Monthly Archives: November 2013

Prosecuting Musharraf: popcorn anyone?


_DSC0188Tighten your belts; hold on to the bag of popcorn and coffee you just got for yourself. The lights are about to be dimmed for the show to start. The story revolves around Article 6 under which Musharraf is to be tried. What? Get serious! You do not know what Article 6 is? I need to lay it out for you or you may not enjoy the picture to the full.
Article 6 Constitution of Pakistan 1973 reads as follows:
“High treason.—(1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
(2) Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.
(2A) An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.
(3) [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.”
You need to assimilate this; the case to be heard against him is for emergency rule in 2007. Plain and simple. You are confused? That’s OK. I’m confused too. Yes indeed; it seems we agree that Musharraf invoked emergency rule in 2007 from the position of Chief of Army Staff. So yes, it was not a Johnnie walking off the street, casually strolling onto a TV set and announcing that emergency rule is now in place. It was a man who came to power in 1999 through a coup. The 2007 declaration of emergency was not the first time the Constitution was abrogated by him. This then, is the question I now pose to you:
Since year 2007 was not the first time offence at abrogating or subverting or suspending or holding in abeyance the Constitution was committed by the same individual. This “right” to do so flow from his position he held then, in 2007. Therefore, how come he is being tried for the second offence and not the first one committed in 1999 when he installed his government in the first place? Had that step not been taken, he would never have been in the position to commit the second offence – no? Yes? No? Wait, wait hold on for a second, was not the coup of 1999 validated by the superior court and later given formal consent to by the parliament?
The charge will hold Musharraf alone in violation of the law, to the exception of any and all others involved and also named in the Declaration of Emergency. It also does not seek to hold accountable those entrusted within Musharraf’s government. But wait, Article 6 (2) states: “Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.” So if others supporting and abetting him are not charged and not made a part of the trial, is that kosher? I’m confused again. I can see so are you. Abetting is described as, “To encourage, incite, or set another on to commit a crime. This word is usually applied to aiding in the commission of a crime.” (Black’s Law Dictionary 1891-1991: Pg 5)
Here’s the twist in the story; PPP has asked the government to hold trial of Musharraf on treason charges for staging a military coup in 1999 and not 2007. Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah stated and I quote him, “The imposition of emergency on Nov 3, 2007 should be seen as a continuation of the 1999 coup.” (Published November, 20, 2013) A friend from the legal profession focused my attention to an interesting fact: if you have a copy of Constitution Of The Republic Of Pakistan by Justice Muhammad Munir, please open Volume 1, page 212, (PLD Publishers: 1996) it states the following, “The clause expressly provides that any subversion or abrogation of a Constitution since the 23rd day of March 1956 does not come within the prohibition against retrospective punishment…..The date 23rd March 1956 is significant. Its effect is to treat the 1956 Constitution as valid together with the manner in which it came to be enacted. Thus the series of the Federal Court Cases which resulted in the framing of the 1956 Constitution receives recognition of validity under the present Constitution”
If we can prosecute abrogation and/or subversion of the Constitution way back till 1956, why on earth did we not, ever? And it’s not just coup in 1999 by Musharraf that I’m talking about!  You look confused. It’s OK. So am I. The ‘Ouch Moment’ comes when we read that no superior court shall validate an act of High Treason explained in Article 6 above. Another ‘Ouch Moment’ when one reads that Parliament shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.” The government though has decided to draw from Supreme Court July 31, 2009 decision which held Musharraf alone responsible for implementation of emergency rule in November 2007. Since no specific punishment is laid out for committing an offence under Article 6, High Treason (Punishment Act 1973, LXVIII of 1973) was instituted. According to this anyone found guilty of subverting or abrogating the Constitution since the 23rd day of March 1956 or High Treason defined in Article 6 of the Constitution will earn a life imprisonment or punishment by death.
Another point of interest for the armchair warriors is the forthcoming retirement of the Honorable Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. What will be the new ‘body language’ of a Supreme Court after he retires ask people on social forums and discuss in their drawing rooms. Some think, sunk deep in their armchairs in the evening, a profound expression on their faces, which they hope is how an intellectual must wear; smoking a pipe, a Habana or a cigerrete; these armchair warriors argue back and forth if the ‘new man in’ will have a ‘softer’ approach. Let me tell our armchair warriors that law is not something that changes application with one man gone.  This smacks of indignity of law and cannot be acceptable. Law must be allowed to take its course, irrespective.
Before the lights dim and story plays itself out, here’s part of a mail sent by….let’s just go to the opinion shared within, “Constitutionally this case can’t cross the fundamental question of whether the exercise of discretionary power under the constitution to impose emergency in the country, be even considered treason…..” Another mail says, “It is nerve-wrecking to count the number of times the Constitution has been twisted and turned to suit the needs of the ‘powerful’, from both civilian and military backgrounds. That is sadly our reality.” Yet another writes; “I hope the process of justice starts once and for all. However this would take a person like Khomeini. In Pakistan the justice is always selective.” Many on Twitter express views that the timing of the charges is an effort to distract people from the real issues of the country like terrorism, power issues; cuts have been temporarily arrested owing to change in weather but will attack with vengeance once summer sets in again-and this is simply scratching the surface. Let me hurriedly add before someone jumps down my throat; I am all for punishment. My observation is …well you’ve read what it is!
So now I’ve said my piece, right in time too. Curtains are going up. Pass the popcorn please!

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.


Twitter: @yasmeen_9

This is a cross post from:


Iran-Persia: A historical perspective

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

Naveed PicNaveed Tajammal


Persia is the old official name of current state of Iran,The term- Iran was put forth by Reza Khan Pahalvi ,in 1935 for all official world wide & National  usage,Persia derived its old geographic name from ‘Persis’,that being the south-western part of the state,representing the old entity of, ‘Pars/Fars’.The interesting part is that,this is the name by which the Ionians [Greek] referred to this state,in their records.So this Greek term over the Time had become dominant in the Western Literature,as well in usage by its old enemy for itself that being the irony,hence was its old capital called by them as ‘Persepolis’.The Sassani dynasty[3rd century AD] emerged from this region as well,and had made ”Istakhar’ on the Pulwar River,about 9 miles ahead of old Persepolis their first Capital,which later,was shifted to the old Ashkani [Arsacid] caiptal i.e Ctesiphon,or the ‘Madian of the Arabs.After the fall of the Sassani Empire the entity of Persia ceases,as the Caliphate takes over,followed by other Entities,last being the Turkish Ak Qoyun’lu and the Kara Qoyun’lu,the Sunni Oghuzz turks.
The revival of Persia started with inception of the Safavid state under Shah Ismail l in the 16th Century,and with it comes the first Shia State[ isolated odd small entities like Zaydis on the Caspian sea coast or the Buyids, never did achieve any political power as such], based on the Ja’fari version of Shia’ism,as the official state religion,and it was through forced conversions that it became one,as the earlier states had been always been of the Sunni Sect within Islam,in the regions which later became Safavid Shia State.
In the Rise and survival of this state a lot of factors were involved,The Western & North Western Christian states and the ever manipulative Vatican  had its role,and so they played the Sunni-Shia Schismatic Card to the hilt,After the fall of Christian Fortress of Constantinople in 1453,and failure of earlier 9 Crusades,this was a Golden Chance for the Christians to engage the Turk on its Eastern Frontiers,Though the Ottoman Turks had their own reasons to have earlier,left, a buffer region between themselves and the rising Uzbegs forces across the Oxus [Ammu darya], the earlier invasion of Amir Timur had delayed their Conquest of Constantinople,which  Bayazid defeated by Timur was about to start.The Christians had succeeded in ending the Muslim rule in Spain after the Fall of Granada in 1492.The intensive Intrigues of European courts under threat from Ottomans,ensured that hostility between the new Shia state and the Sunni Ottomans continue,which is seen reflected,in the report given to The Christian Holy Roman Emperor ‘Ferdinand'[1503-1564] by his ambassador i.e Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, at the Sublime porte [Ottoman Court],in the following words ,” It is only the Persian who stands between us & ruin’ and ”The Turk would fain [gladly/willingly] be upon us,but,he [Tamasp] keeps him back’.
The change of state religion in Persia changed the whole state approach to the common man,Earlier when the Turkish rulers when awarding the ‘Iqta’ [land assignment] or appointing officials to various offices in their state directed the awardee to treat the subjects well,because they were a charge given onto him by the will of Allah ; In the new Safavid state the subjects were directed to pray for the well being of the ruler,Not because he,being by nature sinful,was in need of their prayers,but,because their function as citizens was no longer primarily to worship God,but,to glorify the ruler-The whole emphasis on the outlook changed with the rise of Safavids-The ruler thus became the central figure to the exclusion of all else”.[Ref : Landlord & Peasant in Persia-page 105 note 2,by Ann K.S.Lambton,edition of 1991].So emerged the theory of Divine right in Persia,under Safavids.This change is one of causes why province after province,of Safavid- Persia, would fall to the new invasion from the north or west.
The British not to be left back during the rule of Shah Abbass [1571-1628] knowing the weak state of affairs in Persia,due to discords within its state caused by internal Tribal wars being fought by the Qizilibashi Turks who were the main fighting arm of the Safavids,and the ever looming threat of the Ottomans,and Uzbegs of the north,beside the tug of war over Qandhar between Mughals and Safavids,took a Royal grant from the king of Persia,who also made all possible efforts to establish alliances with Christian Monarchs for eventual destruction of the Turks [Ottomans].The Grant extracts,as given by king Abbass to British ,shows his mindset to please the British and the other Christian rulers to take a cue from it;
            ”’……Our absolute commandment,will,and pleasure is that our countries and dominions shall from this day be open to all Christian people and to their religion;….I do give this  Patent for all Christian merchants to repair & traffic in and through our dominions without disturbances or molestations……That none of any dignitary [state officials of Persia] shall have power to look unto neither Shall our Religious men,or whatsoever sort they be,dare disturb them [Christians] or speak in matters of their faith..”[Ref : Treaties- British Government .C.U.Atichison,Vol-vii,1865,pages -87/88].
With this Grant to British came the long winded whine of Shah Abbass,for a request to the British to maintain, Two Men of War [Battle ships] to defend the Persian ports on the Gulf coast,subsequent to this the English,French & the Dutch established their factories at Gombroon [Bandar Abbass],though the Portuguese much earlier under Al Buquerque [1453-1515] in 1507 conquered had occupied the island of Hormuz.
The death of Shah Abbass in 1628 was followed by a rapid fall of the Safavid dynasty ,four weak rulers followed each other,during this period the Turks had taken over all of its western provinces,The Arab ruler of Muscat took over the gulf islands,under tact British approval,Abdali’s took over Herat and the Ghilijies of Qandhar [later Ghilzia’s] took over Ispahan the capital of Persia,though it was a short lived affair as it lasted till 1730 AD.Shah Hussain’ Safavid had handed over his Crown to the Ghilijies,however his son Tammasp made feeble efforts to recover the crown by seeking aid from the Czar of Russia,and further ceded all Persian possessions on the Caspian Sea Coast.
It was Nadir Shah who can be credited for reviving the Old Name of Persia- only,it is pertinent to note that he also revived the Sunni Faith,in Persia.His conquests in East and elsewhere speak of his Iron fisted control though again short-lived as he was assassinated in 1747 AD,Persia once again fell in decay,Ahmad Khan Abdali, The Captain of the Royal Guard sacked the royal treasury and bought himself kingship in Qandhar and took over the Eastern Empire of Nadir Shah,while the South and west went to Karim Khan Zand,the Zand rule ended in 1795,and Agha Muhammad Qajar took the Crown of Persia,with the start of 19th Century-Persia, what was left of it,came under the threat of Russia,in 1805 we see them marching onto Tehran,The Persian threw themselves for support to Napoleon of France,The Wise British played Wait & Watch game,and used the diplomatic tactics by sending Sir John Malcolm to Tehran,and by the 25th treaty which was signed in march 1809-The British annulled the previous all treaties with Persia,however a some what final agreement over the next course of actions between both States is seen in Treaty number 27 concluded in 1814.Persia meanwhile continued to suffer losses in territory to the Russians on the North,and the British looked the other way,Knowing fully well that the Conquest of Khurassan [later Afghanistan] was the ultimate dream of a strong Persia under the Qajars,Keeping all this in view,the British on 25th Jan 1853 entered in their 35th Treaty with Persia-however soon after the fear of British emerged as Persian troops entered Herat,and badly treated the British Mission at Shiraz,as the Quarrel remained unsettled the British Declared war on Persia on 1st November 1856,and occupied the Kharrack Island in the Gulf…
[to be continued]


Will Pakistan own FATA?


