Tuesday, 16 May 2017

سوال

سوال.
دانش خان
6 اکتوبر 2016 کو انگریزی اخبار ڈان میں چھپی خبر سے جو معاملہ شروع ہوا اس نے 29 اپریل 2017 کو اچانک ایک بحران کی شکل اس وقت اختیار کرلی جب وزیراعظم کے دفتر سے جاری ہونے ایک حکمنامے کو فوج کے تعلقات عامہ کے شعبے کے سربراہ نے ایک ٹوئٹ کے ذریعے رد کردیا. جس کے بعد ایک غیر یقینی کی سی کیفیت محسوس ہونے لگی، حزب مخالف کی جماعت پی ٹی آئی نے اپنا وزن فوج کے پلڑے میں ڈال دیا جبکہ پی پی پی کی طرف قومی اسمبلی میں قائد حزب اختلاف سید خورشید شاہ نے فوج کے مؤقف کی حمایت کی، سینیٹ میں قائد حزب اختلاف چوہدری اعتزاز احسن نے عاصمہ شیرازی سے بات کرتے ہوئے ٹوئٹ کو حدود پھلانگنے سے تعبیر کیا جبکہ فرحت اللہ بابر نے جو کہ پارٹی کا مؤقف تھا بیچ کا راستا لیا. تقریباً ایک ھفتے سے زائد کا عرصہ غیر یقینی کی صورتحال رہی اسی دوران حکمران جماعت کے سرکردہ افراد کے اجلاس جاری رہے اور بالآخر دونوں اطراف سے لچک کا مظاہرہ کیا گیا اور 10 مئي 2017 کو معاملہ خوش اسلوبی سے اختتام کو پہنچا جس کے تحت وزارت داخلہ نے انکوائری رپورٹ کی پیرا 18 میں دی گئی سفارشات پہ عملدرآمد کیلئے نیا نوٹیفکیشن جاری کیا اور ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر نے اپنی 29 اپریل والی ٹوئٹ واپس لینے کا اعلان کیا اور کہا کہ وہ ٹوئٹ کسی فرد یا اداری کے خلاف نہیں تھی. اس کے بعد سوشل اور روایتی میڈیا پہ ایک طرف تو آرمی چیف کی فھم و فراست اور جمہوریت پسندی کی تعریف کی جا رہی ہے اور دوسری طرف یہ باور کیا جا رہا ہے کے یہ سوشل میڈیا کا اثر تھا جس نے عسکری قیادت کو انا اور ضد چھوڑ کہ مصالحت پہ مجبور کیا. میری ناقص رائے میں یہ دونوں باتیں مبالغہ آرائی کے سوا کچھ نہیں. اگر پاکستان میں سوشل میڈیا اتنی ہی طاقتور ہے جتنا فرض کیا جا رہا ہے تو نورین لغاری / احسان اللہ احسان کو مجوزہ معافی اور انکی قومی دھارے میں شمولیت بھی منسوخ ہو چکی ہوتی، مولانا عبدالعزیز لال مسجد والے سلاخوں کے پیچھے ہوتے اور اچھے اور برے طالبان کی پالیسی بھی ختم ہو چکی ہوتی کیونکہ ان معاملات پہ بھی سوشل میڈیا پہ ایک واضح مؤقف مسلسل دیکھنے میں آتا ہے. اور جہاں تک چیف صاحب کی فہم و فراست کا تعلق ہے تو یقیناً ان میں ہوگی سی لئے وہ اتنے اہم عہدے پہ براجماں ہیں. جہاں تک ڈان لیک معاملے کا تعلق ہے تو اس نے اپنے ادارے مفادات کا یقیناً خیال رکھتے ہوئے الجھے ہوئے معاملے کو سلجھایا ہوگا. ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر ذاتی حیثیت میں کبھی اس طرح کی ٹوئٹ نہیں کرسکتے جب تک ادارے اور چیف کی مکمل آشیرباد حاصل نہ ہو. اس کے بعد درج ذیل پوائنٹس پر گفتگو کروں گا.
1. وہ کیا عوامل تھے جو دونوں اطراف کو لچک دکھانے کا باعث بنے.
2. کیا اس سارے قضیہ میں سولین بالادستی قائم ہوئی.
3. کیا مسلم لیگ نواز کی حکومت نے عسکری قیادت کو حکومتی معاملات میں زیادہ جگہ دی ہے.
29 اپریل کے بعد ایسے لگ رہا تھا کہ معاملہ انگریزی والے ڈو آر ڈائے( do or die) کی طرف جا رہا ہے. حکمران جماعت کے اندر واضع طور پہ دو رائے نظر آ رہی تھیں ایک وہ جو مزید کوئی رعایت دینے کے حق میں نہیں تھے. وہ پرویز مشرف کی بیرون ملک روانگی سے لے کر پرویز رشید کی برطرفی تک بہت سی چیزوں پہ نالان تھے. مگر دوسری کیمپ جس میں شاید شہباز شریف اور چوہدری نثار شامل تھے جن کی رائے یہ ہوگی کہ اب ہم انتخابات کے سال میں داخل ہو رہے ہیں اور تمام اشارے ہماری جیت کی پیشگوئی کر رہے ہیں اور انہی انتخابات کے بعد ممکنہ طور پر سیاسی جانشین کو بھی آگے لایا جائے گا تو ایسی صورت حال میں تصادم ساری بساط کو لپیٹ میں لے سکتا ہے انکی رائے غالب آئی. جبکہ دوسری طرف عسکری قیادت کیلئے تین پڑوسی ملکوں کے ساتھ سرحدی تنازعات کی صورتحال چین پاک راہداری اور امریکہ کے ساتھ، عرب-امریکہ سربراہ کانفرنس کے نتیجے میں، جس میں ہمارے وزیراعظم بھی مدعو ہیں، تعلقات میں ممکنہ برف پگھلنے کے اور اس کے نتیجے میں ممکنہ طور پر فوجی اور سول امداد جیسی باتوں نے عسکری قیادت کو اپنے موقف میں نرمی کا مظاہرہ کرنے اور ڈیڈلاک کی صورتحال کو طویل رکھنے سے باز رکھا.
دوسری بات کہ کیا 10 مئی کے بیانات اور عسکری قیادت کی جانب سے آئین اور جمہوریت کے ساتھ تجدید عہد وفا کے بعد یہ کہا جا سکتا ہے کہ سولین بالادستی قائم ہوئی؟ اسکا مختصر جواب ہے نہیں. کیونکہ اقتدار میں آنے کے یہ سمجھا جا رہا تھا کہ میان نواز شریف کی مسلم لیگ کو قومی اسمبلی میں بھاری اکثریت ملی ہے اور اس کی حمایت کا بیس پنجاب ہے لہذا وہ سول ملٹری تعلقات کی جو نوعیت ہے جس میں توازن ملٹری کی طرف ہے اس کو ٹھیک کرنے اور سولین سائیڈ کی طرف لانے میں کامیاب ہو جائیں گے. لیکن بعد کے واقعات سے ظاہر ہوا ہے کہ وزیراعظم نواز شریف مستقل پیچھے ہٹتے آرہے ہیں. مشرف کے معاملے سے لے کر 10 مئی کے وزارت داخلہ کے نوٹیفکیشن تک حکومت نے مسلسل عسکری قیادت کو خوش رکھنے کی کوشش کی ہے. اگر وزارت داخلہ کے نوٹیفکیشن کے بغیر ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر اپنی ٹوئٹ واپس لیتے یا آرمی چیف اسکو اسکے موجودہ عہدے سے ہٹا دیتے تو کہا جا سکتا تھا کہ سولین بالادستی کے قیام کی طرف ایک قدم بڑہے ہیں. لیکن یہاں تو وزارت داخلہ کے نوٹیفکیشن میں سینیٹر پرویز رشید کے نام کا اضافہ کرکے عسکری قیادت کو خوش کیا گیا جس کے بعد ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر کی جانب سے ٹوئٹ واپس لی گئی اور حکومت اور جمہوریت سے تجدید عہد وفا کیا گیا.
تیسری پوائنٹ کا مختصر جواب ہاں میں ہے جس کا تھوڑا ذکر اوپر دوسری پوائنٹ میں آگیا ہے مگر مختصراً کچھ اور باتیں شامل کردیتا ہوں. مشرف کو بیرون ملک جانے کی اجازت، جنرل جنجوعہ کی مشیر برائے قومی سلامتی مقرری، مختلف اوقات اور واقعات کے وجہ سے مشاھد اللہ خان، پرویز رشید، طارق فاطمی اور راؤ تحسین کی برطرفی، وزیر خارجہ کا نہ ہونا، بلوچستان میں ڈاکٹر مالک کی مفاہمتی عمل کی ناکامی، دنیا کے اہم دارلحکومتوں میں سفیروں کی تعیناتی اپنی مرضی سے نہ کرسکنا اور پڑوسی ممالک کے ساتھ اچھے ہمسائے جیسے تعلقات استوار کرنے میں ناکامی سے یہ ثابت ہوتا ہے کہ موجودہ حکومت اپنے بلند باگ دعوؤں کے باوجود مسلسل جگہ دیتی آئی ہے.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

