Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Insaaf Ki Qabil-e-Taqleed Misaal

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finished reading The Din-e-Ilahi or The Religion of Akbar

Finished reading (February 23), Makhanlal Roychoudhury, M.A., B.L, SASTRI’s The Din-e-Ilahi or The Religion of Akbar. The 396-page book was published in 1941 by the University of Calcutta. The book dispels many a misunderstanding about the Din-e-Ilahi and Akbar.

First the contents:


Chapter I - The Indian Background
Chapter II - The Central Asian Background
Chapter III - The Pendulum Oscillates
Chapter IV - The Period of Quest (The IbadatKhana)

Appendix A. The Muslim Rulers of the 16th century (The Mahzar)
Appendix B. Three Paintings of the Ibadat Khana

Chapter V - The Forces at Work

Section 1. The Sunnis at the Court of Akbar
Section 2. The Shias at the Court of Akbar
Section 3. The Hindus at the Court of Akbar
Section 4. The Zoroastrians at the Court of Akbar
Section 5. The Jains at the Court of Akbar
Section 6. The Sikhs at the Court of Akbar
Section 7. The Buddhists at the Court of Akbar
Section 8. The Jews at the Court of Akbar
Section 9. The Christians at the Court of Akbar

Chapter VI - The Period of Legislations (the Ains)

Appendix. Badauni and his Muntakhabu-t Twarikh (Mulla point of view criticised)

Chapter VII - The Din-i-Ilahi in Promulgation
Chapter VIII - The Din-i-Ilahi in Movement

Index of Proper Names
Index of Geographical Names

And now some of the representative excerpts:

“ . . . the Ibadat Khana (as) the first parliament of the religions of the world . . .” [P. xxii-xxiii]

“The foundation of the Ibadat Khana was a testimony to his (Akbar’s) reverence and faith in God and Islam and it was not the fruit of his scepticism and apostasy.” [P. xli]

“The Ibadat Khana became a real parliament of religions.” [P. xlii]

“The mind of young Abul Fazl was not satisfied with the learning he had in India. He intended to move to Laban, Tibet, Bagdad "in quest of goods" for his ever-expanding intellect. Badauni (Mulla Abdul Qadir Badayuni) compares him to "a man who, having a light in his hand and not knowing what to do, came out into the street in the day-time." Indeed the scholastics, by the light of their intellect," made a day of a night and a night of a day." Akbar appearing in that age in the midst of the scholastic environments during the process of cultural fusion, was but the natural product of the spirit of the time and not a mere accident.” [P. 25]

“Liberality, justice and paternalism became the spirit of the age. This liberalism in politics expanded the mind of the Emperor which in future became congenial to the growth and expression of liberalism in religion.” [P. 52]

Makhanlal criticizes Dr. Vincent A. Smith’s theory (See his Akbar the Great Mogul) regarding Akbar’s Din-e-Ilahi thus:

“The entire theory of Smith regarding Akbar's religious views rests on the assumption that from the very beginning Akbar had a mind to combine 'the roles of the Caesar and the Pope into one' and that the speech of the much persecuted Mubarak only put the idea into a definite form.” [P. 64]

“This ultimately led to the issue of what has been called "the Infallibility Decree" (Mahzar) of 1579, which Smith makes so much of and which, according to him, ended in a "complete renunciation of Islam." But in reality the "Infallibility Decree" was dictated by political reasons more than anything else. Religion had indeed very little to do with its origination. Akbar never had any intention of giving up his religion or of posing as a prophet.” [P. 65]

“Now the ever-expanding mind of Akbar was no longer satisfied within the limits of only a sectarian creed. In that age of scholasticism, the scholars raised the sleeping doubts the why and wherefore of everything in the minds of that Representative of the age of Renaissance.” [P.82]

“The Ibadat Khana which began as a Sunni assembly and, which after the discussion of the marriage questions, became a pan-Muslim assembly, now passed on to the third stage, when it was opened to the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jews and Christians. In fact, Fatehpur, for about four years, remained, for all practical purposes, the seat of the first great parliament of religions of the world. In this, Akbar only imitated what was done by his great ancestor, Qubli Khan, in China ten three hundred and years (it may be three hundred years! Khalil) before.” [P. 82]

“But how should the rebels be punished? In his inimitable way, of course unlike Balban and Alauddin who punished a whole family for the fault of one, to make an example. Akbar sent for Mulla Qazi of Jaunpur and his accomplice, the Qazi of Bengal and they were thrown into the river. Many other Shias and Maulanas were sent to different places in India and many to Qandahar 'where they were exchanged for horses and colts." But Akbar did not punish the rank and file who joined the rebellion, for he knew that the mass, narrow and bigoted in their outlook as they had been, were mere dupes of those still more narrow and more bigoted Mullas. So with a view to reforming and remodelling the Mullas and to bringing about silent and steady reforms at the root, he introduced the following measures in the administration of the Muslim Church in Hindustan:

(a) Mosques were not to be started in any and every place according to the sweet will of a Mulla

(b) Madrasas could not be established at any and every place

(c) A Maulana, not duly qualified, would not be allowed to serve as an Imam nor would an unqualified 
Mulla be permitted to teach in Maktabs and Mosques

(d) Exclusive devotion to theology and Arabic language was discouraged and subjects like Astronomy, Physics, Arithmetic, Poetry, and History (Chronology) were introduced in the curricula

