الوداع ونگ کمانڈر ابھے نیندن! 

یہ سطریں شائع ہونے تک بھارتی پائلٹ ونگ کمانڈر ابھے نیندن پاکستان سے اپنے وطن اور گھر پہنچ چکے ہوں گے۔ ہندوستان کے باشندے اور ان کے گھر والے ان کی واپسی پہ یقیناً خوش ہوں گے لیکن ہم پاکستانی ان کے جانے پرخوشی، دکھ اور فخر کے ملے جلے جذبات و احساسات سے سرشار ہیں۔ خوشی ان کی رہائی پر ہے، دکھ ان کی جدائی پر اور فخر ان کی بہترین رکھوالی پر۔

ابھے نیندن جی نہ صرف ایک بہادر فوجی نظر آئے بلکہ تعصبات سے بالاتر اور جلد گھل مل جانے والے ایک محب وطن، زیرک اور بے باک انسان کے طور پر بھی سامنے آئے۔

پیراشوٹ کے ذریعے زمین پر آئے تو انہوں نے ایک حقیقی فوجی کے طور پر اپنے حواس بحال رکھے، مقام کا پتہ لگانے کی کوشش کی، پھر پیچھا کرنے والوں کو پستول کی ہوائی فائرنگ سے ڈرانے اور اس میں ناکامی پر بھاگنے کی کوشش کی۔ جب اس میں بھی ناکام ہوئے تو اپنے ساتھ موجود اہم سرکاری مواد کو نگلنے اور پھر دریابرد کرنے کی تگ و دو کی۔ پھر ہتھیارپھینکنے سے پہلے لوگوں سے اپنی زندگی کا وعدہ لیا۔ ایک دو بندوں نے جب تھپڑ مارے تو بھی وہ نہ چیخے چلائے نہ فریاد کی بلکہ وقار کے ساتھ کھڑے رہے۔ پھر جب پاکستانی فوج کے دو سپاہی پہنچے تو انہیں اپنا سرکاری نمبر بتایا اور جب سپاہی نے اپنے افسر کو نمبر بتانے میں غلطی کی تو انہوں نے، باوجود یہ کہ انہیں زمین پر گرا کر ان کی گردن دبوچی گئی تھی، بلند آواز سے جرأت کے ساتھ غلطی کی دو دفعہ تصحیح کی تھی۔

اگرچہ انہوں نے پاکستانی فوج کی پیشہ ورانہ صلاحیت اور اپنی بہترین رکھوالی پر ان کا شکریہ ادا کیا، چائے کا لطف اٹھایا، ہمارے فوجی افسر کے ساتھ بے تکلفی سے بات چیت کی لیکن کوئی پیشہ ورانہ معلومات دینے سے صاف انکار کیا۔

ابھے نیندن ایک محب وطن ہندوستانی کے طور پر پاکستان ”شکار“ کی تلاش میں آئے تھے لیکن ان کا جہاز خود شکار ہوگیا۔ وہ خود بچ گئے اور زیادہ خوشی کی بات یہ کہ کہ ان کی زندگی اور امن کے نام پر رہائی کے ساتھ جنگ کے امکانات بھی کم یا ختم ہوگئے۔

واہگہ سرحد پر جس خندہ پیشانی اور فوجی وقار کے ساتھ وہ کھڑے تھے اس سے بالکل پتہ نہیں چلتا تھا کہ یہ ہندوستان کی نظر میں ایک دشمن ملک کی سرزمین پر اور ایک ”دشمن“ فوج کے درمیان کھڑا کوئی جنگجو تھا بلکہ جیسے کوئی اپنے پیاروں کے درمیان کھڑا ہوا ہے۔

ابھے نیندن جی آئے، دکھائی دیے اور اپنے رکھ رکھاٶ سے پاکستانیوں کو اپنا گرویدہ بنا کر چلے گئے۔

ابھے نیندن جی نے تو پاکستانی فوج کی محبت اور پیشہ ورانہ انسان دوست انداز و اطوار دیکھ لیے۔ امید ہے باقی ہندوستانی بھی جلد ماضی کی باہمی نفرت اور غلطیوں کو بھلا کر پاکستان کو اپنا ایک ہمدرد اور پیارا پڑوسی سمجھنا اوراس کے ساتھ امن سے رہنا شروع کر دیں گے۔

ابھے نیندن جی بڑے خوش قسمت نکلے کہ نہ ان کے پردھان منتری نریندر مودی نے ان کی رہائی کے لیے کوئی اپیل کی اور نہ اس ضمن میں ہمارے وزیر اعظم عمران خان کی طرف سے کی گئی کالز کا جواب دیا لیکن پھر بھی صرف امن اور صلح کے نام پر وزیر اعظم عمران خان نے ان کو رہا کرنے کا اعلان کیا۔ اب یہ بڑی بدقسمتی کی بات ہوگی اگر ہندوستانی حکومت اور میڈیا اس کو مجبوری میں لیا گیا اقدام قرار دے۔ اس سے صرف امن کی آشا کو ہی نقصان پہنچے گا۔

ابھے نیندن جی نے کہا تھا میں واپس جاکر پاکستانی فوج کی تعریف والا اپنا بیان واپس نہیں لوں گا۔ ایسا ہوگیا تو وہ قول و قرار کے پکے بھی ثابت ہو جائیں گے۔ دعا ہے کہ ان کی رہائی مستقبل میں دونوں پڑوسی ملکوں کے درمیان امن اور دوستی پروان چڑھانے میں معاون ہو۔

پاکستانی فوج کے جن جوانوں کے ساتھ وہ رہے وہ اور پاکستانی عوام ان کو مس کریں گے۔ امید ہے وہ بھی وہاں پاکستان اور ہندوستان کے درمیان پرامن بقائے باہمی کے علمبرداروں کی نحیف آواز کو مضبوط بنائیں گے.

 

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حالیہ پاک بھارت کشیدگی کے چند مظاہر

حالیہ پاک بھارت کشیدگی کے چند مظاہر

طاہرعلی خان

پاکستان اور ہندوستان کے درمیان حالیہ کشیدگی کے دوران جہاں چند افسوسناک چیزیں دیکھی گئیں وہاں کچھ قابل فخر مظاہر بھی سامنے آئے ہیں۔ پلوامہ میں ایک کشمیری نوجوان نے ایک فوجی کانواٸے پر خود کش حملہ کیا تو ہندوستانی حکومت اور ذراٸع ابلاغ کی اکثریت نے بلاتحقیق پاکستان کو مورد الزام ٹھہرانے اور اس کو سزا دینے کی باتیں شروع کردیں۔

بی جے پی حکومت بظاہر آٸندہ انتخابات میں پاکستان مخالف جذبات پیدا کرکے فاٸدہ اٹھانا چاہتی تھی چنانچہ ہندوستانی وزرإ اور صحافی منہ سے آگ برساتے رہے۔ یہ ایک غیر منصفانہ اورمعیوب طرزعمل تھا۔ ان کے برعکس پاکستانی وزرا، صحافی اور فوجی ترجمان وقار، تمکنت اور ہوش مندی کے قابل فخر نمونے دکھاٸی دیٸے۔ انہوں نے سرحد پار انتقام پر تلے پڑوسیوں کو جنگ کی تباہ کاریوں کا احساس بھی دلایا اور دلاٸل سے ان کے الزامات کو تہس نس بھی کر دیا۔

ہندوستانی حکومت نے جب پاکستان میں فضاٸی کاررواٸی کا مضحکہ خیز دعویٰ کیا تو اس کے بعد ان کے وزرا اور میڈیا نے پاکستان کا جس طرح مذاق اڑایا اور اپنے ”کارنامے“ پر جس طرح اتراتے رہے، وہ حد درجہ معیوب اور قابل افسوس تھا۔ اس کے برعکس پاکستان نے ان کے دو جہاز گراٸے اور پاٸلٹ پکڑا تو ان کی طرح شیخی خوری کے بجاٸے وقار و عاجزی دکھاٸی اور پاکستانی وزیراعظم نے پھر تحقیقات میں مدد اور امن مذاکرات کی پیشکش کا اعادہ کیا۔ یہ پاکستان کی اخلاقی فتح اور فخر کی بات تھی۔

اس پورے بحران کے دوران دنیا کی ”بڑی جمہوریت“ نے بریفنگ میں کسی صحافی کو سوال کرنے کا موقع نہیں دیا۔ اس کےبرعکس پاکستانی وزرإ اور فوج کے ترجمان ہر قسم کے سوال و جواب کے لیے دستیاب رہے۔ پاکستان یہاں بھی نکھر کر سامنے آیا۔

اگرچہ کٸ سال سے پاکستان باربار ہندوستان کو مذاکرات کی دعوت دیتا آرہا ہے لیکن ہندوستان رعونت سے مذاکرات سے انکار حتیٰ کہ پاکستان سے کھیلوں تک میں باٸیکاٹ پر اتر آیا۔

پاکستان نے پلوامہ حملے پر دکھ کا اظہار کیا اور تحقیقات میں مدد اور مذاکرات کی پیشکش کی تو ہندوستان نے اسے پاکستان کی کمزوری یا بزدلی گردانتے ہوٸے توجہ ہی نہیں دی اور انتقام انتقام کی لاگ الاپتا رہا۔ اس کے باوجود ہمارے وزرا اور فوجی ترجمان یاد لاتے رہے کہ جنگ میں صرف انسانیت ہی ہارتی ہے۔ یہ ایک باعزت قوم کا طرزعمل تھا۔

پاکستانی سپاہی مقبول حسین جو 1965 کی جنگ میں ہندوستان کا قیدی بنا تو اس کی زبان کاٹ دی گٸ اور جب 40 سال کے بعد وہ رہا ہوا تو جسمانی طور پر معذور تھا۔ اس کے برعکس پاکستانی فوج نے بھارتی پاٸلٹ ونگ کمانڈر ابھی نیندن کو عوام کے غیظ و غضب سے بچایا اور عزت دی۔ پاکستان یہاں بھی جیت گیا۔

اور اب امن اور خیر سگالی کے جذبے کے تحت پاکستانی وزیراعظم نے گرفتار بھارتی پاٸلٹ کو یکم مارچ سے رہا کرنے کا اعلان کردیا۔ یہ ریاست پاکستان اور سرحد کے دونوں جانب موجود امن پسندوں کی بڑی اخلاقی فتح ہے۔ لیکن اس اعلان کا خیر مقدم کرنے کے بجاٸے بعض ہندوستانی صحافی اسے پاکستان پر دباؤ کا نتیجہ قرار دیں یا کہیں کہ ہم نے پاکستان کو ابھی نیندن کو رہا کرنے پر مجبور کردیا ہے تو یہ ہندوستانی قوم کے لیے کوٸی قابل فخر طرزعمل نہیں ہے۔

پاکستان نے اپنے طرزعمل سے ثابت کردیا کہ یہ امن و انسانیت سے پیار کرنے والے، باعزت اور قومی سالمیت کےبارے میں حساس لوگوں کی سرزمین ہے۔ یہ جنگ سے نفرت کرتے ہیں لیکن اگر ان پر مسلط کی جاٸے تو اس میں کودنے کو سعادت سمجھتے ہیں۔ کیا وزیراعظم نریندر مودی کو ایسے پیارے پڑوسی کو دشمن کی جگہ غنیمت نہیں سمجھنا چاہیے؟

اس بحران کے دوران پاکستان کی پوری سیاسی ومذہبی قیادت، حزب اختلاف اور صحافی حکومت اور فوج کے پیچھے کھڑے رہے۔ یہ ایک قابل فخر مظہر ہے۔ اس میں موجودہ حکمران جماعت کے لیے بھی سبق ہے جو ماضی میں بعض ایسے مواقع پر قومی اتفاق راٸے دکھانے میں مانع رہی۔

موجودہ حزب اختلاف نے وزیراعظم عمران خان کو ہندوستان اپنا ایلچی بھیجنے پر، نہ ہی مذاکرات کی بار بار پیشکش پر اور نہ ہی غیر مشروط طور پر، بغیر وزیر اعظم مودی کی اپیل کے، اچانک گرفتار بھارتی پاٸلٹ کی رہاٸی کے اعلان پر غداری اور ملک دشمنی کا طعنہ دیا۔ یہ ایک قابل رشک روایت ہے۔ کیا برسراقتدار جماعت اس سے سیکھنے کے لیے تیار ہے؟

To PM Modi and India

To Modi and India

We remind you of wisdom and sense but find you always indulging yourself in suspense and nonsense.

We talk of poverty alleviation but your every act leads to tension aggravation.

We talk of construction but you conspire for destruction and obstruction.

We remind you of civility and responsibility but you only like vanity and insanity.

Byt Remember that he who hatches mischief is ultimately caught by mischief.

And that outbreak of war, like a devil, is easy to raise but difficult to lay and subdue.

Take pity on your morally and politically ailing and demoralized forces and civil population fed up with your interminable and insatiable love for blood.

But if you are not ready to heed our love for peace and bent on bringing havoc to your country and the region,

And consider our patience as weakness or cowardice, which it is not,

Then listen! you will come to grief when we respond but responsibility thereof will rest only at your shoulders.

So, step back, express a remorse over what you have done, seek forgiveness and behave as a normal human being.

Taken with edition and addition from FB wall of Prof Fazal Hanan

سعودی عرب، پاکستان اور ہندوستان

سعودی عرب، پاکستان اور ہندوستان

طاہر علی خان

سعودی عرب کے ولی عہد شہزادہ محمد بن سلمان کے حالیہ دورہ پاکستان میں سعودی عرب نے پاکستان میں 20 ارب ڈالر کی سرمایہ کاری کے مفاہمتی یادداشتوں پر دستخط کیے۔ اس کے بعد مگر ان کے دورہ ہندوستان میں سرکاری شعبے میں 28 ارب ڈالر کے مفاہمتی یادداشتوں پر دستخط سمیت سعودی عرب جنرل انوسمنٹ اتھارٹی نے ہندوستان کے نجی شعبے کے ساتھ اربوں ڈالرز کے 11 مزید مفاہمتی یادداشتوں پر دستخط کیے۔ شہزادہ محمد نے ہندوستان میں ایک تقریب میں یہ بھی کہا کہ اگلے دوسالوں میں انہیں سعودی عرب کی طرف سے ہندوستان میں 100 ارب ڈالر سے زیادہ کی سرمایہ کاری کے امکانات نظر آ رہے ہیں۔

یاد رہے ہندوستان اور سعودی عرب کے باہمی تجارت کا حجم 18۔ 2017 میں تقریباً 28 ارب ڈالر تھا جبکہ سعودی عرب ہندوستان کا چوتھا بڑا تجارتی پارٹنر بھی ہے۔ اس کے برعکس پاکستان اور سعودی عرب کے باہمی تجارت کا حجم محض 3.4 ارب ڈالر ہے۔ 2010 میں یہ حجم 4 ارب ڈالر تھا۔ سعودی عرب کی طرف سے پاکستان میں براہ راست غیرملکی سرمایہ کاری کا حجم پچھلے مالی سال میں صرف 17.4 ملین ڈالر تھا۔

شہزادہ محمد نے دورے کے دوران نہ صرف ہندوستانی وزیراعظم نریندر مودی کو اپنا بڑا بھائی قرار دیا بلکہ ان کی درخواست پر ہندوستان کا حج کوٹہ دو لاکھ تک بڑھانے اور سعودی عرب کی جیلوں میں قید تقریباً 900 ہندوستانیوں کو رہا کرنے کا اعلان بھی کردیا۔

ہمارے ہاں عام خیال ہے کہ پاکستان کو اہم گردانتے ہوئے ہی ولی عہد شہزادہ محمد نے خود کو سعودی عرب میں پاکستان کا سفیر قرار دیا جبکہ ہمارے وزیراعظم کی کرشماتی شخصیت ہی کی وجہ سے وہ پاکستان کا حج کوٹہ بڑھانے اور 2000 پاکستانیوں کو قید سے رہا کرنے پر آمادہ ہوئے تھے۔

کیا ہندوستان اور اس کے وزیراعظم نریندر مودی کو اتنی زیادہ اہمیت دینے کا مطلب یہ ہے کہ سعودی عرب اورجناب محمد بن سلمان کی نظر میں پاکستانی وزیر اعظم عمران خان اور ان کے ہندوستانی منصب مودی یا پاکستان اور ہندوستان یکساں مقام رکھتے ہیں؟

اور یہ اس کے باوجود کہ پاکستان ان کا ایک برادر اسلامی ملک اور ہندوستان مسلمانوں کے دشمن اسرائیل کا قریبی دوست، کشمیر کے لاکھوں مسلمانوں کا قاتل اور ”کافروں“ کاملک ہے ؟ اگرچہ ہمارے انقلابی یہ بات نہیں مانتے لیکن حقیقت یہ ہے کہ سب ممالک اپنے بین الاقوامی تعلقات مذہبی رشتے نہیں بلکہ اپنے مفادات کی بنیاد پر بناتے اور رکھتے ہیں۔ دوسرے ممالک ہماری طرح بیگانی شادی میں عبداللہ دیوانہ نہیں ہوتے۔ جہاں سے بھی ان کو فائدہ ملتا ہو اس ملک یا ممالک سے راہ و رسم بڑھانا اور تجارت کرنا ان کے حکمران اپنا قومی فریضہ سمجھتے ہیں۔

اس میں کوئی شک نہیں کہ سعودی عرب نے تقریباً ہر تکلیف اور ضرورت کے وقت پاکستان کی مدد کی ہے اور وہاں موجود پاکستانی تارکین وطن ہر سال تقریباً 5 ارب ڈالرز کا زرمبادلہ بھیجتے ہیں لیکن پاکستان نے بھی تقریباً ہر مسئلے پر ان کا ساتھ دیا ہے۔ پاکستانی تارکین وطن نے سعودی عرب کی جدید تعمیر و ترقی میں اہم کردار ادا کیا جبکہ پاکستانی فوج نے ان کی فوجی استعداد بڑھانے اور دفاع کو یقینی بنانے کے لیے خود کو وقف کیا ہوا ہے۔ یعنی اس تعلق میں دونوں کا ہی فائدہ تھا اور ہے اس لیے یہ برقرار رہا اور پروان چڑھتا رہا۔ اس کی کوئی دوسری وجہ نہیں۔

تاہم پاکستان کے لیے ان کے دورہ ہندوستان میں خوشی کی خبر یہ ہے کہ ہندوستان کی خواہش کے باوجود شہزادہ محمد نے اپنے دورے کے دوران یا اختتام پر سرکاری اعلامیہ میں پاکستان یا اس کی کسی تنظیم کو پلوامہ حملے میں موردالزام ٹھہرانے سے اجتناب برتا۔ اس کے برعکس اعلامیہ میں مودی نے ان کے ساتھ مان لیا کہ

”The two sides stressed the importance of regional stability and good neighbouring relations۔ “

یعنی دونوں ملکوں نے علاقائی استحکام اور اچھے پڑوسی تعلقات کی اہمیت پر زور دیا۔
وزیراعظم مودی جس انداز میں پاکستان کے خلاف بولتے ہیں اس کو مدنظر رکھتے ہوئے اس اعلامیہ پر دستخط ان کے لیے یقیناً ایک سخت مشکل اور ناخوشگوار فیصلہ ہوا ہوگا۔

Lessons from Quaid’s life

Lessons from Quaid´s Life

By Tahir Ali Khani
The nation celebrated the Birth anniversary of Quaide Azam (May Allah grant him the highest of paradises) yesterday.

This celebration must also be a will to learn from his life.

Here are some of the characteristics of his character we all need to follow and a few lessons from his life we must learn and remember.

The Quaid´s life, character and mindset can be summarized as follows.

1. He was a man of great honesty. integrity, intellect and sagacity.

2. He could neither be deceived nor intimidated nor bribed.

3. He was sincere and strongly committed to his nation and cause and did all he could to win Pakistan.

4. He was a great believer in a constitutional, legal and peaceful democratic political struggle. He believed in democracy, freedom, respect of other´s rights and rule of law. He always followed laws and never violated them.

5. He neither believed nor ever resorted to militancy, underground struggle and extremism. He was above narrow religious sectarianism, regional or linguistic tendencies. That´s why all sections of society rallied behind him.

6. He never indulged himself in corruption. Rather, he dedicated all his personal wealth to schools and colleges.

7. He worked with a great passion but with patience. He never abused his political opponents. he was strong and firm but very polite and respectful.

8. He believed in hardwork. He would think before speaking and taking a decision. And once he reached at a decision after careful deliberation, none and nothing could move him from his chosen path.

9. He always took decisions in the light of ground realities and opted for the best possible path open to the nation. He never opted for emotionalism and populism.

10. So, the nation, our leaders and rulers need to learn the ideals of democracy, integrity, honesty, constitutional and peaceful political struggle, respect of rule of law, passion and patience, hardwork, sincerity, respect for others, tolerance and moderation from his life.

West’s Double Standards

West’s Double Standards: An Unending threat for the World?

Double

 

When the Syrian regime was accused of using chemical weapons in Syria in April this year, US President Trump immediately issued a tweet describing the Syrian President Basharul Asad as “an animal” who gassed his own people.

And when anti-government demonstrations erupted in several Iranian cities earlier this year, the US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley was quick to embrace their cause. “The Iranian regime’s contempt for the rights of its people has been widely documented for many years,” she told the UN Security Council session.