_DSC0188A semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, bordering Pakistan’s provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to the east and south, and Afghanistan’s provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Khost and Paktika to the west and north, FATA comprise seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, and are directly governed by Pakistan’s federal government through a special set of laws called the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR).The Regulations were initiated in 1901 by the British, to counter Pakhtun opposition to British rule and to safeguard British interests in the area. Frontier Crimes Regulation; a body of law based on six chapters, 64 sections three schedules governs Fata, a British-era colonial Act that empowers a political agent to take all actions on behalf of the Pakistan government. The Regulations underwent amendments on August 27, 2011 vide an Executive Order of the President of Pakistan. The mentionable amendment in the Regulations is that the individuals may file an appeal with the Commissioner within 30 days against a decision or with the FATA Tribunal within ninety days for a review. Unfortunately the structure of the 1901 Regulations remained more or less the same ie having a FATA Tribunal, Commissioner and Additional Commissioner, Political Agent or district Co-ordination Officer, Assistant Political Agent, Quami Jirga ( elders Jirga) and the Council of Elders (giving decisions according to local customs).
The concept of Quami Jirga too, was part of the 2011 amendments that includes tribal elders well respected in the area. However, the judicial authority of the Political Agent is not transferred to the Quami Jirga but simply states he listens to their recommendations on case to case basis. Ultimate judicial decision rests with him. There is no legal binding upon him to go by the advice of this Jirga. Commissioners, additional Commissioners Political Agents and Assistants to these agents all have jurisdiction over FATA exercising executive and judicial powers. No formal judicial system exists in FATA. Since the officials responsible for acting as judges run the day-to-day administration of an agency, there is a serious possibility of existence of a conflict of interest. No doubt, amendments of 2011 have given, for the first time in over a century, the political and legal right to the people of FATA, to challenge a decision taken however, a long road must be travelled to bring the laws to a level so they are at par with the rest of Pakistan.
On June 25th 2013, on the front page of The Nation an advertisement was placed by the FATA Grand Assembly Peshawar titled as “FATA Declaration”. This advertisement, by the tribal elders, religious clerics, political and social activists, students, women activists, lawyers, journalists, teachers and other citizens from FATA claiming to have come together from all seven agencies had adopted the Declaration. The demands in the Declaration are heart rendering. What we as citizens of Pakistan take for granted as our right, the citizens of FATA have been denied since 1947. I discuss here as many requested changes as possible.
The Constitution of Pakistan 1973 assures all its citizens the Fundamental Rights including right to fair trial, right to freedom of speech, right to access to information, liberty, dignity, equal protection under law, privacy of the home, so on and so forth. Similarly laws cannot be made that ignore the principle of double jeopardy, detention without legal counsel, retrospective punishment etc. The Declaration beseeches that these fundamental rights must be ensured for the people of FATA. (Article 247 of the constitution of Pakistan grants a special status to FATA, whereby no act of Parliament or the jurisdiction of the High /Supreme Judiciary is extendable to the region.)
Separation of Judiciary with the Executive as another request makes imminent sense as opposed to the de facto judges running also, the daily administration in FATA. The separation of powers in a democracy is to prevent abuse of power and to safeguard freedom for all. Interconnected is the demand that the jurisdiction of the High Court and the Supreme Court may be extended to FATA. This division of tasks ensures institutions as a check and balance thereby strengthening democracy and ensuring better justice in the society. The doctrine is associated with the French philosopher Montesquieu, and the clearest example of this is found in the American Constitution where the legislative power of the federation is vested in a Congress, the executive power is vested in the President, and the judicial power in the Supreme Court. Thomas Jefferson states, “The first principle of a good government is certainly a distribution of its powers into executive, judiciary, and legislative, and a subdivision of the latter into two or three branches.” ( Stated to John Adams, 1787. ME 6:321)
Setting up educational institutions, vocational training centers, separate universities for men and women so that both genders can avail of a good education and progress as an individual and a society is another priority outlined. “Make me the master of education, and I will undertake to change the world.” (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz) No positive changes can take place towards development, generally speaking without education.
Infra-structure development in a phase by phase basis is another justified demand of the Declaration. FATA a much ignored and backward area in Pakistan, it needs more educational institutions, better healthcare, more micro-investment and generally an improved quality of life for its people. A comprehensive development package to help bring prosperity and better job opportunities being another point incorporated. According to The Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad it was in 2006 that the Pakistan Government launched a programme to develop the tribal areas. The international agencies also showed interest in the project. The objectives of this Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) were multipronged; focusing on diversifying economic opportunities to make positive steps towards a general economic uplifting of the area. “The development targets were set forth by the SDP for 9 years – five years for actual development and 4 years for consolidation included taking the literacy rate to 34% and primary enrolment to 40%. The financial outlay for Sustainable Development Plan was estimated at 2.46 billion dollars. Of this, the government of Pakistan was to provide one billion dollars over the next five years in the form of an annual budget. It was expected that the donor countries would pay the rest of the money. While the donors including the US itself initially did pledge help, very little has materialized so far and the SDP stands stranded for now.”(The Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad)
Press and Publications Ordinance and PEMRA Ordinance too are demanded to be extended to FATA. Women seats from tribal belt reserved in National Assembly and Senate, substantial amendment or annulment of FCR to recognize the Fundamental Rights of people of FATA, local governments to be established under FATA Local Government Regulation 2002……the list includes many valid demands, a right of every citizen of Pakistan.
Comprising of seven agencies of Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan; and six frontier regions (FRs) of DI khan, Tank, Lukki, Bannu, Kohat, and Peshawar- FATA continues to be a legacy of the system established by pre-partition British India. Why has FATA, a peaceful area pre 9/11 about which Pakistanis living elsewhere themselves and the international comity of nations knew little, not been integrated within Pakistan extending the writ of the State to the seven agencies as applicable in the rest of Pakistan?
Little has transpired to change the socio-politico landscape of FATA. No major initiative for the development of FATA was taken in 1980’s and in 1990’s except the introduction of adult franchise in 1997. This was not supported by extension of Political Parties Act to FATA, as a result; the impact was less significant in general uplift of the tribesmen.
Postscript: Pakistan needs to own FATA! The question is: when will it do so?

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.


Plan B for terrorism strategy?


_DSC0188Dr Gareth Porter, an independent investigative journalist and historian who specializes in U.S. national security policy in his latest piece on killing of Hakimullah Mehsud writes, “Three different Taliban commanders told Reuters Nov. 3 they had been preparing for the talks but after the killing of Mehsud, they now felt betrayed and vowed a wave of revenge attacks.” Although he is of the opinion that Obama’s meeting with Sharif evidently occurred before the CIA went to Obama with specific intelligence about Mehsud, and proposed to carry out a strike to kill him. The reason according to Dr Porter is that the CIA had an institutional grudge to settle with Mehsud after he had circulated a video with Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the Jordanian suicide bomber who had talked the CIA into inviting him to its compound at Camp Chapman in Khost province, where he killed seven CIA officials and contractors on Dec. 30, 2009. It is a recorded fact that CIA had already carried out at least two drone strikes aimed at killing Mehsud in January 2010 and January 2012.
It is also a foregone conclusion that appointment of the new Taliban Chief; Maulana Fazlullah of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Swat (TTS) will trigger a round of revenge killings. An opinion endorsed by Pakistan Taliban who have declared that they would orchestrate a wave of revenge attacks against the government after naming hardline commander Mullah Fazlullah as their new leader.(Published “The Nation” November 09, 2013) The news further stated, “We will target security forces, government installations, political leaders and police,” Asmatullah Shaheen, head of the Shura, told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location. He said the Taliban’s main target included army and government installations in Punjab, the political stronghold of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to another recent news report PPP leader Raza Rabbani has presented an 11 point plan to the PML-N government aimed to guide it out of the sticky patch the nation finds itself in, with relation to talks with the Taliban. He hit the nail on the head when he said that the first step government must take through its contacts if any, is to find out whether or not Taliban are ready for dialogue. Now Dr Porter in his article does state that three different Taliban commanders had confirmed to Reuters of their interest in holding peace talks with the Pakistan government – however, what is not known is their standing within the organization and whether or not they had the influence to sway the decision in favor of genuine talks. One factor being too many factions and splinter groups under the Taliban umbrella, some of which may or may not agree in favor of peace talks in the final analysis.
Hakimullah Mehsud himself was hardly a Dove of Peace. “Under his leadership, the Taliban targeted Pakistani soldiers and civilians, slaughtered Shia Muslims and almost derailed this year’s general election by selectively targeting liberal parties.” (The Guardian Monday 4 November 2013) The question is: did peace talks have a better chance with Hakimullah Mehsud? Has the peace talks derailed with him gone? The Taliban had declared that it would not negotiate with the government unless two preconditions were met; first army troops should pull out from the entire tribal area. Second, their prisoners should be released. To the best of the common man’s knowledge there has been no practical progress from point. Ideally, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan should have been made to come around to the view that these suggested points should form agenda for peace talks and not a pre-condition to it, to say the least. This on the face of it has not happened although Reuters state that Mehsud and his allies had been tentatively open to the concept of ceasefire talks with the government, but Fazlullah’s emergence as the new chief changes that picture. (Nov 7, 2013) The tentative desire was never reflected on ground in practical terms. Continuing terrorist attacks by TTP cannot be ignored, leading to martyrdom of many security forces members and civilians that went on unabated. What was also not reflected on ground was any practical step taken by the government to achieve the objective of peace talks- barring making media statements. If some claim that the drone that killed Mehsud also killed any chances of peace talks with it- the question they must then address is; the government has been in place since May 2013- nearly nine months, yet no progress has been made to address the existentialist issue. If Mehsud’s living may have changed the face of possible talks with time, why has then the government not formed a cogent policy on drones and discussed this proposal with Obama on the recent tour of PM Nawaz to USA assuming this was a thorn in the side of the talks? Pleas alone aimed at not to use drones as they increase waves of terrorism cannot replace a well thought out policy as an alternative.
The new TTP leader Maulvi Fazlullah nick named the “Mullah Radio” was born Fazal Hayat to Biladar Khan, a Pukhtun of Babukarkhel clan of the Yusufzai tribe of the Swat District where much later, he worked as an operator of a manual chairlift on the River Swat. He then joined the Jamia Mazahir-ul-Uloom — a religious seminary run by Maulana Sufi Mohammad. He married the daughter of Maulana Sufi. He has fought side by side the Taliban in Afghanistan with his father-in-law. Both were arrested by the Pakistani security forces. Maulana Sufi for 10 years whereas Maulvi Fazlullah got off lightly after 17 months and emerged as a popular Wahabi militant leader because of his activities in Swat. He reorganized the TNSM and raising a private army that he named as the “Shaheen Commando Force.” In the aftermath of the 2007 siege of Lal Masjid, Fazlullah’s forces and Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) formed an alliance. Fazlullah and his army henceforth reportedly received orders from Mehsud. (Al Jazeera Feb 13, 2009) Maulana Fazlullah started an illegal local FM channel in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat Valley in 2006. He also had set up Sharia Courts in Swat and is known to be a hard core Islamist.
Reports by a source point towards indications that there are deepening fissures within the ranks of Taliban that a sharp adversary can take advantage of. But then, a fumbling adversary may fail to do so. This brings me to the next question that needs some serious thinking by our lawmakers. With Taliban not willing to come to the table for talks, what is the Plan B? If there is a Plan B. Here we must take in consideration an important distinction. The difference between strategy and tactic; overlooked and often confused by many. The word strategy emerges from a Greek word that roughly translates into “general”. It may be defined as the plan to meet a goal or result and may include using various tactics. Whereas tactics may refer to a plan or procedure for promoting a desired end or result. The strategy answers the “what” part of the equation whereas tactics, on the other hand, are supposed to tell us “how we are supposed to reach the objectives.”A strategy may include two or more tactics to reach the goal. Therefore talking with Taliban aimed at achieving peace is one tactic out of many options. It is not the strategy itself. In military usage too there is a clear-cut distinction between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the utilization, during both peace and war, of all of a nation’s forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security or victory. Tactics is the military science that deals with securing objectives set by strategy, especially the technique of deploying and directing troops, ships, and aircraft in effective maneuvers against an enemy. The United States Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms defines the tactical level as:
“…The level of war at which battles and engagements are planned and executed to accomplish military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces. Activities at this level focus on the ordered arrangement and maneuver of combat elements in relation to each other and to the enemy to achieve combat objectives.”
Ihsanullah Ihsan, in an interview with Newsweek published after the murder of Hakimullah Mehsud categorically states that possibility of peace talks is zero; the chances are, in fact, below zero. He said “We will target security organizations and everyone who is part of this system wherever they are. If you are a part of this system [against the Taliban], then you, too, are our target.”
The strategy of War on Terror needs enduring structures, partnerships and a mix of tactics in order to defeat the threat of terrorism. The strategy is not and cannot be interchanged with one single ‘tactic’ that is talking to Taliban. Should that not come to a pass; the entire government comes to a grinding halt for want of another ‘tactic’. Not to be confused with strategy please! On principle I do not oppose peace talks unless they are on held from a position of respect and strength. Merely giving lip service to the possibility of the talks without anything positive emerging on ground from either side cannot be supported indefinitely.
I am reminded here of Sun Tzu; The Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.

