Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kya Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) Badal Gaye Hain?

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Has Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) now changed?

It was back in the days when the lawyers’ movement for the rule of law was at its zenith. On the 9th of March, 2007, a word of NO uttered by a man representing the law before a man representing the might had acquired the status of a catchword. The same NO had come to symbolize a movement for the supremacy of the law in Pakistan. Such a moral strength was latent in that NO that it had awakened the consciences dead in slumber for decades. Endorsement for the rule of the constitution and the law in Pakistan came from such unexpected quarters where voices supporting the military dictatorships used to come from heretofore. Surprisingly they were the same people who gave finishing touches to the past military takeovers. That was the greatest moral victory of this movement!

Then, came the day all bright with the restoration of Iftikahr Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan. However, the state aristocracy of Pakistan was too revengeful to fight back, and on November 3, 2007, an emergency-cum-martial law was clamped down deposing all the judges of the higher courts. As the heat and the resolve of the earlier movement was still burning, the movement for the restoration of the deposed judges got reignited. Meanwhile, on November 3, 2008, in the The News an article by Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) appeared. Its title was: Pakistan’s real civil war. It was a marvel of brevity and meaningfulness. Quite strange was it that a man trained in the science of war was making how correct a diagnosis of the malaise Pakistan was afflicted with. Only a few differences one could afford with the opinions expressed in Admiral Fasih’s article; mostly it provided for an intellectual direction succinct and convincing to understand the crisis of Pakistan. I promoted that article to the best of my reach. I spread its photocopies far and wide.  To remove the intellectual confusion was my aim, so that the malaise devouring the existence of Pakistani citizens could be cured.

Let us have a look at the article. Admiral Fasih writes:

“Qabza, or trespassing has become a way of life in Pakistan. We have at the top of the ladder, politicians who have qabza over their political parties: Bonapartist generals who once appointed army chief take qabza of the service and then the country: Bureaucrats who serve on and on, and on: businessmen who form cartels; and tenants who don’t pay rent. There are such people in both the public and private sector. The qabza mentality divides our nation down to the bottom of the social ladder where we have the poor who squat on land they don’t own, and then demand ownership rights! There are those who voluntarily abide by the law, and those who openly break the law, knowing that its enforcement is weak.”

Further to this:

“The real civil war is between those who want justice and law enforcement, and those who thrive in its absence. It is not about the rich versus the poor. It is not about the religious versus the secular. It is about the law abiding versus those with a qabza mentality.”


“Pakistan is not the only country with this problem. It exists in most countries. In America we have the Democrats and the Republicans both crawling over each other in subservience to Zionist and corporate money, just to gain or retain power. America is now the greatest democracy of corporate interests! In Russia Putin survives with the support of mafias. China’s Communist party has enriched itself beyond belief, by serving the interests of big business.

The problem with governance in the post-monarchy era has been the convergence of state power and the corporate power that finances the continued election of politicians who serve its interests. This is classic Fascism. The power of fascism is then unleashed on the people who oppose the power of government.”

How Pakistan is different from other countries:

“The difference between Pakistani society and society in non-fascist countries is the apathy and resignation to fate amongst Pakistanis. In other countries there is continued awareness and infighting to keep the state machinery in check. In other countries people fight for ownership of their country. But there is now an awakening in Pakistan led by the lawyers, and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the most honourable Mohammed Iftikhar Chaudhry. He is the first chief justice of Pakistan to have opposed Fascism and be supported by the people. Others like him were not supported by the people because of apathy, and peoples conditioned belief that military rulers and people’s representatives will look after their interests.”

Then, he is quite apt to expose how fascism works:
“Fascism works by strengthening the executive, weakening the judiciary, de-fanging parliament, and controlling the media to keep the focus away from the real issue of how the people’s money is being spent. The executive is strengthened by appeasement of, or alignment with militant forces, and through distortion of the Constitution. Parliament becomes a rubber stamp because members who support the executive are allowed freedom of fascist action in their constituencies. The media moguls are appeased and their journalists coerced, or bought. The judiciary is weakened by coercion, denial of infra-structural support, and total executive control over appointments.”

And, here is the concluding paragraph:

“The first Tehreek-e-Azadi won freedom from external oppressors. The second Tehreek-e-Azadi against internal oppressors, the people with Qabza mentality, can only be won after the judiciary becomes independent. This will only happen with the support of all the people of Pakistan. That is why it is important for all Pakistanis to come out and support the lawyers’ movement for restoration of the judiciary to its pre-November 3, 2007 position. That is the judiciary that will look to the people as their source of power, and not to the executive as their source of power. That will be the judiciary that will establish the independence of the judiciary. That will be the first blow to the qabza mentality trespassers of power and money and land in Pakistan.”

{“[The writer is a former admiral and chief of the Pakistan navy.]”}

That is Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) of 2008. Today’s Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) is the Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). At that time, he was exposing the fascism of the oppressors. At that time how intricately he was telling that how the fascism of Qabza mentality strengthens the executive; weakens the judiciary; defangs the parliament; and controls the media. At that time, in how precise a manner he was telling that how there was an awakening led by lawyers and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the most honorable Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. At that time in how inspiring a tone he was telling that how this judiciary will establish the independence of the judiciary, and how this judiciary will strike the first blow to the qabza mentality trespassers of power and money and land in Pakistan.

Today’s Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) is lodging complaints against the same judiciary with the same executive which is weakening it, the same judiciary. He is casting doubts on the integrity of the same judiciary which is the only institution still opposing the fascism of the oppressors. Today’s Admiral Fasih Bokhari (Retired) is expressing reservations and raising objections against the same media, such as it is obstructing the working of the NAB, which proved to be an invincible ally of the movement for the independence of the judiciary. Has there been a change? Are there no more the internal oppressors hounding the ordinary Pakistanis? Is there no more the Qabza fascism alive in Pakistan eating out the wealth of the ordinary Pakistanis? Or, Admiral Fasih Bokhari has changed?