QK Archives: 2005 unlikely alliances

Electorate baffled by unlikely alliances in NWFP

Rahimullah Yusufzai

Forging of alliances between old political rival following the local government elections in the NWFP continue to surprise the electorate and erode the credibility of politicians. Every political party has done this thing but the MMA components JUI-F and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) are getting most of the blame because the two were expected to be more circumspect in choosing allies. The MMA had won an unprecedented mandate from the voters in the province and many feel betrayed by the JUI-F and JI decision to join hands with ideologically different parties such as the ANP, PPPP, PPP-S and PML-Q for the sake of bagging some seats of district and tehsil nazims. The MMA voters would have liked the JUI-F, JI and other components of the six-party alliance to stick together in every district even if it meant remaining in the opposition instead of foregoing principles in the forthcoming elections for district governments. The JI was the first to announce its alliance with its bitterest foe, ANP, in a bid to win the polls for the district government in Peshawar. The prize no doubt was tempting because Peshawar being the capital of NWFP offered a highly visible platform to pursue one’s political agenda and spend funds on politically important projects. But the venture was fraught with risks as the JI-ANP alliance and the subsequent JUI-F’s coalition with the PPP-S of interior minister Aftab Sherpao has widened the gulf between the two major MMA components and could eventually threaten the stability of the MMA-led provincial government. The unlikely JI-ANP alliance in Peshawar has now trickled down to other districts, including NWFP’s second biggest city Mardan. In fact, the two parties had experimented with an alliance in Mardan after the last local council elections by jointly electing ANP’s Raza Khan as district nazim and JI’s Attaur Rehman as naib district nazim. However, the alliance fell apart after sometime and the district nazim and his deputy became rivals. Many voters fear such an eventuality even though this possibility is being rejected in the midst of the euphoria generated by the turn of events. For a change, the JI and ANP leaders are singing praises of each other and patting one another on being the only two disciplined and ideological parties in the country. One of their arguments for forging this alliance is to prevent blackmail and horse-trading by smaller groups and serve Peshawar. That might not happen because the district nazim candidate Haroon Bilour of ANP would have to match the resourceful Ghulam Ali, the JUI-F nominee for the same job, and the tussle would invariably lead to the use of money and horse-trading.

