Original Articles

LUBP condemns bullying of Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa by pro-establishment media persons and thinktanks

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LUBP condemns systematic bullying of Pakistan’s prominent anti-establishment scholar Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa by pro-ISI journalists and thinktanks via social and mainstream media.

On Twitter, facebook and other forums, various pro-establishment persons including Ejaz Haider, Mosharraf Zaidi, Adil Najam, Huma Yusuf, Arif Rafiq, General Talat Masood, Tauqir Hussain, Zahid Hussain etc are currently busy in bullying and silencing Dr. Siddiqa. The above persons along with their US-counterparts and sponsors have also written a letter to the Times of India as a part of their anti-Siddiqa harassment campaign. The content of the bullying letter is reproduced below:

No ISI agent-scholars
This letter is in response to the allegations made by Ayesha Siddiqa in her tweets against Pakistani intellectuals working for think tanks in Washington DC, which were reproduced in an article in The Times of India, ‘ISI has infiltrated US think tanks, Pak scholar says’ (June 30).
The story is based on unsubstantiated but extreme allegations targeting respected scholars. Not a single scrap of evidence has been offered for the vicious suggestion that our colleagues work for the Pakistani intelligence services. This is not the first time Siddiqa has made such accusations and these are not the only people to have faced such attacks. Siddiqa’s action is simply a disgraceful attempt to malign fellow experts with whom she disagrees.
This is only the most recent example of a disturbing trend in public debate where disagreement is dealt with by accusations of someone working for one intelligence agency or the other. Any such baseless insinuations against respected scholars not only harm the individuals concerned, they also undermine free and honest intellectual debate concerning Pakistan. We wish to state clearly that such behaviour has no place in any civilised and democratic discourse, no matter who the people involved are.
toi

Copy of original letter and list of bullies

Source: http://www.scribd.com/doc/151893041/Letter-Concerning-Ayesha-Siddiqa-s-Allegations

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Lieven’s original letter that he circulated to think tank folks begging for their signatures.

Dear Sir/Madam,
This letter is in response to the allegations made by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa in her tweets against Pakistani intellectuals working for think tanks in Washington DC, which were reproduced in The Times of India article of June 30th 2013, “entitled ISI has infiltrated US thintanks, Pak scholar says.”
Dr Siddiqa has not offered a single scrap of evidence for her vicious suggestion that our colleagues work for Pakistani intelligence. This is not the first time she has made such allegations and these are not the only people to have faced such attacks by her. Dr Siddiqa’s action is simply a morally and intellectually disgraceful attempt to slander fellow experts with whom she disagrees. Such baseless insinuations do not only harm the individuals concerned; they also undermine free and honest intellectual debate concerning Pakistan. We wish to state clearly that such behavior has no place in civilized and democratic discourse, and we call on Dr Siddiqa immediately to retract and apologise for her statement.

Yours sincerely,

Anatol Lieven
Department of War Studies
King’s College London
Strand
London WC2R 2LS
UK

Despite LUBP’s minor disagreement with Dr. Siddiqa (in particular her participation in programmes organized by the ISI-funded Jinnah Institute, which gives legitimacy to that notorious ISI-front and doesn’t help her own credibility), we fully support her anti-establishment stance and condemn those pro-ISI media persons and analysts who are trying to silence or discredit her voice.

Here’s the context:

ISI has infiltrated US thinktanks, Pak scholar says

A few days ago, Dr. Siddiqa, Pakistan’s prominent anti-establishment scholar caused a flutter in Washington and Islamabad by suggesting that the country’s spy outfit Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has infiltrated thinktanks in the US capital. Dr. Siddiqa, a political commentator and former bureaucrat, whose expose of Pakistan’s military-intelligence’s stranglehold on the country was chronicled in her book ‘Military Inc’, shocked regional experts with a tweets, relating how a Pakistani diplomat had confided to an American six years ago that the ISI had set up funds to infiltrate DC (Washington) thinktanks and ”finally did it.”

