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Archive for July, 2014

Fascism at its Best; Democracy at its most Beautiful By Humayun Gauhar

Editors note: We apologize for multicolor and mixed fonts.The article is being published as received.

Punjab-police-become-fascist-force-under-Shahbaz-2

PAKISTAN TODAY                       
 

Fascism at its Best; Democracy at its most Beautiful

 
Humayun Gauhar
 

The Movie: ‘Ullu’ Butt Rules … OKAY?’ Starring: Gullu Butt, police tout and Commander of the Stormtroopers of the Brothers Sharif. The ‘G” should be dropped from his name and Gullu should be renamed ‘Ullu’, as in stupid owl. He is a Kashmiri settler, as are the Sharifs, not really Punjabis much as they would love to be. Having conquered Pakistan by capturing Punjab, they should now go and conquer their beloved Kashmir. Then they will get their much-yearned ‘normalization’ with India. Co-Staring: The fabled, much-feared Punjab police on a rampage. Location: Headquarters of Dr. Tahir ul Qadri’s political party and seminary in Lahore, capital of Punjab province ruled by the prime minister’s brother Shahbaz Sharif. The Date: Night between 16 and 17 June 2014. The Time: Around 1.30 am. The Duration: About 15 hours. The Event: Slaughter of innocent people. The Result: On that fateful night and day the Punjab police and ‘Ullu’ got a chance to show their muscle, killed ten and counting, including two women, injuring 80. Wielding big staves, Ullu Butt and his gang smashed many vehicles outside Qadri’s headquarters in posh Model Town where the Sharifs also have a house. The police not only looked on but their superintendent later gave pats of approval to Ullu and his goons. Ullu broke into a peculiar dance that has taken Punjab by storm. Now young boys with staves are dancing the ‘Ullu Dance’. You cannot fault us Pakistanis for making the best out of the worst situation. One of the smashers was a uniformed policeman. Worse, the police kept beating the arrested mercilessly with batons, punches and kicks – men and women, old and young, children included. The idea was to intimidate by terror. Sleeping men, women and children were dragged out of their homes, beaten and shot dead. Many women are missing. The police are Pakistan’s top rapists. One fears for these missing women. The Evidence: The carnage was captured on many television cameras. The evidence is there. After having done their dastardly deed, the police proceeded to loot shops, steal money and goods and treat themselves to ‘free’ cold drinks. Gamekeepers turned poachers with a vengeance, eh? Ullu rules…okay? So lump it. The Cause: Fright at the return of Qadri to lead a movement to topple the political system of which all our rulers are beneficiaries and to amend the constitution to make it more democratic in which elections cannot be rigged and stolen easily. What force might be behind Qadri petrifies them most. Not the army or America, surely? The Callousness: All this while our prime minister was on an irrelevant jaunt to Tajikistan. While the army chief could cancel his trip to Sri Lanka because of the importance of the army operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, the prime minister didn’t find it important enough to cancel his jaunt to Tajikistan to sign an irrelevant trade deal that his trade minister could easily have done. Sri Lanka has a special place in the hearts of our army chiefs anyway: that is where General Musharraf was when Nawaz Sharif illegally sacked him and eventually himself. The Official Excuse: Qadri’s workers cast the first stone at the police that had come only to remove barriers that it had itself placed on the road outside some years ago because now it felt that they impeded traffic. Tell me another. They cast the first stone in their sleep? Even if they did, does it behoove a supposedly organized, disciplined, law abiding police force to behave like a conquering army? Who cast the first stone is irrelevant. Focus on police behaviour. There’s no excuse for it. The Gibberish: The Sharifs’ attack dogs masquerading as ministers started talking their usual nonsense. “Qadri is returning to destabilize Pakistan and distract the army from the military operation against terrorists in North Waziristan.” What does that have to do with it? Why should it distract the army? “He is destabilizing democracy.” What democracy? Is this democracy? Actually, they are scared that Qadri’s movement could force the army to intervene and end their joyride again. The army would be stupid if it does for this is not the way. The system must be changed and the constitution amended by the people, if not through their ‘representatives’ in parliament then on the streets. Change by fiat rarely works.  The Smoking Gun: If the police came only to remove barriers, why did they bring Gullu and gang along? The fact that they did betrays malfeasance aforethought. It was premeditated slaughter and the police cast the first stone and fired the first shot. Why in the middle of the night? Why with thousands of policemen and hundreds of gangsters? It was pre-planned but backfired because like their bosses, the police have no sense. The Hackneyed Sharif Excuse: “I didn’t know,” says Shahbaz Sharif. “I was not in the loop”. The Sharif brothers think that they can fool all of the people all of the time. Just like Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed after he surrendered Kargil to India that he didn’t know his army had attacked the disputed territory, Shahbaz would have us believe that he didn’t know that his police had attacked Qadri’s people. We saw in a few hours what was happening – police brutality, the performance of Ullu and gang – on numerous television channels allowed by a so-called dictator. But the ‘democratic’ Sharifs didn’t know what was going on? Do you really think that the police would dare perpetrate such an outrage without orders from the very top? 

The Question: 

Let’s take the Sharifs at their word and ask: what kind of prime minister are you Nawaz Sharif that you didn’t even know that your army had attacked a disputed territory occupied by India? What kind of chief minister are you Shahbaz Sharif that you didn’t know that your police was slaughtering people in Lahore with the help of your goon Ullu and gang?

 

The Conclusion: 

Both Sharif brothers are either so incompetent that they don’t deserve to hold any position of trust and responsibility, much less of chief executives of Pakistan and Punjab and must go, 

or both are liars and knew, in which case they are not democrats but criminals and must go. 

Either way, they must go. Go, in the name of God, go.

 

The Malfeasance: Instead of booking Ullu Butt, his goons and the policemen involved, police first booked Tahir ul Qadri’s son instead. Later, they said that they had no evidence and withdrew. According to one source, the now transferred police officials are saying that they were ‘only’ carrying out orders to “teach Qadri’s workers a lesson.” After the carnage the police accompanied by an official of the establishment division proceeded to Jinnah Hospital where the dead and injured were lying and tried to force the hospital administration to change its report and say that the dead and injured were hit by stones, not bullets. Television cameras recorded this too. The federal and provincial governments don’t have a leg to stand on, so they are desperately looking for crutches. To dilute public anger, the government transferred some police officials who will later sing like canaries. They registered a weak case against Ullu. When Ullu was brought to court the next day he was soundly thrashed by people and lawyers. Police advised Ullu to feign unconsciousness. He duly ‘fainted’ and they whisked away this prime witness and later obtained the remand.

