Sunday, November 18, 2007

Murky world and spooks

Found this on intellibriefs... on Pak. emergency

"Proclamation of Emergency by Gen Musharraf marks the starting of next phase of 'Great Pakistan Democracy Drama' that was staged by General with a great genius and a sort of expertise which he has inherited from his seniors in Army who are well renowned in such tactics.Characters of this play have not only defined new standards of political actingand deceit but also better them on daily basis.Tactics used by Pakistani intelligence and 'Private or Independent Spy Rings'-a relatively new phenomenon- ran by likes of Lt.Gen Hamid Gul(most famous of these rings) and many many other former Intelligence Chiefs to create psychological impact on masses and their competitors is fast nearing perfection.This is modest starting of what will be a horrible phase in Pakistani and Islamic history.Things are very different behind the scenes from what is perceived in Western Media where Democracy talk consumes all the space.Real problem is not democracy.It does not matter to success in War on Terror .Democracy has never been there in Pakistan and is not going to be there . Moreover,it is a great myth that bringing democracy will help win war on terror.Terrorism originating from Pakistan is not a function of Democracy in Pakistan.In past Jehad flourished during democratic governments and at many places so called democrats fuelled it more than Millitary.The real crucial problem that has led to worsening of situation on Terror front in last one year is different.That is increasing radicalisation of Pak Army and 'signs of corrosion' in command and control structure of Intelligence Agencies on account of this.Manifestation of this are these Independent Spy Rings.These private spy rings have infiltrated ISI & IB and have considerable influence on cadres.A substantial number of people in government agencies have linkages with these rings specially in lower ranks although some higher seats are also involved.Some former Generals and former intelligence officers have huge sympathy for Jehadis as throughout their carrer and even after retirement they were closely involved in promoting Jehad Culture and have "personal intrests" in its continuity.These Generals,some elements of Air Force and add to it those 10-15% cadres of ISI and IB;it for sure makes quite an explosive mixture.That's how travel itineraries of some ISI field officers leaked.Few of them were even ambushed and killed.Many buses carrying intelligence staff were bombed.Latest implication of this is that Taliban has 'outsmarted' Pak Army in Swat and NWFP in past few months.Large desertions were witnessed and Army was badly humiliated at the hands of Taliban and Tribals.Morale of troops is quite low and there is little 'will power' left with a soldier to fight Jehadis which is most important thing in counter-insurgency operations.For the first time in last five or so years of Army offensive in NWFP and tribal areas, situation is so much out of hand.These spy rings provide Taliban forces and tribals with 'intelligence' and provide them with "tactical advice" to tackle Pak and NATO forces.NATO forces are increasingly becoming dependent on TechInt and satellite imagery.Western agents find it extremely difficult to operate on ground.Americans are largely dependent on Afghan sources and Saudis or Indians for ground information.Any attempt by American intelligence to gather ground met with stiff ressistance in recent past.There have been numerous instances that when an American Field Officer was trying to set up base with ISI help,suddenly,this information got leaked.Locals demonstrated,stone pelting happened and American chap was left with no other alternative but to leave.Anybody knowing basics of intelligence biz can understand how pathetic and alarming state of affairs this is.These rings are controlled by former spymasters and support of powerful Jehad Complex.This complex has support of influential clergy,landlords and Arab Sheikhs.All of these have large stakes in low cost-high margin business called Jehad.These are alarming signs for stability of Pakistan.Intelligence community in Pakistan is being radicalised and considerable number of cadres are identifying themselves with Jehadis rather than with government.As they say that intelligence agencies are any country's Last Line of Defence but in these patterns in Pakistan's case are alarming and calls for a review by the West of its ploicy towards Pak Army.British are probably already factoring in these facts in their thoughts and statements.Some quarters on Capital Hill are also coming out of Dream Land. Whatever,this in coming days will drag Pakistan into era of instability and more worse security situation will follow.So be ready for more Bling-Bang."