The JUI-F alliance with PPP-S in Peshawar is also being replicated in a few other places, such as Charsadda and Mardan. The JUI-F chose to forge an electoral alliance with the Saifullahs, belonging to the PML-Q in the southern Lakki Marwat district, even before the local polls. That was something unthinkable because JUI-F leaders used to publicly castigate the Saifullah brothers as friends of US President Bush. The JUI-F has also forged partnership with the PPPP in a few places, all for the purpose of capturing as many district governments as possible after having boycotted the local council polls in 2001. The MMA leadership now has an impossible task to satisfy party workers and supporters irked by the JUI-F and JI decision to forge alliances with rival parties rather than with each other at the level of the district government. One question increasingly being asked is as to how could they justify sitting in the opposite camps in district governments while remaining partners in the provincial government.

Other parties too have made unbelievable alliances to win election for district and tehsil nazims. The PML-Q faction of minister of state for finance Omar Ayub Khan is supporting PML-N’s Yousaf Ayub Khan, who also happens to be a cousin, for election as Haripur district nazim. Another of their cousin, former NWFP Assembly Speaker Habibullah Tarin, has joined the rival camp of Raja Amir Zaman, who served as district nazim in the previous term. Family considerations are overriding party affiliation in the race to grab power not only in Haripur but also at many other places in NWFP and rest of Pakistan. The PPP-S and PPPP too are coming close and so are others. Such alliances are also turning upside down President General Pervez Musharraf’s assertion that extremists, by which he means MMA components, have been defeated in the recent local polls in the Frontier. In conclusion, here is a note of caution. All those forging these unnatural alliances should keep in mind that the electorate rejected one such alliance between the PPPP and ANP in the October 2002 general elections in Peshawar and other districts. It didn’t work the last time because the voters considered the alliance opportunistic. It might not be sustainable again and could instead harm the parties entering into unlikely partnerships.

Friday, 5 May 2017

QK archives: A page from the Baloch past

A Page From the Past ....
< The Following is an article written by Muhammad Ali Talpur ...who was an active participant in the Baluchi revolt of the 1970's .He recently returned to Pakistan after a ten year exile in Afghanistan ..this article is quoted ad verbatim , from Newsline Issue dated March 1998>

In keeping with the Pakistani tradition of camouflaging history a vital chunk of the country's past has been shrouded in mystery for over 20 years .This was the period of 1973-1977 , when the Baloch rose in revolt against a state that had relentlessly oppressed them for decades and Military Operations against the Baloch people were at their peak .As Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Arbab Jehanzeb , the corp. commander of Sindh and Baluchistan and subsequently MLA, Sindh during Zia's martial Law himself recently conceded, the army "responded forcefully" to the perceived threat from the Baloch struggle .

While this may be a huge understatement, it is nonetheless demonstrative of the fact that there is at least some acknowledgement of what happened in those years .They are also other signs of a desire to hearken to that era.Recently, the respected veteran Baloch Leader , Sardar Sherbaz Mazari mentioned the individuals who went missing in those days . Similarly the redoubtable Ardeshir Cowasjee, in a recent Column in Dawn , referred to those involved in the Baloch struggle whose fate remains unknown to this day .Among those mentioned are Asadullah Mengal , Ahmad ShahKurd and Dulip/Johnny Dass alias Dali .They were, in fact many other victims of the "dirty War" conducted in Baluchistan . As an active participant in the struggle for the rights of the Baloch people , I consider it my duty to bring to some light some aspects of the people during that period . Also, I apologise to those affected - the victims and their families - fr the delay in raising this conveniently forgotten chapter of our history .
The " Baloch Insurgency " as it has been termed , was the end product of a history of injustices , excesses and provocation's against the Baloch people by the centre , which ruled without consensus or consultation , and made decisions of the fate of the people totally arbitrarily. It began in April 1948 when the Khan of Kalat was arrested to force him to sign " The Instrument of Accession " to PAkistan . This prompted a fierce reaction from the Baloch people , who took up arms . In ensuing months , many excesses were committed by the authorities against the locals , as people were interned without trial and economic injustices reached their zenith . In 1958 the Khan was rearrested . At this Nawab Nauroz Khan led an agitation against the authorities provocative colonial attitude.In response, solemn promises were made by the govt. to meet the peoples demands, But instead Nawab Nauroz was arrested and seven people were executed in Hyderabad Jail .The Nawab died while incarcerated . The resistance movement led by Mir Sher Muhammad Marri was the continuing expression of Baloch resentment against Central Rule which did not involve the people in decision making regarding their lives and future.

Bhutto's ascendancy to power saw an increase in the regard for the will of the people .Urged on by the Shah of Iran who equally feared Baloch militancy , Bhutto began violating Baloch rights on the flimsy pretexts of imagined threats to National Sovereignty , and every underhand trick in the book was employed to undermine the legally elected Provincial Govt.1973 saw an intensification the effort to quash the will of the Baloch people in a manner similar to that used in Bangladesh a couple of years earlier .Marri agency , Jhalawan and other supposedly sensitive area's were blockaded to deny the population the basic necessities. The blockade which continued till the end of 1977 , was very effective and resulted in immeasurable suffering for the people .
The unwarranted excesses left the people no other option but to resist , and May 18th 1973 , saw an early Morning Ambush on a Sibi scouts patrol near Tandoori in which all eight members of the patrol party were killed .Within three days the army landed in Mawand . In his letter to the DAWN on July 13th , F. Lodhi says that while standing in for , the director of Military Operations at that time , he advised a political solutions of the problem , rather than a Military One , but Bhutto seemed hell bent on the latter .The Shah of Iran , meanwhile lent the government his support by providing helicopter gun ships to quell the Baloch militancy.
When policy f physical elimination is pursued without any consideration of due processes if law and justice , one can only term it as genocide .When numerous incidents of of unexplained and unrecorded disturbances disappearances take place and where reprisal killings and deaths of non combatants are commonplace , it can be safely assumed that there are not isolated lapses but a premeditated policy of physical elimination of the opposition .This is exactly what happened in Baluchistan .
I narrate only a few incidences from a small area of Marri Agency . Dulip /Johnny Dass or Dali as he was known , was a person of sterling qualities , compassionate and dedicated , whose only crime was that he helped the Baloch people resist the oppression unleashed on them. .He and Sher Ali Ramkani Marri were picked up near Belpat by the Army and never heard of again . Had they changed loyalties , they would have lived .They were not the only ones .Bahar Khan Lalwani , Shafi Muhammad Badni , Dost Muhammad Durkani and Allah Baksh Pirdadani were picked up at different times and places as were scores of others from all over Baluchistan and their fate too is unknown . After all these years all are presumed dead , but surely their families and friends have a right to know the circumstances in which they died and whether they were given a trial , leave alone a fair one . Killing captives without the due process of law is Murder under any circumstances and by all codes , and such incidents were commonplace all over Baluchistan. So all those who are guilty of this crime must be brought to book .

