Bumper Sticker of the Year: Be Nice to America or We’ll Bring Democracy to Your Country

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This Ambassador Is A Sore In US-Pakistani Relationship

Ahmed Quraishi:

“I have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth … America’s reputation is lying in the lowest gutters in Pakistan at the moment and it can’t sink any lower.”

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—US Ambassador to Pakistan Ms. Anne W. Patterson is becoming quite controversial. She has overseen the worst spell in the relationship between Washington and Islamabad in sixty years and many say she is responsible for at least some of it. Ties weren’t this bad even when the United States unfairly sanctioned Pakistan in 1990 over its nuclear program.

Mr. Thomas Houlahan, a Washington DC-based expert on Pakistani military issues, accused her in 2008 of conducting ‘bunker diplomacy’—that is, conducting United States diplomacy with Pakistan from the barricaded and isolated confines of her office inside a heavily fortified embassy building which in turn is located inside the isolated Diplomatic Enclave in an outer tip of Pakistan’s federal capital.

Her reports back to Washington are misleading, explained Mr. Houlahan, because she doesn’t really know what Pakistanis are thinking.

For information, Washington’s diplomats in Pakistan have been relying on two things: a pro-US government whose principals owe their power to a deal brokered and guaranteed by the US, and a list of proverbial ‘good guys’ that Ms. Patterson’s Embassy recruited from the media, including retired diplomats, military officers and academia, who could take America’s case to the Pakistani public opinion.

This strategy backfired. Big time.

Failing to see that Pakistanis were asking for respect and not confrontation, she shot alarming reports back to Washington warning of an organized campaign in Pakistani media to assail US reputation.

Getting their cue from Ms. Patterson’s reporting, US government’s spin masters countered by launching an organized campaign within the US media and worldwide, accusing Pakistan of ‘anti-Americanism’.  The accusation was expanded to include harassment of US diplomats and non-issuance of visas to them. Obviously, Ms. Patterson failed to tell people back in Washington that CIA and other intelligence-related personnel where using diplomatic cover under her guidance to spy on Pakistan.

She also might have overlooked another small detail: the US ambassador in Pakistan is a potential suspect in a case of bribing a senior Interior Ministry official in order to get a cache of banned weapons into Pakistan without the knowledge of the country’s intelligence.

The alarm generated by Ms. Patterson and her team led US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to rush to Pakistan in order to counter the Pakistani media, with carefully-orchestrated interviews and public appearances where Ms. Patterson did her best to keep Mrs. Clinton away from the ‘bad guys’. She ensured that her boss never met those commentators and media people who could provide the harsh, but legitimate, viewpoint.

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THE SALE OF PAKISTAN

Only the Air-Condition Pakistani class could think of such a wheeze and get away with it. Who says our leaders are brain dead? May Allah continue to shower His blessings upon the Zardari/Bhuttos, the Sharifs and all their hanger ons! Amen.

“Islamabad has established an extraordinarily welcoming investment environment that financiers will find hard to resist. The government’s Corporate Agriculture Farming (CAF) policy — spelled out on the Board of Investment’s website — effectively legalises foreign land acquisitions. It permits state land to be purchased outright or leased for 50 years, and allows investors to determine the size of their acquisitions (with no upper ceiling). These features apply to a broad range of agriculture from crops, fruits and vegetables to forestry and livestock farming.”

What a brilliant idea! Sell the most fertile parcels of state land to the oil saturated Arabs [the Saudis, the Emiratis and the assorted dung heads of Arabia] pocket your commission and live happily ever after in the Disney world of Dubai and the fleshpots of London’s Edgeware Road/Park Lane. As to the landless, sweating masses – turn them into Talibans, a la Swat style and get the Americans to keep them in their place by ‘droning’ them.

Only the Air-Condition Pakistani class could think of such a wheeze and get away with it. Who says our leaders are brain dead?  May Allah continue to shower His blessings upon the Zardari/Bhuttos, the Sharifs and all their hanger ons! Amen.


Putting the country on sale

The Nation, Jan. 31, 2010.

For those of us who had thought that the scheme of leasing out a million acres of agricultural land to foreign investors had been shelved by the government, the statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi last week served as a rude awakening. Shamelessly reaffirming his government’s commitment to go ahead with the sinister plan, he gave odd justifications for going ahead with it. He was in Dubai for a meeting of Frie-nds of Pakistan who are supposed to help us in this time of need. The Arab countries that have expressed interest in this unethical land grab, obviously have a poor sense of friendship. The message they, as well as the other so-called friends, are sending out is that when a friend is in need, exploit the friend and get a good price for his family silver.


One has yet to see anything worthwhile coming out of this motley group of countries that have created yet another club for the avowed purpose of helping out Pakistan in consideration of the price it has paid for fighting terrorism and to strengthen the now not-so-new democracy. Going by the Foreign Minister’s recent statement, it seems that the club serves the interests of the generous prosperous friends more than those of the one going around the globe with a begging bowl. Knowing the desperation of the beggar friend whose functionaries do not miss an occasion to register their economic helplessness and to plead with servile eyes and tones for some charity, these so-called affluent friends seem to be finding good bargains for whatever is to be grabbed in the state of Pakistan. All in the name of friendship of course.

It is surprising that after the treatment meted out to us by our best friend and ally, we still have a stomach for these so-called friendships, and as if one were not enough, we are willing to follow the tunes of this assortment of pied
pipers.


The government, instead of relying on such fickle friends, should be focusing on the wealth of resources at its disposal waiting to be managed properly.
After all, that is what it is there for. Or does the democratic government
believe that its sole purpose is to stay afloat in the short term, even if it means auctioning the country’s vital resources in a grand loot sale? Certainly, something better is expected of a democratic government.

