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Archive for category Our Heroes

Dharna Visit – A Lesson in Discipline & Organization under Two Great Leaders

 Islamabad  Dharna-  6 Sept 2014

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 My wife and I teach in Rainbow Foundation School. Fired by the appeal of Dr Qadri, we decided to do our bit. We talked to the students for donations – whatever they could for those men, women, children who are braving the weather and time for our future. The children responded far better than one expects from children. Next morning we had a pile of a variety of gifts – even personal toys, which was very touching indeed.

 On Saturday, 06 September 2014, with our car loaded with the neat packages clearly marked with contents, reaching up to the roof of the back seat, we left our house in Chaklala – 1,Rawalpindi at about 0645 in the morning. Not knowing the route,( poor Pindiites!), we took a few wrong turnings, and ultimately reached right into the Dharna camp from the Margalla Road side at about 0800 hours. This ia what we saw.

 All along the route, the police were very helpful. Seeing the load in our car, they would happily wave us on towards the correct direction without check or hinderance. The camp started from about three hundred metres from the Margalla road. There were numerous men about,with name tags indicating their party and assignment, wanting to enquire and direct. The camp showed activity, but surprisingly, no noise.  Considering that there were thousands and thousands of men, women and children about, this was the first pleasant surprise. We asked one of the persons where could we hand over the packages to some authorised to collect them. He walked in front of our car towards the nearest Control container.

 Driving through the camp we noticed various sights and stages of activities of early morning routines.People were shaking out their mattresses, spreading clothes out in the sun, which had happily come out after three days of continuous rain . There was a clear water mountain stream flowing through the camp, where people were washing up. Beyond, we could see a long row of toilets in containers. Nearer, we found lines of almost military discipline leading to a langar. Every one had his or her utensil and were being served breakfast by the caterer quite efficiently. On my asking whose party line was this one, the guide told me proudly “Sir, for eating time we are all together”! And I could scarves of both PTI as well as PAT in the same line. Very gratifying.

The nearest command container we came to, was the one we keep seeing on TV with Dr Qadri’s arms spread out and upwards. On asking to see someone in charge, some one came up introduced himself as Mr Ayub or Yaqub, who later on I was informed was, I think, an advocate! I said these parcels are from Rainbow Foundation School children, an Amanat, and therefore I need some photos so that I can put them up on the notice board for them to see. Within minutes he had organised 4-5 men with name tags who unloaded all the packages, lined them up, took out the toys , displayed them on top of the cartons, gor a press photographer . My wife acting as the press photographer, kept taking photos with my cheap camera. Seeing the pile of goodies, some women and men came up asking for an umbrella or warm Chador, but the PAT man in charge said no one would get anything here. “we have no authority do give out any thing. Dr Sahib will come at one o clock and personally distribute them. He will announce on the speaker who these are from”. And he didn’t. After the photo session, he asked my name and address, and the cartons were lifted up onto the container and stacked according to category. Very organised, very efficient. Being ex Army, I noticed, and was very pleased.

 Thereafter we went around and drove through. What we saw was a real eye opener, and, I would say, a confidence builder.

 In spite of all those thousands and thousands of Pakistanis of all casts and creeds and languages, having been in those unsettling conditions for over three weeks of sun and rains, there was no sign of fatigue, frustration or anxiety. People were calm and peaceful.

 Inspite of such close proximity for so long in trying circumstances ther was no sign of frayed nerves, of quarrels, disputes or even heated arguments. Every one had a peaceful and content expression. Pakistanis are great cribbers. There was no such sign anywhere. Which was great.

 The crowds had a high percentage of well to do, educated people amongst men as well as women. One group of young women that went past us were definitely teachers. We were told that the books, copies and pencils etc we had brought would be used in the schools for small children! So they already have schools going!

 There were tents, shaamianas, tables and chairs in small groups, some occupied some vacant. Men were seated on some quietly, discussing whatever. Women and children were moving freely. Their body language clearly depicted a sense of total security, which was pleasant as well as amazing, considering our normal culture elsewhere.

 Some entrepreneurs ahd set up shops and ‘khokhas’ doing roaring business, serving all sorts of wares from eatables to utility items, specially umbrellas!

 Considering the multicultural conglomeration of teeming mankind there, the calm and homogeneity was remarkeble, almost unbelievable. The whole area gave the impression of a hastily built mini city, well organised and self contained.

 The general impression exuded was “we have come to stay”. More importantly, I was impressed by the discipline, organisation, the calm determination, the sense of ‘doing the right thing’and self control of all the Pakistanis gathered there in such a small confinement.

 All because of just two good leaders who have given this cross section of so called unruly Pakistanis, a sense of direction and conviction and hope:  Hope of a new and better Pakistan.

 We came back full of confidence in these two leaders and confidence in the Pakistani nation. They have raised our hopes of a better future and dared us to take charge of our own destiny.