”The only problem with this approach is they are sending unqualified people (mostly) to compete with Indians in the US,” Siddiqa continued, adding, ”non-PhDs” without any publication record will not be taken seriously in the US capital. She also named Moeed Yusuf, a senior Pakistan expert at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) and Arif Rafique, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, in her tweets.

A few months ago, USIP worked on a joint report with Islamabad based thinktank Jinnah Institute (alleged to be financed by the ISI via Tameer Bank, directed by Najam Sethi’s employee blogger Raza Rumi), the report recommended that Pakistan and US governments should have dialogue with Taliban paving way for Mullah Omar’s rule in Kabul and Kandahar, consistent with ISI’s agendas.

Not surprisingly, quite a few pro-ISI media persons and analysts (Arif Rafiq, Ejaz Haider, Mosharraf Zaidi etc) countered Dr Siddiqa’s charges by describing them as conspiracy theories and lies.

Siddiqa maintained that her ”only concern is if they have to do it then send people with capacity or grow people inside the system” and said the ”current plan is flop.” For thinktanks, ”the main issue is money, whoever can put down a grant gets the slot,” she said, explaining how Pakistan was making inroads into think tanks.

There has indeed been a perceptible increase in Pakistani experts in US thinktanks and universities over the past decade, many of whom have visible or refined connections with the ISI. Among the prominent Pakistani scholars in Washington DC are Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at Atlantic Council (who incidentally is the brother of former army chief Asif Nawaz Janjua) and several former Pakistani diplomats who have rotated in an out of the city.

Former Pakistan ambassadors to US such as Hussain Haqqani and Maleeha Lodhi have done stints at thinktanks, as have former generals-turned-diplomats, notably Jehangir Karamat and Mahmud Ali Durrani. The ISI has already gotten into trouble before for subverting U.S political process when it was accused of funding Ghulam Nabi Fai, a Kashmiri separatist in Washington who was eventually convicted of illegal lobbying after receiving slush funds from Pakistani intelligence agency. The Obama administration cut some slack to the notorious outfit that is often said to work against U.S interests because it thinks it needs its cooperation on various fronts.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-30/us/40285947_1_moeed-yusuf-pakistan-scholar

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Update: Ejaz Haider, Mosharraf Zaidi and Arif Rafiq seem to have added a few names in the list of signatories in their letter to the Times of India. On Twitter, Michael Kugelman ‏wrote that “A letter published in Times of India lists my name as one of the signatories. I did NOT give my permission to have my name listed. My name was apparently listed in error as one of signatories. Just trying to correct the record.”.

We condemn this act of forgery by pro-ISI media persons and analysts.

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Anatol Lieven has been known to have soft corner for Mujahid e Islam Zia ul Haq. The signatories on this letter for the most part seem to be pro Pakistan Establishment. In some ways this lends credence to Ayesha Siddiqa’s stance:

Anatol Lieven has published a new book on Pakistan: Pakistan a Hard country. I had read some nice reviews on the book including one here at Pak Tea House.

I was about to order his book to get his insight into Pakistan, when by accident I came across this obituary he wrote on Zia-ul Haq:

He won respect even from some of his political enemies for his lack of vindictiveness. It was said his repression , unlike that of his predecessor stopped with individuals and was not extended to attempts to destroy their families. From that point of view he had some claim..to be remembered as an honourable man
–Anatol Lieven the Times of London

Needless to say, those last two words made me change my mind…”
http://takhalus.blogspot.com/2011/05/pakistan-anatol-lieven.html?m=1

 

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Evidence of bullying on Twitter

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12 Comments

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  • The bullying here is being done by Ayesha Siddiqa – a serial bully – and, of course and as usual, by LUBP

  • My letter to ToI:

    Subject: Story by your correspondent based on my twitter comments

    This is regarding a story run by your paper titled “ISI has infiltrated US think tanks, Pak scholar says” on June 30th. This is a story based on three different but loosely related conversation threads made to look like a scoop. I hope you will appreciate that given the word limit twitter discussions are often sketchy and do not represent the entire conversation behind it. It would have made greater sense and professionally correct had he spoken to me or tweeted me asking to explain the context. I would have told him that I was not suggesting that these people were formally part of ISI but that I have issue with their narrative that paddles a peculiar perspective. The manner in which he did the story, has raised concerns about people’s security certainly mine.

