Freedom of expression and speech: an absolute right? (Part II)

To read Part I please click on the link:

This is a cross post from Pulse Weekly

By: Yasmeen Aftab Ali ArticleYAA

Obscenity generally may be described as disgusting and in violation of standards acceptable in a given society of decency or morality. Obscenity differs from culture to culture, even in the same culture; it is different from one geographical area to the other. Or, different during different times in the same country, province, area. This is especially true of developing nations like Pakistan, where norms, life styles, dressing, etc are completely different in rural areas as compared to urban areas. One may not be obscene in garb of freedom of expression. In any liberal society we must determine the boundaries to a right. If all limitations from freedom of speech are removed, as clamored for by certain sections of societies, does this mean, we endorse pornography? Does this then endorse, a lifestyle, dressing et al in complete contempt of the value structure on which our society is built? Does this mean obscenity in behavior becomes acceptable? On the other hand; who defines obscenity/vulgarity? It has certainly not been done so in our laws dealing with freedom of expression and speech. What may be obscene to one person may not be obscene to another person coming from a different spectrum of the same society. What then, is the benchmark to determine whether or not a programme is obscene?

A list of 1500 words were sent to the three largest mobile carriers by The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). “The list includes many crude and sexual terms that the government is attempting to root out as part of a 1996 ban on transmitting information through telephone systems that is “indecent or obscene.” (Times News Feed titled “Purity in Pakistan: Government Bans Text Messages with Obscenity” by Nick Carbone published 19th November 2011)  PTA banned pornographic websites in Pakistan in January 2012. According to SITE News Pakistan,“PTA has provided a list to the ISP’s in Pakistan to block the frequently accessed adult sites. It is believed that more web pages will be added to the initial banned list of 1,000 websites and as many as 170,000 websites may be banned in the near future.”(Published on News Pakistan by 23rd January 2012)

In Butler v. State of Michigan court made it a misdemeanor to sell or make available to the general reading public any book containing obscene language “tending to the corruption of the morals of youth” violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”352. U.S 380(1957).Thereby creating a clear benchmark, “tending to the corruption of the morals of youth.”

Fundamental to protect human rights is the underlying principle of awarding dignity and equality to all. Being sensitive to the religious feelings of others. Dr. Agnes Callamard states in his article, “States may, but are not required to introduce legislation on blasphemy. Several established democracies still have blasphemy provisions on the books, although most of these are rarely, if ever, used. In the United Kingdom, for example, there have been only two prosecutions for blasphemy since 1923. Norway saw its last case in 1936 and Denmark in 1938.” (Article published in Equal Voices, magazine for European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), Issue, 18th June 2006)

The universe is full of people with diverse beliefs. Religions are many, followers of each religion believes they follow the “best” one. Irrespective of whether someone is a Muslim, a Christian, an Atheist, so on and so forth, the best course of action to maintain peace and harmony is to be respectful towards the other’s beliefs. As we would want respect to be shown to ours. Why hurt feelings and create a chain reaction that may gather speed and erupt like a volcano? And like a volcano, destroy everything that comes its way.

The list of limitations is by no means exhausted and includes copyrights and patents .Any logo, product name, patent product by a company, may not be used by another in exercise of right of freedom of expression. Copyright laws are governed by legal doctrines for example Anti-Trust Law in US (1995) and Competition Laws in the European Union. Each country has its own set of copyright laws.

Accountability is difficult in societies that generally lack respect for the law. The two intrinsic elements for a person to be guilty of perjury are that he/she must have deliberately lied to mislead and this must have been done under legal oath.

“I still think President Clinton may have some real problems because he testified under oath. There is a real question of perjury and obstruction of justice.”  This came from Don Nickles, an American businessman and politician who was a Republican United States Senator from Oklahoma from 1981 till 2005 on Clinton-Lewinsky case on the testimony by Clinton in court. Bill Clinton was impeached and the House approved Articles that alleged perjury and obstruction of justice for lying under oath and obstructing justice for cover up with an intern in the Oval Office.

How can we, while discussing limitations on freedom of expression, overlook profanity?

The vulgar, irreverent word or action that we hear so commonly in the course of conversation, even by the educated, what to speak of the rickshaw drivers, that one is likely to forget that this too, is a bar on as we exercise freedom of expression. And profanity is not just restricted to one-to-one exchanges but is gaining greater acceptance in form of crude comedy and sitcoms. Do we allow society and media as a powerful instrument of opinion formation, to exercise this right with no limitations and governed only by good sense? If in spite of the limitations, we see so many violations, how can we allow an unrestricted profane choice to the people? It will be akin to giving a loaded gun to a two year old and expect him not to shoot himself in the foot- or shoot off his mouth, in this case!

In the well- known case Cohen v. California, the United States Supreme Court overturned a “disturbing peace conviction” of a man wearing a jacket decorated with profanity.  On 26th April 1968, Paul Robert Cohen was arrested for wearing a jacket with profanity written on it. He was convicted of violating California Penal Codesentencing him to 30 days in jail. The conviction was upheld by California Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court denied review of the case.

Invasion of privacy by media, governments, or institutions, are a part of privacy laws of many countries. A good example of privacy is reflected in the Fourth Amendment of the American Constitution, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Contempt of Court relating to media usually takes the form of discussing issues that are sub judiceto the court.The term “sub-judice” is Latin. It simply means “under judicial consideration.” Thereby meaning to state any matter that is under judicial consideration must not be commented and debated upon, unless and until the Court delivers a verdict. This makes sense.If a matter is pending before court, and the same is being discussed in its entire speculative splendor in media, it will be fair to assume that it will create public perceptions. There are vested interests. Media persons, just like any other have their own biases and prejudices. Besides, media persons, not being lawyers may not grasp the elements within a case. The projection of news, may lead to running of a media trial and deliver a media judgment before a judgment from the court. Even if truth is spoken in the media, is it fair to prejudge a case before being presented in Court and before it may be judged by a court of competent jurisdiction? What if facts by the media are not what they are? There can be a genuine misunderstanding of legal points- after all; everyone is not a lawyer, notwithstanding the desire to act as one- is this not seriously compromising an issue by virtue of running a media trial?

Is it not likely for a media trial to endanger and jeopardize the fair trial of a man? Can it not put in danger the life of a key witness? Or his/her family? Can it not sway a judge by a public trial? The newspaper and TV is read and viewed by people from across the board. Or other officials involved in the investigation? Or pronounce a sentence on half-truths where there should be none, on an innocent person?

The question of practical relevance that arises here is: in any case that arises and is incourt, some may have great public interest. Now, this interest is heightened during the pendency of the case. The case may take a year or more to reach the decision by a court. Do the media, then, stay mum till the conclusion of the proceedings?To address the above question, the principle of “clear and present danger” was developed; whether the publication presented an immediate likelihood that justice would be thwarted, -whether there was a “clear and present danger that the publication would obstruct justice.”The famous rule, expressed first in 1919 by Justice Homes in Schenck v United States.Justice Wendell Holmes in the famous case Schenck v. United States(1919) clearly expressed his opinion that a restriction is legitimate only if it poses a real and clear present danger that relates to public interests or threat to safety. When America entered the World War I in 1917, Congress passed the Espionage Act. This law clearly enunciated that any individual working to cause disloyalty or disobedience among the soldiers will be deemed as a war crime. Charles Schenck was against the war. He mailed thousands of pamphlets to men who had been drafted into the armed forces. The government accused Schenck of violating the Espionage Act. The contention of the government was that the pamphlets were aimed to weaken the loyalty of the soldiers and create a clear obstruction in the recruitment procedure. Argument put forth by Schenck was that the Espionage Act was in violation of the First Amendment that clearly states, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” The case was eventually decided by the Supreme Court in 1919. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the decision for a Supreme Court that was unanimous in its decision. “When a nation is at war,” he said, “many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.” (Edmonton Journal V Alberta (1969)2 SCR 1326)

In a known case of SaadatKhialy, an article was carried by some newspapers. The article made some comments on some pending cases in the court. The Supreme Court ruled it was contempt of the court. The ruling stated: “If the Article, read reasonably and as a whole, was calculated or had the tendency to prejudice mankind against one or the other of the parties involved in the proceedings, it is enough to amount to an interference with the course of justice, for the question in the case is, not as to whether the publication has, in fact, interfered with it or not, or as to what was the intention of the author  and/or publisher, but whether it has the tendency to produce such prejudicial effect. The principle on which this type of contempt is punished is to keep the stream of justice unsullied so that the parties against whom litigations are pending in courts of law should get a fair trial from the Courts and not be subjected in advance to a trial by newspapers.”(SaadatKhialyVs The State PLD 1962 SC 457)


Freedom of expression and speech places a huge responsibility upon the person practicing it-in this case the media. With vested interests involved, an open cheque can lead to serving vested interests at the cost of national interests. Freedom of publication is a huge responsibility. To whom are we entrusting the responsibility to? In a race to sell more than the competitor, media panders to sensationalism, indulging in speculations that can ultimately harm the national interests. In a powerful article by Yawar Abbas, in Daily Times, says, “During the last decade, Pakistan’s media has contributed positively to the cause of democracy in the country and also played an active role in the restoration of the judges through round the clock coverage of the famous Lawyers’ Movement. Nonetheless, serious doubts and conflicting views regarding the media’s role in the country have also accompanied these wide-scale developments. Some of these views rise from concerns that the media is strictly averse to the idea of even the most modest regulation by the government and that it refuses to abide by a unanimously agreed code of conduct or ethics. The media groups in the country have grown into big mafias; they own print as well as electronic media — a situation that is almost unprecedented anywhere in the world. Critics also maintain that the Pakistani media is creating an environment of despair and hopelessness by presenting a very bleak picture of the country. This constant fearmongering and pessimistic outlook on such a broad scale can have its own psychological ramifications for Pakistani society in the future.” (Daily Times, published 24th March 2011 titled, ’Is Media fanning extremism’?Yawar Abbas)

The good, the cultural, the beautiful has all been relegated to the back burner. All that is projected is the bad, the ugly, and the destructive. Talk shows talking of doomsday scenario seem to have replaced entertainment and any good things related to Pakistan. This has on one hand created despondency in the local population; on the other hand, it has effectively created a consistently negative view of Pakistan for the rest of the world. The culture of Pakistan has been overtaken by the Indian culture in entertainment in the electronic media. The local news is full of news of the Bollywood actresses and actors- taking them over as Pakistani film industry.

