[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap]nyone who closely watches Indian news and debates over TV channels, especially in English and Hindi would attest an ugly truth: India does not at all seek peace with Pakistan, Bangladesh, and it is still determined to kill the remaining Kashmir Muslims. Indian TV channels in English are fully devoted to terrorism, cricket and anti-Pakistanism.
India promotes cross-fire dramas as part of 11/9 in order to advance it national interest abroad. It is therefore not sure if India would any time end hostilities and hate politics with Pakistan over Kashmir even if all Kashmiris accept Indian sovereignty in a referendum if held. Indian military congestion in Kashmir would not be reduced as forces would continue to control the Muslims there and for which Indian regime would, like USA and Israel, discover new threats, meant to terrorize and attack Muslims. After all, Manipur in India continues facing military atrocities endorsed by New Delhi with extra powers. India would curtail all basic freedom to Indians as well and if anybody opposes they are tracked brutally.
India and Israel though are not strange bed partners but who promote trade-in terror goods. None in the world media is allowed to criticize Israel and India as both track world media reports and opinions and pay to say no articles appear in the press or internet criticising colonialist crimes being perpetrated by Indi and Israel. They are among the fast emerging strategic partners globally coordinating their colonialist operations. .
India thrives on anti-Pakistani and anti-Muslim and terror victim planks, though it also plays a premier role in spreading terrorism.
Indian media and political parties hate Kashmiris for the issue an international one thanks to Pakistani efforts to take to international forums the Indian techniques of committing genocides in Kashmir. In main India both national political outfits – and secret allies on anti-Islamism – BJP and Congress, having to end the struggle in Kashmir, have one agenda now: to somehow pacify Kashmiri Muslims with some false promises and also to delete the historic case against Hindu criminals, who pulled down the Historic Babri Mosque on 06 December 1992 on a deep rooted Indian conspiracy against Indian Muslims and Islam. This destructive politics has got the backup, guidance and help from Indian state and successive governments. Indian corporate media lords work very closely with military-intelligence organizations to promote Islamophobia in media so that India looks somewhat democratic and”safe”.
India committed a gracious crime by annexing Jammu Kashmir even if on the advice of former colonial master Britain and now anti-Islamic trends have come handy to perpetrate crimes against Muslims in Kashmir. It is therefore not difficult to comprehend the reason for this collective anti-Pakistani and anti-Muslim mindset of Indian regime, military, media and intelligence is the simple colonialist calculation that any peace with Pakistan would force India to shelve official tensions and try to be good to Indian Muslims albeit with a pinch of salt ,
Further, the promotion of bilateral ties with Pakistan would make India slowly lose global sympathy as a major “terror victim” and would eventually its nukes and military advantages to threaten the neighbors. In short, if it promotes peace and friendship with Muslims neighbors, India would lose its big brother status it enjoys now arrogantly. Many strategic guys think India cannot afford to lose its “strategic” advantages by mending ways with regional Muslim nations and Kashmiri and Muslims. India does not seek to end communal politics.
Above all, both India and Pakistan would lose Jammu Kashmir which both jointly occupy- while India does it brutally by targeting Muslims in Kashmir and India proper sending s warning to UK (and USA indirectly) for occupying India for centuries before granting independence in 1947, while Pakistan make Kashmiris “love” Pakistan as a “reliable” defender of Kashmiris Muslims, while it keeps killing Muslims indoors as per instructions of USA and also from India received through Washington along with service charges in dollars.
Wars, conflict, crisis and disruption of diplomatic relations and bogus talks or dialogues between the two nuclearized South Asian states are a central part of history of the region. India as well as Pakistan promotes tensions and both are not scared of them for many more years so that they continue to occupy Jammu Kashmir with backing from China, Russia and USA – all veto powers. Both are eager to escalate the tension by cross border fires, terrorizing the besieged Kashmiris.
Kashmir has been a contested area of South Asia since the partition of British India in 1947. The region is claimed by both India and Pakistan; the Indian-controlled part has periodically been convulsed by protests.
Tensions between the two nations have run high since India forces killed a Kashmiri militant commander. Then, last month, 19 soldiers were killed on an army base in India. At least 19 people have been killed as a result of India-Pakistan border disputes in Kashmir that have occurred in recent weeks, prompting some to wonder if the conflict could escalate into a drastic war over control of the region. Both nations have denied responsibility for bringing the first strike, and leaders in each country have accused the other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement that curbed violence in the area.
As Pakistan remains focused on Kashmir, India has been alertly pursuing an objective of maligning Pakistan in the world alleging that it is a terrorist state and it manufactures and exports terrorism. This allegation makes USA and Israel happy as India has not blamed these two fascism nations of inventing and popularizing terrorism. India does not do that because it wants their active help in targeting Muslims in Indi and Kashmir.
