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The choice is not, one or the other, but the choice is to explore a combination of both, using good cop – bad cop approach, try to head into a ceasefire talks but use strategic & timed military force to drag the militants back onto the peace table
Truly the bleeding hearts of every Pakistan screams, to beat the hell out of these murdering terrorists, but for the sake of Pakistan, and as, educated Pakistanis we must avoid being lead into a mindless war without exhausting avenues and all non-military options, for the fear of loosing our country further.
I share a paper published by London School of Economics and Political Science titled Ten Lessons for Conflict Resolution from Northern Ireland by Jonathan Powell is a great paper to read it sheds light on the lessons that can be extracted from the Northern Ireland conflict. Jonathan Powell was the principal negotiator on Northern Ireland and was instrumental in bringing about a lasting peace in that troubled province after centuries of conflict this
I accede even prior to quoting this paper in context of Pakistan there is no way to convinceably argue that the conflict in Pakistan is similar to the Northern Ireland, but it is equally wrong to suggest that there are no lessons to be learned, from the mistakes the British made and from the successes they achieved. These lessons can be applied elsewhere, with care, by people like us in Pakistan to learn and seek a lasting settlements to this armed conflict.
The 10 Lessons from Northern Ireland are summarised from the paper with my own personal anecdotes (in green) as to how this could translate to us here in Pakistan – the original paper can be read online directly from the LSE website (PDF Download)
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
There are no examples anywhere in the world of terrorist problems being ‘policed out’. There is a definite political problem at the root of most conflicts and hence there has to be a political solution.
That is not to say that security measures have no place. On the contrary, they are essential. Without security pressure downwards, insurgents will find life comfortable and have no incentive to make the tough decisions necessary for peace. But security pressure by itself without offering a political way out will simply cause the insurgents to fight to the last man and you cannot believe to totally wipe them out
Some point to the Sri Lanka conflict as proof that there can be a purely military solution to an insurgency. It is true that Prabrakhan, the leader of the Tamil Tigers, appears to have been insane enough to believe he could win a conventional military campaign against the Sri Lankan armed forces. He was proved wrong. But it is a mistake, unfortunately, to believe that this conventional military victory will be the end of the story Unless the underlying Tamil grievances are addressed politically it is probable that the terrorist campaign will start all over again and such a campaign will be impossible to resolve by purely military means.
We must realize that the Talibans are also fighting a political battle, holistically two major demands have come forward, they want to stop foreign involvement in the day-to-day affairs of Pakistan i.e in regards to the US which is waging the War on Terror against them, and the other main political goal is to enforce Islamic Sharia state in Pakistan
The first of their main political goals “the presence of a vested foreign agenda in Pakistan“, should be easy to handle. The other issue being the “enforcement of an Islamic State” is mostly an ideological struggle and can be put on the table to see if you we could “try” to negotiate down (its best to try and fail, than to have not tried at all)
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
Unless the British could get the IRA to stop they would not be able to bring peace to Northern Ireland. There is however a Catch 22 to this need to talk which leads governments to do it in secret, as the British government did from 1973 to 1993. Democratic governments cannot be seen to be talking to terrorist groups while they are killing their people; but terrorist groups will not give up fighting unless the governments can convince them there is a political way forward to achieve their aims
Governments are sometimes accused of appeasement for talking to insurgent groups. That is to misunderstand the nature of appeasement. Chamberlain’s mistake at Munich was not in talking to Hitler. That was a sensible thing to do. It was to believe that by offering Hitler a slice of Czechoslovakia he could buy him off. Accepting the terrorist demands under the threat of violence would be appeasement.
But talking to terrorists is not the same as agreeing with them. The British talked to the Republican movement but they never offered them the united Ireland that they had been seeking by force. On the contrary the British persuaded them to accept the principle of consent whereby the status of Northern Ireland could only be changed by the will of the majority.
Let there be no doubt that Taliban are viscous militants – but both the Talibans and the Govt it seems to be engaging in a media warfare issuing bold & bolder media statements against each other. It is then that a bleeding nation is left at the mercy of media pundits to spin their own interpretations and connotations to appease their viewers and TV ratings. This media battle needs to stop, both sides pulled into some face-to-face dialogues and a solution reached (onus is on our govt to drag these militants into some discussion).
It is also time to politically divide and split the various Taliban groups, exploit their internal differences and weaken them politically from within. With 50+ alleged factions, each group has a different leader and possibly motivated by a slightly different agenda / goal. Even Talibans have ego’s and internal political rifts its time we put one against the other. Had there been unity in command and no political undercurrents we would have seen one or two groups but not 50 and each with 50 different leaders running their own war against their self proclaimed enemy – time we deliberately create the rift, exploit and weaken them on their own turf. Time we regain trust of the Tribal elders and isolate the civilians population from the 5-6000K militants embedded within. Work the sidelines politically with the saner elements and you will weaken the foundations of the Talibans
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
Insurgent groups need a narrative to explain to their supporters what they have achieved and why all the sacrifice was worthwhile. If an agreement looks like abject surrender they will reject it. For that reason it is a mistake to insist on preconditions before beginning talks. Democratic governments find it very hard to be seen to talk to insurgent groups until there is a ceasefire. But to demand additional pre-conditions before talks can start is usually a mistake
This is true in terms of Pakistan, TTP & the Govt of Pakistan both argue each other to do a ceasefire before opening up peace talks, this can go on forever, or alternatively some visible confidence building measures or even military bullying be used to start the process, drag them onto the table and explore the mutual ceasefire
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
If either side thinks it can win, it will not negotiate seriously but instead seek tactical advantage from the negotiation. In Northern Ireland the British army was clear by the early 1980s that it could contain violence at ‘an acceptable level’ indefinitely but it could not win an outright victory.
They therefore understood the need to seek a political settlement. On the other side, Adams and McGuinness had joined the Republican movement very young, but by the mid 1980s they were well past fighting age. The IRA had tried the short sharp shock, the long campaign, the mainland campaign, and the armalite in one hand and the ballot box in the other, but none of them had driven the Brits out.
