Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cynicism and the politics in Pakistan

Here is the 1st part of this article: Cynicism in Pakistan

Cynicism and the politics in Pakistan

Among other things, political cynicism destroys whatever little chance may exist for dialogue in a deteriorating situation. This I learned from our own company of friends. Frankly, that learning came at the cost of that company’s dissolution.

Actually we were three to five friends who used to gather in a restaurant for chatting after a week or so, regularly. One friend was too adamant to sustain a dialogue. It was really next to impossible to converse with him. You say one thing and he will trash it without any consideration. No doubt, he was fond of conspiracy theories, and thus for him it was so easier to reject our views without having any recourse to reason. His manner of rejecting our views was so scornful that one could only bear it by blowing it in a laugh.

Most of the times, he would put himself in a high position and judge upon us. He would ascribe all the negativity and all the faults happening anywhere in the world to us. Surprisingly, he had lost all the sense of humor also. When someone related a joke, instead of enjoying it he would retort with a negative opinion of any of the issues that the joke made fun of. He would make us express our opinions about the matters which did not interest us, and in case we declined, he would censure us for not being consistent.

At times, he would try to test our knowledge. In case, we admit our deficiency, he would denounce us for not being knowledgeable. If we tried to avoid his question, he would dub us as illiterates. Sometimes he would put a question to us, if we treated it lightly, he would frown at us; and after a lot of teasing, tell the answer but to belittle us.

Despite such troubles, our gatherings continued. We tried to settle ourselves with this type of mannerism of his. Now and then, a serious quarrel would break out, and it would appear the things were moving to their logical end. I remember that last meeting of ours. We were discussing that ultimately it is rule of law which may help resolve many of the issues Pakistanis are facing. He argued like this: a law is enacted by the vote of majority, and not by all of the representatives’ nod; hence, it must not be called law, because there are certain representatives who did not vote for it, and certain people also who do not accept it; and that strips rule of law of the meaning and significance we attach to it. We tried to explain that the objection is valid and that the representatives and people who do not accept such a law, they are free to lobby and campaign against it, and that by gaining majority, they may repeal that law and propose another of their choice and a better one.

His adamancy was so hardened that he snubbed us and told us not to talk of rule of law anymore. I tried to explain to him it is this talk for which we gather here; despite our differences we should be open to dialogue; but to no avail. He judged upon us like a tyrant. We made a decision to the effect that it’s useless to gather here if we are not open to talk out our differences. After that whenever we were together, it was minus him.

Now when I think of him, he appears to me like a mirror in which cynic images of Imran Khan (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf), and Najam Sethi, Ayaz Amir, Ayesha Siddiqa reflect with varying degrees of clarity. He had contained in him most of the traits Pakistani political cynics most of the times exhibit.

For an exposition of Pakistani cynicism, see my article: Cynicism in Pakistan, where I tried to show that cynics generally exhibit two characteristics: first, they are negative; and second, they are faultfinding. In addition, some of the specific traits of Pakistani cynics were also identified. First, Pakistani cynics believe they are not negative and not faulty all the times. In contrast to that, every thing is negative and faulty all the times. Second, Pakistani cynics believe that whatever negativity and whatever faultyness exist responsibility for that rests with all the other Pakistanis, and they themselves are never ever to be blamed a bit for that. Third, Pakistani cynics believe only they have an exclusive claim to the possession of the truth. Also, it’s quite possible that a cynic may be a perfect arrogant; however, it may not be identified as another attribute characterizing Pakistani cynicism. Actually, cynics are inherently arrogant.

Let it be clarified here that be it Imran Khan, or Najam Sethi, or Ayaz Amir, or Ayesha Siddiqa, in their political opinion, they are cynic, i.e. negative and faultfinding. Likewise, they appear to believe that they are not negative and faultfinding, whereas all or most of the things are negative and faulty. To them, in fact, it is others who are negative and faultfinding. Also, all the times or most of the times, they believe that only they possess the truth exclusively. That makes them inherently arrogant, whether they show it or not.