(e) The post of the Sadr-us-Sudur was abolished altogether in November, 1581, for the power of the Sadr was immeasurably great and unrestricted and almost parallel to that of the Emperor as it was based on religious sanction. So he substituted the Imperial Sadr by six Provincial Sadrs in (l) the Punjab, (2) Delhi, Malwa and Guzrat, (3) Agra, Kalpi and Kalanjar, (4) Hajipur near the Sarju river, (5) Behar, and (6) Bengal.” [PP. 93-94]

“To Akbar, an enemy, be he a Hindu or a Muslim, was an enemy of the state and he dealt with him as such.” [P. 51]

“Akbar came back to the capital on December 1, 1581, and again resumed the debates of the Ibadat Khana. So long he had searched for the light but had only found it through the eyes of others. He now started an assembly called "the Forty," whose principle was to "decide by reason." [P. 95]
“It was clear from the discussions in the Ibadat Khana that no absolute reliance could be placed on the authorities, for they were so many and so varied. So this body of intellectuals was inaugurated who decided questions, as Badauni tells us, "according to reason and not by tradition.” In that age of Renaissance, a child of culture as Akbar was, it was in fitness of things that he should form the famous Forty." [P. 257]

“Peculiarly enough, the historians of the Muslim Empire have interpreted the Indian monarchs in the light of the Indian events and currents only. That these monarchs had trans- Indian relations, was lost sight of by the Muslim historians.” [P. 103]

“With Akbar the dicta were, "recognise merit wherever ye find it," "right man in the right place," "intellect is not the monopoly of the believers." He unhesitatingly chose Rajput princes as his generals and raised Tansen (originally a Hindu) to be the first musician of the court. Daswa Nath, son of a Kahar (palanquin bearer), was appointed the first painter of his court; Mahadev became the first physician and Chandrasen the first surgeon.” [P. 136]

“In his restrictions, which he put on the unrestricted burning of Hindu widows, is reflected the human side of his character, . . . He encouraged the marriage of the Hindu widows, especially of those whose marriage had not been consummated.” [P. 147]

“As has been pointed out, the Ibadat Khana was built in 1575, and soon after discussions followed. It was an age of Scholasticism and Renaissance. The spirit of the age was the quest of the why and wherefore of everything, not always in a spirit of protest, but most often in a spirit of enquiry.” [P. 226]

“Being infused with a spirit of Renaissance, Akbar desired to substitute a curricula with introduction of philosophy, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, poetry, novels and other cultural subjects in the place of pure literary Arabic. It was the fitting culmination of the Ibadat Khana.” [P. 254]

Makhanlal tells that: “Prof. Brendry (See, Tarikh-i-Ilahi by Mr. Brendy; Poona, 1933) has exposed the myth of apostasy behind the Ilahi Era in his book on the "Ilahi Era."” [P. 258]

Makhanlal dubs Akbar “as the child of Reason.” [P. 262]

Regarding the regulation of “Registration of Marriages” (1592-93 A.D.):

“This was a corollary to a previous regulation regarding marriage."One man, one wife" being the law, a record and registration was inevitable if it was meant to be effective.” [P. 264]

Regarding the “Toleration Granted to All Religions” (1593-94 A.D.):

“The root of troubles lay in his policy of universal toleration.” [P. 264]
“It is therefore, not proper to brand Akbar as an apostate because he promulgated those "Ains." Of course, Badauni did brand Akbar as an apostate and there was personal bias for his doing so . . .” [P. 267]

“In the beginning, Akbar thought that Badauni was a Sufi but in the end he regretted to find that Badauni was only a sun-dried Mulla.” [P. 269]

For example, as to the Ain or Regulation of stopping of the killing of cow, Makhanlal says:

“But the entire regulation taken as a whole reads otherwise, "Nor flesh of cows, buffaloes, sheep and camels be taken, for they are domestic animals." But honest Badauni only mentioned cows, for the mention of the buffaloes, sheep and camels would defeat his purpose.” [P. 272]

“To be fair to Akbar, we could only quote Major Nassau Lees and join with him in saying "it would be grossest piece of injustice to the dead Emperor to present the public with Abdul Qadir's review of his character and no other.” And V. A. Smith has done it.” [P. 275]

“The Sufi creed of the Din-i-IIahi was promulgated in the beginning of the year 1582.” [P. 276]

“The only author who narrated the fundamentals of the Din-i-Ilahi was Mohsin Fani who has described a part of it in his famous "Dabistan-i-Mazahib.’ [P. 278]

“Mohsin Fani was a sympathetic observer unlike Badauni or Portuguese priests; and there is a touch of romance in his way of speaking a thing. The Philosopher of the Dabistan who represented the Emperor at the end of a general debate where the champions of other faiths were present, propounded the Din-i-Ilahi in ten virtues:

(1) Liberality and beneficence

(2) Forgiveness of the evil doer and repulsion of anger with mildness

(3) Abstinence from worldly desires

(4) Care of freedom from the bonds of the worldly existence and violence as well as accumulating 
precious stores for the future real and perpetual world

(5) Wisdom and devotion in the frequent meditation on the consequences of actions

(6) Strength of dexterous prudence in the desire of marvellous actions

(7) Soft voice, gentle words, pleasing speeches for every body

(8) Good treatment with brethren, so that their will may have the precedence to our own