Clash of Margalla Pass, Pakistan

I am back after a long time. A lot of water has flown under the bridge. India's neighborhood is more dangerous than ever. Musharaf has gone berserk losing whatever common sense he had. His army is fighting a war no body in pakistan wants to fight. It is very disturbing to see Taliban style militias havng swathes of land under thier control. Looks like Zia's birds have come to roost finally (For laymen: Zia aka Gen. Zia Ul Haq was the dictator of Pak. from 77-88 under whom pak. became radicalized. The country is still reaping the bitter crop from the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism sown by Zia and co. with the active backing of Reagan's US)

Interestingly why is it that Islam in Pakistan suffers from such an identity crisis? A Natgeo article precisly answers why. I am just reproducing it as it explains it in a manner like I never can.
The article has a nice beginning - Pakistan is indeed situated on a religious fault line:

If there is an address, an exact location for the rift tearing Pakistan apart, and possibly the world, it is a spot 17 miles (28 kilometers) west of Islamabad called the Margalla Pass. Here, at a limestone cliff in the middle of Pakistan, the mountainous west meets the Indus River Valley, and two ancient, and very different, civilizations collide. To the southeast, unfurled to the horizon, lie the fertile lowlands of the Indian subcontinent, realm of peasant farmers on steamy plots of land, bright with colors and the splash of serendipitous gods. To the west and north stretch the harsh, windswept mountains of Central Asia, land of herders and raiders on horseback, where man fears one God and takes no prisoners.This is also where two conflicting forms of Islam meet: the relatively relaxed and tolerant Islam of India, versus the rigid fundamentalism of the Afghan frontier. Beneath the surface of Pakistan, these opposing forces grind against each other like two vast geologic plates, rattling teacups from Lahore to London, Karachi to New York. The clash between moderates and extremists in Pakistan today reflects this rift, and can be seen as a microcosm for a larger struggle among Muslims everywhere. So when the earth trembles in Pakistan, the world pays attention. The more radical madrassas were built and funded for the war against the Soviets in the 80s, and it is through these madrassas, that the Taliban (literally, students) later arose.

During the 1980s, as the mujahideen prevailed against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the winds of extremism blowing from the northwest began to chill all of Pakistan. Millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia flowed into the hard-line Sunni madrassas clustered along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, which eventually spread across Pakistan. Not all Pakistani madrassas today are fundamentalist or radical. Some are shoestring operations run by moderate clerics to meet the educational needs of the poor. But the majority—more than 60 percent—are affiliated with the fundamentalist Deobandi sect, an austere interpretation of Islam that calls for a rejection of modernity and a return to the "pure," seventh-century Islam of the Prophet Muhammad. Politically savvy and extremely well funded, more than 10,000 of these schools operate across Pakistan today, compared with fewer than 1,000 before General Zia took power. Thousands more operate unofficially.By the time Zia died in a mysterious 1988 plane crash, the Islamization of Pakistan was well under way. The following year, the Soviet Union, preoccupied with its own implosion, pulled its demoralized troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. promptly declared victory and returned home, leaving the Afghan people to the chaotic rule of the mujahideen warlords. One crucial chapter in the story of radical Islam's ascendancy had come to a close. The one we are still living had just begun. Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the Afghan jihad now moved freely in and out of northwestern Pakistan and its Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The madrassas swelled with the children of the Zia Generation. In the rugged mountainous land shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan, the seeds of the Taliban, and al Qaeda, had been sown.And to get a glimpse of a Deobandi madrassa, here is an amusing exchange:

My new friends want to know why Americans think they are terrorists. It's a good question, and an innocent one, judging by the young and open faces of the dozen or so students sharing their evening meal with me. They don't look like terrorists as they sit in a semicircle on green mats in the courtyard of Jamia Uloom-ul-Quran, a small Deobandi madrassa located in a historic downtown mosque in Peshawar. This provincial capital served as headquarters for the Afghan resistance against the Soviets, and jihad is still a going concern here. A block away from the madrassa, at shops selling shoes and used clothes, I'd bought a 50-cent al Qaeda DVD of a suicide bomber preparing for a mission. At the end of the disc, over religious music, the bomber is shown in his car at a distant crossroads, blowing up a convoy. "We know that shop," the students say. "But we're not terrorists."A few of the students appear to be ten or younger, but most are in their late teens or early 20s. They say their dream for Pakistan is "a peaceful nation, in which justice prevails, in keeping with Islamic law." But they believe, as many here do, that Islam is under attack. By America, by the West, by India, by their own government. Under these circumstances, they say, jihad is justified. What about suicide bombing? Is it sanctioned by Islam? "You must think we have classes here in making bombs or AK-47s!" exclaims one boy, and they all laugh."In any Muslim land that's occupied, suicide bombing is allowed," says a personable older boy named Rafiullah, who has bright brown eyes and the beginnings of a beard. A few mention Iraq and Palestine as places where such bombings are justified. Another boy mentions Afghanistan. "But it's not allowed in Pakistan," Rafiullah says, "since we're not an occupied country." ("Not yet!" somebody else interjects, to laughter.) "Nobody has a right to blow you up, even if you're a non-Muslim, or an infidel. If you are here as a guest, you are welcome." He reaches to shake my hand, as if to reassure me. By the way, I grew up in Karachi in the 80' s and for me (and probably for a lot of Karachiites) Peshawar was scary conservative even then. Perhaps Alabama for someone growing up in New York city, except Alabama with lots and lots of guns (preferably AK-47s).But if the state does not provide education, what options do people have:

About a third of the students at the Deobandi madrassa in Peshawar, for instance, are poor kids from far-flung regions of the North-West Frontier Province or the tribal areas. They are like Mir Rahman, 16, a sweet-faced boy from a family of poor herders in the Mohmand Tribal Area. The family lives miles from the nearest public school, which is so badly run that few kids attend. It's not unusual in Pakistan to hear of public schools that receive no books, no supplies, and no subsidies from the government. Thousands more are "ghost schools" that exist only on paper, to line the pockets of phantom teachers and administrators. Faced with choosing between bad public schools and expensive private ones, many poor parents send their children to the madrassas, where they get a roof over their heads, three meals a day, and a Koran-based education—for free.But Zia managed to reshape the whole education system and it will take time to reverse the damage:

Pervez Hoodbhoy lives every day with the consequences of the lack of public education in Pakistan. An MIT-trained professor of nuclear physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, he was speaking to a graduate-level class in physics a few days after the huge earthquake that devastated Kashmir in 2005, describing the geophysical forces that produced the disaster. "When I finished, hands shot up all over the room," he recalls. "'Professor, you are wrong,' my students said. 'That earthquake was the wrath of God.' "This, he says, is the legacy of General Zia-ul-Haq, whose education ministry issued guidelines on bringing an Islamic perspective to science and other subjects in the public schools. "The Zia Generation has come of age," he says. "It isn't Islamic to teach that earthquakes are caused by the movement of tectonic plates. Instead, you are supposed to say, by the will of Allah, an earthquake happens." Today a government commission is working to modernize education, but "it goes deeper than updating textbooks," he says. "It's a matter of changing society."

Quite some change that will be. Pakistanis and their neighbors need to hope for a miracle for that to happen. It will involve intense hardowrk by atleast two generation of Pakistanis.

You can find the original article by clicking below,

Monday, October 01, 2007

Communists!!! -Trojan Horses

I am mad at those commies for making an ass of India's image over the N-Deal. It is difficult to understand on what basis they are opposing it.

However, It should come as no surprise as communists have shown traitorous characteristics since 1942 and done so through 1962, 1971 and now. Their opposition to economic and technological upliftment is baffling to say the least. Their own Leftist CM wants a 10 GW nuclear plant in WB.

Privately India's planning commission laments that the communists are acting senseelessly without comprehending the magnitude of the problem faced by India on the energy front. To reach 15-20% share nuclear power generation has to start today. I agree and ave to say I am finding it difficult to figure out why the heck do these @#$## marxists have a problem with any developmental measure. 

Monday, August 13, 2007

Teaching History: Pakistani Style

I stumbled upon the writings of Yvette Rosser on the way History is taught in Pakistan. I liked the writing very much. The article pinpoints the identity crisis Pakistan is havng as it seeks to distingush itself from India (an utterly foolish thing to do).

Denial and erasure are the primary tools of historiography as it is officially practiced in Pakistan. There is no room in the official historical narrative for questions or alternative points of view which is Nazariya Pakistan, the Ideology of Pakistan?devoted to a mono-perspectival religious orientation. There is no other correct way to view the historical record. (No wonder the madarasas churn out a steady stream of brainwashed fedayeen and jihadis)

In contemporary Pakistani textbooks the historical narrative is based on the Two Nation Theory. The story of the nation begins with the advent of Islam when Mohammed-bin-Qazm arrived in Sindh followed by Mahmud of Ghazni storming through the Khyber Pass, 16 times, bringing the Light of Islam to the infidels who converted en mass to escape the evil domination of the cruel Brahmins. Reviewing a selection of textbooks published since 1972 in Pakistan will verify the assumption that there is little or no discussion of the ancient cultures that have flowered in the land that is now Pakistan, such as Taxila and Mohenjo-Daro, though this lack seems to have been partly addressed in the very recent editions of several history textbooks published for Oxford-Cambridge elite schools.