Naturally no one of the above personalities is a perfect cynic. They only exhibit this or that trait and that too in varying degrees. For instance, Najam Sethi’s analysis presents a post-mortem like demonstration of the issue under consideration, however, in spite of listing an array of opinions, he commits to none as if he is beyond all that and sitting very high in a judging position. As for Ayesha Siddiqa, she appears to be solely obsessed with the so-called all-powerful institution of the Pakistan Army. For her, nothing exists beyond that, which may allow something to happen in Pakistan without the involvement of Pak Army; hence her negativity. So far as Ayaz Amir’s cynicism is concerned, he would find fault with everything, you just name it. You ask him for something which is faultless, and he would find fault with you. (How the political cynicism has distorted the political evolution of Pakistan would be the topic of another piece!)

Note: This article was completed on July 31st, 2014.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The predominance of clergy in Pakistan

It’s always been argued that there is no clergy among the Muslims. Is it so? Not the least! In fact, there is all the ‘required’ evidence available to defy this claim. Regardless of the positions and interpretations the Muslim scholars advocate in this respect, there always existed and still exists such a body of religiously ordained persons who use their authority in worldly as well as other-worldly affairs of the Muslims. Even if there is no Muslim Church like the Christian Church, the Principle of Clergy for all the practical purposes is the same in Muslims. It may also be added that unlike the Christian Church, where a uniformly organized clergy or popery exists, in Muslims though the same institution does not exist in the same manner, the principle of clergy does exist religiously in an un-organized and politically in an organized manner. Hence, what’s important is not the institution, but the principle of clergy that’s predominant in Pakistan!

In Europe especially, the clergy used to exert unflinching influence on political as well as public life. It’s the same sway which gave rise to the historically well-know tussle between the state and the church. As the institution of the state could not make any headway under the burden of the clergy which had its own axe to grind, it tried to extend its writ by freeing itself from the clutches of the clergy. In fact, it was gradually that the clergy ceded its control to the state represented by kings. To see how fierce the struggle was and how the kings brought things under their control, one may look into the details of the murder of Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury.

As Ian Jarvie, a philosopher, dubs Reason as a jealous God, which tolerates no other authority questioning its authority, in the same manner in political philosophy, state is termed as the association of associations, which tolerates no other association up and above its position. Actually it’s in the nature of the concept of the state that it allows for no other authority, whatsoever it is, to question its writ. In that sense, and logically too, it represents the ultimate authority, and if it’s an ultimate authority, by implication no other authority can override its control. In other words, it means the state monopolizes the process of law-making and its implementation which indispensably involves violence. That’s the essence of the conflict between the state and the church which Europe witnessed during the middle ages. It was only after it got freedom from the clergy’s clout that the state started moving towards evolving just rules and laws.

Let me venture to say that the same conflict is being waged in Pakistan (and in other Muslim countries also). In this case, it’s a conflict between the principle of (Pakistani) state and the principle of (Muslim) clergy. Even during the days of Sultanate and Mughal Empire, Muslim clergy tried to direct the state represented by kings. Under the British, its influence waned, and it went into a state of recoil. With time, it reacted, resented, and then exhorted Muslims to wage Jehad against the British. More to it, it was as frantic in snubbing the individuals and groups whose efforts focused on liberalizing the rigid regime of clergy and weakening its clout. When the prospects of one constitution to be agreed upon between the Muslim League and Congress dwindled, the Muslim clergy found sufficient room to exercise its influence upon Muslim political and public life once again. That’s how what’s known as the Movement for the attainment of Pakistan got baptized; the clergy tried hard to sort of hijack it. However, the real act of hijacking the state ensued when the real state of Pakistan emerged in 1947.