(9) A perfect alienation from creatures and a perfect attachment to the Supreme Being

(10) Dedication of soul in the love of God and union with God the preserver of all.” [P. 279]

“The whole philosophy of Akbar was: "The pure Shast and the pure sight never err." Great stress was thus laid on purity of individual life and purity of outlook on affairs of life.” [P. 280]

“The word "Shast" literally means "anything round" either "a ring or a bow.'' The shape of the symbol was like that of ring which may fairly be called 'Swastika.' It was wrapped in clothes studded with jewels and was worn on the top of the turban. It was their symbol of Brotherhood.” [P. 286]

“Von Noer says, "there was no priesthood in the Din-i-Ilahi it being confined to the select few." But to us it appears that the Din was never regarded by Akbar as a new religion and therefore, there was no need of a separate priesthood and separate church so natural and so common to the promulgation of a new faith.” [P. 281]

“Nor did Akbar himself play the part of a Pope, as Smith would have his readers believe, for Akbar himself used to say "Why should I claim to guide men before I myself am guided." Like his great Indian predecessor Asok, 1800 years back, he issued a general order to all state officials to look after the spiritual development of all subjects.” [P. 282]

“Practices of an llahian were:

(a) Not to feast after death,

(b) to feast of life during life,

(c) to avoid flesh as far as possible,

(d) not to take anything slain by one's ownself,

(e) not to eat with butchers, fishers and bird catchers,

(f) not to cohabit with pregnant, old and barren women nor with women under the age of puberty.” [PP. 288-289]

“The famous "Forty" which he reorganised in 1582 after being disgusted with Mulla unchangeability and rigidity, had its own contribution to make. No historian, not even Smith has drawn any inference from the famous "Forty" and the Din, both coming at the same time. They were very closely related to each other.” [P. 291]

“The discussions and decisions on knotty points of law were now being done there by ''The Forty''; there was no need of a propaganda henceforth everything was to be “decided by reason and not by authority." Like the "Free masons'' it was a grouping of the few enlightened minds bound together by common political allegiance, by the idea of ultimate good to humanity, breathing the spirit of the great man who occupied the centre, we mean Akbar, who was the embodiment of the forces of the liberalism of that age of Renaissance in India.” [PP. 291-292]

“The members of the Din-i-Ilahi may be divided into two groups:

(a) those who accepted the creed in all its aspects, internal as well as external forms;

(b) those who accepted the "Sfiasf" only.” [P. 292]

“Of the initiated disciples have been mentioned,

(1) Shaikh Mubarak
(2) Shaikh Faizi
(3) Jafar Beg
(4) Qasim Kahi
(5) Abul Fazl
(6) Azam Khan
(7) Abdus Samad
(8) Mulla Shah Muhammad Shahadad
(9) Sufi Ahmad
(10) Mir Sharif Amal
(11) Sultan Khwaja
(12) Mirza Jani Thatta
(13) Taki Shustar
(14) Shaikhzada Gosla Benarasi
(15) Sadar Jahan
(16) Sadar Jahan's son, no. I
(17) Sadar Jahan's son, no. II
(18) Birbal
(19) Prince Salim” [PP. 292-293]

“The reader must make a distinction between what Akbar himself followed and what an Ilahian was expected to follow. Much misconception has crept into the Din-i-Ilahi owing to misunderstanding of Akbar's personal practices and follower's practices; and for that Badauni is responsible.” [P. 303]

“This proves that it was not a proselytising creed but was only a Sufi order.” [P. 293]
“As a Sufi, Akbar cried with brother Sufis like Sadi, Rumi, Jami, Hafiz and Shamshuddin Tabrizi, for union with Him; and the Happy Sayings as quoted by Abul Fazl clearly illustrated the view point of the great questor.” [P. 302]

“No doubt that there is a Sufi touch throughout his life and actions, but this would have been no ground for branding Akbar as an apostate, had he not touched the Mulla interest in the distribution of religious endowments and turned Them out of their privileged position.” [PP. 303-304]

“Like an orthodox Islamic Sufi, he believed in the unity of God; like a Hindu, he felt the universal presence of the Deity. To him the symbol of fire and sun "represented the Supreme Being in the letter of creation in the vast expanse of nature'' as if he was a Mobed, and the Jain principles of harmlessness and sanctity of animal life had almost made him a royal Vikshu. The Persian etiquette and manners formed the formula of the daily life of an Ilahian generally.” [P. 305]

“He was even more eclectic in manners. Toleration was the basis of the whole system.” [P. 305]

“The Din-i-Ilahi . . . was not a new religion; it was a Sufi order with its own formula . . .” [P. 306]

Waisay Yeh Pistol Kis Ka Hay?

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State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 19: CDA ignores owners, awards plots to civil and military bureaucrats

ISLAMABAD: In yet another example of might is right, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has secretly awarded plots to top civil and military bureaucrats in recently acquired sectors while thousands of poor affectees (affected!) are running from pillar to post to get compensation for their land taken by the authority about four years ago.

According to documents, the authority announced a compensation award for the affectees (affected!) of sectors C-13, C-14, C-15 and C-16 on Dec 2, 2008 promising to compensate them within six months under land sharing policy. 

