India Pakistan Conundrum

This is cross post from Pakistan Today 18-10-2016

Yasmeen Aftab Ali

Is Modi’s aggressiveness towards Pakistan part of BJP’s Hindutva baggage turned into a national ideology that threatens to strangle the secular Indian streak by targeting Pakistan? People of India need to weigh this question. Modi has been under tremendous pressure to do something very aggressive against Pakistan because he had been promising ten Pak-heads for one killed Indian soldier in his election campaign. He had earlier accused Manmohan Singh’s government of being ‘soft’ with Pakistan. He had promised a ‘muscular’ policy towards Pakistan during the heady days of his election campaign. Many political analysts connect the war mongering to the forthcoming legislative assembly elections in 2017 for 403 seats of Vidhan Sabha- in Uttar Pardash where Congress can question Modi on his pre-election claims. His statements to the effect are well-recorded. However, the rhetoric is not matched with building military capabilities against any alleged terror attack.

I seriously disagree that this was a surgical strike. It may have been so stated to appease domestic audience. Go back a decade, each year there is this seasonal war drum beating and Loc violations are a recurrent phenomenon. With changing weather and come snowfall, things will settle down.

The issues between Pakistan and India are strictly political. Former Foreign Secretary, Riaz Mohammad Khan, wrote, “None of the disputes and problems that bedevil relations between the two countries are ideological or inherently intractable; they are essentially political and, thereby, resolvable”.

The issue is Kashmir. The Indus River with its five tributaries provides sustenance to both India and Pakistan with growing populations. Both India and Pakistan face severe energy crises relying completely on this source for water not just for energy but also for agriculture. Pakistan has an economy most reliant on water yet with severely limited water. Without going into details of why it will be extremely dangerous for India to revoke or violate the Indus Water Treaty- quoting only one: for China to follow a bad precedent if set by slowing the flow of Brahmaputra River. It is important for India, for her own sake not to indulge in any such adventurism. The UN resolution, Indo Pak wars, Simla Agreement, Siachin, Kargil, cross border raids etc. are all a direct result of this dispute. The ongoing struggle in OIK belies the Indian narrative that it is insurgents funded and trained by Pakistan. The pictures and videos now seen internationally clearly shows the common people and young boys of Kashmir. This is no funded insurgency. India should have talked to the local leaders in OIK to defuse the situation at hand. It is a failure of Modi government to have not done so.

One deterrent in improving relations with Pakistan besides BJP own pro-Hindu stance is the appointment of Ajit Doval as National Security Advisor.  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, “Pakistan has its own vulnerabilities many times higher than India.” (Published June 23, 2014)

Most countries use proxies to fight their wars. However, we also need to understand that incidents also happen due to internal terrorists with their own agendas. Actions of these non-state actors must never be used to serve short-term ends by states themselves.

Modi has also set his eyes on making India a South Asian global power. He has made significant developments in this- however, he seems to have decided it is not important to keep cordial relations with Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s present tenure has been dogged with accusation of rigging elections and Panama Leaks scandal with ensuing protests mainly led by PTI- that has weakened the Nawaz government. Pakistan governments have not have pursued long-term strategies. However, irrespective of the war-mongering by Modi; I will not use the term India because I do not think Indians in general want a detoriating situation between the neighbors, the Pakistan government must keep their focus on the long-term perspective. Not only India and Pakistan but also the people of Kashmir are stakeholders and have the right to resolve the issue that threatens the peace of the region.

Saner heads on both sides of the border need to prevail. Pointing fingers without investigations can only raise the ante further. Both India and Pakistan need to understand that a structured dialogue is the only solution. Intimidation by India will not deliver. India’s accusations and finger pointing sans investigations and sharing of evidences must not be allowed to offset the dialogue. The drawback in the OIK is India’s illegal occupation. This is the legal position. Is it in India’s interest to have a structured dialogue that reaches a natural conclusion? Can any Indian government survive the natural conclusion in form of an OIK of referendum? Will any political party be willing to resolve the issue at this cost?

 Kashmir is the core but not the only issue. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, former High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom writes, “As a part of confidence building the two countries should resolve Siachin issue where each of them are spending Rs 300 crore a month to keep their troops on the highest battle ground where more troops on both sides have died of severe weather than the bullets.”

India has to be a willing party in resolving mutual issues with Pakistan. One-sided efforts cannot deliver. Unless and until there is, a will to resolve issues snags will be created on different pretexts to make any dialogue fail. About time, the festering wound of 70 years must be healed.

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 yasmeenali62@gmail.comtweets at @yasmeen_9

Independent Views on War of 1965



What Indian historian said about 1965
Inside Story: Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi in 1965 War?

“…a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance.” 1965 WAR-The Inside Story by R.D. Pradhan:
As Pakistanis honor the memory of their 1965 war heroes on Defense of Pakistan Day today, let us review some snippets of how the war looked from the other side. R.D. Pradhan and Harbakhsh Singh were both insiders who participated in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. While Pradhan was a civilian working for Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan, General Harbakhash Singh was commanding Indian troops on the front-lines. Both have written books drawing upon their first-hand knowledge of how the war started, unfolded and ended in September, 1965.
In Chapter 8 titled “Of Cowardice and Panic” of his book “1965 War-The Inside Story”, R.D. Pradhan describes the cowardice of Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad, the Indian general commanding officer in Lahore sector. When Pakistan Defense Forces counter-attacked the intruding Indian military and the general was fired upon on Sept 6, 1965, he “ran away”. Here’s an excerpt:
“On learning that, Lt. Gen. Harbakash Singh and the corps commander drove in a Jonga (Nissan P60 Jeep) to the battlefront. Army commander found that the enemy (PAF) air attack had created a havoc on G.T. Road. (Indian) Vehicles were burning and several vehicles of 15 Division abandoned on the road, the drivers having run away, leaving some of the engines still running. Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad was hiding in a recently irrigated sugar cane field. As described by Harabakash Singh: “He (Prasad) came out to receive us, with his boots covered with wet mud. He had no head cover, nor was he wearing any badges of his rank. He had stubble on his face, not having shaved.” Seeing him in such a stage, Harbakhash Singh asked him: “Whether he was the General Officer commanding a division or a coolie? Why had he removed badges of rank and not shaved? Niranjan Prasad had no answer.”
Chapter 12 of Pradhan’s book is titled “Retreat to Beas” in which there is detailed discussion of Indian COAS’s proposal for the Indian Army to retreat behind Beas in the face of Pakistan’s fierce counter-attacks after India’s attempted incursion in Lahore. Pradhan argues in this chapter that during the 1965 war with Pakistan, Indian COAS General Chaudhuri feared that “a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance”.
Pradhan’s book contains many different entries by Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan. A Sept 9, 1965 entry reads:
Had a very hard day on all fronts. Very fierce counter-attacks mounted and we are required to withdraw in Kasur area. COAS was somewhat uncertain of himself. I suggested to him that he should go in forward areas so that he will be in touch of realities. He said he would go next day.
In Line of Duty: A Soldier Remembers, according to Shekhar Gupta, the editor of Indian Express, Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh reveals that not only “did Gen Chowdhury play a very small role in the entire campaign, he was so nervous as to be on the verge of losing half of Punjab to Pakistan, including the city of Amritsar. Harbakhsh describes, in clinical detail, how our own offensive in the Lahore sector had come unhinged. The general commanding the division on Ichchogil canal fled in panic, leaving his jeep, its wireless running and the briefcase containing sensitive documents that were then routinely read on Radio Pakistan during the war. Singh wanted to court martial him, Chowdhury let him get away with resignation”.
According to Shekhar Gupta, Harbkhash Singh recounts that a bigger disaster struck a bit to the south where the other division cracked up in assault, just as it encountered a bit of resistance. Several infantry battalions, short on battle inoculation, deserted and Singh gives a hair-raising account – and confirmation of a long-debated rumor – that Chowdhury panicked so badly he ordered him to withdraw to a new defensive line behind the Beas, thereby conceding half of Punjab to Pakistan. Singh describes the conversation with Chowdhury at Ambala where he refused to carry out the order, asking his chief to either put it down in writing or visit the front and take charge of the battle.
Beyond the Indian insiders quoted above, here is how several non-Pakistani journalists have covered the war:
The London Daily Mirror reported in 1965:
“There is a smell of death in the burning Pakistan sun. For it was here that India’s attacking forces came to a dead stop.
“During the night they threw in every reinforcement they could find. But wave after wave of attacks were repulsed by the Pakistanis”
“India”, said the London Daily Times, “is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one in size of armed forces.”
In Times reporter Louis Karrar wrote:
“Who can defeat a nation which knows how to play hide and seek with death”.
USA – Aviation week – December 1968 issue:
“For the PAF, the 1965 war was as climatic as the Israeli victory over the Arabs in 1967. A further similarity was that Indian air power had an approximately 5:1 numerical superiority at the start of the conflict. Unlike the Middle East conflict, the Pakistani air victory was achieved to a large degree by air-to-air combat rather than on ground. But it was as absolute as that attained by Israel.
India was the first to accept UN sponsored ceasefire (page 100 of RD Pradhan’s book) on Sept 21 followed by Pakistan on Sept 22, bringing the 1965 war to an end on Sept 22, 1965. As the ceasefire took effect, Indian Defense Y.B. Chavan wrote in his diary as follows:
“The ball is now in the political court again–where it should be–and not in the military one. I hope we have the vision and courage to (our) political leadership.”

