In Pakistan, a death foretold

January 4, 2011

taseerIn one of the more anguished posts about the murder of provincial governor Salman Taseer, Pakistani blogger Huma Imtiaz wrote that his assassination ”is not the beginning of the end. This is the end. There is no going back from here, there is no miracle cure, there is no magic wand that will one day make everything better. Saying ‘enough is enough’ does not cut it anymore …”

It was a sense that permeated much of the English-language commentary about Taseer’s killing in Islamabad by one of his own security guards. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Taseer, governor of Punjab province and a leading politician in the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was killed because of his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  A sense that the forces of religious intolerance are becoming all but unstoppable; and that those who oppose them by promoting a more liberal vision of Pakistan occupy an ever diminishing space.

“Salmaan Taseer was many things, but most recently, he was a champion of a particular strand of liberal, secular discourse in a country where such voices are dwindling down to nothing. He was a minority because he chose to stand next to the Christian and Hindu minorities who are denied basic protection in their own nation.  This is a great loss,” wrote historian Manan Ahmed at Chapati Mystery.

Taseer had championed the case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws, which have been criticised in particular for their misuse against minorities, often to settle local scores.

In his own words, from one of his last interviews, Taseer said of Aasia Bibi:  “She is a woman who has been incarcerated for a year-and-a half on a charge trumped up against her five days after an incident where people who gave evidence against her were not even present. So this is a blatant violation against a member of a minority community. I, like a lot of right-minded people, was outraged, and all I did was to show my solidarity. It is the first time in the history of the Punjab that a governor has gone inside a district jail, held a press conference and stated clearly that this is a blatant miscarriage of justice and that the sentence that has been passed is cruel and inhumane. I wanted to take a mercy petition to the president, and he agreed, saying he would pardon Aasiya Bibi if there had indeed been a miscarriage of justice.”

For that he had suffered death threats from the religious right who present any challenge to the blasphemy laws, introduced under former military ruler President  Zia-ul-Haq, as an insult to Islam.  In response he had promised on his Twitter feed to resist the pressure from the religious right “even if I am the last man standing”.

But the despair over Taseer’s killing was not only over the death of one man. It was because the warning signs had been there for so long and been ignored. And because so many others had died already, and nothing had been done.  The killing of more than 80 members of the minority Ahmadi sect in two mosques in Lahore last year might have served as a wake-up call.  It didn’t.  Nor for that matter did the killing of eight Christians in the town of Gojra in Punjab in 2009 following unsubstantiated allegations that a Christian had desecrated the Koran.

Instead the weak PPP-led government, like other administrations before it, has retreated in the face of powerful religious lobbies who have reduced the liberal, secular English-speaking community to a shrinking minority in Pakistan.   The promises of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah that the new country would be a place not only  where Muslims would be safe, but where people of all faiths would be free of discrimination, have been buried over decades by each retreat by each successive administration.

“One central truth most of us are unwilling to face is that much of the increasing extremism we see around us is deeply embedded in Pakistan’s DNA. When a country is created in the name of a faith, then inevitably, that faith will come to dominate modes of thought and behaviour,” wrote Dawn columnist Irfan Husain in a piece published a few days before Taseer’s death.

“Many of us who represent a dwindling liberal, secular strand in the media are fond of quoting Jinnah’s Aug 11, 1947 speech which remains as eloquent a declaration of secularism as I have read anywhere. But talk to clerics or students today, and they will look at you in disbelief and even anger if you impute secularism to the founder of Pakistan. In their view, he created Pakistan in the name of Islam, and not for the Muslims of the subcontinent. This is too nuanced an argument for most people who prefer to see things only in black and white.”

So while some individual PPP politicians had fought for changes to the blasphemy laws, the government itself had backed down in the face of street protests held before Taseer’s death, promising these would not be amended.

Small wonder then that few believe the provincial governor’s killing will galvanise the country into action against religious intolerance.

Instead even Pakistan’s usually determinedly optimistic bloggers are showing a growing weariness with the state of the nation, where it has become a staple of populist television shows to declare those who fail to conform with a particular interpretation of Islam as “wajib-ul-qatl” or worthy of death.

“Plenty of media personnel and right-wing politicians in this country contributed to this (Taseer’s death) with their constant ‘wajib-ul-qatl’ refrain, not to mention equating support for blasphemy laws to support for Islam. All of them could technically be dealt with as inciters to violence (illegal in our country, and basically every other one out there) but they won’t. You get to say and do whatever you want, act with as much impunity as you want — as long as you have God on your side,” wrote Ahsan Butt at Five Rupees.

Taseer’s killing could stimulate a discussion about Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the way it treats its minorities, wrote Mosharraf Zaidi at Foreign Policy.”Unfortunately, what is more likely is that Taseer’s death will not only not stimulate a more serious examination of how the Pakistani state deals with the highly toxic issues of blasphemy, but it may help mute the already nervous voices within the thin sliver of Pakistani society that seek to amend these kinds of legal provisions.”

“I get an overwhelming sensation that we have given up on Pakistan,” wrote Awab Alvi, who blogs at Teeth Maestro. “Have we? Please prove me wrong.”

Comments

Matrixx said:

> By the way I’m very liberal in dealing with other people including Hindus.

I am indeed honoured. I’ll bet you’re also kind to animals and charitable to the poor!

(If you didn’t mean that to be patronising, I apologise. Sometimes what one means doesn’t come across well in emails or blog comments, so I’ll grant that you may not have meant it the way it sounded to me.)

