Thursday, January 20, 2011

No Way Out for Pakistan?

The pretender to Anne Patterson’s throne
So far as Pakistan is concerned the WikiLeaks’ disclosure of our rulers’ sell-out to the Americans appears to have been a bubble that burst all too soon. Initially frightened out of their wits, the Americans have dropped any pretence of showing respect towards their factotums who occupy the highest offices of state in Pakistan.

Cameron Munter, the new pretender to the throne vacated by Anne Patterson, has bluntly told the Pakistani puppets installed by the USA that the Americans will interfere in Pakistan’s “financial and governance” matters because, he boasted, the US was Pakistan’s largest aid provider. He said nothing, of course, about the terrible destruction wreaked on Pakistan by the Americans’ insane pursuit of their political objectives through warfare. The so-called “aid” is mere peanuts compared to the human and material losses suffered by Pakistan as a direct result of America’s nefarious activities in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Cattle, Puppets and Puppeteers

You might think that that the reaction to Munter’s humiliating remarks would be an outcry in Pakistan’s National Assembly and strident calls to the nation to unite against the American arrogance. Nothing of the sort happened. Pakistan’s Mafia-like leadership of criminals and fraudsters, whose darkest secrets are known to the American CIA, simply slunk away with bowed heads, their tails between their legs. In fact, the top dog dutifully flew all the way to Washington to attend a memorial service – and deliver a typically sycophantic eulogy – for Richard Holbrook, an oafish American diplomat who used to take particular delight in visiting Pakistan and bluntly giving a piece of his mind to the puppets who presented themselves before him.

The gentlemen and ladies who sit in Pakistan’s National assembly mostly owe their privileged positions to the patronage of the leaders of their respective parties. The MNAs dare not oppose any decision of their leader, however inimical to the interests of Pakistan, for the simple reason that the leader has the power to sack them on the spot. In practical terms, these “leaders” are the effective owners of the political parties they lead. Last summer these “leaders” conspired to give themselves autocratic powers by changing Pakistan’s constitution by means of “the 18th amendment”. This was a complex amendment which introduced several changes to the constitution, some good, some bad and some totally repulsive. In the last category fall such monstrosities as revoking the clause that requires political parties to hold elections, and allowing convicted criminals to stand in national elections! The way is thus open for revolting individuals such as Z and NS to remain party leaders for life and to pass on the succession to members of their families irrespective of what crimes they may have committed. It is said that the 18th amendment, which contained over a hundred amendments, was nodded through without discussion, the entire process taking no more than a couple of hours!

The sad fact is that Members of Pakistan’s National assembly are little better than a herd of cattle. They merely go where they are goaded by the puppets who, in turn, have their strings pulled by the puppeteers sitting in Washington. Democracy, Pakistani-style, is merely a form of dictatorship mixed in with unbridled corruption and abuse of power.

Way forward : the path of Iqbal and Jinnah

We need to look at any system of government and make an effort to understand how it operates. Thoughtlessly mouthing slogans such as “democracy” hides the monstrous fact that the Jamhoori Tamasha, the Democratic Circus, we have in Pakistan is one where layers of dictatorship exist, the uppermost layer being the dictatorship exercised from afar by the Americans, who determine the rulers of Pakistan and the policies that they are going to follow. Iqbal:

جلال پادشاہی ہو کے جمھوری تماشہ ہو
جدا ہو دیں سیاست سے تو رہ جاتی ہے چنگیزی

Absolute power of a monarch, or Democratic Circus, both are equally futile;
There will be just tyranny and oppression if Deen is separated from politics.

To Jinnah, “Deen” was a Code of Conduct that we had to follow in life – see Dialogue with a Giant

Pakistan’s Jamhoori Tamasha پاکستان کا جمھوری تماشہ

All Pakistani political parties that pay homage to their Americans masters - refer to WikiLeaks to identify those parties - agree that the current PPP government, up to its neck in unbridled corruption, must be allowed to complete its 5-year term of office because that is the wish of their masters sitting in Washington! At the end of that term Washington will presumably award points for good behaviour, and one of its stooges will be selected to rule Pakistan for the following 5 years.

