Books and Documents

Pakistan Press (12 Sep 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Counter Extremism Across The Board: New Age Islam’s selection, 12 Sep. 17

New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Has the time come for war?

By Shaukat Qadir

The rise of Hindutva

By Kuldip Nayar

RIP Gauri Lankesh

By Kamal Siddiqi

The end of the world as we know it

By Khayyam Mushir

Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims

By Dr Muhammad Khan

Gauri Lankesh, fundamentally

By Jawed Naqvi

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/counter-extremism-across-the-board--new-age-islam’s-selection,-12-sep-17/d/112496



Counter Extremism Across The Board

By Munir Ahmed

Pakistan is currently hunting terrorists in the tribal belts, but it needs to have a swift series of firm actions against banned outfits operating with different names in cities


A strange game is on in the region we live in. Not only intra-region players are over actively engaged in the futuristic negotiations to finalise the roadmap for their geo-political collaboration, the US also reinterpreting its recently announced most controversial foreign policy for South Asia. The new approach and methodology directly hit Pakistan despite uncountable and unmatchable sacrifices during the last four decades in particular.

President Trump’s statement has endorsed Pakistan’s general perception about the US that it never proved to be a sincere and loyal friend but a master.

Unexpectedly, Pakistan has taken the new US stance very seriously though the reaction was lame initially. The distrustful statements by the US government have done irreparable loss to the Pak-US ties that were spread over almost 70 years. After slapping once again, the US is trying to console the situation while Pakistan is more interested to find solace elsewhere. Seemingly, Pakistan has said no to ‘more slavery’, and is now looking for some strategic collaboration around its neighbourhood.

Pakistan is on a consultative process with the neighbours China, Iran and Turkey while talks with Russia on the future collaboration are in the offing. The insiders say it would be done sooner.

Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif has successfully completed deliberations with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on the weekend. In a joint press conference, both countries have agreed to politically engage Afghanistan for peace in the region. Pakistan also reiterated its strong support to one-China policy on its core issues of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and South China Sea. The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is not only a threat to China but also to Pakistan.

The favourable statement of the Chinese Foreign Minister was that China stands with Pakistan in the changing regional and global scenario. The Chinese FM also said that China supports Pakistan in safeguarding its national sovereignty and dignity, and that the international community should recognise Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.

The countries concerned should understand that financing and supporting jihadis was once the US’ strategy. It will take joint efforts and shared resources to counter the jihadi ideology

Wang’s comments in support of Pakistan come days after the BRICS summit declaration in which China — along with Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa — had named militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan as a regional security concern and called for their patrons to be held to account.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan is on to a terrorism cleansing process and hunting terrorists in the tribal belts. Yet, it needs to have a swift series of firm actions against those living in the cities, and operating with different names and pursuing dangerous agendas. How many were the mosques turned ‘Lal Masjid’ in Islamabad after the actual Lal Masjid operation in President Gen Pervez Musharraf regime. The citizens of Islamabad are well aware of it, hope the law enforcing agencies know them too.

Surely, the right steps might have been taken then, and necessary vigilance and monitoring might be on now to limit them and their activities. The concrete results are not visible even in the federal capital that is fast becoming the hub of religious extremist groups. It seems that the residents of Islamabad believe that they are sitting on a ticking bomb, and the responsible agencies and institutions are having leisure lunch at the Margallah Hills of Islamabad.

Strangely, a cleric running a ‘madrassa’ in Islamabad is reaching out to the suburban and rural areas for taking oaths on the holy book Quran for his Tehreek-e-Haram mandated to ‘liberate’ Khana Ka’aba (the House of Allah), what to talk about wiping off the banned outfits.

On a firm and strong stance of Turkey, former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar quite reluctantly took action against one of the components of the grown up and deep rooted Gülen movement in Pakistan by the followers of the Turkish preacher Muhammed Fethullah Gülen who is being hosted by the US for the last 19 years. In a way, the US is also housing and hosting a mastermind of the military coup that twice took place in Turkey in the recent years.