Of Lawlessness

By Yasmeen Aftab Ali ArticleYAA

Two attacks a day after the other brought sharply in focus the lawlessness of Pakistani society. The first was of the suicide blast at the daira of Colonel Shuja Khanzada who did not survive. Many others died with him. The other was attack on Rashid Godil in Karachi.

Has Pakistan turned into a lawless country? Merriam-Webster defines lawlessness as a) not regulated by or based on law and b) not restrained or controlled by law :  unruly

A lawless society, generally speaking is steeped in corruption, bribery and increased degrees of acts that may only be deemed as criminal. The government apparatus fail to ensure peaceful atmosphere for individual and communal growth. There is intense disregard for law as it may be seen to be used against some and accountability fails to implement itself across the board, “Law is the ass,” as expressed by Mr Bumbles of Dickens fame. Authority may be seen as being oppressive as in a lawless society; any lawless society it is seen as being either self-serving or serving a selected elite.

Richard W. Rahn  a senior fellow of the Cato Institute and the Chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, writes thus, “The basic function of government is the protection of person and property…..Economic freedom and civil society depend upon a high degree of protection of person and property.” (Washington Times, November 3, 2014)

“When States Fail” by Robert I. Rotberg is an excellent piece of work. He writes, “There is no failed state (broadly, a state in anarchy) without disharmonies between communities. Yet, the simple fact that many weak nation-states include haves and have-nots, and that some of the newer states contain a heterogeneous array of ethnic, religious, and linguistic interests, is more a contributor to, than a root cause of, nation-state failure. State failure cannot be ascribed primarily to the inability to build nations from a congeries of groups of diverse backgrounds. Nor should it be ascribed baldly to the oppression of minorities by a majority, although such brutalities are often a major ingredient of the impulse toward failure.”

George Orwell, in his book Animal Farm, the greatest political statement for all times writes, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Personally, I feel that in spite of its extreme stress situations Pakistan as a nation is an extremely resilient country. It has time and again risen from crises to fight back again. The failure is more on part of its leaders and assorted political parties.

Laws must exist to run well-oiled machinery. There exists no ideal country. All nations with people living in peaceful harmony lay down the benchmark of things to do and things not to do. More important, once the benchmark is laid down, it results in implementation for all.

Laws need to clearly define rights of individuals in a society. If a right is violated, there must be a quick and strongly implemented redress to the individual wronged whether by the police, the courts or other relevant law enforcing agencies. Sultan Knish rightly pens, “A society that lives by law can have laws that mean something, but in a lawless society, a law only matters so long as it serves the purpose of those in power. When it doesn’t, then it’s ignored or tossed aside.” (June 23, 2012) He goes on to write, “Law limits power. It limits the power of individuals, institutions and governments. A lawless society is one where those who manipulate empathy gain power. Where temporary outrage substitutes for policy. A video that stirs anger and goes viral matters more than law. Everyone is a muckraker, and everything is a muck of competing narratives because everyone is a victim and everyone is dirty at the same time.

There is no law and so every case, every incident is political, because law is made on an ad hoc basis. One side projects grief, the other side charges cynicism. The side that manipulates the emotions of the crowd most deftly, wins. Every politician is an actor, every debate is a performance and every victory is a chance to gather more spoils.”

If a law is impartial and seen to be just, is not the inconvenience to bear it something good and for greater benefit?  Any law-abiding society needs strong laws. This is a choice we must make. Being pro-law is not being anti-individual freedom.  The concept of freedom of expression and freedom of speech acknowledges the overriding right of common good of people vis a vis individual good. The authority to develop and implement laws must not come from popular support as we in Pakistan mistakenly think. It comes from right of the people and members of society to a right to justice. A law having popular support of political parties is not anybetter for having the support and a law deriving its strength from justice does not become a bad law for not being approved by all stakeholders. This must be the decision of the government based on a strong sense of need for a just society.  More laws created are no guarantee for a lawful society. However, no society can operate without justice. At least not indefinitely.

The growing concern regarding lawlessness in our country has led to a sharp decline in economic growth and investors wary of investing in Pakistan. Pakistan has become a playground of proxy wars in garb of sectarian violence so on and so forth. A lot has been done by the Army but a lot more needs to be done. Production fall has created an environment that has led the government to balance its books by imposing greater taxes on those already paying taxes. One thing leads to the other. This leads to a situation that can be summed up in one word: Mess.

Our leaders need to come to their senses. A lawless society can only go that far. Laws for select few cannot hold indefinitely. Brushing issues under carpet will not hold. All this needed address decades ago lest we become a society where, “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” (George Orwell)

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 yasmeenali62@gmail.comtweets at @yasmeen_9

NOTE: This is a cross post from Pakistan Today 25/8/2015

Will the leaders be answerable?

Yasmeen Aftab AliArticleYAA

In the situation we,  as a nation find ourselves in, caused by multidimensional issues; ranging from spiking inflation, to corruption at every level, from leadership bankruptcy to natural disasters, war on terrorism being fought within our borders, an aggressive India going ballistics as it sees China’s serious intentions to go ahead on the CPEC; we need a time of quiet reflection. At the core lies our failure to groom leaders who should have the vision to lead Pakistan into a promising future. We need to reflect, what have we done, or, what have we not done, to produce and groom a crop of leaders that can lead the nation out of its many challenges, heads up, colors flying!