It’s this background that eclipsed the process of the making of the constitution in early Pakistan. The two crucial issues which constantly proved to be a stumbling block were the political and religious character of the constitution. The former manifested the pre-partition dynamics of Muslim League’s politics in Sindh, Punjab, and NWFP, i.e. how it got them to support its cause. Now in Pakistan, the Muslim League failed in offering them a viable political bonding. The latter issue, the religious character of the constitution reflects the clout of the Muslim clergy immeasurably exercised by it though it had no matching representation in the legislative body. See the details of the debates both inside and outside the various legislative organs regarding the religious character of the constitution: Whether it was a ploy of the politicians and political parties that they made use of the clergy to secure their interests and appeased it or the clergy was so potent and enjoyed so popular a base in Pakistan that in the end it succeeded in obtaining a place for the principle of clergy in the constitution; and thus it defied the principle of the state.

So far as the 1973 constitution is concerned, nothing changed with it either. The principle of clergy in Pakistan remained as forcefully effective as it was earlier. In contrast, and consequently, the principle of state proved as ineffective as it had always been. With time, instead of weakening, the principle of clergy became stronger, and resultantly the state went weaker and weaker so that what we have today is a limping state creaking under the burden of the Muslim clergy’s agenda. It’s no place to visit how the principle of clergy strengthened in Pakistan; and as for who is responsible (politicians or military) for its rise by way of, for instance, unduly appeasing it. Two things stand un-denied. In spite of deriving its support from a devoutly religious Muslim population, the Muslim clergy completely failed in converting its religious following into its political following, i.e. its politics failed it miserably. That means it’s politicians and political parties which allowed it to have a field day in Pakistan.

In the end, it may be concluded that for the state of Pakistan the fateful moment will come only when it decides to free itself from the ravages of the principle of clergy, and set itself to evolve just rules and laws in order to protect life, property, and freedoms of its each and every citizen!

Note: This article was completed on January 26, 2015.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

No. 1 enemy of the people of Pakistan

پاکستن کے سیاست دانوں نے، خواہ وہ جمہوریت کا لبادہ اوڑھے ہوئے ہیں یا مذہب کا، قریباً ستر برس سے یہاں کے شہریوں کو ٹرک کی بتی کے پیچھے لگایا ہوا ہے۔

This Urdu saying means: Paki politicians, whether they are clad in the garb of Democracy or Religion, have got the citizens running after the back-lights of a Truck! In other words, the citizens of Pakistan have been made to run after a mirage so that they are never going to reach any destination.

Recently, there was a book-launching in Lahore. The book’s title is: NauAbaadiyati Taaleemi Dhaancahy Ka Tasalsul (The Continuation of Neo-Colonial Educational Structure) and it’s written by a Marxist. All the talk there focused on castigating the British for their doing everything in their own interest. Two or three sane voices, speaking common-sense, tried to make other commentators realize not all that is bad had been done by the British; we did a lot of bad things ourselves.

It’s simple arithmetic: the Indian Sub-Continent was taken over by the British Crown after the revolt of 1857; they left us with two states of India and Pakistan to be shaped by our own genius in 1947. That makes about 90 years. Last August, Pakistan attained the age of 67 years. So what did we achieve in quite more than half a century needs to be compared what the British achieved for us in less than a century! But we are still obsessed with our own pseudo-identity, sort of puritan spirit, which we believe and claim the British distorted and admixed; otherwise, probably we were the Shining Star of the World!

In effect, most of the Far Left in Pakistan is still beating the Anti-British drum. They have other Drums too to beat. They are Anti-America; Anti-Imperialism; Anti-West; Anti-Globalization; Anti-Trans-National-Corporations; Anti-Multi-National-Corporations; Anti-Corporatism; Anti-WTO; Anti-WB; Anti-IMF; Anti-ADB; so on. That’s the international side of their ideology and politics. They have certain local indigenous enemies also. Thus, at home, they are: Anti-Feudalism; Anti-Capitalism; Anti-Big-Business; Anti-Bourgeoisie, i.e. Anti-Ultra-Rich; and in a Marxian sense, they are Anti-State also, i.e. they want to make the state wither away by annihilating the classes which is in their view an instrument of exploitation of the poor at the hands of capitalists; so on.