Pakistan government cancelled 413 visas of the Pak-Turk School Teachers across the country. It is said that several hundred Gülen movement supporting business are working in Pakistan. Pakistan government provided pieces of land to Pak-Turk Schools in different cities on subsidised prices on the pre-text that these schools would provide contemporary education to local children on nominal fees.

Abandoning the banned outfits is not that easy. This menace cannot be eliminated by announcing the new US foreign policy or condemning Pakistan for not doing enough. Not even the BRICS declaration would serve the objective. The concerned countries need to understand the reality that the jihadis were financed and supported by the US strategy, and it would take joint efforts, resources and time to get rid of their ideology.

Meanwhile, Pakistan also needs to genuinely address the situation. No one can believe that Pakistan lacks information and resources. Maybe the country is a little over-occupied in other helm of internal and external affairs. But, Pakistan’s will is evident to eliminate extremism from the country.

The tug of war for the vested interest in the region shall not go insane or intense. China, Turkey and Russia do understand the situation and support Pakistan. Iran would do so after the negotiations held yesterday (Monday). President Donald Trump needs to understand that changing partner in the region would serve no miraculous output. Rethink you policy once again, and support Pakistan for an across the board action against extremists.



Has the time come for war?

By Shaukat Qadir


I see the abyss and the brink at which we stand today. Time has come to keep all options on the table

In the wake of last week’s article, I found myself confronted by two recurring questions: what are we to make of the Chinese support that came as soon as our Foreign minister landed in Beijing; and can we recover from where we are today?

The first is easily enough answered. At the core of suzerainty lies the concept of having to go begging to your Suzerain before he finds it in him to be benevolent. If only it were so easy to respond to the second. But alas and alack, I feel this merits a lengthier musing.

Allow me to first begin by saying that I have never been in favour of military takeovers. Indeed back in 1985, Gen Zia moved to legitimise his presidency with the following ultimatum that went something like this: those who believe in Islamic governance must vote me into office for another five years. As a young Lt Col at the time, all I knew was that I didn’t wish to do as the good general had demanded.

But then what to do?

Swallowing hard, I wrote to my superiors, informing them that if forced to vote, I would be casting a negative ballot. In short, I was fully prepared to sign off on my career then and there. To my superiors’ utmost credit, they let me stay on. And by the time Musharraf’s turn came to partially leave the barracks for the presidency, I had just retired and had assumed the position of Vice President of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute. My oft quoted comment about him from that time was this: “He certainly seems sincere but the pertinent question is not what he is today — but what he will be three years hence.”

Proceeded by the rampant corruption of the Zardari era, the three years of uncertainty characterised by the Sharif era, during which Imran Khan demonstrated the chaos he could wreak if he so wished, many of my more courageous and decisive friends, began to hopefully discuss the possibilities of a military takeover. Yet still did I stubbornly persist in my reluctance to see the country dragged down this path once more.

But now do I see the abyss and the brink of which we stand today. Perhaps it is too late. But the time has come to keep all options on the table. For if not now, then when? And I say this not privately. No, the time for that has gone. Thus let me state what I have to, loudly and clearly, for all to consider as dispassionately as they can. Or tear me to pieces if they so prefer.

So, my response to the second question is, quite simply, yes. Everything short of death can be recovered. But. This is where the devil always lies, in the buts. Thus can Pakistan recover, even from here. But to do so we need an incredibly strong person at the helm.

Someone who loves this country sufficiently to sacrifice his or her person for it. Someone who will not just take unpalatable and un-politic, ugly even, decisions and assume responsibility for them — but also to deconstruct this sham democracy that cripples us. Someone who will govern for a specified period and not beyond. Someone who will rebuild our socio-politico-economic pillars with the prevalence of equality of justice always firmly at the fore.

Thus from the above, does it become clear that irrespective of the process by which such an individual comes to power — the nature of that rule will, out of necessity, be dictatorial. And we needed that person the day before yesterday. Which means that today is already late.

As I see it, the problem is this: there is no such individual ready to loom large on our political horizon. That is not to necessarily say that there is none. One could very well be ensconced among even this sorry lot. Yet if none is easily identified — then our distorted, corrupt and unjust political system is unlikely to offer us a leader in the true sense of the word. Democracy or no democracy. In other words, not only will the rule of this certain someone be dictatorial — he or she will have to assume or be granted power through undemocratic means. But who could or would be willing to take on this role?