This summer in Kashmir saw some of the worst conflict – and worst challenge for Indian military – since 2010. Massive numbers have turned out in public demonstrations against often oppressive Indian rule and endorsement of a new age of militancy. Some 85 civilians have been killed, and at least 11,000 injured, hundreds of them by pellet guns, weapons that have become controversial symbols of this summer’s turmoil for the serious eye injuries they have inflicted. Schools and commercial establishments have been periodically closed under curfews, and the internet cut off in an effort to prevent protests. Thousands of protesters have also been arrested in the ongoing crackdown, including Abyad’s older brother, who was detained on July 8 and continues to be held in a police station.
India, like USA, Israel and Russia, has no concern for the murder of Muslims in Kashmiris because as Hindu majority India is eager to retain it illegal occupation at all costs even by paying huge resources to USA.
South Asian nuclear powers with a lot of poverty, Pakistan and India have not signed NPT and there seems less possibility for regional cooperation in the nuclear field By following the Israeli and American strategies against Arab world and Russia, respectively, India is keen to maintain superiority over Pakistani military postures. But Pakistan’s maintenance and advancement of minimum credible deterrence at the moment discourages India to go for misadventure by launching a missile war against Pakistan. After having the full spectrum deterrence, Pakistan now has the capability to cover all kinds of threats. India has very aggressive strategic posture to contain Pakistani military, aiming at the nuclearization of Indian Ocean and projecting military power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. However, they not allow the situation to escalate into a full-fledged war.
Voicing its concern over India’s nuclear capabilities, Pakistan called on the member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to make a well-considered decision over including India, keeping in view the long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in the region “This build-up has been facilitated by the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver granted to India, which not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy, but also negatively affected the strategic balance in South Asia,” said Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya at a weekly press briefing, reports the Dawn.
Pakistan has been asserting that India’s rapidly expanding military nuclear program poses a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond. The FO spokesman warned that another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 exemption. “It remains our hope that the NSG member states would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in our region,” he said.
India says that seven civilians, including two children, died following cross-border firings. Officials have evacuated several civilian villages along the disputed border region and moved them into government-operated shelters for their protection. In Pakistan, more than 10 people were killed over the weekend and Monday. “It appears as if a full blown war is going on between India and Pakistan,” Mohammad Saeed, a resident of the village of Mohra in the region, told Reuters. “Please have mercy and stop it.” Armies from each nation patrol the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into two separately governed regions. Cross-border firings between officials of the two nations continued, officials confirmed.
Such disputes have led to two of the three wars between the nations in the last 70 years. As decades of tension continue to mount, some young Kashmiri men are joining militant forces to fight India, seeking a route to self-determination for the region after years of frustration and oppression. This time the uprising has spread to every artery and vein of Kashmir. This is the third generation of Kashmiris since 1947, and their anger is such that they don’t want to budge.
Now, some worry that the stakes have become so high and the region so volatile that conflict could escalate into a nuclear exchange over the territory.
But other nonviolent tactics are at play in the conflict as well. India has threatened to skirt the provisions of a water treaty that regulates how the two nations share resources from three rivers by constructing two hydropower plants that would divert more water to India. Experts have criticized the tactic, and Pakistan has responded by saying it would consider a violation of the treaty to be “an act of war or a hostile act against Pakistan.” “It’s highly irresponsible on part of India to even consider revocation of the Indus Water Treaty,” Sartaj Aziz, foreign policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said last month. “Threats of a water war are part of a military, economic and diplomatic campaign to build pressure on Pakistan.”
Each nation also expelled diplomats last week when tensions rose to a government level. The decades-old conflict has left those in Kashmir disenchanted with politics between the two nations and apt to support rogue militant causes. As protests continue in the region, some say militant groups, and local support for them, could continue to grow in response to government actions. “People have lost faith in the political struggle,” Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir said: “I’m not saying everyone in Kashmir is a militant. But everyone sympathizes with the militancy, and that is a new reality.” He fondly remembers the 1970s and ’80s in his native Kashmir – a place that was peaceful and verdant, where the now 63-year-old artist could interact with visiting artists from around the world and paint landscapes.