Cross post from:

Follow their dreams!


_DSC0188Saira turned nine year old this year. She wants to go in the police. Fixing her eyes earnestly on my face, eyes that are too big for her thin, under nourished face, she tells me why she wants to join the police, “I will lock up all men who beat their wives and their little girls.” Her voice was resolute.Her tone dead serious.Saira has spent the nine years of her life watching her father beating up her mother. A woman who single handedly is bringing up their five daughters while he lived with his mistress. She has seen her mother landing up in hospital due to physical abuse meted out to her many a time when he has come for a visit. Her fault is that she has no extra money to give him at the end of the month when the meager funds dwindle to nothing, or refuses to have sex with him when demanded. Her father and his girlfriend both served time in jail during investigations for the murder of the latter’s husband. Her father has never contributed a penny to the household ever since the start of the affair. Saira’s mother is not aware whether her husband has married his girlfriend or not after being released from jail. She herself starts the day early in the morning, going from house to house cleaning and washing clothes. She works in the affluent area of DHA, Lahore. Saira and a younger sister go to a neighborhood school courtesy the kindness of one of the begums she works for, who pays for their education. Ayesha clearly wants a different fate for herself. She wants an education. She wants a career. In short, she wants a life!
According to experts, about 57 million children cannot go to primary school, while about one-third of girls worldwide are denied education. Unesco’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFAGMR) revealed Pakistan is in the bottom 10 countries, according to the proportion of poor girls who have never been in school. According to the report, only six African countries fare worse than Pakistan in this respect. It revealed 62% girls in Pakistan, aged between seven and 15, have never spent time in a classroom. This is compared to 30% in India and 9% in Bangladesh.
The report showed Pakistan was also in the bottom 10 countries ranked according to the time young women spend in school in their lifetime. It stated girls, between the ages of 17 and 22, on an average spend one year in school in Pakistan. Girls in India and Bangladesh, in comparison, spend 2.9 and 4.4 years in school on an average.” (Published November 10, 2012)
Besides the budgetary restrictions are the social issues that places a female on a lower scale than a male. Although Pakistan is a kaleidoscope of the old and the modern, the urban and the rural, a mixture of different value structures and different approaches to issues including gender issues – domestic violence, taking of decisions by the male member of the family to the exclusion of female opinion (generally speaking), preference to male siblings is a seemingly regular pattern. In the rural areas, restrictions placed on the women can be harsher than those placed on their counterparts in urban centers.This is particularly true of the lower income class. Opportunities for a formal education are limited. Girls are at best allowed to read the Quran in exclusion to anything else. A great deal of work is required to be done for gender equality in the field of education alone in Pakistan. In particular the northern areas of Pakistan have been afflicted by this approach after the incursion of Taliban influence. Lest we forget, Islam makes no distinction between men and women to acquire education, even if it means going to ‘China’.
An interesting report by Cynthia Lloyd, Cem Mete, and Monica Grant quote a 1995 research by  Warwick and Reimers suggesting that it was never the policy  of the government to provide equal educational access and that the Pakistani government followed a rough rule of thumb, building one girls’ primary school for every two boys’ primary schools inthe rural areas. Added to the existing societal and economic issues that are discouraging towards female education, are fears of militancy especially in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. In news published on July 21, 2012; Education department statistics reveal that a staggering 100 schools have been destroyed in Mohmand Agency alone. According to yet another report, “Dozens of schools, mostly for girls, have been blown up in the city while hundreds were destroyed in rest of the NWFP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) during the past few years. The number of destroyed schools in Swat alone is more than 200.” It echoes of Taliban approach against women in Afghanistan, where in a period of 3 months of capturing Kabul, they closed 63 schools that offered education to 103,000 girls.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education of a woman educates a generation. Would we want the coming generations to be brought up by a bunch of illiterate women? I think not.
We generally tend to look towards the government to fix all our problems. May that be arranging for electricity, dealing with terrorism and provision of other basic facilities for masses. However, we need introspection regarding our role as socially responsible citizens. We have an obligation to benefit the society at large. No doubt certain areas are best handled by the policymakers but there are some where citizens can play a positive role. Let the government do its part of the job. Let us do ours.
Here I would like to suggest an out-of-box solution to promote female education. It is not a novel idea and is followed by many kind souls. There are many who can afford to contribute to at least one female child’s education. This may cost around Rs 1500/- for admission and a monthly amount of Rs 500/- up to matric level. Another 500/- for miscellaneous cost. Not more than a thousand monthly at outside maximum. In terms of current inflation, this is a nominal amount. Higher education of course will cost more. One does not need to join organizations or go searching for a child to support educationally. Those living in urban areas, have live-in or visiting servants. They have children.The beautiful Sairas who may never have a life without your support. In the rural areas too, there are people who can hardly afford to have two square meals a day, any extra will likely go the male sibling not to the female offspring. For professional education of under- privileged girls two or more people can pool resources.
There is a Social Welfare Center in Township Lahore, a beautiful set of buildings, housing mentally challenged children, old citizens, orphans and last; women and children. In the category housing women and children; the off springs are all girls. The mothers are widowed, divorced or turned upon the world owing to varied circumstances without any resources to fend for themselves. Many of the girls here want to get an education but do not have the resources. The institution is run by the government and beautifully managed. However, it cannot help these girls become doctors and engineers and join other professions though some do go to attend primary and middle level government schools in the neighborhood.
Then there are corporations, multi-nationals and business set-ups that are committed to the welfare of the countries they operate in. This may be in one or different fields ie education, vocational training and promoting arts and crafts, so on and so forth. This goes beyond just a relationship between the sellers and the buyers to sell goods and make profits. This commitment reflects a desire to improve the lot of the people they sell their wares in. One such organization is the Fauji Fertilizer Company. It has invested in education which includes Sona Public School (MirpurMathelo), FFC Model and Grammar Schools (MirpurMathelo and Goth Machhi), Sona Computer Institute (SCI) and 14 FFC Adopted Government Primary Schools (MirpurMathelo and Goth Machhi).
Women continue to be subject of violence; writers keep on writing about it, activists continue to fight against it and media continues to report the injustices. The paradigm must change. As citizens of Pakistan we need to stand up for the Sairas of Pakistan. As corporations we need to exercise social responsibility and support the Sairas around us. And as groups of people we need to pool our resources to see more and more under privileged girls get an education. For them, it’s not just an education. It’s a new lease on life!
Birmingham Young, an American leader and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 until his death, rightly stated, ““You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”
As I looked into Saira’s eyes after her pronouncement on her career, her next question pierced my heart, “I can go to the Police Department can I not, if I study lots and lots?”