In Pakistan, only one institution has been known to have the wherewithal to sweep in and seize political power: the Army. And each time this happened, apart from the glorious Ayub Khan years, it has wrought nothing but havoc, fuelled as it has been by the quest for self-perpetuating rule

In a country like Pakistan, only one institution has been known to have the wherewithal to sweep in and seize political power: the Army. And each time this happened, apart from the glorious Ayub Khan years (1958-1963), it has wrought nothing but havoc, fuelled as it has been by the quest for self-perpetuating rule.

This resulted in nepotism at the national level, promoting cronies on the basis of loyalty to, perhaps a particular Army chief, rather than on military capability and leadership within the Army and without. From Ayub’s nepotism to Zia’s pandering to the religious right to Musharraf’s corrupting of senior military officers in terms of post-retirement job prospects — what we have seen is a steady yet inevitable decline in the notion of collective self-determination. Indeed, were it not for the sheer calibre of our junior and mid-level military leadership, we might have by now sunk to hopeless new depths.

However, there is a way around this. What if the tenure of military power was fixed at the outset, say five years? This surely would deal with the problem of an endless clinging to power. And if the military leadership could find someone to whom they could entrust this onerous burden — either among retired soldiers or civilians — this would go more than some way to preventing repeated instances of military misrule.

Yet, as with most things, there is a caveat. If whomsoever takes up the challenge by way of another military intervention turns out to be as pusillanimous as all the military men who have gone before — then our fate will not only have been sealed, but duly precipitated.

This may or may not lead to the nation’s salvation. But make no mistake. If it doesn’t, then we are doomed.

Finally, if such a path is to be once again embarked upon — we need to come up with a charter outlining duties, priorities as well as future direction. A return to justice, for example, may be the first priority of a long, long list. Today’s world is a conflicting mix of uncertainties, where change remains the only constant.

If a military strongman were to come out of the wings to take centre stage and steer this country in the right direction — I would wish the poor misbegotten soul a tremendous amount of luck as well as, if I may be so bold, a word or two of advice.

Gird up your loins, the time for war is here. And may it be one that saves Pakistan.



The rise of Hindutva

By Kuldip Nayar

Published: September 11, 2017

With a clutch of followers, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat was about to storm in Kolkata when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee cancelled the use of hall which the RSS hired to address a meeting. Bhagwat was quite right when he criticised the cancellation as undemocratic. But the record of the RSS in polluting the Hindu-Muslim equation is so long that the precaution is quite in order. True, Mamta Banerjee looks dictatorial. But her act can be rationalised. Still I wish that she had allowed another voice, however, critical, to be raised.

Other steps like including Muslims in Other Backward Classes (OBC) and giving stipend to selected mullahs and moulvis do not go well with the democratic India we are trying to build. Appealing to the sentiments of a particular community is obviously meant to get their vote. This is worse than what the RSS does.

With a small temple, which came up overnight on the site where the Babri Masjid once stood, the chapter had been closed for the time being at least. But that does not seem to satisfy the Muslims, nor is it in their interest, as they perceive. The BJP, guided by the RSS, is trying to create the same atmosphere. The equivocal stand by the government on pluralism has only helped the Hindutva elements.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi could have done something positive to clear the vitiated atmosphere. But his party does not appear to do so because it’s getting dividends in keeping the society polarised. No outsider could interfere because the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, did little to follow the Supreme Court’s judgment, which said that the status quo should be maintained.

By ‘Hinduising’ a secular society, the integrity of the country is in danger. Religion can never integrate a nation as the example of Bangladesh cutting itself asunder from Pakistan shows. The imposition of Urdu forced the same Islamic East Pakistan to become independent, sovereign republic of Bangladesh.

India has stayed as one country because the various cultural entities have not been disturbed. True, the Hindus are 80 per cent of the population. But the minority, the Muslims, have not been threatened except by a lunatic fringe.