How difficult it is to untie this knot in Pakistan - a country always conducive to such shifts of commitments?

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Riyasati Ashrifiya Ka Pakistan - 14: Shahrukh Jatoi Ka Bairoon-e-Mulk Faraar

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State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 13: PIA official delays flight for his daughter to board

Great people to fly with!

LAHORE: A senior PIA official caused the PK 562 Karachi-Islamabad flight to land at the Allama Iqbal International Airport late on Tuesday night to allow his daughter to board the flight, reports Geo News. Later, the flight took off with the girl on board and reached Islamabad.

[The News, January 30, 2013]

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 12: Pak politicians taking our taxes, not paying their own: UK minister

Pak politicians taking our taxes, not paying their own: UK minister

LONDON: International Development Secretary Justine Greening has defended giving millions in aid to Pakistan amid suggestions the Pakistani politicians were “taking our taxes” while not paying their own. 

Pakistan receives more money in aid than almost any other state but a report last December claimed two-thirds of its MPs have not filled out tax returns, including its top rulers. Sir Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the Commons International Development committee, raised fears that Pakistan’s approach was “we’ll take your money and do what we please.” 

He asked the secretary of state: “What influence do we have over the Pakistan government? They are taking aid programmes; they are taking our taxes, not paying their own taxes. There are billions of pounds they have got in bank accounts yet they are taking money from the IMF. Everybody collectively says we expect them to do something. They have had plans in the past to raise their tax base, it’s gone down, not up.” 

He added: “To put it at it most negative, are they saying, “well, we’ll take your money and do what we please?”Ms Greening insisted there were short and long-term reasons why increasing investment in Pakistan was a “sensible” move but said the government was not trying to “buy influence.” 

MPs on the International Development Committee were told that ministers were pressing the Pakistani government to make a raft of reforms, with tax affairs a high priority.” At the moment, 70% of Pakistan’s MPs are not filing a tax return,” Ms Greening said. We know that their tax base is probably one of the smallest in relation to their GDP in the world.” 

Ms Greening said she wanted to see Pakistan become rated as a “less corrupt country” and improvements on human rights and democracy. But the Tory cabinet minister sidestepped questions over what it would take for the government to end aid to Pakistan.

[The News, January 30, 2013]

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 11: Avenging the law!

LHC stays proceedings in PML-Q MPs damages suits

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday stayed the proceeding of a civil court hearing Rs 50 million damages suits of PML-Q MNA Ch Wajahat Hussain and MPA Moonis Elahi against former additional deputy inspector general FIA and investigation officer of NICL scam case, Zafar Qureshi.
The court issued this order on a petition moved by Zafar Qureshi challenging order of lower court wherein his plea for dismissal of suit was rejected.Chaudhrys of Gujrat had filed suits against Qureshi alleging that he had tarnished the image of their family and damaged their political goodwill to a great extent. 

Zafar Qureshi through his counsel Khawaja Saeeduz Zafar contended that he had no personal grudge against Moonis Elahi or his family and conducted investigation purely on merit in the light of Supreme Court’s directions. 

He pointed out that such suits could not be filed against the investigation officers and he got recovered billions of rupees from accused persons involved in the case.He requested the court to stop civil court from further proceeding into the matter. After hearing the initial arguments, Justice Mahmood Maqbool Bajwa stayed civil court proceedings and sought replies from respondents.

[The News, January 29, 2013]   

Slander suits: LHC stays proceedings against FIA investigator

LAHORE: Justice Mahmood Maqbool Bajwa of the Lahore High Court on Monday stayed proceedings of two damages suits filed by PML-Q MNA Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain and MPA Moonis Elahi against Zafar Qureshi, the FIA investigating officer of the NICL scam.

The judge issued this order on a petition filed by Qureshi, former additional director general of the FIA, pleading that he had conducted an inquiry into the NICL scam on merit following the directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He said Moonis Elahi, one of the suspects in the scam, and his uncle Wajahat Hussain had filed suits against him for libel. He said under law such suits could not be filed against the investigating officer of a case.

He said he had no personal grudge against Elahi or his family. He said he had recovered billions of rupees from the suspects. He prayed to the court to set aside the proceedings on the damages suits pending before a civil court for being illegal. The judge stayed the proceedings and sought replies from the respondents by March 12, the next hearing.

[The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013]

Khan Fazlur Rahman Khan Ki Adabi Sachaee Aur Intizar Hussain Ki Gawahee

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pak Bharat Jang Ke Saaye?

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Pak Bharat Muzakraat Ka Makhmasa

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Friday, January 25, 2013

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 10: PAC for abolishing doling out plots to bureaucrats and agricultural land to generals

ISLAMABAD: While giving “Plot Amnesty”  to those top bureaucrats and judges who got more than two plots in the past under the Prime Minister’s Special Incentive Package, the Public Accounts Committee has recommended abolishing the existing plot policy by suggesting to the government to cancel the summary for awarding plots to top bureaucrats under the Prime Minister’s Special Incentive package in future, abolishing all the special quotas, including of generals, judges, journalists except widows, martyrs and (disabled) persons and no more agricultural land allotments to the generals, judges and politicians except the families of martyrs.

Under the Prime Minister Special Incentive Package that was initiated during the tenure of a former prime minister, the top grade bureaucrats were given the plots on their promotion in grade 22.

The PAC met here Wednesday (December 19, 2012) with its Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal in the chair. The meeting examined the plot policy, and following the briefing from the Ministry of Housing and Works as well from the representatives of the provincial government, the PAC chairman announced six-point recommendations to the government to end the distribution of plots among the influential and privileged class of the country that hold more than two plots. 

The PAC recommended the abolishment of all the special quotas for judges, generals, journalists except widows, martyrs and disabled persons. The PAC recommended the government for withdrawing the summary regarding Prime Minister’s Special Incentive Package and cancelling it. 