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

Cross Post from The Nation:

NSA: Europe unites against USA?


_DSC0188The latest revelations come amid anger and fury; allegations that United States had tapped the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and that NSA had also monitored the Brazilian and Mexican leaders’ communications according to a local report.
The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its “customer” departments, such as the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoring by the NSA. The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so(Published Guardian October 24, 2013)
European leaders have united in anger over the report. Herman Van Rompuy, European Council President, announced at a news conference that France and Germany were seeking bilateral talks with the US to resolve the dispute over “secret services” electronic spying by the end of this year. The report obtained by the Guardian dated 2006 suggest broad based surveillance of leaders from the world. The Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta told reporters. “It is not in the least bit conceivable that activity of this type could be acceptable.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that this expose has shattered trust in the Obama administration and undermined the crucial trans-Atlantic relationship. (Aljazeera October 25, 2013)
According to a report by David Kravets, the incident setting off the idea was of an ordinary purse snatching in 1976 in Baltimore. A young woman passed by walking alone to her suburban home had her purse snatched and the assailant fled with it. The assailant Michael Lee Smith was apprehended weeks later, the court case instituted against him continued for three years, leading to a 10 year prison term. “Almost 35 years later, the court’s decision — in a case involving the recording of a single individual’s phone records — turns out to be the basis for a legal rationale justifying governmental spying on virtually all Americans. Smith v. Maryland, as the case is titled, set the binding precedent for what we now call metadata surveillance. That, in turn, has recently been revealed to be the keystone of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of US telephone data, in which the government chronicles every phone call originating or terminating in the United States, all in the name of the war on terror.” (Published October 3, 2013)
This raises an interesting question though. The surveillance programme, concerns surveillance of persons within the United States who were in contact with “terrorists” during the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror.(David E. Sanger & John O’ Neil January 23, 2006) Senior officials at the security agency determines that there is a “reasonable belief” that one party to a call between someone in America and someone overseas has a link to Al Qaeda, inside or outside the US. In light of global terrorism incidents, this makes a lot of sense, in particular events leading to and onward 9/11. The tragic event that has changed the face of political relations between nations persuaded President George W. Bush to authorize the National Security Agency (NSA) to engage in a warrantless wiretapping program. However, what does not make sense is extending the “warrantless eavesdropping program” tipped by Bush as the “terrorist surveillance program” to encompass communication of leaders of the world and those obviously having no links or nexus with Al Qaeda or any terrorist outfit. Let us not forget that though Article 1 of United States Constitution vests broad based rights in the Congress to institute laws as it deems proper in the domestic arena it restricts its application on international level.
Germany has summoned the US Ambassador to answer to the wiretapping claim. Merkel complained to President Barack Obama in a phone call after receiving information her cellphone may have been monitored. The White House said the U.S. isn’t monitoring and won’t monitor Merkel’s communications — but didn’t address what might have happened in the past.
The implications here are frightening. It means no one, and absolutely no one, is safe from surveillance of a most intimate and/or professional nature.
The nature of the allegations leads to more questions.  What must be the guidelines NSA must follow in future so far as the warrantless eavesdropping program is concerned? Will this be shared with other nations? How can the nations be assured that such a blueprint is being followed through by those responsible for running the programme? How does one balance the right of the US government of surveillance if there is a “reasonable belief” that one party to a call between someone in America and someone overseas has a link to Al Qaeda, inside or outside the US as opposed to privacy rights? The key word here is “reasonable belief” that demands unambiguous contextual definition. These open questions need to be addressed.
The advance of technology has no doubt, allowed for surveillance in a world ridden with terror at levels not possible before. It has on the other hand raised serious ethical issues. The questions raised is not limited only to the legality of the procedure but on a more basic level; can an over exited government push the boundaries to a degree where any level of the loss of its citizens’ privacy becomes necessary? Where phones are wiretapped of international leaders violating the “reasonable belief” clause; some serious inquiry is called for. According to a report; Germany, France demand ‘no-spy’ agreement with US. However this too can be violated if clause of “reasonable belief” is-no?
To set the record straight, it was much earlier, on June 6, 2013 that Guardian reported that the National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April. “The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.” According to details the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19. The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861.
Relations between nations are built on trust, mutual respect and if lacking drives a wedge between the best of them. The world has come a long way. These allegations are a far cry from the days of Watergate which included testimony provided by former staff members in an investigation conducted by the Senate Watergate Committee, revealing that President Nixon had a tape-recording system in his offices and he had recorded many conversations. He resigned.
Charles de Gaulle summed up international relations beautifully, “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.”

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.

Cross Post from The Nation:


Pak-US relations in perspective


3 (1 of 1)My PicA relationship spanning over 65 years, both partners have sustained it, sometimes happily, other times not so happily. Many in the U.S. government and quite a number of independent analysts continue to express the view that U.S. strategic interests are inextricably linked with a stable Pakistan that can effectively implement the government’s writ to all of its territory and assist the United States with efforts to stabilize Afghanistan thereby contribute to the stability in the region.
For America, on a deadline to move her combat forces out of Afghanistan, this is a crucial point. So much so, that according to a local report, “A diplomatic source revealed that Washington intended to shape its future relationship with Islamabad on the basis of latter’s approach towards Afghanistan, India and the region as a whole, in addition to its commitment to fighting terrorism at home.” (Published October 16, 2013) Whether or not America will be moving out is a debatable issue. Those opposing Pakistan have pointed out that Pakistan is a fragile state, ridden with deeply entrenched problems including life-threatening terrorism issues, dependence on foreign donors to keep the economy afloat, (Of the $5.1 billion in total aid committed for Pakistan in 2010, about 24% was from multilateral agencies and 76% from bilateral sources: US being the largest bilateral donor) corruption hurting rates of both domestic and foreign investments and lack of transparency leading to a lack of accountability to state a few. US has tried to work its way around the problem of aid filtering to the grass root levels by channeling more money directly to Pakistani officials and local groups while scaling back use of US aid contractors. (USA Today, October 2, 2009)
Energy shortage is one of the most bitingly crucial factor hurting the Pakistan economy. America had released a relief of much needed $16.5 million for the repairs of power grid. In mid-2012, Congress released $280 million in new assistance for Pakistan’s energy sector; these funds were to provide support for projects at Mangla and KurramTangi. (DAWN March 5, 2013) FATA a much ignored and backward area in Pakistan needs more educational institutions, better healthcare, more micro-investment and generally an improved quality of life for its people. “A senior USAID official estimated that, for FY2001-FY2007, about 6% of U.S. economic aid to Pakistan was allocated for projects in the FATA.” (Report: Susan B. Epstein&K. Alan Kronstadt July 1, 2013)
President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously called Pakistan America’s “most allied ally in Asia. ”Lest we forget, it was Pakistan which allowed USA the use of Badaber air-base against the Soviets from 1958 onwards. Yet, America’s aid has fluctuated to Pakistan in line with its foreign policy. To quote one example only; after the Soviet Army withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 President George H. W. Bush suspended aid to Pakistan in 1990 because of its nuclear activities. “Unpredictability of U.S. aid has contributed to Pakistan’s view that the United States is an unreliable partner. That view may play a role in Pakistan’s level of cooperation with the United States on various national security issues while keeping its options open with U.S. competitors, such as China. The Pakistani Prime Minister’s May 2011 state visit to Beijing was viewed by many as an implicit response to a recent deterioration in U.S.-Pakistan ties.” (Published Associated Press, May 16, 2011) Post 9/11 era gave a new lease to the relationship with particular focus on security cooperation. US aid to Pakistan was restored resulting in Pakistan spearheading US anti-terror campaign. Pakistan became a pivotal ally to US in the war against terror.
American government does wonder why there is a feeling of anti-America in Pakistan in spite of all the aid. Very briefly stating, this too spans the period of relationship between the two nations, lack of US presence in the 1965 and 1971 wars Pakistan fought, unlike the all-out support given by USSR to India- also in terms of help to their ally ie $1 billion then, in military hardware aid within 2-3 months before the full escalation of war in East Pakistan. More recent incidents hurting Pakistan’s confidence in the relationship were of Raymond Davis and Dr Shakil Afridi, fueling anger and strengthening an opinion in Pakistanis, rightly or wrong, that US is a fair-weather friend.
From USA’s point of view, Pakistan’s nuclear capability in a steaming political landscape is a threat to her security though Pakistan herself sees it as exactly opposite. US would like to stay neutral on Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan whereas it is a fact that this issue cannot be resolved by the disputed parties alone. It was from 1951-53 that saw meetings between Pakistani and Indian counterparts at different high levels including the Prime Ministers about the Kashmir issue. Kashmir has been the cause of lingering postpartum pangs that have refused to go away. The post-op needs immediate attention if India and Pakistan are to behave as partners in regional stability and development. Issuing edicts for a desired action is not the answer.
In the backdrop of friendships diverging on some fronts and converging on others; confidences and misgivings; the forthcoming visit of PM Sharif to USA is extremely important. The baggage of the relationship PM Nawaz carries with him is a heavy one but counterbalanced with this is the legitimacy of his government. A quality lacked by many of his predecessors who strengthened themselves at the cost of institutions.
As a super power America has much to offer in form of expanded economic ties. PM Nawaz must expand the space of discussion to include trade cooperation and investment options besides security issues. It will be a tight rope PM Nawaz will be walking on. A robust economy relies on conducive atmosphere not one riddled with security hazards, suicide bombings and terrorists running amok. US will be within its rights to be concerned about the security hazards. American concern will also be valid about not having much to show for civilian project funds poured in Pakistan’s economy over the years. Pakistan’s prime minister is also expected to bring up the question of drone attacks within its air space. Once again, this is a double edged sword and drone strategy can be justified by Obama’s administration in light of the presence of terrorist safe havens operating on its soil. Osama bin Laden’s presence under Islamabad’s nose being a case in point.
Both the countries need introspection and an appreciation of the basic fact that on a lot of levels their interests may overlap and on others it may not. Both countries have an inherent right to look after their national interests. By the same token space must be given to allow the other partner to maneuver to watch out their own. Pakistan is a more vulnerable partner in the relationship, its economy is struggling and terrorism has increased manifold owing to its initial acceptance to be America’s regional watch-dog. Pakistan will be around after US combat forces leave the neighboring shores. The geopolitical scenario is a complex one. But one thing is obvious; both the countries need each other more than ever before, particularly in light of Afghanistan stability where Pakistan can play a positive role. With this one point in focus, both countries must move together and ahead to face the challenges posed.
Let us be reminded of Abraham Lincoln who said, “With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

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

This is a Cross Post:

Role of Vatican in Arab Nationalism

By Naveed Tajammal


To break the Ottoman Empire from within, the Vatican through its Jesuit Fathers, started their work in a low profile from 1625 onward, they were checked by the Ottomans and suppressed in 1773, but, before proceeding further we must have a glimpse as to who they were, a little before the Counter-Reformation was started by the Vatican to mend the split in the Western Church [1545-1563] to overcome the Protestants, a society of Jesus was formed, they were propagators trained in all possible arts of persuasion, these teachers were highly motivated men, they were put through a vigorous programme, their objective was to set up missionary schools at grass root levels, to stop the spread of ‘Protestantism’, and revive the communion with Vatican in Rome. It were these highly trained men who were sent to the Ottoman Empire under various modes.

Their aim was to start the Arab Nationalism, The Ottomans had within their Empire, out of Five old Episcopal See’s [Centers] Four centers of old Christianity namely; Alexandria, Constantinople, Antioch with Jerusalem, and the fifth was Rome. The break had come in the first instance when Western Church [Rome] broke off from the Eastern Church which was composed of the four centers, as found in the Ottoman Empire, mentioned above.

The break came about over the ‘Iconoclasm dispute’ [726-787] with [814-842 AD] The four See’s followed the Old Covenant, based on Ten Commandments, which forbid to make and worship images, The western church had over the last centuries taken in its fold all old European Pagan rites, to increase the orbit of its influence and earn more, and had challenged the Eastern Church on adhering to, the old beliefs, as according to Vatican the changing Times needed change in outlook, so there was a need to make images of Jesus and Mary, as well of old saints with to worship them, Eastern Church had resisted. These moves. on the grounds that it was a revision to old Paganism.

After 1773, when Ottoman administration had suppressed the Jesuit Fathers from their propagation within the empire, the Vatican started a new move via the ‘Lazarist Order’. and with the blessings of the French monarchs, they now started their aims anew by starting primary mission schools within the Turkish Empire, It was just not the Vatican alone in this endeavour, by early quarter of 19th century American Presbyterian’s, were also active in Beirut, along with, yet, again French backed Marionette with Melikte orders, in Syria and they too remained busy establishing their schools, The Maronite with Melkite Church were part of the Vatican ,as had become the Greek Catholics, the cause of split from the Eastern Church being that of Language, as they spoke and wrote in Arabic and Not in Greek.

People like Eli Smith [1801-1857] a American missionary teacher, who was a product of ‘Andover Newton Theological School’, which specialized in creating teachers like the Jesuit Fathers, Eli Smith was posted in Beirut along with EdwardSherif-Hussein of Makkah Robinson [1794-1863] a fellow American[who later became the Father of Palestinology or Biblical Archaeology],,it was Eli Smith who had brought the first Arabic type printing press, in these regions i.e. Beirut and Syria, so started a revival of Arabic Language through print media, and writing of Literature, along with it came translations of old Greek thought works, Scholars were hired to translate these works which, had a value as per their well laid down plans to change the mindset of younger generations, by first creating the element of doubt.

Butrus al-Bustani [1819-1883] is a major figure in the Arabic Renaissance, Brutus was a Maronite Christian from Chouf [Shouf] a district within the Governance of Mount Lebanon, though a Druze region ,but inhabited as well by the Maronite ,and the Greek Catholics. Earlier the Maronites had established a College at Ayen Warqa [1789 AD],it was here that Butrus was educated, and he along with Nasif al-Yazji [1847-1906],the father of Ibrahim al-Yazji, who later was the editor of Arabic Newspaper, and Magazines ,’Nagah, Tabib with Diya.