If the RSS is really interested in Hindutva, it should be agitating for the rights of dalits who despite discrimination have remained in the fold of Hinduism. True, some have sought freedom through conversions to other religions. But they have only adversely affected the Muslim and Christian societies. The converts from among the dalits face more or less the same discrimination in the religious society they join.

The RSS chief, claiming to be championing the cause of Hindus, did not react to the recent burning of a dalit because his goat strayed into the land of an upper caste member. Now that Modi has caught the imagination of the country, he should help the dalits and ask the upper castes to give up discrimination against them.

I have not seen even a mild criticism by Modi or his ardent followers, who claim that they would build a future India which will know of no discrepancy. At least the burning of dalits, if not the daily prejudice, should have been covered by the widely-watched Doordarshan network. But it seems that the government itself doesn’t want to raise the pitch on this issue because it is dominated by the upper castes. Surely, this does not constitute the freedom of the press.

Consequently, the institutions in the country are languishing. Had the media, an important institution, been free from pressure, the RSS would not have dared to challenge the basic structure of the constitution, which includes secularism.

The spread of the BJP is a point of concern because it ignores the aspirations of Muslims. Modi’s slogan of development has gone down well because it gives the hope of reducing, if not ousting, poverty. Unfortunately, his regular contacts with the RSS efface even the wishful thinking that Modi would build the society without any prejudice or bias.



RIP Gauri Lankesh

By Kamal Siddiqi

Published: September 11, 2017

Gauri Lankesh, editor of the weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike publication, was shot dead by five unidentified attackers who entered her house in Bangalore earlier this month. She was a fearless journalist who in some ways symbolised the best of the Indian media – outspoken and fearless. Her death sparked shock and outrage across the country, with journalists, politicians and activists sharply denouncing the murder. In the words of journalist Nilanjana Roy of the Financial Times, “If you judge the calibre of an editor by the quality of her enemies, Gauri Lankesh was one of India’s best.”

At the time of her death, she had been overseeing the weekly edition of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, her Kannada-language tabloid, one of the very few Indian newspapers that proudly carried a female publisher’s name on its masthead.

Born in 1962 to a prominent Karnataka family, her father, a Kannada writer, P Lankesh, was adored for his poetry, short stories, plays and films. He received India’s highest literary prize, the Sahitya Akademi award, in 1993. Gauri, his oldest daughter, inherited his spirit, uncompromising anti-caste views and religious scepticism. Today, she is survived by her sister, Kavitha, a film director and lyricist, and her brother, Indrajit, a film producer and publisher.

It was not just her paper that rankled many. It was her ideas. The forum for communal harmony, the Komu Souharda Vedike, that she started in 2005, frequently clashed with Hindu rightwing groups. She enraged religious zealots with her rationalist views, influenced by the 12th century Hindu reformer Basavanna, and by the jurist and Dalit leader Dr B R Ambedkar.

There were some who expected her to tone down her criticism of extremists after she lost a defamation suit in 2016 filed by BJP leaders. But it only made her more bold, say former colleagues. Free on anticipatory bail, ready to appeal against the verdict, she said: “I oppose the BJP’s fascist and communal politics . . . I oppose the caste system of the ‘Hindu Dharma’, which is unfair, unjust and gender-biased.” To say such things so openly in present-day India is rare.

Needless to say, Gauri Lankesh was a strong critic of Modi’s government, but she spoke truth to all forms of power — religious, political, caste-driven and communal. She was unafraid of making enemies, and she made them with relish — a recent op-ed she wrote attacked “flag bearers of the Hindutva brigade”.

Her killing once again brings into the limelight the state of affairs in Modi’s India where the media is facing its greatest challenge yet through political intimidation, abuse, threats and accusations of being “anti-national” after the 2014 election. Many Indian publications we are told are now more comfortable in self-censorship and do not report issues and incidents where they feel they would get into trouble. It is a sad state of affairs given the grand legacy that the Indian media has created over the years of being independent and fearless.

What is more painful in the case of Gauri Lankesh is that there are those who actually celebrated her murder. Some senior members affiliated to the ruling party commented that her murder was justified and that she had it coming.