 

History of Suicide: Have the Sharifs tripped over again and pressed their destruct button for the third time? Attacking political opponents is their penchant. Their goons attacked the Supreme Court in Sharif’s second government, finally forced the targeted chief justice out and appointed their pet judge in his stead who shamelessly exonerated Nawaz Sharif and his goons of this calumny. Rived with hubris, Nawaz Sharif then attacked the army for the third time, the first two being the forced resignation of army chief General Jahangir Karamat, the second trying to hang Kargil round General Musharraf’s neck. On that fateful day of October 12, 1999 Sharif went completely haywire, illegally sacked army chief Musharraf while he was in Sri Lanka, appointed an army engineer as chief, hijacked Musharraf’s returning aircraft and tried to send it to India. If I had told you in the morning of October 12, 1999 that this would happen later that day, you would have thought I was mad, not realizing that Nawaz Sharif would go mad in a few hours. Attacking Qadri’s headquarters was behaviour according to type.

 

Shahbaz Sharif’s reaction was typical: set up a judicial commission. I’m sure he raised his forefinger too. How can we trust any judicial commission for obvious reasons? 

If Shahbaz Sharif had even a modicum of understanding of the best traditions of democracy he would resign forthwith and save himself. So should the home and law minister. So too the chief secretary, home secretary and Punjab police chief. Even if the chief minister didn’t know, these people should have.

 

What’s wrong with Qadri’s efforts to overthrow the status quo that benefits only the rulers and amend the constitution to make it more democratic? I said last week that if this system doesn’t go first, Pakistan will. To save Pakistan it must be overthrown. Don’t get distracted by Tahir ul Qadri’s persona. Focus on his message. A terrified government spreads terror to intimidate people and force them to sullenly accept the status quo. The prime purpose was to intimidate Qadri workers before his impending return.

 

I also wrote last week that Pakistan is being slaughtered at the alter of democracy. This real, not figurative slaughter should show you. I thought I had become immune to the worst that happened in my country, but today even I am shocked at the barbarity of the Punjab government. They have proved the hackneyed old Greek saying again: “Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”

 

God enjoins us to choose ‘Amr bil Ma’roof wan nahi an al Munkar’ – “He who commands good and forbids evil”. What have we done?

 

humayun.gauhar786@gmail.com

END

 

<bellaandzafar@hotmail.com> wrote:

Attention Ms Asma Jahangir

I saw the TV program, with anchor Dr Danish, Mr Babar Awan and you.

Your behaviour was the most condescending and you kept repeating the Mantra of a fixed mind set. 

You told Dr Danish rudely that “you are confused”! His politeness was exemplary, as he too could have responded suitably, but to his credit he did not.

Perhaps you have become too brazen by slapping lawyers in the courts. We have not forgotten that you are the saffron “witch” who can get away by saying whatever comes to your mind!

I have heard of your activities as a human rights lawyer but what you exhibited was always contrary to the basic principles of “human rights”.

Your blind support for the Sharif brothers (the PM and CM) is stinking to high heaven! e.g.

 

  • You support Democracy, yet in the same breath you condemn Imran Khan and Dr Tahir ul Qadri for making a peaceful protest! (a ‘learned’ lawyer saying that!) Isn’t this part of free democracy to protest?

  • You say nothing about the Police brutality in Model Town recently, which is totally against the rules of engagements when the protesters posed no threat. Yet the Gestapo Police went on to murder innocent people and shoot with their guns. Someone was behind all this.

  • You kept mum about Gullu Butt and his “hand in glove” activities” on that day with the Police. Who brought him?

  • You said nothing about the POLICE which after having arrested the protestors kept beating the civilians with sticks – at times 4 Policeman were hitting one old man. (I wonder what you would have said if one of them was you own nephew, niece, cousin, brother or UNCLE! – then this human rights lawyer would have gone barking mad.)

  • You did not condemn the Chief Minister as you are being well paid to represent him. Such an important activity occurring within his own house and he feigns that he was completely in the dark, how amusing. 

  • You said nothing about the BUREAUCRACY, the POLITICIANS or all others directly related to this bungling.

  • By your open support to the ruling class you have dirtied your hands with the blood of 14 people who died and 114 who are in the hospital and some still missing. In fact you literally become a party to these murders.

 

It is a SHAME that people whose profession is to practice law should come on the TV, behave in this atrocious and arrogant manner. You are a blot to the fare name of this nation and you should know people despise you madam. India is a much more proper place for you.

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Nawaz Sharif’s dogs, cars and manicured gardens costs are an economic bomb exploding in Pakistan

Pak PM’s dogs, cars and manicured gardens cost a bomb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
TRANS ASIA NEWS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister- Nawaz Sharif likes to live life king-size. He doesn’t really fancy making any compromises- be it the decor in his home or office, the aesthetic beauty of his landscaped garden spaces, sniffer dogs to ensure his safety, latest cars to drive around in, or eating into the emergency relief budget, to train pilots for his VVIP choppers.

Regardless of Pakistan’s poor economic growth, high inflation, internal and external security and energy crises, no expense is spared to ensure he is on par with world leaders from wealthy nations. The “Supplementary Demands for Grants and Appropriations 2013-14,” data released on Wednesday, 4 June, shows six sniffer dogs and two BMW cars were bought for him, through an additional budgetary allocation, while millions were spent on renovating his official residence and the PM’s office.

To place things in perspective, the latest World Bank data shows 60.2% of Pakistan’s population currently lives on $2 a day, with significant inequality on the national scale in the distribution of income and consumption. Pakistan’s position in the Human Development Index (HDI) last year was 136 out of 177 countries. 40% of Pakistan’s urban population was found living in slum areas in 2013. The International Food Policy Research Institute released its Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2013, which ranked Pakistan at 57. 

However, regardless of Pakistan’s ground realities, The News reports that documents reveal- six sniffer dogs were purchased for security duties at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad for an unprecedented 

Rs 2,400,000. An amount of Rs 120 million was spent on buying two BMW-76 Li High Security Sedans for the prime minister as well. 

The budget document is reportedly full of details about VVIP expenditures ranging from VVIP emergency visits to costly maintenance of public offices. An amount of Rs16.4 million was spent on repair and maintenance of the Prime Minister House while repair and maintenance of the PM office cost a whopping 

Rs 12 million. The document states Rs 1,022,000 was spent on the PM office garden alone.

 

Austerity is clearly not much of a priority for Nawaz Sharif. 