However, the US, conversely, has been keeping mum over human rights violations perpetrated by its allies; Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. The US, instead, supported them with money, weapons and deals despite their anti-democracy agendas and ruthless suppression of political opponents. The United States even continues to assist Saudi Arabia in its atrocity-ridden military intervention in Yemen.

As Israel’s biggest ally, the US has used its UN Security Council veto dozens of times to protect the Jewish state from resolutions condemning illegal settlements to violence against Palestinians.

Most of the big powers take pains to portray themselves as humane, lovers and protectors of rights and democracy, yet the reality is quite different. They often indulge themselves in double standards and selective morality, unmatched with their known commitments to justice and liberties.

Read more: Syrian imbroglio

The United States, particularly, has been supporting extremely repressive regimes like the Shah of Iran, Nicaragua’s Somoza family, Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek, and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and military dictators like Egypt’s Abdul Fatah Alsisi and Pakistan’s Zia-ul-haq. The discriminatory US policy on intended Indian and Pakistani membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is another classic case of double standard.

Pakistan and India applied for NSG membership in 2016. Though the signing of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a prerequisite for entry and India is yet to sign it, the US is spearheading efforts to waiver the NPT- signing exemption for India. And the United States has added seven Pakistani companies to a list of foreign entities that are subject to stringent export control measures, a move that could hamper Pakistan’s bid to join NSG.

The US has also signed nuclear deal with India but Pakistan has been denied the same deal. The pact between the US and India exempts military facilities and stockpiles of nuclear fuel from scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy agency which has enabled India to sign nuclear cooperation agreements with Japan, Russia, France, Britain, South Korea, Canada, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Namibia.

India rejects this line, insisting Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between the two countries.

The abuse of Veto power

The constitution of the UN Security Council is anything but justice. There is no equality of opportunity to every member state. Veto power given to big powers, therein gives undue leverage to them in getting things done as against the smaller ones. Which means that if any P-5 member or its ally is the aggressor or wrongdoer, no adverse action is possible against it as the P-5 member vetoes any such move. As Israel’s biggest ally, the US has used its UN Security Council veto dozens of times to protect the Jewish state from resolutions condemning illegal settlements to violence against Palestinians.

Read more: Germany’s Syria Strategy

While Israel is allowed to stockpile loads of nuclear arms and no hostile military action is initiated against it even if it blatantly and arrogantly rejects UN resolutions on halt of extension in settlements, Iraq is attacked and its cities turned into heaps of debris under the false pretext that it’s preparing/piling weapons of mass destruction despite report to the contrary by UN inspectors who had been deputed there.

And while there is continuous silence on blatant heinous human violations by “allies” such as Israel, there is a strong reaction to similar incidents perpetrated by “others” such as Saddam Hussain’s era Iraq.

Selective morality and double standards

And it is nothing but double standard and selective morality if Israel that openly violates/rejects international laws, UN resolutions and any serious effort for peaceful solution of its issues with Palestinians is equated with/ preferred over Palestinians whose lands have been usurped and who are being displaced and denied human rights.

Veto power given to big powers, therein gives undue leverage to them in getting things done as against the smaller ones.

Catalonia’s recent example, where Spain arrested an elected leader Carles Puidgemont for holding a separatist referendum, is ironic how the western world, across Europe, has united to extradite an elected Spanish leader, with popular mandate, yet is often seen providing asylums (and perhaps other help) to violent insurgent leaders from Baloch insurgency in Pakistan.

Read more: Wrath for separatists in Spain but sympathy for Baloch insurgents from Pakistan: Europe’s Double Standards?

Another example is their take on Pak- India relations. With both being nuclear powers, a war between the two can have dangerous repercussions for global peace. But the US and  Britain famously urge Pakistan and India to resolve their issues through mutual negotiations.

As India is not ready to talk to Pakistan, accusing Pakistan of state terrorism, Pakistan rightly urges major powers for mediation on Kashmir. India rejects this line, insisting Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between the two countries.

When the US and Britain insist India and Pakistan should resolve their dispute through mutual dialogue and refuse to mediate or condemn India for its atrocities in Kashmir, they are actually toeing Indian lines.

An extremist Hindu fundamentalist party, is voted to power with a clear majority in the 2014 Indian General Elections

It is but injustice if India which is clearly the wrongdoer being violator of several UN resolutions on Kashmir and whose leaders openly admit helping breaking up Pakistan in 1971 and vowing to drying up Pakistan against all international norms – is treated at par with Pakistan -which is trying its level best to bring India to the negotiation table for resolution of its disputes with it though unsuccessfully so far.

Read more: Russia, Turkey, Iran to hold Syria talks

One fails to understand how can Pakistan and India resolve their disputes peacefully and through mutual discussions when India is not ready to talk to Pakistan and powerful nations are silent spectators lest any offer for mediation or any criticism of perpetrated state-violence by India in Kashmir displease India – a big economic market.

The US and Britain say they are perturbed over violence in Kashmir and urge patience. It is welcome but what is objectionable is when the oppressor is not asked to refrain from using brute force against the peaceful demonstrators and the unarmed oppressed Kashmiri civilians are not openly supported in their fight for self-determination allowed and promised to them by UN resolutions in 1948, 1949 and by the Indian leadership till 1957 before Kashmir was made an integral part of Indian federation.

Stereotyping Muslim Nations

Another example of this double standard is the stereotype mindset that eyes all Muslim nation/states as extremists. Never has any extremist political or religious group obtained absolute majority in any Muslim country in any general elections. Such groups either don’t have the courage to take part and if they do, they have the lowest popular support base, often standing at less than one percent.

Iraq is attacked and its cities turned into heaps of debris under the false pretext that it’s preparing/piling weapons of mass destruction despite report to the contrary by UN inspectors who had been deputed there.

While Pakistan is considered an intolerant and extremist society, no  extremist group ever has obtained absolute majority here. For example, the Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, an Islamic fundamentalist party, obtained only 0.4 percent of the total polled 46 million votes in the 2013 elections while Pakistan Muslim League-N, Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek Insaf having tolerant, democratic and anti-extremism credentials jointly polled around 30 million of the total votes.

Read more: Syrian government forces announce Yarmouk camp evacuation agreement

But India is considered one of the biggest democratic and liberal society in the world despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendara Modi’s Bharatia Janata Party, an extremist Hindu fundamentalist party, is voted to power with a clear majority in the 2014 Indian General Elections –it contested on 437 seats of the total 543 seats in the LoK Sabha and grabbed 282 seats, polling over 31 percent of the total polled votes.

The US and other states may have plausible arguments and reasons for persisting in such double standards. But they need to be candid and acknowledge that their decisions are based on cold calculations of national interest, not ethical considerations. They should at least spare us the pretense that they care about human rights and liberties.

Tahir Ali Khan is an academic with over 28 years experience and blogger. He has written over 700 articles. He blogs at http://www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahirkatlang039@gmail.com

Pak-US ties: A tale of one-sided love

Pak-US relations: A tale of one-sided love
By Tahir Ali Khan

https://dailytimes.com.pk/236047/pak-us-relations-a-tale-of-one-sided-love/

Pakistan is an ally of the US in the War on Terror (WoT). Despite having done more than any other ally in the WoT, it is accused of not having done enough to wipe out terrorism.
Feeling neglected, Pakistan has responded with its improved relations and alliance with China and Russia. And it now says it has done enough and it is the US that has to do more now on that front.
A comparative study of what Pakistan and the USA have been doing for each other show the relationship has been a sad story of one-sided love.
Ignoring the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)’s invitation for a visit in 1951, Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan flew to the USA. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower requested Pakistani Prime Minister Mr Suhrawardy to lease Peshawar Air Station to the American Army for keeping an eye on the USSR and its ballistic missile programme. Pakistan accepted. All this annoyed the Communist regime. It threw its entire weight later in India’s favour, armed it tooth and nail and supported it abundantly.
Pakistan opted for the US and the “Free World” but had been left to tackle eventualities on its own. It joined the SEATO and CENTO thinking that the US/West would come to its rescue but it did quite the opposite. In 1965, when India attacked Pakistan, the USA, instead of supporting it militarily or financially being an ally, slapped sanctions on supply of military equipments to Pakistan. And in 1971, USA’s Seventh Fleet “couldn’t arrive in time” to defend it against USSR supported Indian aggression leading to its dismemberment.
Pakistan had successfully negotiated a deal between USA and China in 70’s. A Chinese leader during these parleys had reportedly told the US envoy not to neglect Pakistan but the US quickly abandoned its ally and silently allowing India to dismember it with the support of the USSR.
In April 1979, the US administration that had whole-heartedly supported the Israeli atomic programme and the “Jewish” Bomb, accusing Pakistan of trying to have an “Islamic” Bomb and citing military dictatorship, imposed sanctions on Pakistan.
However a few months later, when it needed Pakistan’s help against the Red forces in Afghanistan, the US changed course, forgot about dictatorship and the “Islamic Bomb” and sent Dr. Berznisky with a package to Pakistan. Pakistan fought for the West. But when their interests were safeguarded with the defeat and withdrawal of USSR from there, the US/the west left it to bear the sinister aftermath of the militancy alone. Agonisingly, the threat of Pakistan’s nuclear programme surfaced again. And in 1990, as the country by then had lost its strategic importance, the US, under the Pressler amendment, imposed sanctions on Pakistan, whereby every kind of military assistance was banned again to Pakistan. During those years, it did everything to deprive Pakistan of its indigenous nuclear and missile development programme.
This US indifference and double standards with Pakistan continued until the tragedy of 9/11 again made vital Pakistan’s help. Musharraf, the very man who was not entitled to a Photo-session with the US President for being a dictator, became their ‘friend’ overnight. All sanctions were lifted against Pakistan. Pakistan jumped into the WoT. But even then it was made just Non-NATO ally. While Pakistan was denied any atomic energy, with India a civilian nuclear deal was finalised.
The US administration was so selfish vis-à-vis Pakistan that though Pakistan had paid for F16s aircrafts, it neither handed over the F16s to it nor returned the money it had paid for them. Instead, it took from it the maintenance expenditures for these F16s which were held back by the US for sanctions.
Pakistan has come to help/rescue the US twice in Afghanistan. In 1980s, it joined hands with it to defeat the invaders –the USSR. In 2001, it supported it though the US was itself an invader. Then it fought the puppet regime in Kabul; now it supports their ‘puppet regime’ there. Then, they dubbed ‘Mujahideen’ as freedom fighters and Pakistan accepted. Now they dub them terrorists and it accepts even now. Pakistan allowed American army to use its military bases for launching attacks on Afghan soil.
Pakistan even killed its citizens the US considered as its enemies. The US said Dr. Abdul Qadeer is “guilty” of nuclear proliferation and he was immediately put under house arrest. Pakistan even arrested Mulla Zaeef- Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan- for the US for the first time ever in world’s history. It had arrested more than 500 top Alqaeda associates and handed them over to it. Alqaeda since then has attacked Pakistani leaders frequently. Alqaeda had done no harm to Pakistan till then. Pakistan became their enemy when it supported the US in WoT.
The WoT and the resultant militancy and terrorism have badly impacted Pakistan’s economy. Careful estimates put the overall loss at around $120bn. It has resulted into the deaths of thousands of its valiant security personnel and civilians in terrorist acts. But despite all this, it openly questions Pakistan’s commitment to WoT and is still far from being satisfied.
Pakistan arrests and kills the enemies of the US –like Alqaeda, Daesh and Afghan Taliban –considering them its own enemies. But the US openly befriends Pakistan’s enemies and renders them every diplomatic, military, scientific and financial help. It has had ignored and didn’t target the militants fighting against Pakistan until recently. It attacks its territory (the Silala attack), meddles in its internal affairs and thus creates problems for its leaders.
Pakistan needs to be dealt fairly and respectfully as an ally. The policy of doubting its intentions and demanding more from Pakistan will hardly do the US any favour. It only will push Pakistan away towards more reliable allies in China and Russia.

Tahir Ali Khan is an academic and researcher. He blogs at http://www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahirkatlang039@gmail.com

Appeasement or Constitutionalism

Appeasement or constitutionalism?

https://dailytimes.com.pk/149023/appeasement-or-constitutionalism/

The government, no doubt, mishandled the situation. It should have called a meeting of all political parties, a joint session of Parliament and a meeting of the powerful national security council to discuss and devise a strategy on how to dislodge the TLY dharnas.

Following the government’s failure to disperse the Faizabad sit-in and later the countrywide sit-ins by the Tahreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah (TLY) it is obvious that the government would have to talk to the agitators and submit to some of its demands. If any talks were to be held between the government and TLY, the former won’t be talking from a position of strength and it would have to submit to demands of the latter.

The wording of the mutual pact brokered by the establishment clearly gives the non-state actor TLY an upper hand on several counts.

The agreement has been signed with a party that has flouted court orders, broken laws with impunity, and openly indulged in hate-speech. It is an agreement between law breakers and law-enforcers but the latter representing the state have been admonished one-sidedly.

As per the agreement, the non-state actor TLY has been cleared of all charges. It neither has to express remorse nor seek apology from the millions of Pakistanis who were drastically affected by their dharnas.

All of its workers have to be freed within three days, cases and orders for their home-confinement have to be withdrawn and no legal action has to be taken against them. How would the government be able to release TLY agitators who have been booked under Anti-Terrorism Act remains unclear.

According to the agreement, it was the government that made things worse. The TLY is a ‘peaceful’ party but it is the government that aggravated the situation by use of force. It has to fulfill all the private and public damages caused duringdharnas. But why the provincial and federal government has to pay for damages caused by the dharnaholders is inconceivable.

The government has also committed itself to form an enquiry board, taking TLY into confidence, to ascertain the culprits for the November 25th action and to punish those responsible within 30 days. However, no such enquiry is to be conducted against the TLY for violation of laws and damaging public or private properties.

An ideal situation would have been that the agitators had called off their dharna within the deadline given first by the Islamabad High Court and then by the Islamabad administration, but it was ultimately the government that had to succumb to political pressure, renege on its basic responsibility to restore the writ of the state and to prosecute all those who were arrested during this legal campaign.

These are not welcome signs for rule of law and the sovereignty of the state. Anyone who believes in rule of law and infallibility and non-divisibility of sovereignty of the state must have been shocked.

Though the resignation of law minister, as per the agreement, is likely to set a very dangerous precedent, the matter will not come to an end with this. Such appeasement will embolden the TLY and its demands will continue rising after this. A group of TLY has already asked for resignation of Sanaullah, Punjab law minister. Such appeasement has neither worked before nor will be of any benefit towards solution of the current problem.

It was expected that no political, religious or social figure would support these agitators and instead openly support the state institutions but though there had been no criticism by some leaders -like Imran Khan, Sirajul Haq etc- of the prolonged illegal blockade of roads by the TLY, the government has been continuously and severely criticised all these days by them.

Opposition politicians even went a step ahead of the TLY. While it demanded only resignation of the law minister, they were demanding resignations of interior minister and even prime minister for “mishandling the situation.” Emboldened by this backing, the TLY too was seen pressing for the resignation of entire federal cabinet.

The Pakistan Army spokesman too had reported the Army chief to have asked the government “to handle the issue peacefully avoiding violence from both sides as it is not in national interest and cohesion.”

The advice may have stemmed from a sincere wish to bring peace, but it cannot be denied that only the state has the authority to use force — which is called the monopoly of violence — and no non-state actor — group or individual — has any such privilege vis-à-vis the state.

While the state has had all legitimate right to use force to disperse the dharna after peaceful attempts to do so failed, the other side- a non-state actor- must have obeyed the law. When it confronted the state, and continued with its intransigence, it should have been openly criticised, opposed and clearly asked to behave. Rather than equating the two and urging both to avoid violence, all democratic forces and constitutional institutions must have openly and clearly voiced support for the state. How can the state and a non-state actor be dealt equally when the former is trying to establish writ of the state while the latter is trying to resist and refuse to submit to the law of the land and the court decisions?

The two sides of the present situation cannot be dealt with equally. Whereas on one side is the state and its institutions, on the other one is a non-state actor. The latter was not ready to pay any heed to allow people free movement despite repeated requests from intermediaries and orders from courts. But when the government -the executive organ of the state and representative of its sovereign power- started operation to ensure free movement on the roads, some politicians, who had remained tight-lipped thus far on the illegal blocking of roads by the TLY, started severely criticising the government for resorting to violence.

Criticising the government alone for not solving the issue through peaceful talks and resorting to use of force is sheer injustice. In fact, ever since the sit-in began 20 days ago, the government had been using all available channels to talk to the TLY leadership and tried its level best to make it call off the dharna. It was the TLY leadership that was not ready to budge even an inch from its stated position or to accept any request by mediators and orders from court to disperse peacefully. What would the government do in such a situation? To remain silent spectator and thus not only deviate from its foremost responsibility of ensuring law and order and establishment of writ of the state but also risk annoying the IHC and SCP that were calling for ending this illegal dharna quickly?

Another thing that merits attention is the way the “workers” of the TLY battled with the law enforcement agencies’ personnel. They were not ordinary workers and looked like highly trained individuals. It is never easy for ordinary political workers to confront, tease and defeat the trained and experienced LEA personnel. And where did they get gas masks, gas guns and other apparatus must also be investigated.

The government, no doubt, mishandled the situation. It should have called a meeting of all political parties, a joint session of parliament and a meeting of the powerful national Security Council to discuss and devise a strategy on how to dislodge the TLY dharna. It didn’t.

And it was naturally reluctant to use force as it felt this would fetch it against the powerful and now resilient Brelvi school of thought to which the TLY belongs. As always, it was groping in the dark pinning hopes on religious personalities that had no influence on the TLY to change its mind on demands and dharna. The official powerful civilian cum military channel was not considered on time. The result is that its reluctance to use the above official channels and to use force unless ordered to do so by court and that too in a haphazard manner has endangered the authority of the state vis-à-vis a non-state actor.

Change in government and policies must be brought and allowed only through popular vote and parliament. Dharnas cannot and must not be allowed to dictate terms and force ministers and governments to resign. Constitutionalism and Rule of law must not be compromised. Submission and Appeasement to one such group is tantamount to giving up constitutionalism forever which will have dangerous repercussions for the country.

The writer is an academic and researcher who has written extensively on political and social issues. He blogs at http://www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

Published in Daily Times, November 29th 2017.

Selective morality of powerful states

Selective morality by powerful states

https://dailytimes.com.pk/145407/selective-morality-powerful-states/

“Morality and justice demand that one must have the moral strength to call a spade a spade” — Plato

NOVEMBER 23, 2017

Though inter-state relations are predominantly governed by national interests, powerful states are not justified in the exhibition of selective morality and being unfair in their foreign relations.

Unfortunately, most of the global powers — like the US, Russia and Britain follow policies that aren’t consistent with their known commitments to justice and liberty. This injustice — or selective morality- is clearly visible in the constitution of the UN Security Council. Veto power in the hands of the great powers means that if any P-5 member or their allies is the aggressor or wrongdoer and the entire world unites against it in the UN, no adverse action is possible as the P-5 member vetoes any suggestion.

Another example is their take on Pak- India relations. Their relations, with both being nuclear powers, just cannot be allowed to deteriorate because if a war breaks out between the two, it can have dangerous repercussions for global peace. The US famously urges Pakistan and India to resolve their issues through mutual negotiations. Britain too urges Pakistan and India to find a lasting solution for Kashmir. But none of them is prescribing a solution or acting as a mediator.

When major world powers — The US and Britain for example, insist India and Pakistan should resolve their dispute through mutual dialogue and refuse to mediate or condemn India for its atrocities in Kashmir, they are actually toeing Indian lines.

Justice means rendering everyone their due, as famous Greek philosopher Plato reported his mentor Socrates to have said. Morality and justice demand that one must have the moral strength to call a spade a spade.

It is but injustice if India, which is clearly the wrongdoer in Kashmir, being the violator of several UN resolutions on Kashmir and whose leaders openly admit helping breaking up Pakistan in 1971 and vowing to cause a permanent drought in Pakistan against all international norms — is treated at par with Pakistan — which is trying its level best to bring India to the negotiation table for resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

As India is not ready to talk to Pakistan, accusing Pakistan of state terrorism — an accusation not substantiated as yet and for which Pakistan is ready for any international investigation — Pakistan rightly urges major powers for mediation on Kashmir. India rejects this line, insisting Kashmir is a bilateral dispute between the two countries.

One fails to understand how Pakistan and India can resolve their disputes peacefully and through mutual discussions when India is not ready to talk to Pakistan and powerful nations are silent spectators lest any offer for mediation or any criticism of perpetrated state-violence by India in Kashmir displease India -a big economic market.

The US and Britain say they are perturbed over violence in Kashmir and urge patience. It is welcome but what is objectionable is when the oppressors and oppressed are literally dealt with equally, the oppressor is not asked to refrain from using brute force against the peaceful demonstrators and the unarmed oppressed Kashmiri civilians are not openly supported in their legal fight for self-determination.

What else can continuous silence on blatant heinous human tragedies caused by brute force used by “allies” such as Israel and strong reaction to similar incidents perpetrated by “others” such as Saddam era Iraq be called if it isn’t plainly apparent double standards and selective morality?