One of the tweets in question was sent by user Ashish Mishra, who wrote in response to a news story about Lankesh’s death: jaisi karni vaisi bharni (you reap what you sow).

Fake news also came into play. Certain publications close to the ruling party published incorrect information to prove that the murder was the work of others despite all evidence pointing to Hindu extremists.

The only silver lining is that Indian social media users have launched an online campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it emerged that he was following via his Twitter account users who appeared to celebrate and justify the Gauri murder.

#BlockNarendraModi was the top trend in the country last week with users demanding that Modi un-follow the handles and apologise.

Colleagues say that Lankesh was fearless, reckless, and driven by injustice. “We can’t fit into his shoes,” she had said in 2000, hesitating at the thought of taking over her father’s legacy. But she filled them well. One newspaper wrote that it would take three bullets, fired at close range in a murder that reminded many of the previous killings of rationalist thinkers, to finally silence her fluting, unrepentant, fearless voice. Let us pray the Indian media rises to this challenge and fights against the consistent attempts to silence its voice. We

are hopeful.



The end of the world as we know it

By Khayyam Mushir

September 12, 2017

On the eve of the new millennium, at a New Year’s party, I recall the frenzied atmosphere in the countdown to the year 2000. Apocalyptic predictions for the turn of the century had littered the pages of newspapers and tabloids alike for weeks.

It was said global computer mainframes housing the World Wide Web, the satellites orbiting the Earth and even our personal computers would simultaneously malfunction at the very moment the minute hands struck twelve across the world. As a consequence, traffic systems would shut down, electricity grids would go cold, stock markets would crash, bank accounts would disappear, and mankind would find itself beset with a catastrophe of a hitherto unprecedented global scale, and one entirely of its own making. The world as we knew it, was about to end.

Disappointingly, however, the year 2000 arrived like a damp squib the next day. The world had not ended – computers, microchips and motors across the globe continued to buzz, click and whir with confidence, and aspirin and yoghurt were still all that were needed to rescue me from the pounding headache and the indigestion I had achieved in the aftermath of my new year revelling.

In the near two decades since, however, global investments in science and digital technology in particular have created a global information explosion. Coupled with the availability of ever more sophisticated, yet cheap, commercial and personal repositories of digital information together with revolutionary advances in manufacturing, they have engineered the arrival of what is now termed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Seventeen years into the 21st century we now stand at the threshold of a brave new world that promises to change the way we live, work, think and survive, through breathtaking advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital information, autonomous transport, machine learning, biotechnology and surveillance. While the developments in each of these fields merit consideration in depth, it is intriguing to examine the exciting offerings in digital surveillance and the consequent impact on global transparency.

Consider the following: private investments in commercial surveillance satellites, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, biometrics, social media analytics and cyber defences are burgeoning in response to market demand. In 2015 the sale of detailed high resolution satellite imagery, of objects no more than a foot long from above 400 miles from the ground, was approved by US regulators. According to ‘Foreign Affairs’ magazine, in competition with the satellites previously costing hundreds of millions of dollars, and which can only cover around five percent of the earth’s land mass, new entrants in the global market are designing miniature inexpensive satellites offering increased precision.

Planet Labs in the US intends to launch over 100 satellites in 2017 to cover the Earth’s entire land mass in medium resolution every day. Another company, Terra Bella, will collect both HD photographs and video clips from outer space. Black Sky Global in the US will launch a 60 satellite constellation to obtain images of the earth’s most populated areas and intends to sell this imagery at less than $100 each, while others will provide radar imaging irrespective of time and weather. By 2021 more than 600 commercial satellites will orbit and collect data from the earth.

To derive information from this avalanche of data, other private companies are focusing on big data and data analytics. Consider the massive social media content available online: data analytics firms such as Dataminr are running algorithms on Twitter to provide real time updates of business news and crises. In 2015, Dataminr alerted its clients five minutes after the first explosion of the Paris terrorist attacks. Similarly, data analysis of social media content will provide everything from predictions of investor sentiments and stock market performance to consumer preferences and the monitoring of events that will become breaking local or global news.