The national parties have over a period of time, mobilized people with slogans of all kind of promises. However, once in power, they have failed the nation at every level. One reason is genuine ignorance of the economy and searching for answers that need answering. The other reason is, awarding ministries, not on grounds of competence of an individual to run a ministry, nor his knowledge and acumen in the field, but purely party loyalty. This in turn leads to wrong decisions, waste of resources, misdirected human effort and more incompetencies. In any well developed system, the ministries must be run by technocrats, the parliamentarians must legislate and career diplomats should focus on representing Pakistan as Ambassadors. We unfortunately, are so used to these assignments being dished out as sweetmeats to party favorites that we have stopped questioning such practices.

The third reason is a genuine lack of will to do well for the country as compared to do good personally. This conflict between personal gains with national gain brings us to two crucial questions that we, as a nation, must address. High time we do.

The first conflict is the right exercised by a large percentage of leaders, including Members of Parliament, to maintain dual citizenship. Although many countries in the world do recognize dual citizenship, including USA, based on the U.S. Department of State regulation on dual citizenship (7 FAM 1162), the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that dual citizenship is a “status long recognized in the law” and that “a person may have and exercise rights of nationality in two countries and be subject to the responsibilities of both. The mere fact he asserts the rights of one citizenship does not without more mean that he renounces the other.” (Kawakita v. U.S., 343 U.S. 717) However, I have strong reservations about a citizen having loyalty to two countries.

The word “allegiance” means that we promise loyalty. It also carries with it the expectation that this loyalty will be exclusive and unrestrained. In the case of a declared war or real threat or conflict, for example, our allegiance to Pakistan should preclude any other interest, be it another country or political ideology. Since citizenship carries with it a responsibility to be exclusively loyal to one country, the whole concept of dual citizenship and nationality raises questions about which of the dual citizenships has priority. This is extremely important when the two countries have opposing interests. It can be a deadly problem when a dual citizen is in a high position within our government. Can one imagine a Japanese citizen serving in the Pentagon during WWII? Alternatively, how about a citizen of the Soviet Union holding a cabinet position in the White House during the Cold War?

Political Parties Act needs serious revamping. The seats within party set up and those in provincial assembly must be limited to a given period. What happens though if the system of governance from top down is corrupt and there is unquestionable legal facts to prove it? Does the government go home? Not in Pakistan, it does not. It usually stays around, the buck being kicked around a few times until it rolls down some alleyway. Out of sight and out of mind.  There needs to be a Constitutional provision allowing a government to be sent packing. Instead, our leader join together to ‘save democracy’ to the sublime ignorance of the common man. I do not support military takeovers. However, until and unless there is accountability at all levels, no system can succeed.

The other level of accountability is the No Vote Option. This is placing an empty box on the ballot paper-stating: ‘None of the above’ thereby rejecting all contesting candidates in a constituency.  Advantages and disadvantages of this must be carefully evaluated before lauding or rejecting the idea. Those who oppose have declared it as a step against democracy. Is it? If the voters are allowed the chance of, rejecting all-it offers them a broader base than to choose between the Devil and the Black Sea. In a number of cases, one hears people refraining from voting particularly in the urban areas because they do not want to vote for the same electable who have bought no change for the better. Urban areas are marked by low resident interaction, an absence of the ‘baithak’ (general commuting place for residents) culture. This is not only true of upscale areas but also lower-middle income neighborhoods.

If NOTA merely mean to state the number of people not willing to vote any contesting candidate in power on the ballot paper, they might as well not turn up to cast the votes. What weightage do the votes cast for NOTA signify if at all? Logical follow-up to this scenario should be to call for a by-election with fresh candidates in the above given scenario. This will make contestants more answerable to the people they represent. This will make them more answerable in terms of broken promises to people they represent. It will also make them more answerable to the people in cases where rampant corruption committed, if any. In the final analysis let, the people decide whom to vote for. That is the essence of democracy. Being rejected via NOTA  must also mean they cannot be appointed as advisors and chairpersons of organizations thus stealing in to take their place in corridors of power.

According to the July 14, 2008 edition of the “Times of India,” the caretaker Bangladeshi regime five years ago had also proposed that an election to a constituency should be cancelled if “no votes” somehow amounted to 50 per cent or more of the total votes cast—consequently leading to a by-election (The News 26 Feb 2013).

This is not all, there are other issues. One being of the leaders in a country, investing their personal funds, heavily abroad and not in the country they purport to lead.

Like unconditional support to one flag, should not they be the first to affirm confidence in the country they lead by investing with its people and economy? Should not their stakes be high IN the country and not invested abroad? Does not, investing in foreign countries, give out a signal of distrust to the people and world at large? Cannot this policy lead to a conflict of interest? Should not the leaders lead by example and reaffirm confidence in their own country by investing in sectors that need a boost by leading by example? How can they seek foreign investment by not investing first themselves?

Unfortunately, in Pakistan, we see a reverse of the situation. Our leaders invest heavily abroad, thereby, in times of distress, jump boat to live in foreign shores, leading a more comfortable and plentiful life than the ones they lived while in Pakistan, to be back to resume the mantle when the time is ripe for their return.

The national government, if it wants to be national, ought to be governed by the people and for the people

“Experto Credite.” (“Trust one who has proved it.” Virgil, 2,000 years ago)

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan. Her email is: and tweets at @yasmeen_9

This is a cross post from Pakistan Today: 22 June 2015

Killing the Ismailis

This is a cross post from PAKISTAN TODAY on 19/5/2015

Yasmeen Aftab Ali ArticleYAA

Forty-three were killed and twenty injured as gunmen opened fire on a bus near Safoora Chowk area. The numbers of those dead has since spiked as many succumbed to their injuries later. The bus was carrying members of the Ismaili Community. Gunmen stormed the bus, shooting passengers in their heads. The bus was owned by Al-Azhar Colony, an Ismaili housing project and was bound towards Federal B Area; a regular route. All attackers escaped after the killings. “Six terrorists came on three motorcycles, they entered the bus and began firing indiscriminately. They used 9mm pistols and all those killed and injured were hit by the 9mm pistols.” (Yahoo News, May 12, 2015)

The crime was owned by both ISIS and Taliban. Literature in both English and Urdu allegedly by the attackers printed on plain paper without any insignia or monogram of any organization was found on site of the crime. A typed message spelling out the reasons for the attack. If one recalls, similar leaflets were also found after the US national Debra Lobo was shot. This incident took place in third week of April. She was a faculty member at Jinnah Medical and Dental College.

Karachi has been a violent city of late. Though incidents have visibly lessened since 2013, reasons being both of political and economic nature. Armed wings of political parties; says Huma Yusuf in her research paper, ‘Conflict dynamics in Karachi,’ for the United States Institute for Peace, ‘are the main perpetrators of urban violence. The parties clash over city resources and funds generated through extortion.’(2012)  She goes on to say, “Karachi’s ethno political violence is facilitated by an overall crisis in law and order. Many of the gunmen involved in target killings were not political party activists, but members of one of approximately two hundred criminal gangs in the city, many of which boast affiliations with mainstream political parties. The gangs foster a perpetual sense of insecurity in the city by engaging in various criminal activities.”

The attack on the bus set off a stream of theories by analysts, members of civil society and public at large. My in box and whatsaapp is overflowing with interpretations of the attack.

