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Archive for category HISTORY OF PAKISTAN

 National Government Has Become An Absolute Imperative. Saeed A Malik.

 National Government Has Become An Absolute Imperative

Saeed A Malik

 

From 2008 onwards, the central aim being pursued by the governments in power stood naked and exposed, without a shred of modesty nor any sense of shame. This central aim was to loot Pakistan. There is therefore a direct correlation between the exponential rise in Pakistan’s national debt and the assets of its”leaders”. Our national debt is not just a serious issue. It is potentially a catastrophic one. This is not a matter for speculation which may be argued against, for this a mathematical reality. The figures are out there. Our debt is known and so is our income. It is also known that we do not have the income to repay our debt, the first installments of which are due from us in 2018. Non-payment means bankruptcy. And bankruptcy means economic sanctions at the very least. To avoid these sanctions a pound of Pakistan’s flesh will be required by the lenders. And one does not need to guess too hard that this pound will include our nuclear assets; an end to CPEC; and a free hand in Baluchistan. In short Pakistan will lose its defense capability; will be truncated for all practical purposes; and its only chance to get out of its present economic mess will die the death of an unrealized dream.
In short, the level of corruption in Pakistan and the huge national debt this has spawned, are existential threats to the viability of our independent existence.
There is also a nexus between the looted money and terrorist funding. Our leadership has therefore given us the twin gifts of economic catastrophe, and its financial support of terrorist groups. Either of these gifts would have been enough, in the long run, to have taken Pakistan down. But coming together, their lethality could well wring Pakistan’s neck.
It is often suggested by the apologists for the government that the real cause of our debt is the costs incurred due to the war against terror, whose smooth execution has actually been hindered by the government i.e they have stood with the enemy in this war.
Be that as it may, the fact is that the almost seventy percent fall in the prices of oil has more than met the costs of the war on terror. The cost however which cannot be met is the cost of economic terrorism waged by our leadership against our country.
But the immensity of the theft that was visited on Pakistan leads one to ask, how could this have even been possible? The answer to this question is a very simple one for those that have the honesty to face the problem squarely without blinking. This situation is the direct result of the “system” which is trying to masquerade as a democracy. The public representatives elected to parliament are not elected to legislate and govern. They are elected to loot and plunder the state, because the very order is based upon a ” returns on investment” system. In short this is a system where “madate” has come to mean a mandate to loot and plunder. The logic being spewed by a frothing Nawaz Sharif to proclaim his innocence tells us that this interpretation of “mandate” is the one he goes by.
Under this “system” the one seeking a seat in parliament has to first make an investment, which begins with his purchase of a ticket from those who supposedly give us our “democracy”. A person who “invests” ten crores to get elected, comes motivated to earn fifty crores if elected. Thus the “system” is rooted and founded on theft and villainy. And that is what should be expected from it.You cannot expect to sow bramble, and hope to get roses.
At the level of a political party, this system metastasizes into a vast criminal enterprise, which was what both Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were running. The mechanics of this “system” are very easy to understand. To commit economic fraud on your country you cannot do it alone. You need to be facilitated. And this facilitation is done by the secretary of your ministry. And so you get yourself a corrupt secretary. And here begins the undermining of the bureaucracy. Pretty soon you have placed all such institutions which can help you make or hide money [like the FBR, SECP, OGDC etc etc] under corrupt bosses. With the passage of time the whole civil service  becomes diseased, ministering only to you at the cost of national interest.
The second enterprise you embark upon is to give yourself immunity from the law and any form of accountability. For this you subvert the police, the FIA, NAB, and any and all such organizations which can hold you accountable, going right up to the judiciary.
To make the “system” work without any challenge, you also co-opt the political opposition into this criminal enterprise and sign with them a “Charter of Democracy.”
Lastly you want to ensure that the elections that are held, return you to power each time they are held. For this you rig the election commission, as well as the interim governments sworn in to hold elections, and take help from your man in NADRA. And lastly you amend the constitution to further strengthen your immunity from accountability and to ensure your perpetuation in power. This has divided the country between a rotten “elite”, and the hopeless rest, and driven the state to the margins of extinction.
By the time you have “achieved” all this, the “system” that you have brought about, stands in direct opposition to any form of accountability and therefore against this central pillar of democracy: while a mangled constitution stands opposed to national interest. The situation therefore is so created, that any citizen who stands with national interest, will per force have to oppose the constitution. This is the sorry pass where the combined exertions of Zadari and Nawaz Sharif have dragged the nation to.
The only institution which could not be subverted by this duo, despite their best efforts, was the Pakistan Army, and lately, a rejuvenated judiciary. But sadly, the army, which guards our national security, stood back and allowed the very foundations of the state to be undermined by mega corruption, without moving a muscle to thwart it. Without this negligence to duty, we could not have reached this stage.
The system which uses the label of democracy but is geared to breed only criminals, needs to go and new one put in its place. The only way this can be done is to eliminate, as far as is possible, the promise of monetary gain from political office, so that increasingly such people enter politics, as are committed to serving the people and the country. The most important single step in this direction is to reform the civil service and the police. Each of these must have their own secretariats to deal with the promotions and postings and transfers etc of their cadres, so that no minister can have in his ministry a secretary of his choice. These postings should be done entirely on merit by the service itself. If the officer who facilitates the corruption of a minister is denied to him, theft and chances of it will greatly be reduced; while a relatively independent police force, largely operating without political interference, will take away the comfort of immunity which is now being enjoyed by all the ministers.