 We are both old people, well beyond seventy. We came back very happy. We hope to go again next weekend. Inshallah.

 May Allah bless these two leaders of ours with success. Aameen. 

If only the other so called ‘leaders’ could take lesson from them instead of piling ignorant ridicule on them

 

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Disaster and incompetence


Disaster and incompetence

Dr AQ Khan
Monday, March 31, 2014

Random thoughts

The last few weeks have been taken up by news of the tragic events in Thar where many young children and large numbers of cattle died due to drought and serious shortage of food and water. Thousands of people travelled on foot with their cattle to find ‘greener pastures’. 

While this tragedy was building up, the rulers of Sindh were busy spending billions on the ‘Sindh Festival’ to even notice. When footage of infants dying of starvation in their mothers’ laps started surfacing, the rulers laid the blame for their deaths on disease rather than from the effects of drought. 

Did not Hazrat Umar (RA) categorically state that if even a dog died of starvation or thirst on the banks of the Euphrates, he, Umar, would be held responsible to Allah for it on the Day of Reckoning? In Thar, hundreds of children died of starvation, but the rulers are least bothered. Surely there will be severe and painful punishment for such callousness.

Many of you might have read the story of a not very religious person who picked up a wounded and starving dog and took it home where he fed and looked after it. After the man died, his neighbour, a self-proclaimed ‘pious’ person, saw him in a dream looking quite happy and content. Upon enquiry he was informed that the Almighty was so pleased with his kindness to the sick dog that he had given him a place in Paradise immediately.

True or fictitious, the Almighty is the most beneficent, the most merciful and all knowing. In Thar, hundreds of infants died of starvation, yet our rulers are under the illusion that they will not be held responsible. It is a blessing from the Almighty that we have so many kind-hearted people and philanthropists in our country who always jump in to help calamity-hit people. 

In this case too, food and other aid in kind was rushed to Thar by the MQM, Edhi, the army, Jamaat-e-Islami.
 Commodore Ilyas, that he should drill wells in the area for the supply of clean drinking water. Some friends and I had arranged for the boring of two wells (costing $20,000) in the desert surrounding Timbuktu where we had earlier helped Abdul Rahman build a simple, eight-bedroom guesthouse. This guesthouse provided boarding and lodging for tourists and jobs and financial support for about 25 families. 

At a later visit we were happy to see hundreds of people and thousands of head of cattle benefitting from the wells. When the Malaysian Ambassador at Dakar, Zainul Abedur, visited Timbuktu, stayed at the guesthouse and was shown the wells, he was so impressed that he paid for two more wells to be dug. These four wells are now supplying adequate water and sparing people from having to walk many kilometres every day to obtain water from other sources. In that area, water is found at a depth of around 400 meters.

The agreement with the boring company was that, should they need to go deeper, they would bear the extra cost, but should they not need to go that deep, they would refund the portion not used. Alhamdulillah, what a practical demonstration in honesty and fair play!

If Riaz Hussain Sahib manages to get a sufficiently large number of wells dug in the Thar area, the residents will have a permanent supply of water for household purposes, cattle and limited use for irrigation for crops and vegetables. What a blessing that would be! It is supposed that here too the average depth of such wells would be no more than about 400 meters.

Now danger bells are ringing in Cholistan. However, contrary to the lethargic attitude of the Sindh rulers, Mian Shahbaz Sharif immediately dashed to Cholistan to personally supervise relief work. He is always quick to respond to emergencies. We can only hope that a serious crisis will not develop there.

Another matter of significant importance is the federal government’s total incompetence in appointing heads to 19 important state organisations. Nine months in the saddle and still such simple yet important decisions have not been taken. The other day Fahad Hasan Fahad, an additional secretary in the PM Secretariat, was trying to convince noted anchorperson, Kamran Khan, that there were legitimate reasons for not doing so. 

There was no such hesitation in filling Cabinet posts, competent or otherwise, while it was not possible to find 19 people from a population of 190 million, many of whom are highly educated and competent (but, alas, not stooges). When setting up the Kahuta Plant, it took me only a few weeks to put together an exemplary team that proved its competence by delivering a nuclear arsenal in seven years and ballistic long range missiles in three years. We also initiated and completed the rehabilitation of the Peoples’ Steel Mill in two years and planned and executed the construction of the state-of-the-art GIK Institute in three years. 

It would have been possible for me to select competent people to fill these vacant posts within four weeks. The additional secretary seems to be looking for geniuses from outer space. It is rather unfortunate that the PM, who has been in the chair twice before, is not showing any maturity. His two previous governments did not do well – full of financial scandals and maladministration – and both times he was sent home. This time, too, he has surrounded himself with inexperienced and incompetent sycophants. 