It recommended the government to end the practice of allotment of agriculture land to the generals, politicians and judges except the families of the martyrs. The PAC recommended the inquiry against all those who submit the affidavits including bureaucrats and judges for the allotment of the plots, and in future the inquiry should be made on the authenticity of the affidavit for the allotment of plots under the government schemes. 

The committee directed the abolishment of the plots given by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to the deputationists and directed that no depututionist will be liable to get the plots from the department of deputation in the future. 

The PAC directed the Ministry of Housing and Works to prepare the database of the plots allotted to the officers either by the federal government or provincial governments and place the list on its website. 

The committee recommended the government for abolishing the transfer of the plots of the bureaucrats, who were allocated the plots under the old-age policy in the D-8 or D-12 sector but transferred their plots in the posh sectors of the Islamabad.

Earlier, the PAC expressed its displeasure to the chief secretary Sindh and provincial secretary of Sindh for Housing for not presenting the list of the federal officers who got plots by the provincial government.

The PAC in its meeting last week directed the provincial governments to provide the list of the officers who got plots from the provincial governments also. During the meeting, Additional Provincial Secretary Sindh, who representing the Sindh, did not provide the details to the committee and even refused to give any time frame to provide the list. 

On the non-provision of the list of federal government officers who got plots in Sindh, the PAC summoned the chief secretary Sindh with the report within 10-days. The PAC also directed to convey its displeasure to the prime minister, chief minister Sindh and secretary Establishment Division over the attitude of the Sindh government for not compliance with the committee’s directives. 

Additional chief secretary Balochistan told the PAC that Balochistan government had given plots to 19 bureaucrats of the federal government and four judges through Quetta Development Authority.
Provincial Secretary Housing of Punjab sought a 10-day time from the PAC to furnish the list of the officers who got plots by the Punjab government. Additional chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed the PAC that the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa did not allot any plot to the federal government officers. The additional chief secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa further told the committee that the provincial government had abolished the quota of governor and chief minister for the allotments of the plots.

[The News December 20, 2012]

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 9: OGRA chief’s escape

FOR a developing country like Pakistan the biggest threat to its existence is terrorism within its boundaries which, if unchecked, may render it ungovernable. While external aggression unites a nation, internal dissension motivated by ethnic or sectarian move divides or causes gross injustices and state-institutionalised inequalities can break even the strongest of nations. Only prompt effective remedial measures taken across the board can avert this existential threat.

Unfortunately Pakistan faces the cancer of terrorism bred by hate, waged by mercenaries and massive unchecked corruption which has assumed the form of financial terrorism. The bonding between corrupt members of this exclusive club extends beyond political divides and amongst the few within civil-cum-khaki bureaucracy, traders, drug traffickers, organised tax evaders, so-called religious parties and the land-grabbing mafia.

The ease with which Ogra chief Tauqir Sadiq was facilitated to travel across two provinces, controlled by political parties poles apart, from an airport located next to the sensitive Afghan border and manned by sleuths of immigration, intelligence and police should give an insight into their commitment to save each other.

Earlier the whole nation stood by and watched two prominent, but controversial men, found guilty of tax evasion to the tune of Rs120 billion and Rs50 million by none other than the Suddle Judicial Commission appointed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and no attempt to prosecute either.

If criminals declared absconders by the SC can depart from Pakistan, then what can stop terrorists from buying their way in, or depart at ease from our international airports. Such shocking compromises are an incentive for corruption to breed and gain strength in the this country. While this cooperation between the corrupt aims at saving individuals who are caught red-handed, it threatens to drive this country to bankruptcy, anarchy and disintegration.

Given the social acceptance within the elite of these thugs, men like Tauqir Sadiq will return, spending a few billions on charity and PR, be accepted as prominent citizens and perhaps regain prominent public offices, where they will indulge in loot and plunder, fully assured that there would be no accountability.


[Letter to the Editor, Dawn January 9, 2013]

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 8: Several officials enjoy free water tankers on the house

KARACHI: While millions of households in Karachi go without clean drinking water for days despite having pipelines, those with direct connections in the water board enjoy a free home-delivery service.

Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s (KWSB) water tankers are supplying water worth millions of rupees to houses of government functionaries, bureaucrats, parliamentarians and ministers on a daily basis. The chief minister and governor houses, several serving and retired judges and many VIPs living in the city are among those enjoying this free facility.

These revelations came during a meeting of the Sindh Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, where audit director for local governments Muhammad Ali Shah briefed the financial watchdog about the KWSB audit for the year 2010-11.

During the whole year, tankers operating from different hydrants across the city provided water worth Rs23.9 million to the chief minister and governor houses but were not paid for the service, the auditor told the PAC members. “Both the official residences enjoy a separate budget provision for drinking water, then why was the KWSB still providing the facility free of charge?”

The meeting, presided over by PAC chairperson Jam Tamachi Unar, took strong exception to the study and asked the KWSB managing director, Misbahuddin Farid, to explain the matter.

Farid replied the practice has been going on for years but still regular bills are issued to them. “We inherited this problem. We cannot disconnect water supply to these people,” he said, claiming that judges were the biggest beneficiaries of the free water service.

“We will not accept your argument or settle this irregularity unless you improve your system,” Unar retorted, directing the KWSB chief to call on the relevant authorities to recover the amount.

The water board earns Rs5 billion but pays Rs7 billion in utility bills alone. “We are facing severe financial constraints and have no money to even pay our employees,” Farid said. The director audit said the KWSB provided residential accommodation to its employees but has failed to recover the charges of electricity. “The bills were, however, paid in the budget,” Shah pointed out.

A PAC member, MPA Shama Mithani, suggested deducting the arrears from the salaries of the officers but the KWSB chief interrupted, saying the Karachi Electric Supply Company will be asked to install separate meters.

[The Express Tribune, January 24, 2013]

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 7: Rs.2 billion spent on Benazir Income Support Program ads in four years

ISLAMABAD: During the last four fiscal years – up until December 2012 – the government has spent more than Rs2 billion on a media campaign for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). 

BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja shared this information with the National Assembly on Wednesday (January 23) during the question hour session. She said that of the allocated Rs3.6 billion, Rs1.88 billion was spent on the promotion of BISP in electronic media, while Rs555 million was spent on print media.

“The purpose of the campaign was to make BISP easy to understand for every Pakistani,” said Raja. The programme’s communication strategy, she added, was a mixture of various means and resources used to reach out to beneficiaries present across the country.

Replying to a question, she told the lower house that Rs93 million were spent during the 2008-09 fiscal year. It increased to Rs658 million in 2009-10, Rs778 million in 2010-11, and Rs863 million in 2011-12, while the advertisement expenditure remained Rs51 million in the current fiscal year (up until December 2012).

[The Express Tribune, January 24, 2013]

Next elections next month

The sort of politicking being hurled around in Pakistan proves with ample evidence that the next general elections are at hand.

Somehow, the latest episode of politicking started with Parvez Elhi (Pakistan Muslim League Q - Oh, Quaid-e-Azam!) giving a press briefing to the effect that Moonis Elahi, his son and young politico of the same party, would be back home in a week’s time to face the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the courts which were adamant to quiz him regarding his alleged involvement in the National Insurance Company Limited ‘Scam.’ (Every entity working under the aegis of the state in Pakistan sooner or later has to have this suffix.) Parvez Elahi was cool and calm and it seemed Moonis Elahi would soon be available to the investigators to clear his name from the list of accused in the said scam. Had this happened, another opportunity of politicking would have been lost to the hunters.

Then there was the Raymond Davis episode that proved to be a blessing in disguise to each and everyone fond of trying his / their hands at politicking. Both provincial and federal governments are making political hay while the Raymond Davis’ sun shines. This long queue also includes so many of those who are determined to fight and defeat US the Super Power in Lahore. What a great opportunity they have got to wage the 3rd World War against the last Super Power! (These politicos plan to be the next themselves!)

Some instances give a glimpse of the parties and preparations for this war: provincial government is intent upon trying Raymond as a ‘killer.’ Are they always so sincere and law-abiding or at this time only is a question that lends support to the view that at the back of their minds they have a predilection for securing campaign points to be used in the next general elections! Ah, I envy how Pakistan Muslim League (N) would boast while campaigning for its candidates how bravely the PML (N) stood against the American Super Power, and how Pakistan Peoples Party’s government had to cowardly release Raymond!

It was extremely surprising and forced me to check with the online newspapers whether the election campaign was going to end tomorrow when I heard on a TV channel some of the local leaders of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf in a protest meeting shouting and demanding the government to handover Raymond to them and win the 3rd World War against US the Super Power. The headlines of a few days’ later newspapers congratulated PTI on its land-sliding victory in the general elections and Imran Khan the next Premier-designate.

Many of other politico players both inside and outside the parliament and provincial legislatures and all of the arch “rivals” (“not enemies”) of America which include Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (F) found in Raymond a sort of catchall thing, and just in days after the fall of Salman Taseer. How fortunate they are! I wish Anne Patterson were once again back in Pakistan to negotiate the “extraditing” of Raymond with JUI (F)’s top leader! Wouldn’t he ‘round up all Taliban along with Raymond and hand them over to her!’

Another ‘big’ player of politicking is some TV channels. It may still be guesswork, or not at all, whose game they are in for. That sheds light on certain secret involvements also, and the bad omen is impending elections sooner than later.

For the time being ‘the breaking episode’ in the present sequel of politicking is PML (Q)’s Shujat Hussian’s press conference in which he castigated PML (N) for making Moonis Elahi a target of political vengeance and willfully involving him in the NICL scam. He was grim, wistful and looked desperate. He talked of future politicking in the same coin to PML (N) kiddy politicos. It appeared in between the lines he pleaded restraint and broad-heartedness on the part of the provincial PML (N) government, and maybe in view of this scam he would be thinking of his party’s and Moonis’s precarious fate in the next general elections. The pragmatic side of this politicking is homecoming of the PML (Q) and contesting these elections from the platform of PML (N). If wishes were horses!

The politicizing of and politicking over these two ‘events’ both by the state and non-state actors is symptomatic of a chronic disease Pakistan is afflicted with. We have no moral principles to follow and direct our behavior. That’s quite ugly and cannot be remedied with cosmetic surgeries but requires a longer term treatment the first and the last dose of which consists of strict and blind implementation of rule of law. That’s why we urgently and desperately need rule of rules, laws and the constitution of the country. Had we had in our midst the rule of the law of the land and constitution of the country reigning supreme, neither the NICL scam nor the Raymond’s case would have been vulnerable to politicking by anyone, and both of them would have been being dealt with by the police and the courts, and relevant state institutions.

The lesson we never learn is that in the absence of the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law every thing is open not only to politicking, politicization, election-mongering, but criminalization also. Purging these requires sticking to rules, laws and the constitution which should be our guide in whatever circumstances we find ourselves entangled with, be it NICL scam or Raymond’s case.

[This article was completed on February 13, 2011.]

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Electricity crisis and the fundamental rights

For the last 62 years we the ordinary people of this country have been, and are still being, COERCED in the worst possible and worst imaginable manner by the elite and ruling classes of Pakistan. Take just one example that faces us at the moment: how we the common people are living day and night without electricity under 45 degree centigrade summer heat!

No doubt words are deficient in describing the helplessness which has become the fate of millions of us the wretched of this land. One cannot sleep, and take rest. One cannot read, write and work. Or attend to his affairs and jobs. One cannot see to his daily chores, household tasks, and other routine matters. It must be noted here that it is not just electricity that goes out of the social existence; it takes water supply too along with it. Both are organically and inseparably linked, we know. Thus, one is forced not to do anything but wait in vain for the electricity supply make a come back to disappear again in the next one and half hours or so. That means we have been deprived of a life of our choice!