Reprisal killings were also frequently resorted to , indicating an organised policy in in the matter . Sher Muhammad Aaliani , an elder of the Aaliani clan ( a Marri sub clan ) a septuagenarian living in the vicinity of Kahan , was picked up after an ambush on an army patrol in that area .When his corpse was subsequently recovered m it bore marks of severe torture . Murad Khan Ramkani of Tadri suffered a similar fate .His only crime : belonging to the clan of a leader of the insurgency , Mir Hazar Khan Ramkani .Seven man , five of the Shaija clan , including Baazi and Qaiser Khan and two Kalwanis , were summarily executed by a firing squad after a skirmish with army partisans in the area of Dungan. All those killed had made peace , and vowed to quit the area when the army moved in .

In december '71 , an army patrol attacked Tadri , a Marri householding. When Tagav and his nephews , Karam and Jalamb Ramkani tried to stop the army and their collaborators from taking away their flock , they were killed .Their women who were also shot at , one was killed and two wounded . A young boy , Mangla , also sustained injuries . The wounded were treated by our friend Dali. In another instance , an old man , Vashdad Ramkani was killed when he struck an Army man who had abused him . In the Kalgary area , when a household was attacked by an army contingent , all the able bodied people fled , but a blind man , but a blind man , Jan Baig Ramkani who was left behind , died in the volley of fire unleashed upon the house . Pir Baksh Ramkani , a big flock owner , died defending his flock .Most of the victims were personally known to me .

Killing unarmed civilians and publicising the murders as " encounters " with " hostiles" were to frequent to be labelled as lapses . So many incidents cannot be dismissed as random actions . Torture as an instrument for extracting information and forcing a change of Loyalties was also used by the Army against the Baloch methodically and extensively . Without exception , all and sundry were subjected to it in it's gruesome variety: beatings , electric shock , deprivation of sleep and food , hanging by the hair , being forced to sleep on ice slabs, burning with cigarettes etc. . Many who survived the ordeal narrated their harrowing experiences , for example MNA Mir Ali Bakhsh Talpur , who was severely tortured merely on account of being a Baloch sympathizer .

Another tactic employed to break the resolve of the people was to deprive them of their main source of livelihood - their flocks . The nomadic Marri particularly , depend on their livestock . Their flocks were taken and sold for a pittance to traders from the Punjab .Furthermore , whenever stocks of wheat were discovered , they were destroyed . Even water bags , i.e. mashks , in which water is carried and stored , were cut up . the locals donkeys were commandeered by the army and it's partisans and used to transport goods for them .

As a result of these excesses , thousands of Baloch migrated to Afghanistan .the pain of repressed people is never erased from their psyche . Those who suffered due to the brutality by the army in the four year long war still deeply mistrust the centre and all it represents .The cost that such oppression extracts from the population is incomprehensible to people who have never experienced this kind of terror. And their is hardly a home in the Marri agency which did not suffer such excesses . But for them , the suffering still continues .

One corrupt coalition after another has ruled Baluchistan since 1973 . They have been more concerned with and strived for their own welfare rather than that of the people . At times the number of ministers has nearly equalled the strength of the house . The centre true to it's tradition , has not been helpful . All slogans of " provincial autonomy " are belied by the ground reality . The arbitrary dissolution of assemblies , horse trading , non local governors and rank corruption has increased the sense of alienation of the population at large .This is a dangerous tendency with ominous portents for the future .

Historically Baluchistan has remained a sensitive region because of it's strategic location , untapped natural reserves and the influx of migrants from neighbouring regions which constantly changes it's demography .It's proximity to Afghanistan and Iran , and a long sea coast combine to make it for intrigues by large powers .The very potent threat to national boundaries for a unification of Baloch's residing in Pakistan , Iran and Afghanistan , has left many rulers sleepless . With the Taliban in power in Afghanistan and their dreams of greater Afghanistan - which interestingly include parts of Sindh - Baluchistan has become a potential powder keg with a very short fuse .Erroneous moves could lead to an ethnic war between Baloch and Pashtuns in both countries .
A region as sensitive and potentially dangerous as this needs to be dealt within a sane equitable manner .The first of such steps is confidence building .The pain may not be erased , but at least it can be eased .A positive beginning could be made with an admission of past mistakes by the centre , and an apology to the Baloch people for past injustices . The affected people should be compensated - though no self respecting Baloch would ask compensation for those who were killed in the fighting .The province should get it's due share of water and development funds , and the income generated from within the Province should be utilized in the Province .The welfare of the people and the environment should be made a primary objective .Unless such measures are initiated soon , an adverse political situation could develop with dangerous consequences .People cannot be expected to remain quiet forever.