The same game as before is on now. Supreme Court orders are finding space in dustbins and the courts have been left with no powers. Their orders to appoint a chief election commissioner, chairman of the Higher Education Commission, chairman of the Pakistan Steel Mills, chairman PIA, etc are all being ignored. Repeated orders for holding local bodies elections have been totally ignored and rejected. Nonetheless, there are claims of good and transparent governance. 

Mark my words; this government will leave us under heavy foreign debt, inflation, further absence of law and order (even Islamabad faces the law of the jungle these days), corruption, etc. This practice of ‘ruling by turn’ is going to be the death of Pakistan. There is no viable opposition. Only here can ‘do mubari’ (second-rate, incompetent) corrupt people rule, plunder and destroy. Unless a revolution takes place soon, nothing will change – there is no hope for the common man.

Email: dr.a.quadeer.khan@gmail.com

 

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USA responsible for making Pakistan most dangerous country

USA responsible for making Pakistan most dangerous country

 by

Asif Haroon Raja

 

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The US leaders and media often cite Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world. If it is true, it didn’t attain this status at its own. Outsiders are responsible for making Pakistan a nursery of terrorism, or epicenter of terrorism, as recently described by Manmohan Singh, or the most dangerous country. Ironically, the ones responsible for converting a law abiding and peaceful country into a volatile country are today in the forefront censuring it. Till the onset of Afghan Jihad in 1980, Pakistan was a moderate and nonviolent country. It did suffer from the pangs of humiliation for having lost its most populous East Pakistan and  grieved over non-resolution of Kashmir dispute pending since January 1948 UNSC resolution. Both wounds had been inflicted upon Pakistan by its arch rival India. Pakistan had to perforce go nuclear in quest for its security because of India’s hostile posturing and nuclearisation.

 

Invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces in December 1979 brought five million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. These refugees disturbed the peace of Frontier Province and Balochistan where bulk got permanently settled. 2.8 million Afghan refugees have still not returned to their homes and besides becoming an economic burden, have posed serious social and security hazards. Foreign agencies carrying an agenda to destabilize Pakistan have been recruiting bulk of terrorists from within them.

 

Once the US decided to back proxy war in Afghanistan, CIA commissioned thousands of Mujahideen from all over the Muslim world and with the assistance of ISI, motivated, trained and equipped them to assist Afghan Mujahideen in their fight against Soviet forces. Large number of seminaries imparting religious training to the under privileged children were tasked to impart military and motivational training as well and prepare them for Jihad. FATA and Pashtun belt of Balochistan contiguous to Afghanistan were converted into forward bases of operation from where young Jihadists were unleashed. For next nine years the youth were continuously recruited and launched to fight the holy war against evil empire. Saudi Arabia became the chief financer of Jihad. It provided heavy funds to Sunni Madrassahs only. ISI took upon itself as the chief coordinator of the entire war effort while CIA restricted its role to providing arms, funds and intelligence only.

 

The whole free world led by USA enthusiastically applauded the heroics of holy warriors and none cared about astronomical fatalities and critical injuries suffered by them. The maimed for life, widows and orphans were patted and told that it was a holy war fought for a noble cause and huge rewards awaited them in the life hereafter. The single point agenda of the US was to defeat the Soviet forces with the help of Muslim fighters. Not a single soldier of any country including Pakistan took part in the unmatched war between a super power and rag-tag, ill-clothed and ill-equipped Mujahideen.

 

None bothered about the ill-effects this long-drawn war will have upon this region in general and Pakistan in particular acting as the Frontline State. Although Pakistan was only supporting the proxy war and was not directly involved, but it remained in a state of war and it faced continuous onslaughts of KGB-RAW-KHAD nexus as well as attacks by Soviet trained Afghan pilots and soldiers in the form of air assaults, artillery barrages and missile/rockets attacks.  Throughout the nine-year war, Pakistan faced twin threat from its eastern and western borders. By virtue of occupation of Wakhan corridor by Soviet troops, USSR had become immediate neighbor of Pakistan and had hurled repeated threats to wind up training centres and stop meddling in Afghanistan or else be prepared for dire consequences. Moscow’s age-old dream of reaching warm waters of Arabian Sea through Balochistan haunted Gen Ziaul Haq, but he stoutly held his ground. Pakistan’s relentless support ultimately enabled the Mujahideen to achieve the miracle of the 20th century. They defeated the super power and pushed out Soviet forces from Afghanistan in February 1989.

 

All foreign Jihadists who had come from other countries were not accepted by their parent countries. They had no choice but to stay put and get settled in Afghanistan and in FATA since they had collectively fought the war and had developed camaraderie with the Afghans and tribesmen. The US who had enticed and displaced them and used them as cannon fodder to achieve its interests was morally bounded to resettle them. It was honor bound to help Pakistan in overcoming the after effects of the war. FATA that had acted as the major base for cross border operations deserved uplift in socio-economic and educational fields. Afghanistan required major rehabilitation and rebuilding after its devastation. Nothing of the sort happened.