This tendency must be curbed.

The world has become a global village. Any incident happening in one part of the world is reported in another part of the world within seconds owing to electronic media, social media and forums like Twitter and Face Book. A very, very responsible approach is needed by the players involved to avoid trampling on this right of others while exercising their own.Freedom of expression is a desired trait for any nation. We must all aspire to achieve this. However, with every freedom comes responsibility. Limitations that are reasonable and in the larger benefit of the society must be respected and followed. Not because they are forced, but because of the understanding that this leads to harmony. Like in any other country in the world, Pakistan too places certain restrictions on freedom of expression for the greater good of the country. This must be understood and respected. The mark of a mature nation is not to belittle and humiliate the Constitution, but to respect and follow it.


About the writer

YasmeenAftab Ali is a Lawyer and also holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She has authored, “A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan,” in 2011. She is a weekly Op-Ed Writer for ‘The Pakistan Today’ daily national newspaper published from Lahore and has been teaching in a private university for 9 years. She is known as the leading Media Laws specialist in Pakistan.




Freedom of expression and speech: an absolute right? (Part 1)

This is a cross post from Pulse Weekly

By: Yasmeen Aftab Ali ArticleYAA


Media today has become a powerful tool all over the world and in Pakistan expressing views and conveying news. In Pakistan, media has gone from one strength to another since 2002. More specifically, from the year government allowed private TV channels to make a debut.  Owing to a low literacy rate, television is viewed and enjoyed by people across the board. Although a different set of laws govern the print medium of communication and also in some cases overlap laws governing electronic media like Article 19 and 19A Constitution of Pakistan, (Freedom of Speech/Access to Information) Article 204 (Contempt of Court) and Defamation others governing the latter also include the PEMRA Ordinance 2002, PEMRA Ordinance (Amendments) 2007, Code of Conduct for Media Broadcasters/Cable TV Operators aiming to regulate the working of electronic media. Violations nonetheless occur. Not once, not twice, but repeatedly!  This is with reference to electronic medium of communication in particular.  We need to see the bigger picture; we need to understand the concept of freedom of expression and speech. We need to understand that nowhere in the world is it absolute. We need to understand the need to respect the law.

My paper shared here is drawn from my book, “A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan,” published ending 2011 and later accepted by Harvard Law College Library as a reference book on the subject.

Freedom of expression is often confused with freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a part of freedom of expression. The latter is an umbrella term that covers many a form of expression that includes the freedom of speech, but only as a part thereof. It is deemed to be a basic human right, that includes; freedom of thought, freedom of press, freedom to express oneself in arts, poetry, architecture, crafts, lifestyles, dressing, eating, culture, music, sculptures so on and so forth.

“Freedom of speech may be defined as the right to express one’s ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others’ character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements. Freedom of press is part of freedom of expression.” (Definition by BusinessDictionary.Com) Freedom of expression is as a basic ingredient or a cornerstone to a functioning democracy. Freedom of expression is a term giving an umbrella to many types of freedoms including  most importantly, freedom of speech ;of the press, of association, of assembly and petition – all  protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The relevant portion of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution written in 1791 reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

A well- known quote, largely attributed to Voltaire, is originally of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who wrote under the pen name of S.G Tallentyre, known for her biography of Voltaire titled, “The Friends of Voltaire” Hall wrote in that biography, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” is the tenet on which the very principle of right to freedom of expression rests. This quote is often misattributed by some to be from Voltaire himself. Noam Chomsky, correctly stated, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

On December 10th, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states, “ Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” However, is this right truly inviolate? Does this allow hate speech? Racism? Breach against the security of a country? Contempt of Court?Defamation? The list is long and the question demands a hard look at the question itself. A balance must be struck here. A line must be drawn.

Every nation has the right to constitute laws to deal with new challenges. Laws are for societies. As societies change, so must the laws to meet the ongoing challenges of time. Interestingly, USA has passed The Trespass Bill, in August 2011. The Bill creates a “bubble” zone around certain government officials, dignitaries and areas, using a broad meaning, giving room to interpretation by the prosecutor. John Glaser states, “Starting with making it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, the grounds or buildings included as off-limits even cover those that the President – or whatever other official protected by the Secret Service – is residing temporarily. It would even include a peaceful protest outside a presidential candidate’s concession speech, for example.” He goes on to say, in the same article, “The government already has inordinate ability to crush free speech, silence protesters, and arrest civilians peacefully assembling, but this legislation would mark the beginning of the end of the First Amendment.” Obama signed the Bill in March 2012 that essentially makes it a federal offence to create disturbance at certain political events. (“Trespass Bill Would Violate Peaceful Assembly Rights”: by John Glaser published February 28th 2012 in AntiWar.COM)

I am discussing here some of the broadly accepted limitations worldwide on the freedom of expression and speech:

Limitations on Freedom of Expression

Let us see some of these limitations that create a bar against the right of unbridled exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

I would first like to discuss Hate Speech here as a justified bar on the right to freedom of expression. “Hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women.” In a piece carried by Defence Blog of Pakistan, by David Ben Gurion in 1948 during Israel’s Independence Speech, “The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence.” (1948 Speech by David Ben Gurion) Geert Wilders, a popular Dutch MP, in 2008, released a 17 minutes film against Islam. Titled Fitna, the film demonstrates how the Koran encourages acts of terrorism, anti-Semitism, violence against women, homosexuals and infidels. “I don’t hate Muslims. I hate Islam”. (Published The Guardian (The Observer) UK, by Ian Traynor, Sunday 17 February 2008)  He had shown his film in the House of Lords in UK, sparking angry scenes of violence. So hate speech cannot be promoted under the guise of freedom of expression and speech.

Another limitation to the exercise of the right of freedom of expression is defamation. Generally described as a false statement against the reputation of another in verbal (slander) or recorded form (libel). It is vilification, aimed to damage the reputation about whom made.

Slander is verbal communication, which by virtue of being verbal is transitory in nature. Libel on the other hand has a permanent form. It can be in writing, broadcast or in any from where it may be referred back. Slander can be more difficult to prove as compared to libel. Witnesses to a verbal communication can be coerced, pressurized, threatened and bought. This however, does not mean that slander cases are not filed or not settled. Slander will be described as: “Speaking of base and defamatory words tending to prejudice another in his reputation, community standing, office, trade, business or means of livelihood.” (Black’s Law Dictionary Sixth Edition. Centennial Edition (1891-1991) Pg 1388)

During my research I came across a particularly interesting one that I would like to share. Las Vegas surgeon Mark Kabins was convicted of a felony in federal court, agreed to pay $800,000 to settle a slander lawsuit filed against him by an anesthesiologist. The allegations in both the civil and criminal cases stem from the treatment of Melodie Simon, who became a paraplegic after Kabins and Thalgott performed spine surgery on her in August 2000. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of making “false and defamatory statements concerning Burkhead’s ability to competently practice medicine.” The malpractice case settled for $2.3 million, but prosecutors argued it was worth much more. After attorney fees and costs were deducted, Simon received $1.3 million. Kabins’ plea agreement, which allowed him to avoid prison time, requires him to pay her another $3.5 million.” (Article published in Las Vegas Review-Journal by Carri Geer Thevenot published 7th March 2010) Libel is the second kind of defamation. Here, the ingredients of libel are (a)Words stated must be defamatory(b)it must be in form of a permanent record that can be referred back to, and(c)it must refer to the person of the plaintiff(complainant).Black’s Law Dictionary defines libel as “A method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures or signs. In its most general sense, any publication that is injurious to the reputation of another. A false and unprivileged publication in writing of defamatory material.” (Sixth Edition, Centennial Edition (1891-1991) Pg 915)

In a benchmark case, in 1934, Princess Irena Youssoupoff, niece of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, sued the Metro-Goldwyn Pictures. In the picture by the studio, “Rasputin and the Empress”, it was shown that the princess fell for the ‘mad monk’ once he set out to seduce her. She was awarded US$125,000 at that time, the biggest libel judgment in England. Monson V Tussauds case that again is a milestone in the history of libel, took place in 1894. The Ardlamont Murder took place in Argyll, Scotland in 1893. It led to two cases. The HM Advocate Vs Monson and in 1894, a case of defamation by Monson against the Madam Tussauds. John Monson was acquitted of the charge of the murder of Cecil Hambrough. Tussauds in the meanwhile had put up a waxen effigy of John Monson in its gallery of criminals. Monson sued Madam Tussauds for libel. Though Monson won the case and the lowest possible defamation costs were awarded, it did establish a new principle. The principle was “libel by innuendo”.

Innuendo will generally mean, “An indirect or subtle reference, especially one made maliciously or indicating criticism or disapproval.” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex) Libel is actionable per se . Claim of damages for publication of defamatory statement: “While determining damages due regard has to be taken of following factors: (a)Nature of defamatory statement (b) conduct of person responsible for its publication(c)conduct of such person after issuance of notice and after institution of case (d)degree of care and caution exercised before publication of disputed statement. “(Majid Nizami Vs Sheikh Muhammad Rashid: PLJ 1997 Lahore 652=PLD 1996 Lahore 410).