While Israel is allowed to stockpile loads of nuclear arms with active connivance and no hostile military action is initiated against it even when it blatantly and arrogantly rejects UN resolutions on the halt of extending settlements, Iraq is attacked and its cities turned into heaps of debris and hundreds of thousands of its innocent civilians are killed under the false pretext that it is stockpiling WMD’s despite report to the contrary by UN inspectors.

It is unfair if Palestinians— whose lands have been usurped and who are being displaced and denied human rights are dealt on equal terms with Israel, which openly violates and rejects international laws, UN resolutions and any serious efforts for peaceful solution of its issues with Palestinians.

Reluctance shown by the World Bank — the designated mediator on the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWR) between India and Pakistan — to mediate on the issue is another case of this selective morality. While Pakistan — being the aggrieved party for India’s purported violation of IWT terms — repeatedly requested that the WB set up a court of arbitration as per the terms of IWT and asked it and the US to help resolve its IWT dispute with India, the WB remained disinterested and eventually suspended all its processes. The setting up of a court of arbitration or the appointment of a neutral expert on the issue when India asked it not to rush in to resolve the issue. As things unfolded, the State Department too said it wanted India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues bilaterally (without any third party mediation) which were but only toeing the Indian line.

Equally unjust is the stereotype that all Muslim states are radical and rogue nations. Extremist political or religious groups have never obtained absolute majority in any Muslim country in any general elections. Such groups either don’t have the courage to take part in democracy and if they do, they have the lowest popular support base, often standing at less than one percent.

Strangely enough, it is the commonly known “democratic” nations like India, USA and Israel where extremists groups like Modi, Trump and Netanyahu are voted to power by the electorate while their rivals are defeated.

For example, the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan envisions an ideological Islamic state and often talks of Jihad against India but it doesn’t have any worthwhile political support base that could land it in the corridors of power in Pakistan — it obtained only 0.4 percent of the total polled 46 million votes in the 2013 elections and won just 4 seats in the 342-member National Assembly.

And notwithstanding the fact that India is praised as one of the biggest democratic and liberal societies in the world and Prime Minister Narendara Modi’s Bharatia Janata Party bases its electoral campaign on narrow Hindu Nationalism and dangerous anti-Pakistan rhetoric, it has a big public following and was voted to power with a clear majority in the 2014 Indian General Elections. It contested 437 seats of the total 543 seats in the Lok Sabha and grabbed 282 seats, polling over 31 percent of the total polled votes.

Against this, most of the voters in Pakistan who are often ‘chastised’ as intolerant and extremist have been historically supporting two and recently three parties. These are the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The three parties jointly polled around 30 million of the total 42 million votes in the 2013 general elections.

The writer is a Pakistan-based academic and researcher who has written extensively on social issues. He blogs at http://www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

Published in Daily Times, November 23rd 2017.

کلبھوشن، ویانا کنونشن اور اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر

کلبھوشن، ویانا کنونشن اور اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر

طاہرعلی خان

http://daanish.pk/6971/

بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف کی طرف سے کلبھوشن یادیو کیس میں عبوری فیصلے پر پاکستان میں لوگ اپنی سمجھ بوجھ اور سیاسی وابستگی کی روشنی میں تبصرے کر رہے ہیں۔ کوئی اسے جندال کے دورے سے جوڑ رہا ہے، کسی کے خیال میں پاکستانی وکلاء ٹیم کی کارکردگی مایوس کن تھی، کوئی کہتا ہے پاکستان کووہاں جانا ہی نہیں چاہیے تھا اور کسی کے مطابق بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف کے فیصلے ماننا لازم نہیں اس لئے کلبھوشن کو فوراً پھانسی چڑھالینا چاہیے۔

پاکستانی وکلاء کی عالمی عدالت میں کارکرگی اور وزیراعظم نواز شریف اوران کے دوست بھارتی تاجر سجن جندال کی ملاقات سے اس کو جوڑنے والے نکات پر ایک سے زیادہ رائے ہو سکتی ہیں۔

اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کی دفعہ ۹۴ کے مطابق بظاہر اس بات میں وزن دکھائی دیتا ہے کہ پاکستان کے پاس یہ اختیار تھا کہ وہ عالمی عدالت نہ جاتا تو پھر اس کا فیصلہ ماننے کا پابند نہ ہوتا۔ اب چونکہ دانستگی یا نادانستگی میں پاکستان عالمی عدالت میں چلا گیا ہے اس لیے اس پر مزید بات کرنے کا کوئی فائدہ نہیں تاہم آخری نکتہ کہ عالمی عدالت کے فیصلے بائینڈنگ نہیں اس لیے اب کلبھوشن کو پھانسی دے دینی چاہیے، متعلقہ قوانین اور بین الاقوامی ذمہ داریوں سے واضح لاعلمی پر مبنی ہیےاس لیے اس کی وضاحت ضروری ہے۔

اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کی دفعہ ۹۴ کےالفاظ یہ ہیں۔ ‘‘اقوام متحدہ کا ہر ممبر وعدہ کرتاہے کہ وہ ہر اس کیس میں عالمی عدالت انصاف کے فیصلے پر عمل کرےگا جس میں وہ فریق ہے۔ اگر کیس کا کوئی فریق عالمی عدالت کے فیصلے کے تحت عائد ذمہ داریوں کو پورا کرنے میں ناکام ہوجاتا ہے تو دوسرا فریق سیکورٹی کونسل سے رجوع کر سکتا ہےجو اگر ضروری سمجھے تو فیصلے پرعمل درآمد کے لئے سفارشات تجویز یا اقدامت کا فیصلہ کرسکتا ہے۔’’ چارٹر کی اس دفعہ کا انگریزی متن یہ ہے۔

UN Charter Article 94

  1. Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party.
  2. If any party to a case fails to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

یہ بات تو واضح ہے کہ اب اس فیصلے سے روگردانی ممکن نہیں کیونکہ پاکستان امریکہ جیسی طاقت نہیں رکھتا جس نے کم ازکم دو مرتبہ عالمی عدالت کے اسی طرح کے فیصلوں کے باوجود ملزموں کو پھانسی چڑھا دیا تھا اور کوئی اس کا کچھ نہ بگاڑ سکا تاہم پاکستان کے پاس راستہ کھلا ہے کہ وہ عالمی عدالت سے کلبھوشن کیس کا حتمی فیصلے اپنے حق میں کروانے کے لیے خوب تیاری کرے۔ اس کے لیے چند نکات پیش خدمت ہیں۔

ہندوستان نے ویانا کنونشن کی دفعہ ۳۶ کی روشنی میں پاکستان پر کلبھوشن تک قونصلر رسائی نہ دینے اوراسکی گرفتاری سے بروقت مطلع نہ کرنے پر مقدمہ کیا اور آفشنل پروٹوکول کے آرٹیکل ۱ کی بنیاد پر مطالبہ کیا تھا کہ عالمی عدالت انصاف ویانا کنوشن کے مفہوم اور اطلاق سے پیدا ہونے والے تنازعات پرچونکہ فیصلے دینے کا لازمی دائرۂ اختیار رکھتا ہےا س لیے وہ کلبھوشن کے مقدمے کو سنے تاہم پاکستان نے کہا کہ بھارت اور پاکستان کے مابین ۲۰۰۸ میں قونصلر رسائی کا ایک معاہدہ ہوا تھا جس کی دفعہ ۶ کے مطابق سیاسی اور سیکورٹی بنیادوں پر گرفتاری، حراست اور سزا کی صورت میں ہر ریاست کو کیس کی میرٹ پر خود فیصلہ کرنے کا اختیار دیا گیا ہے۔

دیکھنا یہ ہے کہ آیا ۲۰۰۸ کا یہ پاک بھارت معاہدہ اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کے آرٹیکل۱۰۲ کے شق ا کے مطابق اقوام متحدہ کے ساتھ رجسٹرڈ کیا گیا تھا یا نہیں۔ اگرہاں تو پھر پاکستان کا کیس مضبوط ہے تاہم اسے یہ ثابت کرنا ہوگا کہ کلبھوشن ایک غیرقانونی مداخلت کار اور جاسوس ہے۔ اگریہ رجسٹرڈ نہیں تو اسی آرٹیکل کے شق ۲ کے مطابق اقوام متحدہ کے کسی عضو کے سامنے ایسے کسی معاہدے سے مدد نہیں لی جا سکتی۔

انڈیا نے اگر یہی لائن لے لی تو پھراگر پاکستان کشمیر میں بھارتی فورسز کے ہاتھوں انسانی حقوق کی پامالیوں پرعالمی عدالت انصاف میں کیس کرلیتا ہے تو انڈیا بھی شملہ معاہدے کی آڑنہیں لے سکے گا کہ یقیناً یہ بھی اقوام متحدہ کےساتھ رجسٹرڈ نہیں کیا گیا ہوگا۔

تاہم ویانا کنونشن کے آپشنل پروٹوکول کے آرٹیکل ۱سے پہلے چند الفاظ آئے ہیں جن کی بنیاد پر پاکستان اپنا کیس بنا سکتاہے۔۔‘‘جب تک ایک معقول وقت کے اندر فریقین تصفیہ کی کسی اور شکل پرمتفق نہ ہوں، وہ کنوشن کی تفہیم یا اطلاق سے پیدا ہونےکسی بھی تنازع پر بین الاقوامی عدالت انصاف سے رجوع کرنے کی خواہش کا اظہارکرتے ہیں’’۔ یہ معقول وقت کیاہے اور تصفیہ کی اور شکلیں کیا ہیں؟ اور یہ کہ اس کے بغیر کیا کوئی فریق براہ راست عالمی عدالت میں جا سکتا ہے؟

اس کنونشن کے آرٹیکل ۲ کے مطابق‘‘فریقین چاہیں، تواس کے بعد کہ ایک فریق نے دوسرے کو اطلاع دے دی ہو کہ تنازع موجود ہے، دو مہینے کے اندر اندر عالمی عدالت نہیں بلکہ کسی ثالثی ٹریبیونل سے رجوع کرنے پر متفق ہو جائیں۔ اس مدت کے اختتام پر کوئی بھی فریق ایک درخواست سے اس تنازع کو عالمی عدالت میں لا سکتا ہے’’۔

اس کنونشن کے آرٹیکل ۳ کے ذیلی شق ۱کے مطابق اسی دو مہینے کی مدت میں فریقین چاہیں تو عالمی عدالت سے رجوع کرنے سے پیشتر اصلاح و تصفیہ کے کسی طریق کار پر رضامند ہوں۔ شق دو کے مطابق یہ مفاہمتی کمیشن اپنی تقرری کے پانچ ماہ کے اندر اندر اپنی رپورٹ دے گا۔ اگر اس کمیشن کی سفارشات کو کوئی فریق دو ماہ کے اندر اندر قبول نہ کرے تو دوسرا فریق ایک درخواست کے ذریعے عالمی عدالت کے سامنے یہ تنازعہ لاسکتا ہے۔ دیکھنا یہ ہے کہ عالمی عدالت میں جانے سے قبل یہ شرائط ہندوستان نے پوری کی تھیں۔ کیا اس نے پاکستان کے ساتھ کسی ٹریبیونل یا مفاہمتی کمیشن کے لئے بات کرنے کی خواہش اور کوشش کی تھی؟ اگر نہیں تو وہ اس کنونشن کے تحت براہ راست رجوع کرنے کا حق نہیں رکھتا اور پاکستان کو پرزور انداز میں یہ دلیل پیش کرنی چاہیے۔

پاکستان کہتا ہے کلبھوشن ایک جاسوس ہے جو دہشت گردی کرانے غیرقانونی طریقے سے بھیس بدل کر پاکستان میں داخل ہوا تھا اور اسے ویانا کنونشن کے تحت حقوق نہیں دیے جا سکتے جبکہ انڈیا اسے ایک بےگناہ ہندوستانی گردانتا ہے جس کو قونصلر رسائی اور قانونی امداد کے حقوق حاصل ہیں۔ اب ایک طرف ویانا کنونشن ہے اور دوسری طرف اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر جو دوسرے ممالک کے اقتداراعلیٰ اور سالمیت کے احترام اور ان کے اندرونی امور میں مداخلت کی اجازت نہیں دیتا۔ ایک طرف ہندوستان کی ویانا کنونشن کے تحت ذمہ داریاں ہیں اور دوسری طرف اقوام متحدہ کے تحت۔ ان میں کس کو فوقیت دی جائیگی؟ اقوام متحدہ کے چارٹر کے آرٹیکل ۱۰۳ کا اس سلسلے میں فیصلہ یہ ہے۔ ‘‘اقوام متحدہ کے ارکان کی اس موجودہ چارٹر یا کسی دوسرے بین الاقوامی معاہدے کے تحت ذمہ داریوں پر کوئی اختلاف واقع ہو جائے تو اس چارٹر کی تحت ان کی ذمہ داریوں کو فوقیت حاصل رہے گی۔’’

کیا اقوام متحدہ کا چارٹر عالمی ادارے کے ممبران کو ایک دوسرے کے اندر مداخلت یا جاسوسی کرنے یا ایسا کرنے والوں کی مدد یا پشت پناہی کی اجازت دیتا ہے؟

Writer’s intro

طاہرعلی خان فری لانس صحافی ہیں، رواداری ، احترام انسانیت اور امن کے پرچارک ہیں اور ان مقاصد کے حصول کے لیے ۔    کے نام سے بلاگ بھی رکھتے ہیں ۔ www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com لکھتے ہیں. وہ

CIVIC SENSE

What is civic sense? Do Pakistanis have/lack civil sense? Why do Pakistanis lack civic sense? What is needed for promoting civic sense?

By Tahir Ali

The writer is an academic who blogs at www.tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

 

While being interviewed by a panel at the Federal Public Service Commission, I was, inter alia, asked these questions, “What do you understand by the term civic-sense? What are the causes of lack of civic sense in Pakistan and what are your suggestions for ensuring widespread civic sense in Pakistan?

I answered the questions and the subsequent counter questions put by the interviewers in detail.  I had then resolved to write a comprehensive article on the issue but the idea could not materialise for my pressing engagements. It might have delayed it further but an interaction with one of my friends last week pushed me to go for it.

Last week, the friend Islam Ghani visited me and in the course of our discussion, he told me. “Every day when I leave home for my office, I see the drainage system blocked by polythene bags/garbage because one of my neighbours is in the habit of sweeping out all his garbage into the drain. I often clean the drain myself. The person and his children usually see me doing that. I request them to be sensitive to the neighbours but to no effect. And last week, the person had this to tell me: “I have done that. Do what you want/can. Do you think my garbage was to lie in my house? Why don’t you approach the municipal workers to come and clean the mess instead of becoming sweeper yourself or asking me to?” says Islam Ghani.

Throwing out your garbage this way and the subsequent response by the guilty speaks a lot of our public morality and an acute lack of civic sense in our society, he adds.

WHAT IS CIVIC SENSE?

The word ‘Civic’ means of or related to a city or people who live there or the duties and responsibilities of citizens, and the word ‘Sense’ means sound practical judgement or awareness about something. The term, therefore, literally means an understanding of the way how people should live and behave in a society.

Civic sense is a consideration for the norms of society. It includes respect for the law and for the ease and feelings of others and maintaining etiquettes while dealing and interacting with others. For example, if we visit someone’s house, ethics demand that we knock at the door, ask for permission to go inside or that we avoid visiting someone at the time of meals or at bed/rest time.

It means we respect and help others, avoid spitting on roads, streets and public places, avoid listening to loud music, refrain from blowing pressure horns, adhere to traffic rules, obey laws, park vehicles at nominated places, avoid wall chalking, ensure economical use of the natural resources and public facilities, help reduce leakage/wastage/misuse of gas/water/electricity, pay taxes and utility bills, wait for our turn, be tolerant towards opposing views, respect minorities and ensure religious harmony and devote ourselves to welfare/community services.

One is considered to have Civic Sense if he is caring and sensitive towards the elderly, women, children, disabled persons, the poor, the needy, neighbours, companions, subordinates, officers, public and private property, the environment, the animals, natural resources, or in short is behaving better with everyone and everything everywhere. It is about keeping lane while driving, desisting from rash driving or from driving while not in senses, throwing garbage but in a dustbin or designated places and avoiding smoking at public transport/places.

DO PAKISTANIS HAVE or LACK CIVIC SENSE?

Pakistan has been abundantly bestowed with natural resources. It has a highly fertile land. It has plenty of water. Its people are very intelligent and hard-working who have proved their worth and competence in every corner of the world. But the lack of civic sense is tarnishing our image as a respectable nation in the comity of nations and making the country an inhospitable place for both humans and animals. Instead of utilising the abundant natural and physical resources with care, these are being destroyed/wasted with impunity.

Good manners are exceptionally important in life and at the workplace. Unfortunately, most Pakistanis lack civil sense. They generally spit here and there, throw litters on and dirty the roads/public parks/platforms, disturb others by playing high-pitched music; we don’t care for others; we freely tease and harm others if we can escape getting caught/punished; we want to please our Lord by doing Naat-Khaani on loudspeakers even if it does adds to the woes of the neighbours or the sick; we waste natural resources with impunity and do not pay the utility bills; we violate laws, especially the traffic rules; we drive recklessly–one-wheeling on motorbikes is frequently seen; we write advertisements/graffiti on walls especially those of the toilets; we give bribes; we smoke in public places/vehicles; we ridicule the poor; we are intolerant towards others; and suspect and abuse others for nothing; hardly a few amongst us have the courtesy to offer their seat to a woman or an old person in public transport; the heaps of garbage in public parks, sea views, lakes and gardens, waste of food in functions and profuse use of polythene bags in our society display how acutely we lack civic sense. The polythene bags are not only creating health hazards but have the potential to disturb life in cities and destroy agriculture by blocking the sewerage and irrigation systems.

The scourges of extremism and terrorism are extreme manifestations of this lack of civic sense. Extremism has been resulted by the lack of due regard and tolerance for opponents and opposing ideologies. And terrorism is the result of a callous and ruthless mindset which divides the world between “us and them” and where there right of security of life and property is available only to ‘us’ while death is reserved for ‘them’, the opponents. Obviously, a man having civic sense –or regard for the life, honour, peace, happiness and ease of others- can neither be an extremist nor terrorism.

We often see people parking their vehicles in front of ‘No Parking’ signboards and at the footpaths. Materialism, terrorism, sectarianism, extremism, intolerance, racism, mud- slinging and quarrelling on petty issues, a mad race to excel others in money and prestige and disregard for the rule of law are both causes and manifestations of this lack of civic sense. Instead of listening carefully and respectfully to what others say, most of us resort to taunting and vandalism. As a nation, it seems, we are ruled more by our emotions than mind.

We claim having a strong culture of discipline and decency but then our people forget everything when it comes to eating and swarm the food in festivals and programmes.

WHY DO PAKISTANIS LACK CIVIC SENSE?

The familiar stereotyped perception is that the illiterate and the poor have no civic sense but it is erroneous to associate the lack of civic sense to wealth or poverty as the rich and the mighty also display lack of civic sense. For example, they delay flights with complete disregard for other passengers.

Lack of civic sense could be either due to lack of education and awareness. It could also be resulted by the lack of sensitivity and disregard for one’s obligations either for sheer arrogance or for the fact that there is monitoring/accountability structure in a given society that is required for forcing compliance to law. It is rightly said that people who have no sense of duties also have no civic sense and they usually violate not only laws but ethical obligations as well.

Then, we Pakistanis are always in a hurry so lining up and waiting for one’s turn is rarely seen. Again, materialism is fuelling the mad race for self-aggrandisement and account for the vices of corruption, nepotism, favouritism and other malpractices in government departments and private/public dealings.

Many dream of bringing change in Pakistan. But hardly a few are ready to change themselves. We want to bring change but only by criticising/correcting others. We are least prepared for introspection and self-reformation. The basic principle –that we cannot bring change unless we change ourselves, our attitudes and our mindsets –is generally forgotten

There is a memorable quote that best describes our style of religiosity. It read: “Pakistan is facing problems because everyone here wants a hearty share from the temporal bounties for himself/herself but is worried for the life-hereafter of others”.

The media, the intelligentsia and the education curricula could have been more helpful in bringing home the importance of civic sense. It has, unfortunately, been neglected thus far.

WHAT IS NEEDED FOR PROMOTING CIVIC SENSE?

NOT GOVERNMENT ALONE?

All responsibilities and tasks should not be left to government. Citizens need to perform their due role in each walk of life. We will have to shun the mentality that we have the right to throw garbage and spit anywhere and that it is the government’s duty to clean it.

INTROSPECTION AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT

For things to change, we must change. For things to get better, we must get better. We need to change ourselves first if we want change, reform and improved services. Setting a good example is better than teaching/preaching others what to do and what not to do. The Quran also declares: “Do you ask others to do the right things and forget about yourself?”

EMPATHY

We must be empathic. Empathy is trying to feel what somebody else is feeling or look at something through someone else’s eyes so as to understand, help and console him/her if needed. We should always have capacity and penchant to put ourselves in other place and think what would I have felt if this and that had been done to me. We need to be more civilized and caring for others. He/she must respect and facilitate others at home, schools, offices, hospitals, parks, transport and thoroughfares and in dealings, interactions, engagements and functions.