 

The US coldheartedly abandoned Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jihadists and instead embraced India which had remained the camp follower of Soviet Union since 1947 and had also partnered Soviet Union in the Afghan war and had vociferously condemned US-Pakistan proxy war. This callous act opened the doors for religious fanaticism and militarism. Pakistan suffered throughout the Afghan war and continues to suffer to this day on account of the debris left behind by Soviet forces and proxy war. By the time last Soviet soldier left Afghan soil, Pakistani society had got radicalized owing to free flow of weapons and drugs from Afghanistan and onset of armed uprising in occupied Kashmir.

 

Pakistan’s efforts to tackle the fallout effects of the war got seriously hampered because of harsh sanctions imposed by USA under Pressler Amendment in October 1989 and political instability throughout the democratic era from 1988 to 1999. Besides, Iran and Saudi Arabia started fuelling sectarianism in Pakistan throughout 1990s in a big way. Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan and Majlis-e-Wahadat ul Hashmeen were funded by Iran and Sipah-e-Sahabha Pakistan, now named as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (Sunni Deobandi) were supported by Saudi Arabia, which gave rise to religious extremism and intolerance and sharpened Shia-Sunni divide. Masjids and Imambargahs as well as religious clerics were incessantly attacked by the zealots of two communities. Threat of sectarian violence that had become menacing in Punjab in 1997-1998 had to be dealt with sternly. But the Punjab Police operation had to be curtailed because of severe pressure from Human Rights activists and NGOs on charges of extra judicial killings. Resultantly, the disease remained uncured.

        

Unseating of democratically elected heavy mandate of Nawaz Sharif led government by Gen Musharraf and the latter opting to ditch Taliban regime and to fight global war on terror at the behest of USA energized anti-Americanism, religious extremism and led to creation of Mutahida Majlis Ammal (MMA), an amalgam of six religious parties, which formed governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. MMA on the quiet nurtured extremist religious groups that were also funded by foreign powers.

 

The fact that after 9/11, the US chose Pakistan to fight the war as a Frontline State is a clear cut indication that Pakistan at that time was viewed as a responsible and valued country and not a dangerous country. However, Pakistan’s nuclear program was an eyesore for India, Israel and USA. The planners had made up their minds to intentionally create anarchic conditions in Pakistan so that its nukes could be whisked away under the plea that it was unstable and couldn’t be trusted.

 

The initial attempt towards that end was to first allow bulk of Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders and their fighters to escape to FATA from Afghanistan and soon after forcing Pakistan to induct regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) to flush them out. This move created a small rivulet allowing terrorism to seep into FATA, which kept gushing in because of RAW led and CIA backed covert war at a massive scale and turning the rivulet into a river. Likewise, another rivulet was created in Balochistan. Concerted and sustained efforts were made to destabilize FATA and Balochistan and gradually sink Pakistan in sea of terrorism. Six intelligence agencies based in Kabul kept sprinkling tons of fuel on embers of religious extremism, sectarianism, ethnicity and Jihadism.

 

The US instead of helping in resolving Kashmir dispute misguided Gen Musharraf to forget about UN resolutions and float an out of box solution and try and resolve the dispute in accordance with the wishes of India. In order to woo India, Musharraf gave it in writing that he will not allow Pakistan soil to be used for terrorism against any neighboring country including India. While making this commitment unilaterally, he committed the fatal mistake of not imposing this condition on India. To further please USA and India and make the latter agree to sign peace treaty, he bridled all Jihadi groups engaged in Kashmir freedom struggle as well as in sectarianism. He also allowed India to fence the Line of Control. These moves did please India but angered Jihadis and sectarian outfits and in reaction, they hastened to join Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and turn their guns towards Pak security forces dubbed as mercenaries of USA fighting US war for dollars.

But for phenomenal clandestine support by foreign powers to the TTP in the northwest and to the BLA, BRA and BLF in the southwest, extremism and terrorism could have got controlled after major operations launched in Malakand Division including Swat, Bajaur and SW in 2009 and minor operations in other tribal agencies. The disarrayed network of TTP was helped to get re-assembled and regrouped in North Waziristan and that of Maulana Fazlullah in Kunar and Nuristan in Afghanistan. As opposed to good work done by Pak security forces in combating and curbing terrorism in Pakistan, the US-NATO forces operating in Afghanistan along with Afghan National Army kept making one blunder after another and in the process kept sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire. Rather than correcting their follies, they chose to make Pakistan a scapegoat and declared it responsible for their failures. Rather than doing more at their end, they asked Pakistan to do more which was already doing much more than its capacity.