Presently, there are a good many number of Leftist, Marxist, Socialist groups working in Pakistan. In 2012, three parties, Workers Party Pakistan, Labor Party Pakistan, and Awami Party Pakistan, merged to form a ‘united party of the Left’: it’s Awami Workers Party. That above-mentioned list is as true for this Party as it is for almost all the other Leftist groups.

As far as the Far Right is concerned, its enemies are no different from those of the Far Left. To this day, most of the Rightist parties and groups denounce the British for their disservice to the Muslims of the Sub-Continent, especially Lord Macaulay for “modernizing” the Muslim education. For the Rightists, there is another eternal enemy, the West. The USA fulfills all the criteria to act as a perfect enemy, so it is. In its Imperialistic role, it becomes more of a complex enemy, which dictates everything which happens in Pakistan; it makes use of UN, The World Bank, ADB, IMF, etc, to the extent of fixing prices of commodities and various utilities in Pakistan. One thing that distinguishes the Far Right from the Far Left is the way they present these enemies of the people of Pakistan: the Right dubs them as the enemy of Pakistan and Islam; whereas the Left hates them as the enemy of the poor!

The mainstream political parties in Pakistan differentiated as falling on the Right or Left have got the same list of enemies; though they make use of it mostly only when needed, or when they are in the opposition. For instance, PPP-P is understood to be a party on the Left; PML-N on the Right; both are open to opt for such uses. More often, they make use of these enemies in a circumlocutory way: they promise to break the Begging Bowl!

Never ever anyone questioned this wisdom of the Right and the Left which declares the West, Colonialism, Neo-Colonialism, Europe, America, and Imperialism on the one hand, and Feudalism and Capitalism on the other as the enemy of the people. Either they mislead the people deliberately; Or they do not know the Pakistani social and economic reality! In the second case, they or their thinking is totally Ashraafist. Whoever lives through the social and economic reality of Pakistan cannot help realizing that the number one enemy of the people of Pakistan is the State of Pakistan!

Mainly it is on two counts that the state proves to be an enemy: First, it completely neglects its foremost function of ensuring protection of life and property to each and every citizen. Contrary to that, it lets various groups form and flourish and dictate the citizens what to believe and how to live and then kill them if they don’t do their bidding. The state doesn’t protect and does not provide justice requires no proof; it’s in the air. That means the state completely breached the trust of the people they put in it; rather it turned criminal.

Second, the state misuses the money taken from the citizens as taxes. Not only does it allow other groups extort from the citizens, the state itself robs the citizens also on this or that pretext. As far as electricity, gas and petroleum products’ supply is concerned, it is exacting billions of rupees from the citizens’ pockets. Add to it, the corruption-money in trillions of rupees. It’s the state’s machinery that sucks citizens’ blood in this or that government department regardless of its nature, whether it is a service or a collector. The writer has demonstrated in his Pakistan Mein Riyasati Ashraify Ka Urooj how Riyasati Ashrafiya has captured both the state and the market and lives off the resources that the state accrues. In a nutshell, it’s the state which exploits the citizens it is supposed to serve; not the feudals and capitalists, who can never in case the state decides so! That makes the state of Pakistan a Robber-Criminal state!

Note: This article was completed on January 17, 2015.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Story of Complicity

A Story of Complicity: Statistical Relationship between a Newspaper and a Politician

* The writer supports freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of press as sort of absolute values.

* This analysis by him is in good faith and may not be construed as intrusion in anyone’s privacy and freedom.

* Since newspapers are public entities (though they are privately owned), and politicians public personalities, the writer as a reader and as a citizen may use his freedom to question and criticize both.