As the electricity black-outs are not prone to any pre-determined schedule, let alone an announced one or the one we learned as the electricity hide and seek game was played on us say in the last weeks, we have been forced to live in a Guantanamo Bay of uncertainty with fear like a sword looming both over our heads and minds when comes the next moment of no-electricity. But certainly it is out of place to use the metaphor of Guantanamo Bay here, since who were kept there presumably had a firm commitment, no matter how un-ethical and wrong it was, that gave them strength to bear the torture. Have we the hapless of this elitist state any rationale or justification or reason that will give us strength to bear the torture that the more than frequent disappearances of electricity bring upon us? Rather have been bringing upon us for the last many months?

Also, it is quite relevant here to highlight the fact how this “ELECTRICITY PERSECUTION” has affected and is affecting our life in myriad of ways such as economically, socially, morally, psychologically to name only a few larger domains of our existence. Economic effects are a matter of daily reports in the newspapers, websites, TV news reports and talk shows. How economic failures are causing social unrest and how social life of the people is being disfigured by the recurring unavailability of electricity is not a matter of conjecture. It is happening before our eyes.

Usually when all the positive norms that keep a society intact and smoothly sailing lose their raison d’etre, it allows personal norms exclusively rule the moral world. Two points may explain the proposition. One, when the privileged parasite elites make hay by turning their clout into a norm such as General Musharraf got electricity at concessional tariff and there are other umpteen such cases, it imparts learning to us the un-privileged crowd how to live in a world without rules. Even if we the crowd do not resort to unruly economic, social, moral, psychological behavior though sometimes we do, we feel depressed to the core of our deepest selves and what is more dangerous is that our trust in the system, nation and country evaporates in the air.

Two, what is the essence of our world and what is the greatest moral learning in our world of ‘give and take,’ mutual trust, and as Economics is defined as the study of how best we fulfill each others’ needs, in that sense that learning may be worded thus: we should not steal but pay for whatever we take from others. In other words, when voluntary exchange of goods and services take place both or all the parties involved should benefit. This entails that when we have got money and need to buy something to make our lives easier and happier, there should not come anything in between that stops us from fulfilling that need of ours.

However, under the present circumstances, what prevails in Pakistan is far from being so. We shall come back to this point after a while and then stay a bit on that. Before that, psychological effects of electricity-lessness must be given due weight. How all the economic, social and moral effects combined in one including the abnormal acts of the privileged parasite classes (such as the provision of cheaper electricity to General Musharraf, and in these times of acute electricity shortages uninterrupted electricity supply to all those who are in and around the parasite ruling elites) act on the psyche of us is though a subject for specialized researchers, but is not beyond ordinary comprehension that it has aggravated the already persisting sense of deprivation in addition to the solidifying sense of injustice and helplessness.

What is more immoral, anti-social, anti-human than the fact that we the people are ready to purchase electricity at any rates, but there is no one who could sell electricity to us but the government which has no electricity to sell and which has but little electricity to sell and that too at monopoly rates. All this is trying us the lowly citizens of this elitist country to transform into neurotic and psychotic beings.

It is just unimaginable at least in this world of ours that a commodity is increasingly in demand but is not available in Pakistan. It is diametrically against the spirit of both market and entrepreneurship. Certainly, because the electricity generation and distribution sector has throughout been completely in the hands of government and more or less is still monopolized by it. Isn’t it enough to show how this sector presents the most dismal picture of a perfectly distorted market? Also, how this monopolization has destroyed the spirit of entrepreneurship in this sector is evident from the KESC’s privatization. It is despite the incontrovertible fact that monopolies remain monopolies even if they change hands that run them.    

No doubt, the immediate solution to this crisis is to free the electricity generation and distribution market from the government clutches, and at the same time to open it for all investment be it domestic or foreign, small or large. This should make allowance for the government’s role only to the extent of enforcing contracts, which it never did in its own case where WAPDA, PEPCO, and DISCOs and their pseudo-regulator NEPRA always acted and act unilaterally. In their contracts, second party has no rights.  

But this is not the mainstay of this article. The argument that this article wants to make is that how by killing the electricity generation and distribution market the government or the parasite ruling classes have played havoc with the life of its citizens and thus with their fundamental rights also. In other words, how by monopolizing the electricity generation and distribution sector, and thus by forcing the market players out from this sector, how the government and parasite ruling classes completely annihilated the freedom of choice of the people to live a life of their liking, i.e. purchasing and using commodities as they wished and needed and here in this case it means purchasing the electricity.

Have a cursory look at the constitution. What has been stated in the Article 4 and in its Part II ‘Fundamental Rights and Principles of Policy,’ especially Article 8 (Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of Fundamental Rights to be void), 14 (Inviolability of dignity of man, etc.), 15 (Freedom of movement, etc.), 16 (Freedom of assembly.), 18 (Freedom of trade, business or profession.), 19 (Freedom of speech, etc.), and 25 (Equality of citizens.) has never been given due attention by any state institution, but now it is expected that the new Supreme Court will be paying proper heed to it. All these articles of the 1973 constitution if read and interpreted in unison amount to crystallizing the most prized human freedom, freedom of choice! Also, if not directly, they by implication mean the same thing.

Hence, it is a matter of little argumentation how the successive governments of the parasite classes of Pakistan by strangulating the electricity generation and distribution market have affected the life of us the people, not only the quality of life but our very right to live with dignity and choice. Although there are other so many sectors where we have no freedom of choice, but it is especially in this sector that government’s monopolization has resulted in making our life utterly miserable and that to the worst level so much so that we are under the constant threat of becoming psychic patients.

Now when the sporadic electricity 'riots’ are waging almost in all parts of the country, isn’t it high time to raise the question whether all that mess of electricity-lessness which came to be created by the government’s monopolistic policies is not tantamount to utter violation of fundamental rights of us the ordinary citizens of Pakistan? Who will take up this question? Who will answer this question? What is the proper forum to bring this question to the notice of?