This Jamhoori Tamasha, the Circus of Democracy, must be brought to an end if Pakistanis are to be released from the grip of corrupt thieves and robbers controlling the reins of power. Toppling the government is straightforward because of the wafer-thin majority it has in Parliament. However, none of the political parties represented in National Assembly will dare to upset the apple cart for fear of offending their masters in Washington. So, we have the macabre political dance being performed by the likes of Nawaz Sharif (the creator of the disreputable 'Friendly Opposition', which guarantees the survival of Z & Co), Altaf Hussain and Fazlur Rehman. What, then, is the solution?

A solution which could spark a constitutional crisis

At this critical juncture in Pakistan’s history, the Supreme Court could play a decisive role. In view of the indiscriminate murders and targeted killings of Pakistan’s citizens that the PPP government is powerless to do anything about, galloping inflation and no-holds-barred corruption of the rich and the powerful, the Supreme Court could declare that the government is unable to fulfil its obligations under the constitution. Apart from the government’s inability to maintain law and order, it seems to be gripped with paralysis when it comes to implementing the Supreme Court judgments relating to the ex-convict who happens to be the president of Pakistan. The Supreme Court could conceivably dismiss the government for sheer incompetence and drag Z, kicking and screaming, before the Court to answer criminal charges against him. This would pave the way for mid-term elections and the formation of a new government.

Should the Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, take the bold step outlined here, the one thing that can be forecast with absolute certainty is a flood of damning articles by heavily bribed Pakistani hacks in a section of Pakistan's English language press. Expect endless talk of the judges exceeding their powers and creating constitutional chaos.
Seems to me that a revolution, Tunisia-style, could be another possibility. Are the people of Pakistan ready to explode? The sooner we end the bastardised parliamentary system we have in Pakistan the better it will be for the nation.

نہیں ہے ناامید اقبال اپنی کشت ویراں سے
ذرا نم ہو تو یہ مٹی بُہت زرخیز ہے ساقی


Religion, as commonly understood, is a mix of ideas and rituals, including unhealthy influences which defy common sense. Invariably, “religion” branches out into a multitude of sects headed by hidebound clerics at war with each other. Al-Quran speaks of Islam as DEEN, which I wrote about in the very first post in my blog. I ask my readers to read it, please, by clicking this link

The religious parties which are so active in Pakistani politics today had, in fact, opposed the creation of Pakistan. More, they had declared both Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam to be “kaafir”/infidel. One particular party stooped so low in its disparagement of Jinnah that it attached the label “Kaafir-e-Azam” to him. These religious parties deserve nothing but contempt from the people of Pakistan for their mischief making.

What we need in Pakistani politics is honesty, justice, and courage to resist tyranny and oppression. That was the DEEN or CODE OF CONDUCT that Iqbal and Jinnah talked about. Without that quality in politics we will end up with immoral political systems such as those we have in the USA and Pakistan. In some ways the USA political system is worse than Pakistan’s, because it denies genuine democracy to nations which are not yet considered “developed” and it allows the American government to launch murderous attacks on them, killing hundreds of thousands of their citizens with its hi-tech weaponry.


Sakib Ahmad said...

Following some comments made to me, I have added a 'Tailpiece' to this blog post today.

Lost-in-cyberspace said...

The Tailpiece looks odd. Am I imagining it or is there a funny look about it (it's layout, I mean)?

Sakib Ahmad said...

Its layout is indeed a bit haywire. I expect this is because Google can't quite cope with Urdu and English scripts appearing in close proximity.

Isn't it funny how we depend on the Americans for communicating in our own language?! What are Pakistan's software engineers doing?

اپنی غفلت کی یھی حالت اگر قائم رہی
آئیں گے غسال کابل سےکفن جاپان سے

Anonymous said...

Pakistani software engineers???? Strange. One has heard of hackers from Pakistan, not engineers

Sakib Ahmad said...

Didn't know I had a guardian angel among the followers of this blog, who re-wrote a part of the blog in HTML code - for which I am grateful. The TAILPIECE has been sorted out and now looks fine!

