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Pakistan Press (03 Apr 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

My Utopia Died Three Years Ago: New Age Islam's Selection, 03 April 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

03 April 2017

My Utopia Died Three Years Ago

By Raza Rumi

Combating Terrorism

By Fawad Chaudhry

Walk the Talk

By Imtiaz Gul

Implications of Trump’s Politics

By Nyla Ali Khan

Women Literacy in Fata

By Salman Ali

‘Has The Time Come?’

By Raoof Hasan

Myth of 3 Million Killed, 200,000 Raped In 1971

By Dr Junaid Ahmed

What Happened To Liberal France?

By Scott Sayare

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


My Utopia Died Three Years Ago

By Raza Rumi


The Parliament has extended the military courts for another two years. Cited as a desperate measure in extraordinary times, there has been a widespread acceptance, almost a fait accompli situation when it comes to the militarisation of a vital public institution.  I have not written about these tribunals, the death penalty or, indeed, the way in which counterterrorism has been re-defined in the public imagination. I have not done so because for me — it is personal.

Three years ago, I was attacked by a group of men who were later identified by the police as members of violent extremist groups that are known for wreaking havoc. While I survived, a young man Mustafa — my companion — died in that attack. Another was seriously injured. In the absence of alternative sources of verification, one has no choice but to accept what the law enforcement agencies say. The trial of the men arrested in May 2014 continued in a civilian court until the formation of military courts the following January.

While the civilian court was hearing the case, the militant networks continued their tactics of intimidation and pressuring of Mustafa’s family. Handling this was the worst phase of my recent years. But it did educate me a little: these networks are strong and enjoy some measure of community support. Furthermore, over the last few decades they have embedded themselves into the very fabric of the Punjab. What we see today is the direct result of what support to militancy and non-state actors — for whatever higher and strategic reasons — does to a society. In the opaque and unaccountable realm of ‘law enforcement’, one is not even sure if those branded as ‘terrorists’ are actual terrorists?

Subsequently, my case along with many others was transferred to a military court. Within a year of in-camera proceedings, the men were sentenced and death penalty was awarded. The sentence has still to be executed due to the appeals that some of the families have made. Legal proceedings aside, this leads to another dilemma.

I am opposed to death penalty in principle. There is little evidence to suggest that it leads to reduction in crime let alone more complex phenomena such as ‘terrorism’. I have always heard the argument from elders that in our tribal, feudal society — punishments are essential to establishing deterrence. If and when the appeals process is concluded in favour of the state, my ‘attackers’ are likely to be hanged. I don’t know when but the prospect worries me. Almost like a twilight zone of morality. Out of those tricky textbook scenarios.

Can we term vengeance as justice? Is hanging a few militants without fixing the broader network and sources of radicalisation, fair? Is dispensing with due process — even when it concerns my person — right? The quandary becomes even more complex when Mustafa’s family views hanging as justice and perhaps will be relieved of repeated harassment by familial or community networks related to the accused.

State violence is not the correct response to militancy. Perhaps in the short-term it may work to weaken and disarm but the roots of radicalism lie in domains that our counterterrorism operations have not even started to address. The mosque-madrassa complex continues to tell people that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims, that one sect is better than the other and, in some cases, that physical elimination of a sect represents a legitimate act of purification. And what to do with popular ideology disseminated through the media where only until recently the Islamist militants were being hailed as freedom fighters. Since the military operations, this line of argument is not used for militant networks that attack Pakistanis. But those who attack Afghans and launch strikes in Indian-held Kashmir are still eulogised, and some claim, patronised.

And what to do with the large cross-section of our society that readily substitute ‘liberal’ for an unpatriotic individual out to attack Islam, Pakistan and the Army. In that order, if you please. Social media, while opening up spaces for citizens, have been reinforcing the stereotype. The idea of questioning something sanctioned by powerful state institutions is now blasphemy. Last year’s debate on the death penalty was, in polite terms, acrimonious at best. A handful of voices questioning the use of death penalty were condemned as treasonous. Except for a very few voices on television, the electronic media amplified this response.

Since 2002, I have been involved in projects to ‘reform’ the justice system. I have written quite a bit about that and, when I had a chance, tried to give airtime to issues of justice as well. But all of that seems to be pointless since Pakistan’s elites (including the judicial authorities) are simply not interested in stepping out of their comfort zones for even a moment. This is why in 2017 we are rationalising not only military tribunals — but also the deviation of constitutional right of due process and the ‘killing’ of terrorists as gains against terrorism.

I wait for justice, but the notion means something else than I had previously thought in my younger years. It is going to be vengeance and I shall have to accept it as the lesser of the evils. It will, however, take some time before I am able to take leave of a utopian, make-believe world that now appears as if it was by my own construction.

This, I guess, is the cost of living and surviving.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/02-Apr-17/my-utopia-died-three-years-ago


Combating Terrorism

By Fawad Chaudhry

April 3, 2017

Even though a lot has been written on the issue of terrorism, overcoming the menace continues to elude everyone. Unlike territorial wars, ideological wars know no boundaries, and it is an established fact that wars without boundaries are anything but simple.