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@Umair
No one can appreciate the situation in Pakistan better than you can! You are in the midst of it. Many people on this blog have made salient comments and they all sympathise with you. But let me assure you that the world outside Pakistan is not a healthy one either. In many parts of the world there is a carnage going on mostly against muslims and christians. Look at across your shoulders in the direction of Kashmir and you would feel a sensation and visit the city of your birth and you would see what the war front looks like! An Indian politicians has been recently murdered by a woman. At east the Taseer muderer was a man and had a beard to demonstrate it. There are also People in the Pashtoon land, particularly in Swat and waziristan, who are children, sick and old who are being attacked by the Pakistan military as well as by the Americans in connivance with the Pakistan Govt. We have seen our share of violence in Europe, the bombings by ETA( I personaly escaped one in Madrid)and are regularly being told that aliens from Pakistan are on their way by road to bomb us. The level of crime and violence in the USA has no limits!! Wikileak buble has been softened since the info was sold to the media who are putting out the info which their owners direct. The zionist controlled media is at its game again. I was hoping that you guys in Pakistan would finally learn how many and who in the military and the civil Govt. are on the CIA payroll. Your media is also controlled by foreign interests, thanks to the military ruler Mr Musharaf who in his naivity supported the free press without any overall controls. The Indians on this blog are always talking about the extremist elements but never once mentioned(or did they?) about the Pakistan media, which has been putting out anti-India propaganda, sometimes justified but mostly unnecessary and poisoning the opinions of the most ordinary straight forward working class masses! Who is controlling them? We have Murdoch and the Russian szars now?
In any case we are used to taking it in a stride. You should learn to do the same, remembering that God almighty is infull control of the world. FEAR ME AND NO ONE ELSE, says the Quraan. Pakistan judiciary has another problem; most probably the security Guard would ask for the Sharia law which stipulates that his fate must be decided by the victim family. The family could forgive him or kill him with the same weapon and with the same number of bullets, not one more. I wonder who in Taseer’s family would be willing to take this task. According to Sharia the assasin has committed no crime against the State?

Take a walk from your office and enjoy the beautiful front garden of a German couple, a resident of Islamabad, not very far from the market. Google is just great!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

To be a liberal or a conservative depends upon the country you live in and is normaly associated with the culture and the traditions. Try to say it in your language what sort of religious, political and cultural school you belong to. It would be easy for the non Indians and non muslims.
I agree with Umair a muslim can never be a liberal in the sence the Americans are or the liberal party in Germany represent. Even the Pope is shocked to learn about the mischief of liberals who have over time converted Sodom and Gamohra into a harmless gay society! I am sure Matrixx whose comments I very much support and appreciate, is not inclined to accept the latest from the old gay Elton John have a son from a surrogate mother?
With regard to the story of the beard, some one rightly said this breed of beard garb started from the Pakistan military. How can a soldier not have a beard if his commander is having a beard. It has nothing to do with Islam, particularly uncontrolled legnth of beard. A mental black out if I may say without disrespecting those who have beards. Let Pakistan encourage Sikh tourists into the country( who for religion sake have beards) and you would find more Pakistanis without beards. Most people of the world had beards i ancient times but people became more accustomed to shaved chins for a number of reasons and this is good. I certainly do not want to go back to back to the stone age.

I know that some who do not have a full chin at birth look much better with a beard and some just not have the time when they are painting day and night or they are hooked with Ipods, lap tops and mobile communication system being approached almost twenty four hours.
This was just to distract the attention of many from the trajedy reported in the article. Sorry, if it is a bad taste.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Ganesh: It seems that “liberal” is a bad word in Pakistan. I just hope that “moderate” does not become one too.

@”Indian focus on PA and ISI is self serving and obvious. Any advice from them is not welcome.” Posted by Matrixx

I don’t think any Indian here is giving YOU any advice. You may be under the impression that you are a rational socio-economic analyst but your comments have indicated that you have a closed mind & a strong anti-India bias. We were simply expressing our support for Umair.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@”That is when extremism took roots in Pakistani society, a direct result of Soviet intervention in next door Afghanistan. We cannot blame Pakistan Army, even today with all the instability in Pakistan” Posted by Umairpk

As I mentioned in a previous post, the debate about who created this cancer of extremism, is irrelevant at this point. You say that it was necessary & it was created by the US, Soviets or the Kashmir issue, fine I accept that. But the only entity in the world which can eliminate this camcer, is the Pakistani army, not the US or NATO or the Saudis but the PA. So it’s time for Pakistanis to put the finger pointing aside & demand that your army take immediate & stern actions to eliminate this disease before it consumes you.

@”Just sometime back people on this blog compared Pakistan to Nazi Germany”

Actually this incident highlights more similarities between Pakistan & nazi germany. Even in nazi germany, there were officials & powerful people who supported the jews but they were systematically eliminated just like Taseer. And also don’t forget that the nazi’s also constituted only a tiny miniscule of the german population (less than 0.5%) and they did not represent the german people in any way, shape or form BUT they still brought the world on the brink of total destruction. And the scary part is that they did not have nuclear weapons back then like Pakistan does, today.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

If something appears in BBC, then it is real. This medium has been extremely professional and ethical in reporting news. I believe what they say:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-as ia-12136274

The trend in Pakistan is not only worrisome for Pakistanis, but also for the whole of South Asia as well. Only a massive level of destruction will bring an end to this, where people feel enough is enough and long for peace. Smoke and rubble will fill the scenario first.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal1/Prasad/Others
Let me make my position clear on major issues. Then you can give me your counter argument. I believe in equality of all humans across all nationalities, races, religions, social status or bank balances. Equality and justice for all is what I stand for. No amount of rhetoric will influence me in this respect. If you stnd with me on above principle, I’m your friend.
I also know that interstate affairs are run by money and coercive power. States have armies for that reason. I don’t like it but I take it into consideration as necessary evil.
Now let’s talk about Pakistan. In terms of resources, it is a significant state. It only looks small relative to India and China. Only one state, India dreams of taking it over physically and has the resources to do it. Therefore, India is classified as enemy number one. NATO does not have that capability but would like to control it by indirect means. This is not progressing well.
People of Pakistan fund PA at great cost and their charter is to protect the state. It is not in their charter to fight any state of mind of Pakistani citizens.
It is the job of police to go after criminals. It is a task for intellectuals and political parties to show the way to masses. On Pakistani street liberal, modern, secular are meaningless terms. Their concerns are more mundane like education, employment and food on the table.
Who do they blame for these problems?
I have indirectly answered all questions. I expect Indians to endorse my views or challange strongly without putting words in my mouth.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

