Books and Documents

Pakistan Press (16 Sep 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Mr. Jinnah and the Rohingya By Akbar Ahmed: New Age Islam's Selection, 16 September 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

16 September 2017

Mr. Jinnah and the Rohingya

By Akbar Ahmed

Low Bar on Terror

By Irfan Husain

Pakistan: A House In Disorder

By M Ziauddin

The Aftermath of 9/11

By S M Hali

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Mr. Jinnah and the Rohingya

By Akbar Ahmed


The Rohingya cause is lost, lamented Dr. Wakar Uddin's father on learning of Mr. Jinnah's death in 1948. Along with a Rohingya delegation, he had met Mr. Jinnah, the Quaid-i-Azam, twice in Dacca before independence. They had come to discuss the Rohingya areas joining the new state of Pakistan, and Jinnah was interested. It was, after all, adjacent to East Pakistan, and being a Muslim-majority region, the move was in keeping with the basic principle of the partition of British India. Dr. Wakar recalls his father speaking of Jinnah with warm admiration. He described the Quaid as "very handsome, a man of integrity and one who cared for Muslims."

When he walked into my office, Dr. Wakar Uddin startled me by speaking fluent Urdu in a clear South Asian accent. He said most educated families of that generation spoke Urdu and had an affinity for South Asian Muslim culture. Today, Dr. Wakar Uddin is a Professor at Pennsylvania State University, the chairman of Burmese Rohingya Association of North America, and the director general of the Arakan Rohingya Union.

The fears of Dr. Wakar Uddin's father were justified. Seven decades later, the Rohingya face genocide. Today estimates tell us that some 400,000 have escaped the latest round of military violence mostly to Bangladesh. This latest bout of brutality and displacement comes as the gory culmination of decades and even centuries of discrimination and subjugation by the Burmese government.

At the heart of every genocide lies a great theft. The Kingdom of Arakan, from where the Rohingya originate, was conquered by the Burmese Kingdom in 1785, and tensions immediately arose as the Rohingya were forced into slave labour. Following the rise and fall of British colonialism in the region and the establishment of military rule following a 1962 coup, the politics of "Burmanisation" was put into practice.

The Rohingya were officially excluded from Burma upon the ratification of the 1974 constitution, which named 135 indigenous ethnic groups, but not the Rohingya. After the 1970s, the military launched campaigns against them based on what they called the "four cuts" strategy, which denied them land, food, shelter, and security. Their mosques were destroyed, lands seized, women raped, and torture was common. The aim was to terrorize the Rohingya into fleeing the land. As manyas 250,000 fled into Bangladesh as a result of that early campaign, a stark example of planned and coordinated ethnic cleansing.

The Rohingya were officially banned from ever becoming citizens in 1982. In the early 1990s, the NaSaKa border security force formed and subjugated the Rohingya of Rakhine State to slave labour to build villages and infrastructure for Buddhist settlers on Rohingya land. Meanwhile, the Rohingya were barred from military and civil service, business ownership, the obtaining of loans, or building or repairing mosques or madrasas. They are even required to obtain travel permits to visit neighbouring villages, let alone leave Rakhine State.

To add to their plight, most Rohingya refugees were not officially recognized in Bangladesh. In 2011, Bangladesh rejected UN refugee aid to try and discourage more Rohingya from crossing into the country.

In 2012, President Thein Sein's government declared its desire to turn over the Rohingya to the UNHCR, and they even went so far as to try and link the Rohingya to the Taliban in an attempt to align them with the War on Terror. Still today, many of the Burmese majority refer to the Rohingya as terrorists out to attack them.

Dr. Wakar Uddin said most educated families of that generation spoke Urdu and had an affinity for South Asian Muslim culture. The fears of Dr. Wakar Uddin's father were justified: seven decades later, the Rohingya face genocide

What is even more stunning in all this is noting the silence of Suu Kyi. This tragedy has transformed her from being a symbol for resistance and democracy to a leader complicit in genocide. Some have noticed: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pointed to the "cruelty" facing the Rohingya. Fellow Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote an open letter of protest to Suu Kyi, as did our very own Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousafzai.

Meanwhile, far too many around the world are watching without pity as the genocide of an entire race plays out on our TV sets. And far too many Muslims, for all their talk of supporting the ummah, are sitting indifferently on the sidelines.

Perhaps we should all heed the wise words of Pope Francis, reaching out as the leader of the Catholic Church to the Muslim Rohingya. "I would like to express my full closeness to them - and let all of us ask the Lord to save them, and to raise up men and women of good will to help them, who shall give them their full rights."