Pakistan, like dozens of other countries, is combating the most irregular of irregular wars. Such conflicts can only be resolved through a well-thought-out comprehensive mechanism, but Pakistan continues to rely on its often-used knee-jerk reactionary approach.

There are three dimensions of terrorism that have plagued our country: international, regional and local. As far as the international dimension is concerned, Muslims from across the globe are facing an existential crisis where a faction of ideologues is looking to usurp religion as a whole. Moreover, the ongoing sectarian conflicts in the Middle East (ME) have claimed 1.4 million lives and do not seem to be moving towards an end anytime soon. Western policies have added fuel to the fire: the invasion of Iraq and interference in dozens of other ME conflicts have destabilised the entire region. The consequences of these interventions are now affecting the rest of the world.

We cannot do anything to overcome extremism since our clerics have failed to create a consensus on the extremist interpretations of Islam. The most Pakistan can do is to create some international consensus and involve the OIC. But not a lot will be achieved since the majority of the Muslim countries don’t consider resolving this issue a priority.

What we and other Muslim countries can and should do is to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran to the negotiating table. The rivalry between the two states is dangerously intense. Failure to bring the two nations together would mean critical failure in overcoming the international dimension of conflicts that give rise to terrorism. If we cannot resolve this dimension, we cannot combat the threat of terrorism as a whole.

Muslims in Pakistan will be greatly impacted by the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. If we fail to resolve this situation, we may withdraw and isolate ourselves – just like we did in conflicts in the Middle East and Yemen. Neutrality and isolation could be beneficial as we cannot afford to take sides in a sectarian clash.

The second dimension of terrorism that plagues Pakistan is regional. Throughout our nation’s history, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been used as a frontier province. This term was coined by the British to identify an area that was created as a buffer between two states, in this case Afghanistan and the Subcontinent.

Given this history, the area has been ripe with conflict for several centuries. Although war has remained a ‘constant’ in the region, the nature of conflicts throughout the ages has changed. In the 1980s, one group of fighters was supported by the US and Pakistan, while the other was supported by the Soviet Union and others. After 9/11, the dimension of conflict in the region changed yet again: our former friends became our enemies. There is a new regional troika at present: the war for influence between India and Pakistan, the ongoing war between the Durrani tribes and the war between Persian-speaking tribes and Pashto-speaking tribes.

Simultaneously, India is supporting one group while Pakistan is supporting the other. It is naive to say that Pakistan should not support groups in Afghanistan. That cannot happen unless India stops supporting its own groups of choice. There is no doubt that Pakistan wants a friendly state in Afghanistan, but if India tries to impose its will in the country, then Pakistan has no choice but to play its own cards. Unless this conflict is resolved in Afghanistan, regional stability seems far away.

The resolution lies in regional conference. Unless Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, the US and Saudi Arabia sit together and devise a strategy to overcome the existing issues of contention, stability will continue to elude Afghanistan, and consequently the whole region.

We may think that the return of Afghan migrants will solve certain issues, but we forget that 74 percent of Afghan-origin migrants were born in Pakistan and have never seen their country of origin. We need a concrete policy to bring them into the fold as shareholders of our economy and culture and integrate them into our society.

The last dimension of terrorism is the most lethal: the sectarian war within Pakistan. Historically, our state created militias and mercenaries that are now running amok. The lack of strong will to control rogue sectarian elements is most dangerous. However, this is the area in which Pakistan can play the most effective role in the war against terrorism.

A military operation to tackle sectarianism will introduce the army into the urban theatre. And it is never desirable for the army to be operating in civilian spaces. All those who think the Police Act 1864 has become redundant should go back to the British system of policing in rural districts. Urban policing needs different treatment but revival of lumberdar and chowkidar along with local government bodies will give the state a huge administrative arm to deal with general crime and terrorism. However, we need police, prosecution, judicial and jail reforms simultaneously. Picking one and leaving the others will make all four of them redundant.

Source: .thenews.com.pk/print/196117-Combating-terrorism


Walk the Talk

By Imtiaz Gul

02-Apr-17 659

Something unprecedented happened in Pakistan this Holi. Cutting across religious barriers, its prime minister delivered a ground-breaking speech to its Hindu minority. He called out the radical brand of Islam; giving a message anchored in fundamental human rights in accordance with the federal constitution.

Many of us usually criticise the ruling elite for lacking a vision that establishes the “Rule of Law”. Against all these reservations, the premier’s address marked a clear break from the undesirable — past and present — politics of expedience. He called himself the “prime minister of all religious communities,” while quoting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who believed, “If a place of worship of a non-Muslim is damaged in an Islamic country, Islamic government... I will fight their case myself on the Day of Judgment.”