Any constitution and system of laws is predicated on the assumption that those sworn to uphold it, will be the last ones to undermine it. But in our case these are the very people who have mangled the constitution, and they subvert the spirit of what is left of it, on a daily basis. And there is little to hold them accountable.
Just examine the situation that this criminal enterprise has brought about. We have a prime minister in parliament; we have one in Jati Umra to whom all the ministers report; and we have one in the shape of Maryam Safdar  whom all the ministers who once constituted her “gaali galoch” team, report to. Together these three prime ministers have one aim in common i.e they are all committed to undermining and conspiring against the Supreme Court and the Pakistan Army, the only two institutions left standing. They are openly violating every legal norm, and the relevant articles of the spirit of constitution in doing so. This, then is your “system” which, it is daily alleged, is in danger of being derailed.
This is a joke that has lost its hilarity and must now be terminated.This system must not only be most assiduously derailed, but mercilessly beheaded. Pakistan is in the grip of a dire emergency. This emergency should be recognized and declared before further harm can be done to the state. This is the job of the President, the C.J and the Army Chief, who should join together to come to the aid of the state. They must bring to an end, this criminal enterprise about whose criminality little doubt remains. They must not allow it further tenure to commit grievous wounds on the state.The President should announce national emergency and the formation of a National Government while the supreme Supreme Court must give radical new interpretations of law to give legal cover to every such measure as is deployed towards salvaging the state. And the Court must invoke all relevant articles of the constitution to take assistance from the Army to stem the current rot.
The National Government should 
— as the first order of business,immediately put every suspected criminal on ECL pending investigation and trial.
–form, with the help of the Supreme Court, summary courts to try people for corruption. The proceedings of these courts should be monitored by the Supreme Court.
–define mega corruption and institute death penalty for it, convertible to life imprisonment in case the convict repatriates wealth stolen from the state.
–set in motion efforts to retrieve Pakistan’s stolen assets stashed abroad.
–suspend the 18nth amendment of the constitution, and issue ordinances to give legal cover to its actions.
–dismiss the large numbers of civil servants and police officials who have acted as personal servants of people exercising political power, to the detriment of the state. And retrieve from retirement such officers of these services who had a reputation for integrity and ability, and place them in the most important slots ravaged under the present dispensation.
–set in motion reforms of the civil and police services so that these institutions become independent of political masters of the future.
–do electoral reforms.
–issue an ordinance to the effect that all citizens under any indictment in a court of law, may not take part in any political activity till cleared of the same.
–ensure that elections to parliament are held no later than eighteen months, but those fighting such elections must sign a declaration that if elected, they will sign into law all such ordinances which have been issued by the national government.
–among the first orders of business, get into negotiations with the Chinese government, on a bail-out package, should Pakistan not be able to meet its international debt obligations.
–define mega corruption and include it among national security imperatives, and create an institution where it can be monitored,freely debated , and killed in infancy. A national security council could be such a forum.
–define a minimal politcal role for the army insofar as national security issues are concerned. The army and its heft are a reality. To treat this reality as non existent, is to hobble the system through imbalance. It is this imbalance which has resulted in the present situation. Had there been a functioning and effective national security council to take up corruption issues at their incipient state and squelched their further progress at that stage, things would never have reached their present pass. A very good example here would be the huge LNG scandal. The press reported it when this fraudulent deal was being hammered out. It could have been killed in childhood, but it was allowed to prosper. And now it will kill tens and thousands of our children because of the consequences of poverty it will visit on so many additional families.
In the past, army generals have moved in to redress an emergency situation. Emergencies are temporary phenomena, but the generals made their reigns permanent. And the Courts gave legal cover to the generals to get away with it. This did immense harm to both the army and the country. Now here is a chance for both the Judges and the Army to redeem their past, and to give their country a future.
I would like to end this with my essential premise i.e any system founded on a” return on investment” basis must per force subvert every mechanism of accountability. And if accountability is destroyed as a result, call this system whatever you may, but it cannot be called democracy. Such a system is designed for loot and plunder with immunity. And this has been levied on Pakistan with unprecedented zest since 2008, while the leaders got exponentially richer at the cost of the state, to the hypocritical applause of bought out “intellectuals”, who continued to call this hands off mayhem, a “democracy.”
P.s. The most  malign and effective adjunct of the criminal enterprise is NAB. If the Supreme Court is really serious about seeing its orders being implemented, they must begin with throwing the book at Qamar Zaman Choudhary. They must take the space away from petty hoodlums which they are using to do incalculable harm to the state. And the Court must follow and put away in jail, all those who have committed contempt against it, and are continuing to do so. This will take the pith out of Nawaz Sharif’s “revolution”, and reduce the insignificance, which should always have been his station in life, but for Gen Jilani’s one egregious mistake. Legal action against Nawaz Sharif’s section commanders will take the wind out of the potential anarchy which is being sought to be built up by him, and the instability craved by him will be stayed.
Saeed A. Malik.

