Original Articles

Fake criticism of Pakistan army by a budding writer Shahid Saeed

Related post: A rebuttal to Mosharraf Zaidi and other apologists of the military state of Pakistan – by Sumantra Maitra

Fake criticism of military establishment

Fake critical letter to ISI chief by Ejaz Haider

Three musketeers and the “PPP abandoned Salmaan Taseer” narrative

An open letter to President Zardari — by Shahid Saeed

“Civil” Society must stop blaming the PPP: A rebuttal to Naveen Naqvi and the ‘Twitter Opportunists Club’

 

“All praise is for the Almighty who bestowed sovereignty upon the army, then made the people subservient to the army and the army subservient to its own interests” — Justice M R Kayani

Lately, we have been witnessing a relatively new phenomenon in Pakistan’s mainstream and alternative media: fake criticism of Pakistan army by some known and some budding proxies of the military establishment, some of whom are themselves a product of military academies including the author in Dawn who is advising the PPP government to make use of the ‘most opportune moment’ in Pakistan’s history, grab the reins of power, conduct a public inquiry into Pakistan army’s collusion with Al Qaeda/Taliban, and be a casualty in the whole process (the ultimate aim of the FCS proxies).

The author doest not even attempt to hide his concern for the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and defence by the US invaders:

At cruise speed, terrain hugging and avoiding radars, a UH-60 “Blackhawk” (or even the secretive stealth helicopter that are rumoured to have been used, although non-stealth Chinooks are alleged to have provided support too) would have easily spent more than 30 minutes inside Pakistani territory before the soldiers roped down into the compound. A 40-minute operation and then the return ride. In all, the US team spent at least an hour-and-a-half inside Pakistan and we failed to respond? Were our radars jammed completely? Did we even fail to respond to visual sighting of a bunch of helicopters? Is our response time so slow? With three regimental centres in a highly militarised town, no one was able to answer to a 40-minute ground operation by foreign forces? Are our defenses so inept and weak? Did we scramble jets? When did we, if, realise that it was a friendly country conducting an anti-terrorism raid and not “the enemy”? What is the purpose of keeping the armed forces if they consume such a large chunk of our budget and fail to respond to nothing less than an invasion that lasted for 90 full minutes?….The questions I pose are the multitude that people from various facets of life and inclinations ask. They ask what would happen if India were to carry out the “surgical strike” that their jingoists threaten of? They ask, yes India is not the United States, but how could our air defense systems be so easily jammed and fooled and tricked? They ask, what is the response time to an invasion? What is the purpose of an Army that let’s others not just operate in its territory, but come in, operate and go back? So, today, we are at a point where the Army’s defenses are weak….

I do not aim to demonise the military here. Our soldiers have laid down immense sacrifices for the protection of our boundaries. They have protected us from threats, both internal and external. Even today, make no mistake, we are at a state of war for such a large active deployment of soldiers is nothing short of a full-fledged war, and they are the constant targets of the forces of evil and enemies of humanity.

We will advise the author to read the following excellent post by Ali Sher Mussali: 10 radars urgently needed by Pakistan army and Al Qaeda

Did someone watch yesterday’s (4 May 2011) Kamran Khan show? Did someone read Mosharraf Zaidi’s and other known proxies’ recent articles in which they ‘opportunistically’ and ‘tactfully’ criticize army but do not even feign to hide their venom against the elected government while ignoring the confines woven around the government by the military establishment.

For example, in Shahid Saeed’s article in Dawn, we read the following description of politicians: “the politicians we have are ones we elected. Incompetent, greedy and often despicable as they are (supporting rapists and honour killers)…”.

However, no such words were used for the ISI backed judges who routinely release terrorists and rapists.

While the author is right when he notes: “Come what may, a loosely tied group of non-elected, unelectable, “civil society activists” cannot bring change”, he conveniently fails to acknowledge that he himself is very much a part and parcel of the FCS lot on Twitter, which does not miss out a single opportunity to take cheap shots at politicians, AZ in particular, while completely ignoring or misrepresenting the contributions and limitations of the political class in Pakistan.