Another rapidly expanding industry is that of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with a global commercial and military market set to triple in size in a decade, with both states and individuals providing the demand. High quality video and photographs can already be obtained from cameras mounted on the Chinese UAVs flooding Pakistan’s local markets for hobbyists.

All this portends the arrival of a new age of global transparency: both individuals and governments will now be able to engage in largely unfettered surveillance enabling them to collect intelligence on organisations and individuals. On the upshot, this means that more information will be available in the public domain, which will significantly reduce, if not altogether prevent, governments and organisations from exploiting the rights of the populace in their countries, and from remaining immune from public scrutiny. We can imagine more and more incidences of information leaks that continue to expose the wrong doings of elected governments, armies and dictators.

We can further hope that global satellite imaging may give us unique opportunities for fighting climate change, identifying untapped natural resources, predicting disasters and thus preventing major losses of life. Global conflicts may also be avoided as information sharing between traditional antagonists becomes more fluid, technological advancements necessitating the need for collaboration and dialogue.

On the downside, however, it must be pointed out that technology usually develops at a pace which outstrips the promulgation of laws and regulations that aim to govern and ring-fence its misuse. And often this happens because laws are enacted in response to deleterious effects on society. In the third world, even when such legislation is finally promulgated, our experience tells us that implementation is usually weak, as legal loopholes coupled with traditionally weak governance institutions provide more incentives to thwart the letter and spirit of the law. In the wrong hands the mass marketing and availability of surveillance technology may lead to an increase in the intensity and sophistication of terrorist attacks, as an example. Terrorists will possibly be able to plan attacks on unsuspecting physical targets with more precision, and may simultaneously utilise cyber warfare to render traditional surveillance and counter terrorism systems inept.

This is a post-truth world where major conflicts continue in traditional hotbeds of political crises like the Middle East, and where populism is being celebrated in the most dangerous fashion – as we witnessed in the last week with the chest-thumping jingoism of Donald Trump in response to the maniacal actions of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and which is equally evident in the aggressive posturing of Putin’s Russia, not to mention Brexit and the exclusionary diatribes of leaders across Western Europe. One wonders if in such a world a culture of global surveillance is more likely to evolve into an Orwellian nightmare, breeding mistrust and acrimony, more than it counsels, peace and tolerance. While we can only proceed to vest our trust in the collective wisdom of mankind, any planning for the future must recognise that in many ways, this is certainly the end of the world as we know it.



Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims

By Dr Muhammad Khan

Recep Tayyip Erdoðan, the Turkish President is the only international leader, who dared to raise voice against the Rohingya’s genocide at the hands of Myanmar security forces. Following the recent organised attacks (starting from August 25, 2017) by country’s powerful military on the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state of Myanmar, President Eradogan said in a speech in Istanbul, that, “There is a genocide there.” While pointing towards oblivious international community, he further said that, “Those who close their eyes to this genocide perpetuated under the cover of democracy are its collaborators.” It was not just a condemnation of the Muslims’ genocide by Myanmar’s so-called democracy, but indeed, he exposed the reality of those who preach peace, secularism and a free world for all and above all, those who were given Nobel Peace Prize for democracy.

The eye witnesses say, Myanmar ‘security forces and vigilantes attacked and burned villages, shooting civilians and causing others to flee. Contrary to Government claims that, only 400 Rohingyas have been killed, the fact is that, thousands of Muslims (Rohingyas) have been killed, injured, brutalised and women folk were gang raped. Only few incidents have been reported on social media as evidence. After the massive killings of Rohingya Muslims, there was a brief and vague statement of UN Secretary General, who said, “The current situation underlines the urgency of seeking holistic approaches to addressing the complex root causes of violence.” It indicates a statement of a helpless man. UN Special rapporteur on the human rights however feels, “that many thousands of people are increasingly at risk of grave violations of their human rights.” Human Rights Watch emphasised the Myanmar Government to “stop this offensive” and allow ‘humanitarian assistance’ and neutral journalists to know the facts.