Some believe that Taliban are behind it as claimed in the literature. Others denounce the theory. One message to me states, “It is a false flag. Almost everyone has claimed the responsibility of the tragic incident.  It was a professional hit by highly trained operatives, too neat to be Daesh or TTP, who deliberately create a messy situation. Al-Qaida does not go after such communities.” Another says, “In my opinion it was neither of the two. They do not operate with simple pistols.” A third writes, “It can be a false flag operation, to use a simple pistol, the person has to be very confident and experienced which is unlike TTP young suicide brigade so it seems more like an foreign agency’ operative.”  This is not all. I am sharing here selected messages that form an interesting collage.

“That sudden change from war drums to love songs from India rang a lot of bells, why would she do that? Why would she execute a somersault? Maybe to start a new wave of similar operations. So she cannot be suspected.” A local daily writes, A day after the military’s top brass accused Indian intelligence agency RAW of supporting terrorism in Pakistan, the Foreign Office has echoed similar concerns asking India to refrain from interfering in its internal matters.” (May 7, 2015)  Mail by another, “A well thought over and planned attack not just a terrorist attack. Ismailis live from Gilgit to Karachi. This is exactly the belt that is going to serve as clotted artery for Economic corridor. The forces who do not want it to happen have been working against it since the inception of Gwader.”

Yet another friend questions, “The attack on a bus carrying Ismailis in Karachi followed by an attack on a guest house in Kabul, with mostly Indians – both countries in a proxy war or a third element involved?”  Nevertheless, the possibility of a genuine sectarian attack cannot be ruled out, “As long as we keep on apologizing for these home grown beasts the innocent and helpless will keep on getting killed,” writes a friend.  Sharing another interesting response, “When Latif Mahsood is arrested red handed with money bags, Barahamdagh captured travelling on Indian passport and money trail to anti Pakistan elements shows Indian book makers involvement,  it all gives lots of credence to Indian involvement in Pakistan but I seriously doubt Indian hand in the attack on Ismaelis because Agha khan is too important a personality for the Indians. For the same reason I exclude possibility of a local political party, therefore, in my view it’s purely a sectarian attack.” Another message refutes this by stating, “The incident was too close to Saulat  Mirza’s hanging. The meeting of the British officials with the murder suspect and the visit of PM and COAS to Kakul. Too much coincidence?”

The most pragmatic line comes from a journalist friend, “From what we see as an emerging pattern of the Islamic State and its Al Qaeda affiliates, they breed in those dark chasms of mistrust between states and sectarian differences. There is fusion in confusion.”

This does NOT mean to say I conclusively agree with his thought that it is Al Qaeda and its affiliates that are responsible for this horrific massacre. Though they may well be. I agree with his statement: there is fusion in confusion. Absolutely!  There are so many vested interests that without thorough and professional investigation, it is impossible to pin point the culprit(s). It may well be Taliban, or ISIS or a similar outfit. Investigation alone can determine responsibility. Karachi has an unenviable baggage of sectarian violence. Continued crackdowns on these did succeed in containing it for a decent while. The killing of innocent Ismaili civilians has jolted Pakistanis across the board out of their comfort zones. The terror is back. With it comes stench of fear. Reverting to the research paper by Huma Yusuf, “Significantly, as a result of the splinter and freelance model, TTP-affiliated militant is no longer exclusively ethnic Pashtun. According to the CID, Urdu-speaking and Punjabi residents of Karachi are increasingly collaborating with the TTP. The socioeconomic profile of Karachi’s militants also varies: Although the majority of militants reside in the low-income, Pashtun-dominated squatter settlements at the city’s periphery, a growing number hail from educated, middle-class backgrounds. The Karachi faction of the Punjabi Taliban comprises several students enrolled at the University of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest public sector university. The diversifying profile of militants can be explained by soaring anti-Americanism and mainstream resentment against U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. Well-funded militant groups have used sophisticated websites, social media outlets such as YouTube and Facebook, and other communications strategies to reach out to middle-class recruits and exploit their resentment against the West. As such, Karachi’s changing militant demographic could foreshadow future trends across Pakistan.”

There is a pattern to the chaos. It’s systematic. It’s asymmetrical warfare. However the bottom line is; Is there a deadline to reach to a conclusion or culmination of this investigation or is it to be left open ended- and without conclusion-as usual?

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 she tweets at @yasmeen_9





Act of 1935 PART IV

Read Part I:

Read Part II:

Read Part III:

By Naveed Tajammal naveed-pic

The British Imperialists,had thrust on us,by virtue of Govt of India Act, the clause of Federation,and the cause of our present problems, which persists in all our Constitutions. The requisites of a Federation are quite different, and the term implies a state entity within the fold of a centre. Whereas, Pakistan never had State entities as the term goes,when the Act was passed. We had a Sindhi Province ,a Punjab,a NWFP and Baluchistan as per the Act. The War for Liberation brought in the AJK and Northern areas post 1947. Hence it is being explained how the USA and it’s Federation cannot be compared to Pakistan as was done in the previous articles and the concluding one.

The Confederacy which existed in USA till 1789, of thirteen states,the term “Confederacy” and meaning generally is a league or union,of states or individuals, in a nutshell,it implies a temporary league of independent states for a certain purpose. It was after 1789, that the term Federation came into the use in USA, Federation, now meant a closer union. This distinction was emphasised during the American Civil war between north and south(1861-1865), the seceding forming again a Confederation,which had earlier lasted till 1789, in opposition to the Federal Union.

The system of a federal state as in USA was based,in it’s own way,each state of USA is an independent state,as stated earlier it is a new country composed of different nations whereas,Pakistan is a new name yet we trace our past in a remote time. And have flourished as an entity,as a whole since then.

To further explain the American States composition and functions which has no bearing to our lands,as British ruled over us for barely a little over a hundred years.The point to note is,they did not settle us, like was the case of Australia too,a penal settlement initially hence it justified the Common Wealth Act of 1900 on the Australians.But the Act of 1935, with reference to Federation could not have been and,should not have been,enacted on us.

In the American State ,the powers of a state are inherent, not delegated,each retains all such rights and functions,of an independent government, each has it’s own documentary Constitution,it’s legislature of two elective houses,it’s executive consisting of a Governor and other officials, it’s judiciary whose decisions are final,except in cases involving Federal law; it’s system of local government and local taxation,it’s revenue, system of taxation and debts;it’s body of private,civil and criminal law and procedure ;it’s rules of citizenship. An American, may,through his life,never be reminded of the Federal Government, except when,he votes at Federal elections,his direct taxes are paid to officials,acting under the state laws. Lastly the Constitution of each State is formed and enacted by the State itself, save those states which were not a part of the old Federal Union.And, had joined later, even in such states,the Constitution derives it’s force,not from the national government,but from the people of the state.

When in 1776, the thirteen colonies threw off their allegiance to the British Crown,and took the title of States,they proceeded to unite themselves in a league by the Articles of Confederation of 1781.This scheme of Union proved defective, for it’s central authority and assembly called,”Congress” was THEN, hopelessly weak. It had neither an executive,nor a judiciary ,nor had it proper means of coercing a recalcitrant state. It’s weakness became so apparent, especially, after the pressure of the war,with British had been removed. That the opinion of the wisest men called for a closer and more effective union and thus the present original Constitution(minus the amendments),was drafted by a convention in 1787, was ratified,by nine states(the prescribed number).In 1788, and was set, to work under George Washington as the first President in 1789. The original Constitution was a short document with only 7 Articles,sub divided into sections.