As for the tongue-in-cheek comment by Anonymous, the existence of world class hackers does imply a large pool of IT expertise! I have been given two links that anyone interested in learning about Pakistan's IT industry might find helpful:

Noor said...

A question has been asked about the Talipiece above. Would be nice to have an answer. The question is:

What do you mean by Deen? And why is it not a religion?

Sakib Ahmad said...

I would start by saying that all Muslims should read the Qur'an in translation and think seriously over what they read.تدبّر و تفکر over the aayaat is a Quranic injunction.

Al-Quran says that Islam is not a new Deen, it is the same as it has always been. Allah’s Message to mankind has always been ISLAM. So, the distorted picture of Islam that exists in Pakistan, and other religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, etc can all be traced back to Islam as Deen.

Deen implies constant REMEMBRANCE of Allah and nobility of actions
صالح اعمال – see the very first blog post, which is an article on Islam. Therefore, whether you perform your prayers in accordance with the Hanafi religious sect, or the Jaafaria religious sect, or any other, is quite irrelevant. The important thing is whether or not you are PRESENT in your remembrance of Allah. Empty worship is a quite useless thing.

تیرا امام بے حضور، تیری نماز بے سرور
ایسی نماز سے گزر، ایسے امام سے گزر

I hope this brief explanation helps.

Anonymous said...

"Al-Quran says that Islam is not a new Deen, it is the same as it has always been"

All/Most religions claim divinity and finality. Islam is no different in that regard.

Sakib Ahmad said...


You are spot on if we view Islam as religion. Go to any mosque and I am sure the resident mullah will do his best not to disappoint you.

The exposition in the Qur'an is different. Islam as Deen is a Way of Life: call upon your God - the One Who created the universe and sustains it - and try to live your life according to the principles explained in Al-Qur'an, that is, justice, tolerance, patience, honesty, respect for others, courage to stand up to bullies and oppressors - witness what is going on in Egypt right now - etc. Then, as you continue your life's journey to its ultimate destination, wisdom may dawn on you to guide you in the right direction.

Al-Quran says that life in this world is but a part of the wider life - you have to take that on trust but you may receive subjective proof later if you are patient.

Anonymous said...

Your comment that "Go to any mosque and I am sure the resident mullah will do his best not to disappoint you."
How can you be so sure, Mr. Ahmed? The clerics are the ones largely responsible for Pakistan's state of affairs. The mulla is the one who brainwashes many a Muslim youth to take up arms against the government and the West.

Sakib Ahmad said...

Third Anonymous!

I think you and I are saying much the same thing. I was responding to Anonymous no. 2's observation that Islam claims "finality" just like any other religion. My reply simply says that if we view Islam as a religion and not as Deen then the observation is valid - all you need to do is go to a mosque where the resident mullah will often define Islam in very narrow terms and condemn other religions.

As you imply, a most pressing need of the moment is how to free fellow Pakistanis from the clutches of priests. It is ironic that we have a priesthood in the Muslim world although Al-Quran rebukes them quite harshly.

To my mind the way to go about it is to speak to our people in the language that they understand. I consider it tragic that highly educated Pakistanis have alienated themselves from ordinary people, and erected a wall of English shielding themselves from the rest.

In the context of the popular Egyptian rising, I have made the following comments elsewhere:

"The Egyptians are proud of their language and their culture - that is what gives them a sense of self-esteem. And that is why the rich and the poor have stood together in the ongoing uprising against Hosni Mubarak: the glue that binds them together is their common awareness of their history and their heritage.

Our ruling class tends to be educated by foreigners, in a language that an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis does not understand. Just take this blog as an example. Only a tiny proportion of Pakistanis is capable of reading and comprehending what you churn out with such ferocity. Thus, even when "patriotic" Pakistanis strive to oppose the brainwashed Pakistani ruling class they bring no fresh ideas to the struggle. Even if they win, the status quo will carry on.

If you are serious about bringing about radical change in the Pakistani mind-set, an absolute requirement is to teach our children ourselves and not to allow foreigners to brainwash them into "civilised" robots who look down upon their own people. If we make no attempt to instil in our children a sense of pride in our language and the noble aspects of our culture, these children will grow up suffering from the same inferiority complex that has afflicted their parents."