Dr. Wakar Uddin's father was impressed by Mr. Jinnah for being "handsome." But he also saw something else inside the man --Jinnah cared for people regardless of race or religion, especially the downtrodden and vulnerable. Many admirers have equally written of the charm and elegance of Suu Kyi. But her treatment of the Rohingya has exposed something dark in her.

Buddhism is a peaceful and beautiful religion and one of the great Buddhist faith leaders, the Dalai Lama, has reminded Suu Kyi that Buddha would have "definitely helped" the Rohingya. Stripping her of the Nobel Peace Prize would merely be a symbolic act. She has to face her own conscience by begging forgiveness of the Rohingya people for the destruction her acts of omission and commission have wrought on them.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/16-Sep-17/mr-jinnah-and-the-rohingya


Low Bar on Terror

By Irfan Husain

September 16, 2017

WHEN you have very low expectations of somebody, you are unlikely to be surprised or disappointed when the person fails to deliver.

But even with this minimal bar, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, our ex-interior minister, is in a class of his own. For years, instead of a sound counterterrorism strategy, we have had countless press conferences justifying his string of failures. Clearly, this is a man who likes the sound of his own voice.

In a recent interview, he uttered this gem: “Politics, especially governance, is both an art and a science.” Sadly, he could master neither, with his recent stint in government serving as a lesson in what not to do when in power.

When he went on to say that “he had always tried to manage things”, we can only give him an ‘E’ for effort. For the rest, he gets an ‘F’ for failure. As jihadists slaughtered hundreds on his watch, he had to be dragged to sign off on the National Action Plan. Before the bloody attack on a school in Peshawar in December 2014 that killed over 130 children, he was the keenest proponent of talks with the militants, together with Imran Khan.

But even when a sensible plan had been hammered out, our hero dragged his feet over its implementation. Out of the scores of committees and sub-committees set up to monitor progress and implementation, one wonders how many actually met.

We can only give him an ‘E’ for effort.

Thus, of all the lofty goals of reviewing curricula to eliminate extremist content; controlling the thousands of madressahs that have proliferated across Pakistan; preventing hate speech from being broadcast from mosques and TV studios; boosting intelligence-sharing between agencies and provinces; and improving the legal system, none have been met.

Whenever he was asked about NAP’s progress, Nisar would shrug his narrow shoulders, and pass the buck on to the provincial governments; he was probably not pressed too hard by his cabinet colleagues. If ever there was a candidate for dismissal, resignation, or, indeed, hara kiri, it was our ex interior minister.

I have never met him, but his lack of contact with reality was revealed when, in response to our new foreign minister’s sound advice that we needed to put our own house in order, Nisar replied: “With friends like him, who needs enemies?” So clearly, he remains convinced that he did a great job, and our ambivalent attitude towards jihadists and, more generally, towards extremism, is sound. Dream on, Chaudhry Sahib.

And remember the Axact scandal? When the New York Times broke the story of this Pakistani company that was in the business of selling fake degrees worldwide in 2015, Nisar was furious. The Federal Investigation Agency was sent to raid Axact’s Karachi headquarters. The owner, Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh, was arrested. The TV licence the firm had acquired for BOL was revoked, and we all thought that was the end of the road for this alleged conman.

But lo and behold! the channel resumed its controversial operations as if nothing had happened. Meanwhile, a senior Axact executive, Umair Hamid, has been convicted and jailed on money-laundering charges in the United States. Apparently, our courts act on a different concept of right and wrong than their counterparts elsewhere.

This is true across the board, especially when it comes to terrorism. In the UK, 379 people have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in terror plots of one kind or another over the past year, a rise of 68 per cent. No doubt many of them will be released for want of evidence, but the scale of the arrests gives an idea of how seriously the threat is taken in Britain. This is equally true for most other countries where laws have been stiffened, sentences lengthened, and security services beefed up.

In Pakistan, however, it’s business as usual, with alleged killers being released on bail, or being let off on some technicality. Take the shocking release of five suspected terrorists involved in Benazir Bhutto’s murder. The fact that they had confessed did not influence the anti-terrorism court judge; a technicality weighed more heavily in their favour. This judgement made headlines around the world, and sent a clear signal to terrorists that they were free to carry on with their murderous activities.

This was the kind of ‘justice’ a part of NAP was directed at. But to the best of my knowledge, Nisar did not recommend any new laws to fix the gaping holes in our law-enforcement system. I suppose he was too busy making unending speeches.