KPS
Is it the same BBC of Iraq WMD fame? Shame on BBC for helping kill million Iraqis.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

I just read somewhere that Qadri’s (Taseer’s assasin) legal team consists of 300 attorneys. Begs the question, what kind of law are they teaching law students in Pakistan. Incidently, it was also lawyers who showered petals on Qadri when he arrived in court the other day.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “Is it the same BBC of Iraq WMD fame? Shame on BBC for helping kill million Iraqis.”

Emotional reactions tend to make everything look skewed. BBC did not campaign for Iraq war. Tony Blair did. BBC reports quite neutral news and does not present “stories” like the American channels do.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “Now let’s talk about Pakistan. In terms of resources, it is a significant state. It only looks small relative to India and China. Only one state, India dreams of taking it over physically and has the resources to do it. Therefore, India is classified as enemy number one. NATO does not have that capability but would like to control it by indirect means. This is not progressing well.
People of Pakistan fund PA at great cost and their charter is to protect the state. It is not in their charter to fight any state of mind of Pakistani citizens.”

India does not want to take over Pakistan. This is an unnecessary paranoia that has been created since Pakistan’s birth and perpetuated. If you look at history, Pakistan has always been the aggressor towards India, whether by the state or by its non-state actors. A nation waiting to gobble up another will not be at the receiving end.

India has not eaten up Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Burma. None of these are nuclear armed states with their guns pointed at India at all times. Pakistan is yet another neighbor. We see no reason to aim only at Pakistan and ignore the others.

India’s defense concerns are China centric. Since Pakistan has assumed itself to be a mighty power which can only be superior to a Hindu India, it has choked itself up with military equipment and unnecessary barricades.

Pakistan has taunted India time and again and has been frustrated by being beaten back by India. This is the only thing that has happened all these years. When India retaliates, it is used as a threat to Pakistan and the military goes shopping at the expense of national needs.

The problem lies with Pakistanis and their mindset. You can worship your military and your religion. India minds its own business. Our posturing has been defensive. All the problems in Pakistan have been self inflicted. You cannot rationalize it with lies.

Let me repeat here – India has no interest in taking over Pakistan. And that is especially when it has turned into a terrorist infested quagmire. We have a huge nation and we are happy with what we have. Unless citizens like you come out of this India paranoia and phobia, your military will never lower its guard. There is no need to force yourself to perceive India as an enemy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@”Only one state, India dreams of taking it over physically and has the resources to do it. Therefore, India is classified as enemy number one.”
Posted by Matrixx

I don’t wanna repeat what KP comented above but I’ll say this, if you are indeed a rational socio-economic analyst that you claim to be, compare (from neutral sources) the number of times India has attacked Pakistan with the number of times Pakistan has poked at India via it’s state & non-state actors and you’ll get your answer as to which country has been trying to intimidate the other. India has absolutely no interest in taking over Pakistan or any country for that matter. Despite good economic progress, India has a ton of it’s own problems to deal with & has no imperialistic ambitions. If Pakistanis like you want to keep the paranoia alive & keep believing that India wants to take over your country, no one can do anything about it.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx

“Only one state, India dreams of taking it over physically and has the resources to do it. Therefore, India is classified as enemy number one.”

***That will not be a dream, but a nightmare!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

KPS/Mortal
I’m giving you the opinion of great majority of people in Pakistan. Look at the array of conventional forces against Pakistan. All your Armour corps are facing West and another half million of your army is occupying Kashmir. Those people of Kashmir hate you from the depth of their heart. They face you unarmed in thousands and you have no qualms shooting them dead. Kashmir is natural part of Pakistan but you consider it an atootang and it beyond me how you justify it.
Then you make every effort to divide people of Pakistan by language, ethnicity, and geography. You propagate against identity of Pakistan and the religion of Islam. You celebrate every tragedy that hits Pakistan. You work against any peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. You ally with imperial forces and you have never said a word against what your masters did in Iraq. You stand with forces now getting ready to attack Iran. Your relations with your neighbors is an open book.
Tell me how to love you? Bollywood?

In a previous post I laid out the principles I follow.You had nothing to say about equality and justice as guiding light.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

rehmat
I did not come up with idea of Akund Bharat. Help find the source.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx said:

> Now let’s talk about Pakistan. In terms of resources, it is a significant state. It only looks small relative to India and China.

Good point.

On the one hand, I admire the chutzpah of Pakistan. No other country in the world would dare engage in sustained provocation of another country 6 to 8 times its size. India isn’t 6 to 8 times smaller than China, yet India doesn’t dare provoke China the way Pakistan does. India believes China is in illegal possession of Aksai Chin just like Pakistan believes India is in illegal possession of Kashmir, but we don’t keep needling China. One 1962 was enough for us.

You guys certainly have guts, guts that we don’t seem to have.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure about brains.

Each war of yours has been a worse failure than the last, so dispassionate analysis should suggest that there’s something wrong with the entire approach.

Let’s see what Pakistan has gained from the “India is our enemy” mentality. If you’ve gained something from it, then we could say it has served you well, whether it’s factually true or not.