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India’s Nuclear Threat or Political Suicide By Sajjad Shaukat

India’s Nuclear Threat or Political Suicide

 

 

 

 

By Sajjad Shaukat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan Ra'ad Missile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his interview to an Indian TV channel, leader of the fundamentalist BJP-led ruling party Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) said on July 12, this year that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and it would not shy away from a nuclear war because ultimately there would be no Pakistan left. He elaborated, “May be 100 million will die; no problem…but we have to neutralize China.”

 

Swamy added that the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.” About the aftermath of the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan, he remarked, “Americans will hand over Afghanistan to Taliban and go…India should send at least 200,000 troops to Afghanistan…their [Taliban] appetite is Jihad and Kashmir is the obvious place…so we should be ready to go to war.” He further pointed out that Modi won the elections 2014 on the basis of Hindutva, and “those Muslims inside India who do not accept Hindu ancestry should be disenfranchised.”

 

However, it is wishful thinking of the BJP leader that India can destroy Pakistan through nuclear bombs. While both the neighbouring adversaries are nuclear powers, New Delhi should not ignore the principles of deterrence, popularly known as balance of terror.

 

After the World War 11, nuclear weapons were never used, and were only employed as a strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when the US and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic weapons, but they stopped because of the fear of nuclear war which could eliminate both the super powers. Therefore, the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.

 

Similarly, many occasions came between Pakistan and India, during Kargil crisis of 1998, and Indian parliament’s attack by the militants in 2001, and particularly in 2008, in the post-Mumbai terror attacks when New Delhi started a blame game against Islamabad in wake of its highly provocative actions like mobilization of troops. Pakistan had also taken defensive steps to meet any prospective aggression or surgical strikes by New Delhi. But, India failed in implementing its aggressive plans, because Islamabad also possesses atomic weapons.

 

Political strategists agree that deterrence is a psychological concept which aims to affect an opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence, weapons are less usable, as their threat is enough in deterring an enemy who intends to use its armed might. In this context, a renowned scholar, Hotzendorf remarks that nuclear force best serves the interests of a state when it deters an attack.

 

In the present circumstances, BJP is badly mistaken, if it overestimates India’s power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. As Pakistan lacks conventional forces and weapons vis-à-vis India, so, in case of a prolonged conflict, Pakistan will have to use nuclear weapons and missiles which could destroy whole of India, resulting into Indian political suicide.

 

It is notable that under the Pak-China pretext, the then Indian Army Chief, Gen. Deepak Kapoor had vocally revealed on December 29, 2010 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.” On October 15, 2010, the ex-Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh, while explaining the same concept had openly blamed that Beijing and Islamabad posed a major threat to India’s security, while calling for a need to upgrade country’s defence.

 

In May 1998, when India detonated five nuclear tests, the then Defense Minister (BJP leader) George Fernandes had declared publicly that “China is India’s potential threat No. 1.” New Delhi which successfully tested missile, Agni-111in May 2007, has been extending its range to target all Chinese cities.

 

Notably, in 2010, during his visit to India, US President Obama announced the measures, America would take regarding removal of Indian space and defence companies from a restricted “entities list.” Owing to various agreements with US, India has been purchasing latest and sophisticated defence-related arms and equipments from America like Apache helicopters, the new F-35 fighter jets etc. Besides, New Delhi has also been buying arms from Germany, France, Russia, Italy and especially Israel.

 

Particularly, America which signed a deal of civil energy technology with India in 2008, desires to make India a major power to counterbalance China in Asia. In case of Pakistan, Balochistan’s geo-strategic location with deep Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia has further annoyed the US and India, because Beijing has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. It is because of multiple strategic designs that the US and India seeks to dismember both Pakistan and Iran. Notably, by rejecting US growing pressure, on March 11, 2013, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the gas pipeline project with Iran. Pakistan also handed over the control of Gwader seaport to China.

 

During the trip of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Islamabad, Pakistan and China signed several agreements on May 22, 2013 to strengthen and diversify cooperation in various fields including completion of the Gwader seaport. Premier Li Keqiang supported Pakistan’s proposal of China-Pakistan economic corridor to improve connectivity between Pakistan and China, saying that both sides decided on a long term programme—a strategic idea, assuring that Beijing was also ready to upgrade Karrakuram Highway and to sign Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal.

It is mentionable that after the NATO forces quit Afghanistan in December, 2014, the puppet regime of Kabul will fall like a house of cards due to stiff resistance of the Afghan Taliban who will reemerge. India which has supported the Northern Alliance seeks to further strengthened its grip there to get strategic depth against Islamabad, will not be able to maintain its network and development projects due to successful guerrilla warfare of the Taliban. New Delhi which has shifted Afghan war to Pakistan, with the backing of Washington, will have to face the different war, as the Islamic militants are well-organized, having connections with one another from Somalia to Iraq and from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan or elsewhere. These non-state actors could reach India, especially the Indian-occupied Kashmir.

 

It is noteworthy that currently, more than half of India’s budget is allocated for armed forces, and defence purchases, leaving even less to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. Hence, various justices have further intensified regional and ethnic disparities in India.

It is worth-mentioning that the one of the important causes of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union was that its greater defence expenditure exceeded to the maximum, resulting into economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” However, militarization of the Soviet Union failed in controlling the movements of liberation, launched by various ethnic nationalities. On the other hand, while learning no lesson from India’s previous close friend, Indian new Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP is acting upon the similar policies.

 

Nevertheless, under the mask of democracy and secularism, Indian subsequent regimes dominated by politicians from the Hindi heartland—Hindutva, use brutal force ruthlessly against any move to free Assam, Kashmir, Khalistan, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Tripura where wars of liberation continue in one or the other form. In the recent years, Maoist intensified their struggle, attacking official installments. In this context, Indian media admitted that Maoists have now entered the cities, expanding their activities against the Indian union. While, even under the rule of Congress which claims to be secular party, Indian extremist parties like BJP, RSS, VHP, Shev Sina and Bajrang Dal have missed no opportunity to communalize national politics of India. They also intensified anti-Christian and anti-Muslim bloodshed.

 

After serving the BJP for 30 years, Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah and echoing the pain of the Indian Muslims in his book, “Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence.” While pointing out the BJP’s attitude towards the minorities, Singh wrote: “Every Muslim that lives in India is a loyal Indian…look into the eyes of Indian Muslims and see the pain.” He warned in his book, if such a policy continued, “India could have third partition.”

 

Past and present history of Balkan gives ample evidence that insurgency and movement of separatism in one country have drastic impact on other neighbouring states. Similarly, civil war and unrest either in Somalia or Sudan have affected all the states of Darfur region, while violent uprising in Egypt, Syria etc. has radicalized a number of the Middle East countries. Indian state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir in wake of Israeli continued atrocities on the Palestinians in Gaza will further radicalize Asia.

