I could be wrong on this last point and my judgment might be impaired on this point because of my disappointment at the generally biased and rude attitude of your host.

I have little interest in Mr. Foster’s political sympathies with the U.S. and British occupation armies in Afghanistan and for their puppet government in Kabul. My concern is that for an organization as great as Al Jazeera, I as a viewer would expect your hosts to be open minded, learned and considerate. With due respect, no one knows who David Foster is in this part of the world, but everyone knows Al Jazeera.

Best regards.

Ahmed Quraishi

US Embassy Summons Nawaz Sharif

Just when I was trying to begin to develop a renewed respect for Mr. Nawaz Sharif, a new example of hypocrisy by the former prime minister hit me smack in the face. I lost respect for Mr. Sharif the day he ordered the army chief to be kidnapped in a plane and landed in India, of all places. That was a long time ago, so I said to myself let's try to develop a new respect for the former premier, especially when Mr. Sharif worked hard over the past one year to build an image of himself as a Pakistani nationalist. I am a hardcore PakNationalist myself. Unlike many other politicians, Mr. Sharif wasn't afraid to criticize U.S. president Obama and his Pakistan policies. But then something strange happened. Mr. Holbrooke landed in Pakistan last Monday, the U.S. Embassy called and Mr. Sharif and brother, the Angry Sharif Jr., were racing the winds at the break of dawn, taking the highway from Lahore to Islamabad Tuesday morning to be at the U.S. embassy in time to meet Mr. Holbrooke who asked to see the two brothers. It was amazing. Mr. Sharif's anti-Obama posturing is for public consumption. In private, Mr. Sharif has no problem to be summoned by Obama's top dog for the region. The next day, Mr. Sharif's hired gun, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, put on his best face to spin the story. "We are not carried away by the sudden American interest in our party", "Nawaz Sharif spent most of the meeting defending ISI and the Army", "We'll never compromise principles". These were some of the gems announced by Mr. Sharif's spin man. The truth is, the Sharif brothers went to the U.S. Embassy alone and didn't take along any party member. So this wasn't a party visit. This was a personal-cum-family visit to see if the Americans would agree to ditch Zardari and PPP and help Nawaz Sharif 'return' to his rightful seat, the premiership. It was hunger for power that took the Sharif brothers to the U.S. embassy. If Mr. Sharif was a real Pakistani nationalist, he would have asked Mr. Holbrooke to come to Lahore, or at least to the Punjab House in the federal capital which is the official venue for a foreign government official to meet the chief minister of a Pakistani province. Nawaz Sharif also knows that when he was facing possible execution for treason in 1999, it was a U.S. president, Bill Clinton, who came to his rescue and organized the 'deal' that saved his neck. A close friend of Imran Khan quoted the cricketer making this private comment last year about Nawaz Sharif, "You can't trust him. He's deceiver." Imran said this when Mr. Sharif misled everyone by encouraging them not to run in last year's elections under Musharraf and then one fine morning decided to ditch all opposition parties and went along with 'U.S. dealmakers' BB and Zardari.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Business of Asma-Jehangirism & Liberal Extremism