* The writer is a keen reader of the newspapers. In the month of May 2014 he noticed unusual news coverage given to one politician “P” in the newspaper “N.”

* When the month of May completed, the writer took a stock of that coverage.

* Here is the table that shows the detail of the news coverage which emerged out of this exercise:

Serial no.
Page no.
Photo / Sketch
Brief statement
Detailed statement



* Here are the results that this table generates:

1. The number of days in the month of May 2014 on which the Newspaper “N” was published = 31

2. The number of days on which news coverage was given to the Politician “P” = 10

3. The number of times Photo / Sketch of the Politician “P” was published = 10

4. The number of times Brief Statement of the Politician “P” was published = 10

5. The number of times Detailed Statement of the Politician “P” was published = 3

6. The number of times Photo / Sketch, Brief Statement, and Detailed Statement of the Politician “P” 
was published = 10 + 10 + 3 = 23

* In sum, out of 31 days of the month of May 2014, the number of times 3 type of coverage was given to the Politician “P” in the Newspaper “N” Lahore Edition = 23.

* Here is the news coverage in terms of percentages:

* As mentioned above, in case all 3 types of coverage the Politician “P” was given is added together, it turns out to be 23 times out of 31 days.

* Thus, out of 31 days of the month of May, the percentage of coverage given by the Newspaper “N” Lahore Edition to the Politician “P” reaches to 74.19 %.

* How come that a politician of the stature of P, who may not be considered a national level political leader, is given coverage for 10 days and 23 times in a month by one of the top national English dailies, i.e. the Newspaper “N”!

* No doubt, the newspaper under consideration, in exercise of its freedom of press, has all the right to give any type of coverage to any type of politician or otherwise. No questioning on that!

* However, as a reader and as a citizen, the writer has the right to object why such an enormous coverage was given to the Politician “P”!

* He may criticize such coverage as noticeable and abnormal!

* He may ask: Doesn’t coverage of such abnormality raise questions which may bear on the nature of transparency the newspaper observes? And, he may ask: What’s the deal? Or what’s the package?

* Also, the writer is curious to know how the decision to give such enormous coverage to anyone is reached and put into effect.

* In short, what the writer as a reader and as a citizen would like to know is: Does the newspaper under consideration (the Newspaper “N”) operate on the basis of a transparent policy and an open criteria which it follows in deciding what and how much coverage this or that public personality deserves, and which it shares with its readers especially and Pakistani citizens generally? Or it just operates arbitrarily?

* As a matter of principle, this question applies to all the newspapers, magazines, and TV and Radio channels, and raises the issue of accountability in the eyes of the citizenry.

* Hence the issue this piece really wants to bring to the fore is: Do Pakistani print and electronic media operate arbitrarily? Or, does it believe it is accountable to the citizens of Pakistan, and in line with that belief, it operates in accordance with a transparent policy and open criterion which it shares both with its readers and the citizens?

* In the end, it needs to be admitted that this piece tries to exhort Pakistani media to be transparent and accountable to the public it claims it is there to serve!

* So finally the issue is: Has Pakistani media any internal code of conduct to follow in its operations? Has it a transparent policy and an open criterion to share with its readers? And, lastly, do Pakistani media behave morally? Or not?

Note: This article was completed on August 3, 2014.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

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the subscribers and readers 
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Very Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Forsaken by the State

Note: The day Benazir Bhutto was murdered, December 27, 2007, it was the day when all the semblance of government evaporated in Pakistan; there was widespread anarchy and uncertainty; there was arson, loot, and destruction. Fear prevailed. As if the life and property of ordinary citizens of this country were forsaken by the State! Here is the Story:

Where there is no property there is no injustice.
John Locke

Regardless of the controversy whether we human beings are by nature good or bad, what is crucially required to keep our society intact is that we must be treated as free agents. This washes away all those excuses the science of psychology and its Freuds and no-Freuds have heaped on and which provide an eternal alibi for the criminals to prove their innocence under the guise of this or that mental state or illness, or this or that instinctual impulse which, it is pleaded, eventually forces them into acting that crime: that they were not just themselves at the time of crime (I would like, in such cases, that self of theirs to be punished at least!).