In a groundbreaking attempt to call out Islamic supremacy, he centred on the Article 25 (Equal Citizenry rights), “God will not ask a ruler what he did for followers of a certain religion. He will ask people such as me: what did we do for God’s creation?”

His most unambiguous words drew on the Articles 20 to 22, which guarantee every citizen the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and every religious denomination and sect the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.

“No matter what religion or beliefs you follow, or what part of the country you belong to, you must be provided equal access to progress and development,” he added. Taking a dig at those involved in forced conversions of Hindu and Christian girls, Sharif said, “Forced conversions are considered a criminal practice according to our religious teachings.”

The unusually bold message caused considerable unease among the clerics. Sunni Ittehad Council Secretary, Allama Ashraf Jalali of the Pakistan Ahle Sunnah waJama’ah group was particularly vocal amongst those in opposition and went to the extent of alleging that Sharif had committed blasphemy. “The prime minister said such anti-Islam and blasphemous words that the Earth should have exploded,” he claimed, further adding that Sharif had “violated his oath, ideology of Pakistan, The Quran and Sunnah of Prophet. His speech is a dangerous attack on Islam.” In a video making rounds on social media, he demanded “a public apology from the prime minister (for his anti-Islam speech).”

Not many took much notice of the cleric’s radical interpretation of the constitutionalism. Thus, Sharif’s inclusive comments were largely welcomed as a much-needed initiative by the chief executive of a democratic dispensation. Anyone who believes in the sanctity of the constitution as a document representing the will of the people should realise that it is a document open to debate and revision to adapt to changing times, as the prime minister rightly suggested.

Regardless of what motivated him to take on the obscurantist views by the religious right, he has certainly set the ball rolling in the right direction. His message would help establish a national narrative, which is rooted in the constitution of Pakistan.

This would hopefully also relieve many officials of the much-dreaded pain that they have long endured in “finding a counter or alternative narrative.” Most of them continue to struggle to come up with recipes to counter extremism without realising the crucial presence of having a narrative in the first place.

As for the narrative, the government shall have to look within Islamabad and deal with the illegal structures thriving in the capital itself. Unfortunately, religious seminaries outnumber schools in the public sector in the region. Instead of penalising them, the CDA should acquiesce the administrators of these structures.

The narrative will become credible only when and if the government uses its Judicial Council to chuck out judges using religion for social and political glorification. The prime minister needs to take into confidence all citizens and inform them of the grave need to open doors for nation’s salvation. Closed avenues and restricted internet cannot lead to any considerable progress. He also needs to establish that even if some misguided social media activists are indulging in abuse of others, they should be reciprocated with informed responses, not crackdowns on the social media. Ban and closure can never serve as the answer to problems that require intelligent and smart responses.

Another test for the rule-of-law-based national narrative is to punish people whenever they are caught red-handed. So-called VIP people should no longer be allowed to take the cover of their privileges. Not only should justice be done, it should also undoubtedly be seen to be done. Mere talking about it would not lend any credibility. It only depends on how rulers walk their talk.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/02-Apr-17/walk-the-talk


Implications of Trump’s Politics

By Nyla Ali Khan

 02-Apr-17 687

The election of Donald Trump as the next US president has generated stimulating and vibrant debates across the country, particularly regarding the treatment of minorities.  My attempt is to analyse the intersection of law and race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin within the current political context.

In the post-9/11 world, political and cultural edifices entrenched by imperial discourse have sanctified the convenient first world-third world dichotomy. Institutional politics and policies have facilitated the construction of the ‘third world’ subject as an eternally feral being whose essential savagery is not amenable to socio-cultural conditioning. The rationale provided for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, for instance, is those territories’ purportedly dehumanised condition that cries out for enlightenment, underscoring the constructed bestiality of non-Western, other cultures.

The construction of the ‘first world-third world’ dichotomy in the wake of military interventions overseas vitiated progressive political and social changes. This befouling of institutional politics insidiously bled into the dominant political discourse in the United States and was used to promulgate Islamophobia.

Although governance is a different ballgame, the rhetoric deployed and legitimised by Trump while on the campaign trial purported to create a totalising or homogenising centre. In particular, non-Western cultural, religious, political, and social epistemologies were dismissed as ‘marginal’ or reductively ‘fanatical’ by the discourse generated during the campaign. Some of the epistemologies that were demonised are institutions and modes of thought created by contemporary nationalisms; the consciousness of political, social, and cultural place that offers a critical perspective from which to formulate alternatives to an insulated modernity and its concomitant defeatism of developing nations; and the ushering in of an era in which a nation is  not constructed around a common language, religion, culture, patriarchal image of womanhood, and an ethnically pure majority.