Should we start a civil war because some liberal extremists in our elite are upset about the alleged flogging video? Some occasions are not meant for settling scores. But a minority in our elite that has an ideological problem with religion is at it again. They are not even willing to stop and consider a range of possibilities, including the possibility of foul play. Now we have a statement from the girl named in the video confirming this is not her. She still lives in the village supposedly cited in the video and no one there has seen this flogging take place. There’s no question there have been atrocities committed in Swat before the peace deal in Feb. 2009. There’s also no question that everyone in Pakistan has condemned the video. But shouldn’t intelligent people also ask questions about where, when, and how it was filmed and by whom. Rationality demands that all possibilities be probed. We still don’t know how this video was simultaneously released to several local TV channels? And why the Presidency was quick to leak to the media that Mr. Zardari may not endorse the peace deal after this mysterious incident. Why was Mr. President so quick to make this indirect statement without even considering when this alleged flogging occurred: before or after the peace deal? Or was the objective to simply find an excuse to scrap the deal, which is what the Americans badly want and Mr. Zardari is more than happy to oblige without considering what it would mean: endless bloodshed and pitching our security forces against its own people, which is apparently what Washington likes to see? These ‘liberal extremists’ are also unwilling to consider the wider picture. We have reports of foreign elements inserted into our entire western and northern regions of Pakistan. We have reports that some of them could be covert operatives fluent in Pashto or Uzbek and hiding as Islamists and sent with the objective of inciting the local population to fight against their own country [Bagram air base near Kabul has secret American crack units that eat, live and operate separately from the rest of the U.S. army] and commit excesses against minorities, which justifies more U.S. intervention inside Pakistan. These terrorists were using Islam to kill innocent people. The government has called their bluff and implemented Sharia. Now anyone who decides to continue fighting can’t say he’s doing this for the sake of Islam. If this ensures end of bloodshed, what’s wrong with that? And why should our minority ‘liberal extremists’ echo everything America says? This group raising all this noise over the mysterious video is the same one that helped Mukhtaran Mai become a multimillionaire. Now we have the truth emerging that her famous rape case may not have been what it was portrayed to be. Initially she was shown to be a 19-year-old raped by the elders of her village. It turned out later she was 10 years older, divorced and had some other personal issues relating to marriage and men. That’s her business and it by no means demeans her and none of this is meant to justify any wrongdoing done to her. But the way she agreed later to become a pawn in the hands of western embassies and NGOs who used her to smear Pakistan and make money out of it was despicable, but that’s acceptable to our liberal extremist minority who also happen to be experts in ‘self-hatred’ and are ever ready to bad mouth their own homeland at the slightest chance. Former President Musharraf aptly described Mukhtaran as a woman profiting out of rape. And he was right. There were people among our liberal extremists who encouraged her to follow the line given to her by anti-Pakistan western organizations keen to use this case to malign the country out of proportion. Our liberal extremists helped her make millions and never apologized when it turned out not all parts of her story matched. Now they are doing the same with this video. No one is bothered that there are so many conflicting stories about it [Was the flogged woman married and arrested for walking publicly with her father in law as Geo News said or was she unmarried and was set up by her former lover-turned-Taliban because she won’t marry him as Dawn News or one of the other channels alleged?]. This business of ‘Asma-Jehangirism’ [making money and fame out of nonissues that appeal to the West] should end at some stage. It’s shallow and sickening.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Rs. 500 Million Bribe, Welcome To Pakistani 'Democracy'

