Tag Archives: politics

Bilawal’s return to Pakistan

2 Jun

Without much fanfare, the scion of Bhutto family has finally returned to Pakistan. Marred by incompetent governance in Sindh, dented by allegations from Zulfiqar Mirza and haunted by disastrous results in recently held polls, PPP may draw a comforting relief from Bilawal’s return.

But is this return actually a return to take the helm of affairs of his political party or would it be mere symbolic presence meanwhile the command is run by those who are responsible for PPP’s current dismal condition? Until and unless Bilawal, who is seen by many as the promise of ushering PPP into a new era of modern politics, takes up the gaunt there is little that one can hope for.

PPP remains a voice for the people of Sindh but sadly such voices remain muted as the state of governance in Sindh reflect nothing to be positive about. Harboring such a vote bank comes with a precondition of being able to portend a responsible behavior towards the masses. PPP with its inept administration and myopic policies, aimed more at favoring relatives and friends than the electorate, has cured little of what ails the Sindh province. Something needs to change.

Though easier said than done, Bilawal’s work is cut out for him. Men of credible credentials need to be given administrative posts. The lost and disillusioned works of PPP need to be contacted, reassured and given incentives to kick start the rotting engine of the party that Zulfiqar Bhutto established.

Mere rhetoric would not do. It is time that Bilawal looks up and beyond to prove his mettle. Party infighting, meanness of intentions when in power, and most importantly the national disfigurement of image of PPP require diligent concern.

In his quest of improving party’s image, if it ever becomes one, senior leadership of the party must step forward to nurture the young leader. Their experience coupled with Bilawal’s dynamism may just be what the doctor has prescribed for ailing PPP. Definite measures, and not bemoaning the dead, will ensure party’s longevity.

Peace, but only when state would want it

6 Jan

]In the tumultuous times that Pakistan is in now, nothing can be more comforting than the alliance of different sects against the extremism of TTP. Everyone, except the government, seems clearheaded pertaining to what they desire. Even the TTP knows what its aims are and quite clearly follows the measures which it sees fit.

This alliance of different sects is heartening in multiple ways. Firstly, it indicates that none of the sects wants the extremity that TTP postulates. Moreover, the fact that all the sects want action against the TTP declares that they do not subscribe to the version of Islam that TTP interprets it to be. Where it was previously believed that TTP was also involved in the genocide of one sect on the behalf of another, this belief can easily be discarded. No one but TTP wants chaos amidst the two major sects where peace can prevail.

Ulema on either side have agreed on sectarian peace and have chalked out a code for sectarian harmony. It needs to be iterated that real and concrete sectarian harmony can only be ensured by the government itself. Ulema have learned to live by the mutual differences of the sects. The efforts contrived to debilitate such struggles for harmony can only be halted by writ of the state. The Ulema have shown that they are willing to play their part in hatching a plan whereby every sect can leave with complete peace of mind, fostering mutual understanding and strengthening the social bonds. The ball is now in the court of the state of Pakistan. It must do away with its myopic visions of rooting for one major sect while ignoring the other. The Constitution of Pakistan does not allow discrimination over cast, color and creed. The state of Pakistan must be the first one to go by the sacred text if it hopes to implement it. 

Tale of Two Countries

6 Jan

The sudden ascendance of Ukraine on the newspapers bewilders many of us. For one, it hardly matters what goes on in Ukraine for we have our hands full of problems in the land of pure. But if the historical tussle of pro-Russian Ukraine versus pro-West Ukraine is to be traced in the light of current events, then one would find striking similarities between the choices that Ukraine and Pakistan continue to face. The fates of the two countries seem intertwined in a complex manner where they resolve and voice the fulfillment of dreams, but are halted by actualities.

Ukraine, literally meaning “on the edge”, remains on the edge of choosing between two powers i.e. European Union and Russia. Historically, Ukraine has been under the influence of various European Powers and it has been nearly eighteen years that it has been independent, but not without foreign influence.

Since its independence, it has been directly under the Russian influence. After the Orange Revolution of 2004, when the pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich’s ascent to presidency was considered fraudulent, the Ukrainians took to streets to express their disgust. Through country-wide demonstrations, he was forced to resign. After 2010, Yanukovich current election as the president seems to be antithesis of Orange Revolution.

Ukraine, as a state, has little or no concept of sovereignty. Internally, its house stands divided over the question of which foreign power would dominate its foreign policy. Its youth and youthful business community seems to be aiming at fleeing Ukraine in the search of certain future somewhere else but their country. Rather than preparing themselves to be the masters of their fates, Ukrainians seem more content at the thought of being ruled by others. The cumbersome burden that the concept “sovereignty” imposes seems to be too much for the locals to bear.

Ukraine cannot be without, at least, some degree of Russian influence. Its geographical limitations cannot but compound Russian influence. Russian gas pipelines need to be safeguarded. Furthermore, for Russia, Ukraine presents a passage to the Black Sea and eventually to the Mediterranean. Odessa and Sevastopol are celebrated ports that offer Russia military and commercial movement of goods.

Meanwhile the possibility of joining EU seems incoherent and only devised to counter Russian influence in Ukrainian politics. EU union is tottering with one country understandably unwilling to help the other in saving it from drowning in its debt. With Ukraine added to belt, EU countries do not seem excited to have another country that has every chance to end up like Greece. Russia would not want Ukraine to enter EU merely because it will lose a significant partner upon which its influence mattered. Ukraine is dangerously close to Russia. Inclusion of Ukraine to EU would result in considerable closeness to Russia by the West. This is a possibility which Russia would want to avoid at the cost of breaking its bank.

