I Declare!

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare my full support to a Democratic system in Pakistan. A Democratic system, implemented in its letter and spirit, is the only way forward for a progressive Pakistan. Our country has suffered a lot during dictatorial regimes. Questions about quality of democracy can always be posed, but then answer to it lies only in supporting and evolving this system over a period of time. Democracy is always a work-in-process.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that no one is above law, including those in government. A government is elected by the vote of the people and answerable to law and people.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that sanctity of my vote should be protected by the state. I struggled and took time to cast my vote for the people whom I think are right for the job. It is the responsibility of the state to protect and preserve the sanctity of this right. If there are any doubts or question marks on validity of votes, it is the responsibility of the state to inquire and investigate it in a free and fair manner.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare to remain civil and obedient to my state. Government and State are two different entities and I believe fulfilling my duties to state will strengthen my country. I believe in civilised and constitutional struggle for my rights as was done by Founder of my country, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that terrorism is the biggest threat to existence of our country. I extend my full support to Pakistan Army and Zarb e Azb operation to get rid of the menace of Talibans and terrorism plaguing my country. I want my country to prosper by leaps and bounds and stand right with the most progressed nations of the world.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that all citizens of my country have equal rights irrespective of one’s cast, creed, sect or religion. I condemn persecution and killing of religious and sectarian minorities. I believe in liberal and tolerant Pakistan as envisaged by its Founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that every citizen of my country is innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around. I believe that I neither have right of judging other nor hurling accusations without proof.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that verbal cross fires lacking facts and constructive arguments leaves no difference between a literate and an illiterate person. A degree does not necessarily mean education. Even an illiterate man is educated who makes sane decision. Having ‘high emotional quotient’ is real education. I respect the opinion of every other citizen and do not judge or abuse them if it differs from mine. Tolerance is the mainstay of any progressive democratic society.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that protest is my constitutional and moral right. I should not be disallowed from protest against something which I perceive as wrong. Constitution of my country ensures freedom of expression. However, I also declare that my ego will never come in way of my protesting rights. My country does not have to suffer in clash of egos.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that citizens of my country should get rid of hypocrisy prevailing in all walks of our life. Examples should be set by changing oneself not forcing others. Citizens of this country should get rid of intellectual, financial and moral dishonesty in their personal lives.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that no taxation without representation. Elected parliamentarians are servants of the citizens, not masters. Democratic process is about equal rights for all, not monarchy.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that our state should focus on nation building. Political and religious rhetoric and populism should be discouraged.

I, Fazal Abbas, a citizen of Pakistan hereby declare that I love my country and think same about my fellow citizens. I do not have any right to question patriotism of any of my fellow citizens.


This blog was published on Pak Tea House.

Advertisements

Are Pakistan and Israel Similar Ideological States?

The Israeli onslaught on Gaza enters its third week; more and more evidence of atrocities is being made public, producing widespread expressions of outrage around the world. There have been numerous protests around the world against the war crimes being committed by Israel whereas political leadership of the world, Muslim in particular, remains in slumber. The deaths hike the total Palestinian toll to 583 since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in a bid to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza.

10547693_10152521468450568_98307669913262338_n

During this period I have been engaged in several debates on different perspectives surrounding the Palestine – Israel conflict. One of these perspectives has been ‘drawing parallels on the similarity between Pakistan and Israel’. After engaging in debates with many, I thought it would be better to put down my arguments in writing.

Pakistan is like Israel in that both countries were formed on the basis of religion as a result of partition of the countries that already existed and caused large population displacements – it is a very common argument put forward when comparing Pakistan with Israel. Also this remark of ex-ruler of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq is commonly referred to support this argument:

“Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.”

–       The Economist, December 1981

The above statements might have a slight degree of validity but are sweeping factual statements without giving regard to factors and facts underlying beneath these statements. If we dig in to unearth those facts, striking contrasts between two states are unveiled.

To start with, the demand of Pakistan as a separate homeland was limited to the geographical location of South Asia. The ‘Two Nation Theory’ which is commonly argued as basis for the creation of Pakistan never claimed that Muslims all around the globe were a one nation. Rather the theory is based on the premise that Indian Muslims were a separate nation on the basis of language, traditions, culture, etc. The theory being theological in nature and making a case for of religion as basis of Pakistan’s creation is a flawed argument and is a separate debate. However, the emphasis is that demand for Pakistan was a separate state for Muslims already living here.

Now if we compare this to Israel, there is stark contrast. The basic premise of the Zionist movement, founded by Theodor Herzl, highlights the difference clearly. Zionism is the founding ideology of the land of Israel. Zionism’s basic premise is that Jews irrespective of their geographic location, ethnic identity or socioeconomic background constitute a nation and thus deserve a national homeland – territory defined as the Land of Israel. Therefore Israel was a demand for all Jews everywhere in the world.