QK Archives: Ajmal Khattak


07 December 2000 Thursday 10 Ramazan 1421


Ajmal Khattak: The poet within


By Intikhab Amir

It would probably come as a surprise for many to hear that Ajmal Khattak,
a veteran nationalist leader, is also a poet. But since he is a descendant
of the renowned Pashtoon poet, Khushal Khan Khattak, it is no wonder that
he too shares a passion for poetry.

Born in 1925 at Akkora Khattak, a small town on the Grand Trunk road
between Peshawar and Islamabad, Ajmal Khattak has to his credit several
volumes of poetry and literary work in Pashto, a book in Urdu on the
history of Pashto literature and lots of other works which he contributed
during his professional affiliation with Radio Pakistan and as a newspaper
columnist.

Nevertheless, whenever one thinks of him, the impression of Ajmal Khattak
as a politician dominates all other facets of his personality. Largely,
because of the nationalist politics he has been pursuing for over 60
years.

Politics and poetry have co-existed throughout his years of struggle, and
both at one point were focused on, "the awakening and achievement of
rights and unity of the Pashtoons," says Khattak.

His passion for politics and love for poetry have never created a conflict
within him; in fact, both these features have always complimented each
other, portraying him as a vibrant and spirited person who has bravely
borne all of life's hardships. Since his involvement in politics began
early in life - right from his school days in Peshawar - his troubles too
began early. "My love for poetry grew side by side with my ardour for
politics," says Khattak.

Early exposure to politicking came by way of his family's active
involvement in Ghaffar Khan's Khudai Khidmatgar Tehrik during which their
Hujra, (the traditional place in a Pashtoon's house for male guests)
played as a nerve centre of politics.

His appreciation for poetry developed because the music parties - held
every evening in his Hujra - involved songs based on the works of
prominent Pashtoon poets and the rhythmic beat of the traditional music
instruments Rubab and Gharra would induce him to try a hand at verse
writing as well.

Besides frequenting mushairas where local Pashtoon poets participated
regularly, the musical events taking place as a permanent feature in the
Hujra, all created an environment in which it was obvious that influence
of the arts would prevail.

"Raised on tales of heroism of the Pashtoon warriors who fought against
the British, Sikh and Durrani forces, and living in surroundings dominated
by poor farmers had a profound impact on my mind and evoked deep feelings
for the oppressed," Khattak asserts.

His dynamic surroundings and involvement in politics provided him enough
to ponder over, helping him in discovering his inherent tendency towards
poetry.

"Poverty, suppression and scenic beauty enhance my sentiments and
intensify my convictions," says Khattak. The vision in his poetry is the
result of sheer inspiration through surroundings which simply form in his
mind as lines of a verse.

The first of his poems was published in 1935-36 when the young Khattak was
in seventh grade at a school in Akkora Khattak. The Pashto poem was
carried in a periodical magazine, The Pakhtoon- a mouthpiece of the Khudai
Khidmatgar Tehrik.

After the publication of that poem,the magazine published a story written
by young Khattak. The story was based on true accounts of the life of a
farmer, Wahab Din.

"Right from the beginning, my writings have reflected the sufferings and
miseries of the suppressed classes even though my family was influential
even before the British occupied the area," says Ajmal Khattak,
remembering the state of penury his family had to face soon afterwards,
and the difficult times that his parents went through then. Now he is a
political and literary figure of high stature who has followers
everywhere, not only in Pakistan but also across the western borders of
the country.

Sitting in a small room of his traditionally perfect Hujra, Ajmal Khattak
expresses satisfaction about his political career and his contribution to
Pashto literature.

The humble surroundings of his Hujra and the modest house adjacent to it
reveal his unpretentious lifestyle and moderate financial status, proof of
the fact that how little the man made for himself despite being in the
lime light of the country's politics for the last twenty years.

"Ghairat Chagha" (calling of the honour),the first volume of his poems,
was published in 1956.

The poems were inspired by his successive arrests between 1948 to 1956 on
political grounds. "During those years, most of my work had either been
taken away by the raiding police or was destroyed by my mother because of
a fear of the government's action," recalls Khattak.Later, while he was in
exile at Afghanistan, from 1973 to 1979, most of his literary works were
buried by his family members to avoid the wrath of the government agencies
and unfortunately, it was never salvaged. "I have never recovered from the
shock of losing my works," says Khattak, despondently.

A book titled Da Za Paagal Yum (I was the mad) was motivated by the
torture he confronted in jail. The other book Afghani Nang (Afghani
honour) was about his years in exile at Afghanistan.

The numerous national songs, stories and dialogues he wrote for radio have
been conserved by his friend Sabz Ali Mohmand in an un-published volume
titled Palwasha.

Involvement in politics has had strong bearings on his life, influencing
poetry and education. In 1942, while studying in the tenth grade at the
Government High School Peshawar, young Khattak had to go under ground to
avoid imprisonment because of his involvement in the Quit India Movement.

As a result, his name from the school's students enrolment register was
struck off and he had to appear in the examination as a private candidate.


He passed his intermediate exams while serving his jail sentence after he
had completed Pashto Fazil, Munshi Fazil and Adeeb-e-Fazil certificates
also during his jail term. In 1961-62 he took admission in the MA Persian
programme in the University of Peshawar.

His frequent visits to Delhi to meet his cousin Mohammed Umer Khan, who
was studying in a religious educational institution, ultimately gave him
access to the progressive literary circles of India in 1938. There he got
the opportunity of a lifetime to attend discussions and gatherings of the
literary elite of the subcontinent.

"During my visits to Delhi, I was fortunate to have met literary giants
like Josh Maleeh Abadi, Sahir Ludhyanvi, Krishan Chander, Sajjad Zahir and
Rajinder Singh Bedi."

He believes that his entry into Delhi's literary circles left a profound
effect on his mind which, in the years to come,was heavily reflected in
his poems,verses and other literary writings.

"Delhi's literary meetings helped me in refining my thoughts and enabled
me to focus on the Pashtoon movement, freedom from the British, rights for
the oppressed and patriotism."