In most textbooks, any mention of Hinduism is inevitably accompanied by derogatory critiques, and none of the greatness of Indic civilization is considered?not even the success of Chandragupta Maurya, who defeated, or at least frightened the invading army of Alexander the Great at the banks of the Beas River where it flows through the land that is now called Pakistan. These events are deemed meaningless since they are not about Muslim heroes. There is an elision in time between the moment Islam first arrived in Sindh and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
This shortsighted approach to historiography was not always the case.

Pakistani nationalism is characterized by ironies and contractions. Its ideology and national mythos have not been substantiated by its historical realities. In the last sixty years the vision or ideal of Pakistan, as a secure homeland where the Muslims in the subcontinent could find justice and live in peace, has not been realized by the citizens. There is a shared experience of disappointment and dissatisfaction among the populace.....

Textbooks in Pakistan are the domain of distorted politics which have victimized the Social Studies curriculum. History by erasure can have its long-term negative repercussions. An example of this is the manner in which the Indo-Pak War of 1965 is discussed in Pakistani textbooks. In standard narrations of the 65 War manufactured for students and the general public, there is no mention of Operation Gibraltar, even thirty years after the event. In fact, many university level history professors whom I interviewed had never heard of Operation Gibraltar and the repercussions of that ill-planned military adventurism, which resulted in India?s attack on Lahore. In Pakistani textbooks the story is told that the Indian army, unprovoked and inexplicably attacked Lahore and that one Pakistani jawan equals ten Indian soldiers, who, upon seeing the fierce Pakistanis, drop their banduks and run away. Many people in Pakistan still think like this, and several mentioned this assumed cowardice of the Indian army in recent discussions regarding the war-like situation in Kargil. The nation is elated by the valiant victories on the battlefield, as reported in the newspapers, then shocked and dismayed when their country is humiliated at the negotiating table....

to be continued....

What if....

I once read an interesting article 'What if Hitler had won WW-II?' It was an intriguing article. It got me thinking. What if India had remained United India and not the three pieces it is at present. Though Pakistan's creation is something I accept as fait accompli, I was tempted to think ' Hey what if India had remained United?'

I have always heard Pakistani politicians saying 'Muslims would have been 2nd class citizens in undivided India and woud have become slaves'. In fact reference to Hindus invariably has some insulting connotation. Pakistani textbooks completely deny large tracts of History (I will post in detail on this a little later). I am afraid I disagree with the assessment that Muslims would have been second class citizens at the receiving end.... To this end I wish to answer the Why part by quoting a recent article by renowned Pakistani columnist Irfan Husain.

He said recently in his column in the 'Dawn'

"all in all, my guess is that in economic terms, Pakistan has benefited from Partition. It is in the non-physical areas that our growth has remained stunted. Had the subcontinent not been divided into two (and later three) components, we would not all have squandered such vast resources on defence.With the trillions that have gone into the black hole of military budgets, the government could have doubled and tripled the expenditure on health, education, culture and sports.

As a confederating unit of India, the area today known as Pakistan would not have suffered from the identity crisis that has seen it position itself as an adjunct to the Middle East. This, and the exclusion of the army from political life, would have reduced the religious fervour that has brought the Taliban wolf to our door. Indeed, one of the factors fuelling the rise of extremism in Pakistan has been the perception of the existential threat that (Hindu) India poses to us......"

The best comes below (for which I appreciate Mr.Husain deeply)

"Living under a secular constitution would have made life a lot easier for our minorities. They would not have to live in fear under the Damocles sword of our iniquitous blasphemy laws, and would be equal citizens. Women, too, would have benefited, and not been subject to random prosecution as under Ziaul Haq’s infamous Hudood Ordinances. In the international arena, an undivided India would have long been a powerhouse. With around 1.5 billion people, it would have provided an even larger market for imported and locally produced goods.

Culturally, we would have benefited from much greater diversity than we have now. Pakistan is a monochromatic society where women have not been allowed to play their true role in society. By contrast, they are highly visible in all Indian cities. And with more exposure to literature and the arts, our cultural life would have been that much richer."

He debunks the theory that Muslims would have been 2nd class citizens...