The Lahore resolution passed in 1940 called for sovereign states in the Muslim majority areas of India – areas that were going to become Pakistan was already populated by Muslims. In comparison as per the basic premise of Zionism, their homeland is to be situated in the Biblical land of Israel.  Whether that land is populated by someone else is a non-issue — a land without people for a people without land.

If we look at the historical geography of the current territory of Pakistan, (West Pakistan before separation of East Pakistan), it has always been a distinct, unique territory with regions being always bound together by mighty ‘Indus River’. As Aitzaz Ahsan explains in his book ‘The Indus Saga’:

“Indus (Pakistan) has a rich and glorious cultural heritage of its own. This is a distinct heritage, of a distinct and separate nation. There is, thus no fear of any other country devouring or destroying the state. During the last 6000 years Indus has, indeed, remained independent of and separate from India for almost five and a half thousand years. Only the three ‘Universal States’, those of the Mauryans, the Mughals, and the British, welded these two regions together in single empires. And aggregate period of these ‘Universal States’ was not more than five hundred years.

For the remainder, from prehistory to the nineteenth century, Indus has been Pakistan. 1947 was only a reassertion of that reality. It was the reuniting of the various units, the Frontier, the Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Kashmir once again in a primordial federation. The mohajirs, who reverted to the Indus in 1947 and thereafter, were the sons and daughters returning to the mother. As such, ‘Pakistan’ preceded even the advent of Islam in the subcontinent. It was not merely ‘a chasm that one people created for themselves in the ten short years from 1937 to 1947’, as some Indians may like to believe.”

2-768x1024

Source: ‘Indus Saga’ by Aitezaz Ahsan

Source: 'Indus Saga' by Aitezaz Ahsan

Source: ‘Indus Saga’ by Aitezaz Ahsan

In contrast, as explained above, Herzl called for an establishment of a home/state for the Jewish people in Palestine, to be called Israel. In World War I, the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany. As a result, it was embroiled in a conflict with Great Britain. Under the secret Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916, it was envisioned that most of Palestine, when freed from Ottoman control, would become an international zone not under direct French or British colonial control. Shortly thereafter, British foreign minister Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration of 1917:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The British captured Jerusalem a month later, and were formally awarded a mandate which was approved by the League of Nations in 1922. The 1922 census of Palestine recorded the population of Palestine as 757,000, of which 78% were Muslims, 11% were Jews, 10% were Christians and 1% were Druze. After the World War II and the Holocaust of Jews, the British Government terminated the mandate and United Nations voted to partition the territory. So clearly here a state was developed for people who were not inhabitants of the region.

In case of creation of state of Pakistan, there was political consultation. The partition was accepted by political stakeholders who represented the people of this very region. The provinces or regions that were to form Pakistan were those presented in the Lahore Resolution of 1940. The elections of 1946 were a de-facto referendum on it.

On the other hand, there was nothing similar in case of Palestine and Israel. No one consulted inhabitants of Palestine before deciding that their town, village or city was going to become Israel.

Another angle few argue about is the migrations and displacements of mass scale of people. The displacements in case of Pakistan and India were in both directions, People migrated from Pakistan to India and vice-versa. However, probably a greater population of Muslims as compared to those in Pakistan decided to remain in India. The migration and effects of partition were bloody which could have been avoided. Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs; all suffered and lost in the disaster.

Displacement in Palestine was and is one directional i.e. Jews in and Palestinians out. Nearly all the population of the Israel is migrated whereas in comparison the migrant population in Pakistan was roughly around five to six percent.

Although, Jinnah announced, in August 1947, that Pakistan would be a secular state, it became a hard core religious state only after 1970s. Through 1974 constitution the nature of identity of Muslim was changed from an ethnic one to religious one. The roots of this religiosity, however, date back to the Objectives Resolution of 1949.

Ben Gurion, first prime minister of Israel, declared Israel a secular liberal democracy in 1948 and Israel has stuck to it to-date. Israel has not defined its Jewish identity on religious grounds rather ethnic and cultural grounds.

Last but not the least, any Jew born anywhere in the World, is eligible to become an Israeli citizen. As explained above, Israel by its very nature and design is a homeland for the Jewry of the world. Pakistan, however, is a homeland for people of Pakistan. It was not envisioned to make a homeland for all of the Muslims of the world. Anyone can become a citizen of Pakistan if one desires.

Pakistan is bigger and far more diverse state with plethora of complex problems as compared to Israel. Pakistan consists of diverse ethnicities and cultures and populations of various religions and sects. Israel’s identity is one i.e. Jewish. Therefore, Pakistan and Israel being similar is factually incorrect sweeping statement.


 

This article was published on Pak Tea House.

A Rodeo of Political Chaos

Tie-down Roping or Calf Roping is a timed rodeo event, particularly famous with American cowboys, which features a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this sport is for the rider to lasso the calf, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and control it by tying three legs together. All of these activities have to be executed in as short a time as possible.

Source: amac.us

Source: amac.us

Now let’s apply this analogy of Calf Roping to current scenario in political arena of Pakistan. The incumbent government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) is a show-off rider galloping the horse and swinging the rope. Geo-ISI-ARY fiasco, civil-military relations over operation in North Waziristan, protests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and revolutionary mission of Dr Tahirul Qadri, these are the calves lined up in a row to give a tough time to the rider. How does the rider (PMLN) react when calves are released from the chute? He misses the aim, lassos his own horse and falls down.

It has been a scorching summer so far in Pakistan and political situation in the country looks more sweltering with each new development. Last week the Pakistan Army launched an eagerly awaited military offensive against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan. So far nearly 300 militants have been killed, hundreds captured and their safe havens and explosives depots taken out as part of the on-going operation – as per the military sources. The operation involving airstrikes, tanks and heavy artillery has forced the exodus of more than 350,000 people, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) out of the affected areas.

Zarb-e-Azb-a-new-Military-operation-by-Pakistan-Army

In my view we are standing at a critical moment of our history, the moment which needs a political ceasefire and unity among all the political parties. We need to support our soldiers at the war frontier and help in relief activities for IDPs in every way possible. But Zarb e Azb has fallen to backdrop, thanks to clash of lunatics: ‘Self-proclaimed revolutionary messiah’, Dr Qadri and government of PMLN.

This is not the first time Dr Qadri has entered the arena with a revolutionary agenda. In January 2013, he held Islamabad hostage for several days while making a series of demands that had to be met within a span of just fifteen minutes by the government ‘or else’. It was a four-day-long rodeo event. We witnessed the supporters and workers of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) camping at D-Chowk through cold temperatures, rain and hunger. But in the course of just few hours, Dr Qadri had developed a resuscitated endearment for all stakeholders of political set-up, including those whom he had banished as robbers. He demanded arrest of the sitting prime minister of that time, however, on forth day thanked and signed the Islamabad Long March Declaration with the same person.

Cartoon

The previous coalition government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League Qauide-e-Azam (PMLQ) acted as a maestro rider. They skilfully swung the rope, tightened it across the neck of the calf, restrained it and peacefully took it out of the arena. Situation has been completely opposite over the past few days. The calf named Dr Qadri has been riding over the nerves of PMLN.

This saga of Dr Qadri could have been written differently and sensibly. The model town fiasco and aeroplane drama could have been averted easily. Except for the most ingenious, few people would buy the nonsense about the necessity of having to remove the barriers around Dr Qadri’s house. Those barriers were in place for the last four to five years with the sanction of the order of Honourable High Court. Why did the need arise just a few days before Dr Qadri was to arrive in Pakistan and launch his so-called ‘revolution’?

Source: The News

Source: The News

Now comes the day of arrival of Dr Qadri. If the workers of PAT were to be stopped, they could have been blocked a long distance away from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. Why did they let them reach airport and then baton charge them? There was absolutely no need to divert the aeroplane from Islamabad to Lahore, where we witnessed an unfathomable drama of Dr Qadri not leaving the plane.

Source: Dawn

Source: Dawn

Democracy warranties freedom of expression and freedom of protest regardless of whether you agree with it or not. This ‘Canadian made Business Class’ revolution didn’t last four days in its last outing and it could not have lasted now in this hellish summer. With little sense the government could have averted this debacle. A couple of months back ex-President Asif Ali Zardari called on Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif and assured full support in case of any threats to derail current government. May be PM could have asked the ex-president for some advice how to handle ‘the revolution’.

I wonder who are advising the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Punjab on this issue. The mishandling of the Dr Qadri episode shows bad judgment about the implications. It is shameful that a country, where the most important military operation of its history is underway and where over 350,000 IDPs need help, is focused on an unavoidable circus of Gullu Butt and Dr Qadri.

 

Souce: Geo News

Souce: Geo News


 

This article was published on Pak Tea House.

‘Tackling TTP, Lessons from History’ published in Prabhat Khabar

How should we tackle the menace of terrorism plaguing ‘The Land of Pure’?. My article, ‘Tackling TTP, Lessons from History‘ , on this issue was published in Pak Tea House on June 16, 2014.

The article has also been carried in ‘Prabhat Khabar‘ a leading Hindi Newspaper. Here are the screenshots of the article published in its weekly magazine.

Page 1

Page 1

 

Page 2

Page 2

 

Page 3

Page 3

 

You can visit the e-paper here Prabhat Khabar Magazine.

You can also read the original article on my WordPress post ‘Tackling TTP, Lessons from History‘.