However, the poor affectees (affected!) with no political connections have yet to receive compensation for the land, they owned for hundreds of years. Similarly, the affectees (affected!) of Sector D-13 are also waiting for compensation for last many years. 

However, documents revealed that a former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and two former members of CDA Board immediately got plots in the said sector as compensation for the land which they bought from locals just ahead of CDA’s acquisition. Such is the state of affairs in the authority that some favourites were even allotted plots without numbers in yet to be developed sectors. 

When contacted, the authority admitted that some powerful people had been given priority in the process of compensation while claiming that the genuine affectees (affected!) will also be compensated soon. 

The authority acquired 14,944 kanals of land in revenue estates Sarai Kharbooza, Sangjani, Sarai Madhu and Shah Allah Ditta for construction of C series of sectors in 2008. Later, same year, the authority announced an award of compulsory land acquisition of compensation to be paid to the land owners. 

The authority’s deputy commissioner announced monetary compensation for the land owners in lieu of compulsory land acquisition while those who own more than four kanals would be entitled to get a developed plot of one kanal against every four kanals of land acquired from them. It was announced that the plots will be allotted to land owners within six months from the date of the award. 

However, the affectees (affected!) have not received a single penny yet despite repeated complaints to CDA officials. “The Capital Development Authority is violating our fundamental rights granted in the constitution by not paying compensation for our ancestral land,” said Syed Tanveer Shah, one of the affectees (affected!) who owned 1,477 kanals of land in Sangjani. 

“We are deprived of the income from our agriculture land for last four years and now the outsiders are building property on our land in connivance with CDA officials,”he said. Tanveer was of the view that it is the responsibility of the authority to obtain possession of the land after the acquisition. 

When contacted, the CDA’s current Member Estate Shaista Sohail said she was unaware of any irregularities in the process of allotments in sector C-16 and D-13 as she had recently joined the authority as member board. 

While admitting that some influential persons had already been compensated for their land in D-13, she urged the other D-13 affectees (affected!) to contact the authority for compensation. She was of the view that the authority is in the process of developing road infrastructure for Sector C-13 to C-16 and once the process is completed the affectees (affected!) will start receiving compensation as per land sharing policy.

[The News, February 23, 2013]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whose Pistol is it anyway?

Today’s The Express Tribune carried the following news:

Forensics Investigation
Same pistols used to kill 90 in Karachi

Newsdesk: The investigators in the modern forensics department in Karachi have concluded that 90 persons were killed using the same three pistols in the provincial capital. The victims include Shia, Sunni and members of political parties, Special Assistant of the Sindh Home Ministry, Sharfudding Memon told BBC that in some of the cases not only weapons used were common but also the strategy used for the same. According to police statistics, last year 2,300 persons were killed in Karachi whereas in 2011 the number was 1,800. Memon said that the forensic department in Karachi is established on modern lines and using its state-of-the-art technology it has investigated about 1,100 cases of murder in the city.

See the picture of the news item:

[The Express Tribune, February 21, 2013]

Yesterday, an Urdu daily, Express, carried the same news:

See the picture of the news item:

I tried to find the source of the news; here is the link to the BBC Urdu website:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pakistan Ke Ahum Siyasi Masayel

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Who are these “Men of Opinion” – promoting their opinion at the cost of taxpayers’ money! - 3

In Pakistan, political meanness has thousands of ways to maneuver the things!

Obviously, if one doesn't follow moral principles, no rules, no laws could restrain him from doing what he is intent upon doing!

In view of the forthcoming general elections in the country, "The ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) has slapped a ban on ads carrying pictures of political leaders on TV channels and newspapers. It also warned of action over violation of its directives." (The News, January 4, 2013) 
However, among other things, for the last few days, newspapers are publishing the following ads with pictures of "men of opinion" commending the "Services of the Government of Sindh."

See some more instances:

[The Express Tribune, The News, February 19, 2013]

[The Express Tribune, The News, February 20, 2013]

See the previously posted instances!

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All rights reserved. No part of the contents published on this Blog – Notes from Pakistan may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of The Blogger.

Puranay Kaalum - Adam Tahaffuz Ka Ehsaas

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 18: Dr. Qadri enjoys VVIP security at government’s expense

ISLAMABAD: At least 40 cops including several elite commandoes and two vehicles of the Punjab police are delegated for round-the-clock security of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Chairman Dr. Tahirul Qadri, who is spending approximately Rs2 million per month from the provincial coffer. His security paraphernalia consists of a total of one sub-inspector, four head constables, 22 constables, 12 elite force commandoes, two drivers and two vehicles, a senior Punjab government official told The News.

This is apart from the personal guards that Dr. Qadri has hired from a private firm for his security and dozens of his own party men, who perform similar duties with him. Of the Punjab government security personnel, the official said, one sub-inspector, three head constables and 18 constables are deployed at the PAT chief’s Model Town residence. One head constable and four constables are detailed at the nearby Minhajul Quran Markaz in the same vicinity for Dr. Qadri’s security.

Besides, there are 12 elite force commandoes, who are on 24-hour duty having a vehicle in their use. Another vehicle is in the use of other policemen. Each vehicle spends approximately Rs.100, 000 per month for this duty. The policemen are drawing monthly salaries ranging from Rs.30, 000 to Rs.60, 000 per month, the official said giving the breakup of their pays.