For Khytul Abyad, such an artist’s paradise seems an elusive dream. Born in 1993, the 23-year-old artist watched as Kashmir’s beauty was overshadowed by political crackdowns, torture, Army bunkers on every street, and long waits in traffic as Army convoys passed by. For her, growing up in Kashmir mainly meant negotiating the ongoing conflict between Kashmiris opposed to India’s occupation of their land. Mr. Hussain and Ms. Abyad are working to document the conflict they have seen explode around them this summer, as tensions over India’s occupation of Kashmir soared after the killing of the popular militant rebel leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
For both of them, Kashmir’s brutal history has become the canvas, their art their channel of dissent, protest, frustration, and hope. And they see others choosing the same path. “In 2008, 2010, and 2016 uprising, we’ve been seeing new artists emerging, either as musicians, rappers, poets, or painters,” says Abyad. “Being in a curfew for months, not being able to go out of home … this is the perfect time for art to emerge because there’s so much going on inside and the frustration becomes internal, rather than external,” she adds.
Abyad and Hussain’s perspectives are shaped by their very different experiences: While Hussain knew Kashmir before the armed rebellion started in 1988, Abyad was just 18 months old when unknown gunmen assassinated her father, Mirwaiz Qazi Nissar, a popular pro-freedom leader and a Muslim cleric. As she grew older, words like azaadi (Freedom) and tehreek (movement) became familiar rallying cries.
It was during the 2008 unrest that Abyad took up her paintbrush in protest. Nearly 80 people were shot dead and many injured in the uprising sparked by government land being transferred to a Hindu shrine board, where the board wanted to construct concrete structures. “I had never seen so much anger in people,” says Abyad, who has exhibited her work publicly and is participating in upcoming exhibitions and biennales. “It was tehreek, I thought. I saw people being beaten up inhumanely. I saw people who weren’t ready to go home even after teargas shells were fired at them, people who wouldn’t stop shouting ‘We want freedom’ until police would take them away.”
Like everyone, Abyad also experienced intense fear that she hadn’t known before. “This fear turned into sadness and brought anger,” she says. When she couldn’t go out and throw stones at the soldiers, it was art that became her outlet. Without being able to speak about her anger and frustration, art showed her the way to communicate the harshest of emotions in the gentlest manner. Her work is mostly a reflection of life in Kashmir and the events that have changed its history over the years. In her sketches, these days, she has been drawing short stories about various elements of the ongoing uprising, based on her own experience. “Wherever there is conflict, there’s discomfort, and discomfort gives rise to art,” she says.
Hussain’s early work was shaped by much more quotidian experiences. As a student at Mumbai’s JJ Institute of Applied Arts from 1971 to 1976, he would often visit home for vacation. After his education, he returned to Kashmir to introduce the graphic designer course in the Institute of Music and Fine Arts (IMFA). “Life was peaceful, and there was so much to do as a graphic designer,” says Hussain, now a highly acclaimed artist. “I used to paint as well. We had art camps every year and artists from across the world used to visit these camps. We had great fruitful interactions with them. It would not be an understatement to say that it truly was an artist’s paradise.”
At the IMFA, opportunities were many, including the highly creative and culturally diverse environment when artists from all regions and religions would work together. “My works talked about our rich cultural heritage, expressed my admiration for the natural beauty through landscapes, photo documentation of our vernacular architecture, especially the lattice work,” he says.
Then the conflict broke out; Hussain lost all the artwork he had created in 1993 amid protests. What he managed to salvage was then lost to floods in 2014. But that has just spurred him to do more paintings like “Death and Resurrection,” a series in the form of painted relief in mixed media that shows the conflict he has witnessed. He mourns the younger generation’s lack of awareness of an earlier Kashmir – one of his paintings, “Look Behind the Canvas,” depicts three generations of women in Kashmir – showing Mughli, whose son was forcibly disappeared, and Rafiqa, whose husband is also disappeared, and his own daughter. In the painting, he has also incorporated cuttings from the newspapers during 2010 mass uprising as a small collage.
After the work was finished, however, Hussain tore it apart, as a metaphor for Kashmir’s situation.v “I was so scared to see the situation of young boys dying in 2010. I found that there is no end to this violence and situation will not be better,” he says. “We are waiting for somebody to come, who can feel our wounds. I tore apart this painting but somebody will come who will put this painting back together again.”
Similarly, in July, when Abyad, a recent graduate of the IMFA, read about lead pellets being fired at civilians, the reaction came out on paper. More than 1.3 millions pellets have been fired in the first 43 days of the uprising. The hospitals are filled with young men wearing blackout glasses after undergoing operations to get out the pellets and then try to restore sight. “We have been confined to our homes for the past 52 days with violence all around us,” says Hussain, who has also been making digital art on pellet survivors. “It’s heartbreaking to see children losing their eye sight to pellets,” he says. “Digital media is the quickest means of depicting the plight of these children to the world. Such brutal acts must be stopped.”