Incitement to offence cannot be allowed in exercise of the right to freedom of expression. Incitement to offence is a real encouragement to commit a crime. It can be through persuasion, threat, advice, and direct help of any kind. The intention must be for the crime to be committed. A plea that the person encouraging the other to commit an offence did not know the act was an offence will not stand. Ignorance of law is no excuse. Anger words spoken by politicians on electronic media, which has a huge impact in a country like Pakistan, irresponsible journalism by anchor persons whose words carry weight with the public at large, can have a cascading effect. It can result in acts akin to incitement, even if the desire to result in that act was not there, on face of it.

Incitement can be public ie encouraging a group of people to take a particular action and private incitement, encouraging an individual to do a particular act. Incitement to genocide was an unknown term, when Streitcher and Hans Fritzsche were charged and judgment against them passed in 1946, the grounds were crimes against humanity. But were they to be charged today for the same offence, it will fall within the ambit of incitement to genocide. Incitement to genocide became a crime under International Law with passing of this epic judgment against both by the International Military Tribunal.

Julius Streitcher , founder, editor, of anti-Semetic weekly Magazine Der Strurmer, was found guilty of spreading hate propaganda. In many letters and articles that he wrote himself, Jewish people were portrayed as, “a parasite, an enemy, an evil doer, a disseminator of diseases”, and “swarms of locusts that must be exterminated completely.”  The Tribunal found Streitcher guilty of incitement to genocide. The Tribunal judged that he “incited the German people to active persecution.”  He was awarded death by hanging.” ((1946)22 Trial of Major German War Criminals p. 501) Hans Fitzsche was a senior official from the Ministry headed by Goebbel for Proper Enlightenment and Propaganda. He also headed the Radio Division from 1942. He was accused of having, “incited and encouraged the commission of War Crimes by deliberately falsifying news to arouse the German people those passions that led them to the commission of those atrocities.”  Fitzsche was acquitted, the Tribunal having judged that, “…..his position and official duties were not sufficiently important……to infer that he took part in originating or formulating propaganda campaigns.” (Ibid)

Freedom of expression, like any other liberty, brings with itself a very heavy responsibility, on the shoulders of all of us exercising that right and in particular upon those who are placed in positions to influence policies, impact and form public opinion. At no stage, can we encourage criminal acts and then feign innocence or shrug off the responsibility that goes with freedom.

Whether incitement is against an individual person or a group which may be based on ethnic, racial or any other ground, it stands as limitation against the right to freedom of expression.

About the writer

Yasmeen Aftab Ali is a Lawyer and also holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She has authored, “A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan,” in 2011. She is a weekly Op-Ed Writer for ‘The Pakistan Today’ daily national newspaper published from Lahore and has been teaching in a private university for 9 years. She is known as the leading Media Laws specialist in Pakistan.

The Ideology of Intolerance

This is a cross post from Pulse Weekly

ArticleYAABy Yasmeen Aftab Ali

Intolerance of views other than a nation, a religion, a culture, an ethnic group may subscribe to is becoming wide spread and manifesting itself in the unkindest forms. The spillover of this intolerance can damage personalities and psyches of nations. Religious groups are intolerant of other groups within; gender discrimination is yet another form of intolerance as is ethnic intolerance.

According to an interesting dissection of the ‘Ideology of Intolerance’ (A term I’ve coined to explain the growing number of subscribers to the creed) Intolerance of Others takes three distinct steps: stereotyping, prejudice and both then lead to discrimination. The Urban Dictionary defines stereotyping as, “when you judge a group of people who are different from you based on your own and/or others opinions and/or encounters.

Guy 1: I met this hot chick from Hawaii 
Guy 2: All women from Hawaii are sluts, I met one yesterday
Guy 3: You are just stereotyping. How can you judge an entire group of people based on one person?”

Clark Kent Ervin writing for The International Herald Tribune on stereotyping writes, ‘the vast majority of Americans – and many Europeans – do have a stereotype in mind when we think of terrorists, and that stereotype is of someone of Arab descent.’ He shares, ‘Stereotypes become stereotypes for a reason, of course. Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al- Zahawiri, are Arabs. All 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Arabs. The late, unlamented Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda’s top man in Iraq, was an Arab. But even if it is to some extent understandable that we are more suspicious of those we take to be Arabs than we are of others, it is also illogical, politically incorrect and morally repugnant.’

Nevertheless, no matter how illogical, politically incorrect and morally repugnant stereotyping may be, it remains a fact that most of us subscribe to it to some degree or another- setting up mental barriers that stop us from knowing those ‘different from us’ better. Is this fear what keeps us entrenched in our comfort zones and separated from those who view issues differently? Stereotyping can create blocks that can be literally immovable.

Prejudice is the natural outcome of stereotyping. It is defined as, ‘Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group.’  Prejudice is a natural outcome of stereotyping and can be gender, ethnic, religious, nationality based to name just a few.

Once stereotyping and prejudice are clearly established, it leads to the crystallization of the unjustifiable behavior; in discrimination. María Elena Martínez in her book has tried to analyze how the concept of the purity of Spanish blood has been instrumental in being fundamental in solidifying the racial and patriotic ideologies in the bygone era of colonial Mexico. Her book published by Stanford University Press titled Genealogical Fictions Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico has is recommended reading for better understanding of the subject.

In an absorbing piece in The Daily Beast titled ‘Don’t Ignore the Roots of Discrimination’  it says, “Last year, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described Israel’s systematic violations, such as “segregation” and “[un]equal access to land and property.” as grave enough to necessitate a reminder of the “prohibition” of “apartheid.” This is the reality, and no amount of ‘co-existence’ industrial parks at home or rebranding abroad can mask it.’ (March 6, 2013)

Amnesty International on its official site states, ‘Discrimination is an assault on the very notion of human rights.  Discrimination is the systematic denial of certain peoples’ or groups’ full human rights because of who they are or what they believe. It is all too easy to deny a person’s human rights if you consider them as “less than human”. This is why international human rights law is grounded in the principle of non-discrimination. The drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated explicitly that they considered non-discrimination to be the basis of the Declaration.

Yet discrimination due to factors such as race, ethnicity, nationality, class, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or health status – or a combination of factors – persists in many forms in every country in the world.’

It continues to state. ‘Discrimination in law enforcement can mean that certain groups are viewed by the authorities as ”potential criminals” and so are more likely to be arrested and imprisoned.  It can also mean that they are more likely to suffer harsher treatment, possibly amounting to torture or other forms of ill-treatment, once in criminal justice system.’

The cascading effect of this cycle is hate speech.

An online site defines hate speech as‘speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.’

Hate speech is not just restricted to Pakistan its widespread and an international phenomenon. .. “Hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women.” (Definition by In the world that we live in today, with geographical barriers down, a world fraught with wars, hatred and conflicts, can the world, and media in specific, afford to vent more hatred, more conflicts by ignoring the legitimate and valid limitation that must be taken into consideration while exercising the right to freedom of expression? Media plays a powerful role today, in terms of forming opinions and attitudes and the impact of media cannot be undermined. Above all, choice of words by media practitioners must be carefully weighed before delivering.

The comments by politicians, opinion leaders, media all are part of creating opinions and effecting those who follow. This in turn can have a cascading effect on the actions of the members of society. How a news is projected, what angle is given, the choice of words therein, can and does, create hatred. Since 9/11 , attitudes worldwide in non -Muslim countries towards Islam are more negative than positive. Though, Islam explicitly prohibits taking the life of another human being, sometimes perceptions become more real than the reality itself. According to a 201o, Time magazine poll, 28 percent of voters do not believe Muslims should be eligible to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and nearly one-third think they should be barred from running for president. (TIME POLL: ARTICLE TITLED:” Majority Oppose Mosque, Many Distrust Muslims” by Alex Altmani published Thursday19th August 2010)


Media can play a huge part in playing a positive role in correcting these perceptions and developing harmony between different religious groups inter countries and within a country. Unfortunately, media too, on many occasions, is hostage to vested interests . When hatred is fanned by media, of which social media has come up as a powerful means of communication, hate speech translates itself into actions that horrify.

Irresponsible use of freedom of expression is an abuse of the right. Those exposed to hate speech are all kinds of people, educated, uneducated, frustrated, maybe having faced injustices. It is the frame of mind; it is that one moment that may accept the full impact of hate speech in any form and commit an act, later repented, but cannot be undone.

Let us look at Pakistan and in particular the role of electronic media. Can the electronic media aggravate or mitigate hatred towards groups within? Are there any laws that may be used to curtail any aggravation?

According to the exceptions listed within Article 19 Constitution of Pakistan 1973, creating public order disruption is a violation of freedom of speech. Disturbing the public peace is punishable under Section 153-A Pakistan Penal Code. “The term public order has reference to the maintenance of conditions where under the orderly functioning of the government can be carried on. It is the duty of the government to ensure that the lives, properties, and liberties of the citizens are not endangered. The term public order is wider than the term public safety and implies absence of internal order, rebellion, interference to the supply and distribution of essential commodities or services.”( Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan published by PLD Publishers, 1996, by Justice Muhammad Munir, Formerly Chief Justice of Pakistan, Pg 359) Likewise PEMRA Ordinance (Amendment) states, “Sec 2(l) states, “not broadcast any programme inciting violence or hatred, or any action prejudicial to maintenance of law and order.” Sub clause (a) of Section 1 of Code of Conduct for Media; TV Broadcasters/Cable Operators states, “) Passes derogatory remarks about any religion or sect or community or uses visuals or words contemptuous of religious sects and ethnic groups or which promotes communal and sectarian attitudes or disharmony.”  Whereas clause C of same section states, “(c) contains an abusive comment that, when taken in context, tends to or is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on the basis of race or caste, national, ethnic or linguistic origin, color or religion or sect, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability.”

If we look at the Anti Terrorism Act 1997, clause 11 A sub clause (e ) says, “ Patronize and  assists in the  incitement of  hatred and contempt on religious, sectarian or ethnic lines that stir up disorder.” Sub clause (f) states, “  Fails to expel from its ranks or ostracize those who commit acts of  terrorism and present them as heroic persons.”