1947-48: Seized some territory in Kashmir, and wasn’t driven back only because Nehru thought he would be a good world citizen and take the dispute to the UN instead. Big mistake, but then that was the last big Indian mistake with respect to Pakistan. I guess we learned fast.

1965: Made another grab for Kashmir, but ended in stalemate. The border didn’t move.

1971: Started a civil war/genocide. Gave India the excuse to intervene. Lost half the country. The Western border didn’t budge.

1984: Made a scramble to grab Siachen but lost the race by 4 days. Lost Siachen.

1999: Made another stealthy attempt to grab Kashmir through Kargil. Beaten back, earned international diplomatic isolation, ironically proved the claim that there was no Pakistani army intrusion because India wiped out the Northern Light Infantry to a man. The Kashmir border didn’t budge.

Net effect of 63 years of unremitting hostility:

Pakistan didn’t get any more territory in Kashmir other than what it managed to grab in its first gambit in 1947-48. Once the smaller country loses the element of surprise, I guess that’s pretty much the end of their advantage.

So what have you really gained in 63 years after the initial grab of AJK and GB in 1948?

Zilch. And the cost has been enormous.

Dispassionate analysis leads us this far. Now try courage.

It’s not courage anymore to stay locked into a hostile position when the enemy is growing stronger and you’re growing weaker (admit it, guys). Courage now lies in changing the hostile mindset, and risking the possibility that India will take you over.

Take the risk! You may be pleasantly surprised. Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives are still independent countries in spite of being India’s neighbours for decades. Perhaps Pakistan will also survive even after it drops its hostility?

I guess this is challenge before you. Are you capable of true courage (not to be confused with brainless guts of the kind demonstrated in the past)?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@”Those people of Kashmir hate you from the depth of their heart. They face you unarmed in thousands and you have no qualms shooting them dead…..”

I see that you have conveniently moved your dispassionate analysis from “India wants to take over Pakistan” to “India killing a zillion kashmiris in J&K”. For my comments regarding condemnation of atrocities commited by the Indian army is kashmir, check my earlier posts.

“Then you make every effort to divide people of Pakistan by language, ethnicity, and geography. You propagate against identity of Pakistan and the religion of Islam. You celebrate every tragedy that hits Pakistan. You work against any peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. You ally with imperial forces and you have never said a word against what your masters did in Iraq. You stand with forces now getting ready to attack Iran. Your relations with your neighbors is an open book.”

Is that some kind of a joke? Claiming a bunch of nonsense is the easy part. Can you back up any of the balony you put up there, with FACTS? You prove yet again that a rational & factual debate with you, is almost impossible.

@”In a previous post I laid out the principles I follow.You had nothing to say about equality and justice as guiding light”

That’s because most of your comments are in complete contradiction to the principles, which you claim to follow.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal/Prasad
A response by declaration is a “mantra”.

Prasad
If there is a peace proposal put it on table. Is it like Zionist peace proposals?

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “Look at the array of conventional forces against Pakistan. All your Armour corps are facing West and another half million of your army is occupying Kashmir. Those people of Kashmir hate you from the depth of their heart. They face you unarmed in thousands and you have no qualms shooting them dead. Kashmir is natural part of Pakistan but you consider it an atootang and it beyond me how you justify it.”

Like I have said before, the maximum hostility India has faced is from Pakistan. Pakistan has triggered four wars with India and a couple of proxy wars in Kashmir and Punjab. When that is the case, don’t you think it is prudent on our part to park our armed forces where the hostility arises from? I have said earlier, our stance has been defensive in nature. India had to bring in such a huge military presence into Kashmir because Pakistani army launched a Jihad there in 1989. It has been a decade and half of persistent insurgency that had brought in Indian military presence to this extent. The people of Kashmir are being crushed under the weight of this military presence and they are sick of it. In reality our military is there to face your militants and army soldiers in disguise.

So if you want our military not to point its barrel at you, lower your guard first and seek peace.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Cave dwellers in Germany should note this. All is not liberal there. Take a look at this link that says what the public mood in France and Germany are:

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/fea tures/2011/01/201116112228783789.html

The next time anyone from there says Germany is all liberal, full of freedom and right, I will quote this reference again.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 
 

Matrixx said:

> If there is a peace proposal put it on table. Is it like Zionist peace proposals?

I am nobody to put forth a peace proposal. Only diplomats can do that, and nobody here is a member of Indian officialdom, just ordinary people. Please try and understand what we are trying to do here. All we can do is open our minds and try to understand the situation as we see it from new perspectives.

As I see it, India really need not engage with Pakistan at all. India is doing well economically and gradually solving its own problems. It’s Pakistan that’s in trouble. So why should we Indians even bother? Well, it just seems wasteful that two neighbouring countries in South Asia should not do well together. There seems to be a lot of distrust of Indian motives among Pakistanis, and I’m struggling to understand why. I have asked before but received no answer from anyone – What is this “existential threat” from India that Pakistanis are afraid of?

In this context, please understand that the Akhand Bharat mantra of the Hindutva Brigade is just a slogan. These people are like a dog chasing cars – they wouldn’t know what to do if they actually caught one! I have previously asked the question of them on this forum too – do they want the proportion of Muslims in their country to go up from the present 12.5% (150 million out of 1.2 billion) to 30% (150+170+140/1.5 billion)? Because that’s what Akhand Bharat would mean. I don’t think they’ve actually thought through the arithmetical implications of their slogan. Besides, the Hindutva movement is an urban, small-town, lower middle-class phenomenon. They will never go away, but I don’t think they will have more than nuisance value in Indian politics. Their views, while alarming (even to Indians/Hindus), should not be taken as the direction of Indian policy. Fortunately, we are a very diverse country and the resultant direction is usually moderate.

