To Thatta With A Question: Do We Deserve This?

As soon as the people see a truck (even if it is not a relief truck) they gather around it. At times they loot the truck too.

As soon as the people see a truck (even if it is not a relief truck) they gather around it. At times they loot the truck too.

While our car, and the truck, approached towards the Thatta, one question kept echoing in my mind: do we really deserve to see our country in such an agony? The answer to that was “yes”. Regardless of that it was painful to have this answer — decided by both heart and mind — I wasn’t able to ignore it. It was that that we — me and my friends — were taking the relief goods to distribute amongst the flood-stricken IDP’s who are settled down in Thatta too.

After crossing the Dhabeji, I started witnessing something which, before that, I had been seeing only on the media: the flood ravaged people camping on both sides of the roads waving hands towards the cars passing by. Our destination was Thatta. Stopping in between, as we were advised, was risky. It was solely not the uncompassionate behavior. But then, it was better to dish out with proper management without inviting a big crowd invading and looting the relief goods trucks. If anything, there are local people in disguise of IDP’s as well. It reminds me of what Khaled Hosseini writes in his legendary book The Kite Runner: When you cheat, you steal someone’s right to the fairness.

When Gharo started, we were stopped at the police check post. It was told to us by the policemen that the situation is unwell ahead and that it is being ordered to the police that those trucks traveling without private security should be escorted to Thatta by an armed police mobile. It was quite a bit responsible behavior from the part of our police that pleasantly surprised me. The convoy of 4 trucks was setup by the police which was then led by a police mobile.

Journey was going fine when suddenly a tire of the truck deflated. We were last in the convoy which was led by a police mobile that was seemingly gone far ahead — unapproachable. Unfortunate to have had the incident since 10’s of people, camping on the either side of the road, gathered around the deflated truck. Some were trying to uncover the truck which was covered with canvass. It was near at hand that looting and snatching of relief goods — and maybe of us too — was about to begin, when we saw and heard a Rangers mobile coming towards us — wailing the alluring siren that cautioned the people who were about to explode on the truck. Upon reaching towards us, the Rangers guys hopped out of the mobile quickly. It made majority of people from the crowd dispersed. Some remained standing there who were later removed from there by the Rangers gently.

Despite that I disagree with police, rangers and army on many issues, I would really appreciate them the way they have been coping with the looming IDP crisis. At least I have had experienced their activeness in Thatta and would certainly like to give them a three cheers!

Besides, it is a usual situation wherever the IDP’s are camping that as soon as they see a truck (even if it is not a relief truck), they assemble around it. At times they loot the truck too if it is seen without security. I cannot say they — the IDP’s, or even the poverty-stricken locals, who attacked our truck — were wrong, but all I can say is that we are facing such a catastrophe and uncivil behavior of these people due to our own ignorance by ignoring these people and other relevant problems during many past years until this moment. If only we had justice with equality, we would not have been facing such a cataclysm, yet a high ranking poverty and illiteracy. Chief Justice of Pakistan, are you listening?

It again made me mull over the question I had been asking myself at every moment of the journey: do we really deserve to see our country in such an agony? 63 years are, maybe, not enough to eradicate the poverty and illiteracy and to create a bridge between urbanites and ruralists, but 63 years are still enough to give more people more basic facilities of life. 63 years are still enough to build small dams. If in 63 years we had not straightened out water management of our country to advantage, how many more years do we still require to make it better if not a step further than better?

But all my surprise in regards comes to an end when I recall a short event I encountered in the course of last week of fund raising at Tariq Road, Karachi. A guy, certainly not immature and apparently not a pauper, whom I asked to donate for the flood-stricken people, retorted: “Allah Malik Hai”. Shehzad Roy has said well for these people: “Bus Allah Hi Tera Hafiz Hai.”

With such an outlook, ad nauseam certainly, for the countrymen who are suffering, I will recall the answer of my heart and mind: yes, we deserve all this!

A Straight “No” To Army’s Intervention In Politics

Often I contemplate why we, as civilians, assume that we cannot govern the country? Haven’t we — the “bloody civilians” as the army thinks — recognized our worth in all these 63 years of Independence?

A few days back during a debate with a friend he said to me:

“Civilians like you are worth nothing in the political system of this country”

Now I don’t understand one thing: why underestimating yourself as a civilian? Will we always remain “bloody civilians” in the eyes of uniformed ones?

Army is an institution, not a contractual leadership icon. It is we, the civilians, who are going to make any difference. If not, we will always keep on hanging between the 10 years military rule and couple of years civilian rule — the epitome of Pakistan’s political history. And If the things will keep going on in such a way, we will yet remain confused forever which ideology to follow — military or civilian. Army “may” change things to good for a short period of time, but it won’t and it can’t change things the way we need it for a long-term progression.

PS: I, in any case, am not endorsing the “democracy”. I don’t believe in this “ism” or that “ism”, and which is a different debate. I only intend to say that the “bloody civilians” are worthy of ruling too. Besides, the army’s influence in the politics of Pakistan should be subdued.

Pakistan: An American Occupied Territory?

For sometime I have wondered that General Kayani is the Queen (piece) of Chess. While Gilani may have the power of a King after the 18th amendment, but certainly on the chessboard of Pakistani side politics and maneuvering it is the General Kayani – or by and large the army – that takes a lead in making the wider and crucial steps in deciding the fate of the country.