RIGHTS IMPLY DUTIES

It must never be forgotten that rights imply duties. Our rights are duties for others and others’ rights are duties for us. If we have a right to good, clean and peaceful environment, resources, security of life and property, and to be treated respectfully, these rights also imply duties on our part towards others. We must remember that every citizen has the right to enjoy civic amenities like drinking water, electricity, transport facilities etc. It is the duty of every citizen to use these civic amenities properly/carefully and pay the bills and other taxes imposed by the government so that welfare –development and repair/maintenance expenditures of public facilities –could be financed.

CONCERTED EFFORTS BY DIFFERENT STAKEHOLDERS

Different stakeholders –government, law enforcement agencies, media, religious scholars, civil society, professionals, the intelligentsia, and all others –should be involved and need to play their roles in promoting civic sense among the people.

ADVOCACY/ AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

There is a great need to educate/motivate people, organize training sessions, and run advocacy campaigns. There print and electronic media, the ulema, the civil society and the intelligentsia should spread more awareness on the demands of urbanisation, social ethics and conservation of natural resources and our duties as predecessors to our successors –the next generations.

INCORPORATING CIVIC SENSE IN TEXTBOOKS

Government should include reading material regarding civic sense in textbooks. By educating the youngsters in schools through textbooks, pictures and videos on civic sense, we will not only be making him a better human being but also help rebuilding the country.

PICTURES AND VIDEOS ON CIVIC SENSE

Media could promote civic sense by telecasting/broadcasting short clips about positive and negative behaviours. There are quite a lot of useful and impressive videos already available on the internet on civic sense. In one of them, a person spit in front of neighbour’s door. The neighbour cleans it daily and smiles back whenever the guilty one passes by. At last, the guilty person repents and gives up the bad habit. In another, four youngsters dirty a wall. Usually, passersby warn and try to beat the boys and they disappear but reappear soon to start dirtying the wall again. This practice goes on until a boy with civic sense appears. He brings water and duster to cleanse the wall dirtied by the boys. He is soon joined by many passersby in his effort. At last, the trouble-makers too come and help wash/cleanse the wall.

COMPETITIONS ON CIVIC SENSE BETWEEN PERSONS, TOWNS, CITIES

The government and civil society should announce competitions on different aspects of civic sense like cleanliness, courtesy, humility, cooperation, following the law, paying taxes, helping the needy, caring for others, respecting others, tolerance, awareness and sensitivity to others’ rights, sense of duty and service to humanity etc. These competitions could be used to ascertain and reward the person with the best civic sense in offices, departments, institutions, localities. Similarly, this competition could be used to determine the best cities, villages, wards, Union councils, tehsils and districts on any of the above aspects.

BAN ON POLYTHENE BAGS

As regards the abundant use of polythene bags, the government should prohibit the carrying of daily items in plastic bags. The ban is already there but it needs to be implemented.

BAN ON ONE-WHEELING

One-wheeling has resulted in countless tragedies but it, nevertheless, continues. It is not only insensitivity for one’s own but also for others’ lives. Merry-making at the cost of human lives cannot be tolerated.

ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM

Government should announce that the shopkeepers and residents of a particular locality would have to dump their garbage at identified points only. It must also ensure that if someone is not throwing garbage in its proper place, he/she will have to pay a specific fine. The administration should bring to book the culprits destroying the natural resources and playing havoc with the lives and peace in society.

 

 

Reflections and Lessons

Reflections and Lessons
PTI Chief Imran Khan’s decision to postpone the lockdown of federal capital Islamabad on November 2 is a welcome step. The Supreme Court of Pakistan earlier gave PTI the much needed face-saving and the government a respite today after it asked the councils of the two parties to submit TORs for the formation of the commission before November 3 or else it will decide on them itself. The nation at large will also find itself at ease at last as the final outcome of PTI’s stubbornness to hold and the government’s strong resolve to stop the Dharna could be devastating for economy and democracy in the country.
Now that tension has subsided for the time being and the law is likely to take its course, there should be a reflection on what was being, and what needs to be, done for the last few weeks. That the Panama Leaks issue and corruption needed to have been addressed earnestly, quickly and comprehensively, no one could deny. A wayout between the opposing viewpoints of the government and opposition on the TORs and modalities of the investigation for the purpose would have been possible if there had been a genuine desire to do that. Unfortunately, the government opted for delaying tactics while the opposition wanted to make it PM-specific which was both immoral and unjust. The important issue of fighting, investigating and eradicating corruption justly and fairly was thus forgotten and made into an issue to settle scores against one’s political opponent (s).
And while the PM and his government could have enacted legislation and sent its own TORs for the commission or written again to the CJP to expedite the process for the formation of the commission, it played its own part in vitiating the political atmosphere by unleashing its media tigers on the equally resolute PTI leadership which had decided to hold a dharna in Islamabad neglecting the security threats facing the country as well as the norms of genuine democratic political struggle
The political leadership of the country will do extreme good to the country’s stability, prosperity and future if it decides to take care of a few principles. One, democracy demands more restraint, respect and sobriety when it comes to human rights. Two, there should be no more repetition of any unsubstantiated accusations. Three, no person can be punished or condemned unless proven guilty. Fourth, no one can be allowed to become an accuser and judge himself. Fifth, in a polity and democracy, it is the judiciary and not street power that is the ultimate third umpire between a plaintiff and an accused. Sixth, decisions of the judiciary must be respected even if it is against one’s expectations. Seventh, democratic forces need to talk in parliament and media and never take to dharnas for a few years to come.
TAHIR ALI

Qital in Pakistan?

Genesis of the Jamaat
Tahir Ali November 30, 2014

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/genesis-of-jamaat-e-islami/#.VaDmAomxVK0 Nov 30,2014

Is Jamaat-e-Islami switching over from its peaceful democratic struggle to violent means to achieve its objectives?

Genesis of the Jamaat
Does Munawar Hasan know the implications of his views?Tahir-Ali2

Addressing last week’s Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) annual gathering in Lahore, former JI Ameer Munawar Hasan said that it was beyond the system based on elections to overcome the challenges being faced by Pakistan. “The problems of the society… can only be resolved through adopting and promoting the culture of jihad and qataal in the country. We need to wage jihad in the way of Almighty Allah along with democratic struggle to eliminate oppression and injustice from society.”
Does Munawar Hasan know the implications of his views? Will this qataal be against Pakistani security forces, political and religious leadership, parties or the entire system? Is the state on the wrong side and Taliban on the right or vice versa? Does JI support al-Qaeda?
It is ironical that he was the Ameer of JI and a successor of Maulana Maududi. Did Maududi write his famous book Aljehad Fil Islam on the strategy of qataal in a Muslim society? Munawar Hasan himself has never visited the battlefield himself or allowed his family members to go to the frontline. His assertion is likely to be misconstrued as an invitation/permission for violent reformation struggle.
Munawar Hasan represents a narrative in Pakistan that has many buyers. This narrative looks at democracy and electoral system as a hurdle in change. He dreams of an Islamic revolution, favours use of force to coerce compliance to Shariah, doesn’t accept the state boundaries and believes in Ummah as a political concept, sympathises with militants and considers them Mujahideen, thinks suicide attacks and terrorism are planned and executed by local agencies or Raw, CIA, Blackwater and attributed to Muslims to malign Islam, opposes military operations against militants and urges talks with them and so on.
Also read: The ameer and his party
He is not alone in these views. And there are many reasons — our dysfunctional system of justice and social services delivery system has disillusioned the masses. Private TV channels, intellectuals, religious class and state institutions have played their role to perpetuate and expand this disillusionment. Anti-democracy sentiments have spread especially in religious parties which have traditionally received negligible electoral success. The JUI F talks of democracy, for it has enjoyed sufficient electoral benefits.
JI at a crossroads
Earlier, Munawar Hasan had said that JI shared the same ideology with TTP and that the difference was in the tactics that JI employed. But how could JI, a political party that believes in democracy and constitutional rule within Pakistan, and al Qaeda and TTP, militant violent outfits that work for global khilafat, have same ideology.
Munawar Hasan represents a narrative in Pakistan that has many buyers. This narrative looks at democracy and electoral system as a hurdle in change. He dreams of an Islamic revolution.
There is no room for violent means in the JI strategy. Article 5 of the JI Constitution spells out that for the desired reform and revolution, the Jamaat shall use democratic and constitutional means, i.e., the use of advice and propagation of thought for reforming the mind and character, and preparing public opinion for accepting the desired changes and that this struggle for the realisation of its objectives shall be open and public, and not on the pattern of secret movements.
JI has several advantages vis-à-vis its rivals — discipline, countrywide support, internal democracy and simplicity. Even though Sirajul Haq, Ameer JI, says ballot paper is the only source of power and reformation, JI is at a crossroads. It has to decide whether it prefers the successful peaceful democratic Turkish model or the failed reactionary/violent Algerian and Egyptian models.
It has to decide whether it has to maintain status quo in its targets, ideology, structure and strategy. Or it has to become an ultra right militant group like al-Qaeda and TTP, or it reviews its plans and performances in the light of careful analyses of failure of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, to shape anew its political vision and mission and become a modern party.
Private jihad not allowed
Jihad is not synonymous with terrorism but opinions differ on what constitutes true jihad. For example, al-Qaeda and TTP assert that they fight for Islam; what is jihad for them is terrorism for others. There is no concept of war without state permission. War has only to be declared and managed by the state and government.
Similarly, administration of justice and execution of punishment is also the sole authority of the state. Women, sick people, children, animals, crops and non-combatants cannot be targeted. And desecration of bodies and targeting of religious places is not allowed.
All big religious schools of thought agree over this. There is no exemption for anyone.
Maulana Maududi never approved of jihad by private outfits. He had even outlawed jihad in Kashmir in 1948 for Pakistan had infiltrated private fighters there without any formal declaration of war. Had he been alive, he certainly would not have liked JI’s militant leanings.
Covert war against state(s) having diplomatic relations with Pakistan?
Maulana Maududi refers to Surah Anfaal 8:72, which says that Muslims are not allowed to indulge in secret subversive activities against infidels. He explains: “If we get into a dispute with a nation we are associated in a treaty with, and we realise that dialogue or international arbitration is not helpful in resolving the conflict or that it is bent on using force, it is legitimate for us to use force for its resolution. But this verse makes us morally bound that this use of force should come after clear and open declaration. To undertake covert armed activities, which we are not ready to admit openly, is an immorality which is not taught by Islam.”
Muslim states responsible only for their own citizens
In this verse, it has also been mandated that Islamic state is in no way responsible for the Muslims living outside its border. Maududi explains: “The responsibility of the Islamic states, as per this verse, is restricted to those living inside its borders….thus Islam has uprooted the very dispute that often originates from international complexities because when a country takes it upon itself to support some minorities living in other countries, it creates such anomalies that cannot be even solved by recurrent wars.”
What is Ummah?
Ummah is a spiritual concept but it is unfeasible as a political ideology. Unity is witnessed in Hajj which is a religious gathering. However, when Muslims come together in UN, OPEC, OIC, ECO etc which are political or economic entities, each country tries to safeguard its own interests for the ruler of each is the guardian of his nation who is accountable to/for his subjects. And when religious sects/parties cannot tolerate their rivals in other sects and in political struggle/fields and don’t unite into one, how could they argue for global Muslim Ummah neglecting state boundaries.
Muslims live in different countries and though they have sympathies with Muslims, every state pursues its own national interests first.
Sirajul Haq as a political leader prefers his party interests. As KP Finance Minister, he is not ready to share KP benefits with other provinces. At individual level, a Muslim doesn’t let stranger “Muslim brothers” enter his house or let them construct house on his land. Can he travel to another country without a valid visa issued by the other state from the Muslim ummah? Where is ummah in this equation?
Confusion?
Religious parties are confused over the genesis of terrorism. Terrorism can either be the work of foreigners/non Muslims or of extremists who are unhappy with the foreign policy. It cannot be two things at the same time. If it is the work of the former, there should be no reason to attribute the rise of terrorism to our alliance with the West and to suggest withdrawal from the coalition or talks with them as the prerequisite for peace in the region. And if it is committed by extremists, foreign agencies get automatically absolved of the blame.
Even if, as they say, Pakistan’s alliance with the West is the only reason for terrorism in Pakistan, does this justify the violence perpetrated by the extremists? They are yet to openly declare the TTP’s strategy unjust and un-Islamic.

Tahir Ali
tahir ali
The author is an academic and a freelance columnist. He blogs at tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com.

……………………………………………………………………

ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE

Jihad and Qital and democracy

By Tahir Ali

Addressing last week’s Jamaate Islami’s (JI) annual gathering in Lahore, Munawar Hasan, Ex Amir JI, ruled that it was beyond the system based on elections to overcome the challenges being faced by Pakistan. “I won’t mince my words in declaring that the problems of the society in which we live can only be resolved through adopting and promoting the culture of Jihad and Qital (war) in the country. “We need to wage Jihad in the way of Almighty Allah along with democratic struggle to eliminate oppression and injustice from society.”

When MH says Jihad and Qital is needed to support democratic dispensation which alone doesn’t suffice to solve problems, does he know what could be the implications of his views? Will this Qital be against Pakistani security forces, political and religious leadership, parties or the entire system? Is the state on the wrong and Taliban on the right or vice versa? Does JI support Alqaeda? Is it legitimate to wage war against Pakistan and its citizens? The nation awaits clarification.

It is ironical he was the Amir of JI and a successor of Maulana Madoodi who was famous for his constitutional mind. Did Maulana Maudoodi write his famous book Aljehad Fil Islam on the strategy of Qital in a Muslim society? And then MH has passed almost his entire life in the peaceful democratic political struggle. He doesn’t seem ever to have visited battlefield himself or allowed his family members to go to the frontline of Qital. Then why this assertion which could be misunderstood by Pakistani youth as an invitation/permission for violent reformation struggle.

By persisting with intermittent statements that often trigger controversies, Munawar Hasan has shown that the leftwing activist in him who joined the National Students Federation – a student body with a communist ideology- and was elected its President in 1959 is very much still there. In NSF, he seems to have contracted an extreme hatred for the ‘US Imperialism’ that still overwhelmingly shapes his thoughts. Whosoever that fights or claims to fight with the US becomes his hero. An acute hatred of this kind often leads one to deviate from the path of justice and fair-play.

Munawar Hasan represents a narrative in Pakistan that has, nevertheless, many buyers here. This narrative looks at democracy and electoral system as a hurdle in change’; dreams of an Islamic revolution; favours use of force to coerce compliance to Shariah; doesn’t accept the state boundaries and believes in Ummah as a political concept; sympathises with  militants and considers them Mujahideen in Allah’s path; thinks suicide attacks and terrorism are planned and executed by local agencies or Raw, CIA, Blackwater and attributed to Muslims to malign Islam; opposes military operations against militants and urges talks with them and so on.

He is not alone in these views. Many do so. Reasons thereof are many. Our dysfunctional system of justice and social services delivery system has disillusioned the masses. Private TV channels, intellectuals, religious class and state institutions played their role to perpetuate and expand this disillusionment. Anti-democracy sentiments have spread enormously especially in religious parties which have traditionally received negligible electoral success. JUI F talks of democracy for it has enjoyed sufficient benefits from its democratic manoeuvres so far.

JI at a crossroads

Earlier, Munawar Hasan had said that JI shared the same ideology with TTP and that the difference was in the tactics that JI employed. But how could JI, a political party that believes in democracy and constitutional rule within Pakistan, and Alqaeda and TTP, militant violent outfits that work for global khilafat, have same ideology, one fails to understand.

There is no room for violent means in JI strategy. Article 5 of the JI Constitution spells out that for the desired reform and revolution, the Jamaat shall use democratic and constitutional means, i.e., the use of advice and propagation of thought for reforming the mind and character and preparing public opinion for accepting the desired changes and that this struggle for the realisation of its objectives shall be open and public, and not on the pattern of secret movements.

JI has several advantages vis-à-vis its rivals like discipline, countrywide support, internal democracy and simplicity. Even though Sirajul Haq, Amir JI, says ballot paper is the only source of power and reformation, JI is at a crossroads. It has to decide whether it prefers the successful peaceful democratic Turkish model or the failed reactionary/violent Algerian and Egyptian models.

It has to decide whether it has to maintain status quo in its targets, ideology, structure and strategy. Or it has to become an ultra right militant group like Alqaeda and TTP, or it reviews its plans and performances in the light of careful analysis of failure of Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood and turkey’s  Justice and Development Party, to shape anew its political vision and mission and become a modern party.

Muslims should obey their rulers

Religion doesn’t prescribe a particular political system but it gives broad principles that the government of the Muslims be formed and run through consultations, that it should be obeyed in all matters except vices, that disobedience to it is a sin and revolt against it is not allowed unless a kufre bawah (open heresy like denouncing Quran or prayer or Haj for example) is witnessed, that baaghi (mutineers) and fasadi (mischief-mongers) will be with dealt severely etc.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “If someone ever hears some disgusting things from his ruler, he should observe patience because if anyone went out even a hand sized distance from the obedience of his government and died thus, he died in a state of jahiliant (ignorance) [Bukhari 7053]. But if he is ordered to commit a sin, he will neither listen to him nor obey him [Muslim 4763].

 

Private Jihad not allowed

Jihad is not synonymous with terrorism but opinions differ on what constitute true Jihad. For example, Alqaeda and TTP assert that they fight for Islam. What is Jihad for them is terrorism to others. There is no concept of war without state permission. War has only to be declared and managed by the state and government. Similarly administration of justice and execution of punishment is also the sole authority of the state. Women, the sick, the children, animals, crops and Non-combatants cannot be targeted which are. And desecration of bodies and targeting of religious places is not allowed. All big religious schools of thought agree over this. There is no exemption in this principle for anyone. When Allah didn’t even confer on His prophets the right to declare war without first gaining state/sovereign power, how can it be given to the Mujahideen of today?

Maulana Maudoodi never approved of Jihad by private outfits. He had even outlawed Jihad in Kashmir in 1948 for Pakistan had infiltrated private fighters there without any formal declaration of war. Had he been alive, he certainly would not have liked JI militant leanings. It is incomprehensible that MH learnt from his 40plus years of association with Maulana Maudoodi and JI that a culture of Qital needs to be spread in Pakistan. It deserves a better future than being subjected to and degenerated to be like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Labya by recourse to militancy?

Covert war against state(s) having diplomatic relations with Pakistan?

Muslims, in Anfaal 8:72, are not allowed to indulge in secret subversive activities against infidels, what to talk of Muslim governments. Maulana Maudoodi explains: “If we get into a dispute with a nation we are associated in a treaty with, and we realise that dialogue or international arbitration is not helpful in resolving the conflict or that it is bent on using force, it is legitimate for us to use force for its resolution. But this verse makes us morally bound that this use of force should come after clear and open declaration. To undertake covert armed activities, which we are not ready to admit openly, is an immorality which is not taught by Islam.”

Suicide attacks are also wrong and illegitimate from Islamic perspective for in a suicide attack, the attacker kills himself first with his own hands which is prohibited in Islam.

Muslim states responsible only for their own citizens

In this verse, it has also been mandated that Islamic state is in no way responsible for the Muslims living outside its border. Maudoodi explains: “the responsibility of the Islamic states, as per this verse, is restricted to those living inside its borders….thus Islam has uprooted the very dispute that often originates international complexities because when a country takes it upon itself to support some minorities living in other countries, it creates such anomalies that cannot be even solved by recurrent wars.”

Democratic and peaceful struggle

The situation is Pakistan is that to the extent of statute book, all laws (except the interest based bank transactions) are in consonance with traditional Islamic jurisprudence. If our system has failed to deliver it is because the laws are not being rightly followed, plaintiff and defendant lie in courts, witnesses either decline to give testimony or give wrong one, the police is corrupt, the lawyers use delaying tactics and the court officials seek bribes. There is room for improvement but the only way to remove the shortcomings and bring improvement in the government and individuals is the peaceful non-violent way comprising strategies of education, incitement, persuasion, encouragement, giving good tidings and informing/cautioning on vices. The violent strategy for that purpose leads only to disunity, injustices, anarchy and destruction.

Democracy may have its shortcomings but its benefits outnumber its drawbacks. It provides opportunity for gradual improvement. When peaceful change is possible (MMA, PTI mandate) why resort to illegal violent means?

Is coercion allowed?

 

Extremists advocate Jihad increases compliance with Islamic laws. But Muslims are not bound or entitled to force people or governments to come to the right path. Even the prophets of Allah were bound to preach and not to be dictators and force compliance. How could others be? Preaching should be done slowly, gradually, peacefully, affectionately and patiently. All the great Scholars of all Islam- Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad, Imam Shafi, Imam Bukhari etc never resorted to armed struggle against Muslim rulers who were more vicious and sinful than the rulers of today.

What is Ummah? Where is Ummah

Ummah is a spiritual concept but it is unfeasible as a political ideology. Unity is witnessed in Hajj which is a religious gathering. However when Muslims come together in UN, OPEC, OIC, ECO etc which are political or economic entities, each tries to safeguard its own interests for the ruler of each is the guardian of his nation who is accountable to/for his subjects. And when religious sects/parties cannot tolerate their rivals in other sects and in political struggle/fields and don’t unite into one, how could they argue for global Muslim ummah neglecting state boundaries. Muslims live in different countries and though they have sympathies with Muslims, every state pursues its own national interests first. Sirajul Haq as a political leader prefers his party interests and as KP finance minister is not ready to share KP benefits with other provinces. At individual level, a Muslim doesn’t let stranger “Muslim brothers” enter his house or let them construct house on his land. Can he travel to another country without a valid visa issued by the other state from the Muslim ummah? Where is ummah in this equation?
Gradual reformation?