The author’s confused mindset is abundantly obvious when he proposes “Select a few mild, calculated and efficient politicians, a Raza Rabbani and Sherry Rehman.” Do you know the credentials of these two politicians? Both are non-elected, unelectable civil society types, with at least one of them with dwindling loyalty to the PPP leadership, and the other as staunch opponent of US drones as are Messrs Imran Khan and Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Oh the joys of being an FCS!

The civilian government must boldly but carefully seize this opportunity to assert its control over the military establishment. It is their moral, social and legal responsibility.

However, one word either ignored or misused in the current discourse is ‘power’. Does the civilian government have necessary ‘power’ to take any substantive steps against the military establishment? Or would it find itself deposed and its leadership incarcerated in the aftermath of a parliamentary inquiry into the military establishment’s collusion with Al Qaeda/Taliban?

Writing in the context of the Raymond Davis saga, Cyril Almeida thus describes the power dynamic in Pakistan:

By now the cat is out of the bag. When the interior minister, the ex- foreign minister and the all-powerful spy chief met to decide the fate of Raymond Davis, two of those gents were of the opinion that Davis doesn’t enjoy ‘full immunity’. One of those two has now been fired by Zardari. The other, well, if Zardari tried to fire him, the president might find himself out of a job first.

In other words, instead of powerless committees, there is a need that we, the people of Pakistan as well as the international community, encourage and enforce an enabling mechanism through a UN Commission to ensure effective elimination of Pakistan army’s jihad enterprise and erode generals’ unlimited powers in Pakistan’s society and politics. Something similar to the following proposal: https://lubpak.net/archives/47955

Then this is something much broader in scope than the careful script handed out to the fake civil society!

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri

28 Comments

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  • wow! how petty can you get. Firstly, I would like to ask how a college student is a “proxy” of anyone. Anyway, the author’s age or occupation is irrelevant to the substance of his article which anyone would agree is a harsh and unequivocal criticism of the military and the state it has brought this country to. Instead of celebrating the fact that Dawn, a rather centrist paper which usually abstains from criticizing the army, has published this unusually bold and harshly critical article, you accuse the author (baselessly) of being a proxy of the establishment.

  • Applause @ Twitter

    abidhussayn Abid Hussain
    RT @FiveRupees I hope important PPPers like @husainhaqqani read @shahidsaeed’s post http://bit.ly/msm5GU Many of us feel the same way.

    mehreenkasana Mehreen Kasana
    Grab the Reigns of Power shahid-saeed.com/2011/05/grab-t… by @shahidsaeed. Definitely worth reading.

    ASYusuf Ahmed Yusuf
    @shahidsaeed is hopefully not in Pakistan, because the boyzez must REAALY be pissed at this: Grab the Reigns of Power shahid-saeed.com/2011/05/grab-t…

    UroojZia Urooj Zia
    Belated share but definite must-read: @shahidsaeed’s brilliant take-down of the Aabpara Boizez: Grab the reins of power http://j.mp/j2sLv9

    kaalakawaa Kala Kawa
    Make sure to read @shahidsaeed’s superb post on how to deal with the army / ISI post OBL. Splendid. http://bit.ly/lxltmx

    kaalakawaa Kala Kawa
    Oh boy. Just saw an LUBP post asking for the UN to take down the Pak army because the govt can’t do it. Is this a confession or an excuse?

    ………

    TheseLongWars TLW
    @pseudorebel “PPP can’t do it alone”: Are you saying @shahidsaeed is a PakMil Agent Provocateur 😉

  • @Rabia,
    You write a very honest, pro-politician and then pro-PPP article with scathing criticism of the Army and ISI, the article will not be published in Dawn, Jang, The News etc even down to the level of The Financial Daily.
    The idea is, curse the politicians, make the necessary grounds for a military “invasion” and then be part of the “elite” media

  • a good and interesting post. instead of questioning agencies ‘role’ in OBL presence in pakistan,”analyst” r once again maligning the elected govt. 4 failing 2 ”defend” country’s ‘soveregnity’. like other GHQ proxies, fatima bhutto has again put all the blame on ”unelected” president zardari (no mention of agencies role at all).she distorted a lot of facts in her latest column in ”DAILY BEAST”.All these FCS ppl want is 2 get rid of ”zardari’s”ppp. however, ur proposal of UN’s role 2 strenghthen democracy and erode general’s unlimited powers needs further elaboration.

