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MQM Ulema Convention – JI, Imran Khan, Dr. Shahid Masood, Saudi Arabia, Bugti, FATA, PML-Q and Musharraf

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TV channels covered Altaf Hussain’s speech (standard political coverage), but missed an important opportunity to FOR ONCE show people criticizing the Tehreek-e-Taliban and identifying the factors that create such groups in Pakistan.

This convention went on for many hours, and should have been covered live for a few hours at least, so that the public get to HEAR at least SOMEONE say that “killing people is wrong”.

The time the channels spend in covering the sayings of Sufi Mohammed, Maulana Fazlullah and Baitullah Mehsud is considerable.

That the TV channels did not find anything interesting in a conference of Ulema OPPOSED to those groups, is inexcusable.

It would also have injected new ideas into the minds of the public that went BEYOND the “Musharraf/U.S./Taliban” confines established by Hamid Mir (a pro-Taliban anchor at Geo TV) and Talat Hussain (a wishy washy anchor at AAJ TV who advocated action against Lal Masjid to establish “writ of government” one day, and acted like he never said it the next day).

Changes afoot

Although NOW we are starting to see some movement – with the commitment of the Pakistan Army to operations in Swat, and with the increased threats to Ulema and (previously veiled but now) explicit threates to the media by the Tehreek-e-Taliban, the area of movement by media anchors and ulema is getting more constrained. Eventually some break and start criticizing the Tehreek-e-Taliban openly. When enough people have criticized these groups, the others feel safer in doing so themselves – after all there is safety in numbers, as the Tehreek-e-Taliban has a limited attention span in terms of targets it can destroy every month.

The situation as it stands is that now almost 80% of commentators on TV channels are saying “now that the operation in Swat has begun” we should eliminate the “miscreants”. That is, the Tehreek-e-Taliban has now been reduced to a criminal gang.

This is a development which should have taken place a few years ago, and by the TV channels NOT doing that (because it suited them as a way to get back at Musharraf), they may have delayed a resolution to this problem by TWO years or more. In the process being directly responsible for hiding information from the public (or not disseminating it publicly as much as they distributed the slogans of the Tehreek-e-Taliban).

Journalism (Dr. Shahid Masood as an example)

Even now we have thoroughly discredited journalists like Dr. Shahid Masood (watch his Jawabdeh interview):
Jawab Deh – 23 November 2008
which is an eye-opener to the ignorant, and a confirmer to those who suspected a bit of manipulation in his workings) STILL acting like a lot of the things are “mutanaaza”, or we STILL need to establish “what is good/bad for Pakistan”.

Of course we also have the Jamaat-e-Islami (and the perpetual foot-in-mouth Imran Khan who has a habit of being slightly behind in his about-faces – compare to Talat Hussain of AAJ TV) still sticking more or less to the pro-Taliban stance. And asking Pakistanis to FIRST stop “Amreeka ki Jang”. Either these people are naive, or they do not see the fallacy of their arguments – the one moment criticizing the U.S. as not to be trusted, then in the next breath claiming that Pakistan just needs to “convince” the U.S.

What if the U.S. is not waiting for convincing and has it’s own ideas. In this way Qazi Hussain and now Syed Munawwar Hussain (JI) and Imran Khan provide no ACTIONABLE or EFFECTIVE strategy.

In effect arguing to change what is not ours to change, and advocating no action in areas that ARE within our reach.

Jamaat-e-Islami and Imran Khan as “agents” of the west

In the end, both the JI and Imran Khan while demonstrating great aversion to the U.S. and their credentials as Pakistanis, they by their arguments demonstrate a surprising belief in an “essentially good America”. How else can you explain the scores of “protests” organized by the Jamaat-e-Islami in the period following the 9/11 attacks.

These protests were nothing except a “protest” against the U.S. – but you protest to someone who is interested in listening. Instead they wound up providing fodder for the numerous western media – convenient photo ops of “the bearded mullah” to adorn the covers of their magazines – to buttress the arguments they had already made to their own public to go to war against “those people”.

As a side note, these political parties (and almost ALL political parties in Pakistan are culpable) do not have the mental clarity to realize that what was a tradition during the pre-Partition era (of protesting by “hartaal” because it harmed the British revenue stream) becomes a NON-EFFECTIVE (and in fact damaging to Pakistan) exercise when it is done post-Partition. There have even been cases where the government ITSELF has called for “hartaal” (on some Kashmir/Indian-excess issue).

If these political parties cannot understand the absolute IRRELEVANCY of “hartaal” as an appropriate form of expression in the post-Partition era, then it should be no surprise if they habitually goof up on all type of other occasions.