Tamur Haq said...

Mr. Ahmad, thanks for inviting me to your blog. I like your style of writing. You have a certain command over your narrative which is important in getting your ideas across. Linguistic proficiency is vital when engineering change, especially in those who decide to raise a voice. I agree with your description of the current status quo. I also agree with your vision of following the path of Iqbal and Jinnah. I happened to read your first blog post about Islam and Quran and even in that respect, I'm in the same boat as you.

I, however, do not endorse a Tunisia-style revolution for Pakistan. If there's to be a revolution that doesn't end in a months, perhaps years long, 'reign of terror'; it has to be an Egyptian styled revolution, which unfortunately is impossible for Pakistan. The Egyptian Army emerged as the steward of the people of Egypt. It stood by to provide support for democracy and ensured the safety of the people it swore to protect. In a similar situation, I do not have similar hopes for the Pakistan Army. A Pakistani revolution will inevitably turn violent for the benefit of the, homegrown and foreign, nefarious elements who will use the opportunity to fuel chaos and destruction.

The Pakistani revolution must be an intellectual one...

This brings me to my second point. You have called for a similar intellectual revolution by teaching your children the realities of religion and politics and develop the aforementioned linguistic proficiency. It is a vital idea and I fully support it, however it cannot really be classified as a 'radical' change. In the earlier comment you noted how most Pakistanis will not be able to understand and relate to your narrative. I believe you are right. Then what use are the linguistic abilities of a revolutionary, if they fail to reach the masses? These are pressing issues we must address.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah's English eloquence found an articulate Urdu companion and counterpart in Iqbal. Where Jinnah shook the upper echelons of political power in India and Great Britain, Iqbal won the hearts of masses who, mostly, could only relate to a message in Urdu.

This to me clearly shows that an Iqbal inspired proficiency in Urdu is vital for a Pakistani reawakening. Sadly, Urdu has failed to keep up as a modern and efficient language. Pakistan's over reliance on English resulted in a further disconnect of the 'educated' upper and middle classes from the Urdu/Punjabi speaking lower class. Not to mention it is not considered 'cool' anymore by the younger crowd.

Urdu must be preserved and promoted: as a vehicle of change, as a cultural heritage and as a reminder of the distinct Pakistani identity. To me these are some of the most pressing issues of the Pakistan "problem." A radical violent 'revolution,' to upstage the current leadership, will still fail to address the most fundamental issues of Pakistan.

One last thing that I must mention here is the apparent disconnect between the intellectual revolutionaries themselves. There are several hundred blogs authored by people such as you, who feel for their country and strive to bring to light the issues that must be addressed. A simple passionate blog post by someone who actually feels for the plight of the Pakistanis is more than what your common politician has ever done. However, this is a force disconnected from each other. The intellectual revolution will only make a difference when revolutionaries join hands to ponder and discuss the nation's issues, come to agreements and define real workable solutions and actions for everyone else to follow; i.e. an open source think tank.

This is an idea I have been working on for a while and it will come to fruition soon Insha’Allah. I applaud your spirit and hope you continue to write.

Sakib Ahmad said...

Tamur Haq Sahib,

I am bowled over by your wise words. I agree strongly with almost everything you have written. I do hope the project you are working on will come to fruition very soon and we can all pull together in the same direction.

Certainly, we need to find an indigenous solution to our language problem. The only realistic solution is to spread education to all corners of Pakistan in Urdu, a language that almost all Pakistanis understand.

From Jamil-ud-din Aali Sahib's columns in "Jang", it appears that the "Society for the advancement of Urdu" [انجمن ترقی اردو ] has made great advances. For one thing, the Karachi Urdu University offers all subjects up to the Bachelor and Master levels in Urdu. For another, Urdu computer software is in place to supplant English with Urdu as the language of administration. Apparently, this can be achieved almost overnight provided the government shows the necessary political will.

Please do read this blog post, which resonates strongly with the ideas you have expressed:

The comments on that post are just as important as the post itself - do read them as well.

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