  • Shahid Saeeed?? But he’s just a kid.Mosharraf Zaidi’s the bigger turd. The most two-faced bozo ever.

  • According to some commentators, Hamid Mir was charged by his masters to shift the blame of the OBL fiasco to the PAF.

    Quoting Air Chief Hamid Mir wrote that US choppers were not detected as Western radars were not “active” on May 2nd.

    Hamid Mir of Geo says Pak radars were nt jammed by US..actually radars were nt working at that time.Radars work 24/7 only at Indo-Pak border

    He wrote a piece on this in Jang / The News. Then a fake civil society (FCS) blogger, Kala Kawa, came into play reinforcing what Hamid Mir had written, while completing ignoring the fact that PAF has already contradicted the baseless report (disinformation) by Hamid Mir.

    ……………

    PAF Spin Doctor
    MAY 7, 2011

    by kalakawa

    http://kalakawa.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/paf-spin-doctor

    It seems as though the military is taking the incompetence line and running with it.

    According to this Hamid Mir report from The News today, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has apparently tried to deflect blame on its radars being jammed by the US at the time of the OBL raid.

    Their excuse? The radars weren’t jammed – we just hadn’t switched them on. You really can’t make this shit up.

    Since this news report was published this morning the Pakistan Air Force has issued a statement denying that the radars weren’t operational. Too late though. The damage has been done.

    Quite clearly, the Pakistan Air Force and the military in general needs a better spin doctor. I would like to volunteer my services for this noble task. I will now present a list of excuses that would have flown better than the one actually used by the PAF.

    1) “You see, there is only one electric supply connection for both the PAF radars and the Presidency. President Zardari has made it entirely clear that his air conditioners must not go off at night or he’ll sack the entire Pakistan Military. As is clear, we had no choice but to keep the radars off to continue the defense of our great nation. Yes, we’re blaming the civilian government for our failures.”

    2) “It’s usually just considered good practice to switch all electronics off before leaving the room, wouldn’t you say?”

    3) “The Pakistan Air Force is acutely aware of the shortage of electricity in our nation. As part of the energy conservation movement launched by the sitting government we have decided to keep all radars off between 9 pm and 9 am. A replacement plan has been devised though. The Ruet-e-Hilal Committee has been hired all year long now to keep an eye on any intruding vehicles. Their ability to spot the moon for Eid is unmatched and we’re looking to bring this capacity into our national defense.”

    4) “It is with a very heart that we have to inform the nation that the individuals manning the radars all spontaneously combusted that night.”

    5) “The freedom afforded to the Pakistani media has allowed us to streamline our operations. Now we just keep our televisions on to see when the Geo and Express wallahs report on some incident. We then try and rush to the scene, but the rickshaws hired as part of the streamlining effort are often late. The tardiness of Rickshaw Wallahs is something we feel the entire nation can empathize with.”

    6) “No, no. They weren’t off, they weren’t jammed either. We identified an intrusion but the radars picked up a migratory pack of birds the other day. We scrambled our jets for nothing then. Fuel is terribly expensive, and we’re just trying to not increase the burden on the national exchequer.”

    7) “You know, sometimes there are things you just don’t need to fucking know.”

    8) “Our nuclear weapons are safe. No further questions.”

    …….

  • Omar Waraich successfully recycles to his Western audience what has been disseminated by General Kayani to Pakistani journalists.

    ………

    Kayani was adamant that the Pakistanis had no idea that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad. “We had no clear, actionable information on Osama bin Laden,” he told the journalists. “If we had it, we would have acted ourselves. No one would have questioned our performance for 10 years. It would have raised our international prestige.”
    Kayani’s argument is supported by some senior Western diplomats in Islamabad, who say that there is no conclusive evidence of Pakistani complicity. Nor have Washington’s statements alleged complicity, despite suspicions. Diplomats do not rule out the possibility that junior intelligence officers may have been involved, however. Instead of focusing on whether Pakistan was either complicit or incompetent, the explanation may lie in its lack of focus or effort. In recent years, Pakistan has chiefly concentrated on the threat from the Pakistani Taliban, to the neglect of those posed by al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.