In any other country, there would have been a political uproar by now and police would be investigating powerful politicians. But not in Pakistan, where a fake, American-created democracy is in place to serve Washington's interests. Do you know that a major Pakistani newspaper came out on Saturday with an amazing story: Talal, the elder son of politician-turned-terrorist Akbar Bugti accuses President Zardari, Interior Advisor Rehman Malik, and Balochistan governor Zulfiqar Magsi, all top PPP stalwarts, of demanding a 50% bribe on one billion rupees that the federal government apparently owes late Akbar Bugti in royalties for the gas in the feudal lord's territories. That's roughly U.S. $ 1,250,000. Talal Bugti told The News that in October 2008, he met the President in Islamabad to ask him to release the one billion rupees. Interior Advisor Rehman Malik was present. Talal says he asked for an davance of Rs. 300 million out of the one billion. This 30% was "my children's share" of his father's booty, says Talal. President Zardari agreed and ordered Malik to ensure the money is released. Talal went back home happy that he'll finally be rich, especially that his father never shared this wealth not with his children nor with the people of the area or the people of the Balochistan province [so much for being a hero for people's rights, but I'll come to this shortly]. Several calls to the authorities led to nothing and then suddenly Talal was contacted by a mysterious gentleman by the name of Mr. Aasi. This guy was straight: Mr. Zardari, Pakistan's President, Mr. Malik, Pakistan's federal interior minister, and Mr. Magsi, the governor, all wanted half of the one billion rupees. Talal could keep the rest. The middle man was all business. According to The News story, the middle man told Talal the 50% bribe could be deducted at source or the government could release the entire one billion rupees to Talal Bugti and then Talal could privately pay the middle man and his masters. Obviously, after months of getting nothing, Talal decided to go to the media and picked The News, the most influential Pakistani daily newspaper in the federal capital, to break the story. The paper contacted the offices of the President, Interior Advisor and Balochistan governor and all of them denied it. It turns out Mr. Aasi is a close aide to Interior Advisor. My favorite quote in the story is this one from Talal Bugti, "There is a chain from the President down to the Governor and Rehman Malik who want to distribute the amount among themselves. Certainly they will eat up Rs. 500 million." So here we have a first-rate scandal that would have brought down any government anywhere else. The Israeli president had the police knocking on his door to take his statement when a female employee accused him of groping her. But do we see any uproar in Pakistan? Any protests or voices calling for an investigation from the democratic crusaders of PPP, and there are so many of them? Do we hear the defenders of democracy and the 'truth tellers' in the media. i.e. Mr. Talat Hussain, Mr. Hamid Mir, Dr. Shahid Masood, Ms. Quatrina Hussain, etc.? What happened? Cat ate your tongue? You were all tough on Musharraf because he tolerated dissent and but can't open your mouths now because Zardari doesn't exactly have the repo of being a nice guy? And even if one of them does discuss this issue on television, they wouldn't question Mr. Talal Bugti's right or even his late father's right to swallow all this money year after year for the past 30 years or so when the entire Dera Bugti area looks like a famine zone. Why shouldn't the money go to elected and accountable people from the area who are supposed to spend it on roads, clinics and schools? Dera Bugti has none of those because politician-turned-terrorist Akbar Bugti, a.k.a 'Little Saddam', spent the money on himself and on raising a small army and scores of secret prisons to torture his people and, toward the end of his life, spent the money to help the agenda of outside powers in Afghanistan break Balochistan away from Pakistan through terrorism and insurgency. This is the type of 'democrats' who are supposed to ensure that Pakistani democracy succeeds over a long term, where we Pakistanis are supposed to sit back and let these 'democratic thieves-crusaders' waste the next 30 years experimenting until we wake up one day and find a successful democracy in the country! It'll never happen as long as these crooks control our politics. Another scandalous revelation came in the column of Mr. Haroon ul Rasheed in daily Jang where he lamented how Mr. Nawaz Sharif boldly opposes Obama's policy in Afghanistan in public while privately he receives one call from Washington and runs like a rat to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad this week to obediently meet Obama's point man on Afghanistan and take the latest diktat on the policy. I gift the Talal Bugti bribe story and the Nawaz Sharif running to the U.S. embassy story to all the idealists in the Pakistani media and civil society who still believe this rotten system can be reformed from within without outside intervention. I've never been more convinced it cannot. Intervention is the natural end for this system. It'll take everyone down.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Swat's Whipped Girl

Everyone knows that a public flogging like this one will create a stir. The fake Taliban who also call themselves 'Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan' [TTP] did this intentionally. And the Pakistani media played along, repeating the footage ad nauseum for ratings. The problem is that this appears to be a deliberate attempt by these suspicious 'Pakistani Taliban' to derail the peace deal that has robbed them from the excuse to fight their own country and people by claiming that Shariah is not implemented. This attempt is another indicator in the piles of circumstantial evidence collected over the past two years that proves that while most of the foot soldiers of the 'Pakistani Taliban' are our own misguided young Pakistanis, the real handlers behind this shadowy group are people with links to the border area with Afghanistan where, according to the latest statement by Interior Adviser Rehman Malik, some 4000 foreign fighters are present. These foreign fighters are not the remnants of the jihad of the 1980s. These are professionally trained killers, experts in recruiting, organizing and unleashing 'death squads', and psyop experts. During President Musharraf's time, while he thought the Americans were his allies, CIA and Karzai's NDS and the Brits penetrated the Pakistani territory and established an elaborate network of their own operatives and spies on the ground. Tens of U.S. operatives fluent in Pashto and Uzbek and Chechen and other languages were released in the area and are still there. No one in Pakistan knows what they are exactly doing. When you see the strength of a fake Taliban like Baitullah Mehsud who has 25,000 fighters under his command, you wonder about his neverending supply of money and modern weapons. He has never been chased by the Americans. CIA has started bombing some places under his command to convince the Pakistani military that the U.S. is not double crossing Pakistan. The Americans and the pro-Indian Afghan security officials, in addition to the Indian intelligence outposts on Afghan soil, all have exploited Pakistani weaknesses in the area and pushed their own 'fake Islamists' inside to confuse the entire situation. Now when there is peace in Swat, this TTP comes into action to discredit the implementation of Shariah in the region. This Shariah has nothing to do with TTP. The deal was brokered and struck with genuine local known religious figures. The TTP is basically based in the tribal belt and is linked to Mehsud. Also remember that the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan, who are the real Taliban, have ceased their links with this TTP long time back. In fact many Afghan Taliban have directly and indirectly conveyed to Pakistani authorities that they are busy in Afghanistan and have nothing to do with TTP which pays lip service to fighting the Americans and focuses on killing Pakistani citizens. News editors in our TV channels need to understand this. They should not have given these criminals who are hiding behind the name of 'Taliban' the satisfaction of giving a successful media blow to the peace deal. It is also interesting to note that everything the TTP and Baitullah Mehsud does - from attacking Lahore on the day Obama was to release his new Afghan policy, to trying to sabotage the Swat deal which Washington opposes, not to mention attacking Pakistani targets and kidnapping the Chinese- all of this generally ends up supporting the American designs in Pakistan.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Word On Bhutto Celebrations