The increase in polarisation and fragmentation that we witnessed in the wake of the presidential campaign and the election of Donald Trump as the next president undermined the traditional notion of self-determination, rule of law, a return to the process of internal political dialogue, negotiations, and political accommodation in a democratic nation. In a nation that prides itself on women’s selfhood, autonomy, and ability to self-actualise, the blatant infantilisation and objectification of women brought to the fore, among other things, that misogyny and racism are not things of the past. We still have a lot of work to do for repairing schisms. Democracy does not limit itself to numbers or majoritarian rule, but to substance. There is no room for the subjection of religious minorities to a centralised and authoritarian state in a democratic nation. Self-promotion in the name of democracy, which is a given in autocratic and oligarchic forms of government, must be strongly discouraged by constitutional means and methods. In the recent presidential campaign, democracy was brazenly deployed to promote centralisation and majoritarianism to the detriment of democratic growth and evolution.

Trump’s success lies in bringing out of the woodwork all those who have been frustrated with the establishment and the Davos forum, and getting them to vent their anger on those who are ‘different’ either racially, ethnically, or in terms of gender and religious affiliation. The absolute urgency of revivifying economic growth and opportunities for people across the board is undeniable, but that cannot be accomplished at the cost of cultural diversity and the incorporation of societal differences into our polity and history.

In the space of globalisation, cultures undergo a dialectical interplay and create interlayered and mixed identities. This process necessitates the re-conception of cultural and linguistic differences into our sense of identity.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/02-Apr-17/implications-of-trumps-politics


Women Literacy in FATA

By Salman Ali

02-Apr-17 615

We all are aware and even enlightened that Women’s education in Pakistan is a fundamental right of every female citizen, according to article thirty-seven of the Constitution of Pakistan, but gender discrepancies still exist in the educational sector.

Sadly, Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. However, it should come as no surprise that Pakistan is listed as one of the countries that have large gender gaps in education, and therefore requires substantial investments in girls’ education for a socio-economic uplift.

On the other hand, the literacy rate among women in tribal areas is alarmingly low and stagnant. It’s a harsh reality that FATA region has as low as a 7.8 percent female literacy rate. FATA consists of seven tribal agencies 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 reasons for such a depressing literacy rate in the region are quite evident: cultural and social constraints, poverty, local leaders disinterest in education of their communities, hostile attitude towards women’s liberation, very low budgetary allocations for the sector and, on top of it, the menace of terrorism, still afflicting that region the most.

According to a survey conducted by the FATA Secretariat and the Bureau of Statistics two years back, only 7.8 percent of adult women in the region were literate, compared to 45 percent of men. Overall, the adult literacy rate in FATA is 28.4 percent, while the national average is 57 percent. At least 44.2 percent children in FATA have never been enrolled in schools, though the average distance from an institute is 1.8 kilometres.

The Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) at the primary level (six-10 years of age) is 77.4 percent for FATA, while the rest of the country stands at 91 percent. Only a small proportion (2.3 percent) of currently enrolled children aged between six and 15 attend religious schools, while 68.6 percent go to government schools and 29.1 percent are in private schools. The Khyber Agency has the highest literate population above the age of 10 at 49.4percent, and Bajaur Agency has the lowest at just 19.6 percent.

The Assessment Report 2015-16 presents a dismal picture of the overall education sector in the region: around 53 percent government-run schools and colleges are working without water, electricity, and even boundary walls and toilet facilities. Moreover, 18 percent institutions have been dysfunctional for the last two decades.

The report further revealed that there were about 5,994 government educational institutions including schools and colleges in FATA, which are devoid of clean drinking water, adequate electricity, and furniture facilities. Moreover, 2,256 institutions, especially of female schools and colleges, are in a highly vulnerable condition and open to risk from terrorist attacks due to unavailability of proper boundary walls and other safety measurements. The report also indicates that around 3,368 posts, ranging from college and school principals to librarians, have been lying vacant for the last ten years. According to the report, the dropout ratio of the students in FATA and FR regions had reached an alarming level after the wave of militancy and terrorism.

According to a report, released by Alif Ailaan education initiative in mid-2016, there are 6,050 educational institutions in FATA, of which 4,868 (2,905 for boys and 1,963 for girls) are functional, while 1,182 (683 for boys and 499 for girls) are non-functional. The overall dropout rate from kindergarten to class five, over the period of the last six years, has been 73 percent, of which 70 percent are boys and 77 percent girls.

 believe that cultural, traditional and social practices had kept Fata women in a highly vulnerable position. Tribal traditions not only restricted and excluded them from decision-making even at the domestic level but also limited their access to education. Last but not the least, destruction of infrastructure and internal displacement of millions of people because of government operations against militancy had pushed down education from their priority list.

I am sad that the governments of all the provinces are investing in gimmicks projects rather than investing in people. I wrap up my discussion with these remarks that if we want to develop as a nation, we need to invest in literacy, which is an essential element of human resource development. A strong political will, vision and commitment, as well as a competent and sufficient faculty is required to enhance women’s education in the country. Women’s education serves as the most powerful tool that can significantly help Pakistan to achieve its national goals while utilising women’s power, skills, knowledge and competencies.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/02-Apr-17/women-literacy-in-fata


‘Has The Time Come?’