In the literary circles of Peshawar, he has enjoyed the company of Faarigh
Bukhari, Raza Hamdani, Khatir Ghaznavi and Mohsin Ihsan. Whereas during
his attachment with radio he has worked in the company of Ahmed Nadeem
Qasmi.Another side of his multi-faceted persona is his prolonged
attachment with active journalism.

He started his career in journalism in 1956 as the editor of the Peshawar
edition of the Karachi-based Urdu daily newspaper Anjaam. He also worked
for the Peshawar-based bilingual (Urdu/Pashto) daily newspaper
Baang-e-Haram in the same capacity.

Later,when National Awami Party (presently named as Awami National
Party)purchased preparatory rights of Shahbaz, Ajmal Khattak was the
driving force who ran the affairs of the newspaper.

His columns that appeared in Shahbaz under the title Malung, have been
compiled and published in a book form.

Being the head of his own political party, he does not have much time to
pursue his literary interests, though he manages to participate in
mushairas occasionally. "The frequently changing political situation,
national issues and tragedies are the focus of my poetry these days," he
says.

His sudden ouster from his old political party - Awami National Party -
has left a deep impact on him. "Presently, my writings and poetry are
about the manner in which I was disassociated from my old platform, ending
my 65-year-old association with the party and its causes and how it has
changed my perception regarding a lot of things."

He received the information of his expulsion from ANP while he was
attending a mushaira in Islamabad and his immediate reaction came out in
the form of the following verses;

(I don't care I will take a begging bowl and go to the people, will ask
for the welfare of the country and the nation; I'll go to the old and seek
their counsel, I'll go to the young and will awake them)

Recent newspaper reports alleging that he has been offered the office of
president of Pakistan by the military regime too brought out strong
reactions from him in verse form;

(Oh my old hat! I won't change you for glory or royalty, you are my asset;
you are the sacred trust of my people in my life-long struggle)

It is impossible to say what life has in store for anyone, but for Ajmal
Khattak who at 75 has launched his own political party, it can perhaps be
said that his travails continue as he changes direction of his political
beliefs, now setting goals beyond Pashtoon nationalistic thoughts.

Monday, 1 May 2017

QK archives: Samia Sarwar murder most foul

Murdered in April 1999 this is the story of a brutal honour killing that shocked Pakistan.

MURDER MOST FOUL!





We live in terrible times, in a society that is fast being brutalized beyond the pale of humanity. There is no safe haven here, no safety, especially if you are a woman. When a mother leads a hired assassin to her daughter, whom can we believe in?

Every other injustice in these unjust times, in this unjust country, pales before the terrible tragedy that took place at 'Dastak', (an NGO in Lahore that provides shelter and legal aid for destitute women, run by the two lawyer sisters, Hina Jilani and Asma Jehangir who heads the Human Rights Commission in Pakistan). The terrifying part is that the jungle law of the 'Tribal Territories' is creeping into the fabric of 'educated' society. All in the name of 'honour' and traditional 'values'!

Yes, Pathans do have a strict code of conduct. Many women are murdered, either because they do not toe the line and 'dishonour' their fathers and brothers, or are perceived to do so. Without condoning their behaviour, it must be seen that these Pathans live by a clearly understood, strict code of conduct. They do not have double standards.

Samia's parents were introduced by a common friend, in the swinging '60s. They fell in love and were married. That was then, this is now. Now the conduct that is being judged by them, is that of their daughter, and different rules apply. Mohtarama, Samia's mother, is a doctor. Ghulam Sarwar Mohammand, Samia's father, had risen to be a medical sales representative by the time he met Mohtarama. After marriage he settled in as the 'son of the house' and eventually took over her father's small chemist shop in Peshawar City.

Overnight Ghulam Sarwar Mohammand made a lot of money. There is a lot of gossip (but little proof) of how this came about. Building a palatial house in the prestigious neighbourhood of Shami Road, he proceeded to entertaining the rich and powerful. Alchohol flowed freely, and dice and dancing girls are reported to be a regular feature of his parties. His contacts seem to have paid off. Today he is the Chairman of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and a respected Industrialist. Now Mohtarama and her husband have become the epitome of 'Pathan values', and rub shoulders with the other 'nouveau riche' Peshawari 'elite'.

In 1989, 17 year old Samia was married to Dr. Imran, her mother's nephew. It was not a happy marriage. Finally, in 1994, while Samia was expecting her second baby, her father brought her home. Dr. Imran was reviled and abused and not allowed to meet his children when he visited. A friend of the family reports that he was devastated when his wife left, and is now a broken man. After her baby was born Samia joined the university and studied law. All the while she wanted a divorce, but her parents dissuaded her. They feared for their 'honour'.

Barrister Badshah, a friend and lawyer of Samia's parents is quoted to have claimed that a divorce (khulla), had finally been agreed on before Samia's parents left to perform Hajj. Another friend of the family informed me that the 'khulla' came through a few days before Samia's death. This is not understandable in the light of what followed, although there is some gossip that Samia wished to marry someone of whom her parents did not approve.

After her parents departure, Samia went to 'Dastak', to knock on Asma Jehangir's doors for help, escorted by the man she wished to marry. Samia's brother phoned his parents, telling them of her escape and they returned poste haste. On the 2nd. of April they returned from Hajj, on the 5th. their daughter was dead.

Since Samia refused to meet with her father and brother, fearing for her life, Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan was approached to intercede. Finally Samia agreed to meet with her mother only. After laying their plans, Samia's parents and Younas Mohammand (her paternal uncle) left for Lahore.