 

Nonetheless, irresponsible and unrealistic approach of the BJP-led government in the modern era of peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development could culminate into political suicide of the India union.

 

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

 

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com

 

 

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Bhutto Legend:Myth and Reality By Dr Asif Javed

Bhutto Legend:

Myth and Reality 
By Dr Asif Javed
Williamsport, PA

Pakistan-1971

“I feel that your services to Pakistan are indispensable. When the history of our country is written by objective historians, your name will be placed even before that of Mr. Jinnah.” The writer of this infamous piece of consummate flattery was a young Z.A. Bhutto, and the recipient, Sikander Mirza, who should be in the political hall of shame, if one were ever to be erected in Pakistan.

Bilawal Zardari has recently made a lot of noise about Z.A. Bhutto’s trial and demanded apology for the unjust verdict handed out to his grandfather. It has become very fashionable lately to call it a “judicial murder”. This writer is not a lawyer nor am I a politician; I do, however, belong to the unfortunate generation that witnessed the events of his grandfather’s time in power, and fall from it. It is said that legends ossify over time; in Bhutto’s case, certainly that appears to be so. Bhutto worship has become a relentless train that shows no signs of slowing down; instead, it keeps gathering speed. In the process, the established historical facts are being denied or distorted, and myths are being created. KK Aziz may easily write another volume of Murder of history based upon what we have seen recently.

Z.A. Bhutto was widely admired for his genius. Henry Kissinger may not have been way off the mark when he remarked, “Elegant, eloquent, subtle. . . .I found him brilliant, charming, of global stature in his perceptions. . . .He did not suffer fools gladly.”It is however, the other side of ZAB—the dark one—that needs to be revisited. In the process, perhaps we, as a nation, may learn some lessons and see things in the right perspective. Khalid Hasan, a life long admirer, who knew ZAB first hand, and worked as his press secretary, may have written the most balanced and insightful short biography of ZAB. He has summed it up eloquently: “ZAB had all the makings of a classical hero, carrying the seeds of self destruction in him—he was a flawed genius, a god who turned out to have feet of clay. . . .ZAB had many personal failings, including an inability to trust others, a congenital suspicion of friends and high sensitivity to personal criticism.”

With rare insight and objectivity, KH writes: “There is no evidence that US government or any of his agencies played a role in the overthrow of Bhutto—the time has come for us to accept that much of what has happened to our country and our leaders has been the result of our own mistakes. . . .ZAB believed that a country should have only one central figure as leader and all power should flow from him. It is a tragedy that a man of Bhutto’s intelligence, education and sense of history did not appreciate that Pakistan could only survive as a federal state with the provinces enjoying the maximum autonomy. Bhutto could not abide rival claimants to power even if they were elected to their office. He could not work with the opposition run provincial governments in Quetta and Peshawar and squeezed them out; that was his undoing. Bhutto forgot that power in order to be kept, must be dispersed.” KH also notes that it was Bhutto who revised ISI’s charter to include domestic political intelligence.

It is widely believed that Bhutto was hanged for a crime that he did not commit. It is rarely, if ever, asked, who then was the real perpetrator? Mohammad Ahmad Kasuri was murdered in Lahore; the crime scene was found to have shells used by FSF—Bhutto’s elite security force. And yet, the investigation was not extended to FSF. I recall a statement by Hanif Ramay of PPP, then the CM of Punjab, that Kasuri family had many enemies. This was despite Ahmed Raza Kasuri’s contention that there was no suspect but one—ZAB. This was not the first attempt on Kasuri’s life; he had escaped one ambush in Islamabad earlier. These episodes had followed an angry exchange between ZAB and Kasuri in the NA when ZAB called Kasuri a poison and threatened to fix him up. Ch Sardar, former IG Police, Punjab, has provided the firsthand account of this case in his biography, The Ultimate Crime; so read on: “FSF was created by a notorious dismissed police officer, Haq Nawaz Tiwana, and was headed ultimately by another infamous police officer, Masood Mahmood—-The FSF did not bother about any law, assuming the role of Bhutto’s private army—- Soon after the imposition of martial law, an elaborate enquiry in to the affairs of FSF was initiated. The FSF had gained a reputation of being, Bhutto’s gang of goons, for dirty works. During the enquiry, ASI M. Arshad of FSF, appeared before Ch. Abdul Khaliq, Dep. Director, FIA, Lahore and promised to tell everything truthfully if he were not tortured. He disclosed that he was a member of a special cell in the FSF headquarters, which had the most trusted officers for secret and sensitive missions—then he threw a bombshell. He said he was one of the FSF men who had fired on the car in which MNA Ahmad Raza Kasuri was ambushed.” So, this was the first solid lead in to the infamous murder case that led Bhutto to the gallows; legal intricacies aside, one is hard pressed not to see a connection here. Ch Sardar discusses the dubious character of the infamous trio of Masood Mahmood (DG FSF), Saeed Ahmad Khan(Chief Sec Officer to Bhutto) and Sardar Abdul Wakeel, DIG Lahore; they all had been among the most trusted police officers of Bhutto and would commit criminal and illegal acts to show him their ‘devotion and loyalty’. After his overthrow, they all were among the star prosecution witnesses in the case that led to his conviction. Sardar also, confirms the widely believed rumor of the time that a procession of opposition women in 1977, was manhandled near Wapda House, Lahore by the “Nath Force”—a large number of prostitutes, recruited temporarily as police women, specifically for this purpose.

Kasuri’s murder may have been the most famous one, but was by no means the only one; this is a list that includes Dr. Nazir Ahmed of JI, MNA from Dera Ghazi Khan who was gunned down in his clinic weeks after provincial chief of his party, Syed Asad Gilani, had been warned by Khar (Us ka anjaam acha nahi ho ga). Kh Rafiq was gunned down behind Punjab assembly while leading a procession; Abdus Samad Achakzai was killed in his house in a grenade attack while Maulvi Shamsuddin, MPA and deputy speaker of Balochistan assembly, was shot in his car. Those who escaped attempts at their lives included Wali Khan, who lost his driver and personal body guard in the ambush; this was fourth attempt on his life. Years later, Wali Khan was to warn Zia of Bhutto’s vengeance (there are two dead bodies and one grave; make sure Bhutto goes in first, otherwise, you may be the one). Ch. Zahoor Elahi, whose political heirs sit happily with Zardari at present, suffered more than most; Amnesty international once reported that there were 117 cases against him; this included a case of buffalo stealing. He survived in jail in Balochistan, courtesy of Governor Akbar Bugti, who refused to do him harm. Small wonder that after Bhutto’s hanging, Zahoor Elahi requested and received the pen that Zia had used to reject the mercy petitions for Bhutto. Mian Tufail, was scandalously manhandled in jail, writes Sherbaz Mazari in his autobiography, A Journey to Disillusionment; it was rumored at the time, that a naked prostitute was sent in to his cell to humiliate the Amir of JI. At the height of crises that eventually toppled him, Bhutto rushed in to see Maudoodi in Ichra; one wonders whether the founder of JI reminded ZAB of the treatment given out to his successor. Barrister F. Ibrahim, who was later to become chief justice of Supreme Court, used to share the legal chamber with Bhutto in Karachi, in the 50’s. “Bhutto was very generous, but I sensed a streak of violence in him, a certain mean or vindictive quality,” he told Stanley Wolpert, the author of Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan.