    I hope you will also appreciate that the urge to do a scoop or a ‘tasty’ story cannot be delinked with some ethics and sense of morality. Given the nature of India-Pakistan relations this story has done nothing but endorse the perception that Indian government/analysts/media will target Pakistan at the first possible opportunity. I am sure you will agree that in the interest of the region it will make sense that we all indulge in responsible behavior. Your reporter certainly had his own angle because then he stretched the tweets to include other people as well that were on his radar.

    Regards
    Ayesha Siddiqa

    —————

    salma jafar ‏@Chiltan 54m
    looking at the names of many of these signatories i don’t blame @iamthedrifter for saying what she said!

    salma jafar ‏@Chiltan 18m
    Ayesha Siddiqs’s letter to TOI https://www.facebook.com/ayesha.siddiqa.351?hc_location=timeline … @ArifCRafiq @francescam63 @mazdaki
    Details Reply Retweet Favorite More
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 17m
    @Chiltan I’m not on Facebook. What does it say?
    Details
    salma jafar ‏@Chiltan 13m
    @ArifCRafiq it’s a clarification, also asking TOI reporter 2 indulge in responsible behavior as he made up a scoop from diff convos/tweets
    Details
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 9m
    @Chiltan She’s mostly at fault. She said these things on Twitter, which is accessible to 200 hundred million+ people.
    Details
    salma jafar ‏@Chiltan 7m
    @ArifCRafiq how can it be 200 m ppl – her account is locked
    Details
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 6m
    @Chiltan Right. I forgot about that. But still accessible to the thousands who follow her — including journalists.
    Details

    Follow

    salma jafar
    ‏@Chiltan
    @ArifCRafiq but she’s right on twitter how can ppl make up stories linking up loose convos & tweets
    Reply Retweet Favorite More
    9:01 PM – 5 Jul 13
    Tweet text
    Reply to @Chiltan @ArifCRafiq

    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 3m
    @Chiltan That doesn’t makes sense. If you click on the original tweet, you’ll see that the ones he cited were all part of a single thread.

    Expand
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 7m
    @Chiltan She does the same thing in person. Angry, drunken rants about others. I’ve seen her do it on her blog too.
    Expand
    salma jafar ‏@Chiltan 5m
    @ArifCRafiq i don’t know Arif people have the right to their views and to express them – we can’t and should not gag their voices!
    Expand
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 4m
    @Chiltan There is a difference between expressing your views and making libelous accusations.
    Expand
    salma jafar ‏@Chiltan 3m
    @ArifCRafiq she clarified it ” I was not suggesting that these people were formally part of ISI but that I have issue with their narrative”
    Hide conversation Reply Retweet Favorite More
    9:04 PM – 5 Jul 13 · Details
    Tweet text
    Reply to @Chiltan @ArifCRafiq
    Image will appear as a link
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 2m
    @Chiltan That’s not true. She made a direct insinuation. Now she’s backtracking because she doesn’t want to take responsibility.
    Expand
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 1m
    @Chiltan She thought she could just say BS about me on Twitter. I saw her tweets and responded. She soon blocked me.
    Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More
    Arif Rafiq ‏@ArifCRafiq 51s
    @Chiltan What she tried to do to me is a mirror image of what the establishment has done with her. She is a hypocrite.

    Mohammad Taqi ‏@mazdaki 1h
    #July5th Do read Zia-Ul-Haq’s obituary by Prof Anatol Lieven courtesy @shahidsaeed http://www.shahid-saeed.com/2011/08/the-one-who-crashed-into-basti-lal-kamal/ … & @takhalus http://takhalus.blogspot.com/2011/05/pakistan-anatol-lieven.html?m=1

  • @Aliya aka Arif Rafiq

    The original letter was removed by you from scribd after Michael Kugelman publicly dissociated from it.