No sir, any logical person can see that reunification of the subcontinent into the same borders as pre-independence India is an impossibility. In fact, it’s better to be separate than to be forced together. Even within India, states are being split up to give greater autonomy to local people. Federalism works better than centralisation. Many of us would like to see a loose federation of sovereign nations in South Asia with low barriers to trade, finance and human traffic. There’s no question of anyone swallowing up anyone else in this scenario. In fact, the more efficient economy, not necessarily the bigger economy, will end up owning a proportionately higher share of total assets.

Think about these a little. My previous post was not meant to insult but to constructively challenge. I would like you to think about the future I am trying to paint. It requires you to lower your defences, which is scary to be sure, but that’s the courage bit that I was talking about.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx,

I don’t know if you see the irony when you post the news articles on Swami Aseemanand. They prove that India is prosecuting Hindu right-wing terrorists who attacked Muslims and sabotaged the peace process.

Now tell me, what’s the progress in Pakistan on the trial of the Mumbai terrorists?

You claim to be dispassionate. Can you see the difference?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Prasad
I think your explanation regarding Akund Bharat is logical.
I appreciate such logical constructs.

The second part is existence of extremism in India which you accept and there is also extremist in Pakistan also.
How the two countries handle them will be interesting to watch.
The reason I posted links to Swami Aseemanand is to show that Pakistan is not a source of all terrorism which is the position of Indian government.
Regarding Mumbai attack there is lot hidden which needs to come out. You are aware that Headley, a DEA agent was deeply involved in planning. He should have been extradited to face terror charges. I have no problem prosecuting all individuals involved and punishing them.
I’m convinced that more than few individuals from different countries were involved. How do you investigate all of them and successfully convict them.
A joint investigation team would have been good. But seems like every party had something to hide and use it for political point scoring. I would be happy if some independent org could get to the bottom of what happened.

More later.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

@Matrixx
You are doing a good job, but be careful this Indian lot has the tendency to become a mob and then no reasoning(vernunft), is valid any more. The guy sitting in the wilderness of no where reckons that BBC is professional, ethical and real. He is not aware that BBC is run by the British tax payers money and is the official media of the British Govt. and represents the foreign policy of the country in the world. He is also not aware that Tony Blair was a despot, got rid of many ministers who opposed him as well as the BBC head!You have another guy who is comparing german NAZI party with Pakistan, without even realising what the word NAZI stands for, which is ironically included in the Indian constitution.

How do you argue with them? they can become pretty rude. Good luck any way.

Rex minor

PS I was once told that when an indian learns to read and write, they would read any thing written and published, liberal and conservative without investigating the accuracy of the info. published. I was then told by another Indian that I should not generalise and I have following his advice, but now I note that there are some who are continually bringing news items from NY Times, Washington Post and down to hindustan times etc etc. How does one should tell them they need to concentrate on the opinions which are being expressed by the bloggers on the Reuters Blog and not confuse it with pseudo journalists commentry of the world. We all have Ipads and within seconds we are able to read the headlines in most papers of the world in several languages. there is no need to display crap which appears to match their views.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@rehmat: I can an will continue to do so as long as members of Islam continue to use violence as a means of religious indoctrination. There is freedom of religion for all in my country. Freedom of religion for all has within it’s domain freedom from religion.

Wherever you’re from, rehmat, you must agree that radical Islamists are wrong, and they don’t portray Islam. Therefore when 500 (+/-) Islamist scholars threaten the populace of a region with death for mourning a popular governor who was trying to bring modern thought there, I say to Gehenna with that religion and those scholars. Those scholars are false, IMHO, teaching the teachings of the Dark One masquerading as the Light.

The whole idea of blasphemy is curious. Is that Deity so weak that it must resort to murder to get it’s will across. Or is it juts plainly a Mafioso? Or are some of it’s followers just twisted. We in the West are trying to take care of the problem of our paedophile priest, and we’ll put the religious extremists in prison, or execute them if necessary. Sadly in Pakistan, and a few other Islamic places, the extremists appear to have infiltrated government.

Posted by alreaud | Report as abusive
 

“The reason I posted links to Swami Aseemanand is to show that Pakistan is not a source of all terrorism which is the position of Indian government.”

Yes Pakistan is root cause of all terrorism, Swami Aseemanand incorporation is not trying to Blow Times square, swami has not done the London subway bombings and terrorists from all over the world are not coming to India for Jihadi training. Swami Aseemanand was not caught in Lahore or Karachi bombings or Mumbai type shootout.

A very small section of India, frustrated by repeated terrorist attacks on India and Govt. of India not doing enough, chose to do something of their own and Indian authorities are already after them.

But how many terrorists Pakistan have prosecuted or caught or at least how many terrorist attacks in Pakistan has investigated. How about starting investigation on Benazir Bhutto murder to start with ??

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Rex minor
Thanks for the advice. It is difficult to teach people critical thinking or grasp reality. At the same time I need to encourage any one of the who show promise.

Their numbers don’t scare me and I know their tricks. They run from tough questions and always want to talk about others. So be it.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx,

Extremists are everywhere. In the US, a guy bombed a Federal building in Oklahoma city a decade ago, killing hundreds. This does not mean the US is a terrorist infested country. They also have the KKK, Aryan nations, Christian fundamentalists, anti-abortionists etc who sometimes get violent. They also have workers or school kids who walk in one day and mow everyone down with automatic weapons. Possessing guns is a constitutional right there. US prisons are brimming with criminals. If you put it all together, you can project an image of a US that resembles the lawless region around the Durand line between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

There are criminals in all countries. Therefore you cannot simply quote that and say Pakistan is all fine. There is a reason why the world is focusing on Pakistan. It is obvious to everyone other than some of you Pakistanis. I understand that a lot of retaliatory responses arise from emotions triggered by pride and patriotism. Arguing for argument sake will lead to close minded vision of the world.

