Archive for May, 2009

Their comment on the ‘STUNNING’ results of Parliamentary Elections-2009

win election 2009
Their comment on the Surprising STUNNING results of Parliamentary elections:

‘Singh still King’ —Hindustan Times

‘Bharat Shining, Congress smiling, Left Front Whining’— Swaminathan Ankleshwar Aiyar In Times of India

‘INCREDIBLE —- —-Indian Express

‘Singh fer King’ —-Punjabi Tribune

‘Haath’ ko fir Janta ka ‘Saath’—-Ajit Samachar

‘Congress-Finally a Free Hand’ —Economic Times

‘Natural born Leader’ (Dr Manmohan Singh) –Vinod Sharma Political editor HT

‘Congress Ka Rath Parliament Pauncha—Shaandaar Jeet’ —Hind Samachar Urdu

UPA ki ‘Sardari’ —-Punjab Kesari

‘Fortune favors the Brave’—-Vir Sanghavi in HT

‘Hands Down Win!’ —Shekhar Gupta Indian Express Editor

BJP Party Missed ‘AB Vajypayee’ —Rajnath Singh BJP president

‘Saata’ fir ‘Haath’ mein —Dainik Bhaskar

Wake Up call for the dream merchant (Sukhbir Badal )–Ramesh Vinayak, Resident Editor Hindustan Times
Congress ka ‘Karishma’ —Dainik Jagran

Follower or Leader (history will unravel the enigma that’s Manmohan Singh) —Karan Thapar In HT

It’s affirmation of a functioning democracy —-HK Dua Editor The Tribune

‘I’m here to understand what you mean by Taliban’:Arundhati Roy in Pakistan

Celebrated Indian author and social activist Arundhati Roy addresses a gathering at the Karachi Press Club on Friday.-Photo WhiteStar/Fahim Siddiqui

Celebrated Indian author and social activist Arundhati Roy addresses a gathering at the Karachi Press Club on Friday.-Photo WhiteStar/Fahim Siddiqui

The media coverage of Arundhati Roy visit to Karachi on May 8 , 2009 was posted to me by Mr Noormuhammad of Pakistan. It is important for us to assess what our fellow Indians say about India when they address audiences of another country. This becomes even more pronounced when addressing the neighbouring countries. Mr LK Advani too went to Pakistan in 2005 and addressed the Pakistani audience. As an author (God Of Small things) and social activitist in India Arundhati’s views may or may not necessarily be the view of Indians but India is committed to the fundamental right of free speech . So be it. …

by Salman Siddiqui/Dawn .com

Is there a threat of Talibanisation engulfing the entire region?

I think it has already engulfed our region. I think there’s a need for a very clear thinking (on this issue of Talibanisation). In India, there are two kinds of terrorism: one is Islamic terrorism and the other Maoist terrorism. But this term terrorism, we must ask, what do they mean by it.

In Pakistan, I’m here to understand what they mean by this term. When we say we must fight the Taliban or must defeat them, what does it mean? I’m here to understand what you mean when you say Taliban. Do you mean a militant? Do you mean an ideology? Exactly what is it that is being fought? That needs to be clarified.

I think both needs to be fought. But if it’s an ideology it has to be fought differently, while if it’s a person with a gun then it has to be fought differently. We know from the history of the war on terror that a military strategy is only making matters worse all over the world. The war on terror has made the world a more dangerous place. In India, they have been fighting insurgencies military since 1947 and it has become a more dangerous place.

Swat and the Taliban boy

It is very important for me to understand what exactly is going in Swat. How did it start? A Taliban boy asked me why women can’t be like plastic bags and banned. The point is that the plastic bag was made in a factory but so was the boy. He was made in a factory that is producing this kind of mind(set). (The question is) who owns that factory, who funds it? Unless we deal with that factory, dealing with the boy doesn’t help us.

Water is the main issue

One danger in Pakistan is that we talk about the threat of Taliban so much that other important issues lose focus. In my view, the problem of water in the world will become the most important problem. I think big dams are economically unviable, environmentally unsustainable and politically undemocratic. They are a way of taking away a river from the poor and giving it to the rich. Like in India, there’s an issue of SEZs (Special Economic Zones), whereby the land of the people are given to corporations. But the bigger problem is that there are making dams and giving water to the industries. This way the people who live in villages by the streams and rivers have no water for themselves. So building dams is one of the most ecologically destructive things that you can do.

Fight over Siachen glacier

There are thousands of Pakistani and Indian soldiers deployed on the Siachen glacier. Both of our countries are spending billions of dollars on high altitude warfare and weapons. The whole of the Siachen glacier is sort of an icy monument to human folly. Each day it is being filled with ice axes, old boots, tents and so on. Meanwhile, that battlefield is melting. Siachen glacier is about half its size now. It’s not melting because the Indian and Pakistani soldiers are on it. But it’s because people somewhere on the other side of the world are leading a good life….in countries that call themselves democracies that believe in human rights and free speech. Their economies depend on selling weapons to both of us. Now, when that glacier melts, there will be floods first, then there will be a drought and then we’ll have even more reasons to fight. We’ll buy more weapons from those democracies and in this way human beings will prove themselves to be the stupidest animals on earth.