    Scribd ids of both links are different.

    ISI is known for choosing dumb people as its proxies. You are no exception.

  • WASHINGTON: Twenty-six prominent scholars, journalists, former ambassadors and ex-generals have issued a joint statement denying that ISI had infiltrated some US think tanks, a charge leveled by a Pakistani scholar in an Indian newspaper.

    “This letter is in response to the allegations made by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa in her tweets against Pakistani intellectuals working for think tanks in Washington DC, which were reproduced in The Times of India article of June 30th 2013, entitled ‘ISI has infiltrated US think tanks, Pak scholar says,’” they stated.

    “The Times of India chose to carry a story based on unsubstantiated but extreme allegations targeting respected scholars; and neither Dr Siddiqa nor the editors have offered a single scrap of evidence for the vicious suggestion that our colleagues work for the Pakistani intelligence services. This is not the first time Dr Siddiqa has made such accusations and these are not the only people to have faced such attacks. Dr Siddiqa’s action is simply a disgraceful attempt to malign fellow experts with whom she disagrees,” they state.

    “This is only the most recent example of a disturbing trend in public debate where disagreement is dealt with by accusations of someone working for one intelligence agency or the other. Any such baseless insinuations against respected scholars not only harm the individuals concerned; they also undermine free and honest intellectual debate concerning Pakistan. We wish to state clearly that such behavior has no place in any civilised and democratic discourse, no matter who the people involved are”.

    “We call on Dr Siddiqa either to provide concrete evidence for her allegations, or immediately to retract and apologise for her statement; and we call on Times of India to refrain from propagating such unsubstantiated mudslinging.”

    The statement has been signed by Safiya Aftab, Peter Bergen, Dr Wendy Chamberlin, Rasul Baksh Rais, Dr Stephen Cohen, Sheila Fruman, Ejaz Haider, Yasser Latif Hamdani, Emma Hooper, Amb Tauqir Hussain, Zahid Hussain, Ayesha Jalal, Saba Khattak, Anatol Lieven, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood, Amb Cameron Munter, Dr Adil Najam, Dr Paula Newberg, Dr Paolo Cotta Ramusino, Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi, Dr Abid Suleri, Dr Marvin Weinbaum. Dr Anita Weiss, Dr Andrew Wilder, Huma Yusuf and Mosharraf Zaidi.
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-23916-Scholars-diplomats-blast-charge-of-being-ISI-agents

  • Anatol Lieven has published a new book on Pakistan: Pakistan a Hard country. I had read some nice reviews on the book including one here at Pak Tea House.
    I was about to order his book to get his insight into Pakistan, when by accident I came across this obituary he wrote on Zia-ul Haq:
    He won respect even from some of his political enemies for his lack of vindictiveness. It was said his repression , unlike that of his predecessor stopped with individuals and was not extended to attempts to destroy their families. From that point of view he had some claim..to be remembered as an honourable man
    –Anatol Lieven the Times of London
    Needless to say, those last two words made me change my mind…”
    http://takhalus.blogspot.com/2011/05/pakistan-anatol-lieven.html?m=1

  • 21 Feb 2013

    Who’s afraid of Ayesha Siddiqa? — Dr Mohammad Taqi

    Dr Siddiqa’s 2007 masterpiece Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy clearly did not win her any friends amongst Lieven’s friends