India does have rebellion movements, anti-national activities, secessionism, human rights violations, corruption, backwardness, hunger, poverty, terrorism, immoral acts etc. No one denies that. They are like germs in a body. No one denies that. But people avoid those who carry infectious disease Pakistan’s problem resembles a contagious diseases that seems to be consuming Pakistan and any country that deals with it. By pointing out to someone that he also has a scar on his rear end, it does not take away your infection. In India, the system is way too big for these extremists to take control of the whole nation. In Pakistan, it is very clear that extremism is gaining. And it is being compounded by inept leadership, uncontrollable corruption, radicalization, poverty, lack of resources etc.

You can always find something or the other to highlight about India and it will always be true. The question is whether it is going to affect the whole country or not is the question. In the case of Pakistan, it is very clear that things are getting out of control. This is something you guys cannot deny anymore out of pride. You are failing to see the sympathy from our side and are still trying to equate us to your country at all costs, without realizing that your country is edging towards an internal collapse.

In India the rule of the law is slow and culprits get punished mildly after many years of legal wrangling. Even Ajmal Kasab is having a good time after having massacred many innocents. You must seriously look at your country and see what you can do. India is relatively safer and it has moved on.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “It is difficult to teach people critical thinking or grasp reality. At the same time I need to encourage any one of the who show promise.

Their numbers don’t scare me and I know their tricks. They run from tough questions and always want to talk about others. So be it.”

This is funny. The above statement resembles a mentally sick patient telling another one along the corridor that he is treating the doctors and nurses by teaching them how to behave. I am not saying you are mental, but you are in a sick country right now. It is you people who need treatment and not the other way around.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

No Indian would deny that there are certain fringe radical elements in India. But the numbers of such elements in India (both absolute & relative terms) are nowhere near those of their Pakistani counterparts and nor is the support & power which is enjoyed by radicals in Pakistan. As others have rightly pointed, the Indian govt is taking stern action against such elements & prosecuting them, as they should.
BTW, it’s not just the Indian govt which considers Pakistan as the hub of global terrorism. Officials from the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Japan etc, to name a few, have also pointed a finger at Pakistan in recent times.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@alreaud

I have no problems with your statements! It would seem that you have a genuine problem with the extremist muslims and perhaps Islam? But pray if I may ask the purpose of your visiting this blog? People on this blog are using their intellect as much as possible and addressing the questions deriving from the article. O’K some do use a lot of emosions, but not hate, and even address one another to convass their views.
May I suggest that you go to Afghanistan where the world armies have gathered to eliminate the muslim extremists,
OR if you prefer France then go to Paris, the muslim quarter where the French Police dare not enter even in daylight unless with full force or perhaps go to Marseilles in the south in the North African quarter. you have problems with french language then Luton, England is also a spot where these alien jehadi muslims are always plotting to cause troubles for the infidels. I could not ask you to come to Germany where there is lot of unease due to the announcement before x’mass that some extremists are on their way by road from Pakistan to cause trouble for peaceful Germans. On reflection, perhaps you should first finish the job of paedophile priests first before you take on tackling muslims which happens to be almost two billions.
Incidently, exceution is not allowed in Europe. In the case of Priests you could ask for special permission. But I doubt if the extremist Christian Govts. would allow it. It is only sixty years that they have stopped killing one another and becoming peaceful.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“On reflection, perhaps you should first finish the job of paedophile priests first before you take on tackling muslims which happens to be almost two billions.
Incidently, exceution is not allowed in Europe. In the case of Priests you could ask for special permission. But I doubt if the extremist Christian Govts. would allow it.”

—Rex

Haha ha, see who is talking about paedophiles, we all know who was a a paedophile and who are following him.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Looks like Mr. Qadri is a hero in Pakistan. See the series of youtube videos in support of him. These people are singing as though some great hero has been taken by evil.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P7SFkaBe ic&feature=related

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
Here is something fresh for you to chew on:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan  /08/gabrielle-giffords-shot-tucson-ariz ona

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Myra

I request you to please remove the comment by Punjabiyaar posted on Jan 8, 2011
1:57 pm EST. Thank you

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

It is very sad that discourse in political views can end up in violence. Tolerance in great America is ebbing away.Congress woman Giffords appears to be a controversial figure of jewish origin, a liberal but favoured arms, went to Rome with her parents on holidays and attended a mass at the vatican. Too bad she either forgot or did not carry the Gun at the time to shoot down her assailant. What a tragedy for her and her family. One hopes and prays that she recovers from the head injury!!
Politicians are becoming the victims from Pakistan to India to Tuscon, Arizona though for very different reasons.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Brig. Mohammad Yousaf of ISI in his book “The bear Trap” writes how the CIA arranged the shipment of thousands of tons arms and ammunition to Karachi port further distributed to Afghan Mujahideen. Money followed in, GID (General Intelligence Directorate- Saudi Arabia) along with the US. Non-stop flights from Washington to Chaklala airbase Rawalpindi carrying William Casey CIA director board his official plane refuled in midair. It is all documented guys, please think about it. After that you will admit Pakistan is not quite the ‘hub’ of global terrorism. From Zibignew Brezinski to Congressman Charles wilson to the staunch anticommunist Ronald Reagen the villains behind the scenes are right there in the west. Today ordinary Pakistanis continue to pay a heavy price. Wake up and educate yourself before you give stupid statements.

Rex Minor:
” There are also People in the Pashtoon land, particularly in Swat and waziristan, who are children, sick and old who are being attacked by the Pakistan military as well as by the Americans in connivance with the Pakistan Govt.”