Public order seeks to minimize crimes like arson, murders, rape, targeted violence, striking fear in the hearts of people in their free movement. Lack of public order can be strikingly destabilizing for economies creating fear, hatred between coexistence of ethnic groups and sub-groups and destroy the base of a peaceful society. Activities that are either politically motivated or criminally motivated, create a cascading effect of negativity, like kidnappings, misuse of power, illegal detentions, so on and so forth. In situations of breakdown of public order, people may be caught up in a rush, be trampled underfoot and in cases of shootouts innocent bystanders may lose their lives.

Giving media coverage endlessly to those seeking the exposure, media inadvertently may play in the hands of such negative elements.  Giving coverage to events of public disorder endlessly create hatred within society at different levels.

We need to take a pause and take stock.

The writer is  a political analyst and Author of, “A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.” She may be reached at and  tweets at: @yasmeen_9











Musharraf, Modi, India and Pakistan

Yasmeen Aftab Ali

ArticleYAAThis is a cross post from Weekly Pulse

“Former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf said on Wednesday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an enemy of Pakistan and Muslims, urging the Indian premier to change his anti-Pakistan attitude… Speaking to an Indian news channel, the former president said that Pakistan would never neglect the defence of its eastern borders and added that the country would not hesitate in using the nuclear bomb against India if the need arose.”(Dawn Oct 22, 2014)

Talking about Prime Minister Modi in an interview, the former President of Pakistan stated, “We know his anti-Pakistan credentials. Now, it may be a red line for you that people of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, or the Foreign Secretary must not meet the APHC. That is not our red line. We do not follow your red line. They must meet. I would say that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, when, he went to India, should have met the APHC leaders. Why is that a red line? There is dispute, internationally recognized, recognized by the UN, and we myself, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vajpayee were discussing Kashmir. I used to meet the APHC leaders every time. So why is there a change of heart? That itself shows and proves the anti-Pakistan credentials of Prime Minister Modi. Now, if that be so, so certainly it’s a confrontationist course. He is taking a confrontationist course with Pakistan. So, this red line that he has declared is confrontationist certainly. It is not peaceful. And when you say he had invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif invited him to Pakistan and he didn’t come.” (India Today October 22, 2014)

Though Musharraf may be factually correct, it never fails to surprise me why our leaders feel other countries and leaders of other countries owe an obligation to Pakistan to resolve our problems.

I had stated my reservations about Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy vis a vis Pakistan and that I would like to share here in light of Musharraf’s interview:

‘BJP carries a heavy Hindutva baggage. So much so that the BJP manifesto states, “India shall remain a natural home for persecuted Hindus and they shall be welcome to seek refuge here.” A narrow based party representing one religious group can afford to keep narrow minded clauses in its manifesto, but can a party leading a nation of 1.3 billion, calling itself a secular state?

Modi has a very limited experience of foreign policy. His appointment as the national security advisor has been Ajit Doval. Looking into Ajit Doval’s past and thought process is interesting as it reflects upon the shape of foreign policy India would like to map out with Pakistan. Let’s be very clear. The position Ajit Doval holds is not a ceremonial one. It’s a powerful seat that has a strong place in the nuclear line of command. Ajit Doval holds sway over Indian intelligence agencies. His predecessors hailed from the diplomatic core; not Ajit Doval. He is from the intelligence operations. He has been part of a think tank with expertise in Pakistan and China affairs. The second he steps out of this ambit, he will have to heavily lean on others for expert advice. To say that Ajit Doval’s background is interesting is an understatement. He had infiltrated the Golden Temple reportedly in the uniform of an ISI officer, he was involved in negotiating the release of hijacked prisoners of the Indian Airlines Flight 814 in Kandahar in 1999 and “handed over insurgents” from Kashmir and Mizoram. Quoting The Hindu, “Mr Doval has talked of the importance of covert action. In a 2012 article, he defines these as “a low cost sustainable offensive with high deniability aimed to bleed the enemy to submission.” In his view, “the most effective way of dealing with terrorism would be to identify boys who have got the courage of conviction to match that of the fidayeens and who are capable of taking risks. Identify them and put them in action.” He notes, ominously, that “Pakistan has its own vulnerabilities many times higher than India.” (Published June 23, 1014)

Are we talking of an increased degree of Indian supported proxy war or/and terrorism in Pakistan in light of Ajit Doval’s preferred mode of combat? The reason why it’s important to know key players of Modi’s team is because policies depend upon their preferences. India’s hold over the Ayni Air Basealso called as ‘Gissar Air Base’ located 10km west of the capital of Tajikistan-Dushanbe and the Farkhor Air Base; a military air base located near the town of Farkhor in Tajikistan, 130 kilometers south east of the capital Dushanbe — can lead to worrisome results for Pakistan. Sudha Ramachandran writing for The Diplomat says, “While agreeing that Modi will appear tough with Pakistan, TP Sreenivasan, a former diplomat who spent 37 years with the Indian Foreign Service, argues that “this toughness will not go beyond a point” as he will realise soon that with “war not an option anymore, a tough approach will go only so far.” (Published May 6, 2014) This more or less supports Ajit Doval’s thought process.’

To a certain given degree, states can be friendly. However, this ‘friendship’ is strictly of a utilitarian nature. It may be in form of two unequal states providing service to one another, or two more equal or less equal states facing a common threat or a common interest that draws them together in a bond. It makes taking joint steps a lot of sense.

Gadi Heimann, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem when discussing this Aristotelian concept of friendship between states gives an apt example in his paper, “Saudi Arabia is not the United States’ client but its friend, and this makes it easier for both countries to continue to enjoy the reciprocal ties that benefit them. Even the relationships between an empire and its colonial protégé usually merit a façade of friendship. It may be remembered that Poland was called the “friend” and even “sister” of the USSR. during the Cold War.”

The perception of ‘friendship’ may therefore not be strictly true. Lord Palmerston was very correct when he stated, “states have neither eternal friends nor enemies, just eternal interests.”

To think that India will willingly give up occupied Kashmir is like living in a fool’s paradise. Why should India do what Pakistan asks her to do? What is the advantage that India reaps? Answer:  None. In the particular context of moving towards resolving the issue of occupied Kashmir, Modi is going to do what every Prime Minister has done earlier: nothing.

On the contrary, in order to further consolidate Indian hold on Kashmir under their control there were plans by India to build a wall to separate the southwestern part from India Occupied Kashmir. “According to Indian officials, the wall would pass through 118 villages within the three districts of disputed Kashmir and would be 41 meters wide and 10 meters high to accommodate bunkers and check posts.” (Al-Jazeera 21 Dec 2013) In furtherance of its belligerent tone, the Indian foreign ministry had asked UN Military Observers Group on India and Pakistan (UNMogip) to hand over the Delhi premises from where it was running a liaison office for more than four decades reported the Dawn on Jul 08, 2014. “New Delhi considers the whole of disputed Kashmir as an integral part of the country and has bristled against external involvement in the region including the UNMogip that was set up under the Karachi agreement in 1949 after the first war between the two countries.”

The question therefore Mr Musharraf is not what Modi thinks or does, because he is India’s Prime Minister and must do and act in the interest of his own country after all, but rather, what our leaders say or act which must be in the interest of Pakistan. What they intend to do to resolve existing multifaceted issues.

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book, ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan.’ Her mail ID is and tweets at @yasmeen_9

Mixing the old with old?

Mixing the old with old?

ArticleYAAYasmeen Aftab Ali

This is a cross post from Weekly Pulse

Amir Dogar pulled no punches about being supported by PTI- scion of a family that has supported PPP for three generations, himself having served as the PPP South Punjab general secretary, his win over Javed Hashmi may be viewed by some as maintenance of the status quo rather than promotion of a break from it. But wait, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

What exactly is happening in Pakistan today?

On the ‘dharna politics front’ huge crowds attracted by PTI earlier have been petering thin. They have been huge; no question about that. They are exuberant people who want to see a change. The red and green supporters look for dynamism in leadership, end to corruption, and ease in the lives of millions of Pakistanis. This is the ‘Naya Pakistan’ they are looking eagerly forward to. PTI failed to strike a deal with the beleaguered Federal Government on any front; the well organized crowds notwithstanding. It was not successful in bringing the government to its knees and bringing about its ouster. Tahir-ul-Qadri having thrown in his lot with PTI- following the Model Town tragedy brought out students from Minhaj-ul-Quran International.  He with is supporters was part of a ‘dharna’ since August 2014, camping outside of Pakistan’s Parliament building having recently announced taking the ‘dharna’ to different cities of Pakistan.

However, PTI is determined to stay put at the Constitution Avenue until the PM quits office. Khan’s  party has already held huge rallies in Multan, Lahore as well as in Karachi.  The steam has however obviously let off….. the steak is no longer sizzling. The aroma has escaped the dish, which has turned cold.

The government was in a classic catch 22 situation. Upon PTI demanding investigating alleged irregularities in four constituencies, PML N turned around and demanded investigation of same number of constituencies where seats were won by PTI. Had PML N agreed without this clause to PTI’s demand and had irregularities showed up, this would have brought the entire election process in question.  Therefore, they did the predictable; they did nothing.  Imran needs to realize something in his act has to change in order to get some mileage from the long drawn out campaign. The Model Town PAT workers’ killings had placed both PTI and PAT on the same boat. However, the present following of different policies by both parties will strengthen the hand of the present political dispensation.