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The Hatred of British Against Pakistanis and Indian-History Revisited by Shashi Tharoor

 The Cruelty of British Colonialists Against People of South Asia

Pakistan and India

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Pakistan’s Founding Fathers 1940. What were they thinking?

 

 

What were they thinking?

Dr.Adil Najam

March 1940: What were the Founding Fathers of Pakistan thinking about the minorities 

Tomorrow we will go through the motions of celebrating Pakistan Day. With song, slogan and sincere banality we will commemorate the single most important founding document of our republic.  
A document that too many of us have never read. A document that too many others believe they know so well that they do not need to read. A document whose eventual impact its drafters could not have imagined. A document whose intent seems lost on those whose lives it transformed.

Today, let us (re-)read that document. 

March 22, is not a bad day to do so. The 27th Annual Session of the All-India Muslim League actually began in Lahore on March 22, 1940, at what was then called Minto Park and has since been renamed Iqbal Park. 

Although we celebrate Pakistan Day on March 23, formal discussion on what was originally called the Qarardad-e-Lahore (Lahore Resolution) began on March 22, it was formally proposed by Sher-e-Bengal (Lion of Bengal) Fazlul Haq on March 23, and was not officially adopted until March 24. Newspapers of the time dubbed it the “Pakistan Resolution” (Qarardad-e-Pakistan), and from then onwards that is what it became.

The resolution itself is not very long: a little more than 400 words, five paragraphs. Ambiguous as it was designed to be, it is remarkably well-crafted.

The first paragraph sets the context by “approving and endorsing” decisions already taken by the Muslim League’s Council and Working Committee. Importantly, it “emphatically reiterates that the scheme of federation embodied in the Government of India Act 1935, is totally unsuited to, and unworkable in the peculiar conditions of this country and is altogether unacceptable to Muslim India.”