    There is no indication that the dark night of Takfiri terrorism is about to lift its heinous shadow from Quetta’s Shia Hazara. Are 40 days enough of a respite for the Hazara to be digging mass graves for their loved ones again? The terrorists of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) appear to think so. Just as the Hazara Shia were about to commemorate the Chehlum — the 40th day of mourning — of those killed in the January 10 Alamdar Road bombing, death rained again on Hazara Town this past weekend. Over 110 Hazaras — about half of them women and children — perished. Toothless condemnations from spineless politicians have already poured in. But those really running the show in Balochistan are quiet. For them the Shia genocide in Pakistan is simply the cost of doing business, a price that has to be paid for the ‘greater good’.
    In the past, this ‘greater good’ was merely wars in Afghanistan and Kashmir but over the last few years the same formula is being applied in Balochistan. We have previously noted here that the LeJ was inducted into Balochistan by its khaki patrons to undermine the Baloch movement just like Gulbudin Hikmatyar and the Taliban’s ilk were used to undercut the Pashtun nationalist movement. The idea is to neutralize the Baloch nationalist struggle and keep the Baloch people and their resources under the praetorian thumb. If these jihadi terrorists take out a few ‘heretic’ Shia along the way, the patrons look the other way. If such ‘collateral damage’ happens to be in Quetta city, better yet. From the security establishment’s perspective nothing throws a spanner in the Baloch liberation struggle better than a war in and over Quetta. A free-for-all between the LeJ Balochistan — now largely manned by ethnic Baloch/Brahuis — the Hazaras and the Pashtuns, provides a reason for increasing the military’s presence in Balochistan to hunt down the nationalists while protecting the jihadist assets.
    However, the state-sponsored narrative remains that a few fringe jihadists gone rogue are targeting the Shia. And then there is the ubiquitous smokescreen that the Shia genocide in Pakistan is a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Pro-army analysts were the first ones to paint the target on the Hazaras’ back. Baseless claims were made about Iran funding the Pakistani Shia, especially the Hazara. The fact is that Iran has not provided a single gun to the Pakistani Shia let alone run a training camp. Contrast this with the scores of Saudi-funded madrassas-cum-camps littering the length and breadth of Pakistan. Not one government/public installation has ever been targeted by any Shia. And never mind that the martyred leaders like Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer and Bashir Bilour were anything but Iranian proxies. Still the obfuscation goes on, including unfortunately by otherwise enlightened writers. Even the international media outlets like the BBC hesitate to identify the victims for who they are: the Shia, and why they are being killed: because of their faith. When questioned on twitter a BBC Urdu producer taunted that it is easy to say things bluntly when sitting in the USA. Well, the last time I checked the BBC was still based in London. A few hours later, the BBC Urdu website did add the word Shia in its story on the Quetta carnage!
    When the eminent scholar and defence analyst Dr Ayesha Siddiqa wrote a piece, “Who’s afraid of the Karachi Literature Festival?” describing why she was declared persona non grata and debarred from the Karachi Literary Festival (KLF), another BBC producer tweeted: “Just because she was not invited she is making it a public issue.” One finds such remarks and taunts in poor taste and symptomatic of a bigger problem, i.e. the laziness and hyper-nationalism pervasive in sections of the Pakistani media creeping into reputable international media outlets. Dr Siddiqa has herself stated that she was kept out of the KLF because she was perceived as a stern moderator by the pro-Pakistan army author Anatol Lieven at last year’s KLF.
    I am afraid that Dr Siddiqa is looking at just the tip of the iceberg. Dr Siddiqa’s 2007 masterpiece Military Inc: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy clearly did not win her any friends amongst Lieven’s friends. Dr Siddiqa has described the Pakistan army as the country’s largest business conglomerate that holds large — at times the largest — chunks of the banking, industrial, real estate, agriculture, transport and construction sectors of the Pakistani economy. Little wonder that Islamabad Club and major hotels refused, under duress apparently, to hold her book’s launching ceremony. But perhaps Dr Siddiqa’s cardinal ‘sin’ is that she has described the military as an economic class that is out to keep its chokehold on the nation’s resources through whatever means necessary in the name of welfare of the servicemen ostensibly, but really for the preservation and enhancement of the privileged officer class. This effectively redefines the military-nation relationship paradigm as a predatory phenomenon, where the security establishment is robbing the nation blind.