Money and the Indian elections

Whatever system of government you have, whether it is a military dictatorship or a democracy, and you have that for a long time, eventually big money manages to subvert it. That has begun to happen even in a democracy (like India). For example, political parties need a lot of publicity, but the media is also run by corporate money. If you look at the big political parties like the Congress and the BJP, you see how much money is being put out just in their advertising budgets. Now where does all that come from?

RSS and the Indian establishment

The RSS has infiltrated everything to a great extent. In India, we have 120-150 million Muslims and it’s considered a minority…It’s impossible to not belong to a minority of some sort in India. Caste or ethnicity or religion or whatever, in some way everyone belongs to a minority. The fights that many of us are waging against the RSS and against the BJP are to say that we live in a society which accommodates everybody. Everybody doesn’t have to love everybody, but everybody has to be accommodated. The RSS has infiltrated the (Indian) army as much as various kinds of Wahabism or other kinds of religious ideology have infiltrated the ISI or the armed forces in Pakistan. They are human beings like everyone else and they too get influenced.

Indian media and sensationalizing of news coming out from Pakistan

I think the media in both countries play this game. Whenever something happens here, they hype it up there, while when something happens there, they hype the news here. We say that we live in times of an information revolution and free press, but even then nobody gets to know the complete picture…

The Pakistani media is a little different from the Indian media. They stand on a slightly different foundation. But both share the problem of a lack of accountability…The trouble in India is that 90 per cent of their revenue comes from the corporate sector…there’s increasing privatization and corporatization of governance, education, health, infrastructure and water management. So in India you see an open criticism of governance, but very rarely criticism of corporations. It’s a structural problem. It’s not about good people or bad people. It’s just that you can’t expect a company to work against itself. This is a very serious issue which needs to be sorted out.

Is the Indian army a sacred cow?

The Indian army is quite a sacred cow especially on TV and Bollywood. But at the same time if you talk to the people in the Indian army, they say that they feel that the media is very critical of them. I don’t share that view. I think it is a sacred cow. People are willing to give them a lot of leeway.

Women and their fight for justice

When women fight for justice, we must fight for every kind of justice…We must fight for justice for men and justice for children. Because if you fight for one kind of justice and you tolerate another, then it’s a pretty hollow fight. You may not be able to fight every battle, but you should be able to put yourself on the line and say I believe this.

Is Gen Parvez Mushraff set for a return to head Pakistan ?

parvez-musharaffBy Rashmi Talwar
Whatever Gen Parvez Musharaff was to Pakistan and whatever cowardly refuge he took by refusing to shed his uniform (small clothes change!) or India Bashing, he did IT to win ‘brownie’ points in his own country. He was most certainly walking a tight rope, as far as politics in his country was concerned.

For India, he was the architect of the Kargil Misadventure and a petulant leader at the Agra Summit.

His recent comments in the “India Today” organized Conclave saw the rug being pulled from right under his feet, when a muslim leader Mehmud Madani, member of Rajya Sabha and leader of Jamat-e-Ulema-i-Hind, bluntly told him to mind his own business as far as ‘Indian Muslims’ were concerned and take care of his own in Pakistan . Adding, “Indian Muslims are capable of handling their own problems and did not need either him or Pakistan to do so for them. Don’t try to play your politics of Pakistan from here” bullseye ! …it exposed Musharaff’s true intentions to be in India right on…

Back home no one really cared how he was run over by the muslim community in India, in the widely televised “India Today Conclave”.
For all his drawbacks and loud mouthed claims, what cannot be ignored is the fact that Musharaff as a martial ruler, tried to bring some veneer of balance for minority communities in a ‘highly’ theocratic state of Pakistan.
During his regime2-million rupees were sanctioned to beautify the “Katasraj” Hindu Shrines in Chakwal district of Pakistan which suffered more from human anger than the rigors of time besides a long pending demand of cremation ground in Lahore for sikh and hindu community (hindus are almost negligible in Lahore) was accepted in addition to Christian community that got funds .
Artists and theatre too flourished more freely. A beginning of the CBMs (Confidence Building Measures) with People to People contact between India and Pakistan started . No major terrorists strikes in Pakistan were seen duirng his regime other than two attempts on his (Musharaff’s)life and assassination of Benazir Bhutto ……that ultimately spelled doom for his political career.