They knew the IRA could never be defeated but they also realised they could not achieve their objectives by purely military means. So they too started casting around for a political solution first by talking to John Hume and the Irish government and later by seeking entry to the all-party talks process.
A a very valid argument being put up by many Pro-War critics – How can be negotiate from a position of weakness?, agreed, but to only focus on a military action without a strategy to achieve peace talks is bound to fail. The Prime Minister of Pakistan needs to clearly layout a strategic military plan, but with the threat and condition that it is geared towards bringing them on the negotiation table.
On 20th Jan an interview of various TTP factions by Hassan Abdullah of Dawn says that TTP do want peace, on the condition that government should be sincere, do you ignore this olive branch? even if it may have been laced with “their offer from a position of strength” I say even then yes – test the waters and explore how far they are willing to go. This seems to be a conditional offer, their demand that the govt of Pakistan to be sincere in negotiations, meaning without a US/NATO vested agenda, truly, is that demand to difficult to achieve? For the sake of Peace in Pakistan, I hope not
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
In Northern Ireland Adams and McGuinness risked not just their political careers but their lives in leading their movement into a peace the movement would not have accepted at the beginning of the process; David Trimble and John Hume both sacrificed their political parties and their careers in order to achieve peace; Ian Paisley, having contributed to the start of the Troubles, decided after a close encounter with his maker in 2004 that he wanted to end his life as Dr Yes rather than Dr No; John Major stood to gain nothing politically from starting a peace process in Northern Ireland and yet decided to do so; and the fact that the British and Irish Prime Ministers, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, were willing and able to work seamlessly together for a decade made peace possible.
Without political leaders prepared to take risks there will be no peace. More than that there needs to be political momentum to achieve peace. Tony Blair deliberately used the magnitude of his landslide election victory in 1997 to jump-start the process
With multiple TTP factions – issue a call to all 50+ groups, you really do not want to end up talking to all 50 groups simultaneously but force them to unify in command (if possible) selecting a few reps to come forth and represent & voice their demands, some will come forth, they will talk, they may or may not agree on the various terms & conditions and may end up walking back calling these talks a farce or a failure, but it is also possible some demands may appeal to a few, they may possibly squabble – this could create more differences amongst them and a struggle for power – exploit their differences to the point of weakness – keep doing this exercise repeatedly without fail.
On our side the government has been in power for over 8 months, an APC held 140 days back empowering the govt to hold peace talks, but nothing has happened, neither any substantial attempt to open dialogue or even a counter military strategy, it is the Federal govt which has the mandate and power to hold talks and without leadership, nothing will transpire. The media wolves use the PML “inaction” to hit out on Imran Khan and PTI which continues to lobby hard for ceasefire talks, but PTI does not have the power to negotiate.
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
With a process there is cause for hope and parties are kept busy. Without a process a vacuum opens up and is rapidly filled by violence. If nothing else a process allows you to manage the problem even if you cannot solve it. In the Middle East the outlines of an eventual settlement are pretty clear in terms of land and of refugees and even of what should happen to Jerusalem. But there is no process. Shimon Peres summed up the problem neatly, saying, “the good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel. The bad news is there is no tunnel”
Once you have the process up and running you must not let it stall. This can be called as “The Bicycle Theory”. Once the bicycle is up and moving do not let it fall over. If you do, you will find it incredibly difficult to pick it up again. Keeping it moving however requires ingenuity, coming up with a new way forward every time you meet a blockage, an ability to absorb political pain, and most of all a refusal to take no for an answer.
Giving up after one try, is akin to giving up on Pakistan, we need to keep pushing the envelop and keep dragging these militants to a point of a ceasefire. If we give up, its akin to giving up on Pakistan – try, try and keep trying
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
The British government had long refused to countenance any international role in Northern Ireland, just as other governments around the world refuse to allow external actors to play a role in their conflicts.The British government however changed its mind in the early 1990s by inviting Ninian Stephen, an Australian to chair the talks. Later they invited George Mitchell to play the role of referee, a role he fulfilled with remarkable patience and balance.
Third parties can also be crucial in guaranteeing independence. The IRA found it far easier to put their weapons beyond use through an international commission on decommissioning chaired by a Canadian General than they would have done handing them over to the Brits or the Unionists
Its possible to engage in third parties, who we both can trust, let both parties reach a consensus on who, or which country, can be good neutral mediator
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
When the peace agreements were announced there was a burst of enthusiasm on both sides. But neither side did anything to implement the agreements or even to sell them effectively, and disillusion soon set in and the process collapsed into another Intifada.
It is exactly when the breakthrough agreement is announced that efforts should be redoubled rather than both sides collapsing in exhaustion and doing nothing.
Achieving peace is a long and winding road, if we are sincere to the welfare of Pakistan, we need to tread this path repeatedly again and again and not be faltered by failure or vested interests to destabilise Pakistan be it from any country around the world be it US of A, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Russian, China or India (and many others)
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
If one side comes out of the negotiation looking cheerful then the other side feels that it has lost, regardless of the substance. The most bizarre example of this was the 1994 ceasefire. When the ceasefire was announced it was the Republicans driving around town honking their horns and waving their flags and the Unionists who were sunk in gloom, even though the ceasefire was exactly what the Unionists had been demanding for decades.
This zero-sum game dogged them right through the negotiations and they only finally got to a settlement when the Republicans realised they had to think about the constituency on the other side as well as their own and participate in selling the agreement to that other constituency.
Agreements will only stick if both sides come out of the negotiations feeling like winners, rather than feeling they have been forced to give in.