He said that foolproof security was ensured for Dr. Qadri immediately after his return to Pakistan in December last. He said the Punjab government has not bothered about the lethal attack the PAT chief continues to shower on the provincial administration and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN). As far as the security cover for Dr. Qadri is concerned, the official said, the government has made it a point not to give him an opportunity to complain and he seems to be satisfied with it. Such kind of security, the official said, is available only to VVIPs, who occupy key government offices. He said that maximum care has been taken in view of the peculiar security situation. He said that Dr. Qadri would continue to have this much security cover till the time he is in Pakistan. For the moment, he has no plan to go back to Canada and will stay in Pakistan at least till the conclusion of the forthcoming general elections.

According to the official, it was because of the comprehensive security consisting of different layers provided to the PAT chairman during his long march that he had an absolutely smooth passage from Lahore to Rawalpindi. At no stage, did the provincial administration create any hurdle in his way to discourage participation of people in his protest, he said.

Ayeeni Istihkaam Aur Siyasi Hejaan

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Who are these “Men of Opinion” – promoting their opinion at the cost of taxpayers’ money! - 2

In Pakistan, political meanness has thousands of ways to maneuver the things!

Obviously, if one doesn't follow moral principles, no rules, no laws could restrain him from doing what he is intent upon doing!

In view of the forthcoming general elections in the country, "The ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) has slapped a ban on ads carrying pictures of political leaders on TV channels and newspapers. It also warned of action over violation of its directives." (The News, January 4, 2013) 
However, among other things, for the last few days, newspapers are publishing the following ads with pictures of "men of opinion" commending the "Services of the Government of Sindh."

See some more instances:

[Roznama Express, The News, The Express Tribune, February 13, 2013]

[Roznama Express, The News, The Express Tribune, February 14, 2013]

© The Blogger
All rights reserved. No part of the contents published on this Blog – Notes from Pakistan may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of The Blogger.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mafiya Siyasat Ka Kacha Chatha

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State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 17: Transparency raises questions about Rs.5 billion Bilawal House in Lahore

ISLAMABAD: The newly constructed 200-kanal palace in Bahria Town Lahore named Bilawal House, said to be worth Rs5 billion and allegedly gifted to the President of Pakistan, has come under severe criticism from Transparency International.

TIP, in a letter to the Supreme Court, NAB and many other organisations, has asked how the president can receive the ‘gift’, as no government servant can accept any gift while in service. The spokesman of Bahria Town, Col (retd) Khalil when contacted said it was not in his knowledge and only Malik Riaz 
can reveal the actual situation. Malik Riaz Hussain could not be contacted for comments. 

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, the chairman National Accountability Bureau, the chairman Public Accounts Committee and the federal minister of finance have also been sent letters by the Transparency International regarding 200-kanal palace allegedly gifted to the president just ahead of the general election. 

Transparency International Pakistan has referred to the following international and national press reports: 

1. That after building a Bilawal House in Karachi, now the president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari is going to ceremoniously open a Bilawal House in Lahore’s Bahria Town as well. And according to the sources the house is worth Rs5 billion. 

2. That it is reported that this house is probably a gift for PPP president from Malik Riaz, who is the owner of Bahria Town. 

3. That with one in Karachi, President Asif Ali Zardari will inaugurate another Bilawal House in Bahria Town Lahore on Saturday. 

4. That sources told that the house located in popular Bahria Town Lahore having worth of Rs5 billion, is a bullet-proof bungalow built on over 200 kanals of land. 

5. That the house carries a runway for landing of private jets. 

6. That sources quoted as saying that the house will be gift to PPP president from Malik Riaz, the owner of Bahria Town.” 

“The press reports have not been denied by anyone, and it is therefore assumed that the reports of Rs5 billion house built by Malik Riaz and gifted to President Asif Ali Zardari are correct. Transparency International Pakistan would like to inform the president that according to the Rules and Instructions relating to the Conduct of Government Servants, Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964 Section 5 (1) quoted below, gifts shall not be accepted. 5. Gifts: (1) Save as otherwise provided in this rule, no government servant shall, except with the previous sanction of the government, accept, or permit any member of his family to accept, from any person any gift the receipt of which will place him under any form of official obligation to the donor. If, however, due to very exceptional reasons, a gift cannot be refused, the same may, under intimation to the Cabinet Division, be kept for official use in the Department or Organisation in which he is working.” 

Transparency International Pakistan has requested the secretary general to the president to process the gift of Rs5 Billion House at Bahria Town Lahore to be transferred to the government of Pakistan if the news reports are correct.

[The News, February 14, 2013]

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Ke Liye Aik Nazm

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who are these “Men of Opinion” – promoting their opinion at the cost of taxpayers’ money! - 1

In Pakistan, political meanness has thousands of ways to maneuver the things!

Obviously, if one doesn't follow moral principles, no rules, no laws could restrain him from doing what he is intent upon doing!

However, among other things, for the last few days, newspapers are publishing the following ads with pictures of "men of opinion" commending the "Services of the Government of Sindh."

See some instances:

[The News, February 9, 2013]

[The News, February 10, 2013]

[The News, February 11, 2013]

[The News, The Express Tribune, Roznama Express, February 12, 2013]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mafiya Siyasat Ki Janam Kundli

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Saving Humanity from the Grind of Education

The Grind of Education is milling generations of human beings to waste their life, talent, creativity, and the genius of their unique individuality in a drab of degrees and diplomas. It’s by taxing heavily the growth and development of the human world holding it back instead.

