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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Revolution in Pakistan Part 2

In my last post, the quick test responses indicate that there is little, if any, chance of revolution in Pakistan. However, I can still envision a better Pakistan ruling out any possibility of a repeated history of revolution in Pakistan.

https://faisalarshad.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/276d7-revolution.jpg

For the first time in our democratic history, the government is finishing off its complete, uninterrupted term. Khakis appear to have realized that their role must only be that of loyal, paid, and armed security personnel. Moreover, they have given several blows to our feudal lords since most of them happen to be villagers themselves – eradicating the feudal mindset, opening up schools, and embracing modernization. The government also seems to eradicate Taliban sanctuaries by regulating and registering Madiris of Pakistan.

Matters have also improved on our media landscape, the primary driver of informing people of their social problems. Tens of TV channel devote large airtimes exposing corruption of the ruling elite. The recent CCTV exposure of mistreatment of a bakery man on orders of Punjab Sharif’s daughter is an example of how media keeps its check on the ill doings of the elite.

Another hope for Pakistan is the rise of apparently clean political parties such as PTI. While it still lacks the street machinery with which dirty politics of Pakistan is played, we can anticipate that the oppressed masses will fuel the cause of saving Pakistan from its long held vices. Surely, PTI lacks the conventional voting machinery like street politics, hooliganism, and feudalism; but we can still presume (or hope) that a sizable majority of new voters will endorse a leader that has, to date, did little damage to our country. If the hope happens to be true, we can surely anticipate a revolution in Pakistan – for better or for worse.

                                                                                                                                                              

Revolution in Pakistan Part 1

When we say that our society is being plagued with all sorts of institutional, personal and economic evils, we essentially look forward to a revolution. Revolution, unlike evolution, is an abrupt change in a political or social order. Its basis lies in the class struggle – intended as a sudden hit to social-economic imbalance prevalent in the masses of a society, although it can be argued that revolution only results in a mere change of power.

To some, Dhaka fall was a revolution. To others, it was just the result of the gross social injustice Bengalis were subject of since the inception of Pakistan. In this sense, revolution is the point where an evolving and impeding social issue is put to a halt – only to make room for a different set of class and status quo issues.

We also get a feel of revolution every time a military dictator overthrows an elected government. We can call military takeovers as revolution as they have a lasting impact on our society following a sudden overturn of a government. Our social milieu still reflects the many impressions of Zia Islamism and Musharraf’s Enlightened Moderation. Little social or economic impact can be traced to the periods in which elected ministers ruled our country.

Our masses don’t agree on what social problem plagues and pains them the most. The country got a doze of socialism in Bhutto’s era, a doze of Islamism in Zia’s era, a doze of secularism in Musharraf’s era. I call these dozes because these times only caused more societal imbalances than balances. Ethnic and sectarian gaps kept widening despite all efforts to protect minority groups. The invention of PML (N), MQM, and ANP etc exemplify the establishment’s effort to curb unregulated revolutions.

Having highlighted the typical revolutionary actors and circumstances, the question arises whether or not Pakistan is ready for a revolution.  Here is a quick test:

Is there a social problem that hit masses of our society?

Well it depends what you call a social problem. For one, deeply rooted corruption is a social problem, but it is not the first time financial corruption happened to be an impeding problem. Development economists and I would say feudalism is the most pressing social issue, but eradicating feudalism has been a thankless task despite numerous land reforms. Happy meal, intellectually gifted, and overly liberal elites would say what all bastards say: Pakistan is an illusion and a conspiracy – leave it!

Is there a knot that will still hold the people of Pakistan?

Well religion is the only tying social knot that holds back the 98% of Pakistan from making revolutions. The other one would have been language, but the birth of Bangladesh is a testimony of how much damn do we give to language.

Do the ruling, powerful and economic elite leave space for a revolution?

It appears that the rulers of Pakistan, both in the form of democracies and dictatorships, come from the same carnivorous family. Unless their motives remain the same (securing their generations and their generations’ generations) they will keep stepping in the ring and torment the sheep called Pakistanis, all for their heavenly desires!

 

Drone Attacks in Pakistan

In 2005, Afghan-Taliban militancy affected much of the north western region of Pakistan. The US army had now realized that their manned military flights were of little efficacy in the mountain clad region spanning Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the first, the post soviet Talibans are born mountaineers as well as born militants. Secondly, the NATO forces had already suffered great losses since the 2001-02 Afghan invasions. There was a dire need of small, unmanned aerial vehicles that would save coalition forces much time, money, and soldiers. The WWII invention was just the thing that was needed! USA thought skiing up their drone market. After all, UN was one of America’s celebrated war machinery consumers.