His exit from the interior ministry raises the hope that finally, we will see a serious attempt to tackle the terrorist threat. But this being Pakistan, and with a neo-fundo party in power, I won’t bet on it.

Source: dawn.com/news/1357879/low-bar-on-terror


Pakistan: A House in Disorder

By M Ziauddin


It is always a big call when one decides to put one's house in order. It becomes all the more challenging when it is spoken in the context of a country's policies that impinge on its very existence.

And if the announcement to the effect is made by the foreign minister of a country in a dire strait like Pakistan one would be perfectly justified in probing the assertion with a lot of scepticism.

Seriously speaking one is not sure if there is enough time left for Pakistan to accomplish the miracle of putting its house in order and escape what certainly looks like an inevitable headlong collision with the global distrust.

And also there is this question of willingness on the part of the nation at large to actually undertake the dangerous task of clearing the house of all those poisonous snakes called non-state actors (NSAs) that it had willingly raised in its backyard over the last nearly 38 years or precisely since the advent of the late General Ziaul Haq.

Take for example the so-called Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC), an umbrella coalition of more than 40 Pakistani political and religious parties (including a number of banned parties) that advocate policies such as closing NATO supplyroutes to Afghanistan and rejects the Pakistani government decision to grant India most-favored nation status.

In any sincere attempt to put Pakistan's house in order, the very first step would have to be to ban the DPC which has no constitutional or moral right to give calls for Jihad in defence of Pakistan

None of these 40 parties individually or in any kind and type of combination would win even a dozen seats in any national elections, still the umbrella coalition has consistently served as the political arm of the establishment on the streets whenever the mainstream political parties seemingly tended to challenge the hegemony of the establishment in national policy making.

On occasions it had looked like as if the DPC activities were consigning Pakistan to what our enemies would want us to suffer perpetually: regional and global isolation.

The other day during a TV talk-show a retired Lt. General had called Masood Azhar of the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM) a double agent. So, let us stop testing China's friendship by having our all-weather friend keep blocking a UN move to ban a globally identified terrorist.

India claims Azhar Masood and his brother had a hand in the 2016 Pathankot incident. Also, those who had investigated the November 2008 Mumbai massacre claim that Pakistan has enough evidence to prove complicity of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders including Hafiz Saeed in the bloody incident.

In any sincere attempt to put Pakistan's house in order, the very first step would have to be to ban the DPC which has no constitutional or moral right to give calls for Jihad in defence of Pakistan. It is the State and State alone that has the right, the responsibility and the duty to give such a call, as proclaimed by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Bajwa, the other day.

Next, as long as our foreign policy remains linked to our national pride the country is likely to remain as prone to disasters as it is today.

There is no concept of permanent friends or permanent enemies in foreign relations. Such relations are dictated only by permanent interests.

And it is not in our permanent interests to bottle up our own country regionally and globally by having permanently disturbed relations with our immediate Eastern, Western and North-Western neighbours.

We can win over Afghanistan overnight if we were to offer this war-ravaged country two-way trade-route to India via Pakistan and perhaps also considerably reduce even Indian hostility towards Pakistan if our bigger Eastern neighbour were to be allowed to use land-route via Pakistan to reach Afghanistan and beyond to Central Asian markets.

Perhaps India would be willing to consider a trade-off in Kashmir for a land route to reach Central Asian markets via Pakistan if we were to negotiate a deal with New Delhi while keeping our national fixations and national pride on ice for a while.

Here it would not be out of place to maintain that India would be too foolish, which indeed it is not, to risk these commercially lucrative routes by using them to unleash sabotage activities inside Pakistan.

Moreover, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) running from Kashgar to Gwadar would doubly discourage India from taking such a risk. In fact, both India and China would benefit greatly if the India-Afghanistan trade route via Pakistan were to be linked to CPEC facilitating India to reach Western China markets and China to reach Northern and North- Western Indian markets.

While putting the house in order we need also to recover the ideological space that we have lost to the NSAs since Zia.

These NSAs have propagated a totally distorted ideology of Islam which has spread like wildfire across the country. An abhorrent combination of Wahabism, Salafism and Takfirism the proponents of this ideology believe in killing all those Muslims who do not subscribe to their version of Islam.

The military's Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad campaigns have taken the sting out of these killers; but in order to win back permanently the space lost to them, those who are planning to put the house in order need to improve governance as a first step towards the goal.

One needs also to understand that these NSAs have flourished on the back of elements who during the Pakistan movement had called the Quaid Kafir-e-Azam and vehemently opposed his demand for partition of the subcontinent on the basis of two-nation theory.