As a Pakistani citizen, I find the exaggerated government attention to former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's death anniversary tasteless and disturbing. And I have a strong reason for this. Before explaining it, let me just say something about Mr. Bhutto. I respect Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto because he was the prime minister of my country. I disagree with most of his policies and political style. He supported Pakistan's strategic programs and he brought the Arab and Muslim countries together. For this I am grategul to his memory. At the same time, I cannot but regret that ZAB played a major role, along with Mujib Rehman and Gen. Yahya Khan, in paving the way for India to violate international norms and intervene in East Pakistan. His economic policies destroyed a rising Pakistan and we haven't been able to recover ever since. The manner of Mr. Bhutto's execution after a court found him guilty of ordering the murder of one of his political opponents was not right. I emphasize the manner and not the execution itself because, althoug I wish he was pardoned, I have not seen any evidence that suggests that the court did not conduct a fair trial. President Zia ul Haq should have been fairer than he was in treating a former prime minister. Not exercising his power to pardon Mr. Bhutto is debatable. But not letting his family meet him before the execution was unnecessary harshness and reprehensible. The murder case itself, however, has been politicized in the debate that resulted from the harsh manner of the execution. There is evidence that Mr. Bhutto did resort to unusual tactics to deal with his opponents toward the end of his rule when he had also become authoritarian. I have not read for any lawyer who presented any evidence that the trial itself wasn't fair. But overall, I am proud of Mr. Bhutto as I am of most of the men, and one woman, who came to lead Pakistan after Independence. They were all unique and strong personalities with a mixed record. While there is nothing wrong if the PPP government wants to mark the execution of its founder, the exaggerated manner in which this is being done in tasteless to say the least. I object to placing the pictures of Mr. Bhutto, or his daughter Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, or the party flag, at equal level with the portraits of the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Only the Quaid's portrait and the flag of Pakistan should adorn the walls of the federal and provincial government offices. No political party should be permitted this violation that the PPP is committing. State-run PTV and almost all the private television channels have never celebrated the Quaid-e-Azam and his life the way they're doing now with Mr. Bhutto. Again, nothing's wrong if the PPP wants to mark this anniversary. But there should be a law that defines where a sitting government should put the memory of the Quaid-e-Azam and the other Founding Fathers and where it should place the memories of their party founders and heros. Party founders cannot be national heros. The Founding Fathers are, undisputably. I understand the tragic way in which Benazir Bhutto died. And I have no doubt that her brutal murder was part of a larger scheme to destabilize Pakistan, a scheme whose marks lead to 'non-state actors' in Washington and London. That's why I understand if the Information Ministry under Sherry Rehman arranged in 2008 for the PTV to produce an extravagant week-long event marking the life of the late Mrs. Bhutto-Zardari. This event was lavish and unprecedented. The PTV in its entire half a century never celebrated the life of the Quaid-e-Azam and the other Founding Fathers of Pakistan in the same way. Some PTV officials privately complained at the time that the extravagant celebration of a party leader was not the work of Ms. Rehman or the PPP itself but a desperate attempt by the director of PTV [Mr. Yousaf Baig Mirza, now the director of Dunya TV] to save his job. Needless to say, it didn't work and he was booted out. The point is this: All parties are free to eulogize their party heros the way they see fit. But a party in government cannot glorify a party leader in a way that overshadows the Quaid-e-Azam.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fake Democracy, Rich Democrats