Indeed, the way the parasite ruling classes of Pakistan have coerced us the forsaken people of this exclusively elitist country and buried us under the worst suffering day and night is unparalleled in the history of democratic world. Never the freedom of choice of us the ordinary people was so wiped-out, and our life made so desperate! Isn’t it time that all those who brought us the Pakistanis to this state of hapless and helpless life must be indicted and brought to book? They must be made to pay for their anti-people deeds.

And, isn’t it time that as an immediate way out of this inhuman predicament electricity generation and distribution sector be free and opened, and market players be allowed to meet the electricity needs of the citizens of this land under the rule of law? That needs a forum which will see to this diligently and restore the spirit of fundamental rights of the citizens in its truest sense and will enable them to exercise their freedom of choice! Let’s see who takes up this and how?!

[This article was completed on July 20, 2009.]

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"Bharti Baraaye Driveraan-O-Condectraan"

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

A cartoonist's view of two irresponsible kids - India and Pakistan

In the wake of escalating Line of Control skirmishes between India and Pakistan, the fear of a war is still lurking in the air. In the following cartoon, this fear was captured with dangerous implications.

[This cartoon appeared in the Pakistan print edition of the International Herald Tribune of January 19-20, 2013. The caption read as: India and Pakistan are playing with fire.]

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Conspiracy Mindset

What’s a conspiracy mindset?

It’s a mind set in to explaining things or events by going beyond the same things and events.

That is, it places itself at the exterior of a thing or an event, and sees it from there, and instead of explaining it scientifically in parts or philosophically as a whole, so to say, explains it in a causal relation to “something / someone else” existing outside of it.

Such a mind takes things in their totality and explains them away once and for all as absolutely caused by A, or B, or C, etc, where A, B, C, etc, may be a humanoid entity or a personified entity.

Such a mind is so impatient and intolerant towards things or events that it cannot wait for them to unravel, and / or then know them slowly and gradually, and thus in haste ascribes their happening to this or that human agency.

In that, such a mind tries to capture a mountain in its hands. Or as is said in Urdu, tries to capture an ocean in a droplet. Or, tries to capture centuries instantly!

Let me clarify, in arts and literature that human urge may find its fulfillment, but not in knowledge where its intervention transforms theories into ossified ideologies.

In that, such a mind repudiates all human knowledge and the patient striving to gain knowledge.

In that, such a mind rejects the discovery of the past, claims to know the future beforehand, and for the present lives inside of a conspiracy imposed upon it by itself.

Such a mind relaxes in explaining things and events and their knowledge as externally caused by already known humanoid forces.

In that, such a mind strips the things of their internal nature, and turns them hollow.

In that, such a mind denies evolution of the things and the universe.

In that, to such a mind, from the infinitesimal part of the universe to the measurably immense universe itself, every thing and every event appears to be a conspiracy!

Note: In explicating the conspiracy mindset, I was so much given to how it works that I missed the context completely within which it works. Friend, Professor Zafar Jamal, with whom I shared it before posting, rightly pointed out that the conspiracy mindset assigns every conspiracy to this or that human agency or any such personified agency.

Thanks, Professor! He also promises to write about the conspiracy mindset from the psychological standpoint. For that “Thanks” are pending with me till its completion!

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Niji Skool Aur Taaleem Ka Kaarobaar

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tahir-ul-Qadri and his followers - a cartoon

Here is a cartoon published in The Express Tribune today (January 16, 2013) depicting Tahir-ul-Qadri as an exploiter of his followers. Is it so?

Another interesting cartoon published in Pakistan Observer today casts doubts on Tahir-ul-Qadri's demands.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Supreme Court’s orders to arrest PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sets Conspiracy Mindset in motion

As the Supreme Court issues orders to arrest the Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in Rental Power case, the ever-alive factories of conspiracy mindset have set in motion in Pakistan.

Here is the report:

Rental Power: SC orders to arrest PM

“Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has issued orders to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in Rental Power case, Geo News reported. The SC directed the authorities concerned to arrest 16 accused including the prime minister after presenting challan within 24 hours. The chief justice ordered that all concerned, regardless of their rank, who have been booked in the case be arrested and if someone leaves the country, then chairman of NAB (anti-corruption watchdog) will be held responsible along with his investigating team," lawyer Aamir Abbas told AFP. "The sixteen include Raja Ashraf," said Abbas, referring to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.”

[The News, January 15, 2013]

I think it’s very simple:

If one has got a conspiracy mindset, he has thousands of clues and links to connect the Supreme Court’s orders with the toppling of the present government: e.g. that the arrest orders are a result of a conspiracy against the present government hatched by this or that entity.

Actually, the conspiracy mindset is like a virus in the mind reproducing itself and affirming its own propositions. No dose of anti-biotic rationality can fight this mindset; until and unless that mindset develops immunity to this virus.

Otherwise, if one is endowed with a constitutional mindset, a rational thinking approach, he would behave differently, think differently.

As long as there is a constitutional government in power; there is an independent judiciary taking care of every un-constitutional act; there is a plethora of electronic and print media outlets working autonomously; in short, as long as there is a constitutional set-up intact; there is no fearing of the toppling of the present government.

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Tahir-ul-Qadri – Recipe to topple a government

Apart from the fact of corruption, inefficiency and criminality rampant in and under the present government of Pakistan Peoples Party and its allies, Awami National Party, Pakistan Muslim League (Q), and Muttihad Qaumi Movement, is it OK for any adventurer to bring 100, 000 or so protesters and stage a sit-in in the capital – and demand ouster of the government!

Should it be so?

Is it constitutional?

Is it moral?

If it is not constitutional for the Pakistan Army to go against the dictates of the Constitution, and the politicians of any hue to do the same, how can it be justified for Tahir-ul-Qadri of the “Tehreek-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran” to demand the ouster of a constitutionally elected government? 

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Continuing bloodshed and the criminally failed State of Pakistan

Amid continuing bloodshed and the criminally failed State, what the citizens of Pakistan need, first and foremost, is Protective Agenda – a State fully and completely given to its original job of protecting life, property and the fundamental rights of each and every citizen – Nothing less than and nothing more than that!