Looking beyond the dharna politics, once again we see that MQM has fallen out with PPP. May one dare add; once again? Bilawal, tipped to be the new face of his party, in a rally in Karachi, recently, organized to launch him, he stood atop a bus at the spot his mother; Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. To his credit, young Bhutto did not mince words when he condemned harshly not only the Pakistan Taliban but also similar other outfits. The 26 year old scion of the Bhutto family according to a leading English daily, “warned Altaf Hussain to control his “Namaloom Afraad,” saying that “Uncle Altaf if my workers get a scratch, forget London police I (Bilawal) will make your life miserable.” According to the Economic Times, “The PPP, claimed that nearly one million people showed up for the rally the figures given by the security agencies and Sindh police differed drastically. The Sindh police put the attendance at 120,000 while the security agencies and home department put the figure at 100,000.The rally is also seen as significant as for years now the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which represents the Urdu speaking population has held massive rallies that other parties have not been able to match in numbers.” (October 18, 2014)

MQM reacted as it was expected to react under the given circumstances. MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi in a press conference along with other members of the Rabitta Committee said, “ “MQM considers Bilawal’s statement a preplanned policy, as PPP patron-in-chief was reading his written speech.” (October 06, 2014) The advisors and ministers of MQM who had joined the PPP coalition government at the provincial level; resigned.  Apparently Bilawal’s comment was not the only thing that led to this development, it was also Khursheed Shah’s comment that in his opinion the term ‘Mohajir’ is an insult. Action begets reaction. A report in a daily says, “But the choice of words Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui used while announcing his party’s decision to quit the provincial government tends to suggest that from now on their mismatching political aspirations are going to escalate and acquire ideological struggles. For one, instead of division of Sindh into ‘administrative units’, earlier proposed by MQM chief Atlaf Hussain and sharply contested by the PPP leadership – Bilawal had reacted to it by asserting ‘marvesoon marvesoon Sindh na desoon’ – he further upped the ante asking for more provinces for ‘better administration and more resources’.” Though Shah withdrew his comment, MQM’s reaction to Bilawal’s comment needs a closer look. Is this because MQM feels it should join PTI on a common platform? PTI’s popularity wave across the country may have warranted such a turn. Is there a smell of elections in the next year? Imran has created some momentum in his favor –the wind is giving him a push, if the elections are held sooner, he can surprise many but if held on schedule his party may not be able to gain dividends from the present momentum. The wind may well be taken out of its sails. Also, PTI’s performance at Khyber Paktoonkhwa will be brought sharply in focus in case of elections held per schedule.

MQM has held sway over Hyderabad ad Karachi for decades now. Antagonizing MQM at a juncture where not only political parties have joined hands to overthrow the coalition government with the future of the parties in power, tenuous at the best in the next elections is not exactly great timing. Further, many feel, that Bilawal’s assertion of ‘marvesoon marvesoon Sindh na desoon’ was too local, his speech revolved more around Sindh, Karachi and MQM. PPP however has always been a national party and more focus should have been awarded to national issues. What is however clear is that the PPP’s young Chairman’s speech is a sharp turn-around from the politics of reconciliation pursued by PPP.  Or, was the speech meant to jolt the Pakistani political world? It certainly got the attention with a reaction that was unexpected. If this was the reason, it has set off a chain of reaction that may not be either ell timed or welcome for PPP. The fact that Nahid Abbasi with Dr Safdar Abbasi has launched a new PPP faction is not welcome news for PPP. Mr Abbasi elected President of the new faction is reported to have said, “Since the PPP had stopped following the vision of Z.A Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, it lost the last election badlly.” Sajida Mir, Sardar Hur Bokkhari, Gen (retired) Ahsan Ahmed, Nasir Khatak, Waqas Ahmed, Ibn-e-Rizvi and Fayaz Khan also spoke. A large number of workers from Kashmir and Gilgit Biltistan also attended the convention.” (The Dawn October 23, 2014)

The political cauldron is cooking. Time will tell which hand holds the till.

The writer is  a political analyst and Author of, “A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.” She may be reached at and  tweets at: @yasmeen_9

Defender of Pakistan’s ideological boundaries

In memory of Naveed Tajammal _DSC0151

By Yasmeen Aftab Ali


He was the most learned, rakishly debonair man I had had the privilege of knowing. Naveed Tajammal, a captain in 3rd Baloch was apprehended by General Ziaul Haq in 1980 for attempting a coup against him with many other officers and organised by his father, Major General Tajammal Hussain Malik, the only brigadier who was promoted to the rank of Major General for having refused to lay down his arms in the 1971 war and was taken prisoner of war with his wrists broken, skull cracked open and having thereby fainted. The alleged plan was to assassinate Ziaul Haq on Pakistan Day Parade on 23 March, 1980. Naveed Tajammal was awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment in jail where he served five. The remaining five were rescinded upon the general accepting full responsibility for the aborted coup, thereby allowing all others indicted, including Naveed Tajammal, to go free. The general himself was later released by Gen Mirza Aslam Beg after Zia’s plane crashed on a Hindu Shamshan Ghat in basti Lal Kamal on the historic 17th August, 1988. He was released by his successor General Beg who restored his full military rank and honours. Naveed Tajammal was given a clean chit many years later retiring him honourably from the Army with a statement saying “no fault of the Officer”.

When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged to death and his body was flown to his home village, Naveed Tajammal’s regiment received late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s body. It was Naveed Tajammal who stood on duty at the grave of the departed day in and day out to note who came to visit for the initial 40 days of traditional mourning. I was never tired of listening from the horse’s mouth the sad details of those days. History as it happens, and as it is reported, can often be two different things.

An avid reader and lover of history, he had three masters to his name: Fine Arts, Business Administration and History. Undoubtedly, his love was with history, an affair that lasted until his death from the world at the age of 57 on September 12, 2014. Representatives from Universities in Canada and others would turn up at his doorstep requesting him to deliver lectures on the subject of his research, the Indus Valley Civilisation, where he could unerringly take you back for centuries in timeline. His articles were carried on many blogs and newspapers. A son of the soil, Naveed Tajammal was passionate about Pakistan and her interests. In a piece, The Indus Accord 1960, he writes, “Two sets of laws govern the water disputes: first is the Harmon Doctrine, named after a Judson Harmon, who was the Attorney General of USA in 1895, when arose a dispute between Mexico and USA over the usage of Rio Grande waters. Mexico was a lower riparian, the doctrine above cited gives “absolute territorial sovereignty” to the upper riparian as goes the usage of water resources passing through its lands, though the matter was resolved by a convention held between USA and Mexico on May 21, 1906, by which Mexico got its share of waters.”

Indus valley river system is an ‘international drainage basin’, as the geographical area extends and covers the administrative boundaries of more than two states, from Afghanistan to Chinese administered Tibet in the north east, and to Indian Occupied Kashmir. Technically India cannot claim sovereignty over Kashmir as it remains a disputed state, and the matter is in reference before the world courts while it has over a million troops keeping its control of the area.

“The ILA (International Law Association), a set of rules, drafted in 1966, called “The Helsinki Rules” define the perimeters in case of water related disputes in the cases where the drainage of a basin is international, as stated above. There are 11 main points/clauses that govern the rights of a lower riparian. They are briefly all about the geography of the basin, extent of drainage, and area in the territory of each basin state, the hydrology of the basin, past history of water flow, population dependent on the waters, economic and social needs of each basin state, and the degree to which the needs of a basin state may be satisfied without causing injury to a co-basin state.

India, it seems, follows the Harmon Doctrine while we twiddle our thumbs.”

All his pieces root back in history giving dates, names and all relevant information that made it impossible for anyone to dispute.

In yet another piece titled The Imposters that Now Threaten Balluchistan! (The spelling is NOT a typo but how it was originally spelt), he writes and I share:

“The roots of the system of Sardari in Balluchistan needs a closer scrutiny. The pettysardars were technically abolished by the Presidential Ordinance of 1976, which was focused on abolition of the ‘Sardari system in Balluchistan’.

“Under Naseer Khan Barrohi, the Nizamate of Kalat was divided in four political entities. This Nizamate was the creation of Nadir Shah, to teach a lesson to the Kalhora for not paying the tribute in 1740 AD.

“Naseer khan was a successful administrator and a brave warrior. His administrative areas were:

1) Sarawan, the plateau from Nushki till Sibi, inclusive of present Mari and Bugti region.

2) Jhalawan, the lowlands from Surab to the boundaries of Las Bela.

3) Makuran under the Ghicki Chief, but subservient to the Khan.

4) Kaachi, extending till Harrand-Dajjal, (later, DG Khan district). This region was awarded in lieu of Naseer Khan’s help to Abdali in the third Battle of Panipat against the Mahratta intruders. The point to appreciate and understand here is the system of Naseer Khan.”

Regarding his dealings with tribal chiefs:

“The powers of the Sardars or feudal lords were limited in the Barrohi tenure of rule, until the British jumped in. These Sardars held a consultative position in the matters of importance and in deciding tribal cases. They were as a sort of conciliatory commission. Their duty was that of an arbitrator of peace between the contending parties. In case they failed, the matter was referred to the Khan — the Supreme Power — who in return forwarded it to the Qazi-ul-Quzzat (chief judge) for the final decision. Such was the position of the Sardars in the criminal cases, while civil cases were directly dealt by the Qazi. The Khan was the Court of Appeals in all matters concerning the tribes of the conquered areas. The Sardars (tribal chiefs) were given jagirs by the Khan, and consequently they supplied the Khan with men and material in emergencies. Failing to produce specified quota of men, their jagirs were confiscated. Regarding internal affairs, the Khan acted quite independently in making laws and various other changes in the administrative spheres. While in his dealings with external matters, the feudal lords acted as a sort of advisory council. It was Naseer Khan, who had appointed tribal chiefs through general elections of the tribe by the headmen. Seniority in age and personal distinction were the deciding factors in the nomination of the tribal chief. (History of Baluch Race, by Muhammad Sardar Baluch, Page 85, 1958).