Fake democrats produce a fake democracy. This is what our westernized Pakistani elite and some of the self-styled ‘liberals’ in our media don’t understand. A Parliament filled with feudal lords who rape the women of the peasants on their lands and operate secret prisons, and then come to the Parliament in expensive shiny cars and jewelry thanks to political parties where another set of feudals run them as family grocery shops—this is no democracy. I prefer a centralized system of governance led by technocrats committed to economic and political reform ruling for 5-10 years, implementing a plan backed by the Pakistani military in the background.

Here’s how our democrats and ‘workers’ of democracy filed their statement of assets recently. This information was compiled by the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad. It shows our democrats, all of them, not only lying to the Election Commission about how much money they have but also confident that an important law that punishes the liars will never be implemented.

REPORT: An overwhelming majority of [Pakistanis is] not prepared to accept that the Prime Minister of Pakistan does not own a home or a plot of land; has no vehicle and has a total bank balance of just Rs. 979,734 ($12,246).

Even more unbelievable are statements submitted by Pakistan’s religious leaders including Maulana Fazlur Rahman and his confidants, Maulvi Agha Muhammad and Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, Secretary General of Jamiat-e-Ulma-e-Islam (F). Maulana Fazlur Rahman owns a house, domestic furniture worth Rs.50,000 but does not have any inherited property or vehicle and a mere Rs. 3,000 in his bank account. Total assets declared by Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri are valued at Rs. 650,000 ($8,125). JUI-F’s Senator Maulana Gul Naseeb’s declared assets stand at Rs. 30,000 only. Maulvi Agha Muhammad declared that he only has Rs. 1,500 ($18.75) in his bank accounts.

The total value of assets declared by Mushahid Hussain Syed, PML(Q)’s Secretary General, stand at Rs. 35,000 ($437). Former Chief Minister, Punjab, and former Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Pervez Ilahi, does not have a car and he has a total of 78 acres of land.

Dr Ayatullah Durrani, PPP’s Minister of State for Industries and Production, has no assets (he has mentioned that he operates two bank accounts but failed to declare the balances held in those accounts). Durrani also mentions that he shares the agricultural land with his family and has “no other source of income.”
Another legislator of PPP, Jamshed Ahmed Dasti, said that he had no assets or property and operated just one bank account to draw his salary as a parliamentarian. Federal Minister for Water and Power, Raja Pervez Ashraf, valued his personal luxury vehicles at Rs. 1.5 million.

Pakistan Muslim League-N’s MNA, Rana Abdul Sattar, submitted a blank statement and he does not own any property, vehicle, business or any personal belongings. Ms. Reena Kumari, MNA, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, just signed the statement but did not mention the details of any of her assets.

Some legislators even claimed that they did not own any property or many of their multi-million rupee properties were gifted to them by “unknown sources.”

The Most Interesting Asset’s Declaration: Notably, most interesting of all the statements came from Hamza Shahbaz, son of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, President, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. Hamaza Shahbaz’s statement depicts an asset base in the amount of Rs. 210 million and an equivalent amount of liabilities. His wife, Mehrunnisa Hamza, has jewelry worth Rs. 2.5 million and an equivalent amount in liabilities.

Pakistani lawmakers have not done any service to their country, democracy or the people of Pakistan. Pakistani parliamentarians need to set examples that ordinary Pakistanis can follow, admire and implement on themselves. If at all the governing elite wants to bring in the culture of rule of law, of which much is talked about, then all of this must begin at home. Personal accountability must become the first step toward a culture of good governance, and transparency before the people of Pakistan.