By Raoof Hasan

 02-Apr-17 677

For a good number of months, I thought it was counterproductive writing as it appeared to carry little weight. Instead, in a way, it added to one’s frustrations. But there were some who contended that one must keep projecting what one construed as an ingredient of the ultimate prognosis irrespective of whether or not it may have an impact. Well, I have actually given in to this motivation. So, here it is for whatever it may be worth.

In a way, one is constantly engaged in a balancing act, trying to facilitate attainment of one’s perceived ambition in life, or rising to the pinnacle of achievement. Therein may also be hidden the cardinal issue of not being able to, or not willing to distinguish between the spectrum of objectives reflecting entirely different mindsets which define the motivations driving one’s life. Becoming rich may be a motivation propelling one to be a billionaire in the end. But, what’s important is that how one did it, and whether the avenues that were chosen to get to the avowed destination stand up to the benchmarks of transparency, shared responsibility and accountability? These are the barriers that only a miserly few will cross successfully in their pursuit of riches. The vast majority will come crashing down at the first hurdle which defines the crisis that the country and the society are gravely beset with.

From one gross controversy to the next, it is a sequence of humiliating revelations which are laid barein broad daylight with hardly a breathing space to ponder. Yet, when everything appears to be lost, it is hope that a vast majority of people in this country still seek and cling to — hope that is locked in the box!

So, where is it that we appear to be headed in the midst of a host of shameful and monotonous enactments: Panama case, Dawn leaks, Memogate controversy, rampant corruption bazaar, virtual abdication of governance, politicisation and the consequent liquidation of institutions, lack of transparency regarding undertakings of the state, growing inequity among provinces, ever-widening social, sectarian and religious divides, grave paradoxes and duplicities afflicting the handling of terror and other existential challenges which mostly are of our own making? The list is endless. A common ingredient in all this is that no one, absolutely no one is willing to own responsibility for committing the transgressions when they were in command. Instead, the response to every such insinuation is an all-pervading counter accusation. Well, they tell the truth, but only about others!

This exceedingly self-righteous but debilitating narrative reflects yet another, and in certain respects the gravest challenge that the country is faced with: its absolute moral collapse. Why has this come about? How can one cast off the spell? And whether it can be done at all?

The integrity of the political oligarchies lacerating profusely, the institution which is looked upon as one that has the constitutional powers, capacity, and on whose shoulders rests the responsibility to extricate the country out of this quagmire, is its justice system. It is no small coincidence that, at this critical juncture, our superior judiciary is beset with a case whose outcome may decide the course that the state will take in the future. Depending on which way the judgement goes, it can either put the country on the path to salvation, or push it down a million-mile pit. Contrary to what many may believe, I am convinced there is no middle course in this. There is no some-of-this and some-of-that solution, or some-for-one-party and some-for-the-other-party therapy. It is a case that requires a judgement based on undiluted merit, and merit has no favourites.

But this some-of-this and some-of-that syndrome is also dug in deep. It is rooted in years of misdemeanours perpetrated without any check, without any punishment and, most important of all, without any shame. One has often seen victory signs displayed by alleged criminals coming out of courts. They don’t seem to be concerned in any manner either about the heinous nature of the crime, or their own indisputable culpability therein. The reason is clear: virtually no one in this country has ever been punished for crimes and excesses committed including the one which dismembered the state. Investigation commissions have been formed, they have handed down their reports which were never made public because those who were responsible for the crimes that the commission investigated were also the people swinging the whip. So, no one dared disagree, no one had the courage to stand up for the truth.

Incompetent people have ascended seats of authority with the connivance of the very same corrupt mafias to ensure the continuity of a system rendered morbid through systematic afflictions. Then those heading various institutions on occasions have been guilty of serious misdemeanours themselves, but they never tire of proclaiming their virtuous careers and conduct. See, there is more of the same prognosis, more of the same venomous potion: shamelessness!

Like I said earlier, where are we headed? Or, are we headed anywhere at all except deeper in the pit of shame and helplessness? Will people, those few who still care and who are saddened by the state of things around, be able to free themselves of the tentacles of mafias that operate with abandon, or will they also resign to this humiliation and let the onslaught of loot and plunder continue denuding the state of its riches, its wealth and, most important of all, its boundless promise, potential and passion?

Will we continue drowning in the putrid juices of our own doings without respite, without care? Are we going to triggera move to salvation, or are we going to become aiders and abettors of this apparently irreversible plunge into regression?

And what of the hope that people still seek so desperately? Is the time come? Who could have put it better than T S Eliot: ‘O my people, what have I done onto thee.”

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/02-Apr-17/has-the-time-come


Navy In Yeomen Service For Humanity And Changing The Life Pattern Of Neglected Balochistan

By Salahuddin Haider

April 3, 2017

APART from being the custodian of our sea frontiers, and keeping the commercial routes open for international trade, Pakistan Navy simultaneously is encouraging the Balochis to be part of country’s armed force and thus be proud citizens of the State.