    While Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir had earlier spoken of “strategic convergence” between Islamabad and Washington, Pakistan’s intelligence chief chose to be less emollient. Sitting near Kayani, Lieut. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha — recently included in the TIME 100 — said that despite extensive mutual assistance between the CIA and the ISI, Pakistan had made its interests clear to Washington. Pasha said he had made clear to Washington that if the U.S. were deemed to be acting against Pakistan’s interests, “We’ll not help you — we’ll resist you.”

    The consensus among diplomats and analysts is that the bin Laden debacle will compel Pakistan’s military leadership to demonstrate a greater commitment to fighting al-Qaeda. Pakistani leaders have said that neither will they tolerate, nor can they afford, further similar raids — for example, to seize al-Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri or Taliban leader Mullah Omar. That said, it is fair to assume that the ISI will seek to avoid that possibility by intensifying its efforts to find bin Laden’s deputy. At the same time, Pakistan can be expected to assert itself in ways that Washington will not like.

    Embarrassment over bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad notwithstanding, the Pakistani security establishment is angry at what it views as the first U.S. invasion of a nuclear-armed ally. It fears that neighboring India may be smiling at the vulnerability demonstrated by the American raid, and the resulting indignity is hard to swallow. The U.S. Army has decided to “reduce the strength of U.S. military personnel in Pakistan to the minimum essential,” it said in a statement on Thursday, May 5. At the closed-door briefing, Pasha indignantly claimed that his own ISI was on the verge of being “outnumbered” by foreign agents. Still, the bin Laden episode limits the security establishment’s room to maneuver in several ways.

    Until now, Pakistan’s civilian government has sat silently by, watching the military make the key decisions on national security and foreign policy and even extend its control of certain sectors of the economy.

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2069920,00.html#ixzz1LndAN2EH

  • From Twitter:

    According to @mosharrafzaidi #OBL fiasco was caused by a lack of: education & moral leadership, i.e. corrupt politicians

    http://bit.ly/iTM9XP

    ———–

    Let’s blame the prosecution: On urban liberals’ reaction to Malik Ishaq’s release

    http://pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/lets-blame-the-prosecution-on-urban-liberals-reaction-to-malik-ishaqs-release/

    Shahid Saeed, a PMA graduate, is currently under training by urban fake liberals of Pakistan

    Note: For background reading, please read these articles:
    Thank you, ISI-backed Supreme Court, for releasing Malik Ishaq

    Malik Ishaq wielded clout in jail; helped Pak army

    First the sorrow, now the fear

    It was quite educating (but not surprising) to see Pakistan’s urban liberal elite (also known as darbari liberals) reaction to the release of Malik Ishaq by ISI-backed Supreme Court of Pakistan. Instead of blaming the most powerful institution of Pakistan, i.e, Pakistan army and the judges who remain subservient to Pakistan army’s wishes, they found it convenient to blame the police and the prosecution for the release of Sipah-e-Sahaba terrorist Malik Ishaq. At least three urban liberals, namely Shahid Saeed, Ayesha Tammy Haq and Mehmal Sarfraz, were seen on Twitter blaming poor prosecution.

    Pakistani tweeple and blogger Shahid Saeed is a graduate of Pakistan Military Academy Kakool. Here is my open letter to him which offers an exemplar of my response to Pakistani urban liberals’ reaction to Malik Ishaq’s release.

    TwitPost: An Open Letter to @shahidsaeed
    —————————————————-

    Introduction:

    Sir, I am an avid reader of your posts and tweets on Pakistan politics. I hope you will take my criticism in this TwitPost in a constructive manner. I don’t mean any personal offence to you.

    I have always noticed your “harsh on politicians, soft on GHQ stance” which is amply documented elsewhere.

    I also notice that you operate in a tight network of ex-cadets and soldiers (including yourself), urban elite and their middle class aspirants.

    The following few lines may help you reconsider your position and stance on certain issues.

    Please read these tweets from bottom to top. Then read the Dawn article.

    …….