It is in this INDIRECT way, that the Jamaat-e-Islami and Imran Khan, while perhaps believing themselves to be non-western actors, are actually unaware of just HOW much reliance their philosophies have on a western existence, a protest to “appeal” to the west, and a persistent preoccupation with “western” as opposed to inner examination of the problems that plague our country which ALLOW local (and perhaps even AGENTS of foreign powers) to operate with ease.

If Salahuddin Ayyubi (Saladin) wanted to oppose the Crusaders, he would NOT have been organizing fake “protests” in his own country to influence his opponents. Such an exercise presumes the western public is WATCHING their protests. And it presumes the western public is wise enough to stop their goverment. This presumption is incorrect, because in most cases, western public has only ACTED to stop war when it has feared the rising toll on their army (and the threat of “the draft”). Or more realistically while conscientious objectors may exist in the U.S. they are NEVER able to mount a successful campaign of opposition UNTIL a significant number of armymen have experienced the futility of the war.

A “protest” in Pakistan only serves to assuage the egos of the “religious parties” (“street power” as opposed to intellectual power), and it serves up easy photo opportunities for western photographers (now supplanted by their stringers in Pakistan, since foreign journalists have outsourced their work locally due to the security situation).

As a commentator on TV aptly put it – for all the opposition in the west to China over the years, China was able to stave that off with countermeasures within China (some of them may have been draconian – but were designed to ensure the independence of China). And the question to be asked is what prevents Pakistan from starving the foreign funders of groups within Pakistan of the opportunity to recruit.

And it ignores the role of drug financing and the warlord-syndrome that drives at least some of these groups (or the leaders of these groups). The quick attribution by people like Imran Khan and JI of actions by these groups to legitimate religious trends, in fact LEGITIMIZES the “religiosity” of these groups. In effect, parties like the JI establish the “authenticity” of the “religiousness” of these groups by NOT saying they are thugs.

Saudi Arabia and the ultimate family-owned country

And it ignores the role model of Saudi Arabia – a resource rich area which was able to wrest itself from a wider Muslim empire by using the religious doctrine of Abdul Wahhab (who created a variation of the Hanbali “madhab”, later to be called Wahhabism/Salafism). The Taliban and Tehreek-e-Taliban take DIRECT analogy from the “success” (thanks to Lawrence of Arabia and the British) of the Saud tribals against the Ottoman Caliphate.

Other than that the heavy involvement of Saudi government in Pakistani affairs – right down to negotiating to save one particular party (Nawaz Sharif).

Right now people are seeing Saudi Arabia in a innocuous light, but it will become a problem for Pakistan as it pushes Pakistan in directions (through it’s agents) which are not in the interest of Pakistan (given it’s geographical linkages, neighbours and borders).

This is an especially dangerous situation for Saudi Arabia, because they have already sown the seeds of hostility. As the violence escalates (in the dying days of the Tehreek-e-Taliban) we will see greater carnage, and greater public disgust will ensue. Saudi Arabia will be painted in the same light as the JI and Imran Khan.

Bugti insurrection and the ideal of the family-owned British-protectorate

The parallels between the Bugti insurrection in Balochistan and the Taliban insurrection are incomplete. The Bugtis having being denied royalties previously received, and with the model of the Arab states (which essentially became protectorates of the British after separation from the Ottoman Caliphate) strong in their mind, have envisioned a future where they will rule over a country as the Sheikhs do in the Arab states (itself an unstable situation soon to face pressures as the foreign interests throw their weight around in Dubai for instance). Essentially the Arab states are not sovereign (even less so than Pakistan). They were equally satellites under the Ottoman Caliphate and could not be called countries. After their “liberation” from the Ottoman Caliphate, colonization and then again “independence”, they STILL remain satellites – essentially being GOVERNORSHIPS that have shifted Caliphs from the Ottoman to the British/Western “Caliphs”.

However the Baloch insurrection is NOT analogous to the Saudi takeover of Arabia, for they lack an “Abdul Wahhab”. Perhaps the Indians and U.S. will produce a (belated) “Abdul Wahhab” for the Baloch feudals.

For the Taliban it was Mullah Omar (with sprinkling of advice from master advisor Osama Bin Laden or Aiman Al Zawahiri). In effect Mullah Omar is the Saud tribe and Osama/Aiman Al Zawahiri is the Abdul Wahhab.

Or if another parallel is more appealing – the parallel of Osama Bin Laden with Hassan ibn Sabbah (of Alamut fame – Hashishin/Assassin – and the present day Ismailis).