Before leaving for Lahore, the assassin is said to have asked his family to pray for his safe return, since he was embarking on a dangerous 'job'. A friend quotes Samia's sister as having said that her parents were going to kill Samia, if she refused to return home. She did not bother to warn her sister. Her brother is also quoted to have been very firm in his views, 'death for disobedience'. In any case, from what we read in the papers no one bothered to carry out a dialogue with Samia, she was given no option. Few women in Pakistan today are given an option; few are allowed a personal choice.

The rest of the sordid story is well known, how Hina Jillani sat in on the meeting, barely escaping with her life; how Mohtarama entered on the arm of her part-time chauffeur; how Samia prepared to run when she saw him; how he shot her in the head; how her mother and uncle (who waited downstairs) took a hostage while escaping; how the uncle congratulated the father on the success of the 'mission'. So much for 'Pathan' values. Pathans are known to honour their word over their lives.

I was told there might be a move to constitute a 'jirga' to reach a rapprochment. A 'jirga' is a Pathan institution in which village elders (who comprise the body of the 'jirga'), pass judgement and settle quarrels. In a murder case 'blood money' is decided on by the 'jirga', if the victim 's family forgives the murder. 'Blood money' for a woman is, ofcourse, half that of a man! What I cannot understand is, since the victim's family are the accused, who will decide on whether the murder is to be forgiven? Who will pay 'blood money', and to whom?

Saima's murder has led to deep controversy in Peshawar. Most are heartsick, but some have other views. Some claim she was 'immoral', and that justifies her sad end. One couple, 'friends' of Samia, both doctors, who married of their own choice, believe that the parents did the right thing in view of the Pathan code of ethics! I shudder for their daughters!

The bearded brigade of Peshawar is politicising the issue and held a procession demanding that Asma Jehangir be charged for 'murdering' Samia and destroying traditional 'values'.

Members of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce are making loud noises in support of their Chairman, Ghulam Sarwar Mohammand. I wonder, do they approve of what he has done? Would they do the same to their daughters?

Many refuse to believe that Mohtarama was aware of the plan to murder her daughter. She is said to have contacted a friend recently and claimed she had not known of the plan. Yes, it is difficult to believe that a mother would be party to her daughter's murder.

Yet, it would be possible to give her the benefit of the doubt if she had entered 'Dastak' on the arm of a woman for the support she claimed she needed, wives of honourable men do not lean on a strange man. It would be possible to give her the benefit of the doubt if she had shown the slightest sorrow when Samia fell to the ground with her head half shot off. It would be possible to give her the benefit of the doubt if she had attacked the assassin for murdering her child. It would be possible to give her the benefit of the doubt if she had not run to save her hide.

But she did not do all this.

She ran as though the devil was on her heels, and he might have been, she had just sold her soul to the devil.





Monday, 10 April 2017

The Durand Line argument – Legal ramifications

The Durand Line argument – Legal ramifications
Authored by – Afzal Khan Shinwari, LLB (London), MBA (LUMS)

Since the recent comment by an Afghan MP with regards to the Durand line, the age old issue has once again become a topic of hot debate. I am going to share my thoughts with regards to the legal position of the Durand line, and invite genuine counter arguments with respect to its legal grounds (and no rhetoric or political point scoring), to help point in the right direction.

FIRST ARGUMENT: 'Pakistan not a successor state' but a 'clean state'.

Under the British 'Indian independence order 1947', Pakistan succeeded to all rights and obligations of British India. Article 62 of the Vienna convention on the law of treaties says:

'...whenever a new country is carved out of an existing colonial dominion, all int'l agreements & undertakings .... would be transferred to the new independent national government'.

The Vienna convention also goes on to say that a state is a successor state if it:

'...has replaced another state on the occurrence of a succession of states'.

Article 11 of the convention goes on that:

'a succession of states does not as such affect (a) a boundary established by a treaty or (b) obligations & rights established by a treaty & relating to the regime of a boundary'.

Furthermore under the International Court of Justice (the ICJ) dictum of 'uti possidetis juris' Afghanistan is legally prohibited to unilaterally change its border. This dictum was upheld in particular to 'transform former admin borders created along the colonial period into international frontiers'.

Additionally, this also finds baseless the argument that due to Pakistan's violation of the border in the 1950s the Durand line agreement was found in breach, and therefore no longer valid. As such, the Durand line had become a dejure international boundary upon succession of the Pakistani state as a former colony (as discussed above) for all purposes of International Law.

SECOND ARGUMENT: the Durand agreement was time bound to a 100 years.

There is no clause within the whole actual agreement that mentions a time line. Neither is this agreement similar to the convention for extension of Hong Kong territory, expressly or impliedly.

THIRD ARGUMENT: the Durand agreement was a personal agreement between Amir Abdur Rehman and the British.

The Amir derived legitimacy as the head of the state of Afghanistan through tribal consensus through the traditional jirga institution. Further, the agreement was presented by the Amir at a darbar of reportedly over 400 tribal chiefs. Why would he require the need for that if it were a personal agreement? Alternatively, if he had been acting in his personal capacity, then by that grounds all agreements made by the Saudi Kingdom also personal between the house of Saud and the International community?
The Amir then goes on in his memoirs to say that 'it was necessary to mark out the boundaries between my dominions and those of my neighbours, for the safety & protection of my kingdom'. This also removes doubts of any possibility of duress in the agreement.


FOURTH ARGUMENT: The Agreement was not a bilateral treaty.

This argument is closely related to the third argument above, and is countered based on the same grounds given for the third argument. Additionally, the agreement was acknowledged by the Amir’s son during his dealings with the British, until his death in 1919. The 3rd Anglo-Afghan war broke out in 1919, which ended with the Rawalpindi (1919) and Kabul (or Anglo-Afghan) (1921) treaties. Article 5 of the Rawalpindi treaty said that 'the Afghan government accept the indo-Afghan frontier accepted by the late amir [under the Durand line Agreement]'. This position was further referred to in the Kabul treaty and in future correspondence between the Afghan and British Indian dominions. A point of note here is that the Afghan government did dispute some territories, including parts of mohmand & waziristan agencies, and some adjoining parts of Baluchistan, but never mentioned rescinding the whole agreement. The first time that happened was in 1947, and in the 1949 loyal Jirga held by Afghanistan.

