SC orders to public Lal Masjid Commission report

Supreme Court has ordered to public lal masjid commission report and told the government to give it to anyone requesting for it. In the report the commission has put the blame of innocent loss of lives on General (R) Pervaiz Musharraf and his team at that time including former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

There were some issues in the report which are still a subject of great like the body count and who died. Reportedly, according to the commission report some 103 people were killed in the operation including 92 civilians and 11 security personnel. They also said that no woman was killed in the operation.

However, according to several accounts from lal masjid students, prominent journalists and religious leaders, there were much casualties including women and children. Those who were killed, also allegedly included mother of Abdur Rasheed Ghazi and Abdul Aziz.

Before jumping on any conclusion, we need to take this report very carefully and in full context.

There are two parts of the issue:

a) circumstances in which the operation happened:

The commission interviewed people involved in negotiations and from establishment. based on that they put the blame on government for unnecessary loss of innocent lives. they have recommended DIYAT for the victims and also mentioned that they can go for QISAS as well.

b) ground evidence and number count of bodies and who died:

They had to rely on people sitting in ISI, MI or IB to get ground intelligence on that.

A good thing Supreme Court has done is that they have told the government to make the report public and so it will be a good chance for victim families and supporters to come forward and challenge the given figures based on possible lies of ISI, IB and MI or other govt. agencies. We need to know that most of the relevant ground evidence was destroyed by Army when they shut down the area.


Old Games and New Challenges for Freedom and Justice Loving People

Pakistan’s political dynamics has seen its different colors over the last six decades. The country saw some of the most oppressive military regimes and also some of the most corrupt periods of elected plutocracy. Our history saw struggles between left and right and also became an active player in the cold war period.

Though our politics has been influenced strongly by the foreign masters of our ruling elites. But in that our establishment has always played a vital role either as a proxy rule for foreign powers or as a king maker in local politics, many times the role has been a mixture of both. The honest reality of our history is that this role of our establishment has seriously dented our political culture, damaged rule of law and also harmed our rights as free citizens of this country.
A country which was founded on the principles of justice and equality didn’t live up to the expectations due to the dismal performance of our establishment and their cultivated corrupt political culture based on feudal-corporatist mindsets. Right from the days of Ghulam Muhammad, Pakistani establishment strengthened its hold on the affairs of the state and its politics. Pakistan was thrown into an unwanted cold war and thus it gave up its freedom which it got few years ago into the hands of imperialist forces lead by USA, which at that time took place of United Kingdom as world super power along with its rival USSR.
Initially establishment rule was evenly balanced between civil and military establishments but later on especially after Ayub Khan martial law, military acted as the main force of establishment. Now by establishment we can easily refer to GHQ as main source of  political power. Even Fatimah Jinnah, one of the strong political figure of our country and sister of founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not able to defeat this system. But her role in politics did make our establishment to get involved more in party politics or politics of masses. Now if I see things as an ordinary student of politics, foundation of PPP was meant to fill the political vacuum in the country so that those forces including Awami League, Jamat e Islami and others, who opposed Ayub martial law openly could not strengthen their grounds as alternate political reality other than establishment.

This approach worked in West Pakistan due to strong feudal system but failed in East Pakistan so establishment with the backing of feudal political class decided to use force on our own people. And we all know the consequences of 1971 riots and later Indo-Pak war. There was a chance for the nation to learn lessons from the mistakes and change the future course of actions.

But it didn’t happen except for few adjustments, including a real major one of developing 1973 constitution, our political outlook remained same. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was a product of establishment, who tried to become larger than he should be in the eyes of establishment and also started a nuclear program against the wishes of our imperialist masters, became a liability to the system and so he was removed from the scene through Zia martial law and later hanged till death in a murder case of controversial nature.

Removal of Bhutto, instead of giving some relief to martial law forces became counter productive especially in the province of Sind so a new political reality of MQM was given space and support by military establishment. In Zia’s time not only constitution was treated badly but his use of religion to give cover to his oppressive and hypocrite regime proved to be another major blunder in the history of our country.