Mukhtar Rana, a PPP MNA from Lyallpur, had earned the wrath of his leader by his divergent views. He was deposed as MNA, arrested, and after being subjected to severe physical abuse—according to one report, he almost died under torture—was convicted in a military court and sentenced to five-year term of imprisonment, all in a matter of days. Ustad Daman, dervish Punjabi poet, made the cardinal error of writing an anti-Bhutto poem; he had a case registered against him—he was accused of being in possession of a hand grenade.

Kaswar Gardezi, was one of many to suffer vicious brutality; here is Mazari’s narrative: “In a voice breaking with emotion, Gardezi related his horrifying experience to me. The police presented him with an egg, a potato and an onion, he said, and then asked which of these will he prefer to be inserted in to his anus. After undergoing this humiliation and barbaric ordeal, he was then threatened with sodomy; to his good fortune, this threat was never carried out. Instead, he was badly beaten with a stout cane, after which he was forced to lie naked on a solid slab of ice.”At the time, Gardezi was Secretary General of the NAP, one of the leading opposition parties. Some people have been accused of going to irrational lengths in their hatred of Bhutto; incidents like above, are perhaps, the explanation for this.

One has to remember that Bhutto’s own associates were not spared his wrath; J.A. Rahim, a senior member of the cabinet, learned this lesson the hard way. He annoyed Bhutto once by leaving early from a dinner hosted by the PM. Rahim also made the mistake of showing his resentment by calling Bhutto, ‘Raja of Larkana’. What follows is how Rahim described this horrifying experience to Wolpert: “On reaching home, I went to bed. . . . About 1 A.M., I was woken up by my servant who said that there was a crowd of people before the house. . . . Some men of the FSF were climbing up the front balcony for the purpose of entering my bedroom. . . . I went to the front door downstairs. . . . Saeed Ahmad Khan, Chief of PM’s Security, who was at the head of that mob of armed FSF thugs, answered that he had come to deliver a message from the PM. . . . As the door opened, they rushed in . . . . Besides being beaten by fists, I was hit by rifle butts. I was thrown to the ground and hit while prostrate. . . . I lost consciousness. . . . I was dragged by my legs, then thrown in to a jeep. . . . bleeding profusely.” Intellectually brilliant, Rahim had retired as Pakistan’s ambassador to France, had been one of the founding members of PPP, and had written its manifesto.

Khalid Hasan was once asked by Bhutto to check out a certain person in Lahore. “I found out that the man was saying bad things about Bhutto all over the place,” Khalid writes. “I came back and told Bhutto. His brow furrowed. “His credit in my book has not quite run out yet,” he said. “I shuddered to think what would happen when the man’s credit did run out.”

Malik Meraj Khalid, in his biography, Merajnama, describes the extent to which Bhutto and Khar could go to harass their political opponents. Meraj Khalid once received a phone call from Zahoor Elahi’s daughter, whose admission to Lahore College of Home Economics had been blocked by Khar. By nature a decent man, Meraj had to call Bhutto personally to rectify this. On another occasion, Meraj had to call ZAB again to stop Khar’s plans to set on fire the house on Davis Road, Lahore where Asghar Khan was staying. Asghar Khan was not so lucky with his house in Abbotabad though; it did burn to the ground in very suspicious circumstances.

No account of Bhutto’s Awami Raj is complete without Dalai Camp. It will be fair to call it Bhutto’s Guantanamo Bay. It was used to secretly detain, three political dissidents (Iftikhar Tari, Ch. Irshad and Mian Aslam). These individuals were former PPP members, who had fallen out with Bhutto and left PPP along with Khar. As I recall, two of them had been former provincial ministers. Fearing arrest, some of them had been granted bail before arrest by the high court. They vanished without trace one day, having been picked up by FSF and were only recovered when Bhutto was deposed. Iftikhar Tari, who had the reputation of a goon, appeared broken after release. He narrated his ordeal on TV and could not stop crying in a program called, Zulm ki dastaan.

Bhutto could not forgive. Mazari recounts the following in his memoirs: “Back in the 50’s, Sir Shah Nawaz (Bhutto’s father) went to see Ayub Khuro, who was then CM of Sindh. Bhutto went along. Khuro slighted them by making them wait for half an hour in the verandah, and then drinking tea without offering them any. Swallowing his pride, elder Bhutto requested the Sindhi politician for a job for his son in the foreign service. Khuro listened to the request and asked the elder Bhutto to submit an application in writing to him. He then dismissed them cursorily with a wave of his hand. Later in 1972, as soon as Bhutto achieved power, one of his first acts was to humiliate Khuro by having the walls to his home in Larkana razed to the ground.”At times, Bhutto’s sensitivity reached absurd levels. Mazari notes: “In the mid 50’s, Ahmed Nawaz Bugti was hosting a table for some foreign ladies at Le Gourmet. Bhutto, who was present at the restaurant, spotted him and asked if he could join the group. Knowing his reputation with women, Bugti declined. Years later, Bhutto visited Quetta as President, to attend a formal dinner held by Governor Bizenjo for Princess Ashraf of Iran. Seated at the high table, he sighted Bugti, who was then Balochistan’s finance minister, dining at a less august table than his. Bhutto asked his ADC to bring Bugti to his table, looked at him and said, ‘Do you remember the time when you would not let me sit at your table? Well this time, I won’t let you sit at mine’.”

Here is another eye opener for Bhutto fans; this is again written in Mazari’s autobiography: “Over dinner at the Governor’s House, Arbab Sikander Khalil, related a rather strange and unsettling story to me. It seemed that Bhutto had recently visited Peshawar and while staying at the Government House, had requested Arbab Sikander for a supply of whisky. The Governor politely informed ZAB that as he did not imbibe alcohol, he was unable to provide the President with liquor. Bhutto then sent his airplane to Islamabad to fetch whisky. When the plane returned that evening, it not only brought alcohol but also, a Federal Minister’s wife too, to keep Bhutto company.”

