Monthly Archives: October, 2011

What kind of democracy?

Viewing the country’s sufferings from an academic point of view, the writer has pointed out some of major Soicial Causes eating Pakistan. She has mentioned the triangular factors of failures: Bad Governance subsiding the public interest, disunity and fragmentation of public opinoin to different primitive intellegencies and last, but not the least, the external factors injecting Pakistan’s sovereignity for own mean interests by the so called “War on Terror”.

    “AFTER years of living dangerously we seem to be finally losing control of ourselves and risking a veritable failure. The causes are both external and internal but the remedy has to be internal.”

But the remedy is available though:

    “Given the resourcefulness of our people and multiple underlying strengths this is achievable; only if we try to understand and resolve the complexity of our challenges.”

However, the fact that these complexities has grown so complex during the last half a century period that almost needs re-cultivating new thoughts for the next coming hundred years. At it’s quickest, the next two generations should wait to catch some glance of them solved.

She Defines Democracy:

    “Most importantly we need to understand our system we call democracy. A democratic society organises itself in a way that it is anchored in a strong rule of law and provides to its citizens a level playing field and equal opportunity, promises a measure of economic and social justice, and tries to protect the weak and the vulnerable, and minorities — religious, sectarian, ethnic and regional. And its social structure, power balances, quality of leadership, people’s habits of mind and political culture are adapted to serve these ends.

    Democracy’s core idea is power — where it should reside and how it should be used and to what purpose. A democratic system believes power resides in those who delegate it to their representatives as a trust so that it can be exercised to look after them and respond to their aspirations for justice, human security and quality of life, individual and collective. Democracy thus is focused on people, their well-being, happiness and self-fulfilment. It is all about substance. And it takes time to be a fully functional and mature democracy.”

Outcomes of a False Democracy:

    “If society is not organised along these lines you can have as good an appearance as possible and as many elections as you want but it will not be a democracy and may never become so. It will remain something else, an imposter perhaps, in which case political power will keep empowering the dominant social groups who have a vested interest in a deformed political process that allows them to sideline the people and take turns in ruling the country for their personal, class and institutional interests.

    They monopolise the state resources which are denied to the people.”

So, the “monopoly crisis” has a long attachment with Pakistani politics, we’ve always witnessed.

Pakistan’s Case:

    “Sadly, this has been the story of Pakistan. Democracy or army rule, power has been taken away from the people but not transferred back to them. The system is built to recycle power back into the hands of the already empowered alternating between civilians and the army, and within the civilians, from one set of politicians to another.”

Some Discussions On media:

    “Is Media a factor of Democracy?
    Yes we have something now that looks like democracy but in fact does not work like it. This mirage of democracy sabotages our understanding causing a confused debate, as some would say democracy in Pakistan has failed while others applaud free media, emerging civil society and flashes of judicial activism as signs that democracy is alive and well.

    Both are wrong as are those arguing that it is the governance that has failed not democracy, not realising that in a modern democracy governance must reflect, to varying degrees, democratic values and principles.”

She Concludes So:

    “What has failed in Pakistan is essentially a system whose form and rhetoric is democratic but whose substance is reactionary.”

Where from comes the change?

    “It needs to be changed. Media and civil society can help but they are merely facilitators or stimuli, not drivers of change. That can only come from political action. The good news is we have great strengths that could enable us to succeed; but the bad news is we also have great weaknesses that are increasing and causing us to fail, like the unresolved issues of identity, religion, security and widening fault lines, not to mention the existential threats we have come to face since 9/11. Pakistan is literally under siege, at its own hands and at the hands of others.”

Double Troubles:

    “If just the ruling elite had failed and Pakistan only faced external dangers, its problems would not be so daunting. Thanks to the abysmal failure of the elite, people also have become part of the problem. Unfortunately, such is the power of their despair that anything other than the current system has come to have a fatal attraction. People are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. On one hand are demagogues exploiting a great religion, who in a political vacuum are the only mediators available to the people. And on the other is the intelligentsia, much of it confused and conflicted, part fed by xenophobia and negativity, and part by twin illusions, that with a free media and the army in the barracks democracy has arrived and will solve all our problems.”