-Rex, Pakistan Army has taken great care to minimize collateral damage, helped settle the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) of Swat and South Waziristan. In SWA leaflets were dropped from helicopters to inform the residents before the operations began that this is not an assault on them. I can tell you historically Pakistan has stood by its pushtoon people. Only few criminal elements hide behind the population there. Pakistani govt. and Army has no enmity with people there. Even the locals there are fed up and hail Pakistan Army which has brought about stability and securoty in their lives. Drone attacks have been repeatedly challenged, where there has been border incursions by US we have had incidents of border closure and logistic supply suspended for weeks with hundereds of NATO conatiners set on fire, even on few occasions clear order to Pakistan Army formations to open fire on intruding foreign forces. I think you need to look at the situation in a realistic manner and make informed judgements. Inspite of what you have stated, the reality is quite the opposite.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx,

You can show any link that shows the US in bad light. It hardly matters to me. I am an Indian. After all US has been your country’s partner all along. May be they are feeling some peer pressure.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

> They [Indians] run from tough questions and always want to talk about others.

This is untrue and easily disproved. Indians here have candidly admitted to all the failings of the Indian state and Indian society. No warts are being hidden here, and you can go back and re-read our various comments to verify this.

- Kashmir: Indians are uncomfortable with the human rights violations that have taken place and army heavyhandedness in general. We would like more accountability from our armed forces in Kashmir. (It’s already more accountable to the civilian authority than its counterpart in Pakistan (heh!) but we demand more.) We know that the government in Delhi has rigged more than one election in Kashmir and we condemn that. We discuss these things very candidly, not only on this blog but in the Indian media. But there is another side to the Kashmir story that others seem to run away from…

- Caste system: Indians (at least the educated ones) recognise that the caste system and caste-based discrimination are evil and need to be done away with. It may take another couple of generations to entirely dismantle a centuries-old system, but a lot of progress has been made in 63 years, both by the government through affirmative action programs and by people themselves through inter-caste marriages (mainly in urban areas).

- Maoist and other separatist rebellions: Indians recognise the uneven level of social justice throughout India, which has led to armed rebellion against the state in many regions. There is a continuous tug-of-war between two schools of thought – hardline versus moderate, and in a democracy (however flawed), these will work themselves out. Already the ULFA separatists in Assam have indicated that they are willing to work within the Indian state. This has not been swept under the carpet but is a hot topic of discussion in India itself.

- Treatment of minorities: Pakistanis and other Muslims outside harp on the Gujarat massacre of 2002. Indians here have treated both the Gujarat massacre (of Muslims) and the 1984 Delhi massacre (of Sikhs) the same, and condemn both of them. We consider these a stain on our society and want justice to be done. It is frustrating as much to us as to anyone else that this has not been done. It is the unfinished business of the Indian state to bring justice to the victims and their families, and to ensure that these do not occur again.

Tell me again what are the tough questions that Indians “run away from”?

And by the way, will any Pakistani care to answer my question (which I’m asking for the fourth time on this blog): What is this “existential threat” that India poses to Pakistan? I don’t believe that’s even a “tough” question to answer. It just requires honesty and candour.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

KPS
Would you tell me who is Swami Aseemanand and the significance of RSS organization. If you don’t then you are not an honest participant. Come clean before you look elsewhere.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Rex Minor to alreaud:

> But pray if I may ask the purpose of your visiting this blog?

Pot calling the kettle black? What is your locus standi anyway, Rex? (You understand Latin, right?) You are neither Indian nor Pakistani by your own statements, so what are you doing on this blog? ‘alreaud’ has as much right to visit this blog and to comment as you do. Many people object to your comments but you have the right to say whatever you want. ‘alreaud’ doesn’t have to answer to you.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “you will admit Pakistan is not quite the ‘hub’ of global terrorism. From Zibignew Brezinski to Congressman Charles wilson to the staunch anticommunist Ronald Reagen the villains behind the scenes are right there in the west. Today ordinary Pakistanis continue to pay a heavy price. Wake up and educate yourself before you give stupid statements.”

If at the time of CIA mission through the ISI anyone in Pakistan had raised the issue of Pakistan becoming a victim of radical elements and protested the war against the Soviets using religion as the weapon, then there would be reason for you to claim that your country has been victimized. We know that was not the case. Your military was headed by a radical general Mr. Zia Ul Haq who war too eager to Islamize your nation as a part of this whole process. He used American and Saudi money to build the infrastructure for breeding radicalized warriors.

It is easy to project the Americans as the real villains. But your country offered itself as the conduit for its operations against their traditional enemy. In the bargain your country gained a lot of things – the nukes, becoming a front line state for the US against the USSR, money, weapons, American diplomatic support and what not. At that time no one from Pakistan ever accused them of exploiting them. Your country was floating in Heaven.

Suddenly when the US has pointed its barrel towards your country, they have become evil monsters who have radicalized and brain washed your countrymen. The truth is this – your country’s leaders wanted it that way and the Americans were willing to exploit it. Their assumption was that all the radicalization will stay confined to South Asia and they couldn’t care less if Pakistan nuked all of India and vice versa. They were busy setting up the new world order after the Soviet collapse. They were happy to throw some dollars towards your generals and hoped that you were happy with it.

if at all you want to blame anyone, blame Bin Laden. He screwed everything up for Pakistan and the Muslim world in general. If he had not taken on the US, by now your country will be leading the carnage against all neighboring states with the connivance and support of the Western world.