"There is a perception that had Partition not taken place, Muslims would have been oppressed by the Hindu majority. But half a billion Muslims are not a small minority that can be kicked around. As it is, about 160 million Muslims still live in India.Similar numbers in the areas that constitute Bangladesh and Pakistan today would have ensured that Muslims carried substantial political clout. And had Indian Muslims not faced the kind of isolation caused by Partition, they would not be the marginalised community they are now.Politically, we would not have been subjugated by the army as we are today. As a result, parliament and the judiciary would have been functioning with far greater freedom than they have done here over the last six decades. Indeed, we would be a far freer people than we are.At the end of the day, there are going to be winners and losers. Through Partition, many people gained, while others lost out. Many fortunes were made as a direct result of the scams arising out of the purchase of property claims submitted by refugees. Thousands of well-off people, caught up in the stampede created by the riots of 1947, were made destitute. Other migrants prospered due to the lack of competition in the new state.

Of course, all these are highly speculative projections, and if I have offended readers on either side of the Great Divide, let me remind them that this is just a game. And everybody can play."

Well Said Mr.Husain well said.....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lal Masjid: Musharraf's Bluestar

The tragic episode of Lal Masjid has injected a new ugliness into what seems to be emerging as a bitter conflict between Islamic militants and security forces. The army action was warranted but the timing and the handling of the affair simply showed the extent radical elements have gained in Pakistan. For India, the wave of violence sweeping its western neighbor is a grim reminder of how dangerous a place Pakistan has become.

Indeed, the ferocity and nature of the attacks on security forces carry echoes from Iraq. I am often aghast at the extremist views that have been pitchforked into these ventures. The Lal Masjid incident is a perilous indication that Talibanic viewpoints/ideology is spreading its venomous tentacles far and wide. Just as the Ghazi brothers declared independence from the state for their Lal Masjid complex six months ago, their spiritual brethren in Waziristan want to impose their own harsh laws dating back to 800 AD.
Pakistan is witnessing an unabated terrorism cycle—having experienced a suicide bombing or a bomb blast each day since the July 10 military operation against the mosque. To the outrage of many people, those who died in the Red Mosque operation are now being proclaimed as 'shaheed' or martyrs. Gen.Mush's government is responsible for this mess. Delay in effectively tackling the defiant stance of the Red Mosque not only complicated the crisis, but gave ample opportunity to Ghazi to entrench his forces militarily, start an effective media campaign and draw sympathy from segments of society by claiming that he and his comrades were merely asking for the enforcement of religious laws in the country. The 'bravery' of 'god's soldiers' stood exposed in the buff when one of the brothers was caught fleeing in a burqa :).

If developments in the last two weeks are any indicator, Pakistan is increasingly becoming an ungovernable state. Divisions within society about the direction of the state are becoming intense and if this confusion and cycle of violence continues, the very state of Pakistan might become unviable unleashing a potential (nuclear) nightmare in the sub-continent.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lal Masjid Standoff: Impending Peril

The Dawn's (The famous Pakistani newspaper founded by Jinnah) headline made for disturbing reading. The admission/announcement by Gen.Mush that JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) suicide Bombers were holed up inside the famous Red Mosque of Islamabad implies that the Lal Masjid (see pic.) Stand off has reached new heights with potentially disastrous consequences. In my opinion Pakistan's rulers and politicians are unaware of the extent of damage this standoff can cause.

Sadly with wimpishness having been made a national artform in Pakistan, the government of pakistan has been unable to offer a coherent response mired as it is in the CJP controversy. It is another example of the Musharraf government’s inability to contain the pro-Taliban and pro-al-Qaeda Islamist movements inside Pakistan. While ceding real estate to the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance through the various ‘peace accords’ that handed terrorists the control of South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Bajour agencies is troubling in its own right, this latest set of concessions is more troubling still.

First, it occurs not in the wild tribal areas that the Pakistani government exerts little control over. Rather, this latest concession takes place right in downtown Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city.
Second, it cedes not territory but ideological ideals to violent Islamists aligned with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Ideological ground is exponentially more difficult to regain once ceded than real estate.

If this doesn't get the government of pakistan running, I don't know what will. Musharaff will do well to remember the following latin quote.

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas (Fortunate is he who has been able to learn the causes of things)

This standoff might well become the causus belli for an internal strife that will ending ripping pakistan..