Its efforts of relaxing age rules, and 5 to 10 percent concessions in entry and academic examinations, have paid rich dividends already. Figures collected officially shows a remarkable rise in Baloch recruitment in a service, so essential in peace and war times. Interpreted in simpler terms, and in the context of stories afloat from time to time of negative tendencies, the success achieved by the Navy, assumes special significance.

While the current number of Balochis in PN touches a thousand mark, its officers rank includes a commodore now, equivalent to one-star general, of Brigadier in Pakistan army.

Officials explained that mobile recruitment teams of their Service goes door to door, and feels tremendously elated by the enthusiastic response from the natives inhabiting the south-western province, coastal line especially.

A case study of period between 2012 and 2016 shows that the number of recruitments from Balochistan has been at a satisfactory level—41 officers/cadets—and 535 sailors.

Negativity does become a factor, but fails to lower the level of enthusiasm. The purpose of lining them in mainstream remains uninterrupted and helps flush out propaganda from vested interests against the State or its organs.

From Matric to in-house training, people from Balochistan are offered special concessions of upto 20 percent. This is in keeping with the traditions followed in the world by a number of armies, or allied defence wings of their respective countries. Japan is one glaring example where set standards of heights for recruitment were lowered because of their generally being short statured.

This is not all. Like Pakistan Army, ever-ready for humanitarian duties in floods, natural calamities, population displacement and their rehabilitation, Navy too has been in the forefront of rescue operations with its boats, sailors and rank officers in times of emergencies. Its whole-hearted participation in floods, and several other occasions are on record for those searching for proof to contest positive viewpoints..

Pakistan Navy ships have for decades been carrying nations, medicines, doctors and para-medics to Balochistan’s long coastal lines for helping the population.

It has also concentrated on providing education to children of the backward areas, pulling them out from the darker or limited scope fishing areas, which has been for long their family vocation, to brighter eras and ensuring them enlightened and promising future.

Opening of secondary schools in Gwadar, with plans to upgrade it to college level, vocational centres for ladies of the area, and persistent efforts to weave a chain of such academic and professional centres in as many towns as possible for children who would have ended as street urchins, continues relentlessly.

This is a lesson for those who remain engaged endlessly in falsehood but a visit to some of the areas in the south-western province, convinces people beyond doubt that Baloch youngsters seem keen to galvanise their energies for the good of their province and, in turn, for the country.

Festivals are organized, and dramas and plays are staged, which was evident from the recent participation of these children on the Pakistan Day events of March 23.

Pakistan Navy (PN) has taken up various socioeconomic projects in coastal areas of Balochistan, with the sole aim of empowering youth through education and to bring them at par with the rest of Pakistan. One such step in this direction is the establishment of Cadet College Ormara (CCO).

The foundation of Cadet College Ormara was laid on 12 June 2012 by former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani. The college started its academic session in April 2013 by the joining of a batch of sixty cadets, with hope and conviction that by the passage of time, this institution will become synonymous to quality educational institute for the coming generations.

The basic cause to establish this institution in the city of Ormara was to bring the light of education to this remote area of Balochistan and provide equal opportunities to the youth and to make them capable enough to compete with not only the rest of the country and but also the world.

In Balochi, “DarmanJah” denotes “a place of cure and healing”, which is an apt and befitting name for the new and first ever hospital facility established by the Pakistan Navy in Baluchistan’s coastal town of Ormara.

To summarise, it would be appropriate to state that Balochistan, neglected far too long, resulting in heartburn, bickering and insurgency, which has been instigated and exploited by Pakistan’s detractors, is witnessing a new era of development, hope and promise.

The establishment of the international port at Gwadar, the coastal highway, dams, highways, and military cantonments with facilities like schools, dispensaries, playgrounds, canteens, and other wherewithal have not only provided employment opportunities, but also contributed towards raising the quality of life of the Balochis, since they would also have access to these facilities.

Source: pakobserver.net/navy-in-yeomen-service-for-humanity-and-changing-the-life-pattern-of-neglected-balochistan/


Myth Of 3 Million Killed, 200,000 Raped In 1971

By Dr Junaid Ahmed

April 3, 2017

SINCE the creation of Bangladesh it has been propagated that Pakistan Army killed more than 3 million Bengalis and raped 200,000 Bengali women in 1971. Many such myths have been repeated ad nauseam over the years by various Bangladeshi and Indian politicians and functionaries to defame Pakistani armed forces. Tracing the origin of the myth of killing of 3 million, it is revealed that the figure first appeared as on Decemer 23, 1971in an editorial piece of Pravda, well known then for anti Pakistan postures of the Kremlin. This “figure”, was endorsed by Mujib in his interview with BBC’s David Frost on January 18, 1972 while he was intoxicated.