“When the British came and started setting up their new class order, they met with problems in the Nazimate regions. Sir Robert Sandeman was of the view that owing to the democratic setup found amongst the tribes, the headmen (Tumandars) if unsupported could not enforce authority over the unruly spirits and in order to preserve what influence they possessed, they were compelled to follow the path where the unruly spirits led (unruly being those who opposed the British).But the balance of power was turned when the Tumandars were given the means to entertain armed servants of their own, and when supported by suitable allowances and the prestige of connection with ‘OUR’ power. They then can exert themselves successfully, to keep their tribes in order. (Sir Robert Sandeman by T H Thornton, Page 304, 1895).”

The research, references and in-depth study was always superb.

Naveed Tajammal was the unsung hero of Pakistan. The defender of ideological boundaries of his motherland.


Cross Post :

Imploding Iraq

Cross Post LINK:


ArticleYAAIs there a solution to avoid it?

 Nicholas Kristof writing for The New York Times opposes USA intervention in Iraq. I completely support him when he says, “Our 2003 invasion of Iraq should be a warning that military force sometimes transforms a genuine problem into something worse.” I cannot however but disagree when he says, “Iraq has formally requested American military intervention, and my fear is that we will be inadvertently sucked into a civil war — an echo of what happened to the United States in Lebanon from 1982 to ’84 or Somalia from 1992 to ’94. Look, failing to intervene is a bad option in this case. But intervening is a worse one… Many Sunnis in Iraq dislike ISIS, but they have learned to loathe and distrust Maliki even more. The way out of the mess in Iraq is for the government to share power with Sunnis and Kurds, accept decentralisation and empower moderate Sunni tribes.” (June 18, 2014)

I empathise with his fear for his country’s embroiling in another vortex. However, political deals for the devolution of central power, forced from outside, do not deliver, as history proves. In Afghanistan, increasing influence of Taliban and attacks on NATO and US forces make it strategically difficult for a complete withdrawal of the alien forces as proposed earlier. The Afghan scenario today is reminiscent of Iraq. The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 resulted in replacing the Sunnis with elite Shias. The cascading effect was a civil war. Ending 2011, US withdrew its forces without leaving any residual force to allow time for Iraq to stabilise with a lighter presence. The complete drawdown resulted owing to an impasse over the legal immunity of residual US troops in Iraq post 2011.

Iraq has become a battleground for war between Shia and Sunni Muslims as viewed in Afghanistan, Syria, and Pakistan, all of which are battlegrounds of proxy wars. The existing religio-geographic dynamics cannot be overlooked. Hezbollah and Iran combined with Alawites of Syria have been aiming at reviving the Greater Iran, keeping in view their own schismatic ideology, the effects of which reflect in the current proxy war in Pakistan. The geographic link formed is Hezbollah on one end, Syria and Iraq forming the centre with Iran at the other end, converging to solidify a unified religious school of thought.

Back to Iraq now: Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has failed to reconcile with the country’s Sunnis and Kurdish populations. In power since 2006, he has faced increasing insurgencies, in particular from a splinter group of Al-Qaeda named ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). The ISIS has pushed out Nouri al-Maliki from many cities of Iraq. It has come to a point where increasingly the ‘minus 1’ formula is being supported, not only by the US but also by the Arab world. In a piece published by CNN, “There’s hope that a government bringing the Sunnis and Kurds into the political process would curb sympathies for ISIS by those who find themselves on the outside.” (June 19, 2014)

According to a report by Reuters, “Saudi Arabia gave an apparent warning to arch enemy Iran on Wednesday by saying outside powers should not intervene in the conflict in neighbouring Iraq. Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also said Iraq was facing a full-scale civil war with grave consequences for the wider region. His remarks coincided with an Iranian warning that Tehran would not hesitate to defend Shi’ite Muslim holy sites in Iraq against “killers and terrorists”, following advances by Sunni militants there.” (Published June 18, 2014) Iran, of course, fears a unified anti-Iranian Iraq, a potential threat to Iran herself.

According to Kenneth M Pollack for a Brookings paper, “Senior Iraqi officials and political leaders from across the political spectrum grudgingly concede that no Iraqi can become prime minister without Tehran’s blessing. Indeed, Maliki’s re-election was engineered — much to his own chagrin — by the Iranians who forced him to partner with the Sadrists (and the Sadrists to partner with him), and then leaned on the Kurds to do the same, forcing Iraqiyya (and the Americans) to accept the current, dysfunctional government that serves no one’s interests in Iraq except Tehran’s.” (November 15, 2011)

What then are the options available for the US?

First, it can look away. It has withdrawn from Iraq, claiming victory. The invasion that was undertaken to destroy weapons of mass destruction unearthed none. The aim to destroy presence of Al-Qaeda revealed none, not at the time of invasion anyways. So US can just look away, shrugging away any moral responsibility.

Second, it can have American boots on ground. Here, I will agree with Kristof that the US may in all probability get sucked into a civil war it helped create as a result of ‘bad intelligence’. “That does not mean we have no further responsibility towards Iraq. The current mess is a consequence of the invasion; it is possible to argue that foreign forces should not have gone into the country in the way that they did, but also that they should not have left while the country remained so unstable. This is partly the fault of Maliki, who failed to negotiate terms under which the Americans would leave a small force in Iraq when they withdrew in 2011. Yet one of the striking things about ISIS is how small their numbers actually are, with some reports suggesting they took the city with a single battalion of between 500 and 800 fighters.”(Joan Smith June 15, 2014, in The Independent)

Iran may have offered to be an ally of the US in Iraq; however, the US understands that the desired outcome of the current Iraqi situation by both US and Iran may be diametrically different. Whereas Iran will desire continuation of a Shi’ite government, the US would want the present political dispensation to develop a broader base, including the Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis. The US would ideally like Iran to play a positive role in negotiating a settlement between Nouri al-Maliki’s government and its opponents. Iran, on the other hand, would like to see US beat down the ISIS.

However, should the Iraqi government make real efforts to woo the support of Kurds and the Sunnis, US can cooperate to bring better harmony by helping clobber an alliance between the existing governments with moderates in rebel ranks. The US can help coordinate the federal and KRG forces and, having occupied Iraq since 2003, US can offer invaluable logistical support.

Does this bring us back to Kristof’s option of putting together a political deal with the stakeholders? This then brings me to my next question: how long can this last even if achieved?

In the meanwhile, Obama has announced sending in around 300 troops back to Iraq. No, it’s not to help anyone but the “temporary relocation of some staff from the US Embassy in Baghdad to the US Consulates General in Basra and Erbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman,” according to the accompanying letter from the Press Secretary’s office.

Tailpiece: Iraq may implode and the Middle East will go up in flames should it do so. The US, the only country that can help, can only do so in a limited capacity and that too is based on many ifs and buts. What is taking place on ground in Iraq, as I write, may well break Iraq up into three distinct states changing the face of Middle East.


Democracy endangered by democracy

Time to stand by the forces

ArticleYAA A facebook status commented on the attack on Karachi Airport on June 9th 2014, “Don’t take me wrong, but they all had to eventually die. A group of some 15 men could obviously not stand against army, rangers and police combined for long. Point is, they still accomplished what they came for. They didn’t come here to take the airport hostage for a lifetime. They came here to tell you, that you aren’t safe. They came here to tell you and the international community that Pakistan is nothing but a war zone. They came here to tell the people from other countries not to visit this country. They came here to tell the foreign investors not to invest here. They were here to tell today’s youth to fly out of this country. They came here to degrade your image. And they did it.”

“When the outer perimeter defense is breached the initial object has been successful,” says analyst Haris Khan of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank, in a report byUsman Ansari for Defense News (June 9, 2014)

But is there more to this sad narrative? The weapons in possession of terrorists were Indian made as was a medicine ‘Factor Eight’ found on them used by frontline Indian soldiers to inject themselves to stop bleeding and reduce pain. Nonetheless, these are also available in the international market. Their presence does however raise questions and a need to investigate the trail of the find.

I had tweeted on 9th May 2014, “No international cricket team came to Pakistan after attack on the Sri Lankan team. Will the attack on Karachi airport result in invoking an invisible no fly zone for international flight hitting Pak economy?”

On May 9th 2014 the op-ed editor of a local newspaper posted two tweets, put together it said, “Cargolux – one of the world’s biggest cargo carriers – cancels weekly flight service to Karachi. Cathay Pacific says it is cancelling all flights to Karachi – used to operate four flights a week between Karachi and Hong Kong.”

If warning off international cricket from home ground Pakistan was the objective it was brilliantly achieved in one stroke. The Guardian reported, “The future of international cricket was thrown into the air yesterday as the game’s world governing body warned that the sport had been changed irrevocably by the first targeted attacks on sports figures since the Munich Olympics 37 years ago.

After the first Test series in cricket-mad Pakistan for 14 months was brought to a bloody and premature end, the International Cricket Council (ICC) immediately cast doubt on the likelihood of the 2011 world cup being held in the country.

Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan was hurriedly cancelled and a helicopter chartered to take their shaken players home, including the seven injured in the attack. Match officials were evacuated to Abu Dhabi.” (Published March 4, 2009)

A local newspaper, in a report published five years down that fatal day the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked, said, “Even five year after the attack on Sri Lankan team, and in spite of all governmental claims, the revival of international cricket in Pakistan is still a far cry…This attack not only wiped out international cricket from Pakistan but also caused irreparable damage to the image of the country and its cricketing revenues.” (March 3, 2014)


The attack on Karachi airport reminded me of that attack many years ago. One destroyed international cricket in Pakistan; will the attack on Karachi airport frighten off foreign carriers?


The attack on Karachi airport reminded me of that attack many years ago. One destroyed international cricket in Pakistan; will the attack on Karachi airport frighten off foreign carriers? “Rakisits says terrorists know that Karachi is Pakistan’s commercial hub and that attacks there would scare off foreign investors and bring the economy to its knees. He says Pakistan needs to brace itself for the worst.” (Usman Ansari for Defense News)

Security at sensitive places after talks with the Taliban having been effectively called off by the government should have been tightened up many notches. This unfortunately does not seem to have happened.