During the Zia regime, these elements had successfully captured both the academic as well as media spaces in the country and have since been using these platforms to convince the succeeding generations that the Quaid did not mean what he said in his August 11, 1947 speech to the Constituent Assembly. They have also tried to continuously to suppress the fact Pakistan's first cabinet had a Hindu as the Law Minister and a Ahmedi as the Foreign Minister.

These elements have even changed the order of Quaid's famous slogan: Unity, Faith and Discipline to Faith, Unity, and Discipline, and interpreted 'Faith' to mean 'Iman' rather than 'Yaqeen-i-Muhkam'.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/16-Sep-17/a-house-in-disorder


The Aftermath of 9/11

By S M Hali


The sixteenth anniversary of the deplorable 9/11 attacks on New York's Twin Towers and Washington DC's Pentagon, was observed solemnly. People around the USA honoured thousands who died in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. US President Donald Trump, presiding over his first 9/11 commemoration ceremony, stated: "Today, our entire nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago."

At the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in downtown New York City, people looked at the names of the victims engraved above the recessed pools where the Twin Towers once stood. In Shankesville, Pennsylvania, people gathered to look at names on the wall at the Flight 93 National Memorial, which is at the site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after it was hijacked by terrorists who were then overtaken by the plane's passengers, which prevented the hijackers from reaching their target.

This year, the events were held in the backdrop of Hurricane Irma, which has devastated Florida. The question which is being asked is whether the world is a safer place in the aftermath of 9/11. The answer is no. The 9/11 attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. However, in retaliation, US forces in tandem with NATO, attacked and invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

The attack on Iraq was based on the false and faulty premise that Saddam Hussain possessed weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. While casualties continue to rise both in Afghanistan and Iraq, Information Clearing House (ICH) has estimated the Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan as US $1,785,565,112,611; Number of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation of Iraq "1,455,590"; Number of US Military Personnel Sacrificed (officially acknowledged) In US War And Occupation of Iraq 4,801; Number of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan: 3,487.

The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan can only be estimated to be about 100,000 while in Pakistan, which has borne the brunt of the attacks, according to South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), up till September 10, 2017, the number of fatalities is 62,445, which comprises: 21,905 civilians, 6,817 security personnel and 33,733 terrorists.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emerged from the ashes and has terrorised Pakistan. Various military operations have weakened the terror mongers but not decimated them fully because its leadership has found safe havens in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban on the other hand, who want to rid their motherland of foreign occupiers, are being demonised and used as an excuse by the US to retain its forces there.

Countries like Pakistan would have been destabilised long before and defanged of its nuclear weapons, but thanks to the resilience of its armed forces as well as the firm support of its all-weather friend China, it continues to exist

The Islamic world was shaken up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Revolutions and uprising against various monarchs or dictators titled as the Arab Spring shook up the Middle East. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen lost their long reigning rulers while chaos and conflict has replaced them. Syria was badly jolted, but its ruler Bashar al Asad has managed to cling to power. Syria and Iraq saw the rise of a new demonic phenomenon, the Daesh or Islamic State (IS) replacing the Al-Qaeda. It managed to occupy territory in Syria and Iraq, wreaked horror with its butchery but for the time being has been beaten back. Daesh spread its wings in Afghanistan and partly in India and Indonesia, where it has found some foothold but not secured its presence as yet.

US President Donald Trump has unfolded his Afghan Strategy and the gist of it is deploying more US forces there, and blaming Pakistan for the failures of the US.

The aftermath of 9/11 reveals the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates ganging up on tiny Qatar while the US sells weapons of mass destruction to both adversaries. In a nutshell, Islamophobia has been created and chaos prevails in the Islamic world which was perceived to be the enemy by the Occident.

Countries like Pakistan would have been destabilised long before and defanged of its nuclear weapons, but thanks to the resilience of its armed forces as well as the firm support of its all weather friend China, it continues to exist. Pakistan has paid an immense price in supporting the war on terror. Besides the number of lives lost, statespersons like Benazir Bhutto and Salmaan Taseer have been assassinated in cold blood by the terror mongers and in the case of the latter, the assassin was idolised by a group of people including some members of the judiciary. The world is no longer safe, and terror and mayhem has replaced peace and harmony.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/16-Sep-17/the-aftermath-of-911


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/mr-jinnah-and-the-rohingya-by-akbar-ahmed--new-age-islam-s-selection,-16-september-2017/d/112541


Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.