That’s why especially political elites (read States and Governments) are fond of it. They have inspired a huge industry of NGOs and a flourishing crop of intellectuals to come to exist which remain busy to put more and more pressure on states and governments to allocate more and more funds for Education.

Among other things, that justifies the political elites’ indoctrination of individual citizens with their ideologies. It’s a long list of unending artificial constructs, such as nation-ism, ethnic-ism, class-ism, religion-ism, sect-ism, language-ism, province-ism, party-ism, clan-ism, caste-ism, so and so forth, that by feeding which the political elites prey on the lives of individual citizens.   

It is in this backdrop that the Education crucially and fatally needs to be released from the burdens of this Grind may have its rationale explained.

The issue is how to get rid of this Grind of Education and how to unleash the talent, creativity, genius, and uniqueness of every individual human being to play freely. It is the born right of every child born to human beings.

To start with, a few suggestions are given below. They may unleash the individual human beings from the grinding mill of the present-day Education.

They are not utopian. It requires only a will to put them into effect, and they will free the individual creativity of their choice.

First – All the examination systems be done away with.

Second – To prepare the course, teach and evaluate it, teachers be given full autonomy.

Third – After the completion of required period of education in an institution, participation certificates 
be issued.

Fourth – Details of the courses studied be shown on the participation certificates.

Fifth – Along with the courses, names of the teachers, who taught them, be mentioned in bold.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Muslim League (Nawaz) Aur Punjab Mein Public Transport Ki Kharabi

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Dr. Abdus Salam and his Science of Development

Intellectually Pakistan is quite a barren country.

One reason, it has never encouraged the spirit of free inquiry.

Instead, it goes for short-cuts to grab “progress,” “growth,” “development,” -- thinking them as separate manifestations having no links with knowledge.

In the wake of 9/11, in a local mosque in Shahdrah, Lahore, it was prayed: O God, give us all that America has achieved!

Professor Dr. Abdus Salam too contributed to that short-cut thinking. Especially during Zia-ul-Haq regime and at his instance, there were hectic efforts to promote the education of Science and Technology in Pakistan.

I had reservations on that approach, and wrote the following letter to Dr. Salam:

Lahore, Pakistan
May 2, 1988

Dear Sir,

Of course, it is not pleasant to differ with our ideas, but one cannot help, he ought to disclose his differences honestly.

You are of the clear opinion that to attain the present level of developed nations, Pakistan cannot do without Science and Technology. These are the only weapons, making use of which different forms of poverty can be fought and eradicated.

This needs no argument to convince. But to explicate the entanglements of the problem, I want to bring into light some important side-issues:

1) Present Science and Technology are the phenomena appeared as a logical development of a particular civilization. Dialectically, it is not possible to put aside both of them from the complex of social, historical and philosophical milieu of their birth-place.

2) Material welfare and intellectual enlightenment are inseparable. It is one process. One is no guarantee for the other. However, in a conscious situation, as ours is, mind should come first.

3) As the present stage of human history, things (commodities, machines, etc.) are like quanta carrying philosophical potential. They can, and do engulf human beings. Philosophically speaking, in the absence of a total scheme of things, things make a scheme of their own, placing human beings at the lowest.

4) Against this background, my view is that along with the acquisition of imported and indigenously worked out Science and Technology, we shall have to pay equal attention to effect an intellectual renaissance. It is said: Possessing a thing is of no merit, merit consists in it proper use. If we are ignorant as to the use and place of Science and Technology in our philosophical world view (if any!), their acquisition, and that too partially, would do us no good. I am not rejecting, just trying to evaluate them. Further, my emphasis is on creating an intellectual and philosophical atmosphere in which scientific inquiry and thereby Science and Technology could flourish.

The exploitation of the South by the North in terms of Science and Technology is evident. But the struggle of the South has different aspects. Exploiters obstruct transfer of Science and Technology to the South; the ruling elites of the South protect the interests of their masters for double exploitation of the masses of their countries; so, they are not sincere in acquiring Science and Technology. Neither the ruling elites of the South nor their masters like to see the people liberating themselves from the bondage of intellectual backwardness, rather they suppress such attempts inhumanly; also for this reason, the ruling elites of the South do not seek collaboration of the masses of their countries in the so-called struggle for Science and Technology. They have fear of ‘Science and Technology’ itself. Its acquisition is, in fact, the demand and need of the masses of the Third World countries.

In short, the problem of acquisition of Science and Technology is connected with the problem of Revolution of the masses, for which, in my view, intellectual enlightenment and material development should go hand in hand to achieve positive results.

Moreover, I want to draw your attention to the specific state of education of Philosophy and social sciences. As far as physical and biological sciences are concerned, struggle under your guidance has already begun. The state of education of Philosophy and social sciences is the worst as compared to other sciences. Inability in any other field qualifies a student for Philosophy and social sciences. There are no competent teachers, no worthwhile institutions for higher learning and research. Even the “social scientists” remain intellectually as backward as any ignoramus.

Under these circumstances, emphasizing the education of scientific and technical subjects is not convincing, whereas the whole state of education is in doldrums. At best, it shows the absence and need of a vital philosophy of education.

It is hoped you would be kind so as to give serious thought to these reflections, and I will be awaiting your views.