Another report by Declan Walsh states, “But Sunday’s attack closed, temporarily, a transport hub that for many is a gateway to meetings in Dubai, holidays in Thailand and summer homes in London. Some Karachi residents said they feared that western airlines might reduce their services, as some did after the Red Mosque siege in Islamabad in 2007.” (New York Times June 9, 2014) Quoting Adil Najam, a Pakistani analyst, the report states, “Now that the Taliban have splintered, we could see multiple groups fighting the government in different ways,” said Mr Najam, the academic. “And so the real test is whether the political will can hold.”

Mr Adil Najam has hit the nail on the head. The political will is the key. No matter what the people of Pakistan may want, the decisions lie with the political dispensation.PM Nawaz’s government had believed that talks with the Taliban will bring peace to the country. This has not worked for many reasons. First, Taliban are working on an agenda, and peace does not figure in their plans. Second. With splintering of ranks within Taliban, some factions may support peace talks while obviously others do not.

Eventually on the directions of the government, Pakistan army has launched an operation against foreign and local terrorists hiding in sanctuaries in North Waziristan Agency — the decision has come on heels of this attack.

In my op-ed dated May 26, 2014 I had written, “The question is; will the terrorists restrict themselves to North Waziristan or escape to other areas to regroup in face of the military offensive? The answer is no to the first part and yes to the second part. Even if the security forces reportedly took the caution of sealing off exit points from North Waziristan, which they did; leaks would have led to many exits before the offensive happened. The fact remains; not every Taliban is in North Waziristan, cross border ingress and support has happened before and will happen again. With the heat turned on, attacks in other parts of Pakistan and lethal attacks for that matter will be launched to divert and deflect attention. There are good chances of the fire spreading.”

Nonetheless, the decision to launch an attack against Taliban has come. The entire nation must stand with this decision of the government and the Pakistan army as one man.

That ‘bloody Sunday’ Pakistan suffered two attacks. One was on Karachi airport and the other in Taftan. 30 died as a result of the bombing, a suicide bomber entering the Al Murtaza Hotel and blew himself up in the midst of milling shi’a pilgrims. This tragic news was overshadowed by the Karachi airport incident with all the ingredients of a box office thriller that took over the TV screens.

Some sections of the media have been quick to fuel more uncertainty by commenting on a widening civil-military divide. This is just so sad. Instead of focusing on the political strength of the political parties who have finally agreed on a military solution; a tough decision by any standards, there seems to be a desire to wedge differences by airing such views that cannot be in the interest of Pakistan at this juncture.

Any democratic government coming to power through the will of the people just needs to do one thing; focus on delivering. Insecurity seeps in only when this basic objective is lost. The promotion of division lines by certain elements must be strongly ignored. The threat then to democracy comes; from democracy itself.

Cross Post:

Letting Farzana die


An issue of conscience, a problem of wrongly practised traditions


Farzana did not die on 27th May, 2014, as claimed, for marrying a man of her choice and allegedly being stoned to death outside the Lahore High Court by her family. She has died over and over again. Farzana survived an attempted attack on her when her father, brother and some family members shot her, stuffed her in a sack and threw her in a canal near Hafizabad. Only she was called Saba Maqsood then. An 18-year-old whose crime was that she wanted to marry a man she loved.

An Asian Human Rights Commission Report states, “In Pakistan, each year hundreds of women and girls are killed because of alleged relations with males, or for refusing to abide by their parents’ choice of husbands. In September 2003, a human rights organisation in Pakistan reported that at least 631 women and six girls died in ‘honour killing’ cases perpetrated by their own relatives during the first eight months of 2003. These figures were based only on newspaper reports, which fall far short of the total number of actual killings which are likely to be many times more. The male relatives who usually commit the murders are rarely sanctioned within their communities. It appears that any action by a female that is deemed to compromise the family reputation, whether real or merely suspected, is considered a valid reason to commit murder.”

Each time a Farzana dies, the mindset that associates violation of family honour with the right of a woman to take a legally conscious decision of choosing a life partner, allowed to her by Islam, becomes stronger, either by direct action of male members of the family or by a jirga. “In Sindh province the jirga system is particularly strong, so even where the families of victims lodge complaints with the police and motivate them to investigate cases, these cases do not usually end up in court due to high costs and long delays in getting justice. Therefore, victims’ families resort to the jirga, where the cases are mostly settled within a few days, usually by way of compensation and without any possibility of punishment for the perpetrators, under the Ordinance of Qisas (law of retribution) and Diyat (law of compensation). Under this Ordinance, if the guardian of the victim forgives the offender and the offender provides compensation, the offender can be released without any punishment. For this reason too, in many killings of women that are not actually ‘honour killings’, the perpetrators claim that the woman was an adulterer or otherwise, in order to avoid criminal proceedings and have a jirga decide the matter.

On 23 April, 2004, in a significant decision, Justice Rehmat Hussain Jaffery of the Sukkur Bench, High Court of Sindh, outlawed tribal jirgas as contrary to the Constitution. He also strictly banned efforts to organise or arrange any type of jirga, and bound law enforcement agencies to take several steps against them. In his judgement, Justice Jaffery stated that:

“…Private persons have no authority to execute the decision of jirgas nor do the jirgas have the authority to execute their own decisions through their own sources. If such decisions are carried out and executed by killing persons, then the offence of murder will be committed and they will be liable for action as per the law… the jirgas have also usurped the powers of the executing authorities which are not permissible under the Constitution or the law.” (Asian Human Rights Commission)

In an article updated by Max Fisher on June 2, 2014, “Take the case, from 2007, of a 13-year-old Pakistani girl who was gang-raped and then formally condemned by village elders for having sex outside of wedlock. Her family was pressured to murder her in an honour killing but refused, instead asking police to arrest her rapists. The police refused and the community members attacked the family for failing to take her life. Her family’s legal battle for justice for her rapists made her case a national symbol of the fight over honour killings.”

Marrying of choice and free will is the basic right of every Muslim woman and man. Yet women are targeted for ‘violating a family’s honour’. Pakistan however is not the only country in the world that has a high rate of honour killings. Other countries practicing this are India, Alabania and also Brazil. South Asia and Middle East are most ‘afflicted’ by the honour killings. Rothna Begum, Middle East and North Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch (HRW), says, “Honour crimes tend to happen in places where there are inflexible and discriminatory attitudes about women’s roles, especially around their sexuality, and these are often applicable to women but not exclusively so, because sometimes men are targeted for honour crimes as well.”

According to a report by Radio Free Europe“Experts say that honour killings are linked to patriarchal societies and the earliest historical evidence of them dates back to Babylon. They arise from the notion that women are the vessels of a family’s honour and are closely tied to values placed on marriage with virgin brides. Under this concept of honour, a family’s inability to guarantee a daughter’s virginity prior to marriage is a cause for shame and for ostracism by neighbours.

But there are also economic factors at work.

Thibault says that in societies that practice arranged marriages, unions are as much about ensuring the common interests of the two families as those of the betrothed.

“These are marriages between families much more than between a man and a woman and marriages between families are to obtain a better economic situation, to get more farmland, to have a better social standing,” says Thibault. “If the marriage is threatened or broken off, the family no longer attains what it hoped for in terms of better social or economic status.” (Published June 07, 2014)

Since most crimes of this nature are confined within the four walls of the house, governments and human rights organisations have no correct estimates of the ‘honour killings’ committed. For every one reported, there are so many that go unreported. Nothing will change unless peoples’ attitude towards such issues changes. Women need to be accepted as equal to men. Equality in terms of making choices, equality in terms of rights, and equality in terms of living lives freely. Education plays a huge role in changing attitudes. Education leads to enlightenment.

International organisations like the United Nations too have not been successful in enforcing curbs on such human rights violations. They lack the mechanism, sources and infrastructure to place effective curbs upon such happenings. The UN can place sanctions against the violating countries but this in turn ends up hurting people of the very country UN ironically tries to protect.

Under Islamic law, punishment for crimes like murder and/or inflicting bodily injury takes two forms i.e., qisas, an equal punishment as inflicted, or diyat, which is basically paying to the legal heirs compensation for life lost or/and bodily injury inflicted. Generally speaking in a situation with two parties involved – one rich and well-connected and usually on the giving end, and the other neither rich nor well-connected and usually the one at the receiving end – it is easy to influence upon the weaker party to accept the offer by the stronger party. External factors that usually favour the stronger party generally prevail. Victims of a crime ‘forgive’ the accused under this law. This Ordinance is also misused to allow culprits of ‘honour killings’ go free by applying the same standards.

There are two approaches to address the misuse of the law. The first supports the idea that murder and/or bodily hurt must be treated as a state offence and not as a private offence for the heirs to forgive. The other approach is to correct the loopholes in the justice system, not the ordinance itself.

Till such time honour killings are effectively stopped from the land of the pure, every day Farzanas continue to die. No one knows their graves and no one cares.

Twitter ID @yasmeen_9

Cross post:

The Pakistan Coup detat of 1958: Part VII

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 1 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 11 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part III on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part IV on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part V on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part Vi on by clicking the link:


By Naveed Tajammal

Naveed PicOne can  comprehend the rationale of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan in leasing out the Badaber CIA Spy Station for 10 years[1959-1969]-after all it was this concurrence to allow the Americans this Facility which made the Americans drop like a hot potato Major General Iskandar Mirza[As he was not willing to allow them this facility]-That factor aside, What no apologist of Ayub Khan can defend is the next the other major event which took place-after 28 Oct 1958-Which was the Signing of Indus Water Treaty 1960-The Americans after the Second world war were trying hard to emerge as the new global power i.e after the fall of the British Empire-and so were slowly getting involved in the geo-politics of the regions-The Kashmir Issue was a sore thumb since 1947-and a bitter war had been fought to reclaim it-Americans had put forward in 1951 David E. Lilienthal who was the head of TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority -which in its scope covered the water issues between various American states, within TVA] and in 1952 jumped in the World Bank-however by 1954 it was clear that neither Pakistan nor India were willing to budge or cave in-During the whole of 1955-Pakistan continued to press the point that, just the three upper Western rivers,’ ‘Without Storage Facilities’ would be unable to meet even replacement uses in the critical rabbi-maturing-khariff sowing seasons and the Khariff-maturing -rabi-sowing seasons, At Pakistan’s repeated requests, the World Bank finally agreed to ask TAMS [ this was the New York based firm of Tippets-Abbott-McCarthy-Stratton or TAMS which acted as consultants to the World Bank on all engineering and hydrological issues-and three members had been earmarked to handle the water issues related between Pakistan and India i.e Gerald T. McCarthy General James H. Stratton and John B. Drisko].

