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AUTHORITARIANISM AND DICTATORSHIP
#11
LAL MASJID AFFAIR INCREASES ANGER WITH MUSHARRAF AND EXPOSES WEAKNESS OF PAKISTAN'S ISLAMIC MOVEMENT

Zafar Bangash
http://www.muslimedia.com/pak-lalmasjid.htm

After years of precariously trying to balance the conflicting political demands of his American masters and Pakistan’s Muslim people, events in the last month appear to have pushed Pakistani dictator General Perwez Musharraf (pic) to the verge of being toppled. On July 26, news emerged that fellow generals had advised Musharraf to make a “graceful exit” from power. The next day, he made an unscheduled dash to Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, unaccompanied even by his foreign minister. Reports that he met exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, presumably in the hope of negotiating a political agreement that might ease the pressure on him, were initially denied, before being acknowledged. As Crescent goes to press, no details of their discussions were available.

Whether or not Musharraf is able to survive the next few weeks, one thing is certain: Pakistan will remain deeply scarred by the results of his policies long after he has gone. Musharraf’s brutal policies are threatening to turn Pakistan into another Iraq or Afghanistan: a country descending into a cycle of violence as a result of US invasion and occupation. The assault on the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad by Musharraf’s commandos on July 10-11, leaving hundreds dead, most of them women and children, has led to a sharp increase in attacks against the army, especially in the volatile North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where most of the madrassah students were from. In the two weeks following the Lal Masjid assault, hundreds of soldiers and paramilitary personnel have been killed in such places as Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Miran Shah, Kohat, Hangu and Hub (in the far south of the country). There was also a bomb explosion at a lawyers’ rally in Islamabad on July 17, killing 19 people and injuring 50 others. The “suspended” Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was supposed to speak at the rally, was apparently the intended target, but had not arrived at the rally when the bomb went off. On July 20, the Supreme Court delivered its own rebuke to Musharraf by dismissing all the charges against the Chief Justice and declaring his suspension by Musharraf on March 9 illegal. This followed weeks of agitation led by the legal community, whose campaign uncorked the pent-up anger of ordinary Pakistanis against Musharraf’s brutal policies.

Like US president George W. Bush, Musharraf is committing heinous crimes in the name of fighting terrorism. While the Americans are busy advancing their imperial agenda, Musharraf’s policy is predicated on the hope that the Americans will maintain him in power if he does their dirty work for them. Like the US, he has tried to frame the struggle in Pakistan as being between the “moderates”—meaning people like himself—and the “extremists”, by which he means anybody who opposes him. His “enlightened moderation” includes the disappearance of hundreds of people suspected of political activities against him and the cold-blooded murder of thousands of civilians in military actions against so-called terrorists in remote areas of the NWFP, Baluchistan and the tribal areas of Waziristan, long before the very public assault on the Hafsa Madrassah in Islamabad.

The Washington cowboys, of course, welcomed Musharraf’s murderous assault on the Jamia Hafsa, having long accused him of “not doing enough” to fight “terrorism” in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. As reward, the US released two—yes, only two—F-16 fighter planes to him. Nonetheless, US pressure on him is unlikely to ease. A report released by America’s intelligence chiefs on July 17 said that the fight against “terrorism” in Pakistan was going badly and that both al-Qa’ida and the Taliban had regrouped and are now more effective in carrying out attacks. The US threatened to invade Pakistani territory to fight such elements if Musharraf failed to do so; US forces have already been responsible for numerous attacks on Pakistani villages in which scores of civilians have been killed. Because the US is not officially operating in Pakistan, these attacks have usually been blamed (or credited) to the Pakistani military, despite the risks of a political backlash, as seen after the attack on the Lal Masjid.

For three days after the assault, the military refused to allow journalists or television cameras inside the masjid-madrassah compound, or to let them visit any hospitals where the dead and wounded had been taken. In a move clearly indicative of the government’s guilt, 73 bodies were buried in the middle of the night of July 13-14. Gravediggers were hustled into a cemetery in Islamabad at 6pm and forced at gunpoint to dig mass graves until 3am the next morning. The unidentified bodies were buried without notifying next of kin. Hundreds of desperate people have searched for their relatives without success, as the government has provided little or no information. Many fear that missing girls that may have survived the assault may be kidnapped and forced into prostitution, as happened in the aftermath of the earthquake in October 2005.

The Lal Masjid saga must be viewed in its proper context. The group was led by two ‘ulama, Maulanas Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who had close links with the Pakistan government and intelligence services. The former was captured trying to escape the siege, and is now in government custody, while the latter was killed, along with his 81-year-old mother, his son and several sisters during the assault. Until his murder in October 1998, their father, Maulana Abdullah, had been a close ally of General Zia ul-Haq’s military regime when the jihad in Afghanistan was still in vogue and Afghans were supported by both Pakistan and the US. After Abdullah’s murder, his sons took over the masjid-madrassah complex and continued to enjoy the support of successive regimes. In recent months, madrassah students, encouraged by intelligence operatives, had attacked video stores and raided massage parlours, claiming to be “enjoining good and prohibiting evil” as Muslims are instructed to do in the Qur’an. Their behaviour was used by the regime to raise fears that anti-American “extremists” would take over a nuclear-armed Pakistan if Musharraf, who has projected himself as a “moderate” in a sea of extremism, were toppled by the increasing political opposition to him.

There is ample evidence to suggest that the stand-off at the Lal Masjid could have been resolved amicably and hundreds of lives saved if Musharraf had chosen, but he was trapped by his own rhetoric as well as America’s pressure. The Lal Masjid saga also exposes two other factors in Pakistani politics: the irrelevance of the political parties whose leaders, including Maulana Fazlur Rahman, a close ally of the Lal Masjid brothers, flew to London to participate in a conference when the regime was on the verge of attacking the madrassah; and the military’s real function not as defenders of Pakistan and its people, but as servants of the US agenda. It is revealing that while various political leaders have called for a judicial inquiry into the mosque attack, not one leader has had the courage to demand Musharraf’s trial for crimes against humanity for ordering the killing of civilians, most of them children. While visiting flood-affected areas in Turbat on July 4, Musharraf had made it clear that the clerics must either surrender unconditionally or be killed.

However much one may admire the courage of Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi for refusing to surrender, and for his willingness to sacrifice his own life and the lives of his family, the brothers’ outlook and methods contributed to the tragedy. Firstly, their close relations with successive Pakistani regimes, including the current one, and the Pakistani intelligence agencies, reflects a deplorable lack of political understanding. The result was that while many in Pakistan may have regarded them as committed and courageous Islamic leaders, many more suspected the motives for their actions, and regarded them as political players more than men of Islamic principle. Second, whatever their motives, their methods, like those of the Taliban in Afghanistan, were extremely counter-productive and shortsighted.

Their evident belief that Islamic standards can be imposed by force or threats of violence, and that all that Islam requires is to burn down video shops, raid body parlours or force women to wear the burqa, alienated many more people than it attracted, which was one reason that Musharraf’s attack on them has not provoked an even greater public response. Islam has a much broader vision and higher purpose.

While it is true that the destruction of the madrassah will leave the field open for the spread of vulgar materials and immoral behaviour, the fact is that without a fundamental change in people’s thinking, public morality cannot be imposed by force. Similarly, the enforcement of laws regulating conduct in society is the responsibility of governments, not organisations or madrassahs, however well-meaning they may be. Would the destruction of every video store, and the closure of every massage parlour, turn Pakistan into an Islamic State? Such limited understandings of the nature of Islamic societies and institutions are one reason that Islamic movements in Pakistan have only limited credibility, despite general sympathy with their aims.

To understand this point properly, one must turn to the Seerah of the noble Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace. For thirteen years, there were no injunctions prohibiting gambling, drinking or even anti-social behaviour in Makkah. The Qur’an’s emphatic message was to reorient people’s thinking toward committing themselves to the one God, Allah. This was a direct challenge to the prevalent system in Makkah based on a multiplicity of gods, but Allah did not instruct His beloved Prophet to emphasize changing people’s immoral behaviour at that time. First their belief in Allah, the Almighty, and conviction in the righteousness of their cause had to be strengthened. Once they were clear about the nature of the struggle, the next phase would become simpler.

In most Muslim societies today, there is little clear understanding of Islam, the functions of the Islamic State and how to go about establishing one. Unfortunately, most Muslims understand Islam primarily in terms of restrictive laws concerning personal behaviour. The much larger questions of political legitimacy and social and economic justice are seldom discussed. This is why Islamic parties continue to enter into alliances with the very forces whose understanding and policies in these areas are directly opposed to those of Islam. Islam’s injunctions are not merely concerned with tahara and najasa; they are just as concerned with regulating the marketplace as they are with the weighty issues of power and authority. How a person acquires power and what the limits are on its use are all part of Islam’s value-system, but one would be hard pressed to realise this by listening to the sermons delivered in the tens of thousands of masajid in the Muslim world today. True, this is partly because of severe restrictions imposed by oppressive regimes to ensure that imams cannot speak about the real issues, but also because so many Islamic institutions and trends of thought have accepted these limited versions of Islam and promote them through their students when they become khateebs and imams.

Pakistan’s example is instructive. There is not a single group or individual that has shown the level of understanding about Islam that would give hope to the people. Islamic political parties continue to play the secular game within an un-Islamic system, apparently not realizing that the dominant system will not allow them to come to power through the ballot box. The experiences of movements in Algeria, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and most recently in Palestine should convince Muslims of the real purpose of supposedly democratic institutions and processes. Even if an Islamic party is allowed to attain power, as has happened in Turkey, the secular establishment forces it into painful compromises, diluting its message and imposing un-Islamic policies on it.

Most Islamic parties advocate the establishment of Islamic systems in their societies, but they show a stunning lack of understanding of how this can be achieved. Most have opted for the electoral process. Some, like the Ikhwan in Egypt, are not even allowed to participate in elections directly; they have to operate under other banners, or as independents. Even then, their activities are severely curtailed. The same is true in Algeria. While Islamic political parties are not banned in Pakistan, probably because the establishment does not feel particularly threatened by them, their approach gives little hope to ordinary people; hence their dismal performances at the ballot-box.

Islamic movements must be clear on three issues: first, they must understand and be clear about their ultimate objective, the establishment of the Islamic State; second, they must understand the process by which this can be achieved; third, they must generate a muttaqi leadership that operates above parochial or narrow class or economic interests. Most Islamic parties fail on all or most of these points, thus creating frustration among the Muslim masses. Before any of this is possible, taqwa must be understood in broader terms than simply personal piety represented by such routine activities as salat, fasting, keeping a beard or wearing hijab, and performing the Hajj if possible. These are essential, of course, but hardly sufficient in themselves. In Pakistan, as elsewhere, unless Islamic parties and their leaders offer much better quality leadership in the fight against the injustices inflicted on individuals and communities, and show genuine determination to alleviate suffering and end corruption in their societies, Muslims will continue to shun them.



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#12
POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY AS PAKISTAN TURNS SIXTY

Zafar Bangash
http://www.muslimedia.com/reflect0807.htm

Pakistan will turn sixty on August 14, but one would be hard-pressed to detect any sign of maturity in its political or social dealings. Successive rulers—civilian and military—have stunted its growth like a slave permanently shackled in a cage. All have also faithfully served foreign masters, while lining their own pockets at the expense of the country’s impoverished masses.

As usual, there is scheduled to be a colourful military parade on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad on August 14, although there will no doubt be exceptionally tight security. Pakistan’s military dictator, General-President Pervez Musharraf, will prattle in his tortuous English about the lofty principles established by the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, popularly referred to as Quaid-e Azam (the great leader), when the country was carved out of British India. Although he was thoroughly westernized and secular in outlook, Jinnah was at least an honest and upright man, unlike most of those who have followed him at the helm of Pakistan’s affairs. But one thing that Musharraf will not mention is that, in Jinnah’s conception, there was no room for military dictators in Pakistan. In fact, Muslims in the British Indian military failed totally to protect Indian Muslims people while marauding Hindu and Sikh gangs butchered more than a million Muslims during partition. Jinnah once described Mustafa Kemal as his hero; and like the military establishment in Turkey, Musharraf seems to think that it is his mission to impose his brand of “enlightened moderation” on the Muslims of Pakistan, through the barrel of the gun if necessary.

Every bully projects an image of meanness to deter would-be challengers from encroaching on his turf. Since seizing power in the military coup led by Generals Mahmoud Ahmed and Muhammad Aziz in October 1999, Musharraf has defied every domestic political challenger, while currying favour with the US, whose support he clearly regards as more important. He joined the US’s war on the Taliban in Afghanistan, reversing a long-standing Pakistani policy, without consulting anyone. Such unilateral decision-making has exposed the country’s western front to grave dangers where none existed before. Pakistan’s two western provinces—the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan—have been in turmoil ever since. The government’s attempts to control these areas by the sort of military strategy used by both the Russians and the US in Afghanistan, have resulted in armed insurrections raging in both provinces. While Musharraf and his cronies have been rewarded by the US for their efforts in “fighting terrorism”, their policies have left the country in a far more precarious state than when he came to power nearly eight years ago.

The wars against the people of Baluchistan and North and South Waziristan have now spread to other places as well: Swat, Bajaur, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan and even Islamabad, where hundreds of students, many of them children, were killed when Musharraf’s commandos stormed the Lal Masjid complex. This exposed tactics that had previously only been used far from the public gaze, and aroused the wrath of people in ways never seen before, especially in the volatile NWFP. The ferocious tribesmen of North Waziristan, already angered by the government’s duplicity, particularly its failure to abide by the agreement of September 2006, responded by attacking military checkposts. Scores of paramilitary personnel from the Frontier Constabulary and Khasadars, whose recruits traditionally come from the tribal areas, have been killed, and Miranshah, North Waziristan’s main city, has become a no-go area for the military.

The two Waziristans and Baluchistan are not the only areas on fire. In a move than can only be described as sheer stupidity, Musharraf tried to force the country’s Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, out for his own political reasons. For once, a judge stood up to a bullying general and changed the course of history in Pakistan. The chief justice’s defiance on that fateful day in March provoked some very unusual responses. Protests initially launched by the legal community attracted the support of the Pakistani masses. Millions came out in sweltering heat to welcome the chief justice or just to catch a glimpse of him. Whatever his faults, and he is not without them, the chief justice vindicated himself by one small gesture of defiance that touched the hearts of millions who are fed up with the strong-arm tactics of the men in khaki. Never before has the military been so alienated from the people as it is today.

The professional politicians, who always look for opportunities to curry favour with whosoever is in power, much like flies swarming rotten fruit, evidently realize the ground is shifting from underneath Musharraf’s feet. Being of no fixed ideological address, they are now trying to distance themselves from him. A major element of the months-long campaign in support of the Chief Justice was the cold-blooded murder of 40 people by government-backed MQM thugs in Karachi on May 12. While huge crowds greeted him around the country, in Karachi he was prevented from addressing the Karachi Bar Association when MQM goons trapped him in the airport for 12 hours. While the police and rangers did little more than watch, the MQM was given a free hand to murder people. So pleased was Musharraf with the chief justice’s “failure” in Karachi that he celebrated his victory with a rally of his own in Islamabad, at which he boasted that the government had not yet shown its full might and could “fix” anyone who challenged its writ. There was singing and dancing as the rent-a-crowd bussed in from distant towns and villages feasted on free food.

The Supreme Court verdict on July 20 has knocked the wind out of Musharraf’s sails and changed the political landscape radically. By dismissing all charges against the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court gave Musharraf a sharp slap on the face. His hopes to get himself re-elected as president by the existing assemblies, before elections that his supporters are expected to lose, now appears doomed. Although Pakistani military dictators have never been much constrained by constitutional niceties, the present Supreme Court is a radically different institution. Led by an activist Chief Justice with a proven public profile and support, it is now far more likely than ever before to stand up to the bullies in uniform. This has aroused much hope among the masses. While the Supreme Court has no coercive power to enforce its decisions—Musharraf might quote Josef Stalin’s infamous quip, “how many divisions does the pope have?”—the fact is that the regime will not be able to defy it without arousing a strong public reaction. There are likely to be court challenges if Musharraf attempts to retain the presidency without relinquishing the post of army chief. Munir A. Malik, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, announced on July 25 that the lawyers would launch court challenges if Musharraf attempted to get himself elected through the present assemblies or refuse to relinquish his army post. Add to that the cases of the hundreds of people who have disappeared during the last few years, almost all of them abducted by operatives of the intelligence agencies, which the courts are also likely to pursue now that the Chief Justice is back in his job, and it is clear that Musharraf has lost what little moral capital he may ever have had.

Few now doubt that Musharraf’s days are numbered, but the question on everyone’s mind is what will happen after he is removed from office. The options available are all equally unpalatable. Seeing Musharraf replaced by the likes of Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif would be little reward for the sacrifices of so many people. This is the dilemma facing the people of Pakistan, given the failure of local Islamic movements to provide a realistic alternative in the short term.

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#13
THE CALIPHATE : ISLAM's CHALLENGE TO GLOBAL ORDER?

Noman Hanif
September 3, 2007
http://www.icssa.org/article_detail_parse.php?a_id=1169&rel=1087,929,913,905

A divine belief by the radical Islamic movement in the institution of the Caliphate as a fortress to restore Islam’s power and a vehicle to challenge the primacy of Western civilisation is gathering storm in the Islamic world and beyond. Sourced from the Koran and Islamic history, the Islamic movement may differ as to whether the methodology of revival should be jihad, reformist or political, but the goal of restoring the Caliphate is now uniformly agreed upon.



The Western response to the Islamic movement has been to link the Caliphate with global jihad and by extension the war on terrorism. The evolution of language in Western capitals from generic terrorism to Islamist terrorism to evil ideology and finally to the Caliphate has endorsed what the Islamic movement has long been advocating for some time, that the war on terror is essentially a war against Islam.



As further evidence, the Islamic movement has capitalised upon a remarkable series of statements on the Caliphate by political leaders in Washington and Europe. In a speech to the Heritage Foundation on October 6, 2005, British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said, “…there can be no negotiation about the re-creation of the Caliphate; there can be no negotiation about the imposition of Sharia (Islamic) law...” President George Bush in a speech to the nation on the 8th of October 2005 stated, “The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.'' On December 5th 2005, US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld in remarks pertaining to the future of Iraq at John Hopkins University said, “Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic Caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East and which would threaten the legitimate governments in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This is their plan. They (radical Islamic movement) have said so. We make a terrible mistake if we fail to listen and learn”.



The Caliphate as defined by the Sunni Islamic Movement is the total leadership for all the Muslims aimed at implementing Islamic law and carrying the Islamic message to the entire world. It is the successor to the Islamic Caliphate which spanned at one time from Indonesia to Spain through a period of fourteen hundred years. It has not been defined as a monarchy, democracy, dictatorship or a theocracy. Rather a contract of leadership between an elected Caliph and the citizens to apply complete Islamic law within internal and external policy.



The Sunni school differs from the Shia in that it endorses the immediate restoration of Islamic rule by any Muslim meeting certain criteria. The Shia school on the other hand dictates that only a person from the lineage of the Prophet Mohammed has the authority to implement Islamic rule. This lineage having been broken by the disappearance or concealment of the twelfth Imam in 941A.D means that only through his reappearance can the Islamic rule continue. Thereby, the Iranian revolution was never declared or accepted by the majority Sunni or even the Shia in the Islamic world as a Caliphate.



In this article I will argue that the Western position of avoiding an open confrontation with Islam and resisting the popular move towards the resumption of the Caliphate is becoming unsustainable. Armed with the Koran, the Islamic movement continues to win every battle in the war of ideas. The patronage of moderate Islam as a mirror of Western Liberalism in the Islamic world is rapidly collapsing in light of superior scholarly authority from the Islamic movement.



The Islamic movement has been successful in presenting to the Muslim masses an alternative ideological model to Western secular Liberalism consistent with the Koran. The reproduction of the Caliphate forms the apex of this model as a means of challenging the Western dominated global structure.



If the West is going to challenge this model it has no alternative but to openly battle Islam along with the Koran. This is not a deliberate precipitation of the clash of civilisations, rather a clear identification of the doctrinal incompatibility between Islam and secular Western Liberalism.

It would be folly to argue that the West is going to change its policy towards the Islamic world. The perpetual conflict between energy security, global Capitalism, promoting secular democracy and accommodating political Islam will continue to bedevil its behaviour. Hence, a Western mood swing in the Islamic world towards controlled democracy by force and occupation only strengthens the Islamic movement. Continued support for dictatorships and monarchies intent on wiping out the Islamic movement and opposing the Caliphate only confirms in the minds of the masses that the West is intent on continuing a crusade against Islam. These conditions have secured an environment for the inevitable collapse of local regimes, the entrance of the Caliphate and a consequential upheaval in global order.



Roots of Islamic Revival

The ideological vacuum left by the collapse of the Communist experiment in Russia quickly focussed international debate on whether Islam would fill the void and present the next challenge to a triumphant secular liberal global doctrine lead by the United States and Europe. Basking in the unexpected ideological defeat of Communism, academics cultured in the Western secular liberal tradition were quick to pronounce the Islamic revival as a reaction to Western ideological supremacy, a strategic conundrum, but not one which was capable of challenging Western universalism. This thinking has tended to dominate the literature in the West, leading to a fundamental error in the understanding and explanation pertaining to the basis of Islamic revival and its challenge to revolutionise global order.



Western academics and policymakers have made the critical mistake of analysing the source of Islamic revival and the conditions which stimulate it as one and the same. The spring of ideas have not been separated from the political, economic and social environments which foster its growth. The foundation of the Islamic movement which aims to revive the totality of Islam through the Caliphate is securely rooted in the inspiration of its source, the Koran.



In the Islamic world it is the Koran which is considered the utopia of thought and considered to have ended history twelve hundred years prior to Francis Fukyama’s dialectic benchmark of the French revolution. The belief in the perfection of the Koran and by default God’s laws ensuing from it shape the roots of Muslim rage and render the clash of civilisations between Islam and secular liberalism inevitable.



Western academic discourse on the stated failure of political Islam is so overtaken by Western globalism that it constructs a hypothesis of Islam in its own image far removed from the Koran, the vast heritage of Islamic jurisprudence and by default the power of the Islamic movement. The belief in the Koran’s universalism and the compatibility between material and spirit render paradigms of an Islamic reformation impotent.



The Western secular dictum ‘render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and unto God’s what is God’s’, is powerfully disputed by the Islamic movement through verses of the Koran and their jurisprudential understandings as having no parallel in classical or contemporary Islamic discourse.



The argument that political Islam has failed because it has been unable to adapt to Western modernity and hence to Western political structure is not a prosecution for political Islam’s failure. Rather it is further evidence that Islam and Western political architecture are doctrinally and systemically incompatible. Moreover, the Islamic Movements construction of the Caliphate as the political and systemic alternative to the Western secular model actually represents the success of political Islam.



The social, political and economic condition in the Islamic world no doubt feeds the cause of the Islamic movement, but contrary to Western assumptions, the solution to the malaise is identified not in secular liberalism or its Capitalist derivative but in the Islamic deficit.



This conclusion is inevitable considering what the Islamic world has had to endure in terms of decades of Western interference ensuing from colonialism, super power conflict and brutal friendships with non-Islamic dictatorships in the name of stability and the interests of oil security. Continued Western occupation, humiliation and intervention only confirm in the minds of the Muslim masses that the West and not Islam is the cause of their suffering. The consequent helplessness has motivated them to seek an alternative in Islam in the hope of providing dignity, power, protection and stability through a system for the individual, state and society. The linkage with the Koran, the Islamic heritage and by extension the Caliphate is thus natural and inevitable. Western attempts to pre-empt the revival and the Caliphate through forced military, political, cultural and economic intervention only fuel Muslim rage.



The Resurrection

The call for the Caliphate by the Islamic movement transcends the artificial and colonial Westphalian constructs carved out of the ashes of the Ottoman Caliphate. Today, every regime in the Islamic world faces a threat to its existence from a trans-national Islamic movement. The rejection of nationalism as a destructive and disuniting force is supported by references to the Koran, jurisprudence and history, forming a powerful weapon in its quest to overturn the existing nation state order in the Islamic world and establish a unified Caliphate. The collapse of the Soviet order has further resulted in the rapid expansion of the movement, filling the vacuum in the Caucuses and Central Asia, in turn completing the arc of Islamic revival.



The conviction in Islam as a comprehensive source for the regulation of the individual, state and society, along with the global movement in immigration, ideas and information has enabled the Islamic world to overcome its sense of intellectual, technological and political inferiority to Western civilisation. The wealth of mineral, strategic, intellectual and human resources existent in the vast geography of the Islamic world provides intellectual confidence in the ability of a Caliphate to challenge and overcome Western military and technological primacy. It is thus of no great surprise that highly educated members of the Islamic movement operating from the crucible of Western civilisation in Washington, London, Paris and Rome successfully spearhead the global marketing of the Caliphate.



A series of political events from the creation of Israel to the invasion of Iraq has radically altered the political landscape and atmosphere in the Islamic world. Due in large part to mass culturing by the Islamic movement and aided in no short measure by Western policy, the political maturity of the Islamic world is far removed from the impotence exhibited during the last phase of the Ottoman Caliphate. Projects developed by the Western powers in partnership with the local regimes to divert and crush the Islamic revival in the last eighty years have been increasingly threatened by a heightened political awareness. The war on terror and the invasion of Iraq are overwhelmingly analysed in the Islamic world as a war against Islam and a policy to pre-empt the Caliphate. As a result the Islamic movement has removed the distinction between Western policy and local governments. With effective political culturing, the move towards regime change has more of a reality from the Islamic movement than from the Western powers.



Challenging Global Order

Fourteen hundred years of Caliphate history in the realms of scientific, military, economic and political thought bear witness to a coming upheaval in the US and European dominated international structure. Just as Western civilisation reverted to and continues to revert to the classical sources of ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration, the Islamic movement has also gone back to the future.



The distinctive accomplishment of the Islamic movement in resurrecting the classical sources of Islam into a modern paradigm to challenge Western ideologies formed the nucleus of its resistance towards Communism as a political doctrine and a system. The same paradigm now thrusts against the global secular/Capitalist order.



In applying the paradigm, the Islamic movement has gone to some length in detailing distinct and alternative economic, social and political models. Comprehensive rules derived from the Koran and classical sources pertaining to economic transactions, social relationships, penal code, judiciary, ruling and foreign policy have provided confidence by the Islamic movement to the Muslim masses that Islam and the Caliphate can provide solutions to modern problems. Western powers will have little problem with the ruling or social structure of a Caliphate as evidenced by their foreign policy towards successive dictatorships. It is in the principles and policies towards economics, military and foreign relations that Western interests and global Capitalism will be directly challenged.



The Islamic movement’s fundamental definition of the economic problem being that of distribution as opposed to the Western model of production will form the basis of the Caliphate’s economic policy. The division between state, public and private ownership will be an alternative to the privatised economic model. The rejection of the market as the sole distributor of wealth and basic commodities will strike a powerful note in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, where liberal economics and international Capitalism despite the promises of globalisation and multilateral trade have failed to overturn the economic poverty and slide into chaos.



The mineral wealth including oil and gas will be regulated according to the Islamic economic principle of the commodity being a share of the citizens held on trust by the State. This rule outlines the foundation of eliminating Western oil interests in the Islamic world. Cheap Western access and squandering by supported regimes of the oil wealth in the Islamic world already projects a powerful magnet for the resumption of the Caliphate.



Backed by oil power and political confidence, the Caliphate will turn (as it did in history) to the gold standard to instil financial discipline and stability in the domestic and international economic environment. The oil weapon is likely to be key for the procurement of sufficient gold to support the currency. The projected stability is expected to act as catalyst to re-internationalise the gold standard with the rapid dumping of the dollar in light of plummeting confidence from heightened political upheaval.



The Islamic movement’s rejection of the idea of international law on doctrinal and Hobbesian philosophical edifice will precipitate an enormous threat to the United Nations. Unlike the pragmatic stance of the Soviet Union, the Caliphate will resist the idea of international law and the United Nations as a vehicle for Western secular hegemony, a charge already popular in the Islamic and developing world. As an alternative, the Caliphate according to historical precedent and Islamic sources will revert to conducting international relations through treatise, custom and the force of international public opinion.



The military ascendancy of the Caliphate is likely to be rapid. The immediate removal of Western military bases will deny the accessibility to strategic waterways, airspace, land routes and logistics for any short or medium term military response from the West. Furthermore, the availability of the nuclear option will make this impossible.



The Caliphate will have no shortage in the availability of brilliant minds as well as access to the same international market for scientists open to Washington and Europe. Furthermore, the enormous pool of sympathetic Muslim minds working deep in the Western and former Soviet military-industrial complexes will naturally be capitalised upon leading to a critical but predictable brain drain in the West.



As in history, the quest for military supremacy is likely to dominate in order to strengthen the Caliphate’s march towards global ideological leadership. However, military supremacy did not prevent the ideological rot of the Ottoman Caliphate. The cause was political, as was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Islamic movement seems to have learnt its lesson from history by demonstrating sharp political skills in its ability to survive and maintain momentum in the Islamic world. No doubt the same political acumen will be a formidable force applied to the Caliphate’s quest for a revolution in global order.



Accepting the Caliphate

It was former British Prime Minister William Gladstone, whilst in the final phases of dismantling the Ottoman Caliphate, who held up the Koran in Parliament and predicted that as long as the Islamic world remained attached to the book, the West could not prevent its revival. Gladstone’s prediction has come true with the resumption of classical ijitihad (orthodox methodology of extracting Islamic law) which has radically energised the Islamic movement into sourcing the Koran for modern problems as an alternative to Western secular liberalism.


In facing this challenge, Western policy can no longer sustain a battle with Islam through the back door including the War on Terror. Islam means ‘peace’, but a peace only on its terms, through full submission to God’s law. Hence, despite politically correct adulations of Islam by Washington and Europe, there can be no co-existence between Islam and Western Civilisation.



A Reaganite inspired and neo-conservative influenced American policy seems to be moving more openly by attaching the vague label of “evil ideology” to the Caliphate. However, as with Communism, Western policy needs to be bolder in correctly defining Islam as the main threat. A continuing state of public denial as regards a conflict with Islam in Washington and Europe only breeds more confusion, frustration and contradiction amongst its academic and policy circles cognizant of the incompatibility between the two doctrines.



The Islamic world’s position on the other hand does not suffer such confusion. Western policy is clearly considered to be directed at Islam and pre-empting the Caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, as viewed by the American invasion of Iraq and the refusal to accept Islam as its sole source of legislation and the Caliphate it’s the political structure.



The essence of violent global jihad and its response by the West as a War on Terror sidesteps the underlying causes and dynamics of anti-Western sentiment in the Islamic world. Global jihad is a frustrated and mutated response to the Western policy of backing regimes which torture its citizens and obstructs the Islamic movement in its goal of establishing the Caliphate.



Washington and Europe are deceiving themselves if they think they can reassure their societies that the Islamic movement will simply fade away because of the War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq. Or that the Islamic world will follow their lead with a revised neo-colonial outlook. The political constituent of the Islamic movement goes from strength to strength, while the jihadi element raises the stakes by prolonging and expanding the violent attacks on Western society.



America and especially Europe foster sizeable Muslim populations which have strong connections to the global Islamic movement and support the re-establishment of the Caliphate as a serious objective. This phenomenon marks a failure of the West to gain doctrinal leadership over the Muslims within its own realm. This situation will only intensify as the Islamic movement perpetuates its global call.

The clash of doctrines between Islam and Western civilisation predates the asymmetrical declaration of war between the West and the Islamic movement and will continue for generations to come. The war on terror on the other hand does have an end. Global jihad’s alteration of expanding the struggle from the regimes in the Islamic world to attacking targets in the West will cease upon the birth of the Caliphate. The conflict will then transform to the more conventional.



A policy of attacking the idea of the Caliphate by linking it with the political violence of the jihadi movement cannot eliminate its Koranic authority. The Islamic world may not totally agree with the armed method of the jihadi movement, but the Caliphate’s linkage with the Koran is not in dispute. The political and non-violent aspect of the Islamic movement, considered the godfather of reviving the Caliphate idea, has deeper and wider appeal. An attack on the Caliphate is in effect considered an attack against Islam.



A fundamental transformation needs to occur in Western academic and policy circles as regards Islam. Western discourse needs to move beyond the dogmatic position of attempting to remould Islam according to the tenets of Western civilisation without Koranic authority. This attempt has failed in the Islamic world. The opium of linking the Caliphate and viewing radical Islam through the prism of the war on terror fogs the reality of understanding the dynamics of Islamic revival. There needs to be a clear appreciation that the Koran is the nuclear reactor of the Islamic world providing energy for the restoration of the Caliphate and its consequent challenge to global order. The West has no option but to accept the inevitability of the Caliphate and formulate a clear, distinct and explicit position towards Islam which identifies its doctrinal incompatibility. With the increasing success of Islamist groups in increasing the vote bank from the masses, the Islamic world seems already to have adopted its posture towards the West.

Copyright  © Noman Hanif 2007



DEMOCRACY NOT TERROR IS THE ENGINE OF POLITICAL ISLAM
William Dalrymple
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info...e18438.htm

Six years after 9/11, throughout the Muslim world political Islam is on the march; the surprise is that its rise is happening democratically - not through the bomb, but the ballot box. Democracy is not the antidote to the Islamists the neocons once fondly believed it would be. Since the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a consistent response from voters wherever Muslims have had the right to vote. In Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Algeria they have voted en masse for religious parties in a way they have never done before. Where governments have been most closely linked to the US, political Islam's rise has been most marked.

Much western journalism in the six years since 9/11 has concentrated on terrorist groups, jihadis and suicide bombers. But while the threat of violence remains very real, those commentators who have compared what they ignorantly call "Islamofascism" to the Nazis are guilty of hysteria: the differences in relative power and military capability are too great for the comparison to be valid, and the analogies that the neocons draw with the second world war are demonstrably false. As long as the west interferes in the Muslim world, bombs will go off; and as long as Britain lines up behind George Bush's illegal wars, British innocents will die in jihadi atrocities. But that does not mean we are about to be invaded, nor is Europe about to be demographically swamped, as North American commentators such as Mark Steyn claim: Muslims will make up no more than 10% of the European population by 2020.

Yet in concentrating on the violent jihadi fringe, we may have missed the main story. For if the imminent Islamist takeover of western Europe is a myth, the same cannot be said for the Islamic world. Clumsy and brutal US policies in the Middle East have generated revolutionary changes, radicalising even the most moderate opinion, with the result that the status quo in place since the 1950s has been broken.

Egypt is typical: at the last election in 2005 members of the nominally banned Muslim Brotherhood, standing as independents, saw their representation rise from 17 seats to 88 in the 444-seat people's assembly - a five-fold increase, despite reports of vote-rigging by President Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Alliance. The Brothers, who have long abjured violence, are now the main opposition.

The figures in Pakistan are strikingly similar. Traditionally, the religious parties there have won only a fraction of the vote. That began to change after the US invasion of Afghanistan. In October 2002 a rightwing alliance of religious parties - the Muttahida Majlis Amal or MMA - won 11.6% of the vote, more than doubling its share, and sweeping the polls in the two provinces bordering Afghanistan - Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province - where it formed ultra-conservative and pro-Islamist provincial governments. If the last election turned the MMA into a serious electoral force, there are now fears that it could yet be the principle beneficiary of the current standoff in Pakistan.

The Bush administration proclaimed in 2004 that the promotion of democracy in the Middle East would be a major foreign policy theme in its second term. It has been widely perceived, not least in Washington, that this policy has failed. Yet in many ways US foreign policy has succeeded in turning Muslim opinion against the corrupt monarchies and decaying nationalist parties who have ruled the region for 50 years. The irony is that rather than turning to liberal secular parties, as the neocons assumed, Muslims have lined up behind parties most clearly seen to stand up against aggressive US intervention.

Religious parties, in other words, have come to power for reasons largely unconnected to religion. As clear and unambiguous opponents of US policy in the Middle East - in a way that, say, Musharraf, Mubarak and Mahmoud Abbas are not - religious parties have benefited from legitimate Muslim anger: anger at the thousands of lives lost in Afghanistan and Iraq; at the blind eye the US turns to Israel's nuclear arsenal and colonisation of the West Bank; at the horrors of Abu Ghraib and the incarceration of thousands of Muslims without trial in the licensed network of torture centres that the US operates across the globe; and at the Islamophobic rhetoric that still flows from Bush and his circle in Washington.

Moreover, the religious parties tend to be seen by the poor, rightly or wrongly, as representing justice, integrity and equitable distribution of resources. Hence the strong showing, for example, of Hamas against the blatantly corrupt Fatah in the 2006 elections in Palestine. Equally, the dramatic rise of Hizbullah in Lebanon has not been because of a sudden fondness for sharia law, but because of the status of Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's leader, as the man who gave the Israelis a bloody nose, and who provides medical and social services for the people of South Lebanon, just as Hamas does in Gaza.

The usual US response has been to retreat from its push for democracy when the "wrong" parties win. This was the case not just with the electoral victory of Hamas, but also in Egypt: since the Brothers' strong showing in the elections, the US has stopped pressing Mubarak to make democratic reforms, and many of the Brothers' leading activists and business backers, as well as Mubarak's opponent in the presidential election, are in prison, all without a word of censure from Washington.

Yet on a recent visit to Egypt I found everywhere a strong feeling that political Islam was there to stay, and that this was something everyone was going to have to learn to live with; the US response had become almost irrelevant. Even the Copts were making overtures to the Brothers. As Youssef Sidhom, who edits the leading Coptic newspaper, put it: "They are not going away. We need to enter into dialogue, to clarify their policies, and end mutual mistrust."

The reality is that, like the Copts, we are going to have to find some modus vivendi with political Islam. Pretending that the Islamists do not exist, and that we will not talk to them, is no answer. Only by opening dialogue are we likely to find those with whom we can work, and to begin to repair the damage that self-defeating Anglo-American policies have done to the region, and to western influence there, since 9/11.

Reply
#14
BRITAIN AND US BROKER A 'MARRIAGE' BETWEEN BETRAYAL AND CORRUPTION IN PAKISTAN      
http://www.hizb.org.uk/hizb/press-centre...istan.html


Pakistan's military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, whose position has looked increasingly weak, has been thrown a political life line in a deal brokered by London and Washington. It is expected that Musharraf will soon appoint himself as civilian President, opening the doors for elections in the coming months. Benazir Bhutto is expected to return to Pakistan to contest the elections, thereby bailing out Musharraf from a deepening crisis. In an interview with the UK's Channel 4 news earlier this evening, when asked about the ongoing negotiations with General Musharraf, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto revealed that "the British Foreign Office has been very helpful" in brokering the deal. In July, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband voiced strong support for Pakistan's dictator, who is seen as a key ally in the west's war on terror.


Commenting on the situation Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain said: "It is outrageous that Pakistan's political future is being fashioned in secret deals by governments in London and Washington, in what can only be seen as an unholy political marriage between the woman who presided over the most corrupt regime in Pakistan's history, and a man who has the greatest record of betrayal in its history."

"Musharraf has sacrificed Pakistan's strategic depth and has betrayed Pakistan's nuclear command and control to America in its war on Islam in exchange for his own political survival. It is not surprising that London and Washington deem him worthy to take on the secular transformation of Pakistan."

"The corruption and incompetence of the 1990's combined with the betrayal of the first decade of the 21st century should teach us a salutary lesson. It is not sufficient to change from military leaders to political leaders without changing the underlying political system that has brought Pakistan to its knees."

"The need of the hour is not the secular democracy that has failed before, nor for General Musharraf to remove his uniform, but the establishment of the Islamic Khilafah. It is only the Khilafah that will redistribute wealth to the poorest in Pakistan's society. Under the Khilafah no one is above the law, not the Caliph, nor the rich and the well connected or the heads of political parties or army officers. The Khilafah will ensure that political and security decisions are never again made by foreign powers. What Pakistan needs is a comprehensive change of system, not more interference from foreign powers propping up corrupt regimes for their own interests."

  
Reply
#15
WHAT IS THE POINT OF PAKISTAN?
Jahangir Mohammed

http://www.dictatorshipwatch.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=1133&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

As we approach the 60th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan, no doubt there will be the usual airing of nationalist sentiment, recollecting the sacrifices of our forefathers and praising the virtues of Mohammed Ali Jinnah portraying him as a role model for today’s Muslims.

However, 60 years on, with the Pakistani State in chaos and bankrupt, many Pakistani’s are now asking “what is the point of Pakistan”. So instead of drowning ourselves in nationalist euphoria and flag waving, perhaps it’s better to spend the 60th anniversary asking what this State has achieved and where it is going.

On its 60th birthday, few will be asking why there is still no basic provision of welfare for its people in a state calling itself Islamic? Or, why there is no state provision of basic education, a task left to the Madrassah’s. Or why the State has not developed basic infrastructure or public health for its masses? Why a State claiming to be Islamic in which hygiene and cleanliness is paramount is one of the most unhygienic countries on the planet? Why is it that a cricketer has to build a cancer hospital from public donations, and why the welfare of many in Pakistan is dependent on relatives and Islamic charities in the West? Few will ask why the military whose purpose was to protect its people now owns large parts of Pakistan’s industry and benefits from Government? Even fewer will ask why Paksitan’s rich pay almost no taxes leaving the poor to be saddled with paying the international debt of some 30 billion dollars. No government official will tell you how many villages have received clean drinking water or electricity since they came to power, or hospitals and schools they have built? Or, how many politicians, and, civil servants, have been successfully prosecuted and the public wealth they looted been recovered by the much trumpeted accountability commission? And what happened to the rule of law? On all these matters Pakistan is a failed State. So where did it all go sadly wrong.

New States are created usually with a defined purpose or vision. This is normally on the basis of, ethnicity or national origin, territory or ideology. Successful States are usually those that are true to their vision. In the case of Pakistan the driving vision was ideological. Whilst others will be praised for their contribution, the inspiration for Pakistan will possibly only be remembered in passing.

Pakistan was the brainchild of the popular Muslim poet and philosopher Mohammed Iqbal. Iqbal, after his stay in Europe and Germany recognizing the history of the treatment of minorities such as Jews, realized that Muslims would never be safe as a minority in a Hindu dominated State. He also realized that the rising ideologies of the time nationalism and secularism would bring disaster and failure for Muslims if emulated. Whilst, the Shah of Iran and Attaturk were only just on the path to power, Iqbal declared in a famous poem that he saw no future in the Persian nationalism of the Shah of Iran or western secularism of Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, insisting that Muslims should turn their attention towards Islam. As predicted the Shah failed and is history, and Kemalism has failed and is on its way out too. So the two twin aims of Pakistan, according to the man who articulated its case was protection for Muslims and an Islamic not secular or nationalist state.

It was to a congregation of the All India Muslim League, that Iqbal announced that an Independent Islamic State for Muslims was needed; comprising of majority Muslim States of India. The audience was stunned into silence (December 29th, 1930). The British Prime Minster at the time Ramsay Macdonald reacted angrily to the announcement and the British media talked about a Islamic plot to re create an Islamic Empire (Khilafah). Iqbal had not even had time to think of a name for his new State when under pressure from excited Muslims he suggested taking letters from the key Muslim provinces.

Thus was born the idea of the Islamic State of Pakistan. It soon began to achieve widespread mass support and even Mohammed Ali Jinnah an ambitious politician (who up until then had wanted to stay within a united India, began to champion the cause of Pakistan). To Jinnah, like all subsequent secular civilian and military leaders of Pakistan, Islam was a rallying cry to achieve and maintain personal position and power. The State that Jinnah envisaged was nationalist and secular, in the image of the West. Not so the masses who supported the creation of an Islamic State on the basis of Islamic Shariah. The vision of Iqbal and the masses had been subverted at birth by the secularists. Since then Pakistan’s secular elites whether military or civilian have been performing a balancing act between achievement of their secular objectives and vision, whilst outwardly maintaining a semblance of commitment to Islam to keep the support of masses (by introducing bits of Shariah from time to time) This veneer of outward Islamic commitment and loyalty to western secularism has now reached breaking point.

Sixty years of secular rule in Pakistan has brought nothing but political, social, military and economic failure. With the Military dictatorship of Musharraf, secularism has reached new heights. Secularism is now rampant and dominates almost all spheres of public life, especially with the growth in private media outlets, pop and glamour culture. Until 911, Secularism and the Pakistani State were at a crossroads. However, with the support and backing of the Untied States, Pakistan’s secular elite have been granted a new lease of life.

American loans and re-scheduling of debt has fuelled an artificial confidence and economic growth; especially in the property development sector; this has emboldened the secular establishment in Pakistan, who are rapidly trying to turn Pakistan into a fully fledged Secular State. The growing middle classes (who are benefiting from this mini economic boom), are now aping western secular culture, and its social and political ideas; and at a speed that will soon see them overtaking the secularists in Iran, before the fall of the Shah, and Kemalists of Turkey.

This is not surprising, when Musharraf boasts that his hero is Mustafa Kemal and wants to turn Pakistan into a Kemalist State. Musharaf talks of creating a State based on his version of Islam which he imposes on the people of Pakistan without mandate. This Islam, which he refers to as “enlightened moderation” is shorthand for a secular state.

The Secularists declare that progress in Pakistan, or the lack of it, is down to religion. Taking a cue from their Western masters, the key issue for Pakistani progress has been presented as a struggle between “moderate” Islam and “extremist” Islam, with Musharaff and exiled civilian politicians all claiming they are more “moderate” and can deal with the “Extremists” better, to win US backing. Sadly, many Islamic minded Muslims (intellectuals and Ulema) have also been taken in by this convenient side show.

The real struggle in Pakistan is, and always has been, between secularism and Islam. Secularism’s rallying cry from the West to Pakistan is to reform Islam in the Muslim world as step to progress. But it is the secularists that have been in power for the last 60 years, not the so called Islamists or Ulema. It is a strange logic to argue that you should reform religion, when it is your politics that have failed for the last 60 years. It is equivalent to people in Britain saying that the Government has failed so we should reform the Church of England. Reforming Islam has become a popular slogan for Muslim rulers to mask their own political failure. They also now know that an alternative Islamic political power is the likely challenge to their failed politics and so they try to discredit it.

In any event what was the point of Pakistan if what’s on offer is a secular state? If Secularism is our goal then we might as well have remained as a part of India. After all India does secularism a lot better? India’s secularism has brought social, economic and military progress, so that India is now considered a world economic power. India’s secularism has a rule of law and has had civilian democratic governments, India is not economically dependent on the IMF and the West like Pakistan; and India is in charge of its own destiny, unlike Pakistan which under its secular rulers has surrendered any semblance of territorial or political independence to the United States.

The second reason for the creation of Pakistan was the protection of Muslim life and the right to practice religion freely. Under Pakistan’s secular and nationalist rulers this too has been sacrificed. This is especially so under Musharaf. Today in Pakistan the charge of extremism is used to justify the killing by the Pakistani army of Muslims in the North of Pakistan. The label of extremist is being used to pick up Muslims and hand them to the United States. Hundreds are simply missing without any trial with their loved ones desperately attempting to find out what has happened. The charge of Extremism is enough to close madrassahs and religious schools and now Musharraf following his US masters has set up a National Sufi Council to promote a non political Islam in Pakistan.

Perhaps the final straw for the struggle between Islam and secularism in Pakistan may be the massacre of Muslims and the Imam of the Lal Masjid, whose only crime appears to be a call like the founders of Pakistan for the creation of an Islamic State; and an end to the rampant decadent secular culture that is sweeping Pakistan. In Pakistan the sheer barbarity of this event has made many in Pakistan realize that Islam and Muslim life are under threat rather than being protected. With this incident the only institution with some credibility in Pakistan is now seen as an enemy of its own people. To many the event has rekindled similarities with the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain at the hands of Yazid. When the army of a so called Islamic state destroys a mosque and slaughters its inhabitant, what is left of its Islamic credentials. Recognizing he was unlikely to win another election Musharaf and the secular civilian politicians are likely to cut a deal in order to ensure that secularism continues to flourish in Pakistan. Whilst they may detest each other, the one they all agree on is that Islam must be kept out of Governance.

Sadly, Pakistan’s religious leaders have been unable to take advantage of the spectacular failure of the Secularists. This is largely because they have been tempted by political and military rulers to do deals for short term gains. Thus they inherit their failure and have lost credibility amongst the masses. They have also failed to stem the rise of western culture and secularism amongst the masses.

The Pakistani State was born because of Islam. Almost all its achievements since then have been because of the people’s commitment to Islam and the Ummah; survival in the wars with India over Kashmir; support for the Kashmiri Mujahideen; support for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and the destruction of the Soviet Union; support for the Taliban, to bring law and order to a destroyed and lawless nation; the hosting of 5 million Afghan refugees for over 20 years. Abdul Qader Khans nuclear bomb; taking of territory from India in Kargil in 1999, for the first time in co-operation with the Mujahideen; the tremendous effort of the Pakistani people in the Kashmiri earthquake and generally paying their religious dues to support charities; and the establishment of madrasahs to provide free basic education to the poor.

At this crossroads in Pakistani history, the people of Pakistan and their rulers have a choice; to heed the message of its originator Mohammed Iqbal, that the future of Muslims is not in nationalism and secularism, but Islam. We are not non-Muslims like the Hindu rulers of India. Secularism may work for them, but these ideologies will not achieve results for Muslims. This is the promise of Allah (swt). We must also not be taken in by Pakistan’s secular rulers, they detest Islam. Prior to 911 they mockingly used to refer to the committed Muslims as “Fundies” now they refer to them as “extremists” and “Terrorists”. The real struggle in Pakistan is between secularism and Islam. And if the people of Pakistan support the secularists then the wrath of Allah (Swt) will surely descend on this nation.

Reply
#16
MUSHARRAF REFUSED ENTRY OF DEMOCRACY IN PAKISTAN
Amjad Malik  
http://www.icssa.org/article_detail_parse.php?a_id=1173&rel=1158


On 10th of September exiled Premier of Pakistan returned after 7 years on a symbolic Pakistan air line fight number PK 786 from Heathrow. However he was shocked along with his fellow travellers that the mightiest and the most powerful man in Pakistan refused not only his entry but the entry of democracy in Pakistan, and his forced deportation vanished all the hopes of reviving the democracy and possible exit of the military from current political system peacefully.

I was one of the unfortunate lawyers who inherited a circumstantial brief to assist Mian Nawaz Sharif on plane as well as at airport as how to practically convert his aspirations to submit his self to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and physically convey his feelings to peace, good will and national reconciliation to his Pakistani people. To me this historic flight carries its passengers by luck like a lottery ticket as no one knows from us as to which plane Mr. Sharif will catch, but all our efforts were unfruitful when all proceedings which were more or less peaceful were halted by a quick army style operation as hit and run which resulted in push and pulls and the deportation of Sharifs as another exile, the term of which is unknown this time.

I would not mention the court order which was violated here as General Musharraf’s regime knows no concept of rule of law as his reign is full of contradictions of his sayings and operations otherwise. Alas his machinery did not learn any lesson from the reference then filed against Chief Justice, operation in Wana and Lal Masjid and 12th May massacre. In fact they restaged the same scene in the capital and made it Beirut though only missing link was dead bodies.

We were dealt with by Sameer, Imran and Tahir the lower ranking officers who hade to go again and again to seek instructions from higher officials. They were less worried about Sharif’s entry but more of losing their jobs and the time passed at the airport lounge, composed Sharif won his moral battle against regime by just sitting in economy class with common passengers, travelling in ordinary bus and sitting for over 3 hours in ordinary lounge on an orange sofa and authorities did not even bother to come and talk to him and he was treated like a common thief and forgetting that the man made Pakistan the 7th state that nuclear arsenal and is one of the most popular leader in Pakistan. Instead he reached out towards rear exit on the false pretence that he is arrested administratively and will be produced before accountability court tomorrow.

My faith in rule of law and justice in Pakistan though did not shatter but have started me with the realisation that matrix of military might has almost disabled the state structure and institutions are mortgaged to their strength. 160 million people could not ensure enforcement of Chief Justice and large bench’s decision to allow Sharifs to enter and remain and continue politics as they acted like a crowd rather than a nation and preferred to watch Tele at home whilst the regime was shattering all the norms of national and international laws. The historic flight landed, Nawaz Sharif came and was returned leaving very unanswered question but one thing which is undoubted is that unarmed Sharif rattled the confidence of dying regime minute by minute as long as he was waiting entry clearance. Who knows next time he comes like a Khomeini of Iran.    

PAKISTAN's PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 2007 : CONSTITUTION MUST BE IMPLEMENTED IN LETTER AND SPIRIT, NOT MERE WORDS
Amjad Malik
http://www.icssa.org/article_detail_parse.php?m_link=&slink=&a_id=1158&rel=1154,1149&pg=&m_id=1173

2007 in Pakistan is an election year General election as well as Presidential. History tells us that military rulers translated, exploited and manipulated the voice of silent majority who remain mostly uninvolved in political business until 9th of March when all the bookies lost their bet and a new leaf in the state of Pakistan emerged which resulted in a struggle for rule of law in the country and as a result Judges  delivered a land mark judgment on 20th July 2007 restoring the Chief Justice thus inaugurating the road towards independence of judiciary. That judgement for the time being broke the knot of the nexus between military rulers and judiciary which on the common objective of ‘law of necessity’ legalised military coup de tats and in return render themselves unaccountable to public, NAB or courts.



That one institution is a guarantor of the free press, smooth running of Parliament, institutions  and maintains checks and balances amongst state organs. Military rulers who are blood hungry for power politics took over the governance of the country on the name of holding fair elections, ridding corruption and providing basic needs to common man. In this current case that ‘silent majority’ is our broken middle class who supports helplessly every one who aspire to bring economic change, social justice and is a reformer in nature and they always fall a prey to this illusionary slogan. They fell for ‘Rooti, Kapra aur Makaan’ and also fell for General Zia’s ‘Islamisation and fair elections within 90 days & General Mushrraf’s call for enlightened moderation, true democracy and 7 points relief slogan. The founder of the nation Mohammed Ali Jinnah never aspired when he fought for Muslims of sub continent to secure an independent homeland which will in the end be ruled by Generals, in fact whilst addressing soldiers at Staff College in 1948 which was his only address to armed forces warned them to learn their oath with Pakistan fully and understand their commitments and obligations, and declared that they are servants of state not masters.  



We are still in a fix whether to return to democracy or still wait for right time, right environment and right people and there is never a right time. There has been several news reports where President Musharraf assured of taking his uniform off as per his agreement with Parliamentarians and address to the nation by 31 December 2004, instead he introduced ‘President to Hold Another Office Act, 2004’

which gave him exemptions to hold two offices until expiry of his current term which will trigger unless new Act is passed or amendment to the Constitution is invoked via 2/3 majority to stop 63(1)d triggering though all actions will be subject to proactive judicial scrutiny. However, he never amended or re took his new oath which currently bars him from entering politics being an armed officer and continued addressing PML(Q) gatherings leading an example of his lieutenants to nourish a desire for the top slot as their predecessor in comings days, months and years. This tendency and desire kill the chances of the nursery of democracy getting its roots.



Legal expert are of the view that current tenure of President comes to an end on 16 November 2007, so if we take his latest oath & vote of confidence to start with, then Article 41(5) confirms that Presidential Election(s) can be held 60 days before or 30 days after the expiry of his current Presidency so ideally fresh election time frame will be ideally from 16 September to 16 November or if new assembly is in place then 30 days after the elections under  41(4) which says, “(4) Election to the office of President shall be held not earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of the President in office”; Now legality is the key issue and following may be the hindrances in his election: A candidate for presidency must be eligible to be a member of Parliament to be able to contest Presidential election, under article 41. Which says, “ 41(1) There shall be a President of Pakistan who shall be the Head of State and shall represent the unity of the Republic. (2) A person shall not be qualified for election as President unless he is a Muslim of not less than forty-five years of age and is qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly”.



Following hinders in him holding two offices: “43. (1) (1) The President shall not hold any office of profit in the service of Pakistan or occupy any other position carrying the right to remuneration for the rendering of services”.



And the following are relevant disqualifications in respect of the Presidential candidate: “63. Disqualifications for membership of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).  (1) A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if:-  (d) he holds an office of profit in the service of Pakistan other than an office declared by law not to disqualify its holder; or  (k) he has been in the service of Pakistan or of any statutory body or any body which is owned or controlled by the Government or in which the Government has a controlling share or interest, unless a period of two years has elapsed since he ceased to be in such service; or”



Furthermore, Chief of Army Staff ’s oath under art.244 in Third Schedule of the Constitution 1973  also makes the picture clear even if any other argument fails, the oath wording is as following:

“Members Of The Armed Forces [Article 244] (In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.) I, ____________, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which embodies the will of the people, that I will not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever and that I will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan Army (or Navy or Air Force) as required by and under the law. May Allah Almighty help and guide me (A'meen)”.



When COAS takes oath that ‘I will not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever and that I will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan Army (or Navy or Air Force) as required by and under the law’ then it makes life difficult if President wishes to retain both offices as that is not desired by the Constitution and it opens up avenues to allow all retired officers to contest and or first secure their candidacy whilst in office and then retire from govt service and in future all Chief of Army staff, Chief Justices and top civil officers may become candidates for vacant President office which will be negation of people’s mandate.  Now the issue arises whether he can be re elected in Uniform or not.



If we see the reign of General Musharraf briefly we see his tactics somewhat hasty, he took over the state of business on 12 October 1999 as a result of a military coup and used a term ‘chief executive until 2001. In June 2001 he dismissed assemblies and assumed the office of President which became vacant after the doubtful resignation of President Rafiq Tarar.  Mr. justice Tarar maintains that he is still the duly elected President of Pakistan. General Musharaf has the privilege to send twice elected Premier, sitting Chief Justice and duly elected President home for reasons not mentioned in constitution especially in the case of two latter sending backs.



On 30 April 2002 he held referendum and declared himself the President with people’s vote of confidence. On 24 August 2002 General Musharaf announced constitutional reforms package widely knows as LFO (Legal Frame Work Order) and as a result of new elections General Musharf took new oath as President on 16 November 2002.In December 2003 his constitutional reforms were affirmed by the Parliament under Constitutional Amendment No 17. Under this amendment not only his LFO was made part of Constitution but his Presidency was confirmed too.



Now the log book of General Zia is silent as to second tenure and Courts will be ready to interpret the law. If we see the overall intention of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, the answer is no as ‘Uniformed Presidency’ gives a horrific picture of a Democracy only handful countries out of over 166 countries in the world have similar tendencies & regime, Burma and Thailand are few examples to this exception. However, if we look at President Musharraf’s previous trail of unconstitutional reforms marathon which include, his PCO, Judges sacking & oath under PCO, Referendum, Legal Framework Order,

2002 Elections, Local bodies system & polls and WPB Act 2006, and his use of NAB as a political revenge tool, it does not seem impossible that he will definitely attempt for the top slot, yet again careless of public anxiety.



His elections will be held under article 41 (3) & (7) of the Constitution. Now whether the President gets himself elected from the current assemblies which is unprecedented act as no assembly in the past voted twice for the President is one question. The other question is the political and constitutional implication of such election on the state of play as under Article 43(1), 44(2) & Article 63(1)d the issues will need to be decided at earlier stages by courts as whether he can retain his uniform whilst going to electoral college and will it be his second or 3rd term. As under 41(6) The validity of the election of the President shall not be called in question by or before any court or other authority. Therefore the timing to challenge any election will be on the outset at the time of nomination papers.



17th Amendment brought back in the Constitution most of the ‘8th amendments’ provisions which were originally introduced by former military dictator and were repealed by the Civilian Prime Minister unanimously. 17th amendment as well as an Act of Parliament to allow a General to remain in Uniform in contravention to Constitutional provision of art 63(1)d and may be declared ultra vires as it hits the basic intention of the constitution and are unconstitutional mechanism where COAS an employee of state takes the role of head of state. However as President kept his uniform post 31 December 2004 at a time when article  63(1)d became effective and decided otherwise to his promise to nation and current Parliamentary party Q league readily passed and strongly support any action including an Act of Parliament to allow him to keep ‘two offices.’ In theat case, we may expect the following from the President in coming days:



a)            President may rely on his current strength in the shape and form

of Q league and may bargain with the one of the main political parties one way or the other and get himself elected from these assemblies. Political parties on the name of ‘giving exit to army’

may opt out to vote him for next term. There will be disadvantages to political parties except Q league. However any party who accepts wheeling dealing will be subject to anxious scrutiny of free media and proactive judiciary which in return may expose those black sheep who bring law of necessity in the Parliament. But the meeting of President in UAE with a opposition leader which is neither accepted nor rejected tells that deal is negotiable and is available with certain sections of our current political Parties who have their own inherited problems. In that situation uniform will be an issue and ‘two offices Act of Parliament’ or amendment via 2/3 majority may be used to counter the legality issue thus paving the way for civil rule and this will be an ideal situation for President which will allow him to have his Presidency and command of armed forces to do whatever he likes with 2007 General election(s).



b)   Alternately, President may dismiss the current assembly upon

resignations of opposition parties if they get together and or on the current prevailing situation in the country very nearer to the expiry of his term so that he avoids his election, announces elections under care taker set up of his own choice and throws election as a bait and open bargain business to buy and sell, this way he takes the sting out of any opposition movement and his own election and uniform issue goes in the back drop of fresh elections. In that situation his own election will be held 30 days after the new assembly is formed and that will again be his wishes to retain maximum powers & numbers. In that situation if he places his bet on Q league for future his election then unprecedented rigging may be in the offing and Punjab may be under a ‘chowdry’ in a care taker set up. That will be very alarming as fairness will not suit him as he may lose election, may not be Presidential candidate and on top of that may be asked to lay off his uniform as well by the coming Premier.



c)   President may impose emergency under Article 232 & 233 upon

advice of Premier on the name of external security leading to martial law on the name of internal de-stability if total defeat on all sides is envisaged by the defeated soldier. Both proclamation(s) though will be subject to strict judicial scrutiny and un acceptance of the

lawyers and civic society.  



I think whichever option he chooses it will be vigorously opposed by political parties in streets and lawyers in Courts and if Courts do not allow him to contest elections in Uniform his civil presidential aspirations may suffer too as at that time his election will be challenged overall keeping in view the overall intention of the constitution. Opposition may resign en masse and resort to nationwide protests which may result in any way as the gulf between civil society and the military may not bring them to a win win situation and in the end political process may be derailed which is not in the best interest of the state of Pakistan. Though it will suit to United States to deal with rulers with questionable legitimacy and lack people’s confidence and President Mushrraf has the key to avoid all that. For the President the best possible way to resolve this situation may be as following:

•              Unilateral, unconditional and voluntary ‘cut date’ of shedding

uniform in advance of his presidential election; or announcement to take his uniform off on any next national day;

•              Allow unilateral, unconditional and voluntary return of exiled

leaders to come to Pakistan and unconditional amnesty before Court allows them relief and allow them to face trials without interference and let the ball go to courts to decide their fate and public to hold them accountable by vote;

•              Take all opposition in confidence via APC to hold free and fair

elections, including appointment of Chief Election Commissioner, care taker set up of clean people or ideally non PCO judges as no political stalwart is left unopposed or untarnished

•              Let 2 party system take shape which is in best interest of Pakistan

and pave way towards United Muslim League as it was before 12 October

1999 even if it means to limit or eliminate Q League which is in the best interest of Pakistan,

•              Once all is agreed, hold General election first and then seek his

re-election 30 days after the new assembly and if the parties are willing to make him a candidate

•              Alternately, if he wishes to get elected from current Parliament,

take his uniform off at the time of nominations coupled with necessary amendments to allow him to go for election under

41,43,44,244:

•              Allow free and fair elections to take place which are not only free

but appears to be free and independent monitors and courts confirm its fairness and allow the political exit of military from politics peacefully without fail and any derailment.



In all these situation what opposition can or can’t do will be very crucial. The only option which is strong and viable is that the electoral college is vacated by current opposition the moment current President announces his Presidential election though it will be a defensive position but opposition after resigning may initiate strong struggle to stop that election and demand for fresh general polls on one point agenda. Opposition may lodge along with lawyers community necessary petitions to Supreme Court to clear this ambiguity as to whether amendments to law for one man can override the intentions of Constitution.



There is an attacking strategy too ideally as Mian Nawaz Sharif former premier earlier proposed to opposition parties to vacate the house now and continue up right struggle for free and fair elections under impartial care taker set up, to me ideally under non PCO judges. In effect, the names of civil care taker set up nominees may further divide the opposition, and judges may be the best bet, in office or retired judges may be decided. In that situation, President will have no choice but to get elected from the next electoral college and opposition demands for fair elections under a neutral care taker set up and independent Election Commissioner as agreed by all parties where ‘Judiciary’ as a monitor is free to dispense justice independently without cloud of PCO’s fair to all parties. At that time if with sheer will fair elections are held, that will close the chapter of current military regime in Pakistan for the time being. To end it completely politicians will need to show political maturity, will and sacrifice in the interest of Pakistan. Federation and future of Pakistan lies with democracy which is not possible unless and until free elections are held.



Time has come that before any so called ‘Act of Parliament’ is presented yet again and or a supra constitution mechanism is adopted like referendum to request the military dictator to retain his status in violation of the constitution’s true intentions thus allowing a General to hold his own office of profit as ‘Chief of Army Staff’ as well as the office of ‘President of Pakistan’ thus depriving the national parties to elect their own civilian President.  Supreme Court must put it aright what they initially directed. In all this process Supreme Court’s role will be crucial as SC will be asked to determine few questions which are following:



•              Whether General Musharaf’s first reign of President from June 2001

to 16 November 2002 in which he held referendum on 30 April 2002 to legalise his stay at office as well may be classed as one and whether he has finished his two tenures if that regime was legal under Article

44(2) of the Constitution.

•              What is the actual date from which his first or current tenure as

President of Pakistan commenced.

•              Finally, the most important of all is, can General Musharaf retain

his uniform and contest next Presidential Election against the letter and Spirit of the Constitution 1973.



Supreme Court’s ruling will be very crucial and will be subject to Article 190 of the constitution which binds all executive and judicial authorities through out Pakistan to act in aid of the Supreme Court and if that ruling is not given in time, it  will lead to  prolong one man’s rule against the wishes of millions of Pakistanis whose will is already negated. SC gave 3 years to the military man  in Zafar Ali Shah case and its 4 years beyond that 3 years limit and I think its time that ‘one man one vote’ principle and an in born right of the people is restored and establishment lay back and let the people decide what they want, and who they want and democracy in its true form is allowed to as Abraham Lincoln said ‘Government of the people, for the people and by the people.’ If bold decisions are not taken at this juncture, then we must be ready for unconstitutional rule for a long time which may create further unrest, emergency, civil disobedience, and martial law as civic society and lawyers are not going to digest anything less than rule of law and justice and true implementation of the Constitution in letter and spirit, and no ultra vires Act of parliament will be accepted to override the true intentions of the Parliament. General sahib must call it a day and pave way for true democracy in Pakistan, enough is enough.


Reply
#17
SAUDI PRINCE CRITICISES MONOPOLY OF POWER AT THE HEART OF KINGDOM
Salah Nasrawi, Associated Press in Cairo
Wednesday September 5, 2007
The Guardian


A prominent prince plans to form a political party in Saudi Arabia and invite jailed reformists to join. The rare call for reform from within the royal family is likely to anger the kingdom, which bans political parties.
Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz, a half-brother of King Abdullah and the father of Saudi Arabia's richest private business tycoon, also criticised what he termed an alleged monopoly on Saudi power by one faction within the Saudi royal family.

He did not name members of the faction, but was apparently referring to some of Saudi Arabia's most powerful princes: the Crown Prince Sultan, the interior minister, Prince Naif and the Riyadh governor, Prince Salman. The princes are all sons of the Saudi founder King Abdul-Aziz, as are Prince Talal and the king.
Prince Talal, now in his 70s, is considered something of an outsider within the royal family, because of his past pushes for reform, which forced him into exile briefly in the 1960s. But the prince is also believed to be a confidant of the current king, whom he praised as a reformer who faces "obstacles before him".

Saudi officials had no immediate comment. The royal family rarely comments publicly on internal matters.

In an interview with Associated Press, which was conducted outside Saudi Arabia, Prince Talal also criticised the jailing of reformists within the kingdom, and said they are welcome to join his party.

"I know this is not an easy thing to do, but we have to start forming this party," he said, adding that he wants the party to break a power monopoly by some members of the family who have been "holding executive power for some 70 years".

Prince Talal pointed to neighbouring Gulf nations, such as Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, which have already opened up their conservative political systems and held elections.

"Saudis are asking why these small countries have followed this direction and not us?" he said.

In the past, Prince Talal has called for an elected assembly to enact legislation, question officials and protect public wealth. In the interview, he also called on the kingdom's powerful Wahhabi religious establishment to make changes. "We have signed international conventions on women's rights and we should respect them," he said.

The group of Saudi activists that Prince Talal cited have been in jail for months for advocating reform. The prince called them "prisoners of conscience, not criminals".

Prince Talal also called for an independent Anglo-Saudi inquiry into claims that some Saudi royals received kickbacks from oil and arms deals. The US justice department is currently investigating a 1985 arms deal with BAE Systems.

"A joint independent Saudi-British committee should be formed to probe this, and if the accusations are proved, then the minimum that should be done is to return the kickbacks to the treasury," he said.



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#18
SLAUGHTER OF 18 OCTOBER IN KARACHI
Usman Khalid
http://www.icssa.org/article_detail_parse.php?m_link=&slink=&a_id=1196&rel=1194,1193&pg=&m_id=1199

If she chose exile or to live in the shadow of Musharraf, ignominy would stalk her path for the rest of her life.

"Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.” Sir Francis Bacon

Benazir arrived. She came well equipped. She said she will bring jobs (one wonders how?) She raised the tired old slogan of ‘roti, kapra aur makan’ (food, clothing and shelter). But she was nevertheless given a huge reception by the people of Karachi because the memory of 12 May is still fresh in the mind of her supporters who were mowed down by masked gunmen of the MQM when the police stood by. The people were wise; they turned up in large numbers but were calm and restrained. But their leader was not. She upset the people by her tirade against the Supreme Court and provoked the ‘resistance’ by reviling it. She had been able to get way with such grandstanding before because ‘resistance’ was confined to Kashmir. Now it is global.

The reception given to Benazir by the ‘resistance’ on her arrival in Karachi was not unexpected. There were warnings that the ‘resistance’ sees Benazir Bhutto as a collaborator of Musharraf who is ‘damaged goods’ with image irreversibly tarnished in the eyes of the people. By agreeing to be his sidekick, she might recover the stolen money (reported in the press to 1.5 Billion Dollars) but she has also earned the title of ‘collaborator’. The role she has accepted is to save Musharraf from the wrath of the people. Her assertion that she would not accept him in uniform does not impress any one. A collaborator is a collaborator whether in civvies or in uniform; whether the pair act in ‘democratic’ unison or if only one acts in ‘autocratic’ indifference.

The people are not fooled. They see that both of them do not tire of reviling the resistance to occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and Palestine as ‘extremism’. That might impress America but it heightens the anger of the people who see Musharraf masquerading as an elected President which he is not. He has the temerity to insist that he would be President for another five years because he has been endorsed by the soon to dissolved rubber stamp assemblies he created in rigged elections. He has enlisted the support of Benazir Bhutto to create another rubber stamp parliament because there is no chance his e King’s parties - PML(Q) and MQM- can rule in peace even he is able to ensured their victory in rigged elections using the new system of local government (Nazims) he has created for this purpose.

The people are amazed why Bhutto’s daughter – the most revered name in Pakistan after the Quaid e Azam - is ready to endorse a disreputable dictator? The answer is - 1.5 Billion Dollars – on which she can lay her hands only with the assistance of the Pakistani and US Governments. General Musharraf has been content with much less but he has discredited democracy so much in securing the ‘mandate by machination’ that the people have lost faith in the political process. One hopes that the attack on Benazir’s procession would mark the end of the era when the size of the political procession was the only poll for the people as well as the pundits to rely on. But a structural problem in the party system continues to plague its efficacy in delivering leadership for the country. In all the political parties, party tickets and party offices are awarded by nominations by the leader. The party ranks are filled with sycophants adept in servility or those who enrich the leader. Benazir and Nawaz Sharif were dismissed twice each and have been in political wilderness for eight years of Musharraf rule. Yet, their parties have not been willing and able to appoint their replacements. General Musharraf was given three years by the Supreme Court to stop this alternation of the corrupt leader who had been indicted and discredited. He failed abysmally; the very same indicted and discredited leaders are still masquerading as the ‘hope of the nation’.

After the introduction of the ‘indirectly elected’ Nazims in charge of district (and lower level) government, the electoral process is rigged to perpetuate the current rulers, however unpopular, in power. The political opposition has been reduced to a ‘bunch of losers’ that would have increasingly less chance of entering office if the system is not replaced. The establishment would rule in perpetuity as it does in the best ‘recognised’ democracies - India, America and Israel. It works in the ‘best democracies’ because the establishment has an imperial agenda. In Pakistan the establishment has no agenda except to hold on to power. Since so much of the Muslim world is either under occupation or ruled by American puppets, even those leaders look the other way are seen as collaborators by the people. Those who depend on or work in connivance with forces of occupation have no legitimacy. That gives the ‘resistance’ legitimacy. Anybody who wants to lead Pakistan must remember that. Any one on the wrong side of ‘resistance’ would be its target. Collaborators would be targets even more than the occupiers. There is no forum that is the voice of resistance to occupation. Al-Qaeda is also not the proper voice of resistance. It is a party of the pious; the resistance comprises the pious as well as the not so pious. Al-Qaeda is driven by ‘Islam’, resistance is driven by humiliation of occupation.

That the PML (Q) and the MQM members of the parliament have endorsed Mussarraf for five more years as President. That would have sounded the death knell for both parties in any true democracy. But the Nazim System Musharraf has introduced ensures that the President decides who wins who loses. That is why the parties Musharraf favours will win. In this system, cunning pays more than wisdom and Benazir has both. But she must know she will win to the extent the President wills. She has no guns backing her – only America. Would she rely on Musharraf’s guns? More important, can she rely on Musharraf’s guns? She must now be able to see that the muzzle of the guns of the resistance is pointed at her even more than at Musharraf. She has choices. She can go into exile again after getting her hands on the stolen money. She can continue to be Musharraf’s sidekick and enjoy the limelight of whatever political office she can get under his patronage. Or she can be on the side of the resistance as her father might have wished. If she did that, and she is more capable of it than any other leader in Pakistan, she would go down in history as a more successful leader than her father. If she chose exile or to live in the shadow of Musharraf, ignominy would stalk her path for the rest of her life.



BENAZIR SINGS DEMOCRACY BUT SUPPORTS TERRORISM
Dr.Shahid Qureshi
http://www.icssa.org/article_detail_parse.php?a_id=1199&rel=1196,1194,1193

Benazir Bhuto is termed as ‘queen of corruption’ in the media and her brother Murtaza Bhutto a ‘Terrorist Prince’. Famous journalist Anthony Davis wrote in Asia Week on 30th November 2000, “Bhutto’s Heir to Violence: The farce and tragedy of a man of terror”. The whole of Pakistan and region is on the verge of collapse and turmoil because of the mistakes of Benziar Bhutto and her government’s support of Taliban which became Al-Qaida. Benazir Bhutto admitted few months ago, “We made a mistake in supporting (creating) Taliban”, at London School of Economics (LSE).Her interior minister Naseerullah Babar used to call ‘Taliban’ my boys. If Karachi bombing is at all linked to Taliban than she got into her own mess? She tries getting her ratings high in the West by claiming certain pro Taliban elements are after her life. Batullah Masood’s group denied any statement about Benzair as published by a pro US Lahore based paper. She sings democracy to Westerner but run her party like a family business and has earned more than $2 billion tax free.

Anthony Davis wrote,” Bhutto’s eldest son, saw himself as political heir. But he will probably be remembered less as the politician he sought to become and more as the man who once led a terrorist group dedicated to overthrowing Zia's military dictatorship. Murtaza's death all but guaranteed that: he died in 1996 in a gun battle with police outside his Karachi home. Because of Pakistani press censorship during the martial law years from 1977 to 1985 - and Murtaza's understandable reluctance to discuss his terrorist past - little was known of the activities of the Al-Zulfiqar group he set up in Kabul in 1979. Until now, that is. Raja Anwar gives a fascinating insider's view of Murtaza's career in The Terrorist Prince (Verso Books, New York, 241 pages, $25).Superbly translated by Khalid Hasan. The Kabul-based outfit is first presented as the armed wing of his father's Pakistan People's Party. As Al-Zulfiqar, it springs to international prominence with the 1981 hijacking of a (PIA) Pakistani airliner en route to Kabul.”

Mr Davis states that, “(Alzuifqar) attempted to bring down Zia's jet with a surface-to-air missile in 1982 is bungled because the would-be assassin has never used the weapon before. It is only when Al-Zulfiqar relocates to India later that year that the recruits benefit from some real training - courtesy of Indian's external intelligence agency (RAW). In 1984 kidnapping of foreign diplomats at a Canadian National Day celebration at a Vienna hotel - turns into dark comedy. The terrorists arrive to discover there is no celebration. True to form, Murtaza is not among them - he had left for the Riviera. The team wanders the streets taking snapshots and drinking beer until they are finally arrested by Austrian police on suspicion of drug smuggling. Murtaza gets a payback of sorts. On his return to Pakistan in 1993, he is arrested and jailed for about half a year on murder and sedition charges.”

Pakistan is a strange country where anything can happen, people who should be in prison become prime ministers and call themselves honorable. Last month was 10th anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s brother, Murtaza Bhutto, who headed of Alzulifqar terrorist group. She clearly benefited from the terrorist activities of Al-zulifqar and reportedly supported its members after coming into power. Otherwise high jacking a plane is not a petty crime under national and international law. To some people Bhutto is westernized and has no understanding how people of Pakistan are surviving. The so-called US sponsored deal and National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) cannot be compared with the South African ‘Truth and reconciliation Commission’ because there is no admission of guilt and crimes committed.

How on earth democracies like Britain and US support the most corrupt politician with total corruption wealth of $2 billion? Pakistan is a country of 160 million and many of them are articulate, honest and can speak good English! This kind of behavior is not going down well among the masses in Pakistan. One cannot have a high standard of morality and democracy in his or her own country but allow and support the corrupt and compromised to become prime minister. This who is your ‘chief’ type mentally must be change. People of Pakistan hate double standard in policy. Majority of people in Pakistan are moderate and like to have close and good ties with the US and West. They can learn from each others experiences. The relationship with the US should be ‘solid but not slavish’.

Some experts are saying that Karachi bombing on October 18th 2007 was just a warning for her. Former PPP leader and Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar said in press today that, ‘she will be attacked in Punjab’. That is a very serious warning. Critics says that it seems to be a conspiracy to get Benzair killed in Punjab and than start civil war (separation war) under the pretext that Punjab killed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and now his daughter by the Punjabi Army. Benzair herself is already working on the same agenda otherwise there was no reason for her to accuse Supreme Court of Pakistan of being pro Punjab! How irresponsible is that? It was Punjab who made her and her father twice Prime Minister of Pakistan. Six terms of prime ministership have been served by Sindhis. Benzair is from the line of collaborators.

Fatima Bhutto accused Asif Zardari for murder of her father Murtaza Bhutto. According to intelligence reports Bhutto’s used to conspire against Pakistan were involved in terrorist bombings, assassinations and murders in Pakistan during the Zia period. PIA airliner was hijacked and taken to Indo-Soviet influenced Kabul by Alzulifqar terrorist Islamullah Tippu with the orders of Bhutto’s. According to some reports Alzulifqar fired rockets on President Zia’s aircraft many times and was reportedly a suspect behind the mysterious C-130 crash of General Zia after which Benzair Bhutto become Prime Minster of Pakistan with the help of US. Than pages from the intelligence files of Murtaza Bhutto started missing until he become member of the provincial assembly of Sind in his absence.

According to Wikipedia, “Al-Zulfiqar was being funded by the Soviet-backed government in Kabul, staged a string of political assassinations, bank robberies and bombings before pulling off its most daring act when in 1981 it hijacked a Pakistan International Airlines flight from Peshawar to Kabul. The hijacking drama went on for thirteen days in which Lieutenant Tariq Rahim was shot dead, the hijackers mistakenly believing he was the son of General Rahimuddin Khan, a prominent member of the Zia dictatorship. This forced the Zia regime to accept the demands of the hijackers of releasing dozens of Pakistan Peoples Party and other leftist political prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails. The Al-Zulfiqar also attempted to assassinate Zia on a number of occasions and it made an attempt to bomb a rally in Karachi held in honor of the Pope who was visiting Pakistan in 1980.”

In 1997, Murtaza was assassinated by a group of police guards when they fired on his convoy of cars in Karachi. The police said that Murtaza's armed guards had fired upon them first. Murtaza supporters believe Asif Ali Zardari ordered his assassination stated the web base encyclopedia. The claim of Asif Zardari’s link with the killing is confirmed by Murtaza’s daughter and niece of Benzair Bhutto.

Fatima Bhutto wrote in September 2007 in a national English daily newspaper, “Curiosity impels people to ask about the not-so hidden hand, the highest level of government, so I will answer. Asif Zardari, lifelong senator and current PPP poster boy, now lives in New York City in the Trump Towers apartment complex on Fifth Avenue with his dog Maximillian”

Miss Bhutto wrote, “Mrs Zardari (Benzair Bhutto) resides between London and Dubai. She plans to return to Pakistan in one month's time and be hailed as your next prime minister and Gen Musharraf's new best friend. Mrs. Zardari is currently being tried in a Swiss court for corruption. There is also a case in Spain's courts against her for corruption – the evidence was unearthed after the Spanish police were following paper trails after the 2004 Madrid bombings and came across some suspicious looking accounts belonging to Mrs Zardari. Mrs Zardari has numerous corruption cases lodged against her in her own country. There have been allegations that she and her partner stole $1.5 to 2 billion from the Pakistani treasury. She's on her way back for round three.”

Benazir Bhutto’s and her family has caused more harm to Pakistan than anybody else starting from the separation of East Pakistan to the bombings, murders, assassinations of opposition politicians and hijacking PIA airliner of Al-zulifqar . Bhutto’s been /is known as collaborators of the British colonialists in the undivided India, this collaboration did not stop but extended to the US and others players today. She was in self exile due to money laundering and corruption of $2 billion from Pakistan’s treasury. She was never stopped to come back to Pakistan.

The unfortunate Benzair Bhutto’s show of 18th October 2007 was no doubt British and US sponsored according to some sources. Benazir’s arrogance and ignorance has caused death of more than 140 and injured 550 innocent people and their families. She was warned in advance by both President Musharaf and Prime Minister to delay her visit of not to do the rally.

Since the inception of Pakistan Bhutto family has been linked to the politics long before partition. Sir Shahnawaz was Prime Minister of Junagarh and very well know collaborator of the British India Government. Z A Bhutto came into power with the support of General Ayub Khan, a dictator whom he used to call ‘dad’. Now in 2007 Benzair Bhutto his daughter came to Pakistan after doing a deal with General Musharaf because $2 billion is a lot of money and worth it. Forget about the people and ethics and principles.

ZA Bhutto was directly responsible for separation of Pakistan for not allowing formation of government by the majority party ‘Awami League’ of East Pakistan. ZA Bhutto was later hanged in a murder case, which could have been avoided, had Bhutto’s defense team not delayed the case unnecessarily with the requests of adjournment motions according to some legal experts the outcome would be different.

People of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have learnt the trick in 21st Century to use against any attempt to re-colonization or occupation ‘kill the collaborators first’!




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#19
SAUDI ARABIA - A REGIME BRITAIN SHOULD BE HONOURING?     
  
Monday, 29 October 2007  
The Independent

Today, the Saudi Arabian monarch King Abdullah will begin a state visit to Britain. No honour will be withheld and no expense will be spared in making the king feel as welcome as possible. It is difficult to know where to begin when it comes to expressing the inappropriateness of this visit.

Since its foundation in 1932, Saudi Arabia has been one of the world's most flagrant abusers of human rights. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, scores of Saudis are executed and tortured by the regime every year. It even imprisoned and tortured three Britons living in the country five years ago, though our own Government has repeatedly tried to sweep the affair under the carpet.
  
Despite token efforts to appease foreign pressure to reform, Saudi Arabia remains a stonewall autocracy with no freedom of association and a shackled media. The religious police are constantly on hand to make sure that all are "modestly" dressed, which for women means being covered from head to toe. Allegations of corruption swirl around the ruling elite. Many ministries are reserved for members of the sprawling Saud family. Prominent royals have been accused of taking huge kickbacks from foreign public acquisition deals.

Saudi Arabia is also one of the main global drivers of the terrorist threat that confronts the West. The regime promotes the most intolerant strain of Islamic theology. It has founded and funded religious schools around the world from Indonesia, to Pakistan, to London, that have encouraged a toxic hatred for "non-believers" among their young students. The Saudi heritage of Osama bin Laden and many of the September 11 hijackers has been well documented.

So why is Britain continuing to deal with such a regime, let alone honouring it with a state visit? Britain has a commercial interest in maintaining cordial relations with the country. Manufacturing jobs at the defence manufacturer, BAe, would be under threat if Britain was to offend the Saudi regime. It has been alleged that a Saudi threat to cancel a lucrative Eurofighter deal put pressure on the Serious Fraud Office to drop its investigation into corruption in a previous arms deal. And of course the bigger picture is that Saudi controls 40 per cent of the word's proven oil reserves, the fossil fuel on which the world's economy presently runs. This is the reason the regime continues to enjoy the friendship and protection of Washington.

But the West's kowtowing to the regime is not only immoral, it is short-sighted. Not only are the vast sums in petro-dollars it pays the regime being re-exported as religious extremism, there is also a question mark over how long this monarchy can last. The Saud family did a deal with powerful clerics long ago to spread their poison abroad but keep a tight lid on dissent at home. But now social control is breaking down within the country itself. The bombings for which the three Britons were scapegoated in 2002 appear to have been the first stirrings of an internal Islamist threat from within the kingdom. There have been a number of attacks since then. Then there is the threat posed by economic mismanagement. The regime has utterly failed to diversify out of its reliance on oil. And there is a vast pool of unemployed Saudi men thanks to the policy of importing millions of south Asian labourers.

Domestic discontent is rife. And history teaches us that dissent cannot be suppressed forever. The apparent inability of the Saudi regime to tolerate even minimal reform indicates that the final reckoning, when it comes, could be bloody. Britain is not only honouring a corrupt and oppressive regime this week. It could be honouring a doomed one.


GORDON BROWN EMBRACES THE TYRANT RULER OF SAUDI ARABIA
Monday, 29 October 2007
http://www.hizb.org.uk/hizb/press-centre...rabia.html

While Gordon Brown and David Cameron justify regime change of the tyrant Saddam and talk tough on Burma and Zimbabwe, they have no qualms in embracing King Abdullah, the tyrant ruler of Saudi Arabia, as he starts his official state visit to Britain today.

Taji Mustafa, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "The Saudi royal family - a creation of Britain - has long enjoyed close relations with British governments: Winston Churchill's gift of a Rolls Royce to King Abdullah's father, Tony Blair's cancellation of a long- running fraud investigation into the £40bn Al-Yamamah BAE arms deal and now Brown's red carpet welcome for King Abdullah. All of this from a government which 10 years ago promised to introduce an 'ethical dimension' into foreign policy."

"As capitalism is inextricably linked to colonialism, successive British governments have supported the likes of King Abdullah, General Musharraf, Colonel Gadaffi and other unaccountable and unelected despots who oppress and torture their people, provided they serve the economic, political and military interests of the West."

"The people of the Muslim world want to remove these repressive regimes and establish the Caliphate - a representative and accountable system of Islamic governance. In the Caliphate, torture is outlawed and political authority lies with the people. Despite the political aspirations of the Muslim masses, in order to safeguard their interests, Western governments continue to prop up these subservient rulers whilst simultaneously fighting the return of the Caliphate."






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#20
"PROCLAMATION OF EMERGENCY"
declared by Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf on 3 November
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7077136.stm


Whereas there is visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IED [improvised explosive device] explosions, rocket firing and bomb explosions and the banding together of some militant groups have taken such activities to an unprecedented level of violent intensity posing a grave threat to the life and property of the citizens of Pakistan;

Whereas there has also been a spate of attacks on state infrastructure and on law enforcement agencies;

Whereas some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive and legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism thereby weakening the government and the nation's resolve diluting the efficacy of its actions to control this menace;

Whereas there has been increasing interference by some members of the judiciary in government policy, adversely affecting economic growth, in particular;

Whereas constant interference in executive functions, including but not limited to the control of terrorist activity, economic policy, price controls, downsizing of corporations and urban planning, has weakened the writ of the government; the police force has been completely demoralised and is fast losing its efficacy to fight terrorism and intelligence agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists;

Whereas some hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released. The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property. Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued;

Whereas some judges by overstepping the limits of judicial authority have taken over the executive and legislative functions;

Whereas the government is committed to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and holds the superior judiciary in high esteem, it is nonetheless of paramount importance that the honourable judges confine the scope of their activity to the judicial function and not assume charge of administration;

Whereas an important constitutional institution, the Supreme Judicial Council, has been made entirely irrelevant and non est by a recent order and judges have, thus, made themselves immune from inquiry into their conduct and put themselves beyond accountability;

Whereas the humiliating treatment meted out to government officials by some members of the judiciary on a routine basis during court proceedings has demoralised the civil bureaucracy and senior government functionaries, to avoid being harassed, prefer inaction;

Whereas the law and order situation in the country as well as the economy have been adversely affected and trichotomy of powers eroded;

Whereas a situation has thus arisen where the government of the country cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution and as the constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures;

And whereas the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice chief of army staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army;

Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Army Staff, proclaim emergency throughout Pakistan.

I hereby order and proclaim that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance.

This proclamation shall come into force at once.


PAK COURT SUSPENDS EMERGENCY ORDER
http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1193049392335&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout

In an apparent reaction to the court's move, Musharraf was quick to replace Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Pakistan's top court Saturday, November 3, ordered the suspension of emergency rule imposed by President Pervez Musharraf, who was quick to replace the chief justice, who has been a thorn in his side, with a new one. "The emergency rule has been set aside by a seven-member bench declaring it illegal and all judges of the supreme court and high court barred from taking an oath under the new provisional constitutional order," private Geo television reported.

A government spokesman told Agence France-Presse that the Supreme Court order would not come into effect because the emergency order has a clause stating that it cannot be challenged in any court of law.

Earlier in the day, Musharraf imposed emergency rule on the country and deployed troops across the capital in a bid to reassert his flagging authority against political rivals and militants.

Musharraf has also suspended the country's 1973 constitution under the emergency rule order.

New Judge

In an apparent reaction to the court's move, Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, was quick to appoint a new chief justice.

The government replaced Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a thorn in the government's side since Musharraf's botched bid to sack him earlier this year, with Hameed Dogar.

"Justice Hameed Dogar was administered the oath as chief justice by President Pervez Musharraf under the new provisional constitutional order," the government spokesman said.

State television said the oath-taking ceremony was conducted in the presidency.

Senior legal figures opposed the move.

"Mr Dogar cannot become the chief justice because he has a corruption reference against him," Chaudhry Ikram, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association told reporters outside the court.

"We will resist all unconstitutional steps," he said.

Musharraf suspended reformist Chaudhry in March over allegations of misconduct, sparking mass protests. The Supreme Court reinstated Chaudhry in July and he has since handed down a series of damaging judgements against the government.

Condemnations
"We are heading towards a chaotic situation," said Sharif.
Musharraf's surprise move drew fire from the opposition and his key ally the United States.

"We are heading towards a chaotic situation, heading towards anarchy," Exiled former President Nawaz Sharif told Indian news channel CNN-IBN in an interview.

Musharraf deposed Sharif in a 1999 coup and subsequently exiled him. Sharif tried to return to Pakistan, with the Supreme Court's blessing, but was put on a plane to Saudi Arabia, where he still is.

Sharif called on Musharraf to step down immediately to head off catastrophic repercussions of his decision.

"The decision to impose an emergency is unprecedented. Never in history has such treatment been meted out to judges," Sharif told private Geo television.

"Musharraf should step down today and pave the way for fair elections."

Opposition politician and former cricketer Imran Khan said Saturday that Musharraf has committed treason and should face the death penalty for declaring a state of emergency.

Khan, a World Cup-winning Pakistan cricket captain, also called on the Pakistani people to resist Musharraf's move and not to recognise the new chief justice appointed by the military ruler.

"He has committed high treason by negating the orders of the Supreme Court which bars him from taking any unconstitutional steps and by sending in troops after the Supreme Court decision," Khan told AFP.

"He is punishable by death."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her condemnation of Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule.

It is "very regrettable," she said in comments broadcast on CNN.

Britain also said it is "gravely concerned" at Musharraf's move, Foreign Secretary David Miliband .

Britain recognised the threats to peace and security in Pakistan, but its future lay in "harnessing the power of democracy and the rule of law to achieve the goals of stability, development and countering terrorism"," he said.

Earlier, former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto arrived at Karachi airport from Dubai shortly after Musharraf's move, her spokesman in London told AFP.

"She's at Karachi airport. I spoke to her on the plane as it was taxiing. She doesn't know whether she will be allowed to get off, be arrested or deported," Wajid Hasan said by telephone.

A spokesman for Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in Dubai, Mohammed Farooqi, also told AFP earlier that the former premier had left the United Arab Emirates for her homeland.

Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan from eight years in exile on October 18 following a reconciliation deal with Musharraf, said earlier this week she had heard speculation that the president could take such a course.

The 54-year-old warned the PPP and other opposition parties would not tolerate such a step.

Bhutto was targeted by two suicide bombers on her return to Karachi last month in an attack that killed 139 people during her homecoming parade. She said government officials were involved.















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