FIFTH ARGUMENT: The Durand Agreement never a boundary treaty but treaty for easement rights.

Again, the whole document has no mention of establishing easement rights. Article 4 of the agreement said 'the need for demarcation along the frontier to be carried out by respective British and Afghan Commissioners'. Likewise article 6 clearly talks about 'demarcating the boundary line'. From the whole text of the agreement, it can be clearly seen that the objective was to define the boundaries between the states. The easement was therefore a non-treaty right.

Furthermore, easement rights were meant to be exercisable only by the tribes affected by the boundary and not by other citizens of Afghanistan or British India, thus preserving the nature of the line as a boundary.

SIXTH ARGUMENT: 'the Sphere of Influence' argument

A popular argument put forth is that the British meant the boundary only to limit their ‘sphere of influence’ in Afghanistan. If that had been the case, then why had the British not mentioned including a ‘second boundary’ for that of India (which would effectively define the buffer area that the British purportedly wanted to influence)?

Articles 2 and 3 of the Durand line agreement clearly lay down the 'no interference' policy across the boundary, which is clearly in line with practice of border control. No text within the doc can be found with regards to ‘spheres of influences’ to be maintained by both sides. Notwithstanding and alternatively, even if it were implied, The 1947 act and the Vienna conventions grant the Durand line an international boundary status for all purposes of international law.

The above analysis is notwithstanding the genuine rights of the tribes to move freely across the border, albeit regulated, given the security concerns of both states. Genuine legal arguments invited.

Monday, 3 April 2017

QK archives: Maulana Sufi Mohammad is an unusual prisoner

• Maulana Sufi Mohammad is an unusual prisoner
QK archives: circa 2002/03
Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Maulana Sufi Mohammad is an unusual prisoner. He refuses to eat food provided by the authorities in the Central Prison, Dera Ismail Khan. He also turned down requests from his followers and well-wishers to submit an application to the courts for his release on bail.

Inmates who spent time in the same prison said the old man cooked his own food in his cramped cell in the sprawling jail. Supporters, mostly madrassa students in the city, bring him bread and water from outside.

The founder of the Tanzim Nifaz Shariat-i-Mohammadi (TNSM) has spent about two years behind the bars. He might spend several more years in jail if he continues to ridicule the existing courts as "kufri" (un-Islamic) courts.

The Maulana was arrested when he crossed over to Pakistan from neighbouring Afghanistan where he had gone as the commander of several thousand TNSM fighters wanting to fight alongside the Taliban against the invading US-led forces. The quick US military victory and the fall of the Taliban regime in November 2001 prompted the Maulana and his followers to escape to Pakistan. Several hundred TNSM members are still being held in official and private Afghan prisons.

The 85 or so TNSM activists who were arrested along with Maulana Sufi Mohammad have all been released. All of them, including the Maulana, were tried and sentenced under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), which is applicable in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan. This was obviously done to facilitate a quick trial and award them heavy punishment.

Except the Maulana, the other TNSM prisoners including his son, Zia, filed appeals against their sentences, got relief from the courts and won their freedom. The Maulana had been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment by the tribal political administration under the FCR. The home department reduced his sentence by half when Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a former PML-N MNA from Kohat, filed an appeal on his behalf.

Paracha and other well-wishers of Maulana Sufi Mohammad now want to take the case to the courts to challenge his continued imprisonment and seek his release. But the Maulana has refused to sign any document that would take his case to courts that he considers "kufri." Paracha, who spent 29 days in the same prison cell with the Maulana, said he failed to persuade him to approach the courts. "He has termed the allegations against him as false and is unwilling to appear in any Pakistan court. He doesn't recognize the Pakistani courts because he considers them un-Islamic," Paracha explained.

Paracha, president, All Pakistan Prisoners Relief Committee, pointed out that Maulana Sufi Mohammad has consistently rejected any deal with the government that would facilitate his release. Hopes for his release were raised after the Islamist MMA swept the October 2002 elections and formed the government in the NWFP. A few MMA leaders reportedly met him or sent messages to him in jail. But nothing came out of this exercise and the ageing Maulana is still languishing in the prison.

The Maulana's critics believe that he wants to remain imprisoned to avoid confrontation with families of TNSM members and sympathizers who were killed or captured or went missing in Afghanistan. The critics felt the Maulana's life would be in danger once he is out of prison.

However, Paracha and TNSM leaders such as Maulana Mohammad Alam reject this theory and term it misleading. They maintain that none of the families that lost a member in Afghanistan has expressed any hostility towards Maulana Sufi Mohammad. According to Paracha, the Maulana showed him documents that had been signed by every Afghanistan-bound TNSM member and in which each of them declared that Maulana Sufi Mohammad would not be responsible if they were killed or captured. Each document, said Paracha, was signed by four witnesses to make them authentic. If true, it explained the Maulana's shrewdness even if he outwardly appears very simple and naïve.

The Maulana, who hails from Maidan area of Lower Dir district, has had his way in the past. He has led a sustained campaign for enforcement of Shariat in the old Malakand division. In 1995, his movement turned violent once TNSM workers occupied the Saidu Sharif airport, blocked roads in Swat and made judges and other government officials hostage. The mercurial Maulana also forced senior government functionaries to remove pictures, including those of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, from places where he held negotiations with authorities on the plea that photographs are un-Islamic.

Though the TNSM has now been banned and its support base has shrunk, Maulana Sufi Mohammad is not ready to give up his struggle. Against heavy odds, this unusual prisoner might prevail and walk out of the jail as a free man without completing his sentence.