That’s what I argue for in my book published in August in 2012:

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Reason in History

Animism did not die with the men that endowed inanimate things with life and soul. It survived and flourished in different areas in different forms with different denominations without being known as animism. However, its role altered greatly from that of primitive animism, and from one area to the other; and that, its implications, its importance also varied immensely. [1]

In poetry, it came to be known as ‘personification’ or embodiment: attributing human form, personality, and characteristics to things animate or inanimate. [2] Here in poetry, personification is taken, and made use of as an effective vehicle of poeticizing; and, rather, extolled as one of the finest artifices of poetic argument. Clearly, personification, never claiming to be real and understood literally, aims at achieving poetic accomplishment and beauty.

In folk lore, animism disguises itself in various ways, and has a fatalistic bend. Either it is ’ہونی‘ (That what is destined), ’قسمت‘ (Fate), or ’وقت‘ (Time), or like, it appears as a body-less living deity having knowledge of everything, passing judgment, and dispensing justice accordingly. Here it comes to represent an urgent need and longing for justice; and thus acquires the projected-role, and semblance of a just ‘ruler,’ or ‘just creator.’ Besides, the roots of all this, taken as belief, may be traced to fatalistic religions and philosophies, and hence must needs be criticized. And, of course, in contrast to poetry, in folk lore, this way of using ‘ready-made allusions’ cannot be dispensed with simply as allegorical and symbolic expressions. It does have far-reaching consequences; rather, it affects human world immeasurably.

In pagan as well as religious speculation, and in philosophical speculation also, animism happens to develop into anthropomorphism, and thereby spreads to other areas of human thought (where it is also known as ‘panpsychims’).

Anthropomorphism is defined as the ‘transfer of human shape and characteristics to the external forces of nature and attributing them to mythical beings (gods, spirits, etc).’ [3] However, to these may be added many a concept, particularly philosophical concepts. Such concepts appear as formless soul – animism with or without anthropomorphic dimensions. These are, in fact, animated concepts: they know everything (omniscient), capable of doing everything (omnipotent), pass judgments, settle disputes; in short, they play God. This may be denoted as conceptual animism, or the other way round, animated conceptualism; and, this too cannot be set aside merely as ‘anthropomorphic language.’ [4] Here it means or is made to mean what it says. When ‘Fate’ is expressed as ‘Judge,’ it is taken as judge, judge incarnate.

In historical thought, or philosophy of history, animism turns out in the form of ‘تاریخ فیصلہ کرے گی’ (History will judge); history as judge, and all the more, in many other roles. And due to the miracle of animation, History (with capital H) comes to life, and ‘anthropomorphized’ – and, last but not least, acquires the semblance of a ‘just ruler,’ and thus alters and changes its course inestimably.

The first and the foremost question of philosophy of history has been: Is there a plot in history [5]; and most of the philosophers in the East, give a ‘theistic answer’; that this plot ‘results from the will of God, or of the gods,’ and hence ‘only dimly discernible.’ “At any rate, there is a secret hidden behind the surface of events. It has to do with reward and punishment; with a kind of divine balance, a balance of justice.” [6]

This theological answer presented history as the ‘God’s design’; and after the ‘naturalistic revolution against God,’ it was replaced by ‘Nature’s design.’ “Almost everything else was left unchanged. Theology, the Science of God, was replaced by the Science of Nature; God’s laws by the laws of Nature; God’s will and power by the will and power of Nature (the natural forces); and later, God’s design and God’s judgment by Natural Selection. Theological determinism was replaced by naturalistic determinism; that is, God’s omniscience and omnipotence were replaced by the omniscience and omnipotence of Natural Sciences.” [7]

This is the anti-theistic answer.

One concept after the other is created, animated, and anthropomorphized; and attributed with a set of requisite characteristics (to fulfill no doubt, one’s own design or designs). As we reach Hegel, in this family of animated concepts, another baby is born and baptized as ‘History.’ Hegel’s ‘the philosophy of HITORY’ bears the word history with capital letters. Another dethronement occurs. History succeeds Nature. Omniscient and omnipotent History determining the fate of human beings! A little ahead in Marx, History declares itself as an Absolute Monarch. “So we get laws of History; powers, forces, tendencies, designs, and plans, of History”; [8] and an all-powerful “historical determinism.”

This is what Sir Karl Popper ‘call(s) by the name historicism’: ‘the theory that there is plot in history,’ whether ‘theistic or anti-theistic.’ [9] However, Hegel’s History has a plot of its own: it is determined by Reason; and Reason and History are determined, in turn, by animism and anthropomorphism. The magician’s incantation knows no bounds: Hegel’s own words:

“The only thought which Philosophy brings with it to the contemplation of History, is the simple conception of Reason; that Reason is the Sovereign of the world; that the history of the world, therefore, presents us with a rational process.” [10]

Hegel’s Reason is not a human faculty, a social phenomenon, it “is substance, as well as Infinite Power; its own Infinite Material underlying all the natural and spiritual life which it originates, as also the Infinite Form – that which sets this Material in motion. On the one hand, Reason is the substance of the Universe; viz., that by which and in which all reality has its being and subsistence. On the other hand, it is the Infinite Energy of the Universe; since Reason is not so powerless as to be incapable of producing anything but a mere ideal, a mere intention – having its place outside reality, nobody knows where; something separate and abstract, in the heads of certain human beings.” [11]

Sorry for this lengthy citation; but the incantation to animate Reason continues:

“(Reason) is the infinite complex of things, their entire Essence and Truth. It is its own material which it commits to its own Active Energy to work up; not needing, as finite action does, the conditions of an external material of given means from which it may obtain its support, and the objects of its activity. It supplies its own nourishment, and is the object of its own operations. While it is exclusively its own basis of existence, and absolute final aim, it is also the energizing power realizing this aim; developing it not only in the phenomena of the Natural, but also of the Spiritual Universe – the History of the World.” [12]