Thus, it is of immense significance, and both tradition and moral and social values, and law too, have it that everyone who commits an offence must be tried and punished accordingly. It behooves to be presumed that it is a certain person and it is he and only he who committed the crime. Otherwise, we will have only crimes, and no criminals, a state of affairs we cannot afford if we believe in justice and its dispensation as the sine qua non for the continuation of a society.

The true relevance of this requirement demonstrates well when we are faced with a concrete danger to our life and property. It must be noted here that property is not a separate entity from one’s self though physically it is; rather it is an extension of one’s self and his life. ‘Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself,’ Locke observed. He held that ‘the reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.’ Without property we, who are not all mystics, are just in the midst of a forced hermitage, a state of social and existential nothingness. Probably it is why we protect our property at the risk of our life; and, certainly it is why we take lives of others to grab their property. Also, it was why in the 18th century England stealing was punishable by death.

It is in this context that the focus of British classical liberals such as Locke (1632-1704) and Hume (1711-1776) on the protective function of government can be best understood. Locke maintains that ‘government has no other end, but the preservation of property.’ Hume believed that ‘the convention for the distinction of property, and for the stability of possession, is of all circumstances the most necessary to the establishment of human society, and that after the agreement for the fixing and observing of this rule, there remains little or nothing to be done towards settling a perfect harmony and concord.’

Thus, any authority that takes on the task of governing a people, for it the foremost thing is to extend protection of life and property to every individual under its jurisdiction so that he should live in peace and happiness. If it fails to deliver that, it loses the confidence and trust of its people. Converse to all this, the state in Pakistan, as a rule, has been quite unmindful of this foremost responsibility. In the heat of moments, such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, it just sleeps. Actually, whatever government is it, a civilian or military or any other, they have a theory to make excuse of: Let people vent their anger. They think this diverts people’s attention from the real issues and real culprits.

After the cold-blooded murder of Benazir Bhutto, the loot and arson that took place has shaken the confidence of all the citizenry. No doubt, her assassination must be condemned in unequivocal terms, and on the face of it is itself the strongest evidence of the state’s criminal negligence in protecting the lives of the people and their leaders. But of course it should not be taken as an excuse for the uncalled for lawlessness to prevail. No incident of any magnitude licenses anyone to incur damage to the life and property of his fellow citizens.

However, the fact is that as the news of her assassination spread, unruly mobs took to the streets and markets and let loose a reign of terror as if no administrative authority existed in the country. From big cities to small towns, routine life and businesses suffered a standstill for days. As many as 58 people were killed amidst the worst lawlessness. The state’s conspicuous absence from the scene further created a sense of fear and insecurity among the people. Though the initial estimates of loss and damage have started pouring in, the real damage that has shattered the society’s trust in the ability of the state to protect the citizenry is immeasurable.

Here are some horrible recounts of the loot and arson private and public property underwent:

  • The ensuing night of December 27 witnessed the horrible act of burning of a hospital in Karachi.
  • Inside a garment factory which was set on fire by the rioters in Karachi seven workers including a woman lost their lives.
  • 16 Edhi ambulances were set on fire.
  • Dozens of trucks which were torched in Korangi Industrial area included two trucks loaded with wheat.
  • About 36 factories, 3 restaurants, eights petrol pumps, 55 shops were torched in Karachi.
  • More than 900 private vehicles were torched in Sindh.
  • About 15 spinning mills in Kotri and 6 in North Karachi industrial area were destroyed or set on fire and more than a dozen factories in different industrial areas of Karachi alone were looted.
  • Both domestic and foreign trade came to a halt, and traders suffered a loss of Rs.10 billion.
  • Hundreds of cargo trailer-trucks loaded with milk, ghee, chemicals, fertilizers, pulses, wheat, machinery, fiber boards, fruits and vegetables were looted and burnt. The Karachi Goods Carriers Association estimates the accumulated losses at 193.5 millions rupees.
  • According to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry 5 days of riots caused a corporate loss of Rs.80 billion, and the loss to GDP is to the tune of Rs.8.706 billion.
  • A total of 699 branches of various banks were looted, damaged, and burnt. The State Bank’s estimates of losses reach about Rs.1.2 billion.
  • Trains carrying passengers were stoned, attacked and burnt. In two cases, after forcing the passengers to disembark the carriages were burnt. In total, 6 trains, 78 train bogies, 26 locomotives, and 25 railway stations were set on fire. As much as 16 bridges, 18 level crossings, a number of railways cranes and motor trolleys were set ablaze. At six places, the rail track was uprooted and fish plates were removed; railways communication system also suffered damage. The loss is estimated to be more than Rs.12 billion.
  • The tax authorities estimate the Revenue losses amounting to Rs.35 billion.
This was not the first such incident when the people of Pakistan were forsaken by the state. Only a few months back in May 2007 Karachi was subjected to a most brazen show of lawlessness under the criminal silence of provincial and federal governments. The fact of the matter is that whenever there is such a public outrage, the theory: ‘let the people vent their anger’ comes into force and government’s administrative authority disappears altogether. As to the December 27 chaos, there are concerns that in some cases the looting particularly of banks was organized and was done by organized groups.

All this is outrageous. However, what is more outrageous is that government has set up a commission that will assess the extent of the damage done to private and public property. Whereas what is required is the setting up of a commission that should include representatives of all sections of society, and it should be tasked in the first instance with the determination of the fact why and how the law enforcing agencies and their bosses from top to bottom absented when the reign of terror was let loose across the country, and of course to ensure that there is law in the country those found guilty of negligence be awarded due punishments.

As to the demand of compensation being made by the manufacturers, traders, transporters, and small businessmen who suffered incalculable losses, they should realize that in fact it will backfire. Seeking compensation from government will no doubt result in levying of more taxes, and entrenching of the rentiers’ regime. Ultimately it will hurt their own businesses by reducing, already shrinking purchasing power of common man. The lawful course is to file damages suits in the courts against both law enforcing agencies and ransackers. That will set a precedent for the future also.

But as is expected the courts may not be able to provide them with justice, and in that event the government will be stripped of all the semblance of its protective function and a government for the people. Thus it will lose all moral, legal, and constitutional authority to tax the citizens. That will be the end of such regimes which have made Pakistan such a place for people to live where if there be choice they will migrate to other lands where their person and property is safe.

This article was completed in January 2008.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The road ahead is quite straight

This article was written last year in the wake of December 16 APS Tragedy to expose the Politicians' inaction. It's still relevant today on December 16, 2015.

The road ahead is quite straight

Beware of the politicians! They cannot think and act out of their politically blocked mentality! They are a victim of paradigms made of their own choice; that’s why they disdain rules, laws and the constitution, which require and bind them to act accordingly. They won’t break the paradigms, which ensure their short-term survival, and it’s seldom that they shift to newer paradigms of thinking and action in a broader perspective. Whenever that happens, that happens temporarily and perforce due to the force of the circumstances, like the one which the December 16 Peshawar massacre of the children generated, or under the pressure of the “Subjects,” “Awaam,” like the one which got Iftikhaar Muhammad Chaudhry former Chief Justice of Pakistan restored against the will of the whole “state” of Pakistan, which its politicians consider themselves to be the “Ashraaf” and “Haakim!” So the moment that pressure releases, they are the same politicians - Haakim and Ashraaf!