Now to compare this with Act of 1935 is an altogether wrong approach as this Act was the outcome of long constitutional developments,based on Government of India Act 1858 by which the Crown, took over from East India Company. The Act of 1909, which had introduced elective principles,the Act of 1919 which introduced provincial dyarchy and some nation building subjects such as education which had already been introduced in the schooling systems of British India in the 19th Century as per the policy of Lord Macaulay vide his address to the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835.

Unfortunately, when this educational system was introduced and enforced ,it had already been well perfected in India and also the methodology of education had been refined by the hired and trained people to implement the British policies.

By virtue of the Act of 1919,the core subjects like law,order and finance were held by officials appointed by and responsible to British Governors and ultimately to the British Parliament.The Simon Commission in 1927 was greeted by black flags and hartals as it was composed of only the British with no Indian Representation.In a nutshell, this report proposed ,”the setting up of an All India Federation in a distant future”. The Indian Round table Conferences 1931 -1933 composition of which had men, who never decided an issue, which was in fact the objective of the British in the first place and hence the composition of such men in these round table conferences. So,the British could do as they pleased and eventually blame it on the natives, for,”lack of decision”. So as the British wanted it,it was decided;that,both the British India and the princely states would be integrated into an eventual Federal Dominion of India. Here again, the leaders of Congress and Muslim League could not arrive at any agreement, on how,this Federation would be structured ie how power was to be shared and how minority Muslims were to be protected from Hindu persecution, this resulted in letting the conservative dominated British Government, free to draft a legislative proposals in line with its own views, a joint select committee,chaired by Lord Linlithgow,received a draft paper termed as a ,”White Paper” and thus the Government of India Act 1935 was framed. In order to ,appease the die hearts of British Conservative Government, certain safeguards were strengthened. Indirect elections were reinstated for the Federal Assembly(Lower House). Among other things theAct continued to deny the British Indians the right to draft or modify their own Constitution.

The Act of 1935, was the longest Bill ever passed by a Parliament,a good constitution should clearly set out over arching principles,”Not lawyers small print”, the most successful Constitution ever is indeed that of USA, as described in my article with reference to the Federation aspect only.The reason of this long draft was the British Parliaments lack of trust of the politicians in particular.

After Independence Act of 1947 with a few amendments in the Act of 1935 it became the functioning interim constitution of Pakistan. Earlier, the objective of British in enacting this Act was to make a tailor made Constitution,to fulfill the requirement of British needs and it was expected that the Act was to lead to a nominally dominion status India, conservative in outlook,dominated by an alliance of Hindu princes by this stance, the Muslim and the right wing Hindus would have then,naturally,seeked the guidance and protection of the British Government,assure stalemate like situation.

As stated earlier,after the Independence Act of 1947,we as a nation,should have with the help of good jurists,drafted our own Constitution as per own requirements.It is true that we have a massive population growth,we have to and need to,clear our stables.The geographic entities ,a legacy of British Raj should be removed ,a nation which has always existed can never be classed as a Federation. No colonists or charter companies brought in settlers in our Indus Basin. Circumstances forced on us, a British Rule.We must break the chains and re-emerge as one nation as one state.From north to south,east to west.And keeping in view the number of our population,as many provinces as feasible.

If the Indians want to retain the federation aspect,they have truly the grounds for separate entities, a pre-requisite for a Federation.
(The End).

Act of 1935 PART III

Read Part I:

Read Part II:

By Naveed Tajammalnaveed-pic

Before, the War of American Independence,had started in the true sense,and the flag underwent changes as per the requirements of the people of earlier USA,which we have seen very briefly,IE the entities which were part of this Federation,then called as a Confederacy,and NOT a Federation.A legal difference,between the two which will be explained later,in a subsequent related article.

The composition of these thirteen colonies,(later states),was that,all were called and termed provinces by the Crown,the Governors were appointed by the Crown and had an absolute veto on legislation.Hence there were thus, three proprietary,seven royal,one semi-royal and two charter colonies total ling the figure of thirteen. However,of the two charter companies,there were simple Representative democracies,having the power to legislate without a practical appeal to the Crown,and had no royal Governor or Agent within their borders.

It was their systems,which were the high water mark to which the desires and claims of other colonies gradually approached.Massachusetts,and the proprietary colonies were very nearly on a level with them,and the royal or proprietary governors veto power was rather an annoyance than a fundamental difference.

In all the colonies,representative governments had forced, their way and had fairly early taken a bicameral shapes IE the division of a legislative body into two chambers(a Senate and a House). In the Charter colonies,and Massachusetts,the Lower House was chosen by the towns,and the Upper House from the people at large,and the two Houses made up the Assembly.

In Pennsylvania,and Delaware,there were but only one House. In the Royal Colonies and in Maryland,the Lower House alone was elected by the people.The Upper House,or Council was chosen by the Crown,through the Governor. And the ascent of all three elements was essential for legislation.In the final revolution,the Charter Colonies did not change their governments at all,they already had what they wanted.The Revolution was consummated in the other colonies by the assumption of power by the Lower or popular houses usually known as,”Assembly”.The Governor or Counsel,or both,being ousted.A marked and important distinction is in the local organizations of the northern and southern colonies, all the southern colonies(later states),had begun as proprietary governments, settlers went there as individuals connected ONLY with the colony,to the individual the Colony, was the greatest political factory,his true new identity. His other connection was,his local church,related to the sect of Christianity which he followed, and they being numerous as will be elucidated.

The religion,thus played a dominant role in these colonies in those days,which eventually shaped them in later entities called states.Ethnicity too,was another factor in the making of these early states of USA.

The Dutch meanwhile,had created,in the central regions of both charter companies IE London and Plymouth Companies,a system of,”Patroon ships”,to understand the concept of this Dutch System one has to travel back in the Roman Times but briefly here,it was THE old patron and client relationship.The patron was technically here in USA in these states the First of the Equals,amongst the Dutch Colonists.The client was the New Colonists. It was the duty of the patron to provide his client with the necessities of life and it was the common practice to make him a grant of a small plot of land to cultivate on his own account,further,he(patron),advised him in all his affairs He also represented,in any transactions with the third parties,in which the New Colonists took part.The New Colonist,had to render to his patron,the respect and obedience due by a dependent,but,also when he was in a position to do so and the circumstances of the patron required it,to render him ,monetary assistance also.As the time advanced,the New Colonists amassed wealth,so now they,contributed towards the dowries of a patron’s daughter and also paid fines imposed on the patron by a competent authority,and also towards his(patron’s)maintenance when he had become reduced to poverty.The patron and the colonist were alike hereditary relationships.The traces of this system still exists as can be seen in the actual inner workings of certain classes in USA,the Mafia being the factor discussed. Such were the laws of the patroon ship fraternity prevalent in the central states in the Dutch regions of early USA.

In the religious matters, the colonies and later states were divided being protestants,Mormons,Quakers,Baptists,Methodists,Presbyterian,Episcopals and roman catholics.The Baptists were further divided into northern and southern churches.

The immigration factor which created these later states were the heterogeneous flow from Europe.The educational aspect was also fairly well covered,Harvard College in Massachusetts was founded in 1636,William and Mary College,in Virginia in 1692,Yale College in Connecticut in 1700,Princeton College in New Jersey in 1746,Pennsylvania University in 1749 and King’s now Columbia College,in New york in 1754.