    Tweets:

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    @cpyala @tammyhaq @kaalakawaa @shahidsaeed What witness & what prosecution when State (ISI) creates & protects SSP terrorists! is it a joke?
    14 Jul

    Laibaah Laiba Ahmad Marri
    Well, Mr @shahidsaeed instead of blaming the police “pathetic investigation”, discover some honesty… and blame ISI-SCP. Shame!

    shaista_azar Shaista Azar
    @Mehmal An apologist to judiciary @Shahidsaeed came with same arguments when#Mukhtaran rapists were acquitted

    Mehmal Mehmal Sarfraz
    @JunaidGhumman yeah right. Read @shahidsaeed‘s tweet. He’s not innocent. The prosecution didn’t do their job
    14 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

    tammyhaq Ayesha Tammy Haq
    @SamadK @shahidsaeed @Ali_Abbas_Zaidi if you don’t prosecute them they will walk free, prosecution is states job. State not interested?
    14 Jul

    kursed Abdullah Saad
    Twitter logic; Judge=Prosecution. RT @shahidsaeed Evidence in SL team case against Ishaq so filmsy, hardened judge would have acquitted him.

    shahidsaeed Shahid Saeed
    Evidence in SL team case against Ishaq was so filmsy, even hardened judge would have acquitted him. pathetic investigation

    ……….

    Dawn article:

    “it is very surprising that one of the Supreme Court judges who released Malik Ishaq on bail last week scolded the prosecution and said the case was weak. The same judge, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was part of a Lahore Hight Court bench that had asked the police to close down cases of hate speech and incitement to violence, against Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. The bench would simply not accept that Jamaatud Dawa was another name for Lashkar-e-Taiba, because the new name was not present on a certain list.”

    http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/19/lashkar-e-jhangvi-and-the-lack-of-evidence.html

    Conclusion:

    There are still some people who don’t want to name and shame ISI-SCP as accomplices in continued massacres of the Shia, Baloch, Hazara etc in Pakistan. Instead, they blame poor prosecution. They must reconsider their stance.

    Written by: @laibaah

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    Posted on July 21, 2011 at 7:04 am in Original Article | RSS feed | Respond | Trackback URL

    6 Comments to “Let’s blame the prosecution: On urban liberals’ reaction to Malik Ishaq’s release”

    Person
    July 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm
    From the first page of this blog; when it launched:
    http://pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/no-minority-rights-in-pakistan-%e2%80%94by-shahid-saeed/
    You basically lifted the work of the man who you try to smear.
    May you tame the demons that haunt your mind.
    Good day to you ma’am.
    Reply

    admin
    July 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm
    @Person Apparently you are into absolutism. If an article by Shahid was published on this blogzine, does that suggest we have to agree with all of his opinions and positions. What kind of logic is that? Shahid is just an exemplar. The aim was to question the whole urban liberal class which blames prosecution not ISI and SCP, the real culprits. Demons don’t haunt us, they haunt those who don’t want to be questioned!
    Reply

    Nour
    July 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm
    Here is another critical analysis of the same urban liberal (under training) writer Shahid Saeed: Fake criticism of Pakistan army http://criticalppp.com/archives/48156
    Reply

    Person
    July 22, 2011 at 1:25 am
    If you think it’s just the bloody ISI peddling sectarian terrorists, and their evil, stupid backed judges are the “cause” of sectarianism in this country, or of sectarian madmen, let me explain it in simple slogans so that you can understand the extent of the problem you are facing.
    You know how they say “How many Bhuttos will you kill? A Bhutto will appear frm evry house”.
    Understand that there is a Mumtaz Qadri on every street corner.
    Replacing a handful of judges, sacking a few idiot generals (who also are targeted by these morons) will not solve your problem for you. It will be solved when you deal with the Mumtaz Qadri’s on every corner. How many Malik Ishaq’s can we jail, when there’s a Qadri ready to take their place?
    Attacking individual bloggers at random, rather than dealing with the disease of sectarianism in a bigotted society, will not solve your underlying problem of more Ishaq’s and more Qadri’s that are always ready to go.
    Reply

    admin
    July 22, 2011 at 3:52 am
    @Person You came with yet another apology for the ISI? You are unable to acknowledge that the whole Jihad Enterprise of Pakistan army, courtesy Saudi money and ISI’s machinery, is involved in creating bigoted and sectarian footsoldiers for jihad in Afghanistan, Kashmir and elsewhere. The LeT/JuD, Haaqani network, TTP, JeM, Deobandi and Wahhabi madrassahs across Pakistan, brainwashing of masses through Islamofascit media and curriculum, all of these are a product of the Jihad Enterprise.
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/33078
    Ask a Toori in Kurram, a Baloch or Hazara in Quetta or a Saraiki in D.I.Khan, they will tell you how Pakistan army institutionally supports jihadi and sectarian monsters.
    The disease of sectarianism in Pakistan is as non-existent as it is in India and elsewhere. The target killing of Shias and other groups is a natural outcome of the Jihad Enterprise which I don’t expect you to understand.