What are these paradigms of Paki politicians? First, see how they respond and react to such tragedies of unfathomable magnitude! Try to empathize the immense grief the Peshawar massacre caused: 132 is the number of those innocent souls death of whom has devastated hundreds of families, thousands of their relatives and friends, millions of their dreams, and shocked billions of human beings all over the globe! The unimaginable tragedy has jolted Pakistan’s “imagined enemies” also! And how the politicians, whether they are in the parliament or out of it, took it is more important, relevant and pertinent in the sense that it will show at the end of the day how the state of Pakistan is going to tackle the menace.

The first political paradigm comprises the narrative which includes:  condemnations, consolations, condolences, resolutions; and the likes. The second paradigm calls for meetings, conferences, APCs; and the likes. An APC of all the parliamentary parties we have already seen happening. Another highlight in this regard is the Pakistan Peoples Party’s demand to call for a joint session of the parliament. The third paradigm opts for constitution of commissions for inquiries, investigations; and the likes. There are various inquiries and investigations, announced and unannounced, already in the process. The fourth paradigm focuses on setting up commissions, committees for devising action plans. As a result of the above-mentioned APC, a parliamentary committee has been formed to devise a National Action Plan, which has already set up a Working Group. The political imagination never goes beyond these paradigms. Hence, it’s rarely seen that the action plans thus devised by such committees are put to work or put through. Nor are implemented any findings and recommendations of any inquiry commission or investigation committee thus formed.

Right from the beginning: Justice Munir Inquiry Report (1954), the only report the original text of which along with its official Urdu translation the then government made public, never put to any use; Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report, which inquired into the military debacle of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) never saw the light of the day nor were implemented any of its recommendations; Saleem Shahzad Inquiry Report, which inquired the mysterious murder of Saleem Shahzad, a renowned journalist, did not bear any fruit; and, Abbottabad Commission Report, which inquired into the circumstances under which Osama Bin Laden safely resided for years in Abbottabad, a military town, remains dumped in all respects. So that’s the fate of all the political paradigms!

As mentioned earlier the politicians seldom come to alter their paradigms, it amounts to saying that they won’t change them this time too, and though there is unprecedented outrage against the politicians as well as so-called powerful Generals of the army, the politicians won’t do anything worthwhile but such measures which help them water down the social and psychological heaviness that the Peshawar massacre of children has begotten. Most probably, they will drag the issue and allow time to lessen its intensity and finally bury it. Although executions of certain terrorists have started making headlines, whose dead bodies otherwise should have by now worn out in the graves, there is nothing substantial in the offing as the “measures and actions” the government is deliberating and taking now attest.

In contradistinction to it, what may be termed “cash politics” in point of fact takes no time to get launched; for instance, a number of power generation projects are in the pipeline, whereas no attention is being given to the real cause of the acute power shortage, i.e. mismanagement in the power sector. It is such opportunities that the Paki politicians are most interested in. In other words, it’s Cash Politics where the political paradigm of action may only be seen working actively. All other issues, whatever their magnitude and fatality, do not interest the Paki politicians.

In case, someone starts analyzing the present troubles, his findings will reveal that the miseries and killings the ordinary Pakistanis are undergoing today may be traced to such issues which were deliberately delayed and complicated by the politicians, and that they were never dealt with sternly and with determination. That list includes Terrorism, Extremism, Sectarianism, Non-Civilian Supremacy as the top most issues. The question staring us in the face is: Do the Pakistani constitution, rules and laws on the one hand, and the courts, police and other related institutions and agencies on the other are not competent enough to deal with these and like issues? The courts had already handed those terrorists death sentence whom the government is executing now! Also, if new legislation and new institutions were required in order to cope with these menaces, why it was not done in time promptly and efficiently! Why relaxing in political paradigms remained the way of the politicians? In conclusion, it may be said that the state of Pakistan has already got all that paraphernalia it requires to deal with these issues; do not give it turns and twists; leave your political paradigms; the road ahead is quite straight; have courage to tread it and focus on the Unity of Action, not on the Unity of the Nation, and Unity of the Politicians!

Note: This article was completed on December 20, 2014.