The Washington Post feels that, in Myanmar ‘democracy dies in darkness’. While Aung San Suu Kyi, the current leader of democratic Myanmar was receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (which she won in 1991) at a Nobel ceremony at Oslo’s City Hall on June 16, 2012, a formal genocide campaign had already started against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. Upon a question over the killing of Rohingya of Muslims by Buddhist state, this Nobel laureate even did not condemn the act, which clearly indicates her biases and future plans. Indeed, a democratic Myanmar (Burma) has proved to be darker than the Burma under Military Junta.

‘The New York Times’ in its September 9, 2017 opinion writes, “For the last three weeks, Buddhist-majority Myanmar has systematically slaughtered civilians belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority, forcing 270,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh — with Myanmar soldiers shooting at them even as they cross the border.” This prestigious newspaper considers this as an “ethnic cleansing”. A prior report; “Yale study” carried out much earlier than the current wave of violence had ‘suggested that the brutality toward the Rohingya might qualify as genocide.’ Many international peace prize winners have joined the movement, asking Aung San Suu Kyi to return the Nobel Peace Prize.

Although there is a general silence among the nation states (both democracies and autocracies) over this organised genocide of Rohingyas, there are people with conscious, who feel their moral responsibilities to raise their voices against the brutalities under a Nobel peace laureate. So far over 400,000 people had signed a petition, demanding the Award Committee to withdraw the Nobel Peace Prize from Aung San Suu Kyi. People like George Monbiot, a Guardian columnist emphasised the world to sign more on the petition “Why? Because we now contemplate an extraordinary situation: a Nobel peace laureate complicit in crimes against humanity.” This columnist is not a Muslim, but a promoter of peace and humanity. On its part, the Muslim world is as insensitive as rest of the world, the modern democracies.

In 2012, on the eve of receiving Nobel Peace Prize, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi said, “Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace.” Today she is the architect and mastermind of the Muslims’ genocide of Rohingya Muslims and doing all reverses. The international media clearly revealed; “During the crackdown, government troops were accused of an array of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killing, rape and arson.” How can Aung San Suu Kyi deny these undeniable ground realities, which have been filmed by neutral observers?

Seeing the recent precedence of liberal intervention by US and West in countries like Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, should not there be an imposition of sanctions against Myanmar over the massive human rights violations or a demand for a separate state for the Rohingyas on the pattern of East Timor or South Sudan. Population of East Timor is 1.269 million, whereas, population of Rohingyas in Rakhine state is 1.3 million with another 1.5 million as diaspora.

A recent UN Security Council meeting remained inconclusive over this genocide and earlier in March 2017, Russia and China blocked a resolution over the issue, which led the current massive human rights violation against Rohingyas in Myanmar. In summary, the harsh realities of global politics is; there are no human rights for the Muslims anywhere in the world and international politics is essentially interests based, where major power decide the issues according to their strategic and economic interests, rather for the grieved communities. Should an indolent Muslim world, an inert OIC and acquisitive Muslim elites learn a lesson now?



Gauri Lankesh, fundamentally

By Jawed Naqvi

September 12, 2017

IT is an easy explanation for her death at the hands of suspected Hindu extremists that Gauri Lankesh stood for secularism, gender equality and a host of human rights, which offended her foes. These are all ludable causes associated with Indian liberals who oppose Hindutva.

However, few from this club have truly targeted the right-wing quarry’s beating heart as Lankesh and her ideological soulmates did. And they did it by rejecting their Hindu identity. That is by far the bigger challenge for Hindutva — people disowning their Hindu identity. Muslim- and Christian-baiting is a means to dealing with this potentially insurmountable challenge. Lankesh and her fellow apostates, if that is the word, include, but are not confined to, social reformers in the Lingayat community of rationalists and Shiva mystics that are common in southern India.

Unlike many of her grieving supporters, Lankesh’s sympathy for causes she embraced was firmly aligned with her aloofness from Hinduism, which goes beyond the fact that she was buried and not cremated. Let us stay with the crucial point. Lalu Yadav, Sitaram Yechury, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi are perceived as ideologically disparate politicians fighting Hindutva in their different ways. In their opposition to the extremists, they indeed reject Hindu majoritarianism as well. But they do not disown the popular perception (or reality) that they belong to the religious or cultural majority, which their Hindu identity constitutes.