  • Blaming the victim brigade:
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/41737

    Three musketeers and the “PPP abandoned Salmaan Taseer” narrative
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/37948

    Salman Taseer’s murder and the footsoldiers of media (e.g. Samad Khurram) – by Qudsia Siddiqui
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/36827

    An open letter to Rehman Malik – by Sana Saleem
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/37320

    Focus on religious madrassahs and their mentors instead of Rehman Malik – by Dr. Saifurrehman
    http://criticalppp.com/archives/42022

    An open letter to President Zardari — I —Shahid Saeed

    You and your party isolated Salmaan Taseer and Sherry Rehman. Babar Awan, Khursheed Shah and all others who said that the just stance of Taseer and Rehman was not the party position, fed Taseer to the dogs

    On a cold and dark day in Islamabad, an elite force commando snatched from this nation its most vocal, secular and liberal politician, the proudest supporter of minorities, a husband, a father and a friend of many (including yours, sir).

    In a province where no one other than the law minister enjoyed relations with a banned terrorist organisation — the manifesto of which, mind you, is to kill all Shias and Mr President they do not think otherwise of one in the highest office of the country either — Taseer condemned terrorism and sympathy for extremists. In a country where the 2-3 percent of minorities are persecuted by the majority without any fear of the law, he chose to become the voice of the oppressed fully knowing the consequences. In a country where the media gives airtime to obscure mullahs who preach hatred and declared head-money for people accused of blasphemy, he vowed to come to the defence of the tyrannized. Even after being declared an apostate, he remained fully resolved and graciously (and sadly prophetically) acknowledged that his fate might not be so bright. And yet, the party chose to remain silent.

    You and your party isolated Salmaan Taseer and Sherry Rehman. Babar Awan, Khursheed Shah and all others who said that the just stance of Taseer and Rehman was not the party position, fed Taseer to the dogs. Your very own prime minister deserted him; your party abandoned him when he chose to stand up for a dispossessed and poor woman.

    Cowing down in front of the wishes of the hate-mongering mullahs is the worst thing the Pakistan People’s Party can do, and has done. Finding opportunity in someone’s death and using someone’s death for personal or political gain is outright wrong. I cannot and must not claim that Taseer would have given his life to save the minorities from the wrath of the blasphemy laws, but I know he did the next best thing, the best thing a human could have done. Recognising all consequences, he chose to become the voice of the oppressed minorities and the bigots who declared him an apostate, who have killed hundreds of under trail and acquitted blasphemy accused, who have made this country a burning hell, killed him. If in his death you do not choose to honour his memory by coming out in support of an amendment in the blasphemy law — if not an outright repeal — you will let him have died in vain.

    The demagogues and fire-breathing talk show anchors have bloods on their hands as well. The flamed warped religious debate around the blasphemy law and allowed many a maniac to nearly call for Taseer’s death. The media should remain free, but there must be oversight to make sure that the self-styled guardians of public morality and conscience who did play an indirect role in Taseer’s assassination are incarcerated when they play bigoted tunes on national airwaves. In the aftermath of Taseer’s death, many an anchor chose to fake words of compassion for him. A month or so ago, nearly all of them could be heard provoking Taseer’s lynching and murder. Progressives in Pakistan are scared, and rightly so. It is a dark world with millions of Qadris strolling in the streets and with a media willing to give an unquestionably large amount of airtime to religious parties who hold a near negligible electoral representation; it provides the Qadris visible targets.