Meanwhile the American University at Beirut had been established in 1866, Butrus and Nasif, both worked very hard to spread the Arabic language, and new ideas were spread through their networks. The aim was to hit the Turk over the Linguistic issue. Nasif, was deeply associated with ‘Al-Nahda’ or ‘Awakening’ movement that started from Egypt, and which had spread to Beirut and Damascus. That was the doings of Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt, who had broken away from Ottoman Empire and had his own Axe to Grind.

The focus of all subsequent movements that would be explained in this article was to put in the minds of younger Arabic speaking Generations,  that Arabs must learn from the West and challenge the old rustic values of Islam. On this issue all Christian Churches were united in their efforts, and themselves remained in shadows. The bible of the new Arabic Grammar was the works of ‘Jirmanus Farhat [b.1670 AD], who was born in Allepo Syria, and received his earlier education from a Maronite school, ‘al-Kuttab al Maruni’, and later joined the Maronite College at Allepo, established by a Butrus al Tolawi with funds from West.

Farhat was ordained a Priest, and later became an Abbot in 1698, and in 1725, he was made the Archbishop of Allepo; he was a highly intelligent man and a dedicated worker for his cause. It was his Arabic Grammar [revised] that became the standard work in all writings, subsequently, even by the Al Nahda movement, Farhat drew his work from the Holy Christian Scriptures; substituting Bible for the Quran, and used Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry as the sources of his new Arabic Grammar. Farhat’s Arabic Grammar was re-published quite a few times in the 19th Century and was used as a standard text in all Lebanese and Syrian schools, as stated it was greatly appreciated and endorsed by Al Nahda movement writers like,al-Shidyaq-Malta,1836,Butrus al-Bustani-Beirut 1854,Sa’id al-Shartuni Beirut 1883, Abd Allah al Bustani-Ba’ahda 1900, and Salim Sadir Beirut 1914 AD.

Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century became a pawn in European Politics, because of her strategic position but with weakness. Even in the 19th century the empire was stretched from the Caspian sea, to the Adriatic Sea, and from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, including the Balkans and most of the North African Coastline. It had a central position situated as it was between the Asian and the European Continent.

The Age of European Imperialism was fast rising and the Ottomans held all the key routes, beside the fact that between 18th and 19th century the Empire had served as a Buffer state for the French, British and the Austrian Empires, against the designs of Russian empire. It was again the Vatican at its best when it sparked the Crimean War [1853-1856] which had started as a petty quarrel between the Vatican Jesuit Fathers and the Eastern Church over the custody of the Christian Holy places within the Ottoman Empire. The Turks in the weaker moments had given the French the right to protect the Vatican/Latin monks, and subsequently the Eastern Church had sought refuge under the Russians. The Crimean war was a pure Christian Schismatic war, fought between two churches and a Million soldiers died because of it.

The 19th Century saw a rise of specifically Arab Consciousness among Christian Arabic speakers as well as a segment of free thinking Muslim writers, primarily in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, which also saw the revolt of Colonel Ahmed Urabi [1879-1882] of Egypt.

In Egypt the most influential Arabic newspaper ‘Abu Naddara Zar’a’ was published by Yaqub Sanu [1839-1912], a Jew of Egyptian and Italian origins. It was Farhat’s Arabic Grammar which was used in the writings and not the old Classical Muslim era Arabic Grammar.

Secret Societies were founded first in Beirut, under different names, not to attract attention. In 1847, in Beirut we see one named as ‘Society of Arts with Sciences, Yazji, Bustani, Eli Smith with several other Americans were leading them; all were Christians. In 1857 emerges the, ”Syrian Scientific Society’, but here now we see that beside the Christian other minorities like Druze, Alwites with Ismailis joining them. By 1868 branches had spread all over the Empire even in Istanbul. They focused on lampoons and placards pasted on street walls, criticizing the Ottoman Administration, and demanding;

a] Restoration of Arabic Language.

b] Creation of an autonomous states of Syria with Lebanon [Egypt had already broken loose earlier under the Albanian, Muhammad Ali Pasha, another Champion of Arab cause.

c] Removal of censorship.

d] Recruitment of local military units/levies from Arabic speaking population.

Later when the Turks started hunting them down they all ran off to Egypt, and joined hands with British who had occupied Egypt after the revolt of Colonel Ahmed Urabi. Thereafter we see Cairo the hotbed of all secessionists; the British used them to destroy the Ottoman empire from within. In 1909 the Egyptians started yet another secret society, ‘al Muntada al Arabi’ with branches even in Iraq and other Arabic speaking regions of the Turkish Empire. Colonel Aziz al-Misri though not an Arab by any yardstick but being a Circassian [Cherkess/Crimean Tatar] who later organized yet two more Arab movements, Al-Qahtaniyya with Al Ahad, and later joined Shariff  Hussain of Mecca, who played a major role, for his own selfish motives,  in cahoots with T.E. Lawrence party. Yet another society was formed in France –Paris. In 1911,’al-Fatah’ from where it was shifted to Beirut, by 1913 they were putting forward demands for a Arab Home rule, in the same year the Arab Congress was invited by Al Fatah in Paris.

The British were perched all around the Turkish Empire, and like Vultures waiting to go and eat the Carcass of the Ottoman Empire. It was the outbreak of the First World War, and Turks joining the Germans that, the British made a declaration on 14 Oct 1914;

a] To Protect Grand Sharriff of Mecca.

b] Welcome and Patronize a Arab Caliphate.

c] Respect the rights and privileges due to the office of Grand Shariff of Mecca.

When the then Caliph of Muslims the Ottoman Sultan declared ‘Jihad’, the Shariff of Mecca perched on the shoulders of the British and countered it that it was not a ‘jihad’, thereby rendered the greatest service to the British Empire.

Cross post from :

Prelude To Indus Water Treaty Part -Part IV

By Naveed Tajammal Naveed Pic
A gross misconception exists in our well read elite that prior to the Advent of British Adventurers, with their Lethal network of canal systems, we had No canals or, that, Irrigation by Canals was a subject alien, to our indigenous population, and that had, the British Raj been not been kind to us, by introducing their canal system, we would never have had Karachi as a sea port nor a network of Railway lines criss crossing our landscape. To enlighten this class, and give brief insight to our past, and our irrigation methodology, we have to study our old systems.

It was the British need to introduce the Railways in our regions, it was the same Strategic ,administrative reasons that had led the Moghuls to focus on having a sound well maintained road link between Dehli and Kabul. And likewise the need to convert Karachi into a major sea port of the emerging British Empire, It was, for such reasons, that, ,The British had  began survey of Karachi as a port [1858] and a proposed railway line link till Kotri. and, a steam boat service to connect kotri with multan, by 1861 the First railway line had been opened to public joining Karachi with Kotri,105 miles long, the Lahore-Multan Line was opened in 1865,by 1876 the three railway bridges on Ravi-Chinab and Jhelum were ready, and the Lahore-Jhelum rail link opened to public, by 1878 the Link between Lodhran -pano akil was as well opened, During the 2nd Afghan war [1878-80] a need was felt to link the newly made Quetta Cantonment with the main Railway line network, and by 1887,the link had been established, by 1889 Karachi was connected by Rail with Peshawar. The point being the actual 9 canal colonies came later, with their network of irrigational canals.