 

Since the aggressors underestimated their enemy they took things too lightly. Their intentions lacked sincerity and honesty and their stated objectives were totally different to their actual unspoken objectives which were commercial in nature. Above all they had no legitimate grounds to destroy a sovereign country and uproot its people which had played no role in 9/11. As a result, rather than devotedly fighting to win the war in Afghanistan, the assailants got deeply involved in drug business and other money-making schemes. The ruling regime led by Hamid Karzai became a willing partner in such shady businesses. American security contractors, defence merchants, builders and intelligence agencies started multiplying their wealth and lost their moral and professional ethics. Other than materialistic ventures, they got more involved in money-spinning covert operations against Pakistan, Iran, China and Middle East than in fighting their adversary. Taliban and al-Qaeda combine took full advantage of their self-destructive activities and opening of the second front in Iraq. After regrouping and re-settling in southern and eastern Afghanistan, they started striking targets in all parts of the country. War in Iraq helped al-Qaeda in expanding its influence in Arabian Peninsula and turning into an international organization.

 

The US has made a big mess in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Libya and is now making another mess in Syria. It has lost the confidence of its most allied ally Pakistan by mistreating and distrusting it. Having lost on all fronts because of its tunnel vision and mercantile greed, it now wants the most dangerous country Pakistan to ignore the raw deal it gave all these years and to not only help ISAF in pulling out of Afghanistan safely but also to convince the Taliban to agree upon a negotiated political settlement. At the start of the Afghan venture, Pakistan was chosen by Washington to ensure success and in the endgame Pakistan is again being relied upon to bail it out of the mess. In the same breadth, the US is unprepared to cease drone attacks in FATA despite repeated requests that drones fuel terrorism. It is still focused on carving a lead role for India in Afghanistan. It is not prepared to stop its interference in internal affairs of Pakistan or to dissuade India from destabilizing Balochistan. Whatever socio-economic promises made are futuristic in nature and tied to conditions. US media and think tanks continue to demonize Pakistan. Its tilt towards India is too heavy and prejudicial behavior towards Pakistan conspicuous.

 

As a result of the US skewed policies with ulterior motives, Pakistan is faced with the demons of ethnicity, sectarianism, Jihadism, religious extremism and terrorism. While TTP is aligned with about 60 terrorist groups, in Balochistan there are more than two dozen terrorist groups. In Karachi, other than armed mafias, political parties have armed wings and are involved in target killings. Rangers and Police are engaged in targeted operation in Karachi and are producing productive results. 150,000 troops combating the militants in the northwest enjoy a definite edge over them. Major parts of Frontier Corps, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and Police are fighting the Baloch separatists and sectarian forces targeting Hazaras and have contained anti-state forces. All major cities are barricaded with road blocks and police piquets and yet terrorists manage to carryout acts of terror. The miscreants are fighting State forces with tenacity because of uninterrupted financial and weapons support from foreign agencies. Once external support dries up, their vigor will wane rapidly and sooner than later they will give up fighting.

 

With so many grave internal and external threats, most of which were invented and thrust upon Pakistan by foreign powers and duly exacerbated by meek and self-serving political leadership, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s hands remained full. He has saddled the COAS chair for six years and during this period he had to face many a critical situations. It goes to his credit that he handled each crisis competently, astutely and honorably. During his eventful command, he tackled the challenge of terrorism, which he rightly described as the biggest threat to the security of Pakistan, boldly and produced pleasing results. Above all, he kept the morale of all ranks in the Army high and earned their respect and admiration. The list of his achievements is long and I have been highlighting those in my articles off and on. His successor has so far not been named but whosoever replaces him will find it difficult to fit into his shoes. I am sure he will breathe more freely and relax once he retires on November 29, 2013. We thank him for his laudable contributions and wish him sound health and happiness in all his future doings. Let us hope and pray that this senseless war comes to an end at the earliest, putting an end to chirping tongues deriving sadistic pleasure in describing Pakistan as the most dangerous country.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, historian and a researcher. asifharoonraja@gmail.com 

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IN REMEMBRANCE OF A GREAT PAKISTANI: Ardeshir Cowasjee: The Curmudgeon of Karachi

Ardeshir Cowasjee: The Curmudgeon of Karachi

 

Remembering Pakistan’s most caustic columnist. 

One evening in Karachi, in the early 1960s, Ardeshir Cowasjee and his wife, Nancy, raced to pick up a friend whose husband had kicked her out of the house. The Cowasjees were furious and drove the distraught woman to see the country’s military ruler, Gen. Ayub Khan. The next day the general summoned the errant husband and gave him an ultimatum: take back your wife or lose your cabinet post. It is unlikely that the proud Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ever forgot this reprimand. Years later, as the country’s prime minister, Bhutto appeared to respond by nationalizing Cowasjee’s shipping business. Cowasjee, who died last month at age 86, was the ultimate insider-outsider, an irreverent and caustic columnist whose status and education afforded him opportunities few could dream of, but whose faith—Zoroastrianism—and belief in a pluralistic Pakistan made him a welcome outlier in an ever-radicalizing country.