On July 9, the capital of Indian-occupied Jammu Kashmir went unexpectedly quiet. Police barriers and barbed wire blocked the streets of Srinigar as military helicopters passed over blue skies crowded by mountains. Thousands of protesters were rioting in the streets 24 miles south. The sudden shutdown came after Indian Army forces killed 22-year-old Burhan Wani, a popular Hizb ul Mujahideen Kashmiri militant with a 1 million rupee ($15,000) Indian-issued bounty, late Friday evening in southern Kashmir. Outrage over Wani’s death turned the militant into a martyr overnight, and by Wednesday, the death toll reached 35, with hundreds more injured in clashes between separatist protesters and Indian troops.
As is routine when fighting breaks out in the Valley, which has been disputed between India and Pakistan since 1947, anti-Indian separatist leaders called for a four-day shutdown of the city. Shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and fruit sellers were closed in solidarity. The mood was grim, and few dared venture out of their homes.
But on the edge of the city, it was as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Dal Lake is Srinagar’s prized “jewel,” an economic powerhouse for a struggling region that draws tourists with its staggering mountains and serene waters. Nearly 70,000 locals reside near its shores, and depend entirely on tourism and fishing for their livelihood. And Dal’s façade of normalcy in recent days speaks to the tensions here as Kashmiris both chafe against Indian control and at the same time try to keep their shaky economy going. “Every Kashmiri wants to protect Dal Lake,” explains Asif Qureshi, bureau chief of a local news station in Srinagar. “It is the jewel of Kashmir. It’s a safe zone, blocked in from Dal Gate to the Boulevard near the Army Cantonment.”
On Sunday, as the rest of Srinagar remained on tense lockdown, water-skiers glided blissfully across Dal Lake. Fruit and souvenir sellers rowed in brightly-painted shikara boats around the silky blue water looking for tourists. Shikara boat owners offered rides to Indian families on vacation. “It’s our first time on Dal Lake,” said Sagar Choudri, a tourist visiting from Maharashtra who’d just finished water-skiing. “We feel good here. People are very nice to us. We heard a little about the strike, but we feel safe.”
Nearly 10 miles wide, Dal hosts some 880 wood-carved houseboats, leftover from the British before partition when the Dogra Maharaja of Kashmir prohibited them from building houses on land. Now, the Dal economy supports thousands of families across Srinagar – from taxi drivers to houseboat owners to cooks to fruit-sellers. It is one of the only areas that remains immune to fighting that can break out on short notice in Kashmir, which remains one of the most heavily militarized zones in the world. Green and white signs across Srinagar read: “Dal is our identity. Let us join our hands to preserve it.” “There is no tension, there is no military here. Dal Lake is peaceful, Dal Lake is safe, Dal Lake depends 90 percent on tourists,” says Latif Ahamed, a young shikara boat owner who stayed open during the strike, hoping to catch a few stray tourists. He sounded weary of talking about the recent fighting.
But it is not an easy topic to avoid. Dressed in the uniform blue kurta worn by shikara union workers, Mr. Ahamed explained that in addition to the economic difficulties of working as a shikara guide, his work carried the added burden of political pressure: Could he afford to follow suit and shut down his business? He had decided to stay open over the weekend, despite pressure to remain shut. “People are angry with us, the city people,” he said, referring to shopkeepers in other neighborhoods in Srinagar. “They come to us they say, ‘Why are you open?’ And I say, ‘Our family, we’re poor people. We earn only 500 rupees.’ You strike four to five days. What will I eat?”
Nearly every shop in Srinagar obeyed a statewide motion by Syed Geelani, the “father” of Kashmir’s separatist movement, to go on a five-day strike in protest of the killings. It has become a customary symbol of expressing discontent against the government – and is hard to defy. But it is often Kashmir’s urban poor who bears the brunt of these strikes. Ashiq Ahmad Kulo, a brass and silver jewelry seller, felt similar tensions as he rowed around Dal over the weekend looking for tourists. “Burhan Wani was a good person,” Kulo says from his shikara. “He was our Muslim brother, so we’re feeling sad about this. We are feeling totally bad. We want freedom. I am also hating the politics. But we have no shops, no regular salary. We people are depending only of the tourism.”
The costs of unrest are well known here, and lurk in recent memory. Fighting was so extreme in 2008, and later in 2010, that tourists stopped coming in entirely – Dal Lake was forced to shut down, more than 200 people were killed, and many youths were unemployed. The periodic unrest has meant that Jammu and Kashmir has one of the highest unemployment rates in India, with roughly 600,000 unable to find work.