With regard to Bugti, it is interesting to see people praise a person none of them personally liked. On the one hand they speak of the debilitating effects of feudalism, and they find nothing contradictory about gifting the province (or continuing “bhatta” given to Bugti by Sui). It is interesting that they do not see feudalism in the behaviour of Bugti.

In this case they are willing to make an exception for some reason. In this case as well, perhaps the common factor is the hatred for Musharraf by some of these groups. They are willing to adopt Bugti as a friend if Bugti is an enemy of Musharraf.

FATA as a problem that was waiting to happen

On similar lines is Imran Khan’s apparent blind spot when it comes to his admiration of FATA. There was something seriously wrong with FATA and how it was administered. Essentially it was a free for all. That they had a system to begin with was fortunate, but there were heavy shades of feudalism (or “sardarism”) in the system there.

And striking asymmetry in their ability to export manpower to the rest of the country, but the rest of the country could not settle in FATA – or feel safe there. No “tazaad” for Imran Khan in this I guess ?

Also it probably does not bother Imran Khan that FATA was the conduit and safe house for innumerable criminal activity in the past. Basically anyone who was willing to spend some money on their hosts would be afforded a “welcome”.

These things did not reach breaking point until the arrival of foreign groups with plenty of cash in hand (Osama Bin Laden and others).

It is THEN that the weaknesses of FATA appeared. The “independence” previously praised in times of no external interference rapidly escalated into a major gap in security.

It is a denial of the essential problem that was FATA when Imran Khan and others forgo an examination of the structural problems in those areas, and instead blame it on “after Musharraf this happened”. The reality is this was a problem WAITING to happen. That is, a place where the government cannot stop stolen vehicles and contraband trade, only manifests itself as a problem in smuggling. But given the appropriate conditions it has the POTENTIAL to baloon into a breeding ground for foreign financed groups. Which is what happened.

No doubt the government of Pakistan also contributed to it by making shady outfits “acceptable”, or acting as a conduit for Saudi Arabian interests.

Unfortunately the cat is out of the bag, and the weaknesses in the FATA “we leave you to do whatever you want” system are apparent. If foreign groups can operate there, and the local groups take a beeating, then that removes the value of the local militias as an adequate replacement for the government’s writ. In any case they were not doing that job earlier as well, if the FATA was a haven for criminial carnapping and smuggling (under the guise of the “Afghan Transit Trade”). It is just that now it has become an unavoidable problem and it has pissed off enough people in Pakistan who will no longer want FATA to return to the “good old wild west” days again. After all FATA remained as an “independent” area essentiall because of “dhonse” (i.e. thuggism) – because FATA people can visit and settle everywhere, but others cannot visit FATA without fear for their lifes (the old and much glamourized “government writ does not extend beyond this road”). In addition there are strong feudal tones to the FATA structure (although it is much praised by some people).

Judicial system and the “Lawyer’s Movement”

However all this cannot happen unless the Pakistani court system is not improved ten-fold at least. When the court system is so glacial in it’s pace (let alone being corrupt), then ALL types of alternate systems start looking “better” and appealing to the people.

The same equation applies to the rise of the “religious parties” (i.e. those who claim to say their actions are inspired by a greater affinity to God – no doubt this smugness and self-righteousness is what pisses people off against them, since in Islam there is an egalitarianism of “specialness” as ANYONE can be higher and it is not the job of people to claim they are better than others in religion as matters of faith are not always apparent – at least in Islamic thought on this matter).

These “religious parties” have thus traditionally had difficulty getting votes in Pakistan. It is the failure of the “secular” parties (i.e. those who push no sect) in keeping their corruption in check which has given a window of opportunity to the “religious parties”. After 9/11, it was the action by the U.S. which ALSO helped the “religious parties” gain a momentary rise in the polls.

Some of the movement towards a better judicial process HAS happened as a side-effect of the “lawyer’s movement”. But unlike the public perception of this “movement”, the foundations of the movement are weak – as it was primarily a Benazir-financed (and PPP-jiyala-lawyer manned) operation. It was designed to get better terms in the agreement that was being negotiated for Benazir’s return. After it served that purpose it was dumped. Nawaz Sharif did not have the same representation in the lawyer’s community (PPP jiyalas are overrepresented among “lawyers” because almost anyone can become a lawyer – the standards are very lax – and it is also tolerant of people with interrupted educational backgrounds – as the PPP workers mostly were, having been in jail etc.).

After Benazir’s support removal, the lawyer’s movement faltered. Aitzaz Ahsan could not mobilize a modest demonstration in Islamabad after that – instead saying that “lawyers were protesting in their own localities instead” (or something to that effect).

