Archive for August, 2008

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Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan’s Only Real Democrat in 40 Years

August 27, 2008

By Laila Sohail

Sunday, 10 August 2008 

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—While Musharraf may be called a dictator; it is his democratic policies that have made the maximum contribution to his unpopularity.

 

He gave the media its much awaited freedom. The media wanted to use its freedom to the full it found an easy target in a tolerant and democratic-minded military ruler. Live current affair talk shows replaced the daily soaps at tea time, and news anchors took the place of movie stars.

 

With the discovery of live coverage, something had to be covered, so sensationalism became the ‘in’ thing. The more controversial, the more it sells. The media that Musharraf had opened up to show his dedication to putting Pakistan on the track of democracy chose him to be its favorite villain.

 

Those who criticized Musharraf before the elections for not allowing the exiled politicians to return, were now criticizing Musharraf for letting these failed politicians back, after seeing their disappointing performance after Feb. 18.

 

Musharraf’s biggest mistake is that he tried to be a democratic leader while

he could have easily been an authoritative one. What was required perhaps was that he ruled this country like a true dictator, changing the political system and snubbing all opposition. He joined a political party – most likely the wrong one – took off his uniform, held elections, and let the power transition be smooth for those whom the nation had chosen, despite knowing their inabilities. He has the

vision and ability to do more for this country than these self-centered politicians ever will, but it is his reputation that is tarnished while they enjoy their moments of glory.

 

How can I speak in favor of a man who broke the constitution to gain power? How can anyone support a dictator? “The people of this country

want democracy, not a man in uniform.” We hear this line time and again.

 

Before deciding on what the people of this country want, a reality check should be taken. The people of this country don’t care that a man who had nothing to do

with politics all his life, who was not even an active member of the party that his wife was leading while she was alive, who was always in the backseat with the only limelight he got being for all the wrong reasons … that man is now ruling the country, without a vote and without a seat in the parliament. Why? Because the 19 year old heir to the throne is too young to take over as king. Some mockery of

democracy this is!Feb. 18, 2008, election, held by the so-called dictator. That’s the truth.

 

The tradition of seizing power continues. One has to give Mr. Zerdari full credit for not only securing the rider’s seat on this horse of power, but also playing the role well. Whether it’s his transformation from a Sindhi jagir dar to an English speaking diplomat, or his never ending talks with Nawaz Sharif to maintain the coalition, Mr. Zardari has become what we call a true politician in Pakistan.

 

I don’t care if Musharraf used his uniform to become the president. I am not a politician, so I don’t have to be diplomatic. I am not a lawyer, so I don’t have to defend the legitimacy of his actions. I am a young Pakistani who wants to see this nation get out of the chains of feudalism and become a progressive state. If it takes a dictator to do that, so be it.

 

This system and these politicians have given us enough reasons to lose our faith in them. Their model of democracy is a twisted one that only serves their own purpose as per convenience, without a consideration for the country or its people. What they call a ‘transition into democracy’ is a transition into darkness, with them being the civilian dictators. Keep your flamboyant styles and deceiving promises, no thank you, we don’t want your ‘vision’ of democracy.’ We are better suited to a dictatorship than this gag they call a democracy. Meanwhile, the comedy circus continues …

 

I support a man who I know is educated, who comes from a middle class family and who served this country for years through its most prestigious institution.  I would choose him over the hypocritical feudals with shady pasts any day. The elite whose lifestyles have no resemblance to those of the common man, and who only see politics as the easiest path to self capitalization.

 

There is a piece of paper much talked about and we are ready to put a man on trial for violating it. Those who talk about democracy and the importance of this paper should look at their own history first. The constitution passed in 1973 was first amended by the very man who passed it. In April 1974 an amendment allowed to limit the press freedom and ban any political parties it felt were a threat to the ‘sovereignty and integrity’ of the country. In 1975 laws were passed to detain suspects indefinitely and take away rights of bail for those arrested

by the FSF, the fascist personal militia of the ‘democratic’ ruler at the time. This was the fate chosen for the constitution by its own architect.