 As of October 2012, over 2300 militants are reported to have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. The CIA claims no civilian casualties have been reported. So murderous were these militants that they killed over 3200 coalition angels. Unbelievably, militants could be of any age, CIA believes, even children and infants.

War is cruel. Bullets, missiles and drones cannot differentiate militants from civilians. Even if they could, war motives are strong enough to hide humanistic thoughts inside a battlefield soldier. On 9/11, the Taliban-hijacked planes didn’t see this either!

So who suffers and who benefits from the drone attacks; innocent civilians of Pakistan or US created Talibans? In either case, United States is in a win-win situation. As long as the war continues, drones and missiles will keep pouring in dollars for America. Already, US drone production represents 60% of the market share, followed by Israel.

If the fears of the combat extend from tribal areas through the greater Pakistan region, it would be even more fun. US will establish its hegemony to formally take the charge of our savior! On the other side, if the war ends (and so does the drone strikes), US will look for its war business elsewhere.

The government of Pakistan officially condemns drone strikes from time to time, but since Pakistan is a strong war on terror ally, it cannot withdraw from its position firmly. Also, severe $$$ indebtedness, coupled with ‘with us, or against us’ policies leave little room for firm positions. Pakistan seems to be defending its nation double crossing US and its extremist factions; and this has thrown us into a vicious circle of violence begetting violence.

Pakistan, acting on US policy measures, has encountered serious losses at every level: locally, regionally and internationally. The War on Terror in general, and drone attacks in particular, make up perfect recipes for disaster for this part of the world – the world’s sixth biggest state and a nuclear power!

My Thoughts on Malala Yousufzai

On 9th October 2012, the 15-year-old BBC blogger turned women rights activist Malala Yousufzai was shot by Talibans. Malala escaped death amidst serious bullet injuries in her neck and shoulders.

What made Malala so popular was a diary that said the torments of Taliban against education in Swat, particularly female education. In some manners, the diary builds on a theme similar to that of Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank.

Anne Frank

Both diaries speak of an oppressor’s torment. In case of Malala, it speaks how brutally schools in Swat have been blown by Talibans; how the women of the region were forced to wear veil; how military has been going on with their operations against the terrorists, and so on.

In the latter case, Anne Frank spoke about how anti-Semitism had forced so many Jews (including her family) live a tortuous life, how Nazis introduced laws that restricted yellow badge holders (Jews) in every sphere of life.

Malala’s diary appeared in the form of blog posts on BBC. The tender aged blogger first voiced her sufferings under the pseudonym Gul Makai. With growing popularity, however, human rights organizations took Malala’s cause as their own – sponsoring many events and seminars showcasing Malala’s enthusiasm, support and intentions for education in Swat. Malala’s name came on the surface so much so that she was nominated for the noble peace prize award.

While the western media kept promoting the young girl’s noble cause, Pakistani media kept silent because the Malala word wasn’t sellable. After all, accounts of poverty, misery, dirty politics, load shedding, target killing, corruption and many other vices in Pakistan leave little room for a voice that speaks of a ray of hope in these turbulent times.

It was only until Taliban actually materialized their death threats on the poor girl that our media booked so many sponsors to bring forth her cause. Military helicopters took her off from the crime scene, the government offered security for the rest of the family members, various education funds got Malala’s name, and a nationwide consensus developed on the issue of exterminating Taliban from North Waziristan. Good; but why now?

Sadly, Taliban is the product of America-Pakistan military romance of the Soviet war times. Hardcore army commanders of Pakistan military coupled with regular Islamic fundamentalists were trained for the war by the then US army men on the pretext of Jihad against the ‘infidel’ Russia.  The United States was not so much of an infidel entity then. It just wanted Russia to withdraw from Afghanistan, spread education there, and go away, all with its very Talibans! Afghanistan remained the symbol of ‘peace’ for so many years; but the Pak-US created Talibans got crazy. Dang!

To Gul Makai, Talibans were the only evils on Earth. She could witness Taliban banning schools, but she could not see the drone attacks that killed over 160 children of her age. She would prefer US or China to take over her land for the sake of peace. I  don’t mean she deliberately skipped all anti-US parts in her diary. It’s just that the little socialist peacemaker inside her focused on symptoms rather than the causes of the unprotected Pak-US military romance.