Lankesh saw Hinduism not as a religion open to change but as a hidebound hierarchy ranged against women and the lower tiers of society.

They may see themselves as good, kindly, or even atheist and non-practising Hindus, followers of Nehru, perhaps, or Bertrand Russell or even Karl Marx. Yet, for better or worse they would perhaps struggle to denounce their Hindu identity, as Lankesh did, be it for political expediency or by cultural reasoning.

Communist cadres carrying Ganpati idols in Kerala in recent years offer as good an evidence as any that being overtly Hindu may have become a political requirement in this era of religious surge that shapes the new identity politics. Hindutva seems to have sent devout Marxists cartwheeling, grudgingly, hopefully, towards religion, a paradox of sorts.  Right-wing groupies may deride admirers of Lankesh as anti-Hindu but her liberal supporters do not, in their own reasoning, see the Hindu identity as problematic, which Ambedkar and Gauri Lankesh, among others, did.

Lankesh saw Hinduism not as a religion open to change but as a hidebound hierarchy ranged against women and the lower tiers of society. Which is more or less how her liberal admirers may also see it. The difference is that she underscored her non-Hindu minority identity in the battle with Hindutva. And, for rejecting that identity, from the perspective of her right-wing foes, she became an apostate worthy of matching retribution.

Consider this: The clarion call of Hindutva is: “Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain.” (Own your Hindu identity with pride.) And what was Lankesh saying? “I am not a Hindu.”

Ideally, there should be no column for apostasy in a multifaceted system of beliefs that Hinduism has so far spawned. Apostasy is thus not a term that should lend itself to Hinduism.

To be sure, apostates have been a feature almost exclusively within Semitic religions in which there is one God, one Satan and one Book. I once unburdened on Shimon Peres my knowledge of Judaism, which I had picked up from The Ten Commandments, the movie about Moses. I asked him why Israel, which should follow the tenet ‘Though shalt not kill’, does just the opposite with the Palestinians. Peres, who was visiting Delhi as deputy prime minister of Israel, cleverly dodged the question, and said a brilliant mind like Einstein’s could be snuffed out with a bullet. And a brilliant mind needed to be protected, with force if necessary.

A less contrived answer would be that killing fellow humans is not entirely forbidden for Jews, regardless of a commandment they were handed. The Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah and the Christian Old Testament, decrees death for apostates though it may be no longer practised. “And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken perversion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt…”

Accusations of apostasy and blasphemy, now routinely punishable by mob justice, have become a cottage industry in many Muslim countries. That’s what Fahmida Riaz was trying to alert her Indians friends about: “Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley/Ab tak kahaan chhupey thay bhai?” (You’ve turned out to be just like us [in troubled Pakistan]. Where were you hiding all this while, brother?)

The secular-communal binary, shared enthusiastically by Lankesh’s liberal admirers, was not her winning card, however. If recent history is anything to go by, we can see that the more vociferous the call for secularism the greater the victory graph of the communalists becomes. Ambedkar had warned against the trick. But he also gave the antidote, emphasising that Hinduism is constructed around self-absorbed castes that have little in common with each other except when there is anti-Muslim violence. Muslims provide traction to Hindutva and vanquishing an entire community may not necessarily be the chief aim of the extremists. The real objective, in Gauri Lankesh’s view, as I understood her, was her fear of the subjugation of the vast and potentially intractable majority of Hindus by the elite, splintered as they are into mutually exclusive castes.

The impact of Lankesh’s ideas could go beyond the fact that she challenged Hinduism. A less consolidated Hindu identity was possible had Ambedkar won his battle with Gandhi’s notion of a benign Hindu-Muslim binary. It would then perhaps be a struggle to forge a hastily assembled counter identity of Indian Muslims. Had Lankesh been around to assist Ambedkar before partition she would have challenged Jinnah and Gandhi alike.


URL: http://newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/counter-extremism-across-the-board--new-age-islam’s-selection,-12-sep-17/d/112496


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