Around half year back, there was a interesting news on the media. Veteran Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lt-Gen Shahid Aziz revealed in a talk show on one of the private TV channels that the former President Gen. (retd.) Musharraf obliged US without informing corps commanders. He further revealed that he, along with other senior Army officers, opposed to give Pakistan’s Jacobabad airbase to the US.

According to the news report:

Lt-Gen Shahid Aziz said the Pakistani troops were moved from Quetta to Jacobabad for taking control of the local airbase, but, according to him: “we were surprised when our troops informed us that the US Army had not allowed them to enter the Jacobabad airbase.” He said that after sometime, he came to know privately from a PAF officer that the US had also taken over the Pasni airbase and as the CGS, he was not aware of all these developments.

What was done was done. Musharraf was still given a nice and lofty farewell despite of his unwarranted actions like the contracting of Pakistani airbases under the pretext of de facto national interest. Once the national assets – the sensitive ones – were dispensed to the United States, Pakistan became worst than a protectorate state – the manifestation of which has been witnessed by Pakistanis perennially.

Today, somewhat similar news popped in on the media which startled me yet again. The excerpts of the news say that “Health relief operations in Jacobabad are not possible because the airbase in the area is controlled by the US.”

This statement which is yet surprising to an utmost extent has been made by the Health Secretary Khushnood Lashari today during an appearance at the Senate Standing Committee on Health.

According to one of the Senator Semeen Yusuf Siddiqui of PML-Q, it is very unfortunate that Americans can launch a drone attack from Shahbaz airbase but the government is helpless even in using the country’s base for relief operations.” She further said that the health ministry should have requested the army to ask the US to allow relief operation from the base.

Understanding the sensitivity of the situation where the flood has submerged 1/3rd of the Pakistan and still wreaking havoc in the country, I assume that – if the news is true – it makes one of the most egregious news concerning the United States of America. At first place, Pakistan shouldn’t be passing around its airbases or such sensitive assets to any country, yet not on contractual basis under any such sensitive situation. Under the present state of affairs, it appears that the whole Pakistan is under the full order of United States. Therefore, talking about one base [allegedly occupied] virtually looks ridiculous but that is how it is: a Pakistani airbase is apparently incapable of providing relief to the Pakistani flood victims. Here, the reason is ridiculous rather!

How To Produce A Terrorist

How To Produce A Terrorist

How To Produce A Terrorist

The sky roared, the thunderous sound was echoing and then there was a loud explosion heard. The air strike caused a ruckus, there was bloodshed everywhere — with 10’s of fatalities and 100’s of wounded. People were shouting, crying — everyone was sad yet full of wrath. A lot of them lost their brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers, sons, daughters in the air strike. The present was full of grief.

This was a usual routine that sometimes Pakistani fighter planes would turn up and bomb the suspected hideouts of the militants and mostly the US led drone attacks sketch a real picture of another hell on earth. God knows how many militants the air strike killed, but what is apparent is that every air strike or drone attack for the purpose of hunting down the militants had never reduced the number of militants, instead it gave birth to the 100’s of more fighters against the state government and Nato, who show their ire against the state government and Nato because they lost their loved ones for no reason. Some of the peaceful people before the strike becomes terrorist after the air strike or drone attack parce que they lost their loved ones and the moxie for retribution intensifies within. How would you satisfy or pacify the people when “you” go on a killing spree of innocent civilians and make them loose their brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers and other acquaints in the drone attack or airstrike or bomb blast? You killed their beloved ones too, because you never raise the voice against the atrocities and you’re as blamable as the militant’s facilitators and ratifiers.

The ongoing terrorism, I daresay, has always been a bilateral process — and where the chances of peace has been practically deep-six. Subsequently, the battlefront is formed which we see today: you kill our brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, wives, fathers, mothers, husbands and friends etc. — in retaliation we’ll kill yours too. This is a ‘general’ situation, exclusive of the religious hype. This goes on, and we’re majorly loosing innocents day-after-day — the rural innocents in drone attacks and air strikes, the urban innocents in suicide blasts. In a word of one of my American friend: When American army or any army regrets the loss of innocent lives, I ask whose life isn’t innocent? We all are innocent.

Want to know more about how, by and large, the world produces terrorist? One should watch the movie “The Peacemaker”. His only daughter was killed and he went on a rampage to blow the whole city with a nuclear bomb. This is the state of mind of ‘many’ of the suffered ones — furiousness at its peak. Those tagged terrorists of today kill someone else’s loved ones .. and the status quo afloat, under a revision. We ought to find out the root cause of the problems and start rendering the justice to the best we can. Justice is the solution to all problems, and not the war or oppression of any kind.

Innocency Or Hypocrisy?

Of late, I came across the views of many people who don’t like to see or hear even a single word against the dear me dear intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Pakistan Army, simultaneously they’re also endorsing the cause of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and are pretty much browned-off since the verdict has been announced.

In May 2004, the then Interior Minister of Pakistan acknowledged that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was abducted from Karachi by Pakistani security agencies — that automatically held former president General Musharraf accountable for her miseries by the way.

All I’m unable to understand is the tantrum of those people who are ‘never’ ready to hear a single word against ISI or Pakistan Army, despite the fact that their own responses are no less than the oxymoron — supporting Dr. Aafia on one side and on the other hand supporting those as well who’re actually responsible for Dr. Aafia’s miseries.

What should we call it: a hypocrisy or an innocency?

PS: I say, please, at least denounce the bad moves — be it coming from any one.