Here is the first testimony from Serajur Reman, the former deputy head of the BBC Bangla Programme in the UK contesting Mujib’s claim. In a letter to The Guardian on May 24, 2011 he wrote, “On 8th January 1972, I was the first Bangladeshi to meet independent leader Sheikh Mujib-ur-Reman after his release from Pakistan …. I [Serajur Rehman] explained that no accurate figure of the casualties was available but our estimate, based on information from various sources, was that up to “Three lakh” (300,000) died in the conflict. To my surprise and horror, he told David Frost later that “three million of my people “were killed by the Pakistanis. Whether he mistranslated “lakh” as “million” or his confused state of mind was responsible, I don’t know, but many Bangladeshis still believe a figure of three million is unrealistic and incredible”.

Sayyid Karim, Bangladesh’s first foreign secretary, as reported by David Bergman, a Bangladesh based British Journalist in 2011, wrote, “As for the number of Bengalis killed in the course of the liberation war, the figure of 3 million mentioned by Mujib to David Frost in January 1972, was a gross overstatement. This figure was picked up by him from an article in ‘Pravda’ the organ of the communist party of the Soviet Union”.

In order to cherry pick proof for the plucked-out-of-thin-air 3 million figure, Mujib constituted a Commission on January 29, 1972 to locate mass graves or other verifiable evidence. Chowdhary Abdul Mumin in his book Behind the Myth of Three Million, published in 1973, reported that this Commission comprised representatives from the Army, Border Security Force, Rangers, Police and Civil Administration. Despite their best efforts, this Commission completely failed to locate any mass graves or other evidence of any kind. The Commission gave a newspaper advertisement offering 1,000 Taka to anyone who comes forward with figures of the dead. Only 38,000 came forward. The Commission then conjured up a figure of a 56,743 deaths. Mujib showed great displeasure at the Commission’s findings and disbanded it, stating, “I have declared three million dead, and your report could not come up with three scores thousands! What report you have prepared? Keep your report to yourself. What I have said once shall prevail”.

Western independent sources too solidly rubbish this 3 million figure. The Peace Research Institute in Norway along with Uppsala University of Sweden in their findings in 1972, estimated that about 58,000 people died in 1971. In addition to this, in June 1972, William Durmmond in the LA Times reported that “……. the figure of 3 million deaths is an exaggeration so gross as to be absurd …… no more than 25,000 people died.” On March 1st, 1973, Swedish journalist Ingvar Oja reported in Dagens Nyheter, the largest daily of Stockholm: “The allegation regarding the killing of 3 million people is highly exaggerated, not more than 50,000 people died in East Pakistan”. Sarmila Bose the famous Bengali Indian writer and Research Associate at Oxford University, in her book, Dead Reckoning in 2011, writes “…. the number 3 million appears to be not more than a gigantic rumor”. She estimated that around 50,000 – 100,000 people including Bengalis, Beharis and West Pakistanis may have perished in the conflict in East Pakistan.

The repeated claims of 3 million killed and the rape of 200,000 Bengali women were stopped after a tripartite agreement between Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in April 1974. During the regimes of Gen Zia, Gen Husain Mohammad Ershad and later Khaleda Zia, the Bangladesh government was more pragmatic and made friendly overtures to Pakistan. However, the present government of Haseena Wajid of Awami League continues to use this exaggerated lie of 3 million killed to hatemonger if not to evoke the baser emotions of its electorate to cultivate support and also to court favors from India.

Even basic arithmetic, which seems to be beyond the grasp of the Bangladeshi establishment, shows the unabashed absurdity of the 3 million killed and 200,000 women raped myths. To illustrate, perhaps at the expense of disgusting my readers, the Army action in East Pakistan started on 26 March and lasted till 16th December, 1971 – a total of 262 days. This implies that about 11,450 Bengalis would need to have been picked-up, killed and buried every day. When compared to the 2nd World War for instance, the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany in 6 years comes to only 2,740 killed every day – markedly less. Both the figures of the daily killings are fantastically preposterous and defy common sense.

The other myth regarding 200,000 Bengali Women raped by Pakistani Army in 1971 was also investigated by the above Commission. This time they had offered 3,000 Taka for any informant of rape. Only 2,680 cases came forward. The Commission rounded it to 25,000 victims. This was also not acceptable to Mujib. This estimate 200,000 rapes has also been rejected by an Austrian based academic, Bina D’Casta, who had researched this area and who believes that the number is too high. Further, Tajamul Hussain, Bengali freelance journalist in his book “Bangladesh victim of Black Propaganda Intrigue and Indian Hegemony”, writes that General Manikshaw was seriously felt embarrassed at the figures and thinks that 3 million killed and 200,000 women alleged to have been violated seem fictitious, baseless and far removed from the truth.