Amongst the causes of revolt against the English Crown,were the other restrictive laws also,imposed on the colonies,in 1699,on the complaint of English manufacturers,that the colonists were cutting them out of their foreign wool markets,the British Parliament enacted that no wool or woolen manufactures could be shipped from any of the colonies under the penalty of forfeiture of ship and cargo. The English manufacturers ruled supreme in Britain and at intervals,”The Board of Trade and Plantations” especially tailor made by the British traders having been created in 1696,saw to it. The Board, from time to time heard the complaints of English manufacturers and traders and framed remedial bills for the British Parliament,the home of democracy,the West minister type of Democracy which we so often quote,and this august assembly,saw to it,that,the bills were passed!The so often quoted,man, MR Pitt ,the famous Prime Minister of England saw to it,as late as 1766, as from 1718 onward in the colonies the manufacture of iron goods ,was alarming to the businessmen of British Islands. So Mr Pitt, asserted the right and duty of Parliament to,”bind the trade and confine the manufactures” of the colonies,and to do all but tax them without representation.

Earlier too, in 1719, the British Parliament passed it’s first prohibition of iron manufactures in the colonies, and in 1750,it also forbade under penalties the maintaining of iron mills,stilling or rolling mills,plate-forges and Stella furnaces in the colonies.Where it suited the British provisos, were made .To quote an example,as it suited the traders and manufacturers of Britain,it allowed the import of American bar-iron into England as it was cheaper and better than the Swedish.

Silly acts and parliamentary laws were passed by British Parliament,to quote only one,in 1731,the Parliament had forbidden the manufacture or exportation of,”HATS”,in or from the colonies,even their transportation from one colony to the other.

The purpose of highlighting all these aspects of early American History,though as yet not fully covered is to enlighten the reader,that the British always drafted laws with ulterior motives.We have to question and check the veracity of these laws and study the past Acts of the British in their various colonies. The Act of 1935 is no exception as will be explained in my subsequent article.
(to be continued)

Act of 1935 PART II


naveed-picBy Naveed Tajammal

With reference to Pakistan, being termed as a Federation, as per Government of India Act 1935 of British India, an Act, tailor made for the British as per their own geopolitical requirements in relation, to an empire where the sun never set, or the rule of the Union Jack. We as a nation, have to see our past and not the past which the British created and thrust upon us, in the form of various geographic entities, as seen now. A result of British Imperialist, Forward Policies, spanning the whole of 19th century, when the British had started their annexations in our Indus Basin in pursuance  of,their own interest,to check the emerging threats of various pivotal powers of the 19th and early 20th century.

As the British finally left, the lid of the proverbial, Pandora’s box was also left open, but this particular Pandora’s box was filled with demons created by the British and their identities established, as per the job requirements, having rewritten our records, and having given us a spin of ,a, “lattoo”, they departed! Yet we labour, learning a script alien to us, a language alien to us, and for to write to express ourselves, we resort to a form of writing, not even remotely associated with us,a result of a little over a hundred years of despotic rule on us. Our indigenous educational system was destroyed, a generation gap created in the 19th century, as well as 20th century by introduction of this English Language. With it’s literature, based on alien cultures and histories tailor made for certain needs, now established, as dogmas.

In a hundred years, come three generations, add another 60 years, you end up with five generations. Then try taking on to yourself to seek the truth, wrapped in a bundle of lies, the unwrapping takes it’s own time, but, if the intentions are honorable and the manner sincere, you can even today hit the bull’s eye, and undo the damage which our old masters have done.

Of the former, two major British colonies in North America and Australia, both later became federations, we have to see the root of their creations and the races which decided to cross the stormy Atlantic Ocean fleeing prosecution of religious nature in their original abodes, and a feudal system despotic in all aspects of life, yet portrayed on us as the most harmless one. Taking USA as a case study of the original, thirteen colonies which formed the nucleus of a state, now called USA, the history is not very old, but of a recent past ,it’s independence almost coinciding with the, influx of Sikh inroads in our central regions, of the Indus Basin.. If we dwell in the past records we see that,. it was Newfoundland ,the most ancient of Britain’s colonial posses ion discovered by John Cabot in 1497. By 1504 fishermen of Normandy, Britannia and Basque provinces were engaged here, by 1517, forty sail ships of Portuguese, french and Spaniards were involved in the business of cod fishery . By 1578, four hundred vessels were engaged in fish business. But the British, had only fifty out of the total quoted. Sir Humphrey Gilbert with letters from Queen Elizabeth, landed at St John’s in 1583 and took possession of the country in the Queen’s name. But soon after, Gilbert, was drowned and the whole maneuver failed. The other nations mentioned however maintained their businesses in these lands.

In 1606, James I, of England formed two companies by a single charter. To one, the London Company he granted, the North American East Coast between 34 degree and 38 degree north, and to the other, the Plymouth Company, whose membership was in West of England, he granted the coast between 41 degree and 45 degree North latitude. The intervening coast between the latitudes 38 degree and 41 degree North or between Rappahannock and Hudson River, was to be common to both. The later colonists, had asked the Crown to declare that, their successor will be free persons and shall enjoy all liberties, franchises and immunities of free denizens, as enjoyed by all Born within the realm of England. The reason for this request was as quite a lot of these settlers were convicts being sent as penal settlers.

The London Company, first sent the shipload under Christopher Newport and it landed near a River on 13th May 1607, in the present State of Virginia, a town was built called, James Town named after the King. Soon other waves of colonists came persecuted by the English Church, others came to Plymouth(Massachusetts) in 1620. In 1632, came up the Colony of Maryland, the land given to Lord Baltimore. In 1663, the South of present State of Virginia was cut off and called, Carolina, later they became the States of North & South Carolina in 1729. And that of Georgia in 1732. Hence five distinct colonies became states out of the London Company’s grant ,the sixth was the Massachusetts by the Plymouth Company. Besides these, Connecticut was next(1662) and Rhode Island came after. The New Hampshire and the next to follow. The other four colonies and later states were between the London and Plymouth Companies.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards had taken over the South of North America and the French moved to it’s North. The reason being the religious differences with the Spaniards. Besides these nations, the Dutch also came in 1609, they had sent Henry Hudson an Englishman, to explore the central region of grant of James First. The Dutch had set up a trading post at,”Manhadoes”(the present city of New York)and a government under the Dutch West India Company was organized, here in 1621, named New Nether land and the town at the mouth of Hudson River,”New Amsterdam”. The next nation was Sweden, who established a colony at Delaware Bay in 1638 but the Dutch took it over in 1655.

By the time of reformation in religious matters in England, the northern and southern English colonies had started looking at these in between colonies as an annoyance and danger. England and Holland went to war in 1664, the English won and took over New Amsterdam and the whole of the Dutch central region.The king of England, awarded this, to his brother, the Duke of York. So New Amsterdam became the State of New York. The Duke of York sold out a part of these lands to Berkley and Cartwright and thus, New Jersey was the result. In 1681, the Great Parallelogram, west of New Jersey was granted to a , Mr William Penn and this became Pennsylvania.Soon after, Mr Penn bought some more land from the Duke of York which became the State of Delaware. The Quakers, a sect of Christians, found refuge here. Soon after, every language of Europe could be found in the subsequent USA. The French, had moved to Mississippi by 1702, under D’iberville, New Orleans was thus founded as was the city of Mobile. The land between Mississippi and Saint Lawrence was then called New France, however by 1750, the British numbered a million and a quarter as opposed to the French who were only a hundred thousand in America then.