Later after the death of General(R) Zia ul Haq, PPP with sympathy votes and deals with local and international establishment came into power. Instead of learning from past mistakes and doing accountability of constitutional violations and corruptions by Zia regime, PPP started a new era of corruption and nepotism in Pakistani politics. They were also joined by their rivals, PML(N) which was a product of Zia remains, in this political culture. This culture saw its ups and downs and political maneuvering by establishment through the formation of IJI and sacking of governments.

In this time Nawaz Sharif of PML(N), also emerged as a big political force through a huge mandate in 1997 elections by bagging 137 seats. Nawaz tried to undermine the unwanted reality of our political history i.e. military establishment and did not follow the line of imperialist master while conducting nuclear tests in 1998,was sacked in a military coup by General (R) Musharraf. In Nawaz’s sacking his controversial 15th amendment and attacks on judiciary also played a key role as these actions weakened the rule of law and supremacy of constitution in the country and thus giving more room for unconstitutional measures by opportunist forces of martial law.

Musharraf rule proved to be one of the most disastrous periods of Pakistani history. In this tenure Pakistan get involved into a foreign war and this war was later dragged into our cities through some of the most evil policies. This war and Musharraf’s rule converted the diversity of our society into a clash between sects, ethnicity and social classes.

Actions like attack on Supreme Judiciary, abrogation of constitution, illegal abductions, extra judicial killings, military operations including heavy bombings on civilian areas, 12 May 2007 and 9 March 2007 and others really broke the back of Pakistani economy and society. The society after Musharraf is more fragmented and country is facing some of the worst consequences of his actions.
Then another foreign sponsored deal, between forces of martial law and feudal-corporatist political elite, resulted in current NRO government. In return of Musharraf’s safety and continuation of his imperialist slave policies, current ruling alliance was not only given power but all criminal cases were removed in the name of reconciliation. In the mean time, removal of Benazir Bhutto from the scene also helped her cronies and beneficiaries of NRO deal to capture more sympathy votes. Despite a report by UN, Benazir murder case is still not seeing much progress except for cover ups.
Our history saw politics of so called Left and so called Right, so called Red and so called Green and also the so called struggle between forces of dictatorships and so called forces of democracy. The reality is most of these setups were fake and were meant to serve the goals of ruling elite and their foreign masters.
Old games are now again being played by our ruling elite with assistance from foreign masters. Former dictator Musharraf is planning to come back into politics. Pir Pagara has also started his alliance of failed politicians in the name of uniting Muslim League.
PPP and allied parties are still playing their dirty games to strengthen their rule through fear and control politics as a result a commercial hub like Karachi is seeing one of the worst periods of target killings.Institutional corruption, high inflation and a huge government-created energy crisis to pave way for their corruption in Rental Power Projects are putting us into further economic disaster.

Natural resources and assets are on sale for nothing and again our nation is being fooled just for the monetary gains of few.So called opposition comprising of PML-Q and PML-N are busy in playing their hypocritical role. People are still not able to come out of their prejudices and short term greed and so giving strength to this system through “Zindabad” mentality.

Even floods have not changed the situation much. Supreme Court, which has provided some hope after restoration is being sidelined by government and institutions. Lawyers and media which emerged as a new force in national politics are now being divided through money and threats. Government involvement in SCBA elections and threats to media are examples of this approach. Situation in Afghanistan will come with its own dynamics and impacts on Pakistani politics.
Luckily few good things happened in recent times including the revival of civil society, emergence of free and resilient media, and an independent Supreme Court. These are real challenging times for those who love freedom and justice. These include all those who are struggling for rule of law, justice, accountability, freedom and respect for nation, and above all a better Pakistan.  Lot is needed to be done and it seems to be an almost impossible task but lets hope for the best as we are responsible for our actions and decisions not the given conditions and out of control realities.