Many Islamists who are eager and impatient to bring revolution are confusing two things: first, to desire and work for reformation; two, to be able to realise the dream. While Muslims are asked to work for bringing reformation, they are not bound to ensure it at any cost. They have to work for that and if they fail, they still will be rewarded for their sincere efforts. Forgetting this difference leads one to resort to hasty violent means for achieving objectives.

A collective system and its continuous reformation is the prerequisite for a civilised life but there is disagreement over whether reformation of society should precede that of the political system or follow it. One viewpoint argues when society and its people are reformed, governmental system will improve. The other says a competent and honest government automatically entails a transformed and honest society.

Confusion?

 

Religious parties are confused over genesis of terrorism. Terrorism can either be the work of foreigners/non Muslims or of extremists who are unhappy with the foreign policy. It cannot be two things at the same time. If it is the work of the former, there should be no reason to attribute rise of terrorism to our alliance with the west and to suggest withdrawal from the coalition or talks with them as the pre-requisite for peace in the region. And if it is committed by the extremists, foreign agencies get automatically absolved of the blame.

Even if, as they say, Pakistan’s alliance with the west is the only reason for terrorism in Pakistan, does this justify the violence perpetrated by the extremists? They are yet to openly declare the TTP’s strategy unjust and un-Islamic.

Tahir Ali

The author is an academic and a freelance columnist. He blogs at tahirkatlang.wordpress.com and can be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com

KP Development budget 2014-15

No change in sight

Will the KP government be able to meet ambitious development targets set in the budget?

 
No change in sight
 
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented its budget for 2014-15 with an outlay of Rs404.8 billion last week. The Rs139.8 billion annual development programme is 20 per cent higher than the current year. It also includes Rs39 billion foreign component of which 79 per cent are grants.

KP Finance Minister Sirajul Haq says the province has abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness due unfair distribution of resources and lack of good governance.

Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12 billion federal tax assignments, Rs12 billion net hydel profit plus Rs32.27 billion as NHP arrears, Rs29.26 billion oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29 billion war on terror grant, Rs35.35 billion as foreign assistance besides some others sources.

KP’s own revenue receipts estimated at Rs29 billion (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45 billion tax receipts and non-tax receipts of Rs9.3 billion. Rs12 billion as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85 billion from own power plants. Current expenditure (welfare and administrative) will be Rs265 billion.

The government’s development priorities are right, people say, but they doubt it will be able to meet its defined goals. Our successive governments have failed to create jobs thus leaving Pakhtuns searching for even menial jobs in other provinces or abroad, they argue. Most of the development funds for the outgoing year largely remain unutilised, claims an industrialist.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects are being launched — Rs7 billion have been allocated to construct 350 small dams, while 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

The public-private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects. New industrial zones will be established but there is no plan for the revival of the sick industrial clusters like Gadoon Industrial estate.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects are being launched — Rs7 billion have been allocated to construct 350 small dams, while 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

Zahidullah Shinwari, the president of the KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry, terms the budget a status-quo budget devoid of any vision and reform agenda. “KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise — there is 14.8 per cent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 per cent at national level.”

“Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units and improvement in law and order, but there is no proper roadmap. The government has failed to give new mineral, industrial, hydel, oil/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” he said.

There is contradiction in the figures. The finance minister said the current ADP has 611 on going and 378 new projects of which 209 will be completed this fiscal. The remaining and ongoing project are therefore 780. But he said the next budget will have 1251 projects including 611 ongoing and 540 new projects.

In education sector, the government will upgrade schools, establish IT laboratories in high schools, provide furniture to 2300 schools, provide sports facilities in 2400 schools, provide scholarships to talented students and offer free education to special persons in all colleges of the province.

Agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of KP people, acknowledges the minister, but for 46 projects, only Rs1.58 billion have been allocated. While the allocation has been marginally increased, it has in fact come down as percentage to the ADP — while the current year’s allocation was 1.8 per cent of local ADP, the new apportionment is 1.5 per cent.

In Rs39 billion foreign component of ADP, education again was the major beneficiary with Rs11.7 billion, followed by Rs7.6 billion for roads for five projects but agriculture gets only Rs0.8 billion, energy Rs2.6 billion and industries Rs1.6 billion.

The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce is the biggest hitch, the minister says, but he comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.

The PTI fans and even some ministers are taking pride in ‘a record increase’ in education spending to Rs111 billion but critics say most of the allocation (over Rs80 billion) comprises current budget which is but natural for being the biggest employees-wise department of the province.

The detailed expenditure report for the current year also reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6 billion, Rs24 billion, Rs1.53 billion, Rs2.2 billion and Rs4.4 billion respectively, but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2 billion, Rs3.72 billion, Rs0.63 billion, Rs0.65 billion and Rs1 billion in this fiscal.

In a bid to increase KP’s own revenue receipts, the government intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries. The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.

As per the Finance Bill 2014-15, an annual tax of Rs330 will be levied on a person in any profession and trade who earns between Rs10,000-Rs20,000. While a person earning between Rs200,000-Rs500,000 will pay tax of Rs10,000.

The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax and the minimum professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month which, the finance minister said, will provide relief to low income class. But does the assertion hold any ground on the face of the fact that minimum monthly pay has been already fixed at Rs12000/pm.

Twelve categories are suggested for urban immovable property (UIP) tax. For technical education, Rs3.7 billion have been allocated and a technical university will be established. Rs2.7 billion have been earmarked to give interest-free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.

The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by the chief minister.

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ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE AS IT WAS SENT TO THE NEWS

KP budget 2014-15

By Tahir Ali

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented its balanced budget for 2014-15 with an outlay of Rs404.8bn last week.

The Rs139.8bn annual development programme is 20 per cent higher than the current year. It also includes Rs39bn foreign component of which 79 % are grants.

The KP finance minister Sirajul Haq says KP has abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness for unfair distribution of resources, flawed planning, joblessness, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, weak accountability system and lack of good governance. He pledged making KP free of social, political and economic exploitation.

Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12bn federal tax assignments, Rs12bn net hydel profit plus Rs32.27bn as NHP arrears, Rs29.26bn oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29bn war on terror grant Rs35.35bn as foreign assistance besides some others sources.

KP’s own revenue receipts estimated at Rs29bn (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45bn tax receipts and non tax receipts of Rs9.3bn. Rs12bn as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85bn from own power plants.

Current expenditure (welfare and administrative) will be Rs265bn. It needs to be checked or it will in future restrict room for development portfolio.

The government’s development priorities are right, people say, but they doubt it will be able to meet its defined goals. Our successive governments have failed to create jobs thus leaving Pakhtuns searching for even menial jobs in other provinces or abroad, they argue.

Most of the development funds for the outgoing year largely remains unutilised, claims an industrialist.

The public private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects.

New industrial zones to be established but there is no plan for the revival of the sick industrial clusters like Gadoon estate.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects being launched. Rs7bn have been allocated to construct 350 small dams. 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

To bring down poverty and accountability, the government has promulgated the right to information law and established a commission for access to information, access to services’ commission and conflict of interest commission, ihtesab commission, a complaint cell in CM secretariat. And a public procurement regulatory authority established to make the procurement system of hiring of services, goods and construction transparent and corruption free and introduced the market rate system instead of the composite scheduled rates to ensure transparency in development schemes. .

Zahidullah Shinwari, the president of the KP chamber of commerce and industry terms the budget a status-quo budget devoid of any vision and reform agenda.

“KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise –there is 14.8 percent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 percent at national level. Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units, improvement in law and order, focus on technical and IT education but there is no proper roadmap for the areas. The government has failed to give a new mineral, industrial, hydel, oilg/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” he said.

There is contradiction in the figures. The finance minister said the current ADP has 611 on going and 378 new projects of which 209 will be completed this fiscal. The remaining and ongoing project are therefore 780. But he said the next budget will have 1251 projects including 611 ongoing and 540 new projects.

In education sector, the government will upgrade schools, establish IT laboratories in high schools, provide furniture to 2300 schools, provide sports facilities in 2400 schools, provide scholarships to talented students and offer free education to special persons in all colleges of the province.

In Rs100bn provincial ADP, Education got Rs15bn but important economic sectors have been allocated paltry sums: Rs3.4bn for power sector against Rs1.4bn in current year, Rs4.7bn against Rs3.28bn for irrigation and agriculture Rs1.58bn against Rs1.53bn in current year.

Agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of KP people, acknowledges the minister, but for 46 projects, only Rs1.58bnn have been allocated. While the allocation has been marginally increased, it has in fact come down as percentage to the ADP – while the current year’s allocation was 1.8 per cent of local ADP, the new apportionment is 1.5 per cent.

In Rs39bnforeign component of ADP, education again was the major beneficiary Rs11.7bn, followed by Rs7.6bn for roads for five projects but agriculture gets only Rs0.8bn, energy Rs2.6bn and industries Rs1.6bn.

The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce is the biggest hitch, the minister says, but he comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.

The PTI fans and even some ministers are taking pride in ‘a record increase’ in education spending to Rs111bn but critics say most of the allocation (over Rs80bn) comprises current budget which is but natural for being the biggest employees-wise department of the province.

The detailed expenditure report for the current year also reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6bn, Rs24bn, Rs1.53bn, Rs2.2bn and Rs4.4bn respectively but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2bn, Rs3.72bn, Rs0.63bn, Rs0.65bn and Rs1bn could be utilised in this fiscal.

In a bid to increase KP own revenue receipts, the government intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries. The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.

As per the Finance Bill 2014-15, an annual tax of Rs330 will be levied on a person in any profession and trade who earns between Rs10,000-Rs20,000. While a person earning between Rs200,000-Rs500,000 will pay tax of Rs10,000. There are such slabs.

The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax and the minimum professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month which, the finance minister said, will provide relief to low income class but does the assertion hold any ground on the face of the fact that minimum monthly pay has been already fixed at Rs12000/pm.

Twelve categories are suggested for urban immovable property (UIP) tax. An owner of upto 5 marlas house (other than self-occupied) in category A, B and C will pay Rs1000, Rs 900 and Rs750 in UIP respectively. Owners of over 5 marlas will pay UIP tax of Rs1700, Rs1600 and Rs1500, owners of 10 marlas will pay Rs2200, Rs2100 and Rs2000, owners of 15 marlas house will deposit Rs3300, Rs3200, and Rs3000 while those with 18-20 marlas houses and flats will pay UIP tax of Rs10000, Rs9000 and Rs8000 in the three categories respectively. Similarly other eight categories have different tax slabs for the immovable properties.

For technical education Rs3.7bn have been allocated and a technical University will be established. Rs2.7bn have been earmarked to give interest free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.

The mineral sector could be used for poverty alleviation but only Rs0.62cbn have been allotted to it in the ADP.

The government intends to set up stock exchange in Peshawar to support the progress of industry and trade sectors.

The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by CM. But he didn’t specify what happened to similar measures in the current budget. The minister said the government has formed committees for monetization and economy which are working with far reaching consequences, though he failed to identify any.

The construction of houses for officials and ministers on 20 marlas and 110 per cent raise in salaries of minister, advisors etc however is being resented.

Rs7.9bn has been allocated for a pro-poor initiative under which various welfare programs, such as health insurance, long-term loan for development of industries, and provincial youth technical education scheme etc would be launched. Rs6bn more allocated for a special relief package program for giving subsidized edible items to the poor.

The education budget was Rs13.87bn in current fiscal while this year it will be Rs14.31bn for the next year.

 

 

Schools under watch

Schools under watch

 http://tns.thenews.com.pk/schools-watch-education-monitoring-units-kpk/#.U1wh4KzOXp8

Will the Independent Monitoring Unit help improve attendance and performance of teachers and education administrators in KPK?

Schools under watch
Anything but a school.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has launched an Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) to improve attendance and performance of teachers and education administrators in the province. The IMU has been established under a three-year project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. Rs500 million have been allocated for the initiative this year and more funds will be set aside for it in the next budget(s). The project will be extended if found useful after a third-party verification. Rs100 million have also been earmarked for establishing a third-party monitoring mechanism.

Muhammad Atif Khan, Provincial Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department, says 475 IMU monitors — 303 men and 172 women — have been appointed on merit for boys and girls schools respectively. They receive a fixed pay of Rs30,000 a month. Male monitors have been given motorcycles with Rs10,000 fuel allowance.

Each KP district has been divided in groups, each consisting of up to 60 schools and every monitor is responsible for visiting all the schools in his group. He/she has to visit a school at least once a month.

On the terms of references (ToRs) and standard operating procedure (SoP) of monitors, the minister says they are basically real-time data collectors and transmitters. “They have been trained for the purpose. They will collect, physically verify and send immediately data on the attendance of teachers, enrolment/dropout rate of students, needs and deficiencies of teachers and other school paraphernalia etc.”

The monitors will also collect data on the inspection of officers to schools, the distribution of free textbooks, stipends to the female students and the parents-teachers’ council (PTC) and other school funds. He says monitors have been given smart-phones with a proper format for feeding data and a general packet radio system (GPRS) to collect and transmit real-time data of/from the concerned schools to the IMU head office in Peshawar.

Asked what measures have been taken to guard against the misuse of powers by monitors, Khan says, “The monitors have been trained to be polite to principals/teachers, not to indulge in reasoning and avoid meddling in the teaching learning process. Their performance will also be monitored and action will be taken if any genuine complaints come to surface against them. The IMU is independent of the department’s control. They have to submit data immediately from the school they visit. This has been done to save the system from data/record-tampering.”

Lack of basic facilities at schools is a big problem. Over 20 per cent of the functional public schools in KP still have no boundary walls, 30 per cent no water supply, 42 per cent no electricity and 16 per cent no toilets facilities.

The KP Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, recently issued directives of handing over the monitoring of all hospitals and basic health units to the IMU. But the system has been put in place in the education department only. The IMU has been empowered to monitor only schools in the public sector while education offices and private schools are still out of its ambit.

It is hoped the IMU will help pinpoint “ghost schools and proxy teachers” (the IMU, as reported, has detected 12 proxy teachers, four women among them, in government schools in Buner district recently), improve teachers’ attendance and make it easy/possible to take action against the corrupt and negligent elements in the department.

Most of the principals and head-masters of the E&SE Department support the initiative. They say teachers’ attendance and punctuality have improved significantly ever-since the launch of the IMU.

Mumtazuddin, a principal of a government higher secondary school, is all praise for the IMU. He says the IMU is a sort of an external counter-check upon the internal supervision system of the department. External or a third-party check, he says, is done everywhere in the world. “Officers fail to visit schools even in years. With teachers and internal monitors (administrative officers) mostly shirking responsibilities, the IMU is the need of the hour,” he says.

“Intra-district shuffling of monitors is being carried out every month to prevent the problems/dangers of familiarity/rapprochement between teachers and monitors. These dangers could be further minimised by inter-district shifting of monitors,” according to another principal.

Tahir Ali2

Some teachers support the move: “One of the biggest problems is the flawed monitoring system. Exceptions apart, our departmental monitoring system is too politicised, powerless and under-funded. One hopes the IMU will be kept safe from political interference, corruption, and data-delaying/tampering for whatever reasons. Much will depend also on whether its recommendations will be executed,” a teacher says.

But some term it ‘an unwarranted and inapt’ move that would ultimately bring little/no change. They say schools and teachers are monitored by head masters, and inspected by cluster heads, district education officers, directors, local bodies members, national and provincial assemblies’ members and chairman and members of the PTCs.

“There was no need to establish the IMU. Rather, the government should have strengthened/empowered the internal monitoring system. Schools should be left to the district education officers. Principals and officers should be empowered and political intervention in appointments and postings should be eliminated. Good administrators could do wonders,” says a teacher.

“Principals and administrators would also definitely give good results if facilities like smart-phones with GPRS connection and powers are provided to them and they are also made to report their inspection report immediately. Biometric attendance system at schools can also improve teachers’ punctuality. But teachers’ performance also needs to be improved. Principals should be explicitly authorised to hire new teachers from PTC or other school funds,” he argues.

Another teacher complains that earlier principals/headmasters and the district officers used to report on deficiencies and requirements of teachers, chairs, desks, books and other basic facilities regularly but these were scarcely fulfilled. Now monitors do the same, but will the government act upon their reports/recommendations? Khan responds the government will ensure speedy action on their reports and recommendations concerning administrative and financial matters and will allocate resources.

Khan says: “Rather it is a quest for excellence. Why would one have gone for this if the earlier internal monitoring system had been successful during the last 65 years? Our history proves and no one can contest that it has failed to deliver and that a change was needed.”

Another teacher, wishing anonymity, says: “The monitors visit a school once or twice a month. What if a teacher, who is otherwise punctual and dutiful, is on-leave or late on the monitor’s arrival date(s). Won’t that cause a negative and wrong perception about him in the IMU system?” He adds: “Educational monitoring is too technical a job to be left to inexperienced monitors. This is bound to fail.”

The KP E&SE Department possesses over 168000 employees with 133750 sanctioned and 119274 functional teachers who teach 3.9 million students in 28472 total and 27975 functional government primary, middle, high, and higher secondary schools.

It means a monitor will check around 250-280 teachers and 58-60 schools. The monitor-employee ratio will be 1:350 if education offices also come under their oversight.

Besides weak monitoring mechanism, crowded classrooms, indifference of teachers and administrators and political interference, lack of basic facilities at schools is a big problem. Over 20 per cent of the functional public schools in KP still have no boundary walls, 30 per cent no water supply, 42 per cent no electricity and 16 per cent no toilets facilities.

Tahir Ali

tahir ali
The author is an academic and a freelance columnist interested in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s politics, peace, education and economy. He may be reached at tahir_katlang@yahoo.com.
…………………
Original text of the article.
Impartial School Monitors
Or Independent Monitoring Unit
By Tahir Ali
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has launched the Independent Monitoring Unit (IMU) to improve attendance and performance of teachers and education administrators in the province.
The IMU has been established under a three years project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. Rs500mn have been allocated for the initiative this year and more funds will be set aside for it in the next budget (s). The project will be extended if found useful after third party verification. Rs100mn have also been earmarked for establishing a third party monitoring mechanism.
Muhammad Atif Khan, provincial minister for Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) department, says 475 IMU monitors -303 male and 172 female –have been appointed on merit for boys and girls schools respectively. They receive a fixed pay of Rs30000/pm. Male monitors have been given motorcycles with Rs10000 fuel allowance while female the latter.
Each KP district has been divided in groups –each consisting of up to 60 schools and every monitor is responsible for visiting all the schools in his group. He/she has to visit a school at least once a month.
About a question on the terms of references (ToRs) and standard operating procedure (SoP) of monitors and whether they could monitor the teaching-learning process, he said they are basically real-time data collectors and transmitters. “They have been trained for the purpose. They will collect, physically verify and send immediately data on the attendance of teachers, enrolment/dropout rate of students, needs and deficiencies of teachers and other school paraphernalia etc,” he said.
Monitors will also collect data on the inspection of officers to schools, the distribution of free textbooks, stipends to the female students and on the parents-teachers’ council (PTC) and other school funds.
For this purpose, he said, monitors have been given smart-phones with a proper format for feeding data and a general packet radio system (GPRS) to collect and transmit real-time data of/from the concerned schools to the IMU head-office in Peshawar.
Asked what measures have been taken to guard against the misuse of powers by monitors, Khan said. “Monitors have been trained to be polite to principals/teachers, not to indulge in reasoning or misbehaviour with them and avoid meddling in the teaching learning process. Their performance will also be monitored and action will be taken if any genuine complaints come to surface against them. The IMU is independent of department’s control. They have to submit data immediately from the school they visit. This has been done to save the system from data/record-tampering.”
KP chief minister Pervez Khattak recently issued directives of handing over the monitoring of all hospitals and basic health units to IMU. But the system has been put in place in the education department only partially: It has been empowered to monitor only schools in the public sector while education offices and private schools are still out of its ambit.
It is hoped IMU will help pinpoint “ghost schools and proxy teachers” (The IMU, as reported, has detected 12 proxy teachers, four women among them, in government schools in Buner district recently), improve teachers’ attendance and make it easy/possible to take action against the corrupt and negligent elements in the department.
Most of the principals and head-masters of the E&SE department support the initiative. They say teachers’ attendance and punctuality have improved significantly ever-since the launch of IMU.
Mumtazuddin, a principal of a government higher secondary school, was all praise for the IMU. He said IMU was a sort of an external counter-check upon the internal supervision system of the department. External or third-party check, he said, is done everywhere and is vital for bringing improvement.
“Officers fail to visit schools even in years. With teachers and internal monitors (administrative officers) mostly shirking responsibilities, IMU –an external monitoring system –was the need of the hour,” he said.
“Intra-district shuffling of monitors is being carried out every month to protect against the problems/dangers of familiarity/rapprochement between teachers and monitors. These dangers could be further minimized by inter-district shifting of monitors,” according to another principal.
Some teachers support the move: “One of the biggest problems is the flawed monitoring system. Exceptions apart, our departmental monitoring system is too politicized, powerless, underfunded, busy in file-work or lacklustre to properly monitor the schools under their jurisdiction. One hopes the IMU will be kept safe from political interference, corruption, and data-delaying/tampering for whatever reasons. Much will depend also on whether its recommendations will be impartially executed,” a teacher said.
But some oppose it terming it as ‘an unwarranted and inapt’ move that would ultimately bring little/no change. They say schools and teachers are monitored by head masters, and inspected by cluster heads, district education officers, directors, local bodies members, national and provincial assemblies’ members and chairman and members of the PTCs.
“There was no need to establish the IMU. Rather, the government should have strengthened/empowered the internal monitoring system. Schools should be left to the district education officers. Principals and officers should be empowered and political intervention in appointments and postings should be eliminated. Good administrators, like Mushtaq Ahmad, the ex-DEO Mardan, who comprehensively inspected all the schools of the district within a short span of three months, could do wonders,” said a teacher.
“Principals and administrators would also definitely give good results if facilities like smart-phones with GPRS connection and powers are provided to them and they are also made to report their inspection report immediately. Biometric attendance system at schools can also improve teachers’ punctuality. But teachers’ competencies also need to be improved. Principals should be explicitly authorized to hire new teachers from PTC or other school funds,” he argued.
Another teacher said that earlier principals/headmasters and the district officers kept reporting the deficiencies and requirements on teachers, chairs, desks, books and other basic facilities regularly but these are scarcely fulfilled. Now monitors do the same but will the government act upon their reports/recommendations and fulfil the deficiencies? Khan responded the government will ensure speedy action on their reports and recommendations concerning administrative and financial matters and will allocate resources.
When asked whether the step/body was tantamount to a distrust on the existing monitoring mechanism and shouldn’t the age-old system have been reformed/strengthened rather than establishing a new system, Khan said: “Rather it is a quest for excellence. And why would one have gone for this if the earlier internal monitoring system had been successful during the last 65 years? Our history proves and no one can contest that it has failed to deliver and that a change was needed.”
Another teacher, wishing anonymity, said: “Monitors visit a school once or twice a month. Now what if a teacher who is otherwise punctual and dutiful is on-leave or late on the monitor’s arrival date(s). Won’t that cause a negative and wrong perception about him in the IMU system?”
“PTI has rewarded the youth with jobs as monitors. But educational monitoring is too difficult and technical a job to be left to inexperienced fellows. This is bound to fail. It will, however, create hatred for PTI amongst teachers as disputes surface later.”
The KP E&SE department possesses over 168000 employees with 133750 sanctioned and 119274 functional teachers who teach 3.9mn students in 28472 total but 27975 functional Government Primary, middle, high, and higher secondary schools.
It means a monitor will check around 250-280 teachers and 58-60 schools. The monitor-employee ratio will be 1:350 once education offices also come under their oversight, something impossible.
Experts say weak monitoring mechanism, teachers’ absenteeism, crowded classrooms, indifference of teachers and administrators, political interference and schools sans facilities, etc are some of the problems facing education in the province.
Distressingly, 20 per cent of the functional public schools still have no boundary walls, 30 per cent no water supply, 42 per cent no electricity and 16 per cent no toilets facilities. As for other facilities like library, computer and science laboratory, the report says, only 1205, 254 and 1152 off the 3092 male and 451, 154 and 561of the 1810 girls middle to higher schools have these facilities respectively. The rest have no such facilities and so are the GPSs.