The fall of East Pakistan was a deeply painful episode for an entire generation of East and West Pakistanis. To channel that pain in the manner that the Awami League in Bangladesh continues to do for courting favors from its powerful neighbor and to keep their electorate emotionally charged, borders on criminality. They really ought to have the sense to see that no other reasonable individual, institution or government (besides India of course) takes their myths seriously. Not even Wikipedia. I feel a degree of confidence that no intelligent Bangladeshis do either. What the Awami League needs to do, is to base their politics on real and meaningful issues that their populace faces – stark poverty, a justice deficit and an institutional corruption of the most nefarious type. Be reasonable PM Hasina Wajid, stop lying to yourself and your people and move on.

Dr Junaid Ahmed, Chairman of National Management Consultants, is based in Karachi.

Source: pakobserver.net/myth-of-3-million-killed-200000-raped-in-1971/


What Happened To Liberal France?

By Scott Sayare

April 3, 2017

The state of emergency has served to affirm the notion that Muslims indeed deserve suspicion, and has additionally suggested that suspicion is the functional equivalent of guilt

Shortly before midnight on November 13, 2015, in an address intended to project an air of solemn strength but which nonetheless betrayed the bewilderment that now seems to permeate French public life, President François Hollande offered to the nation what little information he possessed about the atrocities then underway in Paris. “There are dozens killed, there are many injured,” Hollande said. “It is a horror.”

In the confusion of early morning, as the full scale of the killings became apparent – 413 wounded, 130 dead, the deadliest attack on civilians on French soil since World War II – the president declared a state of emergency, freeing the country’s security services from many of the legal constraints, and much of the judicial oversight, to which they must submit in normal times. Initially expected to last only a short time, the state of emergency has now been in place for more than 16 months.

It is scheduled to continue through at least midsummer. Under its provisions, the police have conducted more than 4,000 warrantless searches and raids, placed more than 700 people under administrative house arrest (some for more than a year), and closed around two dozen mosques and Muslim prayer spaces.

This spectacle of state power may have reassured many people here, but there is little to suggest that it has made their country safer in ways that normal law could not. The scores of searches without warrants, for instance, have resulted in only about 20 indictments on terrorism charges; over the same period, more than 150 terrorism indictments have been obtained without recourse to such tactics. The security services have headed off a number of apparently imminent attacks in recent months, but these successes seem to have owed nothing to the state of emergency. Its provisions have also failed to prevent several episodes of mass violence, including a truck rampage in Nice last summer that killed 86 and wounded scores more.

In about a month, France will elect a new president, who will inherit the powers of the emergency state. The prospect that Marine Le Pen, the vituperative populist, might soon be wielding them against whom she pleases – “globalist” elites, say, or devout Muslims, or immigrants, or the various other groups she has identified as threatening the nation’s integrity – does not seem to worry anyone.

Perhaps this is to do with a certain disaffection within the electorate. But her opponents have not sought to make the state of emergency a campaign issue, either. Only one of her principal rivals, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far left, has called plainly in his platform for its end. A recent television debate by the top candidates, despite running more than three hours, included not a single mention of it.

One merit of the state of emergency, then, has been to demonstrate once again the power of normalization, the inertial drift by which democratic principles and protections are abandoned, and to confirm that electoral politics cannot be relied upon to check it.

French political culture, run through with a deep messianic strain, also abets this normalization. In France’s mythology, the “République” – a word the French use to signify not so much their form of government as a vague but sacred revolutionary ideal – does not know error. Sometimes the République stands for “liberté,” sometimes “égalité,” sometimes “fraternité,” sometimes none of these at all; it is always right, though, and it is unfailingly invoked to justify whatever the values or policies of the moment happen to be. The state of emergency can only be just, by this patriotic illogic: The République decreed it.

That its excesses seem to land overwhelmingly upon a mistrusted Muslim minority has also surely helped. The state of emergency has served to affirm the notion that this minority indeed deserves suspicion, and has additionally suggested that suspicion is the functional equivalent of guilt. These are dangerous insinuations, particularly in France, where the populace has long looked to its powerful state not only as legal authority, the mediator of relations between individuals, but as moral guide and provider. Liberal democrats will hope the French, in their present discontent, are ignoring the lessons the République is dispensing. (Others are evidently listening. Upon declaring its own state of emergency in July, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said his country was merely doing “just like France has done.”)

Among French Muslims, the state of emergency is widely understood as further evidence of their country’s hostility toward them and their faith; many claim it will drive more of their community into the arms of extremists. That seems a bit pat, but certainly the state of emergency isn’t winning them over to the country’s secular, patriotic creed.

Many French people will be untroubled by this. They will rightly remark that the men and women affected by the state of emergency are, in some proportion, unsavory, disreputable, discomfiting: drug dealers and petty crooks; men with heavy beards and bearings of menace; their wives swathed in black.

The emergency of this confused moment is to recall that this observation ought to be entirely irrelevant; that the République the French profess to defend would afford these citizens, however distressing or strange, precisely the same protections as the rest; and that this fair-minded liberality has long been the better part of their country’s grandeur.

Source: pakobserver.net/what-happened-to-liberal-france/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/my-utopia-died-three-years-ago--new-age-islam-s-selection,-03-april-2017/d/110621


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