Ardeshir Cowasjee

The blunt opinions of Ardeshir Cowasjee, at right, anchored Pakistani liberals for 22 years. (Courtesy of Zia Khaleeli / Newsweek Pakistan)

For years Cowasjee vented his plutocrat’s indignation in a popular weekly column for Dawn, an English-language daily with a fraction of the readership Pakistan’s popular Urdu newspapers. Part call to arms, part mournful introspection, Cowasjee’s blunt opinions and hard truths anchored Pakistan’s liberals for some 22 years. The son of a shipping magnate, the wealthy Cowasjee had the unique freedom to say what he wanted and get away with it. On a much-celebrated cable-talk-show appearance, he leaped at a politician, calling him and his late father crooks. As Pakistan’s favorite curmudgeonly columnist, Cowasjee waxed eloquent on religious minorities—whom he often urged to emigrate if they could—as well as corruption, the environment, and business. Never simply an opinionated bystander, Cowasjee also put his energies into preserving tree-lined dividers on Karachi’s roads, as well as taking on developers and venal government officials. “It’s constant war, all the time for the last 50 years,” he once said of his efforts to keep the trees around his family home safe from bulldozers. Through the Cowasjee Foundation, he also educated young students and funded hospitals and charities. Before he fell out with Bhutto, Cowasjee even helped establish Karachi’s second port.

Through all his efforts, Cowasjee considered the country’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, as the only true leader that Pakistan has ever seen. He was partial to former president Gen. Pervez Musharraf (“the best of the worst lot,” he called him in 2008). He hated President Asif Ali Zardari (“the worst of them all”) and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif (a “relic of the 1980s”) equally and viscerally, as he wrote in a column last year. As Cowasjee’s health failed, the realization that Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan would never materialize dimmed the columnist’s warrior spirit. I went to see him last year for a story on an abducted liquor mogul who shared his faith. “Please don’t let the bird bite you,” he told me playfully, referring to his white cockatoo, as he slowly walked into his living room followed by army of Jack Russell terriers. The Grand Old Man of Karachi—who was normally never at a loss for words—was unable to speak more than a few sentences at a time. His death, in his beloved city from a chest infection, was a moment of shared national loss. Zardari expressed “grief and sorrow” at his passing, and other politicians whom Cowasjee made a career of excoriating lined up in dutiful condolence, secretly relishing the chance to finally have the last word. Cowasjee would have been amused.

 

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GLOBAL COMMUNITY, GLOBAL MEDIA, HUMAN RIGHTS ORGS, CIVIL SOCIETY HOLD PM NAWAZ SHARIF RESPONSIBLE: 8000 PAKISTANI GIRLS FROM POOR HOMES KIDNAPPED INTO SEX SLAVERY OR ENTER INTERNAL SLAVE TRADE-IMRAN KHAN’S “TAKRAR” EXPOSE

 

9-year-old Pakistani girl kidnapped and gang-raped  

 

 

An archive photo of  a Pakistani girl. (Reuters / Fayaz Aziz)

An archive photo of a Pakistani girl. (Reuters / Fayaz Aziz)

 

 

 

 

 

Shakira Parveen was prostituted by her husband.

 

 

By 

 

 

Meerwala, Pakistan

 

 

Note: 

Mr.Kristof is a New York Jew and writes particularly vicious articles for the Jewish Newspapers like  The New York Times and Washington Post about Muslim societies like Pakistan, ignoring the 1 million cases of unreported rapes in

his home country.Pakistan allows these Jewish reporters, who cleverly hide their identity to roam around in Pakistan, and even to spy for Israel and India. Pakistan’s security agencies can only keep an eye on them, our executive and Judiciary protects them.

Our an enemy can only point out our flaws. It is for us to fix them

 
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Nicholas D. Kristof

Nicholas D. Kristof

Shakira Parveen, far right.

If the thought has ever flitted through your mind that your spouse isn’t 100 percent perfect, then just contemplate what Shakira Parveen is going through. And give your own husband or wife a hug.

When Ghulam Fareed proposed marriage to Ms. Parveen, he fingered prayer beads and seemed gentle and pious. Ms. Parveen didn’t know him well, but she and her family were impressed.

“The first month of marriage was O.K.,” Ms. Parveen recalled. “And then he said, you have to do whatever I tell you. If I tell you to sleep with other men, you have to do that.”

It turned out that Mr. Fareed was running a brothel and selling drugs, and he intended Ms. Parveen to be his newest prostitute. “I said, ‘No, I don’t want to sleep with other men,’ ” she said, but he beat her unconscious with sticks, broke her bones and at one point set fire to her clothes. Finally, she broke and assented.