 

This vendetta against the President has nothing to do with the violation of the constitution or democracy. Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his bruised ego won’t rest until the man responsible for his downfall is driven out of office. The political system is hostage to one man’s revenge. It is an old and dirty move in this power play, because the only thing that really matters to the politicians is power. Today they

talk about their struggle for democracy, but like all their other claims, it is a sham. In the 1977 election, there was open prosecution of the supporters of political parties, rallies were banned, and a law was passed limiting public gatherings to just 5 people. Power hunger led Bhutto to rig the elections in 1977, an unnecessary, hasty and fatal move. Contrast this with the

 

Musharraf was blamed for the exiled politicians. So he designed the NRO to bring them back. The Feb. 18 election result showed that it was the will of the majority to have these people back, not only in the country but also in power. The list of corruption cases and the record of past performances was not enough to challenge the invincible feudal power of these feudal politicians. Yet Musharraf lost the faith of his own supporters due to NRO because they saw it as a compromise on principles.

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Survival of the fittest

August 27, 2008

(Written by Afaq)

 

Have you ever studied Darwin’s “theory of Evolution”? For me, to some extent, it’s equally applicable to the international relations and all the conflicts. ‘Natural selection’ and ‘Survival of the fittest’, the leading axioms of it, also are accepted as a yardstick in the challenging game show among the nations, on every ground-Political or Economic. One must need to be smart enough and competent to survive in the second to second changing environment, knowing the art of making analysis of things happening on stage and behind the scene. One must be too quick in making right decisions at right time, and must be too smart to undo the mistakes if ever being made. The real test of nations (and leadership) comes, not when everything is going fine and smooth, but when things are deviating from normal course, and when perceptions are ruling over the facts.

 

We have faced well such challenging times, from the day one of the creation of Pakistan, which took a decisive turn regarding the aftershocks of Afghan-Soviet war. While, the conspiracy behind the crashed plane of General Zia-ul-Haq was still unfolded, we found USA saying ‘Good Bye’, and we are forced not only to feed the Afghan refugees, but also have to stand helplessly among the militant organizations, being covered under the label of Jihad. That was not the end. More difficult challenges were yet ahead. Nuclear tests, Kargil war, 12th Oct. 1999 plane hijacking, 9/11 aftermath, Daniel Pearl assassination, nuclear proliferation, 8th Oct. 2005 Earthquake, Balochistan insurgency, tribal areas mutiny, suicide bombers, extremism and non-stop threat of inflation……. all that are just few of the tags of the test for leadership along walking upon razor edge of making balance in relations with India, Afghanistan, United States and China.

 

After holding the most difficult offices for 9 years, finally General Pervez Musharraf has resigned. He is no more on board, to be used as a punch bag by media and political parties. Post-Musharraf era is to face harsh realities, rather allowing politicians and media to fabricate the facts. The nation already has suffered much of nerve-breaking distress. Now, we have no more prospects to waste in running along the vicious square of useless exercises on every front. It’s not the time to play politics, but to keep the national interests first.

 

We need to analyze the situation and to deal with the issues on emergency basis. Let’s have a quick look upon the challenges ahead;

 

1-Economic Front: From the state of complete default at late 90’s, Pakistan revived well its economy and even declared as the one of the fastest growing economies, with foreign reserves reached to 17 billion dollars from hardly 700 million dollars at 12th Oct. 1999, and growth rate reached to 7% for the first in our history. Over the years, our economy managed well the exchange rate of dollar to get locked between Rs. 60 and 61. In January 2008 issue, an international magazine ‘Economist’, has complimented the strong foundations of our economy by saying Pakistan as a safe haven for investment.

 

Regrettably, the situation has been reversed by 180 degrees after the revitalization of democracy in Pakistan. Now our foreign reserves are declined to hardly 9 billion dollars, and exchange rate of dollar up to Rs.77. Now, Pakistan looks no more a safe haven for investors. Foreign as well as local investors are packing to run away. Business community is waiting desperately for someone representing government to have sitting with them, and work out the reasons behind the economic collapse down, and the way outs of it.

 

The foremost and biggest challenge to Pakistan is to recover our economic indices, and to attract the investment back to Pakistan. Otherwise, the inflation and devaluation of currency would lead us to the end of everything……. everything, which one can imagine!