Democracy Deformed:

    “So we have two overlapping slogans — one so-called Islamic and ultra nationalistic, and the other, supposedly secular/liberal, ‘give democracy a chance’. To say ‘let democracy however imperfect continue’ is naïve. If democracy in Pakistan was just imperfect there would be hope. It is deformed. And they require dismantling and rebuilding. Can it be done? Yes but not the way we are going about it. We do not realise that the system has weakened our strengths and exaggerated our weaknesses.

    And we stand at the crossroads. At issue is not just democracy’s future but our own.”

Paradoxes:

    “The system has failed and its repetition will not salvage us. Democracy that we want to persist with is not the democracy that can save us. We must not confuse democracy as practised by us and democracy as the concept. The first is failing us and the second can save us. ‘Democracy is dead; long live democracy’.”

From Opinion Section of Dawn.com

The writer, a former ambassador, teaches at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University.

An Urban Legend

Ustad (left), Salim (right)

After seven dying days into the Indian Ocean heading towards Australia, our leaking boat broke up just hours to Hoshmore’, the northern Australian Island, and we were, then, arrested and brought to Immigration Detention Center, Manado City, North of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia in April of 2011. We (137- men, women, children) were lucky having survived the tragedy with some minor injuries when the boat hit a shore and broke into pieces.

Out of twelve Afghans who had been here since 2010, eight were already issued refugee status by the UNHCR and were transferred to Jakarta — Indo’s capital– soon after we arrived here. Currently, they are waiting for their cases be processed further for the grant of Australian Visa. The remained four fellows have been so nice to us, particularly, Ustad Taj Muhammad Hazara. This morning they’re, too, leaving for Jakarta.

Ustad, as we call him, is a very humble and kind man. One can only expect good affairs and intentions from him. In order to stay fit, we’ve been regularly attending his Martial Arts Class organized three days a week during last few months. With so much patience, he has trained all of us that we’ve grown addicted to him and his exercise classes along with his good humored nature, loud, strong tone and his sweet pieces of English phrases he chewed up loudly every now and then as officers visit detenees here.

Back there, in his home town, almost every other person knows him by face or name. He’d been promoting Martial Arts Kung-Fu Toa for more than thirty years in Quetta, Pakistan, with attending several national and international tournaments with the tag of Maisam Tammar Kung-Fu Toa Association and winning almost all the Golds in most tournaments. He has trained uncountable number of students into strong and healthy social participants. Many of his students are now out side the native land. What’s special about him is that he has never been just a Kung-Fu master, he’s rather more popular for the influence he has into students’ moral values and correcting their character flaws. As has been already proved to us, he’s a loveable guardian plus a honorable teacher.

Also, an article on wikipedia by the tag Taj Muhammad Hazara provides a comprehensive account of his life.

Though his notable students are many, Ali Ahmedi is the one popular in Australia. He’s an Australian Sports icon, Actor and a symbolic Afghan immigrant.

Ustad is leaving us this morning, heading towards his future, desperate about his destination but, as always, passing warm smiles to anyone he happens to meet.

Some of Men are just more than a single physical machine, only by their absence you reckon how empty your surrounding is with many still around. We will miss him and all the stuffs related to him.

His famous Say:
“Nisfi na’an Bukhar, Takra bash”(Take half a bread and be Active).

Smokers’ Corner: Pinning Jinnah

Published in Daily Dawn, the article brings to us the very clear facts of roots and causes of violence and political instability observed currently in Pakistan.

“Smokers’ Corner: Pinning Jinnah
In my last week’s column I discussed how a revisionist narrative by the rightists (in the late 1960s) tried to replace the fact that Pakistan was conceived as a nation state with a concocted idea suggesting that it was actually envisioned as a theocratic state.

We also discussed how this narrative even after being successfully challenged by the progressive intelligentsia eventually managed to become state policy with the support of General Ziaul Haq’s reactionary dictatorship (1977-88).

A number of political and social policies and stunts were crafted by the Zia regime and its Islamist allies to embed the rightists’ narrative of Pakistan in school text books, the media and finally in public imagination.

Many of them are well known especially those that have gone on to make Pakistan a hotbed of sectarian and Islamist violence and religious intolerance.