The struggle from England was started by these states, being rooted in, the Stamp Act of 1765 and the revenue which was to be raised for the Crown from it. Then came the Tea Tax of 1770, the Boston Port Act of 1774 and the Quebec Act of 1774, which effected the lands North of Ohio and east of Mississippi.

The nail in the cofin for the British was, the Quebec Act, the American puritans , resisted the establishment of the Church of England, a Roman Catholic System in their lands. So started the Independence Movement between 1775 -1788.

In 1776, surprisingly, the first flag of thirteen states, the stripes which represented the states had, also, however the crosses of St George and Saint Andrew on the blue ground in the corner which acknowledged the royal power. It was later in war,that, in 1777,the crosses were replaced by the stars.
(to be continued next week)

Act of India 1935 PART I

By Naveed Tajammalnaveed-pic

To better understand as to why we CANNOT be a Federation as defined in Government of India Act of 1935, which also continues in our Constitution(s), with reference to the geographic entity,which makes the Federation.

By virtue of the Treaty, granted and accepted, on 29th March 1849,and ratified by the Right Honourable The Governor General on the 5th of April 1849. Dulleep Singh, Tej Singh, Deena Nath, Bhai Nidan Singh, Fakir Nuruddin,Gundur Singh and sardar Lal Singh, had signed away the Sikh Kingdom of Ranjit Singh to the East India Company.This Treaty was counter signed by Dalhousie, Elliot and Lawerence. The terms granted to Maharaja Dulleep Singh by the East India Company, on their part was Henry Meirs Elliot Esq. Foreign secretary to the Government of India and Lieut-Colonel Sir Henery Montgommery Lawerence, resident, in virtue of full powers vested in them by the Right Honourable James, Earl of Dalhousie, the Governor General appointed by the East India Company.

The Sikh sarkar, Dulleep Singh and his  members above mentioned signed away the following aspects; shall resign for himself his heirs and his successors, all right ,title, and claim to the soverignity of the Sikh State, all the property of the State, of whatever description and wheresoever found, shall be confisticated to the East India Company,in a part payment of the debt due by the State of Lahore to the British Government, and of the expenses of the war. The gem called the Kohinoor which was taken from Shuja ul Mulk by Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharaja of the Lahore State to the Queen of England.

Dulleep Singh, was to recieve from the East India Company, for the support of himself, his relatives,and the servants of the State, a pension not, less than four and not exceeding five lakhs of the,”Company’s ruppees” per annum. That, Dulleep Singh was to be treated with respect and honour.He was to retain the title of a Maharaja, and he was to continue to recieve, during his life, such portions of the above named pension as may be alotted to himself personally,”provided he shall remain,obedient,to the British Government, and shall reside at such place as the Governor General of India may select”.

For any reader, seeking more on the Treaty,he is referred to,”Volume II,Treaties,Engagements and Sunnuds”. Compiled by C.U.Aitchison.Calcutta 1863. Technically, by this Treaty the Sikh State which was then composed of portions of Kabul Suba,Multan Suba and Lahore with the full Kashmir Suba of the Old Mughal Empire, which had lapsed to Nadir Shah in 1739 and later to Ahmed Shah Saddozai(Abdali) in 1747 on the assassination of Nadir Shah by some of his principal officers of his court who had learnt that their names were in the list of prescribed victims, it is recorded that Nadir Shah had informed one of his captains of guard of the Afghans that he entirely had lost the confidence of his household guards,and that he should the very next day,cease and imprison all officers of his guard. These men who had become aware of this,resolved to save themselves by assassination of Nadir Shah. The execution of the plot was committed to four persons among whom were Mohammad ali Khan Afsar and Saleh Beg,one of the captains of the guards,these men,taking advantage of their stations under the pretext of urgent business,rushed past the guards into the inner tents.The noise awoke Nadir Shah and he had slain two of them when a blow from Saleh Beg, deprived him of existence. Mal Colm, the author of,”History of Persia” has been quoted,in the footnotes of the book, a rework of Mal Colms, with editions of Mirza Hairat, compiled by Lieut-Colonel M.H.Court, 15 Bengal Cavalry.1888. According to Mal Colm ,”A persian manuscript in my possession relates an extraordinary and amusing ancedote of Nadir Shah,at this period, which shows how completely he understood the feelings of the most ignorant and wicked of his subjects. A native merchant travelling from Kabul,had been robbed in a plain near Nihshahpur(Iran)and so he carried his complaint to his soveriegn Nadir Shah.”Was there no one near,but the robbers?”Asked Nadir Shah,”None”was the short reply,”Were there stones or bushes,?”Asked Nadir Shah,”Yes,”Said the man,”There was one large solitary tree,under whose shade I was reposing when I was attacked”. Nadir Shah, on hearing this affected great fury and ordered two executioners to proceed instantly and flog the tree that had been described,every morning till it either restored the property that had been lost,or revealed the names of the thieves,by whom it had been taken. The mandate of a king of Persia was always a Law,that of Nadir Shah was considered as irrevocable as fate.The executioners proceeded and the tree had not suffered flagellation above a week,when all goods that had been stolen were found one morning,carefully deposited at the roots of the tree.The alarmed robbers who had heard of the extravagent cruelty that inflicted such blows upon an inanimate substance, trembled at the very thought of the horrible punishment that awaited them, if ever discovered.When the result was reported to Nadir Shah,he smiled and said,”I knew what the flogging of that tree would produce”.

So such a man like Nadir Shah had ruled over our lands for almost 8 years.In the records that relate to our past and its upheavels one also finds the mention of a Treaty signed between Shuja ul Mulk Saddozai a descendent of Ahmed Shah who on 12th March 1834 had entered into a treaty with Ranjit Singh by virtue of which he, disclaimed all titles on part of himself,his heirs ,successors and all the Saddozais to whatever territories lying on the either bank of River Indus that may have been possessed by Ranjit Singh viz Kashmir including its limits East,West,North and South together with Fort of Attock ,Chach,Hazara,Khabel,Amb with its dependencies on the left bank of River Indus and on the right bank,Peshawer with the Yousufzai territory,Khattaks,Hashtghar,Michni,Kohat and all places dependent upon Peshawer as far as the Khyber Pass,Bannu,the wazri territory,Daur,Tank,Garank,Kalabagh and Khushalghar,with their dependent districts Dera Ismael Khan and its dependencies together with Dera Ghazi Khan,Kot Mithan and their dependent territory,Sanghar,Harrald-Dajal,Hajipur,Rajanpur as well as Mankara with it’s districts and the whole of Multan Subah situated on left bank of Indus. The treaty had fifteen clauses,all binding on shuha’ul mulk,which also included sending to Ranjit Singh annually fifty five high bred horses ,eleven persian scimitars, seven persian poniards, twenty five good mules,fruits dry and fresh by the way of the Kabul River as well as pieces of Satin,Choghas of fur,persian carpets,kimkhabs wrought with gold and silver altogether numbering 101 pieces.