 

2-Writ of the state: Would you ever allow any stranger or enemy to jump down at your home and start killing your loving ones. If No, then why do we remain silent of those enemies of our loving homeland, who are openly challenging the writ of the state. We have to open our eyes regarding increasing threat of terrorism and extremism all around. We must bring them to an end. First, make a distinction. Terrorism is a global phenomenon of involvement of militancy, while extremism is linked with obscurantist views and indoctrinated mind set. Both need different strategies to deal with. A militant, being standing against the state must brought to justice by force. On the other hand, an extremist needs a different plan to subjugate. A wrong idea must be conquered by the true one. An old thought must be defeated by the newer one. A rigid ideology must be washed out by the flexible one. We must not forgive the anti-state elements, just because they are hiding themselves in the label of Islam. Killing the innocent people, blasting the girl schools, indoctrination of students of madrassas for suicide attacks, slaughtering our soldiers and crossing the border to make insurgency in Afghanistan is enough to expose their services to Islam. Enough is enough. It’s time to speak louder against them, instead of calling them mujaahideen.

 

Having said earlier, post-Musharraf era is to face the harsh realities, and not to play politics on the issues of our sovereignty. Brace the facts. Few days ago, soon after POF Wah cantt twin suicide blasts, which martyred about 100, Mr. Rehman Malik from interior ministry alarmed the nation, ‘‘we have only two options. Either to hand over Pakistan to Talibaans, or to launch operation against them.’’ Same sort of upsetting statement was coined by Prime Minister Gilani, few weeks ago, ‘‘there are foreigners hiding themselves in tribal areas, and are planning the deadly attacks. We don’t want to make any precedent for one more 9/11 to take place. We are fighting the war against terror in our own interest. Its not the war to please USA.’’ Chief Minister NWFP justified the same, ‘‘if militants keep on attacking the government offices and girl schools, why we allow them. The militants wouldn’t be forgiven by government, even if they surrendered.’’ Isn’t it the same outlook which Musharraf alarmed the nation again and again. What a shame for the politicians, if repeat once more, ‘‘Nation has rejected the Musharraf’s policies, in war against terrorism, by giving us the mandate.’’ Come on. Nation knows nothing, but one… that someone has badly fooled again in the name of democracy.

 

3-Democracy, but not demon-crazy: Yes, our politicians have already betrayed the nation enough in the name of democracy. We suppose democracy to be an exercise of having elections, in which we caste vote for some individual, representing some party. Fine enough……. but it’s time to analyze why such exercise always brings desperation and disappointment for the nation.

 

The political system in Pakistan is gripped by feudalistic mind set. We know, the same families are supposed to rule over us for decades… Bhutto, Sharif, Lughari, Mari, Mengal, Lashari, Bugti… blah blah… It’s a mafia. Go and observe. Their own people are like slaves to them. Having no penny in pockets, or bread in bellies, still they chant slogans for their feudal lords. After being elected, these lords never allow any developmental work in their own locality, and never allow any school to get operate, fearing to have conscience of people to wake up, which would one day deprive them of supremacy upon them.

 

When things get worst and going out of control, the army has to intervene in politics to safe the nation from further destruction. As a matter of fact, people always applause the army, calling them the savior of nation, but after some times, again start demanding the democracy. The vicious cycle carries on, and the dreams are always cursed by the democracy. To make end to that exercise, we need to educate the masses, and finally to abolish the feudalistic culture. It’s easier said than done. To get out old tested (and failed) faces from our political culture, a good step was taken by earlier, to make graduation as mandatory to contest. Unfortunately this was later revoked. It must be brought back. The right to make policies for Pakistan and to pass the bills in assembly must not be given to undergraduate illiterates. Moreover, new political parties must be introduced to challenge the monopoly of few old parties. The new parties should be composed of new faces, most likely to be young, educated, and visionary and better not from the political background. Otherwise, it would be demon-crazy or damn-crazy under the slogan of Democracy.

 

4-Propaganda front: This is the multi polar world. Nothing now happens in isolation. Every bit of information now reaches to every spot of world within a fraction of second, by internet, newspapers, mobile phones and satellite channels. ‘Propaganda’ is now accepted as an art to manipulate things to achieve the desired goals. 24-7 media, now is considered as an important tool to stabilize or destabilize the nations. 

Being fair, credit goes to General Pervez Musharraf, on giving full liberty to media for the first time ever in Pakistan. Now, having more than 70 private channels, we are in better position to educate and inform the masses. Now, with such a vibrant media, we need to make sure few things at media front.