The second paragraph is also about context. It very strategically reminds the viceroy that he has already agreed to reconsider the 1935 Act and goes on to very clearly assert that “Muslim India will not be satisfied unless the whole constitutional plan is reconsidered de novo and that no revised plan would be acceptable to Muslims unless it is framed with their approval and consent.” 

It is the third paragraph that lays out the substance of what today’s Pakistan has come to see as the gist of the resolution. It deserves to be quoted in full: 

“Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.”

Much, of course, has been written about this part. Stanley Wolpert (Jinnah of Pakistan, 1984) points out that “Pakistan was not explicitly mentioned; nor was it clear from the language of the resolution whether a single Muslim state of both “zones” had been envisioned or two separate “autonomous” independent states.” Also ambiguous was the role of the ‘centre’ and whether these states were to be part of a larger federation or not. 

But all of that was to come much later as history overtook events as well as intent. We were still, then, in 1940; 1947 had not yet been imagined; and 2014 was unimaginable.

To me, however, the fourth paragraph is equally insightful about what was on the minds of our founding fathers on that spring day in Lahore as they debated the resolution amidst a crowd of over 100,000. This paragraph – which remains poignant in terms of today’s Pakistan – also deserves to be quoted in full: 

“That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultations with them and in other parts of India where the Mussalmans are in a majority adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them.”

The final paragraph – in carefully crafted language – gave authority of the League’s working committee to settle the details of whatever was to happen within the “basic principles” of the resolution. 

It seems to me that there were only two ‘basic principles’ in this founding document (as contained in the third and fourth paragraphs).

First, independence – whether of a single or multiple states; whether within or outside of a federation – of the Muslim nation. Indeed, this principle of ‘nationhood’ – and a total rejection of wanting to be seen as a religious or communal minority – was the centrepiece of Jinnah’s long and powerful presidential address on March 22, 1940; exactly 74 years ago, today. 

Stanley Wolpert has described the speech as “truly a stellar performance, worthy of the lead role he alone could command” and the Times of India reported that “such was the dominance of his personality that, despite the improbability of more than a fraction of his audience understanding English, he held his hearers and played with palpable effects on their emotions.” 

However, it is not his style but the substance of what he said that is of import today: the rejection of a communal minority status and the demand for nationhood: “The Musalmans are not a minority. The Musalmans are a nation by any definition. The problem in India is not of an inter-communal but manifestly international character, and it must be treated as such… the only course open to us all is to allow the major nations separate homelands.”

The second principle – an emphasis on minority rights – may surprise the modern Pakistani reader of the resolution but flowed directly from the first even though it was more difficult to reconcile. Historian Ayesha Jalal explains these “contradictions between Muslim interests in majority and minority provinces” at length in her very elegant analysis (The Sole Spokesman, 1985). Indeed, the resolution did not fully reconcile this contradiction and history went on to play its hand as it did. 

But let us return now to 2014. Reading the text today, one finds an implied promise our founding fathers had made on our behalf: that the rights of minorities would be safeguarded. They were concerned, quite clearly, about the rights of Muslims in what would eventually become India, but in reaction to that concern they had explicitly made a promise in this founding document about the rights of non-Muslims in what is now Pakistan. It is a promise that remains unfulfilled.

So, what was it that our founding fathers were thinking of as they met in Lahore 74 years ago? A desire for independence so that our sense of nationhood could flourish. And an attention of the rights of minorities as only those who have been minorities themselves can appreciate.

Divided, torn, scarred, untrusting, angered and gnawing at each other as we are today, maybe we should be thinking of the very same things again.

The writer has taught international relations and public policy at Boston University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and was the vice chancellor of LUMS.

Twitter: @adilnajam 

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It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’- By Audrey Truschke

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurangzeb Alamgir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir-Muslim History Distortions by Hindus in India

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’
By

Audrey Truschke

 
Whatever happened in the past, religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. It is thus disingenuous to single out Indian Muslim rulers for condemnation without owning up to the modern valences of that focus.
 