Achieve a sense of agreement that both sides can convince their people that it is the best possible solution, no one needs to be declared victorious, only PEACE is the zero-sum game for Pakistan
LESSONS FROM NORTHERN IRELAND:
Successive British prime ministers from Churchill, to Wilson, to Thatcher believed that Northern Ireland was insoluble. A series of previous attempts from Sunningdale in 1973 to the Anglo- Irish Agreement in 1985 to the Downing Street Declaration in 1994 had all failed. But all of those attempts at peace were not in vain. The eventual success was built on those failures.It required the parties to exhaust all the other alternative options and for the cycle of blood to go through a full revolution before both sides were prepared to make the painful concessions that were required for a lasting peace.
In the right conditions, with patience and political leadership the Northern Ireland conflict was solved. And so can all other armed conflicts if the same effort is applied at the right time.
For the sake of Pakistan – we need peace, blind military action is bound to create more enemies then we already have
Let there be no confusion that I’m NOT defending TTP or asking to go soft on TTP or any militant organization – I unequivocally condemn their actions – but we simply need to reclaim the Peace in Pakistan – it has to be a combination of Good cop – Bad Cop approach, meaning Peace talks combined with threatening use of strategic force, no matter how we do it – Peace is what every Pakistani wants
If Pakistan Army does go into a military campaign – it should be fully supported by the political & public mandate. Innocents will be killed & displaced on both sides of the conflict – the political govt needs to prepare for their rehabilitation & compensation before hand. The military should only have the mandate to deliver a strategic, timed and targeted operation, enough to weaken the enemy and drag them back to the negotiation table, to assume that TTP will be totally eradicated is a fallacy, they must be ideologically defeated and a ceasefire reached for the sake of Pakistan.
While all this happens the Afghan border must be sealed and all international interference & funding sources needs to be shut down. Our cities need intense protection, as the Taliban supporters, when seeing the rampage happening in FATA will be motivated to seek revenge, and the fallout could be intense and debilitating for the people of Pakistan. This police operation in our cities need to also cleanse out the multitude of urban militant gangs & any international agencies waging a war against Pakistan
The political & public message, should be a humble call “we want peace and the doors for negotiation table will always be open“, do not be seen to be gloating vengeance filled satisfaction, as it will only motivate a more severe reaction, our goal is for peace in Pakistan.]]>
[UPDATED 6th March 2014]
PTI remains focused on bringing a positive change in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and these progress notes will continue to be updated highlighting the efforts being made throughout the province
Reproduced from Ali Zaidi’s Facebook Page
While I was in my teens, my father took the onus and ensured that I grow up to be a man of religious & social values. Beyond that, it was my own choice to lead my life the way I preferred. The most important value was to respect a private conversation between individuals, and not flaunt it around, just because you don’t agree with the their views. Unfortunately for Mr. Shafi, he either lost those values down the road, or has a personal agenda/vested interest to malign everything and anything Imran Khan has to say, or is to do.
Mr. Shafi has made public, what was supposed to be an SMS conversation between him & Imran Khan. Not to forget, a private conversation. If this was supposed to be public, Imran would have made a live call on TV to express his views. What Mr. Shafi has utterly failed to understand here is that, it is he who should be insulted as Imran clearly called him a “Westoxified”brown sahib. On being shamed by Imran, Shafi goes on rambling like a typical Desi Saas (Mother in law) to her fellow com padres.
Moving on to the content of Mr. Shafi’s letter, the absurdity of his claims begin, when he objects to the time taken (My God, a whole week) by the KPK government to visit Aitzaz Hasan’s family. He mentions that it took Khattak and Co an entire week!! Hello Mr. Shafi, wakie wakie, imagine Imran’s temerity to take an entire week for the aid of a martyr’s family. Did you ever question the previous democratically elected official of his stand against WOT, in FIVE bloody years!!?? Have you had the courage to question the current PM of his role towards this WOT!!?? You have not! The most important thing to note here is that never in the history of Pakistan, has any leader dared to comment so candidly about his/her party’s led government in public. Instead of appreciating the feat, Mr. Shafi possibly out of shear hatred and/or otherwise, decided to ignore it and criticize it based on the date(s).
The next complaint/issue he highlights is that Imran Khan has never criticized banned outfits by their name. This is factually wrong!!! It seems as if Mr. Shafi’s “Westoxified” mindset prevents him from understanding Urdu as well. I would not get into the details of when and where Imran Khan has categorically denounced terrorism and out rightly condemned the banned organizations by naming them, but just for reference, I would like Mr. Shafi to please do watch the video clip viral on social media these days where Khan sb has vociferously condemned the terror acts carried out by TTP, LEJ etc by “NAMING” them. Mr. Shafi’s stern ignorance comes because his time is focused towards watching Fashion TV. Only a man living in lala land would come up with such buffoonery as he has, with his concocted claims.
Let me add here that since the clips are in Urdu, Mr. Shafi might need an interpreter while watching it so that he refrains from stating an incorrect fact next time. Mr. Shafi goes on to claim that the issue of terrorism dates back to 1994. Well, May I ask him how many suicide attacks took place between 1994-2004 (when we launched the first military offensive against TTP).
Mr. Shafi very naively suggests that military ops have yielded more terror outfits because they were not conducted properly just like the operations conducted in our main cities against street crimes. In essence, he means to say that the Army has done half hearted operations. If that is the case, why then, does he go on to say that the military is sick and tired burying their martyrs without retaliating? A classic case of an individual confused to the core. Why does Mr. Shafi conveniently ignore that a recently concluded APC was the 4th one where ALL, I repeat, ALL parties unanimously concluded that dialogue is the only way forward. PTI is just ONE of the parties attending the APC. I am sure Mr. Shafi, who often poses to be the flag bearer of democracy understands that the word literally means “by the will of the people”. How can he hold PTI solely responsible for a decision taken by all the parties unanimously? Very cute of Mr. Shafi, because this is where I got the popcorn out for his thought provoked and comical piece of writing.