But in the past five years, tourism has revived, with more Indians once again venturing north. During peak season, food and jewelry sellers can earn as much as 10,000 rupees ($148) in a single day. But during days of lockdown, which frighten off many tourists, the daily income ranges from zero to roughly 1,000 rupees, depending on the business. After fighting broke out this weekend, many tourists left early; Air India offered its customers outside Kashmir free cancellations for trips booked to Srinagar. “I stay open because everywhere nothing is open,” says Rafi Kulo, a local drink seller who sold water, juice, and soda. “But tourists suffer from thirst. I prefer to give people food, drinks. When protests happen, business always goes down. Before this situation we could earn 10,000 per day.
Most floating businesses on Dal Lake remained open over the weekend for tourists: Kashmiri silk and scarf shops, coat sellers, fruit and vegetable sellers, and even floating restaurants advertising popular Indian fast food like vegetable biryani, methi pakoora, zeera rice, dum aloo, and “Italian pasta.” “We people depend 100 percent on the tourists,” said Firdous Ahamed, owner of the floating restaurant Mango Bango. “In 2008, there was a killing on the road, local people got killed by police, in front of Dal Lake. And we people came out, we said, ‘We never fight for anything. Why is this happening here?’ ”
For Mr. Ahamed, the region’s dependency on India is clear. Many here wonder if an independent Kashmir would be able to survive, even if some current constraints on its economy were lifted. “We don’t think we have anything here to be independent. We don’t have nothing here, economically,” Ahamed adds. “We’re a small matchbox. Like India, if it stops, we can’t burn anything. We can’t have any factories here. We are depending on India. We say just give us democracy. That’s it. If we get democracy, like a right to talk, that’s the main thing.”
Whereas Pakistan has been internationalize the Kashmir issue so far now India, after its “surgical attacks on Kashmir on some bogus reason to weaken the Kashmiri struggle for freedom has got the opportunity to belittle Pakistan by internationalizing the Uri event.
RSS controlled Modi’s government tried its best to isolate Pakistan but failed miserably. it to be India proposed to BRICS Summit to declare Pakistan a terror state but China stood with Pakistan and rejected Indian claim.
India media are so happy that Indo-Pakistani ties are further straining and go complicated indefinitely as Uri provided the much waited chance to thrash Pakistani embassy officals.
For the sake of peace, stability and tranquility the UNSC must step in and push them to agree for a peace deal while releasing Jammu Kashmir under their joint occupation while China would also do the same as it also occupies a part of Azad Kashmir without striking secret deals with India and Pakistan. .
In order to retain occupational parts of Palestine, Israel also supports India directly and Pakistan does it passively. It is therefore necessary to clip the terror clip of the Zionist regime in Mideast and dismantle all its WMD obtained illegally form the west.
Indi a as well as Pakistan must now realize that they cannot occupy Jammu Kashmir indefinitely and must, therefore, wake up the protest calls of Kashmiris. The usual cross border firing dramas must end.
So long as India and Pakistan continue to cross fire to terrorize Kashmiris, the perpetual Indo-Pakistani tensions over Kashmir would not end especially when the UN and UNSC allow India to go on regular rampages in Kashmir and expand secret graveyards in the valley.
Quaid-e-Azam: The Protector-General of minorities
Lynching and setting people was a phenomenon peculiar to India under Modi. But, in a shocking incident , a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot was lynched and later burnt alive. Not only the Pakistan government but also the religiously-oriented parties condemned the incident. Government announced to confer Tamgha-e-Shujaat to the lone voice who tried his utmost to save the victim’s life.
It is heartening that Pakistan immediately apprehended dozens of suspects. In case of India such gory acts go unnoticed.
The incident brought into limelight the bitter fact that ordinary people have a purblind view of blasphemy. They could have avoided taking the law into their own hands. They could have handed over the victim to the police for prosecution if there was any credible shred of evidence against him.
Need for soul searching
While celebrating the Quaid’s birthday on 25th December, the people should refresh their memories of the Quaid’s vision. Did he visualise Pakistan to be an enlightened democracy or a theocracy? The Quaid’s whole political struggle was against fanaticism, then spearheaded by Hindus.
The 1916 Lucknow Pact was acknowledged as a pillar of Hindu-Muslim friendship. However, Motilal Nehru, at the behest of the fanatic Hindus, shattered the spirit of peaceful coexistence by formulating his Nehru Report (1928). His son Jawaharlal, outwardly liberal, regarded the creation of Pakistan as a blunder. His rancour against Pakistan reached a crescendo in his remark ‘I shall not have that carbuncle on my back’. Jaswant Singh, in his book, Jinnah: India, Partition, and Independence reveals that Jinnah shelved the idea of independent Pakistan by putting his signature to the Cabinet Mission’s recommendations. This Mission envisaged keeping India undivided for ten years. The constituent assemblies were to consider the question of division after 10 years. When Congress refused to accept the recommendations of the Cabinet Mission, the British government decided to divide India.