Whatever may turn out for Ukraine, it would hardly affect Pakistan. But the profiled before analysis is a mirror image of Pakistan. Where Ukrainians are searching for a babysitter to take care of their affairs for them, Pakistanis continue to search for a messiah that would wave his, or her, magical staff and things will begin to fall in order. Ukrainians seem to be willing to be at the beck and call of any other country but their own, while most of us love to admonish our own country just because any foreign analyst has said or written so.

Similar to Ukrainians, Pakistanis are confused about what their future would be. The citizens of both states have lost ability to trust themselves. They would rather be someone else’s puppet instead of plough the land themselves where they live. This uncertainty to act hence leads to human inaction. Nation-wide lethargy coupled with stoic tolerance of injustice slowly rots away a nation and strips it off of all its glories. As a result, the nation becomes retrospective. They wish if they would have been born some decades earlier so that someone else will have to deal with tangle that they themselves are in. Ukrainians, now, wish to recreate Orange Revolution. Pakistanis continue to glance back at the Islamic golden era without taking into perspective the vicissitudes of Time.

What the young Ukrainian businessmen wanted is much identical to what many professionals in Pakistan seek. They pursue their career goals abroad without compassion for the country where they were born and raised. The locals of Ukraine and Pakistan preach patriotism while dreaming of absolute independence. Along with this, the locals show a desire to leave for a better country, for a far more secure lifestyle. There seems to be a conflict between personal hopes and national hopes. While it takes generations to build a nation, current generation of Ukraine and Pakistan wants to pass on the toil of becoming a nation, which earlier generations have to do, to later generations.

Situation would only improve if we are willing to put our house in order and are willing to toil and suffer, not for ourselves, but for our respective. The easy option of leaving the country in the hands of worse is always there. What should matter for Pakistanis is Pakistan. They would be known as long as there would be Pakistan. Without it, god forbid, we’d be nothing more than lost souls. The question that remains is between building Pakistan and building our own lives.

 

 

A thing called “Equality.”

25 Mar

To be continuously stared and harassed in markets and streets. To be treated condescendingly and bearing all the haughty attitude of the people that form your neighborhood. To not seen as repulsive and to be exposed to the casual violence of the mob that burns down houses and alights crop fields. These three sentences barely encompass the treatment of the minorities in Pakistan.

For a moment, just stop and think; what if your father was never allowed to rise in the social circles because he held different religious convictions than the majority present. What if your brother and sister were the usual victims of the sneering taunts and accusations of being “enemies of the state” just because they were Hindus. Surely it sends quivers down the spine.

Pakistan, sadly, was never to be a hell-hole for the minorities. Pakistan, in-fact, was made to safeguard the rights of minorities in United India. Jinnah always dreamed of a Pakistan where all the religious minorities could practice their faiths accordingly and with complete freedom. Minorities of India, other than Muslims, had an indispensable role in the creation of Pakistan. The first Law Minister Jogendra Nath Mandal was a Hindu from Bengal; his secretary and later the Chief Justice of Pakistan Alvin Robert Cornelius belonged to the Catholic Church. The long time, highly admired Foreign Minister Mr Muhammad Zafrullah Khan belonged to the Ahmadi sect. In addition, Jinnah himself belonged to the Shia denomination and many of the top leaders of the Pakistan movement were from the Shia, Ismaili and Ahmadi camps.

But after Jinnah, the incompetent leadership went to set up an Islamic-based government where legislation would be done according to the Muslim convictions; and shrugging off indifferently the beliefs and laws of other religious minorities. This was a huge set-back to the overall ideology for which Pakistan was created. Mandal had shown remonstrance against the adoption of this system but his efforts proved too futile. His resignation letter paints a gloomy picture and echoes the neglect of violence against Hindus by the aristocracy.

What can the minorities living in Pakistan expect from their “elected” representatives to enact such laws that may curb the extent of violence against themselves by the majority. But no law can teach you to love someone; none indeed. The fault here lies with the text books that are taught at the school level. These text books show Muslim culture shade of glory while every other non-Muslim culture as something always intriguing to over-throw the Muslims. This naturally generates hatred towards these minorities and then they forget to differentiate even between a good human and bad human. What reflected a new low in intolerance in Pakistan, according to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was the case of a Christian class eight student being accused of blasphemy for a spelling mistake in her examination. The spelling error led to her expulsion from school and had the local clerics howling for her blood. What can be worst derived from this scenario is the fact that with growing intolerance, there is a wave of violence against these minorities gradually picking up its pace.

Why should a Christian be thought as someone inferior when he is as proud of his forefathers, whose sacrificed blood was as devout to the creation of Pakistan as was any Muslim’s, as we are proud of ours’? Why should a Hindu be regarded as the enemy of the state when he pays all his taxes and yet suffers just because a few Hindus, in India mind you, spread hateful speech against the Muslims?

Jinnah wanted his Pakistan to be a safe haven for the minorities, not only for those of India but to the whole world. He wanted his Pakistan to become a state where equality prevails above all convictions and religious inclinations. Jinnah never wanted a separate country until Nehru’s cabinet failed to guard the rights of the minorities in United India. Although the large part of these depraved minorities constituted of Muslims, but there were Christians, Ahmadis and Shia Muslims as well.  If that same Pakistan fails in its core objective of “equality” then unfortunately this Pakistan hurts Jinnah more than it hurts those minorities.