The TAMS team, led by John Drisko was asked to study and appraise the Bank about the seasonal adequacy of water supplies- The team did a thorough study and came to a conclusion that Pakistani engineers were indeed correct!

On 21 May 1956 the Bank issued an ‘Aide Memoire’ which in crux agreed that under the circumstances keeping in the Flow of the three upper rivers it was not sufficient to meet the seasonal needs of West Pakistan-unless storage was provided-Only after the this Aide Memoire was issued that the Civilian Government of Pakistan agreed in principle to study the proposal of division of the river waters between India and Pakistan-The Aide Memoire had proposed that India should bear the cost of storage facilities  and the cost of enlarging the link canals, including the cost of an ”Upper Indus Link” through Potohar Plateau the total cost of these were in the money value of 1956-a whopping $ 2.3 Billion ! this canal was to link Indus at Attock gorge through a canal going diagonally connecting with Jhelum river and onward linking to lower canal works which relied on the lower three rivers-During the study it was estimated of the three different sites of Tarbela that the one  at, Attock Gorge Dam was ideal as it could store up to 16 m.a.c of water-the flooding of lower regions of Peshawar or Mardan were negated by diverting the excess waters across the deep Potohar link canal-onward to River Jhelum and further into the Chinab and lower link canals.

The cost of all these developments  India was supposed to pay-Pakistan’s stance on the concept was very clear-that the replacement uses alone were insufficient to compensate her for surrendering her rights to all the lower three rivers-Ravi-Beas and Sutlej-because Pakistan would thereby loss all the flood waters too-which were required as they yearly rejuvenated the riverbank regions with fresh silt and recharged the underground water reservoirs-and so the tubewells. Pakistan all along had asserted that some development rather than just replacement funding ought to be included in an equitable agreement, because the Object here was to restore Pakistan to her 1947 position, whereas after 1947 due to a large influx of refugees the population increased thereby leading to more load on her canal irrigated colonies-and Pakistan was yearly losing fertile lands  due to mismanaged British Colonial irrigation system which had rendered ,At the time of our Independence in 1947,Thanks to canal colonies and related canal networks all over. We had 11 million acres under water logging, and 16 million were affected by Salinity [5 million acres severely salinized] -Colombo plan report’, extracts from ‘Landforms, soils and Land use of Indus plains-West Pakistan.Ottowa-1958.A Canadian venture hired to do the surveys,1951 onward.

Indians had refused to budge and give in the required sum-the stalemate continued till the Lord of the Duffers took over on 28 Oct 1958-

It was in November 1958-seeing removal of  the Civilian Government that the Indians gave their  new proposal to the World Bank which set the ball rolling in India’s favour, the Pakistani side was no longer fighting her rights but gradually retreating in the twilight, Ayub Khan was in chair he had to appease the Americans whatever it may cost to Pakistan all subsequent major decisions were between Ayub and Nehru-Ayub Khan fully knew that, Nehru had, hired the services of an outstanding German international Lawyer and an expert on river waters, a Professor F.J. Berber, and for years till the signing of the Indus Water Treaty, remained an employee of Govt. of India, though he did join the Munich University later, but remained a Consultant of GOI (govt. of India).

The works, of P.J. Berber translated in English i.e, Rivers in international Law’ to date remains an authority, the London Institute of World Affairs, had the book published.

The other reason why Nehru had the date of ratification of Indus treaty, back dated from September 1960 to 1st April, was because on 1st April 1948, they had shut down our waters, from the UBDC!!!

The callousness of Ayub Khan can never be forgiven for signing the Indus water Treaty 1960.whereas per Aide Mémoire earlier mentioned India was to pay in 1956 money terms value a sum of  $ 2.3 Billion ,and the question of flood waters of three lower rivers was also a prerequisite-Ayub Khan under pressure from Americans and Nehru agreed to a mere $ 174 million Indian contribution ,that too spread over the next one decade In nutshell .Ayub Khan sold out Pakistan’s rights over the lower three rivers and plus gave Indian’s the right of building storage facilities on our share of upper three rivers, for just $ 174 million-what a great leader Ayub Khan was !

Ayub Khan always copied ideas-His brain and mentor was Maj. Gen Iskandar Mirza whom he had booted out-in his greed for absolute power-as we see that after 28 Oct 1958 Ayub followed the guidelines given by Iskandar Mirza-reference report sent by British High Commissioner Karachi -dt-29 September 1958 -DO-35/8943 [British Papers].

”President Iskandar Mirza has told the High Commissioner that he is contemplating a Coup d’état with Army support-whereby he would dismiss the present Government. postpone the elections due in early 1959 and govern the country himself with help of 20-30 good men-who would reshape a new constitution’-later in yet another interview dated-08 Oct 1958-Iskandar Mirza had indicated that the new constitution would take 3-5 years and even the new constitution would Not provide for Adult or female franchise and that he favored a unitary form of government for Pakistan”.

Ayub went ditto-after abrogating the constitution jointly with Iskandar Mirza on 08 Oct 1958-the new constitution came in 1962-he took his 4 years-and there was no such thing as a adult franchise in it- as per the Census of 1961-the total population of Pakistan was 93.8 million-East Pakistan had 50.9 million and West had 42.9 million, with a further gender breakdown of 49.3 million males and 44.5 million females.

So Ayub to ensure that he ruled for forever-with the Aide of Manzur Qadir his guarding legal angle-devised the devious plan of Basic Democracies, the idea which had germinated on 1st May 1959 was approved on 12-13 June 1959 at Nathigali Govt. House. Ayub Khan who was under a phobia of politicians by a stroke of pen eliminated their threat he imposed in 1959 EBDO [elective bodies disqualifications order 1959 – all 98′ top ranking politicians were debarred from participating in political activities for the next 6 years and the Order was enforced on 07 Aug 1959-and after this came the Basic Democracies Order which was enforced on 27 Oct 1959.  By virtue of this Order, From the whole of Pakistan both wings 4000 units each were identified-so from these 8000 units 10 men each were selected by the local police stations mostly from the bundle A and bundle B cadre of criminals who were bound to the police stations by default -

The nomination or selection of these 80,000 BD members was completed in January 1960-Ayub khan in a hurry wanted to get a urgent vote of confidence from the newly elected BD’s who now formed the new electoral college-The ever wise Manzur Qadir came up with a answer-He insisted that voting will be confined within the units under supervision of the Police, all BD members will  be put forth just one question-”Have You Confidence In The President Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, Hilal-e-Pakistan Hilal i Jurat. ”

This question was put before the BD members on 15 Feb 1960-and 75,283 0r 95.6 % replied in a ‘Yes’ and on 17 Feb 1960 Ayub Khan was sworn in as the First elected President of Pakistan-the same day he announced the appointment of a commission to form the new constitution under Justice Shahabuddin with 5 members from each province.

Sultan Muhammad Khan our former Secretary Foreign Affairs writes in his book, ‘Memories and Reflections ‘1997.”In the month of  May 1960,President Ayub and his entourage were in London for commonwealth Prime Ministers meeting, ZAB was officiating as the acting Foreign Minister-During that time USSR made a dramatic announcement that they had shot down a U2 spy plane which had taken from a base [Badaber] in Pakistan…After consulting Brig. Riaz Hussain Shah the head of Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate [I.S.I.D] or the later I. S. I,and Air Marshal Asghar Khan Commander in Chief of the Pakistan Airforce, who both vehemently denied that any such flight had originated from Pakistan. Bhutto issued a statement exonerating Pakistan from any involvement-Apparently everybody was under the impression or were dead certain that Gary Power the pilot of U2 would have died when his plane was hit, he had also been provided with a poison capsule to avoid falling into the hands of the soviets-as luck would have it Gary power not only survived the shooting of his plane-he even ejected safely and landed on his feet-to live and tell the tale.

Sultan-states that the next day the Soviet Ambassador Dr. Kapitsa came to see him and he was confident that he would refute all charges the soviet Ambassador might make-however the Ambassador showed a written confession of Gary Powers stating that he had flown from Badaber [Peshawar Airbase] and the Soviet Ambassador pounded the table with his fists-as to what was Govt. of Pakistan up to, and should Khrushchev[Soviet Leader] wish he had the power ,that would in a single raid  obliterate both Badaber and the Peshawar Airbase -now we revert to the flip side of Ayub Khan.

Christine Keeler was a English model girl-she moved within the higher circles of British Society and since 1961 she had been involved with the British Secretary of state for War-and others in June 1963 came, ”The Confessions of Christine Keeler’ which are very well elucidated in the British Papers-Oxford Press-pages 146-onward.

The Article contained references to Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan

”………It had been a romantic day. Love was in the hot air. President Ayub Khan of

Pakistan was one of the guests at a party at Cliveden. I liked the President he was

more English than the English. Like Ivanov, he was a real man, husky, suave and

incredibly virile for his age. He was a wonderful swimmer, and perhaps I not say

this, but I tried to keep as close to him in the water as I could during fun and   game        ……….”

A lot of denials by the Foreign office of Pakistan were issued on this subject-and the next almost 20 pages of the declassified British Papers i.e Page 146 onward deal with this shameful episode-

[To be continued …..]


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