Pacifist Jinnah versus jingoist Nehru and Patel
Despite the lapse of over 70 years, India still has to reconcile with Pakistan as a reality. When Jinnah left India on 7 August 1947, the Quaid said, ‘The past has been buried and let us start afresh as two independent sovereign States. In contrast, Nehru, an outwardly liberal leader, said ‘I shall not have that carbuncle on my back’. These remarks have been quoted by D. H. Bhutani in his book, The Future of Pakistan (page 14). Vallabhai Patel said, ‘The poison had been removed from the body of India’. RSS’s Mohin Bhagwat and India’s prime minister Narendra Modi have declared to undo partition by doing away with Pakistan.
Not a theocracy
In a broadcast addressed to the people of the USA (February 1948), he said, ‘In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests [mullahs] with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Parsees– but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan’ When an over-ebullient admirer addressed him as `Maulana Jinnah’, he snubbed him. Jinnah retorted, ‘I am not a Maulana, just plain Mr. Jinnah’. About minorities, the Quaid often reminded Muslim zealots ‘Our own history and our and our Prophet(PBUH) have given the clearest proof that non-Muslims have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously. He added, ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector-general of the Hindu minority in Pakistan’. Till his last breath, the Quaid remained an ardent supporter of rights of minorities as equal citizens of Pakistan. Our official dignitaries shun rituals and customs of minorities. But, the Quaid participated in Christmas celebrations in December 1947 as a guest of the Christian community. He declared: ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector General of Hindu minority in Pakistan’.
One member of his post-Partition cabinet was a Hindu. A Jewish scholar, Mohammad Asad, who embraced Islam, held important positions in the post-Partition period in Pakistan.
The following extracts from the Quaid’s speeches and statements as Governor General of Pakistan epitomise his vision: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan…you may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State…We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of the one State”.
The Quaid visualised that `in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”. A. K. Brohi, in his The Fundamental Law of Pakistan, argues that Pakistan is an Islamic state, but not a theocracy. Jinnah’s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, also, epitomises his vision.
Stanley Wolpert paid tributes to the Quaid in following words, “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Few still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone could be credited with creating a nation State. Muhammad All Jinnah did all three”. Pakistan overcame insurmountable problems of influx of 1947 refugees, skimpy finances and myriad other problems to emerge as a viable entity. We welcomed refugees, while India is all set to drive out 4.7 million refugees from its eastern state of Assam.
Isolated intermittent incidents of religious extremism in Pakistan do not reflect the ethos of the majority. However, there is need to make the masses aware of the vested interests who want to exploit them by warping their beliefs.
Importance of Analysis of Major Events of Pakistan
Pakistan in the past 74 years of independence has gone through events some of which have even changed its geography as well as demography but thorough, honest, unbiased and transparent analysis have either not been carried out and if done recommendations have not been implemented in letter and spirit and defaulters have not been awarded penalties. In most cases lessons have not been learnt and corrective actions taken. Almost similar mistakes are being repeated. Aldous Huxley, an English writer said, “Reality cannot be ignored except at a price; and the longer the ignorance is persisted in, the higher and more terrible becomes the price that must be paid.
Soon after independence, the Quaid emphasized upon the constituent assembly to frame the constitution on priority. It passed the objective resolution on 12 March 1949, the main point being Pakistan shall be federation, wherein the state shall exercise its powers and authority through the representative of the people; the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance, and social justice as enunciated in Quran and Sunnah shall be fully observed. Subsequently four committees to frame constitution submitted their reports which could not sail through the assembly mainly because equal representation was proposed to both wings, East and West Pakistan whereas the population as per censuses of 1951, former had 42.0 and the later 33.7 million. The third draft, Muhammad Ali Bogra formula which was considered most appropriate proposed bicameral legislature, lower house based on population, total 300 seats (E Pak 165, 4 units of W Pak 135). Upper house to consist of 50 seats to be divided into 5 constituent units (10 each, E Pak, Punjab, NWFP, Sindh, Balochistan). In the meantime, Ghulam Muhammad, the Governor General (G G) dissolved the assemblies on 24 Oct 54, his decision was upheld by the Supreme Court (SC) headed by Justice Muhammad Munir under the law of necessity. Thereafter, PM, Muhammad Ali took the task of framing the constitution and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy of Awami League (PM from Sep 56 to Oct 57) agreed to E Pak and W Pak both as one unit, unicameral legislation, national assembly, 300 seats having equal representation. The first constitution was promulgated on 23 March 1956. In the first eight years of independence the constitution could not be framed, mainly because of denying democratic rights to East wing which were explicitly mentioned in the objective resolution. The same mind set prevailed which led to dismemberment of Pakistan in December 1971. Similarly, the precedence set to uphold the decision of GG under the law of necessity was followed subsequently in 1958,1977 and 1999. If we had capital punishment in the constitution of 1956, 1962 similar to article 6 of present constitution, that, “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.” It may have deterred the adventurous minds. It is pertinent to mention that, the Martial Law imposed by Gen Yahya Khan in March 1969, was declared usurper by the Supreme Court. Justice, Hamood ur Rehman had written in Asma Jilani case (PLD 1972 SC 139) that Gen Yahya Khan had no authority to abrogate, but no action was taken against any one. In short Pakistan has been governed by five constitutions (twice by the India Act of 1935, 1956, 1962, and 1973 in vogue), and four martial laws (1958, 1969, 1977, and 1999), and once emergency was imposed by Gen Pervez Musharraf, acting as Chief of the Army Staff, on 3 November 2007, and issued a Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). This was declared illegal by SC, the case was tried in the court of law, the punishment was awarded, but the final decision by the SC is pending. Four times elected governments were dismissed under article 58, 2(b) of the constitution, which gave discretionary powers to the president to dissolve the elected government. This clause has been finally removed by 18th amendment on 8 April 2010. It is pertinent to mention that Indian constitution was promulgated on 26 January 1950 and it has never been abrogated or held in abeyance. If we had carried out sincere analysis by committees or commissions comprising all stakeholders soon after the occurrence of events, we may have reached a workable solution of governance. The present constitution has undergone through many amendments. If more changes are required that can be done by the parliament. The need of the hour is to follow constitution in letter and spirit. Make the three pillars of the state, judiciary, legislation, and administration strong. All other institutions are required to work strictly under the constitution, rules, regulations, and the oath taken by various authorities/personalities.
2.The 1965 war between India and Pakistan started on 6 Sep and cease fire was accepted by Pakistan without achieving desired objectives on 22 Sep. As per Tashkent declaration of January 1966 mediated by Ex USSR and signed by President Ayub Khan and Indian PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri our troops had to go back prior to 5 August 1965 positions (prior to start of war). We must have carried out through analysis at all level by the concerned political and military authorities and taken necessary actions. This would have certainly avoided Kargil battle of 1999 which also concluded without achieving desired objectives. Infect it resulted political crisis at home and tarnishing the image of Pakistan abroad.
3.The rule of Gen Zia is criticized from many angles. India occupied Siachen glacier in 1984 and his reaction was lukewarm. It is believed that he had created a political force to curtail the influence of PPP especially in the urban areas of Sindh like Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpur Khas. The short gains impressed the rulers. Subsequently this party was not in the control of its creators; infect it turned against the security and law enforcing authorities. If we had carried out complete analysis of the prevalent problems at that time and tried to solve these politically; the incidents of losing life of many innocent people may have been avoided. Instead of learning a lesson, dharna of TLP, a political party of 2017 at Faizabad was supported by some political opponents of government at that time and intelligence outfits. The verdict of Qazi Faez Isa (Suo Moto Case 7/ 2017) is relevant. He had given details of the case and recommendations. One of the recommendation is “The Constitution emphatically prohibits members of the Armed Forces from engaging in any kind of political activity, which includes supporting a political party, faction or individual. The Government of Pakistan through the Ministry of Defense and the respective Chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are directed to initiate action against the personnel under their command who are found to have violated their oath.” Hardly any action has been taken. In the verdict, the case of 12th May 2007, when the deposed Chief justice was scheduled to visit Karachi and he was not allowed has also been mentioned. The roads were blocked with containers. A total 55 people were killed and hundreds suffered bullet injuries. It says that “When the State failed to prosecute those at the highest echelons of government who were responsible for the murder and attempted murder of peaceful citizens on the streets of Karachi on 12th May, 2007 it set a bad precedent and encouraged others to resort to violence to achieve their agendas.” This clearly indicates that in the past we have not been analyzing each and every event and taking the required actions therefore, the conditions are deteriorating. In the recent incident, a Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara was brutally beaten to death on 3 Dec 21 over blasphemy allegations at the factory in Sialkot where he worked as a manager. The mob then dragged his body out on the road and set it on fire. This incident has tarnished the image of Pakistan all over the world. It is indeed a day of embarrassment for Pakistan. However, government has assured that strict action shall be taken against culprits. All the major political parties, renowned religious leaders have condemned this episode. The importance of blasphemy law cannot be denied. However, the wrong use of this law is becoming common which needs to be checked with iron hands. This is not first such incident. Mashal Khan was lynched by his fellow students in 2017, Shama and Shahzad Masih were burnt alive in the brick kiln in 2014. We need to take such incidents very seriously. Those who take law and order in their hands should be given exemplary punishments so that such incidents are not repeated. The need of the hour is to sincerely carry out analysis of each and every event by the committees of experts in the respective fields, stakeholders, and take necessary action without fear and in the national interest. This sovereign state has been bestowed upon us by Allah Almighty, it is our duty to preserve it intact. The peace and tranquility is paramount for the progress of Pakistan.