After the effects of emotional franchise brought ‘Mr 10 percent’ –Asif Zardari to power, came —-the Talibans!
Major terrorist strikes, killings, rape, public floggings took place in Pakistan. Consequently, rallies of outrage against terrorism, high-handedness grew, fear psychosis has gripped Lahore and Punjab– the largest of the 4-provinces of Pakistan that also dominates the Political scene in Pakistan. Following this, perhaps people by and large in Pakistan are in a ‘mood-to-forgive’ Musharaff for his acts of omission and commission.
The fact that minorities in Pakistan, though almost negligible in number, had barely started feeling a little comfort during Musharaff’s time while just a few months onto the Zardari regime, has overturned the goodwill and security; Moreso with manifold misery unleashed on them ….is just another factor, albeit, of very little consequence.
At no time, has the alienation of minorities in Pakistan been as great as during the reign of the present incumbent.
News of Sikh community members’ abduction and demands of “Jazia” a Tax Imposed on Non-Muslims living under Sharia law by Taliban of Orakzai Agency in FATA, has shocked the world.
‘Jazia’ a tax on non-Muslims was re-imposed by Aurangzeb after Akbar had abolished it. The unearthing of ‘Jazia’ from the grave by Taliban not only comes as a retreat into the medieval ages but a sharp slap to world sanity.
The Orakzai Agency is one of seven tribal regions in Federally Administered Territory Area of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan which for months has been under control of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan.

After this news, More than five hundred thousand Christians in NWFP province of Pakistan are in wave of fear of life and property.
More than 5000 Pakistani Hindu families have recently migrated to India illegally after Zardari signed off SWAT to Taliban . The Hindus rather be jailed than return to NWFP and areas near Swat, where Taliban call the writ.

The recent incident where Sikhs were targeted happened in areas of Qasim Khel and Feroz Khel in Orakzai Agency. More than 50 Sikh families were living here even before independence of Pakistan. The Sikhs were running small businesses of grocery stores and wholesale outlets in Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan, when thousands of Sikh community members were forced to leave on Islamic Tax on Non-Muslims during Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 1999-2000. Only a few Sikh families remained here loyal to their religion while many others converted.

In recent wave of Sharia law in Swat Valley, Malakand, Dir, and Kohistan Areas 200 Sikh families and 1000 Christian families were forced to leave on issue of Taxation “Jazia” to seek protection living in the Islamic state.

In Orkzai Agency which is ruled by Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, homes of Sikhs were occupied by Taliban on failing to pay 50 million Rupees as Jazia. The Taliban kidnapped and tortured Sikh community leader Sardar Kalyan Singhand Sikhs collected and paid 7 million but failed to pay full amount on which they were driven out of Orakzai area of FATA.
Later, it was reported that the extremists occupied houses and shops of the Sikhs in Qasim Khel and Feroz Khel areas of the Agency and auctioned their valuables for 0.8 million rupees. Earlier, the Taliban had also demolished houses belonging to the Sikh community in the region.
Many of these sikh families have taken refuge in Nankana Sahib, Hasan Abdal , Panja Sahib , Dera Sahib and other Gurdwaras of Pakistan.

The Taliban bombed Christian Schools in Swat Valley and forced thousands of Christians to convert to Islam or to pay Tax levied to Non-Muslims on which they migrated to Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan.

The Christians from Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Sawabi and Charsadda districts of NWFP province have been already migrating to safer places in other areas with their relatives without any UNO or government of Pakistan assistance.

On news of Sikhs migration from FATA, the Indian government strongly protested to Pakistan and asked to secure life and property of Sikh and Hindu religious minorities in Pakistan.
Agitated Sikhs even burned effigies of Taliban in Amritsar.

India took up with Pakistan the matter related to the treatment of minorities in that country in the wake of reports that Taliban had driven out Hindus from their homes and were demanding ‘jaziya’ (taxes) from them.

Dr Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC commenting on issue of Sikhs and Hindus migration from FATA and Northern Areas of Pakistan appreciated stand of Indian government but expressed his disappointment on killing of Christians and mass migration of Christian families and silence of India and International forums to formally lodge protest with Pakistan.

Be that, Pakistan’s refrain of taking up issue of minorities treatment in Pakistan by India, amounts to interference in the internal matter of the country. But, Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC reminds and clarifies that Pakistani Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities reserve right to invite India for their moral support according to “Liaquat-Nehru Pact” signed among neighboring states to protect rights of minorities in respective countries.

In all this mele, there is not a word of empathy, for the plight of minorities in Pakistan, from anywhere in the country. A Pakistani civil officer aptly puts it “Minorities in Pakistan are of no consequence, they don’t register and their presence or absence means nothing.”
No one in Pakistan, has gathered the guts for a mere lip-service on the plight of minorities, fearing upturning their political fortunes. Minority leaders themselves admit that Musharaff was a far better ruler than Zardari. However, this opinion means nothing per se.

The major fact is, the vital ground scenario that things have gone ‘Horribly’out of control of the ‘fragile’ Zardari regime. This has indeed instilled morbid fear among those of cushy lifestyles In Pakistan(elite, politicians, army, bureaucrats, landlords and druglords), whose very existence is threatened to be overshadowed by the might of the Taliban. The thread of protests has been joined by various artist organisations, writers forums, NGOs,associations, societies and institutions in Pakistan against Terrorism.

It is they, maybe who will bring Musharaff back as a lesser evil.

Or has Mushraff —the architect –cleverly laid the plans for his return…….albeit– Op Lal Masjid that had an ominous dastardly spillover in the present day Pakistan and no one to clean the mess !

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