Links :

What creates this hate?–>Dr Masooda Banu in The News

A sensible article as far as the overall idea is concerned with some real good points raised.

The writer has explained what motivates people to get ready for suicide bombings.

Though in many cases like the killing of Benazir Bhutto or recent attacks on International Islamic University and many others in which the chances of the involvement by CIA,RAW or even Pakistani Security agencies are more and 9/11 is seen as an inside job but still the overall context of the article remains quite valid.
What creates this hate?

Dissenting note

Friday, October 23, 2009
Dr Masooda Bano

The rise in suicide attacks in the past three weeks have left the nation shocked. The GHQ as well as ordinary institutions such as the International Islamic University (IIU) have been attacked. These attacks are making the government commit to starting even heavy military operations in Waziristan. But this increased number of suicide attacks needs to also raise the question why have some Pakistanis come to hate the rest so much that they are willing to take such extreme measures.

In the immediate aftermath of September 11, one dominant outcry in the US was that “Why have they come to hate us so much?” The question was never fully answered as the Bush administration soon moved into a militarist mode finding and attacking targets overseas. However, Pakistan cannot afford such a luxury because it is having to face the consequences of such a militarist approach on its own soil. There is thus the critical need to understand why some Pakistanis could be driven to a level of hatred that can result in making deadly attacks on other ordinary Pakistanis, such as the innocent students of IIU who so unfortunately died in the recent attack.

Those who try to attribute religious indoctrination as the prime basis of these suicide attacks have to provide better evidence to support such simplistic claims. Academic research on suicide missions conducted in either secular or religious contexts does not support the claim that suicide missions are ever driven purely by an ideological impulse. In fact, the basis of such a violent expression are often very political in nature, a religious or secular ideology only help sustain the momentum of the recruits after they have joined the struggle due to a feeling a sense of gross political injustice. To say that the militants in Pakistan are driven by some religious indoctrination where people are taught to hate others is too simplistic a solution. It helps ignore the more complex and demanding question that why are so many Pakistanis is a state of mind where they are willing to gather around the radical rhetoric and give up their own lives as well as taking life of other innocent people.

The answer to this is complex but one factor that could lead people to such extreme hate is the element of revenge. Those who suffer from the unjust excesses of the state end up retaliating in extreme ways because they find that there are no legal mechanisms left to secure justice. Palestinians pitted against Israel have faced that problem for long. I have not been to Swat during the period of military confrontation, nor I have been to Waziristan but I was closely engaged in studying the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza when it was staging the resistance and when it was under siege by the military. The state in this case was definitely an unjust aggressor. There was simply no need for the military operation that resulted in death of at the least 100 students.

The resist was triggered by some legitimate concerns about Pakistani military operations in the tribal belts and other issues such as that of the ‘missing people.’ It started moving in other directions, such as securing public piety, and of course needed to be curtailed. However, it could have been curtailed through a dialogue and through giving some concessions rather than opting for a full military operation. If today some relatives of students who died in those military operations had become recruits for such suicide attacks that are taking place in Pakistan, one won’t be surprised. Such gross level of injustice committed by a state is often not absorbed easily by those harmed by it.

What we have to remember if we want to find a solution to this problem that no one wants to give up his or her life for nothing. The promises of rewards in the other world could be tempting. To give up life in this world for promises of the rewards in the other is too extreme a measure, which is never just a product of search for heavenly rewards. After all, less costly measures, such as Haj, Hifz, fasting, khairat promise generous heavenly rewards too. There have to be actual political factors that are making people go to such extremes. Those who all along asked for making this “US-led war” our war now need to answer that what have we benefited from making it our war. If these are ordinary Pakistanis who are involved in these attacks, then we need to find out why they are doing this so that we are better placed to dissuade this from such actions. Cheering making an ever bigger and deadlier enemy out of them serves no purpose.

The writer is a research fellow at the Oxford University. Email: