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Saturday, April 30, 2011

MQM Target Killers' Taped Interrogation; Some Of Them Received Training in India; How Did They Work?

Some important trained MQM terrorists, target killers and operatives were arrested during past few weeks. Their taped interrogation has been posted on youtube. It carries substantial information on the working, training, organization and operations. One of them talks of MQM men's training in India. The other operative talks of how they were assigned "tasks" and how the organization was controlled from London. The interrogation gives an insight into the operations of the MQM terrorist wing.

Interrogation of Ajmal Pehari:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgOs7XTdaNo&feature=related

Interrogation of Shahnawaz aka Shah Rukh
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDdiAEc9CG4


Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyTPWfgneaI&feature=related

Benazir Bhutto – Khoon-e-Raigaan?

Indus Herald comment:

Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of PPP, who served as president and Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1970s was overthrown by the Army and murdered by generals and judges. But at least his blood didn’t go in vain. Like the incident at Karbala, it gave a new life to his party and helped it withstand the most repressive military dictatorship of General Zia and later get electoral successes to form governments twice in Pakistan.

But alas, it could not be said of his daughter, Benazir Bhutto. She had nominated military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, Choudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief, Ijaz Shah (who was also ex-army officer and an operative of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, ISI, a formidable military intelligence agency), along with some others in case anything happened to her.

The government that came into power on a sympathy vote after her tragic assassination led by her husband Asif Ali Zardari, bid farewell to General Musharraf with full military honor and a salute. The government elected and being run in her name, is not pursuing her murder case appropriately and despite clear and repeated orders by a court hearing the case, it is doing nothing to get the former military dictator extradited to the country to face the trial where he faces charges as an accused. A UN probe had also held him responsible.


The government is also not taking any action against Ijaz Shah and now it has entered into an alliance with PML-Q, which PPP leaders earlier had dubbed as Qatil (murderer) league, meaning it was implicated in Benazir Bhutto assassination. As if that was not enough, Ch. Pervaiz Elahi, a man nominated by Benazir Bhutto herself is being appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister. Now would a Deputy Prime Minister allow any investigation against him in a murder case?

Isn’t it true then that Benazir Bhutto’s blood has gone in vain? Khoon-e-Naahaq" gone "Khoon-e-Raigaan? The people who have her blood on their hands are either already in the government or about to join the government while others are living abroad under government security!

(Photos: courtesy internet.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

PPP-PML-Q to Wed Soon – IV: Arch Rivals Agree on Details! Intelligence Chief Ensure the Deal? Finally Faisal Saleh Hayat Shakes Hand With Zardari; Both Parties to Sign a CoD; PML-N’s Counter Moves to End Siege in Punjab

Zardari ensures second term! 

By Aijaz Ahmed

The political landscape of the country is going to be altered soon as the PPP and PML-Q have finally reached a deal with the blessings of the chief of the country’s top spy agency with a Lahore based business tycoon and a top builder of the country being one of the guarantors!

Observers believe that the ‘deal’ will certainly bring political stability in the country, which will ultimately restore the trust of the business and the investors. However, they also believe the deal will make way for change in Punjab’s political landscape as well.

The umpteenth ‘political wonder’ was finalized late Thursday night at presidency where Ch. Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi along with few colleagues had a formal meeting and dinner with President who also happens to be Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
 The new element of the meeting whispered by sources at the Pakistan’s Capital Hill was an inventory list from the Presidency side. Sources are ready to bear all burden of the list that is being revealed and according to them the ISI Chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was the strongest witness and a wheeler-dealer of the agreement.

Details of the agreement are the same, which Indus Herald has already revealed with one minor addition that Ch. Pervaiz Elahi will be appointed deputy prime minister and an amendment to this affect will be made accordingly. The top builder of the country and Chief of Bahria Town, Malik Riaz was guarantor from the Presidency side while Lahore based business tycoon Ch. Siddique was present as a guarantor from Q league side, sources added.
Although, the deal in itself is being considered as yet another political achievement of Mr. Zardari even in the worst political situation, the real achievement he secured in the deal is second Presidential term for him. PML-Q has agreed to support his candidature in the next presidential elections at completion of the current term and the move is fully backed by present military leadership including the ISI chief, sources added.

‘The situation in the country needs continuity at top level, and also a person who understands army point of view beside having a backing from Europe and also from a strong US lobby is suitable’, sources say adding that he (Zardari) is the one who refuses to completely bow down to US demands in the present situation and that has created and strengthened mutual trust between the Pak Army and President Zardari. Army wants him to stay for another five years and thus the demand was made part of the agreement at the last minute, and was ensured to be agreed by ISI Chief, sources claimed.

Some of the points included in the deal indicate the reason why UK had interest in the alliance, and thus the efforts made by them have succeeded, sources also observed.

In the second round of the political parlays and to further discuss some minor details of the deal, Ch Shujaat had another meeting with President after Jumma Prayers at the Presidency and this time Faisal Saleh Hayat, a former PPP stalwart and presently Parliamentary leader of the party in National Assembly replaced Pervaiz Elahi to discuss his own grievances and reservations with the president.

Confirming the meeting, Farhat Ullah Babar, the presidential spokesman observed that ‘current political situation of the country was discussed during the meeting. The meeting was held in the context of over all political reconciliation in the country and realignment of political forces. Such meetings will also take place in the future’, he added.

Giving the actual context of the meeting, the sources and the witnesses of the meeting observed that the peer from Jhang, a remote and less developed district between the central and southern Punjab had reservations against his former party colleague for certain personal and other reasons. Both former colleagues and rivals had a warm handshake and held detailed discussion on his reservations. Both were at ease and in friendly mood when the meeting ended sources observed. Mr. Hayat was assured that PPP would not field Begum Abida Hussain against him as a candidate, while he will not pursue his case on rental power and other energy issues in return, sources confided.

Although, both the parties have agreed to enter in a marriage of convenience they still harbor mutual mistrust and have formed committees to keep a vigilant eye on each other.

The way, PPP handled Nawaz Sharif and put him in the political isolation has made the PML-Q think twice and Choudhris could not have blind trust in Mr. Zardari. Thus they insisted to sign a formal agreement on the pattern of charter of democracy (CoD) said a PML-Q leader. The charter will be signed in front of the national media, he added

As obvious, PML-N feels heat from the new alliance, as its government in Punjab may become a casualty. The besieged PML-N in its bid to end the political isolation has embarked on a new game plan. The PML-N just before the deal is being signed rushed to the nationalist political parties of Sindh having strong rivalries with the PPP. The PML-N delegation led by Zulfiqar Khosa, a Sardar from Dera Ghazi Khan had political deliberations with Mumtaz Bhutto, the famous talented cousin of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The younger Bhutto left Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed alone just few days after ZAB was hanged till death by military dictator Zia.

Ever since, BB was martyred at Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto is trying to become his political and legal heir. He warmly welcomed Punjab’s leadership and assured full support. ‘We will support every political party struggling to make Pakistan stronger and prosperous’, he observed after the meeting.

Political observers are taking PML-N’s move a desperate attempt to teach a strong lesson to former ally and a partner in the Charter of Democracy in its political strong hold and power base, the Sindh province. However, they are not sure that the move will be taken as a wise and a sharp one by Sindhi voters, as they have already discarded Junior Bhutto many times, they believe.

News Byte:

In yet another political move the PML-N has formally demanded for a fresh political mandate in the shape of mid term elections. Confirming what Indus Herald had already revealed, Mian Nawaz Sharif while talking to a TV Anchorperson refreshed his demand. He said President Zardari had called him twice since he underwent heart surgery. He said he told Mr. Zardari that a fresh mandate in the shape of mid term or general national elections was the only way forward to fight the challenges being faced by the country. Mr. Zardari in return was of the view that the government shall complete its tenure, he maintained.

Nawaz Sharif was also skeptical of the role of military establishment and ISI in the national affairs. ‘I know, the government in the office must have powers to take decisions on the important issues. But as of now, major decisions on the matters related to the foreign policy, war on terror and issues like that of Raymond Davis are being taken by the military top brass, and not by the political government’, he added.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

UK’s Interest in PPP-PML-Q Deal! Hectic Political Hob-knobbing in Islamabad; Another Alliance in Offing; Imran Khan’s Dharna & Meetings With Generals

PPP-PML-Q to Wed Soon, III: 

By Aijaz Ahmed

Foreign intervention in Pakistan’s internal affairs means influence exerted by the governments of the United States, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar or the UK for most of the part, and by one or the other means this foreign involvement was and has been quite a regular feature for last several decades, however, any involvement of this sort in the affairs like making political alliances has not been that common.

Formation of the political alliances for or against the government in Pakistan has mostly been a job done either by the politicians themselves when the fruits of change were seen ripe or a job smartly done by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) as it happened when the military establishment went on the other side of the fence against Benazir Government in late eighties.

This is the reason why British involvement to ensure a deal between PPP of Asif Ali Zardari and Q league of Choudhris was taken as a surprise as no one could grasp the UK interest in Q league, when its blue eyed former dictator General Musharraf is in the political arena and has shifted his residence from the posh aristocratic locality of the world’s political Capitol, London to UAE, the growing hub of international interests of cross sections.

The sources in the power corridors have witnessed a leading British diplomat shuttling between the government and the Q league even attending the meetings where the knitty-gritty is being finalized.

The said diplomat was seen present at a meeting of PML-Q stalwarts at one of the farm houses in Shahzad Town, a posh suburban area of beautiful Islamabad. Later the participants gathered at the residence of Owais Leghari, son of former president Farooq Leghari and one of the PMLQ stalwart.

Owais has been one of the staunch opponents of PPP since his father and once PPP follower dissolved second Benazir Government after being elected by his mother party. In addition, he is said to be among those who are not happy with his party’s decision to shake hands with PPP. He however, is said to have been neutralized with an option of his favorite IT ministry and a lucrative office in Punjab, if the deal is struck.

The dinner hosted by young Owais turned into a big political gathering with few faces from PPP and also a sizeable number of the members from the parties sitting with PPP in government. A huge number of diplomats including the US and Britain were among the participants

On the other hand sources at presidency were of the view that two more names are included in the run for next governor Punjab along with Maqsood Leghari, a tribal elder and uncle of Owais. Ch. Wajahat, younger brother of Shujaat is being considered as a candidate for the seat, while Pervaiz Elahi could be nominated on the post for an interim period till safe management of a peaceful political change in the Punjab government.

Presidency sources also witnessed a visit by few PML-Q leaders excluding Ch. Shujaat to the Pakistan’s current Capital Hill, the presidency and an informal central secretariat of PPP. The arrival of Q league team at presidency is said to be part of the deliberations for finalizing points of the agreement to be written and signed by leaders if both parties.

Sources are confident that the deal will be finalized in the current week and will successfully be implemented in next few days. Majority of the PPP leaders except Raza Rabbani are said to be successfully managed by President Zardari. Raza Rabbani has asked his party to relieve him from his ministry as he doesn’t want to leave his current office as a mark of protest, but presidency is quite confident that he will be managed again.

Imran Khan: Agencies' trump card or Taliban's Goebbels?
In addition to the new alliance in the making between PPP and PML-Q, another alliance is believed to be emerging with participation of Jamaat i Islami, JUI, Dharna fame Imran Khan, and other parties having no representation in the parliament.

The alliance is believed to have blessings of our worthy agencies, being part of their visible strategy to topple another elected government at center and all the four provinces, sources confided.

The move is part of a plan to install a technocrats’ government under Imran Khan or any other suitable candidate. The former cricket captain has been accused of holding secret meetings with Generals in the recent past. He is also blamed for staging a dharna at Peshawar on the signals from the powers that be.

Reaction of Imran Khan on the charges was full of contradictions. What price agencies can pay for me, he questions. I am not for sale and they (agencies) are not in position to buy me. But he could not satisfy on blessings from Hameed Gul and the present mindset in the agencies. While terming the allegation regarding his meetings with generals baseless, he had to finally admit that he met only with General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Chief of ISI.

Pakistan Army to Restore Peace in Bahrain, III: Pakistan To Send 20,000 Troops To Saudi Arabia, To Cooperate in Building Saudi Nuclear Deterrence

Strategic Shift in PPP Government and Saudi Arabia Relations Emerges!
 
 By Aijaz Ahmed

Known for suicidal missions, attacks and bombings, Pakistan is believed to have reached a collective sucidal defense understanding with Saudi Arabia ostensibly ‘to secure and guard the holy land from political turmoil that may hit the country with extended influence from neighbouring Bahrain’, sources in the power corridoors have whsipered to Indus Herald in Islamabad.

The specifics of the ‘security arrangement’ are a tightly guarded secret but it is believed that the deal for the security of the oil rich holy kingdom includes sending up to 20,000 troops and recruitment of retired personnel for Saudi defense forces if Riyadh were to face an internal uprising, sources confided. Additionally, the package includes purchase of military hardware from Pakistan and intensified efforts to build Saudi nuclear deterrence for which Saudi Arabia has an infrastructure at Al-Sulayyil, south of Riyadh, a secret underground city with dozens of underground silos for missiles.
Hina Rabbani Khar

Although Junior Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s two day visit to Riyadh was officially described as a trip for “strengthening the existing bonds of friendship and brotherhood”, the visit was in fact meant to convey political leadership’s endorsement of the upgradation of security ties between the two countries to unprecedented levels  - an arrangement that has already been worked out at the military level.

Indeed, Saudis have always had excellent ties with Pakistan’s military top brass command at the GHQ; however, its relations with PPP leadership have never been good since the bad old days of General Zia, with whom they collaborated even after he hanged a leader like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, once darling of Saudi and other Arab Leadership.

Prior to the current spell of spasmodic proximity being espoused so eagerly by the Saudi monarchy, it always treated PPP leaders with great disdain – rather contempt. Not long ago Wikileaks had quoted King Abdullah as having mentioned party’s co-chairman and country’s president Asif Ali Zardari as a ‘rotten head’ and obstruction in the development of the country, says the Pak Foreign Policy Blog while commenting on recent developments between Pakistan’s political leadership in the office and Saudi Royal family over uprising in Bahrain.

Thus, the visit of Ms. Khar was very crucial because it came at a time when new alignments were being made in the view of the heightening cold war and the new great game in the Gulf region between Iran and Arab monarchies with the dividing line drawn in the sands of Bahrain.

Gen. Kayani
Whisperings in Islamabad’s diplomatic circuit speak of unrealistic fears in Riyadh that PPP leadership may not back the deal they had clinched with Gen Kayani & Co, so they backed up their efforts by launching Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the onetime Saudi ambassador to Washington and now the secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council, as the additional pointman on Pakistan, who not only toured Pakistan, but was kind enough to write a follow up letter to Prime Minister Gilani “reiterating desire to further strengthen these relations in all areas of mutual interest.” Pakistan government very proudly flaunted the letter. Earlier, relations with Islamabad were mostly conducted through the intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz.

In addition to Iran, recent problems in Riyadh-Washington relations have compelled Saudis to go expedite renewed alignment with Pakistani civilian leadership, sources in power corridors and the diplomatic circles observed. As President Obama and his administration viewed Saudis with distrust as financiers of the insurgency in Afghanistan, Saudis, according to International Energy Agency, reduced oil production in mid-March at a crucial time despite an earlier promise with Washington to make up for the Libyan oil made unavailable because of NATO opperation against Col Gaddafi’s forces.

Pakistan, cognizant of the fallout at home in the shape of revived sectarian clashes, gambled to dive into the Iran-Arab cold war by siding with the Saudis because its military leadership found it to be in sync with the American strategic calculations for the region.

Washington’s security architecture for the Arab world is believed to be based on the continuation of existing monarchies in the oil rich region. And Pakistan’s strategic thinking is no different, commentes Pak Fpreign Policy Blog. To quote President Zardari: “Pakistan desires peace, security, and stability in Bahrain. Pakistan … would not like its (region`s) stability to be upset in any way. Pakistan believes that it would be dangerous for regional peace and stability if the system was destabilized one way or the other”.

So here lies the convergence of interests between Islamabad and Washington. Where Saudis are out to get military/security benefits from Pakistan, Islamabad is looking to meet its insatiable desire for easy money and cheap fuel to keep itself going and footing the bill for leaders’ shenanigans. It Would also be worth mentioning that the Indus Herald in one of its earlier stories on this subject had disclosed seome developments on revival of Pak-Saudi Defence Cooperation Agreement. The current deal shall be taken as informal revival of the agreement and part of the development, and the agreement may  formally be revived if a legal hitch comes in the way of implementation of the understanding, sources maintained

The deal may ring alarming bells in the Washington, and the reaction from White House and Pentagon would be of considerable. The United States has been uneasily watching Pak-Saudi partnership under the garb of reinvigoration of bilateral ties focussed on curbing the ‘rise of Iran backed political movement for democracy among the Shias of the Arab world through measures ranging from deployment of  up to 20,000 Pakistani regular troops in Saudi Arabia and building of Riyadh’s nuclear deterrence capacity.

The issue was part of deliberations with Pakistan Army during the recently concluded visit of US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen to islamabad, sources revealed; however, they are tight lipped over the outcome of the deliberation on the issue between General Kiyani and Mr. Mullen.

US dilemma is that it wouldn’t like to see Saudi Arabia becoming another nuclear nightmare but at the same time it can’t do much other than turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s support to the Saudi royal family increasingly worried not only about Iran dominating the region, but also fretful about losing power, PFP comments. Remember King Abdullah is so upset about the prospects of threats to the monarchy that he shortened his recuperation rest after two surgeries against doctors’ advice and rushed back home to deal with the crisis.

THE NUCLEAR BOMB:

It may be recalled that it was reported in international press including the Washington Times in October 2003 that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had entered a secret agreement on "nuclear cooperation" providing Saudi Arabia with nuclear weapons technology in return for access to cheap oil for Pakistan.

In March 2006, the German magazine Cicero reported that Saudi Arabia had since 2003 received assistance from Pakistan to acquire nuclear missiles and warheads.

Saudi defector Muhammad Khilewi, once served as Saudi deputy chief of mission at the UN, had also few years back disclosed documents that Riyadh funded Pakistan’s nuclear program on the condition that if Saudi Arabia felt threatened at any time it can benefit from Pakistani arsenal.

And according to a testimony of Israeli intelligence chief before Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Riyadh has been asking Pakistan to provide nuclear war heads for its missiles.

Probably there wouldn’t be a more crucial time than now to ask Pakistan for the promised ‘pay back’.
Saudi defense infrastructure

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Siraiki Province: PML-N Falling Into Zardari’s Trap; To Be Limited To Central Punjab

By: Aziz Narejo
Shahbaz Sharif: insane politics?
In a glaring example of cynical, reactionary and unprincipled politics, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif the other day demanded that Sindh be divided and Karachi be made a province. His statement justifiably created furore in Sindh and the parliamentary parties including PPP, MQM and ANP as well as other politicians and activists swiftly condemned the unimaginative and unscrupulous statement by the PML-N leader.

The PML-N government and Punjabi nationalists seem to be under considerable pressure as the demand for a separate Siraiki province is gathering momentum in southern Punjab but this was most crooked and uncalled for response that could ever come from anyone with even the slightest political wisdom. PML-N leader was obviously trying to get back with the PPP. It may be noted that PM Gilani has suggested the creation of a new province in southern Punjab and PPP manifesto committee is deliberating to make it a part of the PPP manifesto for next elections.

No Sindhi would have any objections if Shahbaz Sharif, other PML-N leaders and Punjabis as a whole turn into nationalists but all the Punjabis and others should understand that Sindh and PPP are not ONE and the same. They are two separate entities. PML-N can’t and shouldn’t get back with the PPP by hurting Sindh. It must agree or disagree with the Siraiki people’s demand for a separate province with the force of arguments and not by playing tit for tat, conspiratorial and ugly politics.

PML-N should also realize that with this kind of politics they will be completely routed out from Sindh and their aspirations to become a “national” party or to form next government will die for ever.

Do they understand that this is exactly what PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari wants the PML-N to do? Are they willingly falling into the trap set by Zardari’s PPP? Do they realize that with this kind of politics, they will forever become a Central Punjab party? Are there any sane elements in PML-N who would rein in Shahbaz Sharif and the likes of him in their party? Guess not. Good luck to them on their journey to doom.

My Sindh: By Najmul Hasan

Author
In the winter of 1947, Dr. Umar bin Mohammad Daudpota, the Director of Public Instructions, Sindh had sent a message instructing my father to reach Shikarpur, Sindh, where he would be posted as a lecturer at C&S Government College.

We had to flee our home in such a hurry that we just had our clothes on but my mother ran back to the house, at the risk of her life, and brought back a (Potli) bundle containing her jewelry, some cash and some important papers including diaries of my father and grandfather. We, (my self, my two elder brothers, and my parents) had traveled by train via Khokhrapar border. At some junction, my father had gone out in the town and bought two ' Lihaf ' and two thin ' Razai ', to ward off the cold air seeping through the windows of our third class compartment. Just before that, a Hindu family had given us a thick Khaddar Chadar to wrap around the children.

We reach Shikarpur:

We arrived in Shikarpur, changing trains at Hyderabad and Kotri. Throughout the way, my mother kept on teasing my father that ultimately he was taking us to his real place-‘Shikarpur’. The joke was that a town with a similar name in UP was known as a ‘Town of Fools’. My father kept on refuting that and saying that ‘this town is one of the most developed towns of Sindh and the very fact that it has a college, several schools including one for girls and two hospitals, it can not belong to fools and does not have any semblance with the Shikarpur of UP’.

Shikarpur. Photo, courtesy Abid Ali Kamboh's blog
We reach Shikarpur around four in the morning. By the time my father went outside the station to find out where we can go, the last 'Taanga' was gone. The stationmaster comes to our rescue and opens the upper class waiting room for us, brings his 'Angeethi' and extra coal to warm up the room. Late in the morning, the attendant will warm up the water in buckets on the same 'angeethi' for all of us to wash up and later have breakfast of tea and 'Papay' (a kind of toast) from the station tea stall.

The stationmaster called a 'Taangaywala' and instructed him to take my father to Arbab Ali Shah who will help us. Father comes back within an hour accompanied by a burly, clean-shaved man with a huge 'Pagri' on his head. My father introduces me and my brothers to him. He talks to us very fondly in chaste Urdu. Later on we will find out that Arbab Ali Shah was an Aligarhian dropout as he ran away to Bombay to become an actor, but with no luck.  

Photo, courtesy 'My Shikarpur' Facebook page
He becomes sympathetic when he finds out that we had no luggage with us. There are two beautifully decorated Taangas outside the station. My father and one of the brothers sit in one with Shah sahib, while my mother, my elder brother and I occupy the other. The tree-lined road is very clean, with neat footpaths on both sides. Just before turning right, on the crossing is Dr. Holland Eye hospital. As we cross the railway phatak, we see a big complex with many buildings on our left. It is the Civil Hospital constructed by a Hindu philanthropist Rao Bahadur Udhawdas Tarachand. On our right is the Government Boys High School and again on the left are the other two buildings of the same high school. Both sides of the road are dotted with beautiful houses and other buildings. Then just before the slope is a Petrol pump, where a jeep is being filled. There are two big glass bottles on top of the pump. Each is a gallon. A guy is moving a handle from right to left to right, filling one gallon at one time and emptying the other in the jeep. Shah sahib seems to be very well respected. Both the pump guy and the jeep driver raise their hands for ‘salaam’.

Rao Bahadur Udhawdas Tarachand Hospital. Photo courtesy 'My Shikarpur' Facebook page
Just down the slope to our right is Jumani Hall, a huge building with lush lawns on both sides of the path. Before the Lakhidar Chowk is a beautiful park. Even in the winter, we can see flowers and manicured hedges. And neat buildings, housing hotels, a cinema and shops surround the roundabout around the Ghanta Ghar.

This is my first introduction to my Shikarpur, which might be a 'town of fools' in UP, but here it is a most developed town brimming with activities, trade and education. I will grow up here, run in the streets, learn to read and write, learn to swim and teach swimming to kids, learn to respect and be respected and learn to love and be loved. I think I am being carried away with emotions. Better come to the point, for which I started writing all this.   

My mother is also awe-struck with the beauty and magnificence of this little town and she is watching all this, holding up her veil, until she realizes there are people all around us and puts it back. Our Taangas come to a stop near a big compound. At the corner is a small mosque and in the center, a tall thick ‘Alam’. This is Shah Sahib's abode. I go inside the house with my mother, where all the ladies of the family live. My brothers stay in the adjoining Autaq (men's living room) with my father. Shah Sahib has come inside the house and is introducing my mother to his wife and other girls, who all seem to be waiting for us. After rapidly instructing his wife in Sindhi, Shah sahib leaves the ladies’ quarters. Shah sahib's wife lovingly hugs my mother, gestures her to take off the burqa and we all walk into a big room. Within minutes, a lady brings a bunch of clothes, two or three pairs of shalwar and qamees, all new. She starts opening the folds and starts measuring those one by one on my mother. My mother starts sobbing at which both ladies try to comfort her but she becomes hysterical. A younger lady jumps and brings in water. It took quite a while for my mother to calm down. She is ushered into a bathroom on the other side of the compound.

Meanwhile, I hear my elder brother calling me from outside. There is Ada Niaz - ‘Niaz Bhai’ - the tailor master, a recent √©migr√©, he is going to sew our clothes on an urgent basis. I am going too much into details. But the purpose is to tell you all, the kind of care those simple Sindhis took of total strangers.  

The next three days, we stayed with Shah sahib. Meanwhile he is taking my father out to introduce him to almost every body in the town. They took him around various houses the Hindus had left behind, ultimately selecting one huge three-storied house for us. Later we will shift to a smaller house but for few years this is our home. Within a week or so, my father and my brothers become part of this volunteer brigade. They know all the vacant houses, so they will take the new comers to the appropriate house, according to the size of the family. Arbab Shah, Wadera Nazir Moghal and a number of others have taken the supervisory position. In the meantime, on my father's suggestion, the so-called committee of elders has selected a huge compound near the Police station with rooms all around. It has been chosen as an interim house. Families of the new arrivals will stay here till they are comfortably settled in some permanent place.

Shams-ul-Ulama, Dr Umar bin Mohammad Daudpoto
After a month or so, my father goes to Karachi to meet Dr. Daudpota, who informs him that because of the budgetary constraints, he will have to wait for his appointment. Dejected and worried, my father returns to Shikarpur, but is soon immersed into bigger problems - helping the never ending influx of refugees and their rehabilitation. Shah sahib asks him about money situation and offers help. My father refuses. By the evening two big bags, full of wheat and rice arrive. My elder brother asks the guys about who sent the bags? They don't know. They have orders to drop the wheat and rice at this house. My father will come to know about the bags' mystery much later. Shah sahib had lamented in the company of some friends that my father has not yet got the job. So one of them, a landlord, sent the produce.

Three more months passed. Just opposite our house lives Himmat Ali Shah. His wife has become a friend of my mother. I will sometimes go with her. The two and many other ladies chatted every day for hours. My mother speaking Urdu and all of them speaking Sindhi. But they understood each other very well. My mother is picking up some words of Sindhi and they are using Urdu. Amazing!

One day my mother asked Himmat Ali Shah's wife, if she knows of any jewelers?  She says yes of course. My mother tells her she wants to sell some bangles. She says you don't have to. How much money you need? My mother refuses and insists on selling the bangles. The next day Mrs. Himmat gives her 350 rupees saying that the bangles were pretty thick and heavy, but you know these jewelers. They will never give the right price. Gold in those days was around sixty rupees a tola (100 grams).

Menu in our house those days used to be Khichri (rice and lentils) for lunch, any daal or vegetables with bread for dinner. Meat, once a week. How much meat my brother used to bring from the market? Half a pound. Aik Pao for all five of us. My mother will mix potatoes, bhindi (okra) Gobhi (Cauliflower) with meat to make it more filling. Once in a while we will have minced meat, but that too with potatoes or peas.

C & S Govt. College, Shikarpur. Photo, courtesy 'My Shikarpur' Facebook page
Three more months. Still no word from Karachi. My father has started visiting the Government College. The principal, Arif Ali Shah Gilani is very sympathetic, but cannot do any thing. In the meantime, there have been many appointments. Ziauddin sahib, Akhtar Raza, Hasnain Kazmi, and many demonstrators. No letter for my father. Gilani sahib suggests my father should go to Karachi and ask Dr. Daudpota. Father is worried. How to go to Karachi? There is no money. He talks to my mother, who says he must go immediately. But how?  How? By train. I will give you the money. Father is flabbergasted. How much you saved in India? Mother just laughs. But rushes to Himmat Ali Shahs'. This time bracelets will bring three hundred rupees by the evening. Mother cries. But no body knows the reason. Only I knew.

Father leaves for Karachi the very next day. Dr. Daudpota says he signed his letter of appointment last month. He asks for the file but there is no copy of the appointment letter in the file. Those were hectic days. Every thing was in a mess. Father returns with the good news, a back dated appointment letter, in his hand.

You must be getting bored with all my details. Let me conclude the story: Two years later, Mrs. Himmat asked my mother: Are you saving any money or ....? No. No, I always save, my mother replied in Sindhi. She can now speak the language haltingly. Why are you asking? Actually, I needed some money. Can you spare some? Yes, yes, of course. All of it. I will be back in a jiffy.

My mother returned and gave Mrs. Himmat 500 rupees. Mrs. Himmat gives her back one hundred rupees. Goes inside and comes out with a silken handkerchief tied neatly. A small ' Potli '. 'Take this. You can give me the 250 rupees later on’.

My mother started crying. For hours. Nobody could stop her.

Najmul Hasan is a print and TV journalist. He did his B.A. from C&S Government College, Shikarpur and M.A. from Karachi University. He started his journalistic career with PPI (Pakistan Press International News Agency) in 1964, joined daily The Sun since it started publication and joined PTV as News Producer in 1973. In 1986, he migrated to USA and did a Pakistani TV show for about 17 years in New York. Now he lives in Toronto-ON, Canada.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Zardari’s PPP & Choudhris’ PML-Q to Wed Soon, II: New Wave of Political Maneuvers in the Country; Ministerial Candidates are Finalized; Only Legharis Pose Obstacles?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: The news of political realignment and the new alliance between the PPP and PML-Q before the forthcoming federal budget is seen as a new set of political maneuvers in the country to keep the present government afloat until the next elections.

Every talk show and news bulletin has given extensive coverage to the new deal being worked out between the two arch rivals. Ch. Shujaat Hussain, chief of PML-Q has himself confirmed that the deal between the two is underway. ‘We are discussing ways and means of a political agreement with the government; however, who will be the minister and which ministries will be given to us is yet to come in the discussion’, he added.

Commenting on the deal underway, Ahsan Iqbal, the spokesman of PML-N observed that ‘any deal is based on two aspects, Asool (Principles) or Hasool (gains). The PML-Q has compulsions because of the corruption case against Moonis Elahi. The PPP may provide them some relief, and thus they are going to join the government’.

Responding to the derogatory comment of the rival Muslim League, Ch Shujaat observed that the case is with the Supreme Court, Zafar Qureshi, former director FIA has submitted his report and the case challan to the apex court and nobody even the PM or the President can intervene now and it is the Supreme Court which has to decide the case on merit now.

Faisal Saleh Hayat, a PMLQ stalwart while responding to a query in this regard maintained that the Q league has been offered power sharing rather than ministries. No final decision on our part has been made as yet, he claimed. Faisal has also confided to few journalists in the federal capital that he was also offered a lucrative ministerial portfolio; however he is undecided as yet.

Contrary to his claims, the party insiders on the condition of anonymity reveal that Besides Ch Pervez Elahi, Ch Wajahat, Riaz Hussain Qureshi and Waseem Sajaad, could be among the lot who are to be sworn in. The oath taking is being planned on April 28th, subject to a final decision, PML-Q sources further confided. Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary General of the party has also to be adjusted, and keeping his background, command on international relations and expertise, he is being tipped as new Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations, sources claimed.

On the other hand, a handful of party parliamentarians are claimed to be opposing the deal, as they will not get anything out of it. Those who are opposing the deal include Nausheen Saeed, and Leghari brothers i.e., Jamal Leghari and Owais Leghari, political and legal heirs of former president Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari.

To appease the Leghari family, and to ensure future scenario, Maqsood Ahmed Khan, a senior Leghari sardar and uncle of both Jamal and Owais is being tipped as new Governor Punjab.

Sardar Maqsood maintained good relations with BB Shaheed even after his brother dissolved her government. He is now leading the Leghari tribe in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Owais has recently won a national assembly seat vacated due to death of his father, Farooq Leghari, a former PPP leader who shortly after being elected as President by party sided with the establishment and dissolved the second BB government under the corruption charges. Raza Hayat Hiraj, a former Patriot of PPP in 2002 assembly is also said to be reluctant in embracing the deal, however, they all are said to have been ‘managed’, except Legharis of Dera Ghazi Khan, sources confided.

On the other hand, President Zardari is also said to be having tough time by his party mates and PPP hawks, having strong sentiments carrying since the days of Zia ul Haq. Ch. Zahoor Elahi, Father of Shujaat was said to be a collaborator in hanging of ZA Bhutto in 1979, and was murdered by a PPP supporter and Al Zulfikar activist Razaq Jharna.

President Zardari himself called Q league as Qatil League when Mohtarma Benazir was martyred on December 27, 2007. Ever since the tragic incident, much water has passed under the Indus bridges, and now the bitter taste between the two new look parties is turned in to sweet taste.

‘I called the party in government Qatil league, and the party was being led by Musharraf. I still consider them qatil league’, said president Zardari while clarifying the situation at recent party CEC meeting at Naudero House on April 04 on the eve of 32nd death anniversary of ZAB. ‘Choudhris are now no more with the establishment, beside they have parted ways with Musharraf’, he opined.
Choudhris of Gujrat have worked with all the military dictators including Ayub Khan, Zia & Musharraf
 To make the new deal acceptable to party leaders, the Choudhris narrated an interesting story to party fellows regarding murder of Ch Zahoor Elahi. In words of Ch. Shujaat, he along with Pervaiz Elahi had a meting with Razaq Jharna the murderer of elder Chaudhry. ‘During the meeting in camp jail Lahore, we asked Jharna whether he is a real murderer or is implicated so as an innocent should not be hanged? Jharna while accepting his crime clearly indicated that he committed the act. He also indicated that the elder Chaudhry was murdered on the verbal orders of Mir Murtaza Bhutto’. Murtaza Bhutto was reportedly leading the terrorist outfit Al-Zulfikar, a claim of establishment, which was time and again refuted by Bhutto family.

Both Zardari and Choudhris clearly stated that PPP, BB or any other party leader had nothing to do with the murder, and Murtaza is no more alive now, they maintained. The clarification has worked, and now PPP leaders seem to have accepted the deal, said a party insider. However, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed, a former Q league leader and chief of Awami Muslim League still believes that “Hunooz Dili Door Ast”. ‘PML-Q may support the government, but accepting ministries will be a difficult political step for the party’, he observed.

On the other hand, sources in the power corridors have confided that the deal between the two parties will not be confined to the center. In second phase, a no confidence motion is being considered against PML-N government in Punjab, where both can secure a simple majority in provincial assembly Punjab.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zardari's PPP & Choudhris' PML-Q (Qatil League?) to Wed Soon!

By Aijaz Ahmed
PML-Q delegation led by Choudhry Shujaat calls on Zardari (file photo from internet)
The Pakistan Peoples Party led government seems to be out of trouble for now in the parliament as the Q faction of Pakistan Muslim League led by arch rivals of Bhutto family, the Choudhries of Gujrat are ready to join the government with some powers, perks and privileges coming the way of former CM Punjab Ch Pervez Elahi, sources in the federal capital reveal.

The sources in the power corridors are quite confident that the deal is finalized, and will be acted upon shortly. The Q league has been offered six to eight ministries with Pervez Elahi as deputy prime minister, sourced confided adding that the later will be sworn in as senior minister.

It is further learnt that the Q league members will take oath of their ministries during the first phase of extension to be done shortly. All details are finalized and deliberations among the Q league ranks have been completed as well.

The PPP-Q League deal is marriage of convenience as government under pressure is forced to take bitter pill half heartedly, said a PPP insider, adding that the core committee, PPP Punjab leadership, party ranks from different divisions of Punjab and the parliamentary party at center have been taken into confidence.

‘The in and out game by MQM and pressure it exerted on the government over different issues forced us to think about offering Q league for joining the government’, he said. ‘It was not a happy decision, but MQM left no option for us except embracing arch rivals like the Choudhries of the Q league which once President termed as qatil league, he maintained. 

‘The way Zulfiqar Mirza had to leave his ministry and the way MQM left federal cabinet on very minor issues was beyond political morality, and inclusion of Q league in the federal cabinet will squeeze MQM demands’, party insider added.

‘The next budget is due within next couple of months and we don’t know what could be the MQM reaction when the time will come to pass the budget and finance bill’, he said and adding that ‘the threats for present democratic dispensation and rumors about setting up of technocrat’s government under Imran Khan was an additional factor’.

The same factor was a cause of concern for PML-Q that made it thinks for joining the government, party sources revealed.

The discussions within the party ranks are completed said a PML-Q leader. He dispelled the impression that Mushahid Hussain and Amir Muqam are opposing the deal. In fact Faisal Saleh Hayat had some concerns and those were confined to his constituency and family.

Catering to the concerns of Faisal Saleh Hayat, President Zardari himself assured him to remove them. In fact he was much concerned about Begum Abida Hussain, his close relative, but staunch political opponent in his hometown Jhang. Abida Hussain will be adjusted in Senate or will be nominated as ambassador to one of the major global capitals, sources said.

The Party was ready to join the government two months ago but the issue of Moonis Elahi becomes hurdle to it, party insider said adding that the only consideration in the party discussion last week was the issue of Moonis. Majority of the leaders were in favor to join the government, but they were of the view that the step will not go well with the workers and the family as long as Moonis is in the jail.

The government had very limited options in this regard as the issue is with the Supreme Court. ‘Peoples Party has made the way for us, it has done what it can in this regard, Zafar Qureshi, the man implicated Moonis in National Insurance Company Scam has been removed and he has nothing to do with case any more’, he said added that ‘we have no reason to remain out of the cabinet any more, and the deal could be implemented any time from now onwards’.

Contrarily, the move has forced MQM to rethink its decision to not rejoin the cabinet, sources said adding that the two ministers may be sworn in again from the party during the next phase of cabinet extension.       

HEC: Story Of Gross Injustices To Smaller Provinces

By Aijaz Ahmed
Islamabad: The country witnessed a high drama in the past few weeks as certain people with vested interests, some pro-establishment media hawks, bureaucrats and few so-called intellectuals created uncalled for hype and misgivings against the government decision to devolve the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan & hand over some of its powers to the provinces according to the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The opposition has cowed down the present government, weak as it is, and it may delay the devolution of a federal agency, which doesn’t have any justification to exist anymore. The education is a provincial subject and all the relevant subjects need to be transferred to the provinces, sooner the better.

Higher Education Commission like all other federal departments and agencies has been widely accused of following policies detrimental to smaller provinces. It is also accused of gross injustices in awarding scholarships and carrying out other projects completely ignoring the smaller provinces.

HEC officials at times have denied any bias against smaller provinces but its decisions tell a different story. A major injustice to smaller provinces has been revealed in the award of the scholarships just last year.

The commission in its sixteenth meeting last year decided to award scholarships for higher education at foreign universities under International Research Support Initiative Program (IRSIP). Out of the total of 61 scholarships, no scholarship was awarded to any university in Balochistan while only one scholarship was awarded to a student from the University of Karachi, Sindh. 36 scholarships went to Punjab, 19 to Islamabad and 5 to Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.

The confirmed scholarships were awarded in the fields of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences (8), Biological & Medical Sciences (5), Physical Sciences (11), Engineering (1), while conditional scholarships were awarded in the fields of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences (11), Biological & Medical Sciences (13), Physical Sciences (3), Engineering (5), and Social Sciences (4)

The confirmed scholarships in Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences were warded to Omar Hafeez Malik (University of agriculture Faisalabad), Hafiz Mahkum Hammad (University of Agriculture Faisalabad), Shahbaz Ahmed (University of Agriculture Faisalabad), Syed Shahid Hussain Shah (University of Agriculture Faisalabad), Amir Raza (NIBGE, Agriculture University Faisalabad), Hamid Mustafa (University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences Lahore, Musarat Shaheen (NIBGE, Agriculture University Faisalabad) and Ghulam Shabir (NIBGE, Agriculture University Faisalabad). Five Scholarships for Biological and Medical Sciences were awarded to Akhtar Rasool (NIBGE, Agriculture University Faisalabad), Arif Mehmood Khan (NIBGE, Agriculture University Faisalabad), Mohammad Asif Ali (University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences Lahore), Muhammad Sajjad (University of Punjab) and Noor-us-Saba Aijaz Butt (University of Punjab, Lahore). Confirmed Scholarships in the field of Physical Sciences were awarded to Fazal Akbar (University of Peshawar), Javed Ali Khan (University of Peshawar), Amir Badshah (Quid e Azam (University Islamabad), Maria Saadia (University of Peshawar), Adnan Ali (The Islamia University of Bahawalpur), Aysha Kausar Malik (Quid e Azam University Islamabad), Azra Yaqub (Quid e Azam University Islamabad), Shehla Parveen (The Islamia University Bahawalpur), Sara Aftab (QUA, Islamabad), Abid Ali (QUA, Islamabad),  Andaleeb Azam (University of Peshawar) and for Engineering only one confirmed scholarship was awarded and that too was to University of Punjab.

According to the HEC record, Conditional Scholarships were awarded to Muhammad Asif Idrees (Lahore), Ghulam Rasool (Faisalabad), Shaista Javaid (Faisalabad), Muhammad Arshad (Faisalabad), Muhammad Yusuf Ali (Faisalabad), Sardar Bacha (faisalabad), shahid Masood Shah (NIBGE, Faisalabad), Muhammad Tahir and Rahim Ullah, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied (PIEPS) and Saeed Ahmed and Muther Mansoor Qaisrani of Quid e Azam University Islamabad. Conditional scholarships for the students of Biological and Medical Sciences were distributed among Saira Ali, Hina Jabeen, Muhammad Shahid, Romana Iftekhar, Muhammad Atif iqbal, and Rakhshinda Sadiq from NIBGE Agriculture University Faisalabad, Naila Safdar, Saad Ullah Khan, Gulab Sher, Umm e Kalsoom, and Bushra Khan from Quid e Azam University Islamabad.

All three conditional scholarships were awarded to Saima Kalsoom, Hanif ur Rehman, and Misbah Mumtaz of Quid e Azam University Islamabad. Five conditional scholarships in the field of engineering were awarded to Asim Shahzad (University of Engineering & Technology, Taxila) Atif Aslam (NIBGE, University of Agriculture Faisalabad) and Ata ur Rehman, Khizar Hayat and Ata ur Rehman Makhdoom of PIEAS.

Four Conditional Scholarships for higher education in social sciences were awarded to Muhammad Nauman Abbasi (Bahauddin Zakria University Multan), Muhammad Islam Shah of Karachi University, Muhammad Anwer, Karachi University, and Khadija Aziz of University of Peshawar.

The HEC record clearly indicates that only five scholarships were given to Peshawar University and no student from Gomal University was awarded such scholarship from KPK. No single scholarship had been awarded to politically alienated and troubled province of Balochistan, while Sindh had been awarded only one scholarship and that was conditional and was awarded to Karachi University. Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan were completely ignored while Seraiki belt of Punjab had also been met with similar treatment as only three scholarships were awarded to politically ignored and socially backward Seraiki belt. Rest was given either to Lahore, Faisalabad or Islamabad while Pothohar region, the nursery for army recruitment was also given two scholarships.

It is to remind that the Parliament through 18th Constitutional Amendment had devolved certain functions of HEC and only a Commission will remain at center under federal list to check standard of education. The decision was challenged at Supreme Court, which till the new legislation asked HEC to continue working. Meanwhile the HEC bosses while taking advantage of situation indulged in the propaganda and the Chairman Javaid Laghari himself claimed that the government’s decision has resulted in stoppage of heavy US Aid funding to HEC for its projects in different fields, but the claim was refuted and rejected immediately by US Embassy in Islamabad.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Notes From My Memory, Part VII, By Mir Thebo: Rasool Bux Palijo, a Politician, a Tactician & a Writer

Author
In early 1960s, Rasool Bux Palijo and I were neighbors in Rosy Corner flats in Hyderabad. Those were very dirty pigeon hole flats in Tando Wali Mohammad area. Palijo lived on 2nd floor while I lived on the 1st. floor. Occasionally I went to his flat. He had no furniture and no proper bed in the flat. Palijo hated cleanliness. One could rather say that he hated regular life therefore he didn’t like well-dressed petty bourgeoisie people. He never cared about food. Shoes would be lying over the floor. He had good collection of books but they would be scattered all over the place. He didn’t like to live there so most of the time he remained outside.

By profession, he was a lawyer, a mediocre advocate at that because he was not interested in practicing law, although he was intelligent and had a logical mind. He had a small office in the Circular Building, which didn’t look like a professional lawyer’s office. He didn’t care much about these things. He was a good reader though. He read non-fiction, fiction and poetry books. He loved Shah's poetry. He was also an admirer of Shaikh Ayaz’s poetry. In later period, he disowned Shaikh Ayaz and his followers glorified Ustad Bukhari more than Ayaz but they were friends during 1960s. Ayaz also liked Palijo.
Rasool Bux Palijo with Shaikh Ayaz

Palijo also read Urdu, Russian, Chinese, English and Arabic literature. He had good knowledge of history and international situation. He also had a good knowledge of the history of Sindh. He was great at appreciating someone. He will make you fly higher and higher until you reach the top of the world. He would say things that will make you wonder if you really possessed such ‘qualities’ as mentioned by Palijo. But if you disagreed with him, he will throw you in the dust mercilessly so much so that he will not allow you even to protest. He is a witty person with good sense of humor. He has good hospitality. He will serve you meals and every thing including drinks, etc. I have few chances to drink with him along with other friends. I never observed him out of control but he is careful not to drink too much with casual visitors.

Palijo was a Marxist at that time. I don’t know if he still is or has changed as many of us old Marxists have said goodbye to our once favorite ideology of Marxism. During my last meeting with him at his residence in Naseem Nagar in 2005, he came across as neither a Marxist nor a Maoist. He didn’t mention either of them in his analysis. He sounded like a populist Sindhi nationalist political leader.

Palijo with NAP chief Khan Abdul Wali Khan & peasant leader Fazil Rahu
Palijo is considered to be a great tactician but sometimes he is caught in his own tactics and faces failure. Many times he has stumbled and fallen down but he has good stamina to rise up again and start a fresh. He is very swift in changing tactics and at that moment he never cares about the principles. Any way lets talk of his life of the earlier period of 1960s. As a politician, you will see his glimpses many times in my memoir.

In 1960s, Palijo was General Secretary, National Awami Party (NAP), Hyderabad City. NAP at that time was the open united front of the CPP headed by Khan Abdul Wali Khan. At that time Palijo looked more a man of literature than a politician. He had friendship with writers and poets like Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo, Shaikh Ayaz, Tanvir Abbasi, Rashid Bhatti, Ibn-e-Hayat Panhwar and Shamsher ul Haidri. Palijo also had good relations with G. M. Syed. He was an admirer of Syed and Syed also liked him. I really don’t know what compelled Palijo to jump into the hot waters of politics. Basically he was a man of literature and loved to live more blissful life with never ending passions.
Great scholar, Ghulam Mohammad Girami
In that period, there was a big controversy between progressive writers and the conservative group headed by Sardar Ali Shah from daily Mehran newspaper. Conservative group’s main target was Shaikh Ayaz. The group was also critical of other progressive writers; some of them were working with Sindhi Adabi Board. Ghulam Mohammad Grami wrote a brilliant article in quarterly Mehran 'Mashrqi Shairi, sandas fani qadur ain un ja rujhanat' (Eastern poetry, its artistic values and its trends). Palijo wrote a masterpiece ‘andha undha wej'.

After 4th March, 1967, Palijo foresaw the rising tide of nationalism in Sindh and realized that the Communist Party was unable to coop with a Sindhi national movement so he distanced himself from the party and became an outspoken nationalist leader with socialist ideas. His friendship with the party finally ended after an unfortunate incident at a NAP Sindh meeting presided over by veteran leader Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi. A renowned advocate Hafiz Qureshi was also in the meeting. Qasim Pathar was with Palijo. Qasim was a member of the party (CP). He later became important figure in Palijo’s party with Mao's thoughts. Then he was with GM Syed. Syed liked Qasim very much. Qasim was a long time friend of mine. Irrespective of his party positions and affiliations, we remained friends till he breathed his last.

Qasim Pathar was also with Palijo at our Indus Hotel meeting when he and his friends disrupted our function. I asked Qasim: ‘why you people are sabotaging our function’? He replied in a sadistic way: ‘don’t you know what happened in NAP meeting with Palijo? It is tit for tat.’ In the NAP meeting on some resolution on national question, Palijo challenged the Urdu-speaking leadership of the party and made some insulting remarks for them. When Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi tried to calm down Palijo, he didn’t even spare the much-respected veteran leader and uttered some derogatory remarks for him. At that moment one worker from GTS (Govt. Transport Workers Union) picked up a chair to hit Palijo but Dr Aizaz Nazir stood in between them and stopped the angry worker from hitting Palijo. Palijo always used to call Dr Aizaz in hatred Dr Shombe because of his dark complexion (leftists used to hate Shombe as after the death of one of Africa's reputed nationalist leader of Congo, Americans had put him in the power as a puppet).
Veteran leader Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi

After that incident, Palijo became staunch enemy of the party. He in a short time organized some young enthusiastic nationalists like Masood Noorani, Yousuf Talpur, Iqbal Tareen and some others and brought them to our convention in the Indus Hotel. They one after the other forcibly snatched the mike and with rhetoric tried to exploit the national feelings of students from rural Sindh. Their main contention was: ‘why didn’t you guys invite us to participate in this function? Are we not Sindhis? Are we not progressives? You didn’t invite us because your ‘panahgir’ (refugees) leadership didn’t like us', bla, bla, ... From our side Jam Saqi who was elected president of SNSF, Mehar Hussain Shah who was elected VP, me elected as General Secretary, Shah Mohammad Shah Joint Secretary and Ahmed Khan Jamali who became president in 3rd convention of SNSF tried to control the damage done by them. After the convention we held a party meeting where student cadre put forward a proposal to hold another convention but the party took the position to announce the panel and not to hold another convention so we announced the panel in the press conference. This was the first progressive students organization on Sindh basis.