    The western capitals were ecstatic about the latest edition of the Pakistan army Green Book showing that outfit’s thinking is changing vis-à-vis the internal threat from extremists. The compendium emphasising information warfare opens with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s message about attaining politico-military objectives through Information Operations and without using force. But before one gets ones’ hopes too high and starts looking for Hakeemulla Mehsud, Malik Ishaq or Mullah Fazlullah’s names among the internal enemies, chapter one serves as a serious reality check for anyone under an illusion that the army think is changing, when it identifies the ‘enemy within’. This chapter titled, “A treatise on Indian backed psychological warfare against Pakistan”, is written by a Brigadier Umar Farooq Durrani who slanders Dr Ayesha Siddiqa for among other things, taking “material marked as top secret to India”. After reading the drivel against Dr Siddiqa, things started falling into place. Keeping her, and a few others like her, out of the KLF and mainstream media is not coincidental, as that BBC producer would want one to believe. I recalled Iftikhar Arif’s immortal lines: Yeh raat yoonhi to dushman naheen humari keh hum/Darazi e shab-e-gham kay sabab se waqif hein (The dark shadows do not persecute us without reason/[They hound us] For we know the cause of this darkness long-drawn-out).

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013%5C02%5C21%5Cstory_21-2-2013_pg3_2#.Udc9gCDMCZE.twitter

  • Who’s afraid of the Karachi Literature Festival?: Ayesha Siddiqa
    FEBRUARY 16, 2013
    tags: Anatol Lieven, Ayesha Siddiqa, Karachi Literature Festival, Pakistan, Pakistan establishment

    by Shivam Vij

    Guest post by AYESHA SIDDIQA

    Photo via Dawn.com

    Here we are seemingly in an age of intellectual freedom, burgeoning media industry and literature festivals. There are numerous festivals held all over South Asia celebrating books new and old, bringing people together for exchange of ideas. But these festivals seem to be wrapped in their own politics. In some cases, certain cliques that want to encourage a peculiar perspective dominate the show. I understood this through my interaction with the Karachi Literature Festival.

    Not being part of any clique or gang, I slept through the preparation of the KLF. However, I was woken up by Dr Mohammad Waseem, the professor of politics at the Lahore University of Managament Sciences. He contacted me more than a month ago asking me to join him in a panel on political parties that he was organizing at the festival. I agreed and then waited to hear from Oxford University Press, Pakistan, which is the hand behind the festival. Dr Waseem contacted OUP thrice to send me an invite which never happened. Later, I was informed by an insider that I should not expect an invitation The KLF organisers, mainly the managing director of OUP over my moderation of a panel in KLF last year. The panel had showcased British journalist Anatol Lieven, author of Pakistan: A Hard Country.

    In February 2012 I was invited by the managing director OUP, Ameena Syed, to moderate the session with Anatol Lieven. I agreed. It was not until I reached Karachi and saw the updated programme that I found the session was the only one with three moderators. I spoke with Nadeem Farooq Paracha and others who were part of the organising. No one had any inkling of what had transpired. Later, I found out that the change was done personally by Ms Syed on insistence of Anatol Lieven. I decided to walk out but was requested by a member of the British Council not to do so. Instead, the gent decided to intervene and arrange a session to find a way out of the problem through a meeting between Anatol Lieven who was clearly hesitant and resisted my moderating the session. The final negotiated settlement was that I would get 20 minutes and the other two moderators 10 minutes each. To my knowledge Lieven tried again to push me off the session even as we entered the hall to start the programme. The OUP and KLF’s efforts were focused on pampering the gora sahib as they never bothered to explain or apologise for the manner in which I was pushed around to bring a smile on Lieven’s face.

    The issue here is not about getting invited or not getting invited to a festival. KLF indeed has the right to invite whoever they want. However, this is about preserving the precious space for exchange of ideas and defending the right to not get curbed in this manner. Literature festivals become happening places only when they encourage or allow a free exchange of views. Why should a writer get punished and ostracised because his/her views are not met with approval by the powerful military establishment of a country? Or why should the Pushtoons not get an opportunity to present their point of view and their space be taken by others not really familiar with their politics or culture?

