[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] S [/yt_dropcap]rinagar went to poll to elect a parliamentarian and National Conference leader and former CM of JK was declared elected to parliament.Eight people were shot dead by paramilitary troopers and police and over 150 were injured in clashes between people and forces on polling day (9 April), which saw a mere 7.14% voter turnout. A re-polling was held for 38 booths which recorded only 2.02% polling.
The winner Farooq said recent developments in JK had made it “amply clear” that the PDP-BJP government in the state had “failed in delivering on its promises and had created a very alarming political situation in the state”. “I would leave no stone unturned to strive for justice and peace and be the voice against injustice and oppression as an elected representative in the parliament,” he said. Asked about the lowest-ever poll percentage in Srinagar by polls, Abdullah said, “How does it matter? We have seen polls before also where hardly any percentage was there. And what do you say to people who have voted even if it may be 7 per cent with all the pressures on them.”
Crack in PDP-BJP idea in Kashmir
National Conference President Farooq Abdullah who won the by-poll to the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat on anti-incumbency campaign that was marred by large-scale violence and very poor turnout on balloting day, called for imposition of central rule in the state.
Abdullah defeated the ruling People’s Democratic Party’s Nazir Ahmad Khan by a margin of 10,776 votes. Of the 89,865 votes cast, Farooq polled 48,555 while Khan polled 37,779. A total of 963 people voted for NOTA (none of the above), election officials said. There were nine candidates in the fray, but the main battle was between PDP’s Khan and Abdullah. Abdullah, 79, a two-time Chief Minister, will be Lok Sabha member for the third time. He had lost the Srinagar constituency to PDP’s Tariq Hameed Karra in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Karra’s resignation from the party led to the seat getting vacant. Octogenarian Abdullah had lost 2014 parliament elections to the then PDP candidate Tariq Karra (now with Congress). He took plunge into the election to make a comeback and take “avenge” of the defeat.
Soon after defeating ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Nazir Khan, Abdullah appealed President Pranab Mukherjee to dismiss the state government as it has “failed to deliver and hold peaceful election.” “Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should step down immediately and the situation in the state merits the imposition of Governor’s rule. There is absolutely no doubt about this,” he added. “I appeal to the President of India to dismiss this government and impose Governor’s rule in the state. They have killed youth and put the lives of the people in danger,“ he told reporters at NC headquarters here after his poll victory.
Farooq said recent developments had made it “amply clear” that the PDP-BJP government in the state had “failed in delivering on its promises and had created a very alarming political situation in the state…I would leave no stone unturned to strive for justice and peace and be the voice against injustice and oppression as an elected representative in the parliament,” he said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and a former key Federal minister urged the central government to impose Governor’s rule in the state, terming the election as the “bloodiest ever”. He also called for resumption of the dialogue for resolution of Kashmir at internal and external levels.
The NC supremo said it would not celebrate the victory because of the violence on polling day on April 9 in which eight civilians died in firing by security forces. Addressing reporters after his win, Abdullah urged the BJP-led central government to dismiss the ruling BJP-PDP alliance. “I request the Government of India and the President to dismiss the present government right away.
Governor’s rule should be imposed and elections conducted under Governor’s rule,” Farooq told the media. Thanking the people who supported him, he said: “This was the bloodiest election ever. I am not happy with the win. But results show that people are in favor of NC.”
In a statement issued by the NC party, spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said, “We won’t celebrate the victory in the by-poll in view of the deaths that occurred on balloting day.” Voting for the parliamentary seat saw a record low turnout of 7 per cent on April 9. Re-polling was held on April 13 for 38 polling stations in Budgam district that saw a mere 2 per cent balloting.
Abdullah also demanded that by poll for the upcoming Anantnag parliamentary seat should be held under Governor’s rule. “Otherwise people would not get justice,” he said.
Anantnag by poll has been deferred by the Election Commission of India till May 25 in the wake of the deteriorating situation in Kashmir. On the day of election to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, eight civilians were killed and over 200 injured by government forces. Reacting to a video showing a man tied to an army vehicle as “human shield” against stone throwers, Abdullah said it “was shameful and bad act against democracy”. He called the eight people killed on poll day as “martyrs”. “Many others are in hospitals or jails. I have never seen such an election,” he said and thanked “the people who risked their lives to vote in such a difficult situation”. “Such things add to the fire. I request them not to do these things,” said Abdullah. He trashed the ‘rumors’ suggesting he would resign from Lok Sabha after today’s win. “I will follow what my party high command decides,” he said.
Reacting to a video showing a man tied to an army vehicle as “human shield” against stone throwers, Abdullah said it “was shameful and bad act against democracy”. He called the eight people killed on poll day as “martyrs”. “Many others are in hospitals or jails. I have never seen such an election,” he said and thanked “the people who risked their lives to vote in such a difficult situation”. “Such things add to the fire. I request them not to do these things,” said Abdullah. He trashed the ‘rumors’ suggesting he would resign from Lok Sabha after today’s win. “I will follow what my party high command decides,” he said.
Abdullah demanded resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue and talks with all stakeholders including the resistance leadership, saying “war wasn’t a solution”. “New Delhi and Islamabad have to talk and try to honesty resolve the Kashmir Issue. The people of Kashmir cannot be expected to suffer endlessly. There is no alternative to talk. You have to talk in an effort to find a solution,” Abdullah said. Talking to reporters after he was announced as winner of the Srinagar parliamentary seat, Abdullah said, “I appeal to the Governor and President of India to dismiss this government and impose Governor’s rule in the state. This is the only way to give some respite to people. The government even failed to hold peaceful elections,” said Abdullah.
Saying that dialogue is the only way forward between the nuclear states of South Asia, Abdullah called for resumption of Indo-Pak talks and dialogue with all stakeholders including separatist Hurriyat Conference. “War is not a solution to anything,” he said. Reacting to the video of a youth tied up to an army vehicle, Abdullah said it is very shameful and a very bad act against democracy. “I request them not to do such things which will add to the fire and render it uncontrollable,” Abdullah said.
“New Delhi and Islamabad have to talk and try to honesty resolve the Kashmir Issue. The people of Kashmir cannot be expected to suffer endlessly. There is no alternative to talk. You have to talk in an effort to find a solution,” Abdullah said. Asked about the lowest-ever poll percentage in Srinagar by polls, Abdullah said, “How does it matter? We have seen polls before also where hardly any percentage was there. And what do you say to people who have voted even if it may be 7 per cent with all the pressures on them.”
Dispelling rumours of his resignation, he said that he was not going to resign. “I have neither said such a thing nor will I resign,” Abdullah said. Rumours were flying thick and fast in Kashmir on Thursday that Abdullah will resign if he wins the by-poll. On the other hand, Khan who had joined PDP after parting ways with the Congress was fighting his maiden Lok Sabha election. In the wake of unprecedented poll boycott and clashes during voting for the Srinagar segment, the Election Commission deferred by-election for Anantnag parliamentary segment—which was scheduled on April 12—till May 25.
The victory of octogenarian Abdullah is seen as a major boost for the NC, who used every card from separatism to a soft pro-Pakistan line ahead of elections.
Defeat of the ruling PDP candidate reveals the anger of Kashmiris towards the PDP-BJP joint government, targeting Muslims.
Kashmir has for too long been searching for a genuine government to serve the cause of asovereign Jammu Kashmir where the people could live in peace and without fearing the military boots ofoccupation forces from neighboring countries. Both PDP and NC play tricks with Kashmiris by joining hands with BJP or Congress to form the government to advance their own interests. Even the so-called freedmen fighters try to betray the Kashmiris by working for foreign nations.
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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