Agree that both your countries are villains. We will not accept one villain blaming the other for all ills. Both had different goals and somehow they aligned for a certain time. Your country has its enemy and Americans, theirs. And the two worked together as a team. Americans got their mission accomplished. Pakistan has been left in the dirt. None of us will buy your rational that your country is being filled with thumb suckling innocent people.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Prasad

It is the huge army you have on our borders, you not resolving any disputes, your sneaky ways and propaganda all the time. I leave it you to classify this situation as existential threat or not. For me it makes India enemy number one.
Intellectually and morally you are no threat to us.
I hope this answers your question.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

@Matrixx

“I did not come up with idea of Akund Bharat. Help find the source.”
***Historically, there were several Hinduism-Buddhism kingdoms in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma, Bhutan, Sri Lanka etc. So some analysts think the idea of AKHAND Bharat would reunite these areas which have been part of India historically. They are only half right. True, these areas were influenced by Hinduism-Buddhism but India has never been historically UNITED. So even the AKHAND Bharat concept is wrong. Perhaps you would not disagree with me over this.

Where we will perhaps disagree is that this idea is not been implemented by Indian govt. If you think Indian belief of “Kashmir as atootang of India” is an evidence in that, I will say that Kashmir is a special issue unrelated to this concept. There is NOTHING going on to implement the idea of Akhand Bharat. There is an evidence of what I am saying, Bangladesh was not “physically occupied” by India in 1971, when India had its chance. Also, you have missed the news that a political party that proposes the concept of Hindutva for India is out of power for that reason. That shows something.

Ask a Hindu here for what he/she thinks about Akhand Bharat, no one will give a damn to more land. It is hard to take care of the piece India has right now. Physically taking over Pakistan means making each single member of LeT a Indian Citizen. who wants that?

Pakistanis should not even pay attention to this anymore since they have atomic bomb.

“Those people of Kashmir hate you from the depth of their heart. They face you unarmed in thousands and you have no qualms shooting them dead. Kashmir is natural part of Pakistan but you consider it an atootang and it beyond me how you justify it.”
***India says “atootang”, you say “Kashmir is natural part of Pakistan” and Pakistan govt says “Kashmir banega Pakistan”. What’s the difference? Help yourself to a poll (link at Reuters by Myra) that showed that Kashmiris hate Pakistan as well.

It is time to cool down on Kashmir since that ties to the issue at hand —the religious extremism. This is where PA/ISI start becoming Indian target from Indian point of view. Kashmiris are unarmed but LeT that fights for Kashmiris is supported by PA/ISI. It is bad for India and bad for Pakistan since this policy fuels religious extremism in both countries. you have seen first hand in Pakistan and I have seen that in India.

Peace!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@GParasad
Take it easy, I was not challenging Alreaud’s right on this blog? I thought he was trying to chase the christian priests not atheists. He also mentioned that he would like to imprison the religion extremists in Prison or execute them if necessary.he does not represent west, I am the west! The people of the west do not want war with muslims, they tried it before and lost it. The second crusade is going to cost them whatever is left of them!!

I have therefore suggested to him to visit Afghanistan, the homeland of extremists, to follow his mission. All the western powers are there!! Have you any suggestions for him to the Indian city where the hindu extremists are at work?
I trust it is not you who wrote that obscene mission under Alreuds name?

Rex Minor

PS You are a very inquisitive guy, but I like one of your detailed post to Matrixx, who has now given you the clearance, but not for Indian army and the Indian Govt. politics.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@alreaud

“I can an will continue to do so as long as members of Islam continue to use violence as a means of religious indoctrination.”
***you have freedom of speech to say whatever you want. My protest was not to attack Islam, just attack the extremists. I do not like the freedom of speech of the kind in USA where a priest announces to tear Kuran over something he does not like. I like to swing my arm but watch who is around me. I will watch if my words are hurting a Muslim who is peaceful, perhaps you do not care in the name of freedom of speech.

“Therefore when 500 (+/-) Islamist scholars threaten the populace of a region with death for mourning a popular governor who was trying to bring modern thought there”
***I am with you in condemning the Muslim extremists or these Islamic scholars. Have you not seen other Muslims like Umair condemning strongly the act of the extremists. To me the priest who announced to tear Koran in US is an extremist. For you that is freedom of expression, I guess.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

rehmat
Now kashmir is special case explain it.

If the poll says Kashmir does not want to go with Pakistan that is fine with me. Let’s make it formal by a vote under neutral supervision.

In any case, You and I are nobodies, it is for Kashmir to decide to cool it.

Sudan which is Muslim country is holding a referendum today giving a chance to south Sudan to be independent. Largest democracy in world and newly elected member of UN security council does not have the moral courage to match Sudan. Long live democracy.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

@Umair
Your assessment I am afraid is faulty. No democratic country can justify the use of military against its own citizens. the swat people as well as the waziris have never submitted to force during the moghul kings reign nor during the colonial rule. Pakistan first military Govt. came in power to protect the citizens of Pakistan, because they were of the opinion that when a civilian Govt. is unable to maintain peace in the land without the use of the military, then the civilian Govt. has no legitimacy to stay in power. Pakistan last military Govt. under Musharaf, took over the country by force when Mr Sharif dismissed Mr Musharaf form his post.
It was Musharaf who made the deal with the USA, handing over the power to the civilian Govt. and deploying the military in the Pashtoon land. Your current military is involved in politics and your current civil Govt., no matter how incompetent it is has the support of the USA Govt. Their job is to carry out the USA administration instructions. This is a very dangerous game which mr gillani and Mr szardari are plying and not something stable to last?

In any event, we wish you peace!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex to Matrixx
“How do you argue with them? they can become pretty rude. Good luck any way.”

***Rex, please stay positive. Matrixx does not look the gullible type person and he is doing a great job at making his points. He is having his own thoughts and expressing the perceptions of Pakistanis, which is nice.

Let the focused discussion go.

Thank you so much!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

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