    With Salmaan Taseer’s untimely death, Pakistan has learnt that there is no space for tolerance and debate on the blasphemy laws. Even after his death, the Pakistan People’s Party has failed to initiate the essential and needed debate on blasphemy laws. The interior minister’s words that he will kill a blasphemer if he saw one are blasphemy to the very memory of Salmaan Taseer (and a crime itself since he is talking of taking the law in his own hands); he could not have been any more insensitive to the memory of the great man who never minced his words and did not wear a blanket of hypocrisy to cover his often controversial views.

    (To be continued)

    The writer is interested in history and public policy. He can be reached at shahid@live.com.pk

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C01%5C07%5Cstory_7-1-2011_pg3_6

    VIEW: An open letter to President Zardari — II — Shahid Saeed

    Wrapped in the coffin of Salmaan Taseer was not just the body of a mortal but ideas, expressions, feelings and socio-political ideals. We buried not just a man, but reason, sanity, tolerance, liberalism, secularism and compassion

    The members of Jamaat-e-Ahle Sunnat Pakistan did not bring your party to power nor does the PPP represent the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan. Tahaffuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz members do not vote for your party and you did not get elected because of the Sunni Tehrik. The Hindu, Christian and Ahmedi citizens of Pakistan do not look up to these parties for their rights; they look at parties like yours. Nearly all of the three million Pakistanis who follow the Hindu faith live in Sindh. Nearly all of them vote for the Pakistan People’s Party.

    Investigation from your very own minister for minorities affairs found Asia Noreen to be innocent. A doctor has been accused of blasphemy for throwing away the card of a pharmaceutical company representative. Justice Arif Hussain Bhatti took bullets in the chest for giving justice to an innocent accused of blasphemy.

    Extremism and fanaticism manifest themselves in various forms — in the form of hate-mongering against other faiths and in the form of lack of tolerance for any opinion deemed in violation of what is considered divinely ordained law. The cancer of extremism has permeated each and every inch of this society, from those who blow themselves up in the middle of crowded markets to those who sympathise with them or even try to defend them. Zia’s legacy cannot be eroded by an 18th Amendment or removal of his name from the president’s list. His legacy remains alive in the form of the blasphemy laws, the Hudood Laws and all other discriminatory laws. His legacy remains alive in the form of every bomber that blows himself up in the streets and bazaars of this unfortunate country. His legacy remains alive in the form of the assassination of your own wife.

    The very basic problem with laws promulgated in the name of religion remains that the doors of any subsequent change are closed forever and the very issue of debate on their legality, their fairness and their effects becomes controversial.

    Lately, you have claimed that politics is about making unpopular decisions for the greater good. Here is an unpopular decision that is definitely worth orchestrated agitation. Here is an unpopular decision you can make that will give the six million citizens of minority faiths a nice sleep for the first time in their lives. Here is an unpopular decision that will prove to be the first one in making Pakistan a modern progressive state that does not condone murder in the name of religion.

    His death carries a message for all liberals in Pakistan, a mark on their heads for the Qadris to ascend to their imagined heavens. It possibly brings vocal liberalism to an end on the political stage. If the PPP is to continue abandoning principled, courageous, humane and compassionate politicians, then there will be no more Salmaan Taseers or Sherry Rehmans to strengthen the party.

    Wrapped in the coffin of Salmaan Taseer was not just the body of a mortal but ideas, expressions, feelings and socio-political ideals. We buried not just a man, but reason, sanity, tolerance, liberalism, secularism and compassion. His presence will forever be missed. It will be missed even more if the PPP fails to honour his memory and continues to act like a crowd of sheep, unwilling to flex its muscles and resist the agitation instigated by bigots.

    Taseer’s death should not dissuade you from pursuing an amendment in the notoriously abused law. In his death, Salmaan Taseer has become the symbolic champion of minority rights, the face of liberal and progressive politics in Pakistan. A state that ignores death-chanting slogans from mullahs and lets people garland a murderer has surrendered itself to the extremists. If the PPP wishes to remain silent on the blasphemy laws even now, it might as well have assassinated Taseer itself and became the voice of the street mullahs and the Taliban. Otherwise, it will honour the memory of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer and support the bill put forward by Sherry Rehman. The choice is yours to make.

    (Concluded)

    The writer is interested in history and public policy. He can be reached at shahid@live.com.pk

    URL: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\01\08\story_8-1-2011_pg3_6

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