Also has he forgotten that during the 2013 Elections the top two parties in terms of votes had both spelled out in their manifesto that the priorities would be to initiate a dialogue process with the militants? Right or wrong, this is the choice made by the People of Pakistan and so Mr.Shafi should respect the mandate. Or maybe a major reason for his irritation is the inability to digest the constant rising popularity graph of PTI.
I would sincerely like to advise Mr. Shafi for being rational while doing critique. It is imperative that one doesn’t let anger/frustration get the best of him/her while criticizing an extremely popular public figure because it further dwarfs you and makes your case weak. Mr. Shafi, snow white is definitely not going to be pleased if one of her dwarfs goes gallivanting around town, acting to be literate.
Instead of lamenting the fact that Imran Khan went to an event in London on the insistence of an old friend who helped him during the SKMH campaign, Mr. Shafi should come down to the real issues. I can understand Mr. Shafi’s misery because on one place a certain Prince and Heir to the throne proudly clicks away with Imran Khan; whereas, on the other hand your local thailay wala (fruit seller) won’t budge an inch to have one with you. I can understand Mr. Shafi burning sensation, obviously the irony is understandable. I side with him here because I can feel his pain. Throwing that picture in his letter was nothing but a cheap shot explicitly depicting hate and venom. Not that it really makes a difference to Imran Khan, but for the record, this is not the first time he was in the company of Royalty, be it British or other.
I browsed through Mr. Shafi’s open letter twice with his rants in regards to PTI Chairman Imran Khan and realized that it was again in-line with the regular dribble that comes from the self proclaimed “liberal” mindset in Pakistan. I can’t digest that those who consider themselves “liberals” still advocate war. Most liberals in the West consider being antiwar one of their cardinal principles. Remember the reaction in the western countries to the Vietnam War or even the recent Gulf war’s?
Instead of besmirching the true liberal philosophy, I suggest you and your likes start calling yourselves “Neo-cons”. It would be more befitting to your similarity in philosophy to Neo-cons like George W. & Dick Cheney. Oh yes…I almost forgot, last week the former PPP PM Yousuf Raza Gillani also asked Taliban to join mainstream politics.
Mr. Shafi, let me remind you again that national security is a federal subject and you may want to scold your friends in PMLN to act accordingly to your wishes of further military operations to solve the problem. Please get out of this “Imranphobia” and fairly criticize the leadership of the other political parties that have ruled this country over the last 40 years.
The “liberal” are hypocritical on dialogue because they believe in operations when it comes to Tribal Areas but when talking about the issues in Baluchistan they advocate dialogue even though you there are groups in Baluchistan that advocate secession from Pakistan and are allegedly supported by external forces.
I just hope after reading this response that you and your fellow “Neo-cons” will direct their criticisms fairly onto others instead of one person or party which is not in power in the center, and most importantly is still propagating peace in this Great Country of ours.
I’m sure the pain of not being relevant enough, caused a short circuit to erupt Mr. Shafi’s creative juices. I’ve heard that people who couldn’t achieve stardom, generally tend to become bitter during their older days. Retiring from the army, just as a major, seeing your peers and juniors progress to the ranks of Colonel and General must have been very tough, to hang up those heavy boots. A welcomed civil life was thought to be relatively easy, but in the end, started to nose dive and Mr. Shafi went in a flashback of his army days. The biggest irony and discomfort for a bitter unsuccessful man is to see another man reach a feat where people start to politically preach him. In this case, Mr. Shafi, I understand what you feel right now, and I consider jealousy an incurable disease that grows bitter like Parkinson’s. I personally advise you to seek help, and if you cannot finance it, I as a staunch PTI troll will fund you, for a shrink.
Lastly, I consider your articles very hilarious, and advise you to go on because I’ve spoken to the editors of Archies to make a comeback with a certain Ex Major. Your writing credentials might find some serious readers in the comical section because, grown ups consider your work, as ramblings of a benign old man.
The struggle to resolve any conflict through a peace is a long drawn battle. It does not end with just the signing of the peace accord – it needs to slowly change peoples sentiments and may take years, if not decades. The apartheid ended in ~1990, but ironically Mandela remained on the Terrorist watch list till 2008
SOWETAN: In 2008 just before his 90th birthday, the United States gave Nelson Mandela a special present, striking him from a decades-old terror watch list and ending what US officials called “a rather embarrassing matter.” In past years, US officials have beaten a path to his door in his family village hoping some of his almost saint-like aura would rub off on them. On Thursday, when Mandela died at age 95, President Barack Obama hailed him as belonging “to the ages”
Yet decades ago many in America did not share in the adulation of Mandela and his African National Congress, which had been billed a terrorist organization by both South Africa and the United States. His severest right-wing critics painted him as an unrepentant terrorist and a communist sympathizer.
I do not like to draw correlations – but I see a similar situation in Pakistan – most Pakistanis want peace, but at the same time there is a lobby that castigates against any attempt to further the peace process – their justifications, in part, are understandable – they kill us, so we must kill them – but that itself is a vengeance driven mindset which is bound to lead to more blood shed and the loss of even more innocent lives
At the same time I see a leader in Imran Khan who continues his commitment towards Peace in Pakistan – despite all the thrashing handed to him in the media and by his political opponents, day-in & day-out. Any other leader would have succumbed to the constant assault and back tracked, but Imran Khan remains committed to his vision for a prosperous Pakistan, and the dream is an exercise in futility, without Peace
Surprisingly as similar to Mandela being labelled by his right-wingers as Terrorist Mandela, Khan is similarly painted as Taliban Khan mostly by his opponents, predominantly settled on the left-wing. Such resistance, is in my opinion, merely because driven by his opponents who see these “peace talks” attempts to disrupt their own established control on Pakistan. The name calling will never stop true genuine leaders, in fact, it is in the face of such adversity that actually drives them harder to continue their struggle for whats best for their country – Peace
Salute to Nelson Mandela for showing the world that Peace is an entity that is worth fighting for, Salute to Nelson Mandela for picking up South Africa from the ashes to show that this nation can rise up from the oppressive Apartheid to transform into a dynamic progressive country that it is today.