 

1– To keep the national interests first.

2– To raise the morale of nation high.

3– To follow the facts, not perceptions (To be neutral).

4– To portray the positive image of Pakistan.

5– To act as a defense line to deal an international campaign against Pakistan.

 

Our nation has already suffered lot of trauma, due to the frequency of ‘Breaking News’ and ‘News-Just in’ mostly featured by non-issues and rumors. It’s time to keep the national interests first. Our nation is already trapped badly in lot of miseries, and in vicious marathon to get ‘bread n butter’. No one has enough time to or resources to explore out the reality out of rumors. Its media, either electronic or press, which injects the perceptions in the minds of masses. Our nation has already been enslaved to pessimism and despondent thoughts. Its time to raise the morale of nation higher. Our media, unfortunately, has proved itself too biased in the hatred campaign against General Pervez Musharraf. Its time to follow the facts, not to build illusion of perceptions.

 

To put our Economy back on track, and to maintain the law and order situation, featured by the political stability, our media has to play its role, with a feel of responsibility. One sensitive graphical image or one embarrassing news on media, results in the stock market to crash, the next day, and delivers the negative image of Pakistan among international community.

 

Its not the time to clean our dirt live on TV channel, but its time for media to act as a defence line to secure the interests of Pakistan.

 

Now, in last, I would recall your attention again towards the leading axioms of Darwin’s theory of Evolution, i.e., ‘Natural Selection’ and ‘Survival of the fittest’. No nation is born slave or master. Nations evolve through difficulties. If one is capable enough to meet the challenges successfully, naturally get selected to the next level of competition and this struggle continues. In this competition, its only the fittest who survives.

 

Out of lot of challenges, I have picked only few. i.e., Economic front, writ of the state, Political front, and vibrant media front. All are dependent on each other. We have to work out on all these fronts strategically on emergency basis. We have no more time to waste. Otherwise, it would be too late!!!

 

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Democracy’s brain child…….Bhutto Republic of Pakistan

August 15, 2008

(Written by Afaq)

 

Have you ever visited interior Sindh? If not, you are missing something remarkably great. It’s not an ordinary place; instead it’s the germ pool of the plasmodium of Democracy. No matter, if people there have no penny in pocket, doesn’t care if they have nothing to fill their bellies…….salute them…….they are ‘jiyalaas’-the hobbyhorse of mythical Bhutto-the sole custodian of Democracy. Don’t get misguided if someone tells you about the private jails of feudal lords, or if by chance you encounter one columned, four lined news of the gang rape by sons of some ‘wadairaa’… Don’t get irritate if don’t find any infrastructure, schools and hospitals there….. People there known as ‘haari’ have already sell their souls and conscience to their feudal lords, and in return are enjoying the best form of democracy delivered to them by their ‘maindha saayeen’.

 

Let’s, for a while turn the attention from Sindh to Baluchistan. I fear, it looks a useless exercise, as Baluchistan is not the fragment of Pakistan. At least, one of the elected representatives of Balochs, few days ago on ‘Geo News’, and Mr. Khair Bakhsh Murree, few months ago in his interview has said the same……. ‘Baluchistan is my first identity, not Pakistan‘…..’We have never accepted Pakistan’…. ‘We would keep fighting for greater Baluchistan‘…. ‘Everyone who would support us is welcomed, even India’…..then Google out the Bloch Liberation Army (BLA) with their videos released, blasting the Pak Army caravans……

 

Shocking enough for you! Come’ on. It’s democracy. If people of interior Sindh, and some places of Punjab are smart enough to elect the same feudal, again and again.  If elected ones of Baluchistan hate Pakistan, who am I to stop them. They after all are democrats….. And yes, never listen President Pervez Musharraf, when he says, ‘Pakistan is not a banana state. No one anywhere is allowed to start disintegrating the unity of state. Organisations, working as seperationalists, must be resisted by force’. Ignore his words when he says, ‘I am more than 1000% assured about the involvement of Raw and other foreign elements for insurgency in Baluchistan’.