Nawaz Sharif lacked representation among lawyers, but WAS able to finance the movement and it did pick up steam which peaked in the “Long March” from Lahore to Islamabad. However the “movement” had by this time become a PML-N movement, with few lawyers being prominent in the movement.

The perfidy of the PML-Q

This is what Musharraf should have done following his sacking of the corrupt Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Musharraf should have taken the initiative and transformed the outrage over “attack on the Judiciary” as motivation for a “reform of the judicial system”. In “contrition” for his actions “which he had to take because the CJ WAS corrupt”, and in response to the interest shown by lawyers he should have announced he was going to make sweeping improvements in the judicial process, and was going to include THOSE VERY PEOPLE.

It IS possible that those opposing his actions may not have agreed (if their real purpose was political anyway – i.e. they needed some issue to counter Musharraf).

However it WOULD have convinced sufficient number of non-lawyers that his “neeat” (i.e. intention) was correct, and it WOULD have been an opportune movement to initiate actions to improve judicial system – actions which at any other time would have provoked reactions from the corrupt judges. When the wind for “change” was blowing, Musharraf should have capitalized on it and taken charge of some of those changes which have LONG been understood as problems in Pakistan. ONCE he did this, it would have placed the lawyers in a strategic weak spot, because Musharraf would be doing EXACTLY the things the lawyer’s are demanding, and now OPPOSITION to Musharraf would be seen as the “establishment” trying to hold back Musharraf from making groundbreaking changes.

So in summary, it WAS that Musharraf became LESS active. However the answer to this is that, Musharraf probably COULD NOT make those changes – as he suggests himself that he was NOT in charge as he was in the first term of office – and the real “administrative” power resided in the Prime Minister (Shaukat Aziz) and HIS support base in the PML-Q. After all there WAS a parliament in operation at the time.

The problem is, that the media CONTINUED to pillory Musharraf as if he was STILL in control.

And it put Musharraf in a bad situation strategically – being realistically UNABLE to do any major change, while being ACCUSED of being the mastermind behind every failing of the government. In a sense the PML-Q gave support to this perception, as it allowed them to claim non-culpability in the affairs of state !

This is reflected in the almost unanimous reluctance of the PML-Q to defend Musharraf during TV appearances. When adequate answers EXISTED to answer accusations, the PML-Q would “baghlain jhank” (i.e. look under it’s armpits for answers that it would “not find”). On one occasion a caller on a TV program called out this failing on the PML-Q part and said “why can’t you list the achievements during this period” (or smoething to that effect) and proceeded to list a number of projects that were successfully accomplished.

The reasons for the PML-Q reluctance was that it was NEVER a real supporter of Musharraf. They were ideologically different from Musharraf’s vision of a secular Pakistan (or at least one NOT dictated by one sect over the other sect – which WILL always remain a sure-fire way of wrecking Pakistan).

Musharraf in fact had a FAR greater commonality with the PPP’s voting base – which is predominantly “secular”. Or in other words, those who have a “secular” bent tend to join the PPP over the PML-Q or others. Even though Musharraf was not compatible with the PPP leadership, he represented an almost IDENTICAL cause – and thus could be a good replacement for a “cleaned up” PPP.

The psychology of Musharraf-hate

It has often been claimed that Musharraf “strong-armed” and it was “one man rule”. However most of these commentators FAIL to point out HOW Musharraf could have exercised SO much power over them – this when he lacked the credentials of belonging to a strong ethnic group, when he himself was dependent on the support of the Corp Commanders in the Army, and when he was NOT really all that appealing to the U.S. given his “behind the scenes” persistence in supporting Chinese involvement in Pakistan as counterbalance to the U.S. pressure.

And the most likely answer to this is that, Musharraf just EXUDES confidence and is able to CONVINCE people of his argument. If he can goto India and convert a belligerent group of Indian newspaper editors into gushing fans, and if he can wow the audiences during talk shows in Pakistan and abroad, that testifies to a certain CLARITY OF THOUGHT in this thinking. If he says the truth, and is able to give arguments for it’s correctness, it is very hard for bad intentioned people to contradict him.

And I suspect this was the case in government as well. When PML-Q people suggest that they were “under his thumb”, what it means essentially is that they are idiots, and could not come up with a good alternative when Musharraf suggested on to them.