Let us take lessons from a visionary leader like Nelson Mandela, and Let us do something similar for Pakistan .. Peace is definitely possible in Pakistan]]>
Some may recall the insensitive and ridiculous headlines of “Awam – Jang Group” and “Qaumi Akhbar” carried when they came out. They were driven in doing the thrilling act, as they put it, because they operated in saturated markets and it was impossible to make a mark in the presence of giants like Jang and Nawa I Waqt.
Similarly electronic media enterprises operate in similar situations. Their markets are saturated, the reader engagement and loyalty enjoyed by their predecessor, print media, is non-existent as it takes only a click to move from one station to the other.
The task of keeping the viewer at a particular station is proving to be difficult for the clever producers, anchors, editors (not sure there are any) and marketing and sales teams employed to sell air time. The TRPs, GRPs are more colloquially “ratings” have come to dictate more than ethics, training and professionalism.
To make matters worse advertising agencies, marketing companies, brands and businesses have grown clever and instead of spending their resources on mass media they employ them on engagement activities. Thus the outburst of channels has to compete for their slice of the shrinking pie (ad spent). The outrageous rivalry is evident from “breaking news” flashes and “sub se pehle aap tak khabar pohanchai…” clichés.
The rage is exhibited by maligning anchors to deter their ratings Amir Liaquat Hussain is a befitting example. Mubashir was bashed severely for his casual talk while interviewing Malik Riaz and he had to do a special show on MQM and Najam Sethi to wash his sins and to be declared a sacha and khara Pakistani.
This created an avenue for certain national and international groups to exploit the Pakistani masses through training our Journalists and sponsoring certain “good for all” projects mainly “aman ki asha“, “chal parha“, “brastack“, “zara sochiye” etc.
There is nothing wrong with airing such shows especially when they generate excitement and interest the viewers, drive home revenues for the producers and media outlet and the financier gets what he wants.
Lately tantrums have risen on the religious parties’ stance on Hakeemullah Mahsud’s assassination. Yes he is the same Waziristani, Mehsud who was according to dawn “a ruthless leader of TTP” and commanded TTP after similar assassination of another Mahsud who exited the stage in similar manner 3 years ago.
It would have been another killing had Imran Khan not termed it a conspiracy to sabotage peace talks. IK’s involvement made murder of Mahsud Junior a topic for the urban elite. However, the incident proved that it’s not only the anchors that are ratings savvy. The race for mileage started within the political factions.
Everyone jumped on the bandwagon and irrespective of their views, which were immature, uncalled for and baseless, as in the past, they tried to outdo their opponents. “Bayaan barai baayan” started making their way on the waves.
In this frenzy Syed Munawar Hasan, a seasoned infotainer got beaten by Maulana Fazl ur Rahman. So furious was Maulana that he was willing to call dogs, killed by Americans, ‘martyrs”. Not to be out done by his ex-ally Hasan took the opportunity of “jirga – saleem safi” to shift the balance in his favor.
Listening, and I mean listening not hearing, him didn’t raise my brows because I have also read a fatwa, by Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, issued a few days before his killing, which said the same thing asked by Hasan.
It has become our national obligation and favorite hobby to beat about the bush and avoid solution oriented debates or atleast talk about the problems or issues troubling us. So the media went bonkers, nothing new. The zealots went nuts, no surprise.
The problem that lay in front of us was not whether Mahsud Junior was “Shaheed” or not but what will become of the peace initiative, which by the way never had a chance to initiate, owing to the non-serious attitude of PML-N government. Instead we focused our brains on discussing whether the deceased mortal could be called a shaheed or not.
The word has lost its meaning because of being used for anyone and everyone so much so that a news channel termed the death of a horse as shaheed. So here we were the purest of mankind: Pakistanis, employing our energies on who could be shaheed and who can be halaak instead of pondering alternate solutions to ending this conflict which has engaged 1/3 or our armed forces and has taken 50,000 civilian lives.
Ratings started swirling for “who can talk more non-sense” and all was routine before ISPR got into the act. The uncalled for “eye for an eye” response seemed more like Tahir Shah’s “eye to eye”. Hasan has a track record for speaking first thinking later but I wish our national treasure of an institution were to be different. Calling Hasan to apologize has created new rifts and widened the old in our highly divided society.
The (pseudo) liberals in their hatred for Islamists and general confusion about their old imperialist and capitalist enemy: the US and Military became “ghar ke na ghat ke” as they, in retaliation to the statement; they started appraising the Army while condemning the same for committing atrocities in Baluchistan.
Wondering what has kept the judiciary occupied. Haven’t heard breaking news about a sou-moto action on calling “Mahsud” a martyr. Or better still on not calling “Jawans”, who laid down their lives so that Generals could play golf and extend DHAs, “shaheeds”.
The stage is all set for a Madhouse, where no one has anything but only hatred, resent and reaction for everyone else. The society has scaled further lows on the parameters of tolerance, intellect and principles.
By Rehan Ali – from his blog The Madhouse – Critic
This post was submitted by Rehan Ali.]]>
The formative years was spent listening to sermons glorifying Jihad and how killing infidels oppressing our fellow brethren in Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine and more importantly Kashmir. The mullahs were tasked with glorifying and preparing the emotionally charged youth for fighting in the cause of Allah.
Those who have survived and they are very limited in number, recall how they were deceived and sent as proxy soldiers for the purest armed forces. The realization is aided greatly by the post 9/11 scenario in which the Military willingly brought the war on to us. God’s soldiers were now termed strayed fanatics and were driven into the mountains of Waziristan.
The war chimes rang aloud “sub se pehlay Pakistan” become the slogan of progress and enlightenment. We started celebrating the killings of our own countrymen. The price too was paid by us when we started laying to rest countless civilians killed in never before experienced “bomb blasts”.