Her “husband” locked her up in one room, she said, and the only people she saw were customers. “For two years, I never left the house,” she said.

This kind of neo-slavery is the plight of millions of girls and young women (and smaller numbers of boys) around the world, particularly in Asia. A major difference from 19th-century slavery is that these victims are dead of AIDS by their 20s.

Finally, Ms. Parveen was able to escape and return to her family, but Mr. Fareed was furious and began to torment her family, saying he would let up only if she returned to the brothel as his prostitute. Then Mr. Fareed’s gang pressured Ms. Parveen by kidnapping her younger brother, Uzman, who was in the fifth grade. Uzman says that his hands and feet were shackled, and he was raped daily by many different men, apparently pimped to paying customers.

The gang members explained that they would release the boy if Ms. Parveen returned to the brothel, and she contemplated suicide.

After six weeks, Uzman escaped while his captors became drunk and left him unshackled. But when Ms. Parveen and her parents went to the police, the officers just laughed at them. Mr. Fareed and other gang members worked hand in glove with the police, the family says.

Indeed, the police even arrested Ms. Parveen’s father, who is one-legged because of a train accident (that is one reason for the family’s poverty). Apparently on the gang’s orders, the police held him for two weeks, in which time he says he was beaten mercilessly. The police are also searching for Ms. Parveen’s brothers, who have gone into hiding.

Mr. Fareed also threatened to kidnap and prostitute Ms. Parveen’s younger sister, Naima, a 10th-grader who was ranked first in her class of 40 girls. Panic-stricken, the parents pulled Naima out of school and sent her to relatives far away. So her dreams of becoming a doctor have been dashed. (For readers who want to help, I’ve posted some suggestions on my blog:www.nytimes.com/ontheground.)

This nexus of sex trafficking and police corruption is common in developing countries. The problem is typically not so much that laws are inadequate; it is that brothel owners buy the police and the courts.

But Ms. Parveen’s tale arises not only from corruption, but also from poverty.

“If I had money, this wouldn’t be happening,” said Ms. Parveen’s mother, Akbari Begum. “It’s all about money. In the police station, nobody listens to me. The police listen to those who sell narcotics.”

“God should never grant daughters to poor people,” she added. “God should not give sisters to poor brothers. Because we’re poor, we can’t fight for them. It’s very hard for poor people, because they take our daughters and dishonor them. There’s nothing we can do.”

Yet in a land where poor women and girls are victimized equally by pimps and by the police, they do have one savior — Mukhtar Mai. She is the woman I’ve visited and written about often (she also uses the name Mukhtaran Bibi).

After being sentenced to be gang-raped by a tribal council for a supposed offense of her brother, Mukhtar refused to commit suicide and instead prosecuted her attackers. And then she used compensation money (and donations from Times readers) to run schools and an aid organization for Pakistani women.

 

 

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It was in Mukhtar’s extraordinary sanctuary that I met Ms. Parveen. In my Sunday column, I’ll tell more about Mukhtar today.

 
 

 

 

 

 

A nine-year-old Pakistani girl has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after being kidnapped and brutally gang-raped. The girl’s mother has named the abusers, but no arrests were made.

The girl was admitted to a hospital in Bahawalpur after being raped on Wednesday. She remains in critical condition due to loss of blood and internal injuries, the Express Tribune reported, quoting the hospital’s doctors. 

Local police have launched a criminal case against seven men for the kidnap and rape; no arrests have been made yet. 

The girl’s mother named five of the seven suspects. She reportedly told police that she hesitated to inform law enforcers because the kidnappers threatened to kill her and the girl if the woman spoke to authorities.

Station House Officer Irshad Joyia said they were ordered to arrest the suspects, but later were informed that the men had fled to Alipur village, the Express Tribune said. 

According to a First Information Report (FIR) prepared by police, the girl was beaten and then kidnapped by three women and a man in front of her house in Manzoorabad in Rahim Yar Khanby. The kidnappers reportedly took her to another location where she was gang-raped by three men, one of whom was named in the FIR. 

The girl was then allegedly taken back to the place from which she was kidnapped. The girl’s mother told police she found her bloodied daughter near their house. She then took the child to Sheikh Zayed Hospital for examination and treatment.

The rape came weeks after a similar shocking case when a six-year-old Hindu girl was allegedly raped in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province at the beginning of December. The child was also reportedly kidnapped and gang-raped. Residents of the province staged several protests in response to the incident. 

These two recent cases in Pakistan coincide with a horrifying gang-rape in India that claimed the life of a 23-year-old student raped on a bus by six men, the youngest of whom reportedly was a minor. The six men have all been charged with murder, gang-rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and other felonies. They are expected to appear in court on Monday. 

The case sparked mass protests in New Delhi. Demonstrators, particularly women, demanded the rapists be punished and called for the creation of new laws to protect Indian women.