Among the other critics of Musharraf, perhaps 50% of them “hate his guts” for being so convincing, because it makes them feel stupid (which most ARE). The presence of Musharraf DISABLES their ability to take on the airs they usually do to “roab jama” on people. In Musharraf’s company, people expect them as well to talk openly. The opening of the media was opposed for these reasons as well, yet Musharraf’s intent from the very first had been to ALLOW media criticism of HIMSELF, so that there would be no “holy cows”. If Musharraf was allowing criticism of himself in programs like Geo TV’s “Hum Sab Umeed Say Hain” (which pilloried the other politicians as viciously as Musharraf), then it became extremely difficult for Chaudhry Shujaat, Benazir and the “religious parties” (Qazi and Fazl-ur-Rahman were routinely lambasted on the show) to threaten the media for “zalil kar rahay ho hamain”.

The traditional political threats to media were especially difficult when it was THEY who were supposed to be the more “democratic” and “for the people”. So in effect Musharraf held the politicians up to the light because of this behaviour, and it must have sparked considerable speculation among politicians that “yeh tow hamari bizti karai ga !!” and “kahin ka nahin chhoray ga”. The traditional thuggism employed by these feudal and political elements could NO LONGER be exercised with such abandon as they exercised a few years ago.

I would cast much of the “media intellectuals” in this category – most of them come from “print media” and are originally people of weak intellect (further crushed in the environment that was the print media of old). The other opponents who appear hate his guts for being better convincers than them.

There IS a dominant ethic which exists in Pakistan which casts stones at those who speak the truth, or who speak with a certain candor. Or in general which tries to crush any sign of brilliance. This emanates primarily from the dominance of the “sifarishis” (which perpetually after that feel compelled to support other “sifarishis” as a sort of expiation or justification for their own sin or inadequacy), or it stems from their need to populate other positions of power by people who are INFERIOR to even them, because they themselves are uncomfortable with their own ability to manage things.

This arises from the culture of “family-linked” structure in Pakistan, and MAY have something to do with the “inbreeding” (cousin-marriages for one) which tends to remove variety in people’s lives, exposes them to fewer “tazaad” (which their mind would otherwise have to work to resolve).

The outcome of such a system is that it leads to nepotism on a VAST scale. Where company “Seths” appoint their own children to positions of power within the company, even if it means incompetence rules the competent.

It is in such an environment where myths of “great family” are perpetuated. If reality intervenes to contradict people, they seek to crush reality – by putting down a more competent employee.

This type of structure leads to STAGNATION.

The opposition of many people to Musharraf’s rule was part of a feeling of anathema many may have felt – as they would to a competent employee in their father-Seth’s factory.

Or the fear and loathing an incompetent may feel from a competent challenger.

The opposition they cannot put into words or argument, they exhibit in fear and venom.

That the U.S. was fighting against Muslim interests, and Musharraf was OSTENSIBLY “supporting” the U.S. gave them “slogans” to use against him, even if the reality was at odds with this perception. That Musharraf gave in FAR less to the U.S. than Benazir or the weak-kneed Nawaz Sharif would have given. Or that the “religious parties” gave (they were party to Musharraf’s decision after the “phone call from the U.S.” post-9/11, yet they will act like they were opposed to the decision).

Links:
1/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009
2/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009
3/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009
4/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009
5/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009
6/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009
7/7 MQM Ulema Convention – TV channel blackout – April 19, 2009

original video:
youtube – apmsoforall
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part1
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part2
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part3
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part4
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part5
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part6
MQM Ulema convention rejects Taliban brand of Shariah Part7

Jawabdeh host Iftikhar Ahmed’s resignation on Geo censorship:
“Jawabdeh” host Iftikhar Ahmed resigns as GEO refuses to show Shaid Masood interview.

Geo TV Jawabdeh host Iftikhar Ahmed resigns in protest

Dr. Shahid Masood:
Dr. Shahid Masood exposed in Jawabdeh, story of lifafah journalists, and Salman Taseer’s letters to Shahbaz Sharif…..
Shahid Masood, a Journalist or a pack of lies?
Shahid Masood article in Jang on resignation of Musharraf

It gets worse for Dr. Shahid Masood

Dr. Shahid Masood claimed in this column in Jang (a day after Musharraf’s resignation) that he was present in the same room that Musharraf gave his resignation speech in. This again, has been proved a lie by a serving member of the President’s House staff who called in. The official visitor’s list does not include Dr. Shahid Masood’s name as he had been stopped at the reception. Additionally, Hassan Kazmi who is a senior producer of Samaa TV and was actually part of Samaa TV’s broadcast team at the venue and an eye-witness to the entire event, also confirms that Dr. Shahid Masood’s article in Jang was a bundle of lies.

Jawab Deh – 23 November 2008
Complete Jawabdeh interview.
GEO Dr. Shahid Masood worst liar and biggest opportunist is proven retard
Kamran Khan reporting on Jawabdeh interview of Dr. Shahid Masood.

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