Here is an excerpt from Stanley Wolpert’s book, Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: “One of the women Zulfi met at a cocktail party that fall (1963) was Rita Dhar, daughter of V. Lakshmi Pandit, the first woman president of the General Assembly. Mrs. Dhar recalled how immediately after meeting her, Zulfi eyed her lasciviously, inviting her to his apartment.” Nehru’s niece apparently declined to Bhutto’s chagrin. Pakistan’s young foreign minister was in NY to attend the annual session of General Assembly. Ardeshir Cowasjee told Wolper that Nusrat Bhutto had once attempted suicide and was hospitalized in Parsi hospital, Karachi with a drug overdose; on another occasion, she approached Ayub Khan, through Nancy Cowasjee, after “having been thrown out of her own house by her faithless husband.” She was staying in Mrs. Davies Private Hotel in Rawalpindi. It is to her credit that she stuck to her husband as he continued his love affairs.

A myth that refuses to go away is that opposition and Bhutto had reached an 

agreement and army sabotaged it; the facts speak quite otherwise. Here is Mazari’s account: “At 10 P.M., on July 3 rd,Mufti Mahmood, Prof Ghafoor and Nawabzada Nasrullah, handed over the additional nine points to Bhutto. Having consulted Pirzada and Niazi, Bhutto returned to the PNA team and told them that he needed time for further consultation. According to Prof. Ghafoor, Bhutto’s attitude appeared accommodating; but only two hours later, his stance hardened dramatically. Addressing a press conference at midnight July 3rd, he lambasted the PNA negotiating team for ‘repudiating their earlier agreement’. It was clear to all that the PPP-PNA talks had broken down once again.” Gen K.M. Arif gives a very similar account of events in his book, Working with Zia. Arif quotes General Gilani, ISI chief at the time, that both him as well as Rao Rashid, newly appointed Director of Intelligence, had warned Bhutto repeatedly that the army’s patience had been exhausted and it was planning to act very soon. KH has also, devoted many pages of his book to crises of 1977. Here is an excerpt: “Tikka Khan (Bhutto’s adviser at the time) told the PM, in the presence of Zia and Corps commanders, ‘Sir, I would say we wipe out five or six thousand of their(PNA’s)men. That will cool them off’. Tikka Khan’s mindless remark convinced Zia and his Corps Commanders that Bhutto and his men were bent upon doing just some such thing.”

Gen. Gul Hassan and Air Marshal Rahim Khan had played a key role in bringing Bhutto to power. They were both dismissed in a most humiliating way, having been forced to sign their resignations, taken hostage and then driven to Lahore in the company of pistol packing Jatoi, Mumtaz Bhutto and Khar. Years later, while awaiting his fate in jail, Bhutto accused Zia of ‘biting the hand that fed him’. He had conveniently forgotten his own treatment of Ayub, Gul Hasan and Rahim.

“Bhutto trusted nobody,” KH notes. “He was troubled by what he considered unrealistic and idealistic liberal approach to press freedom, basic rights and government by law. Long before his overthrow, he had deprived himself of those who were capable of honest and wise advice. . . .and chosen to exercise power through civilian and military bureaucracy that he had once denounced. After his overthrow, he told Inam Aziz—Bhutto’s last interview—that he now understood where he might have gone wrong. He said he wanted to start all over again, back to the real fountainhead of power.” But history is merciless, Khalid laments, and had moved on.

Mazari’s assessment is similar to KH’s: “The press had to bear ZAB’s determined onslaught. As soon as he attained power, he dismissed the chairman of National Press Trust (that he had vowed to abolish) and the editor of Pakistan Times. His rival from the Ayub days, Altaf Gauhar, who was then the editor of Dawn, was placed under arrest. The printer, editor and publisher of Urdu DigestZindgiand Punjab Punch were arrested for protesting against ZAB’s martial law, were convicted and sentenced even before the writ petitions challenging their arrests could be heard in the Lahore High Court. Shorish Kashmiri of Chataan was also sent to jail; Hurriyet andJasarat were banned and their editors imprisoned. Mehran was banned while Iqbal Barni’s weekly Outlook was forced in to shutting down its publication.”This is by no means an all inclusive list of the journals and newspapers that suffered.

KH has analyzed the issue of rigging in 1977 elections: “As far the rigging, it was so unnecessary because he was going to win big anyway. There is no evidence that he ordered the rigging, but he did not exercise the vigilance that it was his duty to do as PM and chairman of the ruling party. His own unopposed election from Larkana encouraged the lesser figures in the party to use the muscle of the state wherever possible to ensure their individual victory. The first angled brick that Bhutto built was laid by the unanimous and unopposed election of the PM himself. This less than laudable example was followed by his CM’s and some other PPP leaders in the four provinces. His rival Jan M. Abbasi of JI had -been kidnapped earlier, to keep him from filing his papers.” Wolpert traces this back to highly unexpected defeat of Bhutto’s father Sir Shah Nawaz in 1937, at the hands of Sh. Majid Sindhi. “Young Zulfi may have taken too much to heart, the lesson of his father’s election defeat, resolving even at his tender age, never to risk losing an election, no matter how high a price need to be paid to insure victory.”

ZAB’s intolerance had no limits. On 23rd March 1973, an opposition rally at Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi was disrupted. Here is the eye witness account by Ch. Sardar, who was SP Police at the time: “It was in the air that armed workers would be present in the public meeting. . . .then came reports that that armed PPP workers were also coming to the same public meeting. . . .by midday, we received information that large conveys of PPP crowds were coming from Punjab and some of them were armed as well. . . .DSP City told me that he saw some FSF men in plain clothes and suspected their involvement—On the FSF involvement, I was really shocked.”The violence at Liaquat Bagh led to eleven deaths and hundreds of serious injuries. Almost four decades later, BB was assassinated at the gate of the same Liaquat Bagh; was this divine retribution? One has to wonder.

Arthur Kessler once wrote that nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion. Many of Bhutto admirers never knew him first hand; one wonders what their reaction would have been, had they seen their leader’s behavior at close quarters. Back to the apology, demanded by Bilawal, I am not sure if the Bhutto family deserves an apology for his hanging. One should certainly ask whether the Oxford educated Bilawal has the moral strength to offer one to the families of those who suffered his esteemed grandfather’s vengeance.

 

 

Interesting odds and ends about Bhutto- surely he was a walking disaster for us Pakistanis!