Each year our romance with Jihad decreased and our love for the new affection, American Dollars, grew with each installment. In the line of fire we kept awarding our ex-allies and nationals to CIA and pride ourselves on doing so.
TTP reacted like a dumped lover and their vengeance knew no bounds. Their fury was released on the civilian population which was left unprotected because the law enforcers were busy providing security protocols to the elected elite.
The military started building fortresses around their cantonments and the much prized DHAs. But their walls and watch towers proved futile to contain the rage of militants avenging the death of their family, friends and neighbours killed in drone strikes.
The bloody civilian was never considered a threat therefore our highly professional defense services never gave a shit for our wows, losses and more importantly thoughts. They realized the importance of “bloody civilian” only after the dollars dried and the emphasis shifted to tax-payers money.
Raymond Davis’s fiasco made them realize the hatred Pakistanis had for Americans. Salala become another front soon after, when it came under attack by US led ISAF force, the military found the need for our bloody cries and street protests.
This exhibited a patch-up of old flames: religious parties and military, aided by seasoned campaigner on both sides. The new alliance called “Difa e Pakistan Council” was an instant success. It acted as a counter balance to US pressure of “Do More” and restored the flow of dollars.
All this time our military bases become easy targets for militants, kamra, wah cantt., Mangla and Mehran costing heavy material and moral losses. 50,000 civilians were also killed while our sovereignty was violated with the Abbotabad raid.
The pressure to end drones and calling them a violation of our airspace was met with revelation of documents clearly suggest our approval and assistance to our so called allies for killing our own citizen. The blame shifted from Americans, external foes to Government, internal nerds. Maulana Fazl ur Rahman asked the government to end all such treaties which made Pakistanis vulnerable to attack and questioned the services of our defense personnel.
Maulana instead of barging in on who is halaak and who is shaheed debate stated that he feels saddened because both the killer and killed were Pakistanis and this mayhem was continuing because of the US.
Well this was before he lost his cool and in a fit of rage, a rarity for Maulana, he stated “even a dog killed by America is a shaheed for me and the dog that barks at America is my soldier”. Unfortunately for Maulana all was lost and what remained was his reference.
The90s generation, active facebookers and tweeters don’t have a clue about how we the 80s children see and feel about these Mujahideens turn Talibaan. We are at a loss, too, because the mujahideen we idolized praised and aspire were the ones fighting Indian oppressors in Kashmir and not the ones fighting oppression in Northern Pakistan.
I only wish, we hadn’t taken a u-turn on our strategic policies and programs and where turning our back was a mistake we unleashed our bayonets. There is much talk about “Aman ki Asha” but hardly any suggestion or support for “Aman ki Bhasha” (peace talk) which should have started as of yesterday.
This post was submitted by Rehan Ali.]]>
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has taken strong objection to GEO issuing a legal notice to Chairman Imran Khan in the program with Mubashir Lucman.
The issue should have been between GEO & ARY or directly with Mubashir Lucman but looping in Mr. Imran Khan in the legal notice who merely responded to the questions posed to him was certainly an attempt to gag the entire talk show which is a decision of the ARY team and Imran Khan has no control over it whatsoever.
The Notice had demanded of the Chairman that he stop the broadcast of his interview of 28th October on ARY channel – as “the language and the conclusive tone” the Chairman allegedly used in the interview “is highly defamatory and unacceptable”!
The Chairman Imran Khan stood by every word of what he said in his interview with Mubashar Lucman for ARY television channel. The Chairman stated categorically that any allegations regarding ANY media house relating to money coming from abroad and allegedly creating links with foreign intelligence agencies must be properly investigated as “it was a very serious matter.” The Chairman reiterated that regardless of which media house was alleged to be involved in any such activity an investigation was in order. Yes the Chairman PTI’s tone was resolute in demanding such an inquiry rather than coming to a conclusion on his own. It is bizarre to accuse a political leader or any citizen of defamation merely because they demand an inquiry into what are serious allegations involving the security of the country.
Since this hard-ball stance by GEO against Chairman Imran Khan, the PTI social media team did admittedly “take on” GEO where we have posted a few images showing Geo “as a crying baby” & other images, a fun teasing jab at them for this incident where the tables have turned against them. PTI Social Media team has given GEO a tough time – for their stance against Imran Khan, BUT LET ME CATEGORICALLY STATE THAT NONE of our Official Team members have engaged in ANY COVERT PROPAGANDA AGAINST GEO, what we do, we do so with our own identity and through our own accounts.
The PTI Cyber Force team is a group of random PTI supporters who are Imran Khan’s diehard fans and have always come forth to mostly defend the party and Imran Khan where needed, but entirely in their own personal capacity – they have also given GEO a tough time on this issue – but the scope of their propaganda previous forms of propaganda usually entails hashtag trending and a competitive arguing (though admittedly it sometimes goes a little over board, but PTI has no control over this group)
Do keep in mind that the propaganda that they do, is identical to many other propaganda campaigns they have run example against PML-N, MQM & PPP and even more recently targeting Bilawal Zardari’s verbal tirade against PTI and Imran Khan – their strength is similar in all cases – but it does seem that the recent attack on GEO shows a remarkably more amount of anti propaganda and I truly have started to suspect foul play and believe “fake / pseudo account” may be involved – fake accounts posing as PTI supporter or even PTI Cyber Force to take on Geo – considering the wide scope of stake holders involved in this GEO vs ARY controversy its a tussle betweek RAW vs ISI, Jehangir Siddiqui vs Abdul Karim Dedhi, and GEO vs ARY (plus many other media houses enjoying the take-down) – finances to run any type of propaganda campaign outweighs the meagre volunteer resources by PTI SMT volunteers or even PTI Cyber Force
We have asked around from many PTI Cyber Force members, if the white paper originated from them – they have all denied and have also gone forth to publicly deny any involvement to this publication even on twitter as well – usually the Cyber Force is very upfront and very vocal when they do play a significant role in any propaganda but in this case they have clearly distanced themselves openly
The drafted “so called” White Paper by “PTI Cyber Force” is too well scripted, the detail and text is beyond the scope of a mere writer or blogger or even any cyber force entity that I am aware off – the concise point by point response to GEO in itemised intricate detail is written by a highly skilled propaganda team of investigative journalist and cannot be considered the work of PTI or its Cyber Force Team.