 

We are genius. We have solution of every problem, by a magical charisma of slogan, ‘Jiyay Bhutto’. Who cares if Pakistani currency is getting worst devaluation these months. Never ask why foreign reserves of 17 billion dollars fall down to 9 billion dollars after elections. Why to fret of Al-Qaeda taking over Pakistan. I don’t see any reason to worry because, ‘Zinda hai Bibi’. Never suppose Asif Zardari, as Mr. 10%, while he is serving Pakistan 100%. He would add his share even more, after sitting in Presidency. If Aitzaz Ahsan-world’s top 5th intellectual, while facing interview with ‘New York times’, lip slipped that many charges against Asif Zardari including ransom and murder were justified, forgive him. Asif Zardari-the widower of daughter of East, has every right. He deserves to receive billions of insurance amount of his wife. He is democrat, having 10 million votes in Feb 18 elections for his party. He knows how to play with his words. People of Pakistan have gifted him an authority to rule over them. He would exercise that power, either by speaking against ISI, or by impeaching Mr. President.

 

However, I am just thinking for few days about couple of ideas.

 

1-How would Pakistan army bear its chief, polishing the shoes of new President-Mr. Zaradri?

 

2-Like Bilawal, I must also revolutionize my name from ‘Nayyar Afaq’ to ‘Afaq Bhutto’ to have my survival promising in Democracy’s brain child, ‘Bhutto republic of Pakistan’.

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But, it would be too late.

August 12, 2008

(The report given below deals in an Iraqi ‘Ibrahim Khalil’, who took part in toppling the statue of ‘Saddam Hussain’ in Baghdad. Now, he feels repent and admits that to stand against Saddam was his biggest mistake……………

After reading it, I felt much emotional, and my inner pulsated a sense of regret and shame for Pakistani nation, who are behaving same in toppling the grace of President Pervez Musharraf. I wonder after some time, they would feel the same, as ‘Ibrahim Khalil’ in this report, but I fear, it would be too late…………)

 

“Iraqi regrets toppling Saddam statue” by Staff Writers

Baghdad (AFP) April 9, 2008

 

Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event.

 

“If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down,” Khalil told AFP on the fifth anniversary of the statue’s toppling.

 

“I will protect the statue more than my own self,” Khalil said in Firdoos Square alongside a monument erected where Saddam’s statue once stood before US marines and Iraqis strung a chain around its neck and brought it crashing down.

 

The action marked the end of Saddam’s iron-fisted regime and served as a premonition of the dictator’s own end on December 30, 2006, when he was hanged in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.

 

Khalil, dressed in a blue T-shirt and grey trousers, said he is now sorry he was one of the dozens of jubiliant Iraqis who pulled down the statue and cheered the end of Saddam’s rule.

 

“All my friends who were with me that day feel the same as me,” Khalil told AFP in Firdoos Square, which was virtually deserted on Wednesday amid a vehicle ban in the capital imposed by the government to prevent insurgent attack.

 

Describing the events five years ago, Khalil said crowds of people had gathered at the square when the invading US marines arrived.

 

“A few of us managed to climb up to the statue which had been placed on a tall concrete structure. The soldiers gave us a long rope which we put around the neck and started pulling,” said Khalil, a stocky 45-year-old.

 

“But the rope broke. Then the soldiers gave us a steel chain which my brother Kadhim put around the neck. The (US) tanks then started to pull the chain and soon the head was chopped off and the statue came tumbling down.”

 

He said the cheering crowd and some marines pounced on the concrete structure “immediately.”

 

“We hit the face of the statue with our shoes,” he said, referring to an action considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture.

 

“It was a historic moment. I felt like I was born again. Most Iraqis felt happy as they all were affected by Saddam’s regime.”

 

But five years on, Khalil says the jubilation has long since vanished and that the situation in the country has vastly deteriorated.

 

Iraqi forces are still battling bloodshed that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions of others.

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross says the plight of millions of Iraqis who still have little or no access to clean water, sanitation or health care is the “most critical in the world.”

 

The economy, the main concern of Iraqis after security, is also a wreck.

 

“Now I realise that the day Baghdad fell was in fact a black day. Saddam’s days were better,” said Khalil, who along with his brother runs a car repair shop.

 

“I ask Bush: ‘Where are your promises of making Iraq a better country?’

 

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Iraqi_regrets_toppling_Saddam_statue_999.htm

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