English medium education in KP

A medium of change
Tahir Ali
February 2, 2014

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/medium-change/#comment-4938

Pashto, Urdu, Arabic and now English.

Will the changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling in KP take the intended course?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to introduce English-medium schooling and a uniform curriculum in all the public sector schools from the upcoming academic session. The shift from Urdu/Pashto medium to English-medium textbooks will be completed in several phases. In the first stage commencing from this April, the students of grade one, besides English, will also study Mathematics and General Knowledge in English. With the promotion of these students to grade two, English-medium textbooks/education will also move up the ladder, if not earlier. The process will take about four to five years to reach up to secondary level.
Official sources say the government is fully prepared for the shift. “First, 400 master trainers were trained who are now busy training primary school teachers for grade one. The process will continue till mid-March and 36000 teachers will be trained this year. One teacher from each primary school will be guided on the new textbooks in ten-day workshops. For more classes later, more master trainers will be trained who would then train all the 120000 teachers in KP,” says an official privy to the process.
He says the government has prepared/printed textbooks and these will be provided well before the start of the session.
Teachers and parents say English medium education was long overdue. It will bring public sector schools at par with their private counterparts which have seen a mushroom growth in recent years. In the absence or shortage of quality English medium government schools, parents go for private schools which are increasingly getting costlier and unaffordable, they argue.
Naming them Centennial model high schools, the government had earlier converted a few government high schools to English medium status throughout the province. These schools proved a great success and have gained parents’ confidence.
The PTI activists say it will help end the decade-old class-based education, bring a uniform curriculum, remove disparities between the education standards in urban and rural areas, ensure equal opportunities for competition and progress to both the rich and the poor and will augment enrolment in government schools.
Nevertheless, changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling is, however, easier said than done. It is likely to bring several problems for both the students and teachers overwhelmed by an English-phobia of an extreme kind. But nothing is impossible for a resolute mind and hardworking administration. Though the government seems conscious of the gigantic challenges lying ahead, some precautions must be made.

Too ambitious for schools with no infrastructure.
Planners will not only have to select and train qualified and competent master trainers and teachers in the later stages, they also will have to prepare/supply books in time and a permanent monitoring mechanism will also have to be developed.
“We need hardworking and proficient master trainers and teachers to be able to teach maths and science in English. Without qualified and committed trainers and teachers and a robust oversight mechanism and competent monitors, the move will come to nothing. One hopes the government will be able to publish/provide textbooks in time and will induct, train and provide competent teachers for this purpose,” says Zubair Ahmad, an educationist.
“Training of teachers continues province-wide. To make the process successful, the concerned officials should ensure that a trainee teacher nearing his retirement or likely to be promoted in near future is not selected. Or at least two teachers should be trained for a class,” says a teacher.
“Some of the trainee primary teachers can hardly speak a simple sentence in English for grade one. The trainee teachers must be young, energetic, qualified (preferably graduate) and must be selected on merit without any interference from teachers’ union and politicians,” says a master trainer. “Also, primary teachers whose promotion to high schools is due shortly must never be considered for training as their departure would deprive their erstwhile schools of a teacher trained for grade one while his training would be of no use in high schools. The government should also plan and ensure follow-up activities so that teachers continue to teach to the class they were trained for,” says the trainer.
“Almost all the teachers at my centre are young. They take keen interest in the training. They are happy that English medium textbooks will improve enrolment and prospects of their students and augment their own prestige,” says another master trainer.
English-medium education is being started from grade one (Awal Aala). It means two preceding classes — the preparatory class (called Awal Adna locally) and the other called Kachi have been left out, says a teacher, Shafiq Khan. The KP government, however, recently announced playgroup classes will be started in public schools from the upcoming session.
Most developed countries have uniform system of education. But different curricula in the public and private sectors and religious madaris (seminaries) have sharply divided Pakistan. A modern/uniform curriculum is necessary to strengthen national unity and promote moderation and tolerance in the country. The PTI, in its 6-points education policy, too had promised a uniform education system if voted to power.
It requires huge funds, time, personnel, incessant work and cooperation from all the private schools and religious seminaries to have a uniform curriculum province-wide. So, the PTI has decided to bring uniform curriculum in government schools through English-medium textbooks for the moment. Private schools may be covered later. The PTI leaders argue the government and private schools follow the same syllabus for class 9 and 10, so why can’t it be the same in other classes.
One hopes the move will lead to healthy competition between the public and private schools. The government should also promote spirit of cooperation and coordination between the two.
The PTI opponents accuse it of being ‘secular’ having pro-west agenda (JUI-F leaders harp on the theory) while some analysts accuse it of taking the KP towards fundamentalism.
Following the landmark 18th Constitutional Amendment that devolved education and curriculum design to provinces, the KP government can modify its curriculum and textbooks. Textbooks lessons have been usually changed by successive governments and the PTI government is also expected to follow suit. But its leaders say they would do so in strict compliance with the 2006 national curriculum. It means there will be no major changes in curriculum introduced by the previous ANP-led government.
The ANP government had included lessons on local heroes in curriculum such as famous poets Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Ghani Khan. They also included lessons on human rights, peace and religious tolerance and removed historic distortions, hate material and harsh sentiments against non-Muslims. The ANP activists say the Jamaat-e-Islami is now bent on reversing these changes.
The KP Elementary and Secondary Education Minister, Muhammad Atif Khan, as per newspaper reports, said Islamic ideology would be the basis of his government’s steps regarding curriculum. He said the PTI government would accept no bar on religious education and won’t tolerate external interference in this regard. He also vowed to rectify the ‘mistakes’ in present curriculum introduced by the ANP government.
The KP Information Minister Shah Farman reportedly said the KP would revise and develop curriculum as per Islamic teachings and the country’s cultural norms. He termed criminal the changes brought about by the ANP-led government (some changes he and Khan cited included the removal of Quranic verses on Jihad, mention of Kashmir as disputed land and replacement of lessons on Voice of God, Hazrat Umar and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those on ‘The Man Who Was a Giant’, ‘Helen Keller’ and ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ etc).
“While its coalition partner — The JI — wishes to Islamise syllabi by expunging some ‘secular’ lessons from them and limit the donors’ role in policy/decision making, the civil society, opposition parties and donor agencies may dislike the move. How will the PTI deal with these conflicting viewpoints, remains to be seen,” says an ANP activist.

……………………

ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE

English-medium education in KP
Or
Uniform curriculum’ in KP
By Tahir Ali
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf led-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to launch a process of introducing English-medium schooling and a uniform curriculum through it, in all the public sector schools from the upcoming academic session.
The shift from Urdu/Pashto medium to English-medium textbooks will be completed in several phases. In the first stage commencing from this April, the students of grade one, besides English, will also study Mathematics and General Knowledge in English. With the promotion of these students to class 2, English-medium textbooks/education will also move up the ladder, if not earlier. The process will take about four to five years to reach up to secondary level.
Official sources say the government is fully prepared for the shift. “First, 400 master trainers were trained who are now busy training primary school teachers for grade one. The process will continue till mid-March and 36000 teachers will be trained this year. One teacher from each primary school will be guided on the new textbooks in ten-day workshops. For more classes later, more master trainers will be trained who would then train all the 120000 teachers in KP,” said a source.
He said the government has prepared/printed textbooks and these will be provided well before the start of the session.
Teachers and parents say English medium education was long overdue. It will bring public sector schools at par with their private counterparts which have seen a mushroom growth in recent years. In the absence or shortage of quality English medium government schools, parents go for private schools but which are increasingly getting costlier and unaffordable, they argue.
Naming them Centennial model high schools, the government had earlier converted a few government high schools to English medium status throughout the province. These schools proved a great success and have gained parents’ confidence.
PTI activists say it will help end the decade-old class-based education, bring a uniform curriculum, remove disparities between the education standards in urban and rural areas, ensure equal opportunities for competition and progress to both the rich and the poor and will augment enrolment in government schools.
Nevertheless, changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling is however easier said than done. It is likely to bring several problems for both the students and teachers overwhelmed by an English-phobia of an extreme kind.
But nothing is impossible for a resolute mind and hardworking administration. Though the government seems conscious of the gigantic challenges lying ahead, some precautions must be made.
Planners will not only have to select and train qualified and competent master trainers and teachers in the later stages, they also will have to prepare/supply books in time and a permanent monitoring mechanism will also have to be developed.
“We need hardworking and proficient master trainers and teachers to be able to teach maths and science in English. Without qualified and committed trainers and teachers and a robust oversight mechanism and competent monitors, the move will come to nothing. One hopes the government will be able to publish/provide text books in time and will induct, train and provide competent teachers for this purpose,” said Zubair Ahmad, an educationist.
“Training of teachers continues province-wide. To make the process successful, the concerned officials should ensure that a trainee teacher nearing his retirement, having poor eye-sight or likely to be promoted in near future is not selected. Or at least two teachers should be trained for a class,” said a teacher.
“Some of the trainee primary teachers can hardly speak a simple sentence in English for grade 1. The trainee teachers must be young, energetic, qualified (preferably graduate) and must be selected on merit without any interference from teachers’ union and politicians. Also, primary teachers whose promotion to high schools is due shortly must never be considered for training as their departure would deprive their erstwhile schools of a teacher trained for grade one while his training would be of no use in high schools. The government should also plan and ensure follow-up activities so that teachers continue to teach to the class they were trained for,” said a master trainer.
“Almost all the teachers at my centre are young. They take keen interest in the training. They are happy that English medium textbooks will improve enrolment and prospects of their students and augment their own prestige,” said another master trainer.
English-medium education is being started from first grade one (Awal Aala). It means two preceding classes – the preparatory class (called Awal Adna locally) and the other called Kachi have been left out, said a teacher Shafiq Khan. The KP government however recently announced playgroup classes will be started in public schools from the upcoming session.
Most developed countries have uniform system of education. But different curricula in the public and private sectors and religious madaris (seminaries) have sharply divided Pakistan. A modern/uniform curriculum is necessary to strengthen national unity and promote moderation and tolerance in the country. PTI, in its 6-points education policy, too had promised a uniform education system if voted to power.
It requires huge funds, time, personnel, incessant work and cooperation from all the private schools and religious seminaries to have a uniform curriculum province-wide. So, PTI has decided to bring uniform curriculum in government schools through English-medium textbooks for the moment. Private schools may be covered later. PTI leaders argue the government and private schools follow the same syllabus for class 9 and 10, so why can’t it be the same in other classes.
Once hopes the move will lead to healthy competition between the public and private schools. The government should also promote spirit of cooperation and coordination between the two.
Will KP change curriculum?
PTI opponents accuse it of being ‘secular’ having pro-west agenda (JUI-F leaders harp on the theory) while analysts (e.g. Najm Sethi) accuse it of taking KP towards fundamentalism.
Following the landmark 18th constitutional amendment that devolved education and curriculum design to provinces, the KP government can modify its curriculum and textbooks. Textbooks lessons have been usually changed by successive governments and PTI government is also expected to follow suit. But its leaders say they would do so in strict compliance to the 2006 national curriculum. It means there will be no major changes in curriculum introduced by the previous ANP-led government.
The ANP government had included lessons on local heroes in curriculum such as famous poets Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Ghani Khan, on human rights, peace and religious tolerance and removed historic distortions, hate material and harsh sentiments against non-Muslims but, its activists say, Jamate Islami is now bent on reversing these changes.
KP elementary and secondary education minister Muhammad Atif Khan, as per newspaper reports, said Islamic ideology would be the basis of his government’s steps regarding curriculum. He said the PTI government would accept no bar on religious education and won’t tolerate external interference in this regard. He also vowed to rectify the ‘mistakes’ in present curriculum introduced by the ANP government.
KP information minister Shah Farman reportedly said KP would revise and develop curriculum as per Islamic teachings and country’s cultural norms. He termed as criminal the changes brought about by the ANP-led government (some changes he and Khan cited included the removal of Quranic verses on Jihad, mention of Kashmir as disputed land and replacement of lessons on Voice of God, Hazrat Umar and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those on The man who was a giant, Helen keller and Quaid-e-Azam etc).
“While its coalition partner JI wishes to Islamise syllabi by expunging some ‘secular’ lessons from them and limit the donors’ role in policy/decision making, the civil society, opposition parties and donor agencies may dislike the moves. How will PTI deal with these conflicting viewpoints, remains to be seen,” said an activist.

Electing competent and honest leadership

The article was published on May5, 2013 before elections. Sorry for delayed posting.

Voting values
While the ECP and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes, what are the merits and demerits voters should consider before choosing their future representatives?
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-05-05-2013/pol1.htm#3

A week later, on May 11, 2013, 86.18 million Pakistani voters — 48.59 million male and 37.59 million female — will elect their representatives for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies who would subsequently choose the next federal and provincial executives.

This exercise carries immense repercussions for over 180 million people as their fate will be left at the discretion of these elected representatives. This necessitates both quantitative and qualitative improvement in voting standard.

While tax evaders, defaulters and the corrupt couldn’t be sifted during the scrutiny process, voters are now the only hope to block their entry into power corridors. They will have to come out in large numbers and elect the best amongst candidates.

However, for multiple reasons — rampant corruption, joblessness, insecurity, poverty, maladministration, unawareness, corrupt practices that manipulate elections, terrorism and the like — voters stand disillusioned with political system that has resulted in low voters’ turnout in previous elections, coming as low as 20 per cent in different constituencies.

In the 2008 general elections, though voters’ turnout was 50 and 48 per cent in Islamabad and Punjab, it was 44 per cent for the country and only 31, 31 and 33 per cent in Balochistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively. Women comprise around 44 per cent of the registered voters but have been mostly kept from using this basic right in the past.

The total number of voters has gone up from 80.7 million in 2008 to 86.1 million this year, but analysts foresee a low turnout due to terrorist attacks/threats, ban on transportation facility for voters by the candidates and voters’ distrust in elections and disappointment with politicians.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes. With increase in the number of overenthusiastic young voters, the emergence of the PTI on the electoral landscape, a comprehensive security plan put in place for polling day, chances of massive women polling (candidates and parties concluded written agreements inhibiting women from casting votes in the past. But this time no intra-parties’ agreement has surfaced so far) and with almost all the parties participating in elections, hopefully the turnout would be good enough, between 50-55 per cent in this election.

Voters generally look at the candidate’s personal caste, character or performance, his party and its manifesto or his own personal interests at the time of voting.

Some, especially diehard workers, say parties’ performances and manifestos, rather than candidates’ characters, should be the main concern for voters because parties form governments and ultimately decide things. But the rest — the swinging majority — have their own priorities.

“The problem is parties are run by their leaders and their selected buddies. If the party is in wrong hands, they would violate rules, its manifestos and national interests for their political interests and will ruin institutions by nepotism and favouritism and use the national exchequer senselessly for self/party aggrandisement. So, a party shouldn’t be supported if its leadership and candidates’ character and competency are questionable,” says Shakirullah Khan, a lecturer.

“Some parties seek votes over slogans of religious revolution, sectarianism or support terrorists in one way or the other. Supporting them is tantamount to dividing the state and society on the basis of sects, religions or creed. Can we endure such an environment,” he argues.

Others say development work, provision of jobs and contracts, financial assistance to the needy, personal liaison with the constituents or good oratory skills should be the basis for supporting a candidate.

“But what if all this is done by a corrupt politician. Obviously, this support is driven by selfishness. Pakistan owes its retarded growth, rampant poverty and financial weakness to these flawed priorities on part of the voters. By supporting such candidates, one may end up getting benefits but this will leave the country’s resources, people and fate in the hands of senseless rulers, so it cannot be a choice of a patriotic voter,” says Muhammad Iqbal, another voter.

Independent candidates were the fourth largest group in 2008. They polled 11 per cent votes in National Assembly and 26 and 24 per cent votes in Balochistan and KP assemblies. Being the main source of horse-trading, they must never be voted for. There are always some persons with good reputation amongst the candidates, but they come from parties whose performances were dismal.

“But even if a noble fellow who is contesting from a bad party is sent to his/her parliamentary party and parliament, he/she will be a misfit there amongst most of the self-centred colleagues. Party discipline is another hindrance. If the party decides on a thing that he/she finds obnoxious, he will either have to conform or risk expulsion. If he accepts, corruption will continue as earlier,” according to Shah Hasan, another voter.

But Iqbal responded the personal abilities and character rather than the candidate’s party affiliation should be the guiding factor for voters. Ignoring all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases while voting, they must vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence.

Vote is a sacred trust and casting vote is mandatory. By voting someone, we testify to his character and abilities and authorise him to decide and work on our behalf. It is as if we engage a lawyer who obviously cannot be a person who can be bribed, intimidated and bought, Iqbal said. “Even if they have been nominated by popular and reputable parties, voters should reject candidates who are corrupt, loan-defaulters and tax-evaders. And they should support competent persons even if they are contesting on tickets of ‘bad/corrupt’ parties.”

Voters should continue with their determination not to send corrupt elements to parliament. This obviously is a long route. But slowly and gradually it will become a norm and most of the electorate will follow suit.

People are heard criticising corrupt leaders, but they too are equally guilty of preferring them over the incorruptible, competent and trustworthy substitutes. If parties ensure awarding tickets to ‘electables’ (not necessarily competent and honest candidates), it is because the electorate too has been accepting their nominees. It’s very shameful that electorate goes on to elect the very candidates, who were disqualified for having fake degrees. This practice of siding with the corrupt must end.

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Original text of the article

Election: choosing competent & honest representatives

By Tahir Ali

A week later, on May 11, 86.18 million Pakistani voters –48.59mn male and 37.59 female – will elect their representatives for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies who would subsequently choose the next federal and provincial executives.

This exercise carries immense repercussions for over 180mn people as their fate will be left at the discretion of these elected representatives. This necessitates both quantitative and qualitative improvement in voting standard.

While tax evaders, defaulters’ and the corrupt couldn’t be sifted during the scrutiny process, voters are now the only hope to block their entry into power corridors. They will have to come out in large numbers and elect the best amongst candidates. 

However, for multiple reasons – rampant corruption, joblessness, insecurity, poverty, maladministration, unawareness, corrupt practices that manipulate elections, terrorism and the like – voters stand disillusioned with political system that has resulted in low voters’ turnout in previous elections, coming as low as 20 per cent in different constituencies.