    Some tender-hearted people believe that I was harsh on Lieven. Was I? During our lunch negotiations for moderating his panel I had told Anatol that I had experienced worse when my book came out. I was accused of having been funded by India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Our conversation on the KLF floor, on the other hand, would be purely on academic merit. And this is what it was. Wonder why the tender-hearted considered me harsh on Lieven when all that I did was ask him questions about some of the arguments he made in his book. For instance, how could he claim, based on just one odd remark, that General Zia’s ten years had no adverse impact on the country? Or why did he talk disparagingly about Pakistani liberals when most positive constitutional or legal changes were because of efforts made by some genuine liberals in the country? Is it harsh to question an author when he does not mention even once the army’s involvement in creating and strengthening patronage politics in Pakistan? The argument on KLF’s stage in February 2012 was not on personal issues but academic ones.

    Why did Anatol Lieven behave that way? I suppose he is smarter of the two of us in understanding how magic and glamour is created to capture the audience in today’s world. In an age when indigenous stories are dying and globalisation means converting things for an international market, the sales pitch matters. Today, writers such as Lieven understand the worth of being strategic. Publicise the book not just through dominating literary festivals but also through muzzling voices that challenge your discourse. There are influential set of writers who ensure that conferences, literary festivals and such are dominated by friendly voices.

    Recently, I was informed of another event at LUMS in which my name and that of another speaker was struck off the list of invitees just because we challenged Humaira Iqtidar’s notion of LeT/JuD and JI having a ‘secularising’ influence on Pakistan. Post-modernist scholars on Islam seem to have ganged up with the supporters of Pakistan’s military establishment to create an environment where no one can challenge their perspective. I wish all power to the pens of Anatol Lieven, Humaira Iqtidar and others of their ideology. However, let these people not use their positions in British and American academia to block and muzzle alternative opinions. A free, indigenous intellectual discourse is critical for any society’s growth. My protest is not against Lieven as an individual but about an environment where an academic and media mafia has become as strong as the military in Pakistan – force people to censor, block voices and curb dissent. Literary festivals are fast growing into media fests rather than places for discussion and debate.

    A couple of days ago I received a call from a senior professor asking me not to raise my concern about KLF as it may mar any future opportunity of appeasement with OUP’s managing director. My request to such safe playing opportunity-seeking professors is to not get fooled about the power of those that want to control the academia. Unless this style of doing things is not challenged they will continue to muzzle one voice after the other. For me, KLF’s behavior is an extension of a larger effort to punish me for my academic work. There are other occasions when my name was pulled out of panels on the behest of establishment-friendly lobbies. This behavior will not stop at me. This is creating an environment where no one dares question the powerful.

    (Ayesha Siddiqa is author of Military Inc and a well-known political commentator in Islamabad. She tweets as @iamthedrifter)

  • Xain Gardezi ‏@XainGardezi 6m
    Timing of bullying against @iamthedrifter alongwith article by pro talib Safi and the part played by Zia fanboy is astounding

    Murtaza Ali Shah ‏@MurtazaGeoNews 4h
    ‘Times of India’ report puts Pakistani scholar into harms way, their lives in danger @iamthedrifter http://www.examiner.com/article/times-of-india-report-puts-pak-scholar-into-harms-way

    Husain Haqqani ‏@husainhaqqani 1h
    @aliarqam Absolutely! There is no justification for bullying @iamthedrifter or anyone else for their opinions

    Xain Gardezi ‏@XainGardezi 1m
    Interesting how pak liberals, a western Zia fanboy and an ISI pro talib group journo r on the same page against @iamthedrifter

    Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri 7h
    @iamthedrifter Friends in need: ISI’s Saleem Safi in service of Anatol Lieven and Moeed Yusuf http://jang.com.pk/jang/jul2013-daily/06-07-2013/col2.htm

    Saqlain Imam ‏@imam1 1h
    @KamranShafi46 @AliAbbasTaj : We are #AgainstProvenlyWrongPolicies that’s why #WeSupportDrAyeshaSiddiqua @iamthedrifter @marvisirmed

    Rasha Taus ‏@RashaTaus 20h
    @iamthedrifter @TheRealLahori scribd document deleted.
    Perhaps some of the spineless signatories are having second thoughts?

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