Ideological enemies together in central prison Hyderabad and celebrating Syed's birthday in jail:

At that time, Ayub khan always put the political opponents behind the bars in Defense of Pakistan Rule (DPR). All dictators of the world are the same. They love to imprison, kill and torture opponents. Midnight knock at the door always gives shock to the political activists. I was in sound sleep when the knock at the door awakened me. It is strange that knock at the door in late hours of the night always creates some kind of unknown fear inside you. When I opened the door, I saw police and a police officer said you are under arrest under DPR. They took me to the Hyderabad Central Prison. There I saw other comrades also. Jam Saqi, Mehar Hussain Shah, Hidayat Hussain and Nadim Akhter were among them. The next day they brought Rasool Bux Palijo, Yousuf Talpur, Masood Noorani, Iqbal Tareen and Ghulam Mohammad Sario.

There was also a host political prisoner, the prisoner who was already there. He played the role of host, offered you something to eat and tea and told you the rules and regulation of the prison. That was comrade Ghulam Mohammad Laghari, the famous hari (peasant) leader of Sindh. He was in the jail for a long time. He welcomed us. He actually became very happy to see us. It is ironic to see other friends in prison and be happy. All political prisoners feel happy when they see other fellow political prisoners in jail. Comrade Laghari was alone in prison. He was khadar posh, tall, strong man with strong built but the longer term in jail had made him little bit sad.
Great peasant leader Comrade Ghulam Mohammad Laghari, who spent large part of his life in jail. In the photo, he is holding his son, Mansoor Hussain Laghari
There we celebrated the birth anniversary of G. M. Syed. Rasool Bux Palijo and others made very impressive speeches. Please read the details in the next installment. 

Note: all the photos are taken from internet.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bahrain Puts Pakistan on Front Burner: II; Pakistan Army Contingent Secretly Moved To Bahrain to ‘Restore Peace’ & Protect Bahraini, Saudi & US interests

By Aijaz Ahmed
Although Pakistan has agreed to provide complete support for peace and security of Bahrain where political turmoil continues unabated, the decision might make it pay heavy price in terms of its good neighborly relations with Iran.

“Pakistan has stood and will stand with Saudi Arabia in the interest of peace. Pakistan understands and supports the Saudi stance in the Gulf and Middle East,” Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani told visiting Saudi National Security Council Secretary General Prince Bander Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud who recently concluded his visit to Islamabad.

While peace is being maintained to some extent in the troubled area of Bahrain, the fate of civilian Pakistanis is endangered and unclear. Almost 5000 Pakistanis are forced to live in camps set up by security officials for victims of the bloody clashes between the demonstrators and security forces.

Local residents completely disgrace Pakistanis, many of them were attacked and injured, while some of them are also killed, confirms FO officials. The reason behind their venom is very simple. The first fire opened on the demonstrators, which resulted in the killing of a local demonstrator, was by the gun of a Pakistani soldier employed in Bahrain Police.

It is to remind that almost 65,000 Pakistanis are living in Bahrain and a significant number of them are employed in security forces and police and are responsible for providing security to the knig, royal family their properties, government officials and the official installations.

No Pakistani whether Sunny or Shia will be allowed to live in the mainstream localities and settlements, announced the leaders of the local demonstrators agitating for democracy. Although majority of them are Shia, they have developed very strong sentiments against Pakistan despite the fact that the movement is reportedly being supported by Iran.
Bahrain protest
The point where Iran entangles with Saudi Arabia is matter of concern for Pakistan in the situation specially for present lot of political leadership, sources in the FO observe. Nawaz Sharif being the personal friend of royal family of holly kingdom and the King himself can not defy the wish of the King Abdullah who fears his own very survival because of this situation, they added.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s reaction to the situation is understandable as the party has had sour relations with the kingdom since the ZA Bhutto was hanged. It is understood that Bhutto family believed that Saudis did not play their due role to save the life of a leader like Bhutto. The sentiment got more stronger among the party cadre and leadership when Nawaz Sharif got a safe passage due to Saudi intervention in 2000.

Saudis during the course of the passing years did not try to remove this misunderstanding, rathe their inclination remained very focused and clear in building strategic relations with Zia, the Pakistan Army and then with Sharif family and another dictator General Musharaf.

PPP, which was being led by a lady of Iranian origin (Begum Nusrat Bhutto) at that time, built good and strong relations with Iran. However, the present government’s dilemma is the strategic interest that has been built in a particular way during the military regime of Zia, subsequent half baked democratic dispensations of BB and Nawaz Sharif and then by General Musharraf.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have strategic relationship in many fields. The kingdom is center of Muslim belief, the King is Khadim e Haqrmain Shareefain, Pakistan owe Saudi support in number of areas particularly in view of the support for Pakistan’s nuclear program. Additionally Saudi Arab has special nexus with United States, the FO sources maintain.  

Besides Saudi Arabia, Bahrain has been for long time a US stooge in the Gulf region and has been the gracious host for its Fifth Fleet from where US forces keep an eye on oil shipping lines and more importantly Iran, sources add further.

The Fifth Fleet, comprising 30 ships and 2 aircraft carriers, has an operational area covering the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the east coast of Africa. Some 4000 American military personnel live in Bahrain.
US 5th fleet in Bahrain
Bahrain has also been provided with latest military equipment including fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, and battle tanks (some of which were used to confront demonstrators), they added

US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen last month visited the oil rich kingdom to reaffirm the American support of the King and his visit was followed by President Obama’s statement in favor of the monarchy.

It is very much evident that when our leaders are talking of importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region in the context of uprising in Bahrain, they are actually referring to securing critical US interests, which otherwise would be seriously threatened in case monarchy is overthrown and Shia majority comes into power, claims an analyst, Baqir Sajjad, at Pak Foreign Policy Blog.

The Saudi prince, towards the end of the meeting, indicated to the prime minister that Riyadh was ready to pay any price to Pakistan for its help in aiding Riyadh deliver its commitment with Washington for protecting US interests in the region.

In response, Pakistan has started providing critical support to guard strategic interests in Bahrain sources claimed and added that a Pak Army contingent is secretly moved to Bahrain, which can provide its services to GCC shield force if required.

In addition, almost 2000 former military personals and fresh but strong built youngsters are hired and will be sent to Bahrain shortly, sources confided. A camp for this purpose was established at a five star hotel of Lahore. The selected persons are being provided a short term but advance training on modern lines so as they can be sent shortly to Manama, Bahrain.

The prime objective of the fresh recruitment was to strengthen security of troubled hit small kingdom of Bahrain, besides they will look after and rehabilitate the displaced Pakistanis, sources maintained.