In the 2008 general elections, though voters’ turnout was 50 and 48 per cent in Islamabad and Punjab, it was 44 per cent for the country and only 31, 31 and 33 per cent in Baluchistan, Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively.

Women comprise around 44 per cent of the registered voters but have been mostly kept from using this basic right in the past.

Total number of voters has gone up from 80.7mn in 2008 to 86.1mn this year but analysts foresee a low turnout for terrorist attacks/threats, ban on transportation facility for voters by the candidates and voter’s distrust in elections and disappointment with politicians.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and several advocacy groups are encouraging voters to cast their votes. With increase in the number of overenthusiastic young voters, the emergence of PTI on the electoral landscape, a comprehensive security plan put in place for polling day, chances of massive women polling (Candidates and parties concluded written agreements inhibiting women from casting votes. But this time no intra- parties’ agreement has surfaced so far) and with almost all parties participating in elections as against 2008 when several boycotted the process, hopefully the turnout would be good enough, between 50-55 per cent in this election.

Voters generally look at the candidate’s personal caste, character or performance, his party and its manifesto or his own personal interests at the time of voting.

Some, especially die-hard workers, say parties’ performances and manifestos, rather than candidates’ characters, should be the main concern for voters as it is parties that form governments and ultimately decide things. But the rest -the swinging majority- have their own priorities.

“The problem is parties are run by their leaders and their selected buddies. If the party is in wrong hands, they would violate rules, its manifestos and national interests for their political interests and will ruin institutions by nepotism and favouritism and use the national exchequer senselessly for self/party aggrandisement. So, a party shouldn’t be supported if its leadership and candidate’s character and competency are questionable,” says Shakirullah Khan, a lecturer.

“Some parties seek votes over slogans of religious revolution, sectarianism or support terrorists in one way or the other. Supporting them is tantamount to dividing the state and society on the basis of sects, religions or creed. Can we endure such an environment,” he argues.  

Others say development work, provision of jobs and contracts, financial assistance to the needy, personal liaison with the constituents or good oratory skills should be the bases for supporting a candidate.

“But what if all this is done by a corrupt. Obviously, this support is driven by selfishness. Pakistan owes its retarded growth, rampant poverty and financial weakness to these flawed priorities on part of the voters. By supporting such candidates, one may end up getting benefits but this will leave the country’s resources, people and fate in the hands of senseless rulers, so it cannot be a choice of a patriotic voter,” says Muhammad Iqbal, another voter.

Independent candidates were the fourth largest group in 2008. They polled 11 per cent votes in National Assembly and 26 and 24 per cent votes in Baluchistan and KP assemblies. Being the main source of horse-trading, they must never be voted for.

There are always some persons with good reputation amongst the candidates but they come from parties whose performances were dismal.

“But even if a noble fellow who is contesting from a bad party is sent to his/her parliamentary party and parliament, he/she will be a misfit there amongst most of the self-centred colleagues. Party discipline is another hindrance. If the party decides on a thing that he/she finds obnoxious, he will either have to conform or risk expulsion. If he accepts, corruption will continue as earlier. If he doesn’t, he’ll be sent packing for indiscipline,” according to Shah Hasan, another voter.

But Iqbal responded the personal abilities and character rather than the candidate’s party affiliation should be the guiding factor for voters. Ignoring all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases while voting, they must vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence.

Vote is a sacred trust and casting vote is mandatory. By voting someone, we testify to his character and abilities and authorise him to decide and work on our behalf. It is as if we engage a lawyer who obviously cannot be a person who can be bribed, intimidated and bought, he said.

 

“Even if they have been nominated by popular and reputable parties, voters should reject candidates who are corrupt, loan-defaulters, tax-evaders, are themselves rascals or are supported by rogues, run illegal businesses, use abusive language against opponents, are incompetent, known violators of law or support the extremists and terrorists. And they should support competent persons even if they are contesting on tickets of ‘bad/corrupt’ parties,” he said.

“Of course initially, the men of character will face tough resistance in their parliamentary parties’ meetings and parliament. Perhaps they would be asked to remain quiet or quit the seat. Suppose he/she resigns or is forced to quit over principles, the electorate in the bye-elections must reject the party’s candidate if he/she is not as competent and honest as that one or better support another whose one is better.”

According to him, this will be a lesson for all. “The corrupt will never dare compete elections in future. Parties too will never award tickets to candidates on the basis of their electability but would decide on the basis of their character and capabilities to impress the transformed electorate. The men of character so elected will then be in majority. It will bring a soft revolution in the country’s political and economic landscape. Decisions will then be taken on the basis of merit. Parties’ leadership will no more be in the hands of the corrupt but in competent and honest hands.”

Voters should continue with their determination not to send corrupt elements to parliament. This obviously is a long route. But slowly and gradually it will become a norm and most of the electorate will follow suit.

People are heard criticising corrupt leaders but they too are equally guilty for preferring them over the incorruptible, competent and trustworthy substitutes. If parties ensure awarding tickets to ‘electables’ (not necessarily competent and honest candidates), it is because the electorate too has been accepting their nominees. It’s very shameful that electorate go on to elect the very candidates, who were disqualified for having fake degrees. This practice of siding with the corrupt must end.

 

Challenges to PTI KP government

Change they need
The new government in KP faces big challenges anyway, but they become even bigger because of the PTI’s promises
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/May2013-weekly/nos-19-05-2013/pol1.htm#6

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stunned all and sundry with its performance in the recently held elections. Though it couldn’t sweep elections across the country as predicted by Imran Khan, it became the biggest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PTI is going to form a coalition government in KP with Jamaat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and some independent members.

The PTI contested elections on the agenda of change. Its manifesto pledges, inter alia, devolution of power, zero tolerance for corruption, improvement of economy through reforms in energy, expenditure, revenue sectors, institutional reforms, accountability and governance reforms. It promises human capital development, skill development and a welfare state and says the state will provide uniform system of education for all, equal opportunity and a social safety net for the poor. It also promises to banish the VIP culture and rightsizing of the government and so on.

The PTI will initiate changes across the board in the first 90 days of its government, according to its manifesto.

The PTI government in KP can both be an asset and a liability. Though Imran Khan says the PTI government will be a model one, governance is certainly being seen as a big challenge in the province. However, all agree that the PTI future is directly dependent upon the performance of its government and its ability to deliver on its agenda of change.

The PTI has had announced several policies and manifesto. It should implement them but it will be difficult unless these are followed by a pragmatic plan of action — a vision that could serve as a guide for the party government and its workers. The PTI has prepared an action plan for ‘Naya Pakistan’ which is generally thought of as unrealistic.

In its bid to attract the young voters, the PTI leaders spoke of lofty ideals that generated high expectations. Living up to these expectations of the young supporters will be a herculean task for the PTI and its government.

Unless the gap between the ground realities and lofty ideals espoused by the PTI is bridged on emergency basis, the party will risk losing its youth even if its performance is better than the previous governments. However, this idealism can be an asset if supported by a realistic plan of action.

Most of the young PTI supporters are idealists. They have little knowledge of how our political system works. They were heard saying the PTI will lash the corrupt in public, will dismiss and replace Zardari immediately after polls, or that Imran will become prime minister/president immediately after election results are announced or that police and patwari system will be abolished.

Analysts say drone attacks, security problem, bad performance of other parties and the PTI slogan of change were the major factors in its victory. Change is, however, a complex phenomenon.

When Imran talks of change, he doesn’t mean he will disband the present system. Instead, he believes in working within the framework of the constitution and law to achieve his objectives. So, in fact, he is for reform and not overturning of the present system of election and governance in the country. Unfortunately, most of the PTI supporters don’t know this. When they will see that the same structure of government, with patwari, police, clerks etc, continues, they will get disillusioned.

Loadshedding, terrorism, restoration of peace, economic development, and reduction in poverty, inflation and joblessness are some major challenges facing the PTI.

According to Muhammad Khan, a Batkhela-based academic, the PTI will have to improve law and order situation through government-militant talks. Besides de-radicalisation and economic empowerment of people, the government will also have to deal with foreign militants.

“It will have to reduce loadshedding for which a short and medium term power generation plan based on micro-hydro power stations will have to be launched. It will have to introduce reforms in different departments to stop corruption and ensure transparency. To eradicate poverty and joblessness, it will have to start an emergency programme for small businesses that ensures interest-free small loans and technical training to youngsters to start their businesses. And most of all, it must prefer collective mega projects for community development.”

“The PTI will now have to deal with Taliban directly and help shape Pakistan’s Talibans’ policy. It will be exposed for the first time to militants. Will it still talk of talks if Taliban continue to challenge the state? Will Imran be able to bring peace to KP, stop drone attacks, eliminate loadshedding and improve economy and livelihood? For this, he will have to engage with other parties and the federal government. This necessitates a change in his style. He will have to be broad-minded, careful in his utterances and tolerant of others. Is Imran prepared to do that,” asks another academic who wished anonymity.

“Leniency and patience are the keys to success. The tension between the JUI and the PTI and the PML-N and the PTI must subside. Political differences must never become personal enmity. They should have working relationship. The PTI leadership and workers must shun bigotry, show magnanimity by accepting others and start doing issues-based politics instead of attacking personalities,” he adds.

According to a political worker, for dearth of experienced men in its ranks, the PTI won’t be able to establish a strong government. Only Pervez Khattak, Yousaf Ayub and Sardar Idrees have served as ministers. Another PTI MPA-elect Yasin Khalil had worked as nazim of a town during the Musharraf era.

“However, inexperience is not the only problem. Internal tensions between the old and new guards, represented by Asad Qaiser and Pervez Khattak respectively, is another problem. The PTI has opted for Khattak, a new comer, and neglected the committed and old Qaiser for the CM slot and has thereby risked its agenda of change. It will be deemed as injustice to the old guards. I think the two PTI allies — JI and QWP — have experienced members and would be the real beneficiaries of the setup,” he adds.

Then coalition government has its own compulsions. The PTI CM will have hard time to reconcile the conflicting interests of allies. “Selection of competent bureaucrats on merit for running the province will not be easy for dearth of officers, allies’ interests and internal rivalry between the old and new groups in the PTI,” he says.

There are other challenges too. In its expenditure reforms, the PTI had pledged ‘symbols of pomp and glory’ (e.g. Chief Minister and Governor Houses) will be shut down and put to public use. While it will need support of the federal government for closing the latter, the former can be easily shut down as the PTI incumbent will be occupying it.

It had also vowed to ‘limit’ perks of ministers, members of assemblies and civil bureaucrats and eliminate all discretionary funds and development funds for the parliamentarians. Will its MPAs let it do so?

During the previous Awami National Party government, the PTI had demonstrated against and urged the ANP to halt the Nato supply line. Will it be able to do that now when it is in power itself? The promise of uniform system of education is also uncertain. Will it be done by banning private schools or by privatising public schools? And rightsizing of government departments may well entail making many jobless.

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Challenges to PTI government in KP

By Tahir Ali

Pakistan Tehreeki Insaf (PTI) stunned all and sundry with its performance in the recently held elections. Though it couldn’t sweep elections across the country as predicted by Imran Khan, it became the biggest party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PTI is going to form a coalition government in KP with Jamat-e-Islami, Qaumi Watan Party and some independent members.

PTI contested elections on the agenda of change. Its manifesto pledges, inter alia, devolution of power, zero tolerance for corruption, improvement of economy through reforms in energy, expenditure, revenue sectors, institutional reforms, accountability and governance reforms. It promises human capital development, skill development and a welfare state and says the state will provide uniform system of education for all, equal opportunity and a social safety net for the poor. It also promises to banish VIP culture and rightsizing of the government and so on.

PTI will initiate changes across the board in the first 90 days of its government, according to its manifesto.

The PTI government in KP can both be an asset and liability. Though Imran Khan says the PTI government will be a model one, opinions differ on as to whether the PTI will be able to form one. However all agree that the PTI future is directly dependent upon the performance of its government and its ability to deliver on its agenda of change.

PTI has had announced several policies and manifesto. It should implement them but it will be difficult unless these are followed by a pragmatic plan of action –a vision that could serve as guide for party government and its workers. The PTI has prepared an action plan for ‘Naya Pakistan’ but it is generally thought of as unrealistic.

In its bid to attract the young voters, the PTI leaders spoke of lofty ideals that generated higher expectations.  Living up to these expectations of the naive young supporters will be a herculean task for PTI and its government.

Unless the gap between the ground realities and lofty ideals espoused by PTI is bridged on emergency basis, the party will risk losing its youth even if its performance is better than the previous governments. However, this idealism can be an asset if supported by a realistic plan of action.

Most of the young PTI supporters are idealists. They have little knowledge of how our political system works. They were heard saying PTI will lash the corrupt in public, will dismiss and replace Zardari immediately after polls, or that Imran will become prime minister/president immediately after election results are announced or that police and patwaris system will be abolished.

Analysts say drone attacks, security problem, bad performance of other parties and the PTI slogan of change were the major factors in its victory. Change is however a complex phenomenon.

When Imran talks of change, he doesn’t mean he will disband the present system. Instead, he believes in working within the framework of the constitution and law to achieve his objectives. So, in fact he is for reform and not overturning of the present system of election and governance in the country. Unfortunately most of the PTI supporters don’t know this. When they will see that the same structure of government, with patwari, police, clerks etc, continues, they will get disillusioned.

Loadshedding, terrorism, restoration of peace, economic development, and reduction in poverty, inflation and joblessness are some major challenges ahead of PTI.

According to Muhammad Khan, a Batkhela-based academic, PTI will have to improve law and order situation through government-militant talks, de-radicalization, economic empowerment and integration of the local and naturalisation of foreign, militants.

“It will have to reduce loadshedding for which a short and medium term power generation plan based on micro-hydro power stations will have to be launched. It will have to introduce reforms in different departments to stop corruption and ensure transparency. To eradicate poverty and joblessness, it will have to start an emergency programme for small businesses that ensures interest-free small loans and technical training to youngsters to start their businesses. And most of all, it must prefer collective mega projects for community development.”

“PTI will now have to deal with Taliban directly and help shape Pakistan’s Taliban’s policy. It will be exposed for the first time to militants. Will it still talk of talks if Taliban continue to challenge war on the country. Will Imran be able to bring peace to KP, stop drone attacks, eliminate loadshedding and improve economy and livelihood? For this he will have to engage with other parties and the federal government. This necessitates a change in his style. He will have to be broad-minded, careful in his utterances and tolerant of others. Is Imran and PTI prepared to do that,” says another academic who wished anonymity.

“Leniency and patience are the keys to its success. The tension between JUI and PTI and PML-N and PTI must subside.  Political differences must never become personal enmity. They should have working relationship. The PTI leadership and workers must shun bigotry, show magnanimity by accepting others and start doing issues-based politics instead of attacking personalities,” he adds.

According to a political worker, for dearth of experienced men in its ranks, PTI won’t be able to establish a strong government. Only Pervez Khattak, Yousaf Ayub and Sardar Idrees have served as ministers. Another PTI MPA-elect Yasin Khalil had worked as nazim of a town during Musharraf era.

“However, inexperience is not the only problem. Internal tensions between the old and new guards, represented by Asad Qaiser and Pervez Khattak respectively, is another problem. PTI has opted for Khattak, a new comer, and neglected the committed and old Qaiser for the CM slot and has thereby risked its agenda of change. It will be deemed as injustice to the old guards. I think the two PTI allies –JI and QWP – have experienced members and would be the real beneficiaries of the setup,” he adds.  

Then coalition government has its own compulsions. The PTI CM will have hard time to reconcile the conflicting interests of allies.

“Selection of competent bureaucrats on merit for running the province will not be easy for dearth of officers, allies’ interests and internal rivalry between the old and new groups in PTI,” he says.

There are other challenges. In its expenditure reforms, the PTI had pledged ‘symbols of pomp and glory’ (e.g. Chief Minister and Governor Houses) will be shut down and put to public use. While it will need support of federal government for closing the later, the former can be easily shut down as PTI incumbent will be occupying it.

It had also vowed to ‘limit’ perks of ministers, members of assemblies and civil bureaucrats and eliminate all discretionary funds and development funds for the parliamentarians. Will its MPAs let it do so?

 During the previous Awami National Party government, PTI had demonstrated against and urged ANP to halt the NATO supply line. Will it be able to do that now when it is in power itself?

The promise of uniform system of education is also uncertain. Will it be done by banning private schools or by privatising public schools? And rightsizing of government departments may well entail making many jobless.

PTI has indeed given a vision of change to its workers and raised their confidence but like some others, they lack sportsman spirit. They must be taught to respect the ideals and leaders of other parties and learn the art of discussion and tolerance. Unfortunately, by its loose talk, brandishing political opponents as fraudsters, unpatriotic, corrupt and inefficient, some political leaders have inculcated a culture of intolerance and accusations in the youth of the country.

Review of PPPP performance

Review of PPPP performance

performance
Facts and fudging
Economists are reluctant to buy what the PPP ads boast about the last five-year performance on economy
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/apr2013-weekly/nos-21-04-2013/pol1.htm#1

The Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) recently published advertisements in newspapers and issued its manifesto for the 2013 elections wherein it enumerated its achievements during its last five-year rule.

Economic experts, however, reject these claims and accuse the regime of fudging the figures, mismanagement, poor governance and fiscal indiscipline.

The national economy is still faced with low revenue receipts, declining tax to GDP ratio, rising current expenditure, dying foreign direct and local investment, low annual GDP growth rate, rising debt to GDP ratio, acute power/gas crisis and the inefficient and sick public sector entities (PSEs).

Though the PPP claims reducing inflation to 9.6 per cent, it remained in double digits, hovering between 11-15 per cent during the last five years. As per the Ministry of Finance (MoF) figures, overall consumer price index and food CPI increased from 100 points in 2008 to 175 points and 196 points in January 2013. The IMF says inflation in Pakistan will return to double digits by the end of this fiscal year.

Food insecurity is on the rise. As per the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the BISP, 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure.

According to Dr Muhammad Yaqoob, former State Bank governor, the economic conditions of an average family have become worse due to rising prices, large-scale unemployment and shortage and the rising cost of gas and electricity.

The PPP had vowed to establish a fair tax system. It claimed raising tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2 trillion in 2012. Though revenues have increased in quantity, as per 2012-13 fiscal policy statement (FPS) of the MoF, total revenues were 14.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 which came down to 12.4 per cent in 2012.

The government has been unable to meet any of the revenue, expenditure and deficit targets over the last five years. For indecisiveness or self-centredness, it failed to levy tax on agriculture and impose reformed general sales tax as it didn’t want to annoy the industrial, business or agriculture lobbies and political allies. Most of its leaders allegedly avoided fulfilling their tax responsibilities, thus setting bad precedents for others.

The party claimed foreign remittances are now $14 billion against $6.4 billion in 2008. But “the rise partly reflects the diversion of black money and illegally-held capital abroad through remittance channels without any fear of being questioned about the sources of the funds. Moreover, there has been an inevitable need for workers abroad to send more remittances to support their families against rising inflation,” according to Dr Yaqoob.

According to FPS, the real GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2007. It came down to 3.7 per cent in 2008. From 2009 to 2012, it was recorded at only 1.7, 3.1, 3.0 and 3.7 per cent respectively.

The PPPP, in its 2008 manifesto, had pledged a sound debt policy and that the future generations won’t be overburdened with excessive debt.

But instead, the public debt — both domestic and foreign debt — has more than doubled in the last five years. It borrowed more than all the previous governments combined. The public debt was Rs4.8 trillion in 2008 but reached Rs12.6 trillion by June 2012. The tax to GDP ratio which was 55.4 per cent in 2007 was at 61.3 per cent in 2012. Total debt is now over Rs13 trillion.

Every Pakistani baby was born with a debt of Rs30,000 in 2007. Today he/she carries a debt of over Rs80,000.

The debt rose up by 21 per cent per annum despite the fact that fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act of 2005 had asked for reducing debt to GDP by 2.5 per cent annually to be able to keep Debt to GDP ratio below 60 per cent by June 2012-13.

If the IMF standby arrangement programme hadn’t remained suspended over the last three years, Pakistan’s external debt of $66 billion would have been jacked up by another $5-6 billion during the time.

The SBP second quarterly report for 2012-13 states that the government was unable to meet its self-imposed quarterly limit of zero net budgetary borrowing from the SBP.

Pakistan’s domestic debt servicing is climbing and is now the biggest single expenditure item. Similarly, its external debt servicing will reach $6 billion in the current and to $7 billion in the next fiscal year.

The party claims to have reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008. But if compared with 4.4 per cent in 2007, it rose to 5.3, 6.3, 6.0 and 6.6 per cent respectively in the next four years. The IMF estimates fiscal deficit will be 7.0-7.5 per cent of GDP as against the government target of 4.7 per cent. According to Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a leading economist, the fiscal deficit reached as high as 8.5 per cent last year.

The manifesto claims Forex reserves are now $13.2 billion against $8.2 billion in 2008, but according to Dr Khan, the SBP’s Forex reserves stand at $6.69 billion on April 5. “Pakistan must retire $0.838 billion to IMF by June 30. With little or insufficient external inflows, the SBP’s reserves may fall to $5.8 billion by June 2013. The SBP has borrowed $2.3 billion from commercial banks in the forward market and if we adjust it, the SBP’s reserves would be $3.5 billion by then — sufficient to trigger a crisis of confidence.”

The party claimed it reduced interest rate from 15 per cent in 2008 to 9.6 per cent in 2013. Industrialists and experts doubt this. Nevertheless, the rate spread — the difference between return on deposits and lending rates — is still very high in Pakistan.

In 2008, the rupee was 62.61 against the dollar. The PPP left it at 98.98 by March 15, 2013. This has, besides causing price-hike locally, increased public debt and made imports costlier.

Instead of restructuring or privatising the loss-making PSEs, the PPP government kept on doling out hundreds of billion annually to these entities. Most of the PSEs were allegedly handed over to political cronies and were further destroyed by large-scale inductions by treating them, as Dr Khan put it, as employment bureaus.

Though the party claims having added 3600MW to the national grid, the country continues to face acute energy shortage. It has made life miserable for the people, halted industrial development and estimated to have inflicted a loss of Rs3 trillion to the country during last five years.

Over Rs1.8 trillion doled out to the power sector for financing circular debt would have sufficed to complete several projects that would have solved much of the energy problems.

The PPP had promised growth of business and industry with equity and making private sector as engine of growth. But Pakistan’s industrial sector and the private sector was badly hit by lawlessness, policy inaction and shortage of energy.

In 2007, large scale industrial production was 8.7 per cent which came down to 4.1 per cent in 2008 and to minus 8.2 per cent in 2009. In 2010, it again increased to 4.81 per cent but then declined to 1.14 per cent in 2011 and 1.02 per cent in 2012.

Economic growth was three per cent per annum during the PPP tenure against seven per cent per annum in the preceding five years.

Dr Khan said investment rate also continued coming down during the last five years and declined to a 50-year low at 12.5 per cent of GDP from 22.5 per cent in 2006-07. Industrial growth stagnated at near zero per cent against 12.4 per cent per annum in the preceding five years.

During FY09, foreign direct investment fell to $3.72 billion and further to $2.20 billion in 2010 and $1.63 billion in 2011.

…………………….

Original text of the article.

Reviewing PPPP performance on economy

By Tahir Ali

The Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) recently published advertisements in newspapers and issued its manifesto for the 2013 elections wherein it enumerated its achievements during its rule.

Independent economic experts however reject these claims and accuse the regime of, inter alia, fudging of figures, mismanagement, poor governance, self-centredness and fiscal indiscipline.

The national economy is still faced with low revenue receipts, declining tax to GDP ratio, rising current expenditure, dying foreign direct and local investment, low annual GDP growth rate, rising debt to GDP ratio, acute power/gas crisis and the inefficient and sick public sector entities (PSEs).

Inflation

Though PPP claims reducing inflation to 9.6 per cent, it remained in double digits, hovering between 11-15 per cent during the last five years. As per the ministry of finance (MoF) figures, overall consumer price index and food CPI increased from 100 points in 2008 to 175 points and 196 points in January 2013. The IMF says inflation in Pakistan will return to double digits by the end of this fiscal year.

Food insecurity is on the rise. As per the National Nutrition Survey, 2011, conducted by the BISP, 58 per cent of Pakistanis were food insecure.

According to Dr Muhammad Yaqoob, former State Bank governor, the economic conditions of an average family have become worse due to rising prices, largescale unemployment and shortage and the rising cost of gas and electricity.

Revenue

The PPP had vowed to establish a fair tax system. It claimed raising tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2tr in 2012. Though revenues have increased in quantity, but as per 2012-13 fiscal policy statement (FPS) of the MoF, total revenues were 14.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 which came down to 12.4 per cent in 2012.

The government has been unable to meet none of the revenue, expenditure and deficit targets over the last five years. For indecisiveness or self-centredness, it failed to levy tax on agriculture and impose reformed general sales tax as it didn’t want to annoy the industrial, business or agriculture lobbies and political allies. Most of its leaders allegedly avoided fulfilling their tax responsibilities, thus setting bad precedents for others.

Foreign remittances

The party claimed foreign remittances are now $14bn against $6.4bn in 2008. But “the rise partly reflects the diversion of black money and illegally-held capital abroad through remittance channels without any fear of being questioned about the sources of the funds. Moreover, there has been an inevitable need for workers abroad to send more remittances to maintain their families for rising inflation,” according to him.

GDP growth

According to FPS, real GDP growth was 6.8 per cent in 2007. It came down to 3.7 per cent in 2008. During 2009 to 2012, it was recorded at only 1.7, 3.1, 3.0 and 3.7 per cent.

Public Debt

The PPPP, in its 2008 manifesto, had pledged a sound debt policy and that the future generations won’t be overburdened with excessive debt.

But instead, the public debt –both domestic and foreign debt –has more than doubled in last five years. It borrowed more than all the previous governments combined. The public debt was Rs4.8 trillion in 2008 but reached Rs12.6tr at June 2012. The tax to GDP ratio which was 55.4 per cent in 2007 is now at 61.3 per cent in 2012. Total debt is now over Rs13tr.

Every Pakistani baby was born with a debt of Rs30,000 in 2007. Today he/she carries a debt of over Rs80000.

The debt rose up by 21 per cent per annum despite the fact that fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act of 2005 had asked for reducing debt to GDP by 2.5 percent annually to be able to keep Debt to GDP below 60 percent by June 2012-13.

If the IMF standby arrangement programme hadn’t remained suspended over the last three years, Pakistan’s external debt of $66bn would have been jacked up by another $5-6 billion during the time.

The SBP second quarterly report for 2012-13 states that the government was unable to meet its self-imposed quarterly limit of zero net budgetary borrowing from SBP.

Pakistan’s domestic debt servicing is climbing and is now the biggest single expenditure item. Similarly, its external debt servicing will reach $6bn in the current and to $7bn in the next fiscal year.

Fiscal deficit

The party claims having reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008. But if compared with 4.4 per cent in 2007, it rose to 5.3, 6.3, 6.0 and 6.6 per cent in the next four years. The IMF estimates fiscal deficit will be 7.0-7.5 percent of GDP as against government target of 4.7 percent. According to Dr Khan, fiscal deficit reached as high as 8.5 percent last year.

Foreign exchange reserves

The manifesto claims Forex reserves are now $13.2bn against $8.2bn in 2008 but according to Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a leading economist, the SBP’s Forex reserves stand at $6.69bn on April 5. Pakistan must retire $0.838bn to IMF by June 30. With little or insufficient external inflows, the SBP’s reserves may fall to $5.8bn by June 2013. The SBP has borrowed $2.3bn from commercial banks in the forward market and if we adjust it, the SBP’s reserves would be $3.5bn by then– sufficient to trigger a crisis of confidence.”

Interest rate

The party claimed it reduced interest rate from 15 per cent in 2008 to 9.6 per cent in 2013. Industrialists and experts doubt this. Nevertheless, the rate spread –the difference between return on deposits and lending rates –is still very high in Pakistan.

Rupee devaluation

In 2008, the rupee was 62.61 against the dollar. The PPP left it at 98.98 by March 15, 2013. This has, besides causing price-hike locally, increased public debt and made imports costlier.

Bleeding PSEs

Instead of restructuring or privatising the loss-making PSEs, the PPPP government kept on doling out hundreds of billion annually to these entities. Most of the PSEs were allegedly handed over to political cronies and were further destroyed by large-scale inductions by treating them, as Dr Khan put it, as employment bureaus.

Energy imbroglio

Though the party claims having added 3600MW to the national grid, the country continues to face acute energy shortage. It has made life miserable for the people, halted industrial development and estimated to have inflicted a loss of Rs3tr to the country during last five years.

Over Rs1.8 trillion doled out to the power sector for financing circular debt would have sufficed to complete several projects that would have solved much of the energy problems.

Industrial, economic growth and investment

The PPPP had promised growth of business and industry with equity and of making private sector as engine of growth. But Pakistan’s industrial sector and the private sector was badly hit by lawlessness, policy inaction and shortage of energy.

In 2007, large scale industrial production was 8.7 percent which came down to 4.1 percent in 2008 and to minus 8.2 percent in 2009. In 2010, it again increased to 4.81 percent but then declined to 1.14 percent in 2011 and 1.02 percent in 2012.

Economic growth was three percent per annum during the PPP tenure against seven percent per annum in the preceding five years.

Dr Khan said investment rate also continued coming down during the last five years and declined to a 50-year low at 12.5 percent of GDP from 22.5 percent in 2006-07.  Industrial growth stagnated at near zero percent against 12.4 percent per annum in the preceding five years.

During FY09, foreign direct investment fell to $3.72bn and further to $2.20bn in 2010 and $1.63bn in 2011.

Corruption

Corruption was rampant. Hajj scam, Pakistan Steel plunder, railways corruption, rental power loot and others scams remained the talk of the town.  Anti-corruption bodies were however made dysfunctional by their politicization. Transparency International estimated Pakistan lost over Rs8.5tr in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the previous government.

………………..

Achievements of PPPP

The new PPPP’s manifesto and advertisement have listed its accomplishments during the 2008-13 government.

“We inherited a bubble economy based perilously on consumer credit, stock market speculation, property mark-ups, non-transparent privatization and foreign aid. Inflation stood at 25 per cent, making the poor dangerously vulnerable to local and international shocks.”

“We lowered inflation to single digits standing at 9.6 per cent in 2013; raised tax revenues from Rs1 trillion in 2008 to over Rs2tn in 2013; We cut the fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent of GDP in 2008 to 6.6 per cent in 2013(more robust as compared to India’s 8.7 per cent and the USA’s at 8.9 per cent); we kept public borrowing under 60 per cent of GDP; turned a current account deficit of $14bn in 2008 to a surplus of $62bn in 2013; investor confidence grew as the Karachi Stock Exchange index surged to 18,000 points in 2013 from 4,800 points in 2008 ( but the advertisement says it rose up from 5220 points in 2008 to 18185 points in 2013);  Forex reserves were $8.2bn in 2008 but are now $13.2bn (but the advertisement says these increased from $6bn in 2008 to $16bn in 2013); foreign remittances are now $14bn against $6.4bn in 2008; reduced fiscal deficit from 7.6 per cent in 2008; disbursed Rs 70bn amongst 75 lac deserving families BISP besides other pro-poor programmes; signed the Pak-Iran agreement on Gas Pipe Line, handed over Gowader Port to China; increased exports from $18 in 2008 to $29bn in 2012; the rural economy went up from Rs50bn in 2008 to Rs800bn in 2013; we added 3,700 MW of power to the national grid during our tenure and launched Mangla, Tarbela extension and other projects; increased pays of public sector employees by 158 per cent; foreign investment increased and so on.”

 

Do talks with Militants mean capitulation to them?

Capitulation to militants?
Unconditional talks with TTP is seen as detrimental to peace
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/Mar2013-weekly/nos-17-03-2013/dia.htm#5

Two All Parties Conferences, first by Awami National Party (ANP) and second by Jamiat Ulemae Islam (F) have urged talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but is there any rationale for these talks?

Prolonged conversations with political workers and persons from different strata have revealed most are against the talks. But they wish to be anonymous while opposing them in public to avoid the militants’ wrath.

“It will help bring Peace, it is said. But have the earlier agreements with militants — Shakai (2004), Sararogha (2005), Miramshah (2006), Khyber (2008) and Swat (2008) brought about peace?” Asks a political activist.

“These agreements were explicitly pro-militants — the state halted operation withdrew troops from demanded areas, announced amnesty for, and released militants, paid them compensation etc. But all this didn’t pacify them; they didn’t stop their war against the state; instead, they got emboldened and more lethal and extended their campaign and sway to other areas,” he adds.

Some apologists, he says, accuse the state and its security forces of not honouring the earlier deals. They always support the narration of militants (anti-state elements) and blame the security forces (state institutions) for spread of terrorism and violation of these accords. “But didn’t militants agree to certain conditions but then violated them; they didn’t take advantage of opportunities given by the state; they used peace-talks as an interval for gaining more areas and strength; they continued to support foreign fighters on Pakistani territory; they killed over 35,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 soldiers and desecrated even their bodies; they least cared for Pakistan’ international compulsions.Talks with them won’t be accepted to the families of martyrs. It will mean surrender, appeasement and our capitulation to them. These can be held only if they surrender and accept the state sovereignty; there is no other option than to do to them what they are doing to us,” the activist says.

“Some analysts argue that when US could hold talks with Afghan Taliban despite their attacks and rejection of Afghan constitution, then talks with the militants should not be marred here by asking for their surrender and ceasefire. They forget the difference between the sitting here and there. Taliban there are fighting the US and its allies who have occupied Afghanistan and the TTP here is waging war against its own people, land and security forces. How could they be equated?”

According to a social activist, it is obvious no state or its people can allow or afford a parallel system or a militant force in its jurisdiction. They can’t be expected to embrace those who are hell bent on their annihilation.

“How can talks be held with them? Have they submitted to state’s writ, its constitution and accepted and repented their mistakes and injustices? Will they unconditionally surrender? Will they cease to indulge in terrorism?”

“The militants this week released another video wherein six Pakistani soldiers were beheaded. Then the TTP’s spokesman offered talks while Adnan Rashid, the master-mind of several high profile attacks who was freed from the Bannu Jail by TTP last year, sat beside him. He is a figurehead. His presence in the video makes a mockery of the talks offer and is meant to molest the establishment,” says another social activist.

“The security forces are fighting for the country and Pakistani politicians should visit the frontlines to express solidarity with them. Instead, they are adding insult to injury by urging unconditional talks with TTP,” he opines.

“Militants and some of their apologists say alliance with the US and drone attacks brought about terrorism in Pakistan. But if so, (one can say only for the sake of argument and if it is not taken as enticing them for attacks on the US) then why militants who attack Pakistani defence installations located hundreds of kilometres away from their hideouts and kill our soldiers and innocent civilians, don’t go and attack the US bases in Afghanistan located a few miles away from there?” he asks.

“So assertive are the militants that when the JUI APC avoids using the term terrorism and militancy, it is welcomed by the TTP as a ‘positive’ development. And when the ANP APC declares talks are the first priority (but not the only solution as declared often by others) and talks about other options, its APC is rejected and it is targeted,” opines another political worker.

“Taliban have threatened to target ANP, MQM and PPP during election campaign and asked people to avoid their meetings and warned other parties to consider their policies. By welcoming some parties as guarantors and declaring others as targets may end up giving open field to the former and restricting it for the latter.”

“In private discussions, most politicians reject talks but they are pro-talks in public so as to avoid being killed. During the APCs and elsewhere, they avoid condemning the Taliban. They urge talks but intentionally avoid discussing the other options (of state operation and retaliation) in case talks fail. They want peace and power but, it seems, political expediency is being preferred over demands of national security and sovereignty? Most are following a policy of appeasement. But never forget the first step in retreat is never the last one,” says a teacher.

Militants assert that they fight for Islam. What is terrorism to others is Jihad for them. They say the government should frame independent foreign policy, separate itself from Afghan war, cede operations in Pakistan, prepare Islamic constitution and repeal laws repugnant to Islam. So is urged by their mentors. “Who should decide on these things? Who should have authority to decide what is right and bad for the country, TTP or popularly elected parliament and rulers? Should anyone wage war on his state if one doesn’t agree with any of state policies? Should people have exclusive authority to elect their rulers or states can be taken over by force? Bullet or ballot, which should determine things? Should one believe in supremacy of constitution to be enforced and explained by the state judiciary or in abdication of state to the Taliban, that they decide and impose whatever they want to?” asks a technocrat.

“Nothing can be achieved with piecemeal half hearted endeavours devoid of any comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy clearly spelling out other post-talks-failure options,” he says.

“Militants don’t have the capacity to fight a sustained war against the state. The security forces have flushed militants out from most of their strongholds. They can no more hold on to an area for long. They only can indulge in hit and run campaign. But their guerrilla warfare can never bring about the change they cherish. It can only inflict material and human losses on the nation to satisfy only their sense of vengeance?” he adds.


……………….

ORIGINAL TEXT of THE ARTICLE.

The other view: Is Dialogue a capitulation to militants?

Tahir Ali

Two All Parties Conferences, first by Awami National Party (ANP) and second by Jamiat Ulemae Islam (F) have urged talks with the Tehreeki Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but is there any rationale for these talks?

Prolonged conversations with political workers and persons from different strata have revealed most are against the talks. But they wish to be anonymous while publicly opposing so as not to annoy the militants.

“It will help bring Peace, it is said. But have the earlier agreements with militants –Shakai (2004), Sararogha (2005), Miramshah (2006), Khyber (2008) and Swat (2008) brought about peace?,” asks a political activist.

“These agreements were explicitly pro-militants -the state halted operation, withdrew troops from demanded areas, announced amnesty for, and released, militants, paid them compensation etc. But all this didn’t pacify them; they didn’t stop their war against the state; instead, they got emboldened and more lethal and extended their campaign and sway to other areas,” he adds.

Some apologists, he says, accuse the state and its security forces of not honouring the earlier deals. They always support the narration of militants (anti-state elements) and blame the security forces (state institutions) for spread in terrorism and violation of these accords. “But didn’t militants agree to certain conditions but then violated them; they didn’t take advantage of opportunities given by the state; they used peace-talks as an interval for gaining more areas and strength; they continued to support foreign fighters on Pakistani territory; they killed over 35000 innocent civilians and 5000 of soldiers and desecrated even their bodies; they least cared for Pakistan’ international compulsions. Talks with them won’t be accepted by the heirs of martyrs. It will mean surrender, appeasement and our capitulation to them. These can be held only if they surrender and accept the state sovereignty; there is no other option than to do to them what they are doing to us,” the activist says.

“Some analysts argue that when US could hold talks with Afghan Taliban despite their attacks and rejection of Afghan constitution, then talks with the militants should not be marred here by asking for their surrender and ceasefire. They forget the difference between the sitting here and there. Taliban there are fighting with the US and its allies who have occupied Afghanistan and the TTP here is waging war against its own people, land and security forces. How could they be equated,” he argues.

According to a social activist, it is obvious no state or its people can allow or afford a parallel system or a militant force in its jurisdiction. They can’t be expected to embrace those who are hell bent on their annihilation.

“How can talks be held with them? Have they submitted to state’s writ, its constitution and accepted and repented their mistakes and injustices? Will they unconditionally surrender? Will they cease to indulge in terrorism?”

“The militants this week released another video wherein six Pakistani soldiers were beheaded. Then the TTP’s spokesman offered talks while Adnan Rashid, the master-mind of several high profile attacks who was freed from the Bannu Jail by TTP last year, sat beside him. He is a figurehead. His presence in the video makes a mockery of the talks offer and is meant to molest the establishment,” says another social activist.

“The security forces are fighting for the country and Pakistani politicians should visit the frontlines to express solidarity with them. Instead, they are adding insult to injury by urging unconditional talks with TTP,” he opines.

“Militants and some of their apologists say alliance with the US and drone attacks brought about terrorism in Pakistan. But if so, (one can say only for the sake of argument and if it is not taken as enticing them for attacks on the US) then why militants who can attack against Pakistani defence installations located hundreds of kilometres away from their hideouts and kill our soldiers and innocent civilians don’t go and attack the US bases in Afghanistan located a few miles away from there?,” he adds.

“So assertive are the militants that when the JUI APC avoids using the term terrorism and militancy, it is welcomed by the TTP as a ‘positive’ development. And when the ANP APC declares talks are the first priority (but not the only solution as declared often by others) and talks about other options, its APC is rejected and it is targeted,” opines another political worker.

According to him, Taliban have threatened to target ANP, MQM and PPP during election campaign and asked people to avoid their meetings and warned other parties to consider their policies. By welcoming some parties as guarantors and declaring others as targets may end up giving open field to the former and restricting it for the latter, he argues.

“In private discussions, most politicians reject talks but they are pro-talks in public so as to avoid being killed. During the APCs and elsewhere, they avoid condemning the Taliban. They urge talks but intentionally avoid discussing the other options (of state operation and retaliation) in case talks fail. They want peace and power but, it seems, political expediency is being preferred over demands of national security and sovereignty? Most are following a policy of appeasement. But never forget the first step in retreat is never the last one,” says a teacher.

“Militants assert that they fight for Islam. What is terrorism to others is Jihad for them. They say the government should frame independent foreign policy, separate itself from Afghan war, cede operations in Pakistan, prepare Islamic constitution and repeal laws repugnant to Islam. So is urged by their mentors. Who should decide on these things? Who should have authority to decide what is right and bad for the country, TTP or popularly elected parliament and rulers? Should anyone wage war on his state if one doesn’t agree with any of state policies? Should people have exclusive authority to elect their rulers or states can be taken over by force? Bullet or ballot, which should determine things? Should one believe in supremacy of constitution to be enforced and explained by the state judiciary or in abdication of state to the Taliban, that they decide and impose whatever they want to?,” asks a technocrat.

“Nothing can be achieved with piecemeal half hearted endeavours devoid of any comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy clearly spelling out other post-talks-failure options,” he says.

“Militants don’t have the capacity to fight a sustained war against the state. The security forces have flushed militants out from most of their strongholds. They can no more hold on to an area for long. They only can indulge in hit and run campaign. But their guerrilla warfare can never bring about the change they cherish. It can only inflict material and human losses on the nation to satisfy only their sense of vengeance?” he adds.

(These are the views of the persons. Writer’s total agreement with these is not necessary)

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