Finally the incantation achieves its aim: “That this “Idea” or “Reason” is the True, the Eternal, the absolutely powerful essence; that it reveals itself in the World, and that in that World nothing else is revealed but this and its honour and glory – ” [13]

And what comes out of all this incantation is “that History, and above all Universal History, is founded on an essential and actual aim, which actually is, and will be, realized in it – The Plan of Providence; that, in short, there is Reason in History, must be decided on strictly philosophical grounds, and thus shown to be essential and in fact necessary.” [14]

This “essential and actual aim” of Providence, as Karl Popper says, “actually is realized, in the results of history, it might be suspected that this realization has taken place in the actual Prussia.” [15]

Thus Hegel’s ‘theistic historicism’ (blended with animism and anthropomorphism) “looks upon history – political history – as a stage, or rather, as a kind of lengthy Shakespearian play; and the audience conceive either the ‘great historical personalities,’ or mankind in the abstract, as the heroes of the plays. Then they ask, ‘who has written this play?’ And they think that they give a pious answer when they reply, ‘God.’ But they are mistaken. This answer is pure blasphemy, for the play was (and they know it) written not by God, but, under the supervision of generals and dictators, by the professors of history (like Hegel - KA).” [16]

In this play, Reason plays havoc through a simple process of equations. [17] For Plato, Ideas were outside the mind, and were real. Hegel took it as Ideal = Real. Kant described ‘Ideas of pure Reason’ as inside the mind, Hegel adopted it as Idea = Reason. Both these equations give rise to another one, Real = Reason, which “allows Hegel to maintain that everything that is reasonable must be real, and everything that is real must be reasonable, and that the development of reality is the same as that of reason. And since there can be no higher standard in existence than the latest development of Reason and of the Idea, everything that is now real or actual exists by necessity, and must be reasonable as well as good. (Particularly good . . . is the actually existing Prussian state.)” [18]

This is how ‘ultra-rationalist’ Hegel makes use of all this historicism, animism and anthropomorphism in the service of ‘irrationalism and totalitarianism.’ [19] This is how Reason in History concludes in Unreason in History. This is how this ‘animation story’ not only amuses it producers and consumers – the profundity-philosophers – but plays an immensely important role in shaping our history, our destiny also.

In contrast to this Platonic, in a sense Leibnitzian, [20] and extremely unreasonable Reason, there is human reason, which is fallible, which knows its limitations, but which believes in trial and error, and believes in pluralist view of history, i.e. there is no History (with capital H), no Universal History. In other words, “there is no history of mankind, there is only an indefinite number of histories of all kinds of aspects of human life.” [21] This human reason tells us that there is no plot in history, that history has no meaning. It is only we who, with the help of our reason, can give meaning to history.

Notes and References

[1] The main thesis of this paper, though, originally, is not mine; however, its extension and application to philosophical concepts rests with me. The idea of ‘animism’s survival’ came to my mind as a flash, via ‘anthropomorphism’ as defined in a ‘Dictionary of Philosophy’ (Edited by I. Frolov, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1984).

Later, I came to know that F. A. Hayek had already had this view: “. . . we ought to distinguish between the even more primitive attitude which personifies such entities as society by ascribing to them possession of a mind and which is properly described as anthropomorphism or animism . . .” [Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol.1, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1982; P.27]

[2] See ‘Personification’ in A Dictionary of Literary Terms, J. A. Cuddon, Penguin Books, 1986.

Examples abound. Only a few just to instantiate:

(i) A line of an English poem reads: ‘Little sorrows sit and weep.’
(ii) بڑے شکوہ سے جاتا ہے قافلہ دل کا (محمد یحیٰ خاں آصف)
(iii) اشک پر اشک عیادت کو چلے آتے ہیں (مرزا تعشق)

[3] See ‘Anthropomorphism’ in Dictionary of Philosophy, op.cit.

[4] See F. A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, op.cit., PP.26-27

I. Frolov’s Dictionary of Philosophy states: “Anthropomorphism is also typical of individual scientific concepts (e.g. power, energy, management, etc.). However, this “semantic” anthropomorphism does not exclude their objective content.”

[5] Karl R. Popper, A Pluralist Approach to the Philosophy of History, in Roads to Freedom, edited by Eric Streissler and others, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1969.

[6] Ibid., P.182

[7] Ibid., P.182

[8] Ibid., P.182

[9] Ibid., P.182

[10] G. W. F. Hegel, The philosophy of HISTORY, translated by J. Sibree, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1956; P.9

[11] Ibid., P.9

[12] Ibid., P.9

[13] Ibid., PP.9-10

[14] Quoted in The Open Society and its Enemies, Vol. II, by Karl R. Popper, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1973; PP.47-48

[15] K. R. Popper, The Open Society . . ., Vol. II, P.48

[16] Ibid., P.271

[17] Ibid., P.41

[18] Ibid., P.4

[19] See F. A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, op.cit., P.32

[20] Leibnitz’s ‘monads’ and Hegel’s Reason seem to belong to the same stock.

“Leibnitz calls his force-substance monad . . . a purely principle: substance is hence a force of immanent activity . . . such monad is . . . a “mirror of the world”; it contains the whole universe as a representation within itself; in this consists the living unity of all things.” [A History of Philosophy, by Dr. W. Windelband, translated by James H. Tufts, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1938; P.423

“. . . the monad develops its states from its own inner nature, has need of no other thing, is sufficient unto itself, and therefore deserves the Aristotelian name, entelechy.” [History of Modern Philosophy, by Richard Falckenberg, translated by A. C. Armstrong, Jr., Progressive Publishers, Calcutta, 1960; P.271]

[21] K. R. Popper, The Open Society . . . , Vol. II, op.cit; P.270

Note: This paper completed in December (10-27) 1995 was written for the symposium, ‘Reason in History,’ and read on December 27, 1995 in Pakistan Philosophical Congress’ 31st Session held from December 26-28, 1995, in Lahore.

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