Without this Irrigational network which was the greed of British to rake in the most, to feed their white hunger, or provide fibre for their ever hungry cotton mills, The problems of 1947 under review would have been much less, there would not have been any communal issues, The Hindu and Sikhs or others who came from East Punjab in quest of riches in our regions would not have come, The Muslim predominance would have been a clear divide in our award, Gurdaspur Muslim majority Tahsils as well of Amritsar would have automatically been ours, Kashmir issue would too not have, been there, as chinab river, would have been just another river flowing here, as it had in the past, The populations would have been much less all over, and, West Pakistan would have emerged with a population of hardly 20 million, with unlimited virgin lands awaiting wonders of modern technology minus Water-logging and salinity  the curses of British Canal system. The communal inter-mixture as was seen, after 1947, would not have been, the cause being the lure of the fertile lands of 9 canal colonies for which the Sikhs and Hindus did their utmost to retain by fair or foul means, as did their trading classes by bank rolling RSS thugs as well the Akal fauj Sikhs, and subsequent mayhem.

British take a undue credit for introducing canal networks in our region, should one take as an example, the case of Muzzafargarh district, though a new name, as earlier the whole region was controlled from Sitpur [1450’s onward], and the Nawabs were called ‘Nahar’s, their writ, was till Duki [now loralai, Balluchistan] and down to Kashmore, as River Indus, had joined Chenab till 1794,at Shehr Sultan. The time attributed to Most of the canals found in this District due to loss of records is, between early 18th century and early 19th century the rule of Dewan Sawan Mal, the, Sikh era, Governor of Suba e Multan. What most forget, is that our region was a agrarian belt since inception of Indus valley civilization, and various means of irrigation had been developed over the years, to irrigate the fields under cultivation, in regions where rivers did not flow ‘Karez system of inter-connected deep wells linked by underground channels was used. Water diviners [sar’ev’var/ Ab-sanaas/jal-khoji] were employed to locate the underground water channels.

Reverting to Muzzafargarh and its old canal network, All the canals were linked with either Indus or Chenab, A total of  ”155′ different canals, including the main canals as well the numerous branches, as tabulated, existed much before the British rule.

[i] The ‘Maggassan canal had been dug in 18th century or earlier, it had these branches; Chaudri, Nangni, Dhol, Sirmuni, Kesho, Ganda Bhubbar, Ganda Parhar, Raju, Karya Chaudri, Nabi wah, Sardar’wah, Karaya Muhammadpur, Karaya Gaman khan, Karaya Khanpur, Karaya sinawan, Karya Tej bhan, Muradwah, Nangnis kalan, Nangnis Khurd, Jan Muhammad, Pirwah, Hamza, chakar khan, Karya Khokhar, Karya Tibbi, Nizam, Nala Chuan and Ghulam’wah.

[ii] The Maggi canal network had Khudadad, kot’wah, karya kuhawar, haji ishaq, Bul e wali, Sultan Khar, Fazil kalru.

[iii] The Suk canal, had six  important branches, Jakhri’wah, Thal’wah, San’wah, Kalu’wah, Sardar Khurd and Ahmed’wah.[iv] Dinga canal had three important branches, Bhangar’wah, Sardar Kalan and Nang’wah.[v] Alli-Khalli, were two different canals, however later were merged in one main canal, it had four main branches, Alliwah, Khalliwah, Jhandau, and Dharkanwala.

[vi] Talhiri, had 10 branches, beside itself, Shaikh Takan mal, Rajwah Garbhi, Raj wah Sharqi, Haji wah, Khanwah, Ghazanfar wah, pirwah, Nangniwah, Khokhar wah, Nur wah.

[vii] Jhangawar canal had two main branches, Pirwah and Makhnau, [viii] Karam wah, had beside itself 5 main branches, Bighari, Fattu Fannakka, Massu’wah, Akbar’wah.

[ix] Ganesh wah, had 6 branches beside itself, Kraya, Waliwah, Khandar, Lunda, Jalalabad, Jagatpur.

[x] Kot sultan, irrigated the outer Daira Din panah, [xi] Garku canal beside itself had 13 branches, Hinjrai, Din mohammad, Radla  ,Mohanwah, Rajjbah, Riyatwah, Nngni, Khan chand, Fazil, Panjhathi, Mirwah and Utani.

[xii] Adil wah, had 9 different branches, Karya khokhar, Karya isa bhabe’wal, kraya rakh sarkari, karaya Dewalewala, makwal wala, menghwala, paunta malana, biluchan a wala and harpallo.

xiii] Ghuttu canal was made using a  creek of indus, earlier it was called, ‘Chitta, it had 22 different branches, Pir wah, Raj wah, kalanshah, Hammarwali, Darin,  Ba’hishti, Bakht’wah, Azim’wah, Rerhu, Fattu’mal, Mohri’wal, Karya Jannun, Tah’li’wala, Sardar wah, Chajra kass’i, Ahmad shah, Khandar, Karam, Muradpuri, Haji’wah, Harnam wah and Ghallu.

[xiv]] The Puran canal was a old bed of Indus, dug to make it a canal, later linked with Indus river,, it likewise had 24 different canals, which had been made over the Time, From Mughal to sikh era, as had been the case of other above mentioned, Nabi bakhsh shahwala, Shaikh kaure khan, Bhukhi, Turk wala, Sandila wala, Khanana, Namana, Kapre khas, Said wah, Pir wah, Pannu wah,  Matwani wali, Sultan wah, Raj wah, Bhagti, Kadra, Rakh wah, Baz wah, Ghauspur wah, Bhawal wah and Khan wah.

[xv]] Sohrab canal network had 3 different canal branches, Jogi wah, Mughal wah, Ratan wah, Suliaman wah.

[xvi] Suleman canal had three main branches, Khanwah and Wah’li, and Soharu canal had 7 branches, Khairpur, Mithan wali, Nabipur, Sultanpur, Lal’wah and Umar’wah.

With reference to our indigenous canals made much before British rule, Their management used to be by Irrigators ,assisted by local state officials, who took labour from the users of the water, for the maintenance of the canals and cleaning up of silt in the dry seasons. Before the British came there were no water charges, charged by the state. A system called ‘Chher’ was employed, Darogha’s and Mir’ab’s were the officials who managed the canal affairs, from the funds, ‘Zar i Nagha’. This fund was collected by fines imposed by those neglecting to give labour for maintenance of the canals, and other improvements needed from time to time, assessment of ‘Chher’ was based on water requirement of users in each canal branch, by taking in account the, total water usage of last three years, and so a average, was calculated, Sar panch were the representatives of the users, on each canal, and total land irrigated, by the branch was worked out in consultation with state officials and the patwari would than issue chits to each, to provide manpower /labour required those who failed to give it, were fined.

The Greedy British did not like this system, and wanted revenues from water usage too, so they evolved a system of water charges based upon water sources, Rates in this district varied, as the waters of Chenab were regarded superior to Indus, on account of rich fertilizing silt they carried.[i] well water termed Chahi’ had different rate, canal water was Nahri’, lift water was ‘Jhallar’, double lift water, was ‘Beghar’, and flow irrigated ‘Tukka’.The ‘Jhatta’ method of lift irrigation was, by using a bucket made of goat skin, lowered in river from the high bank, tied to two ropes, operated by two men, and emptied in the water channel, of the fields nearby. When the British came almost 76 % of total cultivable land of the district then was under cultivation, inclusive, that of 54,888 acres which were irrigated by wells, using cattle to rotate the wheel,,28,363 acres by creeks and water ponds ‘dhands’ [jhallars],only 124,255 acres of canal irrigated was based on flood water inundation canals which provided water for 7 months, rest of canals had access to waters of rivers all year round, as waters flowed free, no Dams had been constructed to stop the flow, nor had the major rivers been diverted to other regions. The steamer services by British or our indigenous river transportation system earlier to this even, carrying a tonnage of 200 tons, grains or other merchandise, run earlier to canal system introduced, are a testimony to high water even in winters which supplied water all year round, and water logging or salinity curses were not seen in our fair land.

Serious water logging/salinity was reported in our lower Chenab regions by 1908,the lower Chenab canal having come in operation just 16 years back in 1892.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.

[To be continued]

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