Bangladesh’s Vaccine Policy: Cooperation beyond Geopolitical Lens
Since its outbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented devastation to every nook and corner of the world. Not being just a cataclysmic health crisis, the pandemic is subtly but substantially reshaping social norms, economic systems, diplomacy way-outs, as well as global leadership and rivalry. As of now, experts believe that this deadly virus is not going to completely disappear overnight rather will remain as a recurring event like the normal flu virus. However, acquiring herd immunity which insists on mass inoculation is the most acceptable solution to combat the worsening situation.
The world is becoming unable to meet the demands of the massive number of vaccines as only a handful of wealthy nations are producing them. In the wake of the current condition, every country, either rich or poor has its own game to play, rich ones for achieving so-called ‘vaccine nationalism’ and the poor ones for maintaining proper channel to procure them. As if conquering the pandemic bears testimony to not only a country’s economy and resources but also its strategy and diplomatic prudence.
By now, it is evident that Coronavirus traits are very complex as unpredictable mutations of it can jump back and forth across the globe. Today’s successful COVID-19 players might be a victim of tomorrow’s worst-hit outbreaks. For instance, the overconfidence emanating from India’s temporary triumph over vaccine manufacture caused sufferings for more than 90 countries. It is understandable why India’s worsening situation led to the failure of delivering 30 million vaccine doses as per a deal with Bangladesh. However, it was unfair not to deliver even a single dose after the sudden halt on vaccine export, for which Bangladesh has paid in advance.
Due to some unavoidable factors, for Bangladesh, Serum was the only feasible and proximate option for vaccines. Firstly, Bangladesh continued consistent efforts to keep all the alternate options simultaneously within the reach. Some of the vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna require extremely cold refrigeration which in terms of both storage capacity and commercial viability is untenable. WHO/GAVI backed initiative COVAX Facility has been proved inadequate to respond to the demand worldwide equally. Secondly, due to long term and consistent G2G liaison between Sheikh Hasina and the Modi Government, Bangladesh ranked the Indian source at the initial ladder. But it didn’t mean Bangladesh subsequently closed other avenues for future exigency. Thirdly, India’s initially successful ‘vaccine diplomacy’ was so overwhelming that it seemed India was just a step behind from becoming a ‘vaccine hegemony’ worldwide.
Over the sudden upside-down flip of India, Bangladesh had to make desperate diplomatic efforts to procure vaccines for which China and Russia nodded positively. Bangladesh inked a non-disclosure deal of 15 million Sinopharm doses with China. Also, Bangladesh received two consignments of 1.1 million of Chinese Sinopharm doses as gift. Up until now, Bangladesh is hopeful of joining to the China-led initiative of vaccine storage facility and collaboration with Russia to produce Sputnik V locally.
In such a pandemic situation when co-operation is urgent rather than competition, geostrategic gambit should not predominate in the South Asian region which is home to around 25% of the global population. As for Bangladesh, being densely populated with a population of more than 170 million, it is highly vulnerable to the risk of COVID-19 expansion and mutation due to acute intra and inter-regional people to people contact, if this particular region remains less inoculated. Currently, Bangladesh only needs 1.6 million AstraZeneca doses to continue the inoculation program that kicked off on February 7, 2021. Also, a burgeoning economy like Bangladesh, can afford to purchase sufficient vaccine doses as well as manufacture them locally. Not only that, Bangladesh should be called for particular attention for a full-fledged vaccine production scheme, as COVID-19 vaccines are considered as ‘global public goods.’
Despite not having a remarkable health policy, so far, Bangladesh has responded much better compared to other countries in South Asia regarding COVID-19 management. However, the condition might flip over uncanny circumstances anytime soon. Therefore, any vaccine procurement initiative should look through the prism of exigency, not preference for their allies, as downpour of misery on one corner is a failure to the entire globe.
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