Khalil Ahmad

On June 26, 1988, the unexpected reply made its way to me (wherein I was wrongly addressed as Dr. Ahmad!). It included a copy of Dr. Salam’s book, IDEALS AND REALITIES: Selected Essays of Abdus Salam (Second Edition), Editor: C H Lai (World Scientific, Singapore, 1987). Its contents are copied below:

10 June, 1988

Dear Dr. Ahmad,

Professor Abdus Salam has asked me to write to you and thank you for your kind and interesting letter of 2 May 1988.

I read your letter with much pleasure, and with regard to your remarks, I would like to say the following:

1. Science is culture and throughout history it has always been an integrated part of human life. It is unique and the same for everyone, for the rich and for the poor and everyone should therefore have access to it.

2. It should be realized that Science is the most important guide for the development of a country. It should therefore exist at a very early stage and before any other step towards development can be taken. The concept of science for development is indeed a very important aspect of the wider question of economic, social and industrial development.

3. Nowadays, there are not different models of development for different countries; it is only science and science-based technology to which all the attention should be paid. This does not of course preclude the efforts which should be made for the development of social studies, literature and other related subjects in any society. For example, an important issue of development policy is the language and the languages spoken within a country. Very much attention should be paid to this issue.

4. In the recent past science and its development has been completely neglected in developing countries. These countries should realize that the solutions to their problems t(l)ies in creating a strong scientific basis upon which the development process can be built. For the time being this is the only way towards development, as was the case in the West in early days.

Having said all that, one easily notes that in developing countries one should pay much more attention to science and science education along with the development of other disciplines with the culture of a society, as you have pointed out.

Professor Salam has discussed this issue in detail in his Book, “Ideals and Realities”. Under separate cover I am sending you a copy of the book.

I thank you once again for your kind attention and hope to hear from you again.

With best regards,

Yours sincerely,
H. R. Dalafi   

Here is the scanned copy of the letter:

With a “Thank you” letter to Dr. Salam, this correspondence closed.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Kashmir conflict: how to keep it alive

The Kashmir conflict, like other ones such as Palestine, does have a history. Parties to it write, rewrite and exploit this history to a point where its ability to offer a solution becomes precarious. Besides, this kind of use of history complicates the conflict inextricably, and one wonders whether it would ever be possible to resolve it. So, I think, instead of delving into the history of Kashmir conflict, it's better to look forward to its possible resolutions.

For the last decade, I have ignored the news stories on Kashmir (and Palestine, as well). I do not read them with serious attention -- not that I am callous to the suffering of the people, but because I am too much concerned with the misery of the people, the real victims of these conflicts. Also, because I know what the stories may contain; I know what they would recount; I know the end-result. Isn't it surprising to predict human affairs with hundred per cent accuracy!

Sometimes, there came a break. My interest and hope revived. But, then, I lost interest even in the news of diplomatic visits, meetings, negotiations, etc. Everything seemed receding into the ever-burning conflict. I had to tell myself that every move from either side was a trick of diplomacy and politics. Nothing else! Nobody is sincere and willing to resolve the conflict. Are they not just a conflict-minded people?

Nor do I try to keep abreast with the latest developments on the issue of Kashmir (and Palestine, too). Because I know even the future developments. Because I know there would be no development, in fact. Because I know that for the last several decades no progress has been made; and, I like to stick to my conclusion: no progress can be made either. I know my reasoning is invalid; but I know it has repeatedly proved correct.

Let me be clear. I am not a pessimist. I know the history of the resolutions of the conflicts -- the recent history, too. Settlement of the East Timor is a big example. But, these two issues, Kashmir and Palestine, defy my short-term optimism. I don't know how and when they are going to be solved or resolved!

Locally, when two guys start fighting each other, many people come over to try to stop and pacify them. But, undoing their efforts, they jump on to fighting more and more vigorously. In desperation, these people leave them to their fighting. Now, after a while, they stop fighting. But, of course, parties to the Kashmir (and Palestine) conflict are not like these two guys. This conflict is not a two-party conflict. There are so many parties involved in it. And, at times, it appears the original parties of the conflict are not the real parties to the conflict. Thus, the nature of the conflict changes altogether; and its resolution becomes more distant.

Let's stay a while with the two fighting guys. Sometimes, some of the people out of the crowd side with one guy, while the others with the other one; thus, the fighting between two guys becomes a brawl, but I would like to call it a crowd-fighting. Interesting thing about the crowd-fighting is that no one knows why he is fighting, why he is siding with this guy and why not with the other one. Same is the case with the Kashmir (and Palestine) conflicts. The support for this or that party of the conflict is never based on rational analysis of facts, and is never resolution-oriented. It is usually sentimental, artificially created by propaganda, and based on religious, political, racial, regional, prejudices and the like. This sort of crowd support is used and abused by various parties of the conflict to further their vested interests; but never positively to the resolution of the conflicts.