The incident has drawn international attention to the high rates of violence against women in India, where rape victims often do not report to the police for fear of shaming their families or being ignored by law enforcement.

Read more: http://reviewpakistan.com/showthread.php?783131-Takrar-(-16th-June-2013-)-Full-ExpressNews-Young-girls-kidnapped-and-being-sold-all-o&s=f20d5cf6de42075517b4adb321f91edb#ixzz2WPbXEf00

RaiseForWomen

$1,190,655 raised for women
 

The American government has just gone into the anti-honor-killing “business.” Given my extensive academic and legal work documenting and opposing honor killing, I support this venture. I do find it a bit odd that the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem has just launched such a campaign–but for Palestinian women only.

I have written about honor killing among Palestinians and among Israeli Arabs; I also interviewed Palestinian feminist Asma Al-Ghoul about how she was fired and then arrested for her anti-honor-killing advocacy both in Gaza and on the West Bank. Thus, I favor some U.S. intervention in the matter.

However, I wonder: Why not branch out to Pakistan or Afghanistan where honor killing and honor-based violence is, possibly, even more epidemic?

Last night, I watched an excellent and heartbreaking Frontline documentary by Habiba Nosheen about honor-based violence in Pakistan: “Outlawed in Pakistan.” Thirteen-year-old Kainat Soomro was chloroformed, drugged, kidnapped, and then gang-raped for three or four days by four men who threatened to kill or sell her.

Amazingly Kainat escaped, in her bare feet and without her headscarf.

I am very partial to a story about a girl or woman who escapes a life-threatening captivity in the “Wild East,” as I once did, in Kabul, long ago. I write about this in my forthcoming book, An American Bride in Kabul.

But, I was a foreigner, an American, and once I got out I had a second chance. Kainat is now and forevermore a ruined child, an “outlaw,” whose family was meant to kill her for having “dishonored” them.

Amazingly, her loving family refused to do so. Unlike so many honor-killing families in which parents and siblings are either hands-on perpetrators or collaborators in the murder of their daughters and sisters, Kainat’s mother weeps and kisses her. Her father and older brother proudly supported Kainat’s search for justice.

This family deserves a major prize for having the courage and the sanity to stand up to tribal misogyny.

The Soomros turned to the police who refused to act. Instead, they said to kill her according to tribal custom. “She has shamed you.” The police do no sperm or DNA testing, and do not secure the crime scene. They ensure that charges of rape are almost impossible to prove.

Perhaps the U.S. Consulates in Peshawar and Karachi can donate rape kits to the Pakistani police.

Instead of becoming a bandit queen, as the gang-raped Phoolan Devi did in Uttar Pradesh, India; instead of killing herself — Kainat wanted justice. She wanted these men “sentenced to death” because they ruined her life. And they have. Probably, no one will marry her, and Kainat’s plans to become a physician may be permanently on hold. The death threats against this honorable family became so serious, that Kainat’s 18-person family was forced to flee their home for two rooms in Karachi.

Men who rape girls in tribal areas feel no guilt. Kainat’s accused rapists were enraged when their victim dared speak out. They hotly denied Kainat’s charges.

In Karachi, Sarah Zaman, of War Against Rape, a grassroots feminist group, decided to help Kainat and found her a dedicated pro bono lawyer. Zaman knew that powerful village men routinely rape girls and then have them killed for having shamed their families. In Afghanistan, raped women are either honor-killed or jailed as criminals. Kainat bravely agreed to endure a 5- to 10-year legal process, one in which she will be grilled in humiliating ways. The pro bono lawyer who represented the accused men, is also representing the President of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, Kainat’s lawyer managed to have the four men jailed and held in jail without bail for three years. This, too, is amazing.

Nevertheless, the accused rapists prevail. We see dozens of their village supporters descend on the courthouse yelling that “Kainat is a whore.” Their winning defense is ingenious: They claim that Kainat married one of them and he produces her thumbprint on a marriage document and a photo of the two of them, smiling. Kainat repeats that she was drugged and does not remember this. Her presumed bridegroom demands that she return to him.

Kainat was only 13 and did not have the right to consent to a marriage under secular law. However, under Sharia law, if she has reached puberty, she can do so. Sharia law prevails in the matter and the accused are all freed.

Despite claims to the contrary, Sharia law and Sharia courts are dangerous for women.

Kainat’s story is a victory and like all such victories, the price is high and the risk is even higher.

For a poor girl and her family to have four powerful men jailed for three years is extraordinary. The price: They allegedly killed her supportive brother, Sabir. And despite national headlines, the police closed the murder investigation. Kainat quietly says that her “life is a living hell.”

Kainat and her family live under police protection. Again, this is extraordinary.

I suggest that the U.S. Consulates also consider funding Kainat’s education as a physician. Perhaps the entire family should be air-lifted out of the Pakistani Badlands and into America for their safety.

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