It is also true that what Zia and his ideologues invented in the name of ‘Pakistan ideology,’ has now left us awkwardly buzzing with an animated polity of people many of whom fail to even condemn certain acts of savagery undertaken in the name of faith just because they feel that by doing so they would be (1) questioning the dictates of their faith; (2) submitting to the West/US, and (3) undermine Pakistan’s supposed raison d’etre (of being an ‘Islamic state’).

Though a lot has been written on how Zia and his myopic colleagues successfully managed to pull off such a feat of mutated social engineering, little is known, however, about certain rather comical misfires that the wily dictator had to face in this respect.

After toppling the Z. A. Bhutto government in July 1977, Zia almost immediately got down to the business of radically transforming the ideological complexion of Pakistan, changing it from being a ‘democratic Muslim majority state’ (as envisioned by its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah), into peddling it as a state that was supposedly conceived as a theocratic entity.

In 1979, Zia and his ideological partners, mainly the Jamat-i-Islami (JI), hit a brick wall in this respect when they couldn’t endorse their revisionist narrative with any of the sayings and speeches of Jinnah.

As a first step Zia banned the mention (in the media and school text books) of Jinnah’s famous speech that he made to the Constituent Assembly on August 14, 1947, and in which he clearly described of Pakistan as a progressive, non-theocratic Muslim state.

Zia’s information ministry spend days on end studying Jinnah’s speeches and sayings to dig out anything that could be used to endorse Zia and the rightists’ revisionist version of Pakistan’s emergence.

They came up with nothing, until one fine day in early 1980, some of Zia’s advisers suggested that a particular slogan rang during the Pakistan movement. It was ‘Pakistan ka matlab kya, lailahaillalah’ (What does Pakistan mean; it means there is only one God!).

Excited, Zia sanctioned the state owned PTV to construct a national song around this slogan. It did not matter to him when critics pointed out that this was an obviously vague slogan, that its usage was limited to only a few groups during the movement and that it was completely forgotten about after Pakistan’s creation.

Unperturbed Zia continued his ‘Islamisation’ of Jinnah project. Soon, the positioning of Jinnah’s motto, ‘Unity, Faith, Discipline,’ was switched around and the word ‘faith’ placed ahead of unity and discipline. Suddenly it became ‘Faith, Unity, Discipline.’

But the biggest unintentional gag in this context arrived when, after still failing to get a worthwhile endorsement for his ‘Islamic’ narrative of Pakistan, Zia (in 1983) enthusiastically announced the discovery of Jinnah’s personal diary.

While talking to his ministers, Zia claimed that in the newly discovered ‘personal diary of the founder’, Jinnah had spoken about having a ‘powerful Head of State (read: dictator),’ and ‘the dangers of parliamentary democracy,’ conveniently concluding that Jinnah’s views were ‘very close to Islam’ (or of having an ‘Islamic system of government’).

Private Urdu press (largely right-wing in orientation), gave lavish coverage to the event, even publishing a page from the supposed diary, as the state-owned PTV and Radio Pakistan organised and broadcasted discussions with ‘scholars’ on this breathtaking discovery.

But, alas, the euphoria around this farce was thankfully short-lived. Two of Jinnah’s close associates and direct participants in the Pakistan Movement, Mumtaz Daultana and K H. Khurshid, rubbished Zia’s claims saying there was never such a diary.

After this, a group of senior intellectuals from the Quaid-e-Azam Academy also denied that such a diary ever existed in the Academy’s archives (from which Zia had claimed the diary had emerged).

What’s even funnier is the fact that once his claims were trashed, not only did Zia never mention anything about the supposed diary ever again, a number of Urdu newspapers that had splashed the drastic discovery went completely quiet — even to the extent of sheepishly avoiding to publish Daultana and Khurshid’s rebuttals. It was as though there was never any talk of a diary.

But even such a debacle could not halt Zia’s Islamic Jinnah project. In desperation, his information ministry simply ended up advising PTV and Radio Pakistan to only use those sayings of Jinnah that had the word Islam in them.

The practice only stopped with Zia’s assassination in August 1988 and Jinnah was finally spared the false beard Zia kept pining on the founder’s otherwise shaven chin.”

The Original Article Appearshere