After the recent "bout" between India and Pakistan in which both brought their armies on the borders, there was a news item telling how much arms were sold by the UK (of course, its arms manufacturers) to India during this hot situation. I don't know in addition to UK who else is selling arms to India. Equally, I don't know where Pakistan buys arms from. But, I know that the USA, UK, China, and certain European countries, and for that matter, all the countries that sell arms to India and Pakistan, are a party to Kashmir conflict. I don't know how high the stakes are for these countries, but no doubt they have an interest in what is going to be the fate of Kashmir. I won't lend support to the theory that it is they who cause a war to start between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, but I find sufficient weight to corroborate the view that they may be interested to see this conflict alive. Yes, alive -- but, within limits (not to let it go nuclear). The recent diplomatic hustle-bustle on the part of the USA, UK, China, and other European countries to stop the nuclear collision between India and Pakistan is enough to prove that. Let's wait for the times when nuclear arms, like the conventional ones, will be selling legally through international contracts!

Another party to the Kashmir conflict is the military establishment of both countries. [Kashmir, either Indian or Pakistani, has no army of its own.] The armies of India and Pakistan have a life and death interest in this conflict. If this conflict is resolved, there will be no justification and no need for both countries to maintain such huge armies. So, the conflict needs to be kept alive!

There are politicians and political parties, too, in both countries who are a party to this conflict. But, they are one of the parties that may be interested in the settlement of this conflict. For instance, in 1999, A. B. Vajpayee, Prime Minister of India, came to Lahore by bus to meet the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. As is believed, that visit was meant to reach an agreement regarding the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. But that was sabotaged half way. One thing must be clear here. Particularly, in the case of Pakistan, there are politicians and political parties who play the game of army; but, some of the politicians and political parties sometimes play independently. It is they who want to see this conflict settled anyway. It is necessary for their survival. The Kashmir conflict has strengthened both armies, and especially the Pakistan army, to unknown limits. As Pakistan army's control on civil and political affairs of the country is tightening, the politicians are losing ground, and their share of the booty is getting smaller and smaller. Most of the politicians and political parties have accepted the leadership of the army to grab their little share of the booty. They, too, need to keep this conflict alive!

Religious groups and parties of both countries do have a stake in this conflict. They, too, are a party to it. They have transformed this conflict into a theocratic and religious one and treat it as a religious war. Some of these groups and parties survive simply on this conflict. Agitation, politics, funds, and recruitment to the ranks of the group or party, and "selling" the recruits to the religious battle-field, etc. will be vanished with the resolution of this conflict. So, keep this conflict alive!

Then, come Kashmiris themselves; no matter whether they live in, India's Kashmir or Pakistan's Kashmir. They are probably the weakest party to the conflict. They have no strong independent political party looking after their interests except the All Parties Hurriet Conference of India's Kashmir which has its own links and limitations; the Muslim Conference (Sardar Abdul Qayum); and the Pakistan Peoples Party (Barrister Sultan Mahmood) of Pakistan's Kashmir, which play the politics of establishment in Pakistan. But, as a matter of fact, all the groups and parties of Kashmiris are under the burden of vested interests from both sides. That is why I had to opine above that the original parties to the conflict are, in fact, no parties to the conflict. Whatever be the settlement, it will be reached between India and Pakistan with some Kashmiri group or party acting as a show-piece!

To be frank, in all such cases, I am intensely apprehensive of one thing: I always wonder how they get money for all their activities. I mean the Kahsmiri (and Palestinian, and for that matter, all others) politicians and mujahideen groups no matter they are armed or not. From where do they get their finances? They do nothing to earn their livelihood and apparently have no source of income, but they live expensive lives -- rather extravagant ones. They spend lavishly on their political and other activities also. If they have any source of income, it doesn't match with the cost of politics they do. Perforce I conclude as these parties and groups do not make their finances public, it means their accounts are not straight. So, from where the finances come, there lies the source of trouble. These financiers of the conflict become the unnatural party to the conflict; and, it is they who influence and determine the efforts made towards the resolution of these conflicts.

A strong party to this conflict are the various religious, political and armed groups. However, they are no real party to the conflict; they are artificial creations of the vested interests. But, they play an important role in keeping this conflict alive.

The real party to the Kashmir conflict has always been ignored. It is the Kashmiri individual; and it is ridiculous that he is completely unaware of this fact. He doesn't know he is going to gain nothing even out of the resolution of this conflict. He is being fooled in the name of religion, homeland, political freedom, self-determination, etc.

Let's come back once again to the two fighting guys. Each guy after fighting, if one does not kill the other in the course of fighting, learns and concludes that he can not wipe out the other one; and, they both realize better stop fighting. But, the major parties to the Kashmir conflict do not realize that; or, if they realize that, they don't act on that realization. Each party claims to have the whole pie. Though both India and Pakistan realize that they cannot conquer the other Kashmir, they keep on doing politics, claiming that they can. This has cultivated a dangerous sentiment in the minds of the people that they must never lose Kashmir. Hence, the dichotomy is: the whole pie or nothing!

So, I know beforehand what is happening and what is going to happen on the issue of Kashmir. I need not go into the details of news and news- stories. Because I know it is no more a conflict between the original real parties. Were it so, it is possible it could have been resolved long ago. But, in its present form, it's a conflict between the parties who have strong vested interests in keeping this conflict alive. So, no hope of its settlement. [Same is the case with the Palestine conflict!]

Under these circumstances where no will to resolve this conflict prevails, the game will remain in the hands of no-parties to the conflict, the parasites of the conflict. Kashmir (and Palestine, too) is like a wound that has rotted to produce worms within itself; now, these worms won't let this wound heal!

[This article was originally published in The Libertarian Enterprise on September 16, 2002.]

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