The FIRST mention of the alleged PTI Cyber Force White Paper against GEO – came from the twitter account Sidra Saeed [@PolicyMaker3] this account was created in Feb 2013 and if you look into its detailed history has a very strong focus on targeting GEO – Sidra posted this on 2:16am on 1st November 2013 linking to the The NewsTribe article
Ironically even The News Tribe account @TheNewsTribe did not tweet this news story until an hour after Sidra Saeed specifically at 3:03am on 1st November 2013
The issue gained biggest traction & virality approximately four hours later, when at on 1st November 2013 at 6:12 am Marvi Sirmed shared a link to Learning PK website (the first time it a link appeared to the issue from the Learning PK website
Please take special attention to note that NONE of the main PTI Social Media team and neither the PTI Cyber Force that I know off talked or tweeted on this issue until well over 10-11 hours later. Truly had it been a Cyber Force initiative some of their accounts would have even so much as so inquired or tweeted about this link / issue as soon as it appeared in the digital space even an innocent “what is this all about ….?” would have been sufficient to indicate some involvement but none appears anywhere.
We strongly believe that some other propaganda group has carefully drafted this paper and is using the PTI Cyber Force name to attack upon GEO, so that PTI gets further embroiled into this mess with this media house
I will openly admit the battle is mostly between other entities and GEO – Imran Khan and PTI is unnecessarily being dragged into it. The PTI Social Media team is only voicing what the party leadership has positioned itself as (we are definitely giving Geo a little of the tough-guy treatment) BUT we will NOT create fake documents to disgrace PTI or IK in any capacity whatsoever - and yes we will continue to push PTI’s point of view with dignity and respect – in the realm of our freedom of expression.]]>
“These are the most important elections in the history of country, this will determine the destiny of Pakistan” said different politician and pundits before elections. Unfortunately, the post election debate which should have been focused on its results and its policy implication on Pakistan’s future is surrounded by rigging allegations by every party (PML in Sindh, JUI-F in KPK, Nationalist in Baluchistan and Sindh, PTI in Punjab, PPP in Punjab and other provinces, JI in Karachi etc.)
So much have been written and shown on TV however ECP is convinced that these were free and fair elections. As a business student I did some analysis on election results of ten seats in Lahore (NA-118 to NA-127).
Total number of register voters in most of these ten national assembly seats have no difference with the total number of register voters in their respective provincial assembly seats except in three constituencies (NA-123, NA-124 & NA-126). Number of registered voters in these NA constituencies is greater than their respective provincial seats (68, 2590, 150 respectively). However, unfortunately there is not a single constituency where total number of votes polled for NA is equal to its respective provincial seats. Difference ranges from minus 7055 (Votes polled on respective pp seats are more than that of NA seat) to positive 2841 (Votes polled on NA seat is more than its respective provincial seats). Though the total number of votes polled on most of NA seats were more than their respective PP seats except in case of NA-125 and NA-127, where total votes polled at NA are less than their respective PP seats (4600 and 7055 respectively). Every voter polls two votes, one for NA seat and other one for provincial seat; it means total number of votes polled in NA should be equal to their respective provincial assembly seats. How is this possible a person voted for provincial candidates but not for NA candidates and vice versa? I think ECP is in the best position to answer this question.
Regardless of party affiliation most of the candidates contesting on national assembly seats got more votes than their respective provincial assembly candidates. But surprisingly in three NA seats involving Nawaz Sahrif, Hamza Shahbaz and Imran khan, PTI candidates got less votes than their respective provincial assembly candidates. One may argue PML candidates on NA seats were more popular than their opponents and also from their respective provincial candidates that’s why they were able to clinch the extra votes of PTI candidates. But how can we justify Imran Khan’s seat. Can we say candidates contesting on provincial seats were more popular than Imran Khan, I think ECP is in the best position to answer this question.
Difference of votes polled for PML candidates on NA seats was exceptionally high with their respective provincial candidates on some seats such as NA-125, NA-127, NA-121, NA-122, NA-120 and NA-119 (12779, 13788, 9311, 6809, 9367 and 5366 respectively). Surprisingly two candidates of PML on NA-119, and NA-121 were also contesting on their one respective provincial seats PP-142 & PP-150 respectively, But still they managed to get handful extra votes on their NA seats (9311 and 5366 respectively). Another amazing aspect of the above analysis reveals PML candidates were so lucky in NA-125, and NA-127 where they managed to score highest extra votes (12779 and 13788 respectively) as compared to their respective provincial candidates whereas total number of votes polled (4600 and 7055) on NA seats were less than their provincial seats, yet again ECP is in best position to answer.
Anyone who has casted his/her vote knows that it takes around about four to five minutes to cast a vote, however average time a voter took to cast a vote in these constituencies ranges from 2 minutes and 10 seconds to 2 minutes and 27 seconds. To be specific it took 2 min 25 sec, 2 min 25 sec, 2 min 15 sec, 2 min 24 sec, 2 min 17 sec, 2 min 24 sec, 2 min 24 sec, 2 min 27 sec, 2 min 10 sec, 2 min 27 sec for NA-118, NA-119, NA-120, NA-121, NA-122, NA-123, NA-124, NA-125, NA-126 and NA-127 respectively. All these calculations are based on the assumption that polling started at exactly eight o clock on all polling booths and continued till 6 o’clock in the evening without wastage of a single second caused by any hindrance in the voting process.