 

Here is what the British High Commissioner; Sir Maurice James had to say about Bhutto,

 

“Bhutto certainly had the right qualities for reaching the heights–drive, charm, and imagination, a quick and penetrating mind, zest for life, eloquence, energy, a strong constitution, a sense of humor, and a thick skin. Such a blend is rare anywhere, and Bhutto deserved his swift rise to power…….

 

But there was — how shall I put it ?– a rank odor of hellfire about him. It was a case of CORRUPTO OPTIMA PESSOMA a flawed angel.I believes that at heart he lacked a sense of dignity and value of other people; his own self was what counted. I sensed in him ruthlessness and capacity for ill-doing which went far beyond what is natural.

 

Except at university abroad, he was surrounded by mediocrities, and all his life, for want of competition, his triumphs came too easily for his own good. Lacking humility, he thus came to believe himself infallible, even when yawning gaps his own experience (e.g. of military matters) laid him—as over the 1965 war–wide open to disastrous error.

 

Despite his gifts, I judged that one day Bhutto would destroy himself — when, I could not tell. In 1965, I so reported in one of my dispatches from Pakistan as British High Commissioner. I wrote by way of clinching the point that BHUTTO WAS BORN TO BE HANGED.  {Emphasis added}. I did not intend this comment as a precise prophecy of what was going to happen to him, but fourteen years later that was what it turned out to be”. MAN PROPOSES, GOD DISPOSES. HIS HANGING MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FOR THE ALLEGED MURDER BUT HE DESERVED TO DIE FOR HIS ROLE IN BREAK UP OF PAKISTAN.”

      

Original message From: Ayesha 

Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2014 12:18:17 +0500

 

ASA Dr. Asif Javed,

 

Your article has prompted me to write to you.

 

My husband’s eldest brother, Naseemul Islam was married to Bhuttos only natural sister, Manna or Munawwar.

Through her I saw Zulfi from close quarters.

 

 My late father ,G.A.Madani, as Commissioner Karachi in 1963, showed us the Estate Jewels  frisked away by Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto from the Junagadh Treasury, when Sir S B was the Madar ul  Mahaam of Junagadh State, pre-partition.

 

 Begum Junagadh had filed a case for recovery of these jewels and other things. I saw those jewels in the Commissioner Office, Karachi, at the time when my father had called her to view the jewels recovered from Bhutto House. (By that time Sir Shahnawaz had died in the Palace Hotel–having been thrown out by his young Bahoo, Nusrat Bhutto ). (At this point I was married to Munawwar Islam Bhutto’s brother-in-law, and I was jittery about the flack I would  receive from her!)

 

A year later, in 1964, my late father, G.A.Madani, ICS, CSP, SPK, SQA had been posted to Peshawar as Commissioner. (by request to get away from the awful Commissioner ate of Karachi). I was visiting him when an invitation came from the next door neighbor, Air Chief Asghar Khan. I was asked to accompany my father as Mother was happy baby-sitting my first born).

 

THAT WAS A DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET.

 

Zulfi was the Chief Guest (in a bad mood because of the DRY LIQUORLESS party) I saw him sidling up to my father who was talking to Asghar Khan with me right behind them. 

I AM WITNESS TO THE ‘KAMEENI’ and vindictiveness of ZAB. 

He looked into my father’s eyes and said, “Madani, I will not forgive you Or your children And their children, for what you did to my family. (Ref. Junagadh Jewels!)

 

I tugged at my father’s sleeves, fearing Bhutto’s physical presence, AND ASGHAR KHAN’s mouth kept falling open. My father excused himself from the host and walked out on Bhutto!

 

Soon Bhutto’s vengeance with all Urdu speakers became known and talked about. He said that had he been in Pakistan he would never have allowed his father to ask a Mohajir to marry his daughter! 

 

His vengeance further took the shape of breaking up established Business  Houses (cartels according to Feroze Qaiser Bhai—my childhood role model) . He stooped to nationalising the business house, Spencer & Co Pak Ltd, where my in laws, the Islams, were majority share-holders. ZAB’s own brother-in-law, Naseem ul Islam, (husband of Munawwar Bhutto, father of Tariq Islam, ) was a smaller share-holder than my husband. 

 

WE SUFFERED.

 

Comes separation of East and West Pakistan, thanks to Zulfi, who threatened to break my cousin, Ahmad Raza Qasuri’s legs, if he goes to attend the first session of Parliament in Dacca,

ALL OUR BUSINESSES/PROPERTIES IN WHAT IS NOW BANGLA DESH BECAME EVACUEE PROPERTY. WE WERE BROKEN FINANCIALLY. 

 

We knew Zulfi. We survived him by the strength of our faith. We live to see the games being played by Tariq Islam with us and by the rangroot, Bilawal Bacha.

 

Signing off with amazing memories surfing in my mind,

AYESHA SHAMIMUL ISLAM

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Reflections on India by Sean Paul Kelley

Indians will find this one hard to swallow. And we Pakistani are working hard to become like them? If Nawaz Sharif Would Stop Focusing on Family Business & Focus on Pakistan,coming Train Wreck Pakistan could be averted.But,he is too busy stuffing incompetent Kashmiris into Govt Ministeries.

I thought Pakistan was terrible. But this beats anything on the planet

Indians will find this one hard to swallow.

But, one can’t deny the bitter facts… Can Indians Handle The Truth?

Is India a real super power?

 

The following comments are written by Prem Sagar, a Hindu.

Read them and open your eyes about great India 900 million people earn only 20 rupees per day in India. Out of which 500 million people earns only 10 rupees per day. Out of which 250 million makes only 5 rupees per day. Out of which 50 million people makes nothing. We have created the most heinous society in the history of human race. We 1 million Indians carry the toilet of other Indians every day. This is the greatest economical terrorism in the history of human race. We have 5 lakh villages without water. 34 families control 50% India – the greatest feudal  system ever. Our mataas and mothers in the villages do their toilet on the road side. We are topping in AIDS, Blood Pressure, Stress Level and many other ills and deceases. We have the largest ghetto in Bombay. And yet, we have all the time to attack Muslims. We have killed and massacred over 10 million Hindu female babies in the last decade alone by forced abortions. Every day, hundreds of Hindu women are being raped by other Hindus. Every day! When Muslims lost power in India, the literacy rate was 96%. When British lost India, the literacy rate was reduced to 12% and they left 160 million Indian poor and destitute. Today, that poor and destitute climbed to 900 million. Today, Hindus have created the greatest feudal System in the history of mankind. 34 Hindu families control 50% India. Out of 1200 million people, only 35 million Indians are full time employees. The rest is hopping one place to another. Out of which 1.5 million are employed in military, few lakhs in Banking, Railway and government. If anybody wanted to substantiate the above, please watch RAJIVE DIXIT SPEECH IN HYDERABAD 2010. Just cut and paste the capital letters on YouTube and enjoy the speech by this Pakka Hindu. Hindus are incapable to function as a society. When Muslims entered India, the country was divided into 200 mini kingdoms. They  always use to fight with each other. They demolish each other Bhagwans and deities statutes. It was a regular practice. Muslims provided stability. Bollywood today is the hub and powerhouse of prostitution. The producers and directors regularly rape the upcoming start up heroines. The branded heroines regularly sell their bodies for lakhs per night to rich people inside and outside India. India is becoming a superpower is nothing but hoax and false. Today, every city of India is filthy, dirty - they live like haiwaans (beasts)​ and animals.