The idea that medieval Muslim rulers wreaked havoc on Indian culture and society – deliberately and due to religious bigotry – is a ubiquitous notion in 21st century India. Few people seem to realise that the historical basis for such claims is shaky to non-existent. Fewer openly recognise the threat that such a misreading of the past poses for modern India.
 
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor (r. 1658-1707), is perhaps the most despised of India’s medieval Muslim rulers. People cite various alleged “facts” about Aurangzeb’s reign to support their contemporary condemnation, few of which are true. For instance, contrary to widespread belief, Aurangzeb did not destroy thousands of Hindu temples. He did not perpetrate anything approximating a genocide of Hindus. He did not instigate a large-scale conversion program that offered millions of Hindu the choice of Islam or the sword.
 
In short, Aurangzeb was not the Hindu-hating, Islamist tyrant that many today imagine him to have been. And yet the myth of malevolent Aurangzeb is seemingly irresistible and has captured politicians, everyday people, and even scholars in its net. The damage that this idea has done is significant. It is time to break this mythologized caricature of the past wide open and lay bare the modern biases, politics, and interests that have fuelled such a misguided interpretation of India’s Islamic history.
 
A recent article on this website cites a series of inflammatory claims about Indo-Muslim kings destroying premodern India’s Hindu culture and population. The article admits that “these figures are drawn from the air” and historians give them no credence. After acknowledging that the relevant “facts” are false, however, the article nonetheless posits that precolonial India was populated by “religious chauvinists,” like Aurangzeb, who perpetrated religiously-motivated violence and thus instigated “historical injustices” to which Hindus can rightly object today. This illogical leap from a confessed lack of reliable information to maligning specific rulers is the antithesis of proper history, which is based on facts and analysis rather than unfounded assumptions about the endemic, unchanging nature of a society.
 
A core aspect of the historian’s craft is precisely that we cannot assume things about the past. Historians aim to recover the past and to understand historical figures and events on their own terms, as products of their time and place. That does not mean that historians sanitize prior events. Rather we refrain from judging the past by the standards of the present, at least long enough to allow ourselves to glimpse the logic and dynamics of a historical period that may be radically different from our own.
 
Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”
 
In the case of Indian Muslim history, a core notion that is hard for modern people to wrap our heads around is as follows: It was not all about religion.
 
Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him.
 
Regardless of the historical motivations for events such as premodern temple destructions, a certain percentage of modern Indians nonetheless feel wronged by their Islamic past. What is problematic, they ask, about recognising historical injustices enacted by Muslim figures? In this regard, the contemporaneity of debates over Indian history is crucial to understanding why the Indo-Islamic past is singled out.
 
For many people, condemnations of Aurangzeb and other medieval Indian rulers stem not from a serious assessment of the past but rather from anxieties over India’s present and future, especially vis-à-vis its Muslim minority population. After all, one might ask: If we are recognising injustices in Indian history, why are we not also talking about Hindu rulers? When judged according to modern standards, medieval rulers the world over measure up poorly, and Hindu kings are no exception. Medieval Hindu political leaders destroyed mosques periodically, for instance, including in Aurangzeb’s India. Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs” for one reason: They were perpetrated by Hindus rather than Muslims.
 
Religious bigotry may not have been an overarching problem in India’s medieval past, but it is a crucial dynamic in India’s present. Religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. Non-lethal forms of discrimination and harassment are common. Fear is part of everyday life for many Indian Muslims.  Thus, when scholars compare medieval Islamic rulers like Aurangzeb to South Africa’s twentieth-century apartheid leaders, for example, they not only display a surprising lack of commitment to the historical method but also provide fodder for modern communal fires.
 
It is high time we discarded the pernicious myth of India’s medieval Muslim villains. This poisonous notion imperils the tolerant foundations of modern India by erroneously positing religious-based conflict and Islamic extremism as constant features of life on the subcontinent. Moreover, it is simply bad history. India has a complicated and messy past, and we do it and ourselves no justice by flattening its nuances to reflect the religious tensions of the present.
 

Audrey Truschke is a historian at Stanford University and Rutgers University-Newark. Her first book, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court will be published by Columbia University Press and Penguin India in 2016. She is currently working on a book on Aurangzeb that will published by Juggernaut Books.

 

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