No doubt conducting a peaceful election needs appreciation from everyone, especially in current situation when war on terror has led to poor law and order situation in whole country especially in KPK. But at the same time one has all the right to ask, Is this the only responsibility of ECP. I think they are also responsible for free and fair election. Paper for ballot papers will have some security features; we will have camera in every polling station and army will be sitting inside etc. these are not my statements but statements given by different ECP officials before election. Were they able to fulfill their promises?
After listening to analysts on different TV channels, reading newspapers and analyzing ECP issued statements I have come to conclusion some roles which were supposed to be performed by ECP has now been given to contesting candidates. Contestants should make sure presiding officers should reach on time, Since ECP is not responsible nor will they hold an inquiry. Polling agents should make sure that there is no rigging since it’s their job control rigging not ECP’s. If any candidate is unable to do so then he/she will lose and he/she does not have any right to shout against rigging (That’s what most analysts said about PTI). Even after elections if you have any proof of rigging you should go to election tribunals since ECP’s only responsibility is to print ballots, make polling schemes, and announce results. They have nothing do with implementation of code of conduct, or preventing rigging. I know I am going to use some harsh words and you have all the right to condemn it. An honest person (sitting on key position) who doesn’t have the courage or spine to make brave decisions is not an asset but a liability for the institution and nation. Since, he is only used to give legitimacy to all wrong doings on the basis of his own personal character.
Should we add another one in the list of rigged elections in Pakistan? Yes; the current addition might raise the eyebrows of many respected journalists since most of prominent media houses have termed these elections as one of the most free and fair elections in Pakistan’s history. We can’t have absolutely free and fair elections in developing country like Pakistan, let the democracy flourish such discrepancies will be removed with the passage of time; the most common argument given by most proponents of free election. But they forget to realize how can democracy flourish without voter’s confidence on electoral process, what if they lose their pride that their vote really matters. Will they be going to vote again? One can only wish; since sound bites from ground tell you the opposite story.
Note: All the above calculations do not include number of rejected votes since ECP has not uploaded that figure on their web. It can have two implications on our results.
That might increase or decrease the difference in first half of analysis. Even there is possibility of absolutely no effect.
In case of second half of analysis it will surely decrease the average voting time.
~~~~ writer can be contacted at @bilalnuman
This post was submitted by M. Fahid Saleem.]]>
I couldn’t resist but write you some fan mail after seeing that you were trending as number 1 on twitter worldwide. Now that is an achievement! I’m sure you must’ve been trending a few years ago as well when party workers and general public got beaten black and blue so you, as a symbol of justice, could be restored into the judiciary. Imran Khan doesn’t have quite as exciting memories from back then, as he was stuck in jail standing for what you supposedly stood for. Forget these petty details though, who cares!
It’s been an interesting few years since then right? Your gravity defying zero force ‘tilt’ to PML-N is quite frankly nauseating but on the bright side you have developed a unique quality of inspiring some pretty interesting emotions in people across different provinces, parties and professions. Wow. So feel free to share that with the people out there who think that you have delivered nothing of significance over the past few years, how wrong they are.
I heard about this thing that happened in Pakistan recently. What was it again, I can’t remember, um hang on it will come to me…oh yes I remember! Rigging! You know that thing that was riper than a Jamaican mango in these elections, yes that. I didn’t get to vote myself but luckily I came across same pakora paper the other day which had a balla stamped on it so I felt very privileged to have my bit of election action! So thanks for not acknowledging anything about this rigging business, maybe next time there would be enough stamped ballots for us to distribute as toilet paper amongst the needy – I do need to pop a bit of social work on my C.V.
Life’s a pain at times ain’t it? So much to do, such little time. I’m sure you must feel the same way, don’t be too hard on yourself though. So what if corruption has gone from bad to worse? So what if there are over a thousand pending cases, or people think you’ve blatently ignored issues of sectarian/minority killings, hate speech and situations where Suo Moto was appropriate. They’re just jealous because you’re Uncle Nawaz’s favourite and they’re not.
I’ve heard Imran Khan will be coming to court on August 2nd. I think you’d better make sure the gardener’s been around because there are supposed to be a few people accompanying him that day. You might know some of them actually. Remember the guy that drove you around for hours in 2007, he is coming too. I’ve heard he’s a good lawyer too, what’s his name again? You know the one! That led the Lawyers’ Movement to restore you in 2007. Aitzaz Ehsan! That’s the one. Yes, so he’s coming and PTI supporters are just itching to hear the call. So just out of interest why did you go for Imran Khan then? Is it because you’re a cricket fan? There were so many other delightful people to choose from! Never mind, your choice. But they say you should be careful what you ask for, ‘coz you just might get it.
I’m not so interested in these things myself but there are lots of opinions floating around on social media from other parties, journos and lawyers too. All saying the same thing in fact, now that’s a first! I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you’re really not number one on their Eid card list but I’m sure you won’t mind. I would perhaps invest some time in the gym though; if things deteriorate significantly for Imran Khan then you might just have to march again, in the opposite direction to last time though. Aitzaz uncle might be able to give you a lift back this time as well if you ask nicely.
Just before I go, a few people said to me you are superhuman and not subject to the same scrutiny as any other judicial representatives and people mustn’t speak badly about you because that means they are betraying Pakistan. Is that true? I’d better tell my friends to shut up then before they get summoned before your highness. Bit of a violation of freedom of speech but hey ho Pakistan is violation central! We just can’t get enough of the stuff can we?
Anyway it was lovely catching up with you, must dash, the electricity is about to cut off any second now! Don’t worry that’s not your problem either! Ta ta!
Sabreena Razaq Hussain
Initially published on Facebook
This post was submitted by Sabreena Razaq Hussain.]]>
The judges overseeing the Sharif family cases of Hudabiya Mills, Raiwind Mansion and Ittefaq Foundaries, are suddenly removed and proceedings delayed since no replacement judge is available to overseeing these issues
A mini story appears on the backpage of Express (29th May) almost as an after thought – http://bit.ly/111Y3jN