Regarding Shikarpur as per treaty quoted the territory of Sindh lying on the right bank of Indus Shuja ul Mulk was to abide by whatever may be settled as the right and proper in confirmity with the happy relations of friendship subsisting between the British Government and the Maharaja,through Captain Wade.

To conclude is there any, justification ,for us to continue with the clause of federation as enacted in the Act of 1935 and persisting in our Constitution(s).Pakistan was NEVER a land of federations,it has always been one state as defined by Arab geographers as Sindh wa Hindh.However for administrative purposes it can be divided on population basis in as many provinces as required.
The writer has over 30 years of investigative historical research experience.

Yemen: nemesis for Pakistan?

Cross Post from Pakistan Today published 7th April 2015

Yasmeen Aftab AliArticleYAA

Let me recount some facts here and some opinions. The concluding analysis will become self-evident. If Pakistan still acts the foolish clown, it will deserve to fall flat on its face and smash its nose.

Usually, Saudi Arab has dealt with ‘unsuitable governances’ through a remote control. Yemen is an exception. Houthis, controlling Northern Yemen are trained and equipped by the Hezbollah reportedly, have their strings pulled by Iran. Al-Monitor says, “Their biggest takeover was of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida and the shoreline toward the southwest coast of Saudi Arabia and the Ras Isa marine terminal. This takeover is of great strategic importance. For the first time, Iran has a foothold in the southern gate of the Red Sea, literally on the Bab El-Mandab Strait, which separates Asia from Africa. The western coast of Yemen is also adjacent to the western coast of Saudi Arabia, with all its strategic facilities, posing a double threat: to freedom of movement in the straits and to Saudi security.”(December 11, 2014) This scenario has pushed Israel towards Saudi Arab owing to the desire to curb Iranian action. Egypt supports Arab action owing to Bab el-Mandeb Straits that is seen as a threat to her economy. Is this really about a ‘bitter battle for the oil route at Bab El-Mandab’as claimed by Ahmed Mohamed Nasser Ahmed, a Yemeni political analyst and former member of Yemen’s National Issues and Transitional Justice Working Group at the National Dialogue Conference. (MintPress  April 2, 2015) The fact is that the masses are frustrated in Yemen. However, Lieutenant General (Retd) Talat Masud rightly points out, “Iran is backing the Houthis which are strong enough to overthrow the Yemen regime but do not enjoy enough support to rule the whole country. This, now, is the real challenge of the region, where foreign intervention, armed insurgencies or popular movements are capable of removing tyrants, but the vacuum that follows creates other monsters.” (April 1, 2015)

In the middle of this crisis came the breakthrough of Iran nuclear deal. This will lead eventually to more than $110 billion dollars a year in sanctions relief. This will not happen overnight. It may take months to happen. Iran’s reintroduction in oil markets and financial systems cannot be viewed with approval by Israel- yet another reason for pushing her in Saudi Arab’s camp over the Yemini issue.

This is a mess, anyway you look at it and Pakistan; owing to its closeness with Saudi Arab is right in the middle of this, like it or not. Hilary Synnott, in her book “Transforming Pakistan: Ways Out of Instability” traces the relationship between Saudi Arab and Pakistan way back to 1969 when pilots from Pakistan had piloted Saudi jets aimed at repulsing Yemeni  ingress in Saudi Arabia. Over time, closeness between both nations has deepened. Signing of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline was a smart move by former President Asif Ali Zardari in 2013 in an effort to bring some degree of balance in the relationship of Pakistan between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  In year, 2014 Saudi Arab lent a mammoth $1.5 billion to “shore up Pakistan’s foreign reserves.” Also 750 to 800 Pakistani servicemen are believed to be in Saudi Arabia but none were combat troops, a Pakistani official told Reuters.” (Al-Arabiya April 1, 2015)  Arif Rafiq in his piece in Foreign Policy reminds us, “Pakistan received a grant of $1.5 billion — described by the Pakistani finance minister as “gift” with no strings attached.” (April 1, 2015)

A statement that turned out to be fallacious as there is nothing as a free lunch in the world.

Pakistan Saudi Arab relationship notwithstanding, Pakistan must step back and view this situation emerging in Yemen with complete dispassion. “Pakistan shares a 565-mile-long border with Iran and relations between the two countries have long been rocky. If Iran starts to view Pakistan as an active adversary, it has many opportunities to cause trouble across the border that Sharif cannot afford.” (FP April 1, 2015) Can Pakistan afford active confrontation with Iran at this point in time or can Iran afford the same? The answer is no to both. However, should Pakistan be foolish enough to send its forces into Yemen this may prompt Iran to use the Afghanistan border to create instability within Pakistan’s borders.

In determining its position, Pakistan will do well to balance out the new relationship dynamics between Iran and USA that promises to lead to an increased convergence between Iran-US and India in the region. The regional dynamics are changing. Remaining neutral in this conflict will be next to impossible for Pakistan given the outlined relationship above and this is just the tip of the iceberg. It boils down to the question of not whether Pakistan will get embroiled but how.  Prime Minister Nawaz has called for a joint session of Parliament. (04 April 2015 SHAFAQNA PAKISTAN) In this joint session, the extent of Pakistan’s involvement will be discussed. Pakistan’s Parliament needs to understand that the Huothis are not attacking Saudi Arab. There is nothing on ground to indicate they have the ability to do so. Why then the furor that the Holy Places are under threat? General Mirza Aslam Beg former COAS Pakistan in his mailed article titled “Causes and Consequences of Yemen Conflict” states, “At the moment, the threat to Saudi Arabia, is real, which is mainly from within. The Saudi Wahabi dissidents, numbering over 10,000 are the second largest component of ISIS in Syria/Iraq. Their only mission is to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. The southern region of Saudi Arabia is also vulnerable to Yemeni militants. There is no military threat to Saudi Arabia as such, nor there is a threat to the House of God.”

Manzar Qureshi, a UK based analyst says, “With fast diminishing western and USA’s global dominance, economically, politically and militarily, the world has become multi- polar and it’s beyond US and western powers to keep a control. It’s about time to have a new charter which guarantees world peace, justice and development and do away with the colonial regimes that are used as instrument for the perpetuation of neo-colonialism.”

Pakistan must coordinate with the GCC countries and work towards diffusing the Yemini situation. Turkey having jumped into the fray may well be a part of the effort. Any other nation that can positively contribute towards settlement of the inflamed situation should be readily welcomed on board. Diplomatic support is the best support Pakistan can offer in light of a dangerous geopolitical situation and her own Shia-Sunni divided population. Pakistan must convince Iran to stop supporting Houthis in Yemen. There is one possible way to achieve this. To use Yemen as a bargaining chip vis a vis Syria. This may be difficult to achieve but not impossible. All stakeholders must be on board on this. If US and Iran can achieve a breakthrough in the nuclear talks, so can Saudi Arab and Iran on Yemen. The challenge for both countries will be to bring on board their hardliners. Tough but not impossible.

Let there be no doubts that any foolish and misguided decision by Pakistan to get involved militarily on Yemeni soil will have a severe backlash in the country against the government and even the Army. ‘The government will also face opposition on the issue from PPP, PTI, ANP, MQM, JUI-F and even JI. The question is already being asked if the prime minister can put the lives of Pakistani soldiers in jeopardy to repay favors done to him by Saudi royalty.’ (Editorial Pakistan Today MARCH 29, 2015)  The Parliament must deliberate keeping in view long-term interests. Pakistan’s interests.

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