 

 

Reflections on India

by

Sean Paul Kelley

Sean Paul Kelley is a travel writer, former radio host, and before that, an asset manager for a Wall Street investment bank that is still (barely) alive. He recently left a fantastic job in Singapore working for Solar Winds, a software company based out of Austin, to travel around the world for a year or two. He founded The Agonist, in 2002, which is still considered the top international affairs, culture and news destination for progressives. He is also the Global Correspondent for The Young Turks, on satellite radio and Air America.

If you are Indian, or of Indian descent, I must preface this post with a clear warning: you are not going to like what I have to say. My criticisms may be very hard to stomach. But consider them as the hard words and loving advice of a good friend. Someone who is being honest with you and wants nothing from you.

These criticisms apply to all of India except Kerala and the places I did not visit, except that I have a feeling it applies to all of India.

Lastly, before anyone accuses me of Western Cultural Imperialism, let me say this: if this is what India and Indians want, then, who am I to tell them differently. Take what you like and leave the rest. In the end it doesn’t really matter, as I get the sense that Indians, at least many upper class Indians, don’t seem to care and the lower classes just don’t know any better, what with Indian culture being so intense and pervasive on the sub-continent. But, here goes, nonetheless.

India is a mess.

It’s that simple, but it’s also quite complicated. I’ll start with what I think are Indias’ four major problems – the four most preventing India from becoming a developing nation – and then move to some of the ancillary ones.

First: Pollution. In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution, indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don’t know how cultural the filth is, but it’s really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump.

Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree, were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all too common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter, was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight.

 

Fishermen search for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the polluted waters of the river Sabarmati in Ahmedabad

Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for ones’ health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads.

The only two cities that could be considered sanitary, in my journey, were Trivandrum – the capital of Kerala – and Calicut. I don’t know why this is, but I can assure you that, at some point, this pollution will cut into Indias’ productivity, if it already hasn’t. The pollution will hobble Indies’ growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small ‘c’ sense.)

The second issue, infrastructure, can be divided into four subcategories: Roads, Rails, Ports and the Electric Grid. The Electric Grid is a joke. Load shedding is all too common, everywhere in India. Wide swathes of the country spend much of the day without the electricity they actually pay for. Without regular electricity, productivity, again, falls.

The Ports are a joke. Antiquated, out of date, hardly even appropriate for the mechanized world of container ports, more in line with the days of long shore men and the like.

 

Roads are an equal disaster. I only saw one elevated highway that would be considered decent in Thailand, much less Western Europe or America and I covered fully two-thirds of the country during my visit. There are so few dual carriage-way roads as to be laughable. There are no traffic laws to speak of and, if there are, they are rarely obeyed, much less enforced (another sideline is police corruption). A drive that should take an hour takes three. A drive that should take three takes nine. The buses are at least thirty years old, if not older and, generally, in poor mechanical repair, belching clouds of poisonous smoke and fumes.

Everyone in India, or who travels in India, raves about the railway system. Rubbish! It’s awful! When I was there in 2003 and then late 2004 it was decent. But, in the last five years, the traffic on the rails has grown so quickly that once again, it is threatening productivity. Waiting in line just to ask a question now takes thirty minutes. Routes are routinely sold out three and four days in advance now, leaving travellers stranded with little option except to take the decrepit and dangerous buses.

At least fifty million people use the trains a day in India. 50 million people! Not surprising that wait lists of 500 or more people are common now. The rails are affordable and comprehensive, but, they are overcrowded and what with budget airlines popping up in India like sadhus in an ashram in the middle and lowers classes are left to deal with the over utilized rails and quality suffers. No one seems to give a shit.

Seriously, I just never have the impression that the Indian government really cares. Too interested in buying weapons from Russia, Israel and the US, I guess.

The last major problem in India is an old problem and can be divided into two parts: that have been two sides of the same coin since government was invented: bureaucracy and corruption.

It take triplicates to register into a hotel. To get a SIM card for ones’ phone is like wading into a jungle of red-tape and photocopies one is not likely to emerge from in a good mood, much less satisfied with customer service.

 

Getting train tickets is a terrible ordeal, first you have to find the train number, which takes 30 minutes, then you have to fill in the form, which is far from easy, then you have to wait in line to try and make a reservation, which takes 30 minutes at least and if you made a single mistake on the form, back you go to the end of the queue, or what passes for a queue in India.

government is notoriously uninterested in the problems of the commoners. Too busy fleecing the rich, or trying to get rich themselves in some way, shape or form. Take the trash, for example, civil rubbish collection authorities are too busy taking kickbacks from the wealthy to keep their areas clean that they don’t have the time, manpower, money or interest in doing their job.

 

Rural hospitals are perennially understaffed as doctors pocket the fees the government pays them, never show up at the rural hospitals and practice in the cities instead.

I could go on for quite some time about my perception of India and its problems, but in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone in India really cares. And that, to me, is the biggest problem. India is too conservative a society to want to change in any way.

 Mumbai, India’s’ financial capital, is about as filthy, polluted and poor as the worst city imaginable in Vietnam, or Indonesia – and being more polluted than Medan, in Sumatra, is no easy task. The biggest rats I have ever seen were in Medan !

One would expect a certain amount of, yes, I am going to use this word, “backwardness,” in a country that hasn’t produced so many Nobel Laureates, nuclear physicists, imminent economists and entrepreneurs. But, India has all these things and what have they brought back to India with them? Nothing.

The rich still have their servants, the lower castes are still there to do the dirty work and so the country remains in stasis. It’s a shame. Indians and India have many wonderful things to offer the world, but I’m far from sanguine that India will amount to much in my lifetime.

 

Now, you have it, call me a cultural imperialist, a spoiled child of the West and all that. But remember, I have been there. I have done it and I have seen 50 other countries on this planet and none, not even Ethiopia, have as long and gargantuan a laundry list of problems as India does.

 

And, the bottom line is, I don’t think India really cares. Too complacent and too conservative.

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