In a ridiculous attempt at justifying the scheme, the Foreign Minister has now informed us that the land that the government intends to lease out is not owned by anyone. By that he means that the land is not owned by any private
individual. But does that mean that these precious acres are lawaris? Does he not know that land not owned by any private individual is owned by the state of Pakistan and is therefore collectively owned by the people of Pakistan?
Does he not know that the government is entrusted with looking after this land and not to sell it off to greedy friends mouthing sincerity? Does the government have no obligation to find ways of util-ising the invaluable resource for the betterment of the people it claims to represent?

To further expose his poverty of vision, the Foreign Minister said that the land to be leased out is not under cultivation and therefore we should not object to handing it over to the foreign investors who will pump in the
resources to cultivate it. Is it the best our democratic government has to offer us? If investors from distant lands with no tradition of agriculture can come and cultivate it, it should not be difficult for Pakistanis to do it, what with an agricultural heritage and knowledge going back to pre-historic times. Instead of wasting government funds on retrogressive schemes like the Benazir Income Support Programme that make beggars of able-bodied citizens rather than helping them stand on their feet, couldn’t the government spend them on helping landless farmers cultivate the land that it wants to throw away to foreign investors?

It is very unfortunate indeed that the government would insist on pushing such a hare-brained and patently nefarious scheme down our throats at the insistence of its dubious friends. But then, it is not just one nut in the
machine that the government is mowing down Pakistan and its citizens with. Whether it is for loans taken from the foul international financial institutions or for aid that it hopes to get from its best friend under the Kerry-Lugar Act,
or for crumbs it hopes to collect from the so-called Friends of Pakistan, the government is willing to compromise the well-being of the people in whose name it governs the country.

To be fair, the present government is only partially responsible for this state of affairs. In recent times, all successive governments have followed the same path. Whether it was the ‘Islamic’ dictatorship of Ziaul Haq or the quasi-democratic governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif that followed, or the moderate-dictatorship of Musharraf or the Q-government that he gave birth to, those at the helm of affairs have shown a similar poverty of
vision when it comes to managing the country’s economy and the abundant resources at their disposal. They come with new mantras and programmes, but beneath the shallow surface, nothing changes on this count. Those in charge of the future of the Paki-stani people have shown a propensity to become willing partners in their exploitation at the hands of investors, states and multilateral financial institutions. Together, this evil partnership has made a rich land poor, turning its gold to dust.

Granted that the present government has inherited much of this legacy from its predecessors, there is still no excuse for continuing with it, especially when the cost has become too high for the people of Pakistan to bear. More
than millions and billions of dollars that the government is breathlessly running after, what is actually required is a political vision that appreciates the true worth of this land and its people.



Going gaga over grain


By Michael Kugelman
Dawn News, Sep. 17, 2009.


Last May, while Pakistan’s military was waging its offensive in Swat, Islamabad officials were simultaneously launching another offensive in the Gulf: a charm offensive to secure investment in Pakistani farmland.

Appearing at ‘farmland road shows’ across the region, the investment ministry representatives depicted Pakistan’s soil as the perfect solution to the Gulf nations’ food insecurity.

Such efforts have paid off for Islamabad (and according to media reports, more shows have been staged in recent days). Pakistan’s farmland is an increasingly popular target for wealthy, food-importing nations who, because of the volatility of world food markets, are taking food security matters into their own hands. These states (and also private investors) aim to buy or lease farmland overseas, grow their own crops and export them back home.

Given their lack of transparency, the details surrounding these investments are sketchy and the facts elusive. In Pakistan, uncertainty reigns over the exact amount of land made available to investors, the quantum of land sold or leased so far, and who is in fact doing the investing.

Still, even without these details, there is strong evidence to suggest that the race for Pakistan’s farmland — if not halted prematurely by farmers’ opposition or investor change-of-hearts — could trigger droves of land deals, acute resource shortages and even political strife.

Islamabad has established an extraordinarily welcoming investment environment that financiers will find hard to resist. The government’s Corporate Agriculture Farming (CAF) policy — spelled out on the Board of Investment’s website — effectively legalises foreign land acquisitions. It permits state land to be purchased outright or leased for 50 years, and allows investors to determine the size of their acquisitions (with no upper ceiling). These features apply to a broad range of agriculture from crops, fruits and vegetables to forestry and livestock farming.

Land investors flock to countries with strong legal protections. Cambodia’s government has reportedly established a national land concession authorising public land to be allocated to foreigners — and the country is now experiencing what the BBC describes as an ‘epidemic of land-grabbing’. Conversely, in India, foreign companies are banned from owning farmland — and considerably fewer investors have come calling.

Pakistan, like Cambodia, provides the legal cover farmland investors look for. However, the CAF goes beyond legal protections. It also offers generous financial incentives such as 100 per cent foreign equity; exemptions on land transfer duties; and customs-duty-free, sales-tax-free agricultural machinery imports.

Legal protection and financial incentives — what more could a foreign land investor in Pakistan want? Security, of course, and Islamabad purports to have this covered as well, through the formation of a 100,000-strong security unit. Pakistan’s government is so serious about concluding land deals that it has offered to deploy a force almost a fifth the size of the army to protect investors’ new holdings.

A rash of foreign land acquisitions in Pakistan would deepen the country’s resource crisis. Pakistan already suffers widespread water shortages, and could be water-scarce by 2020. However, supplies could dry up much sooner if enormous quantities of water are siphoned off to support large-scale, water-intensive agricultural production schemes.

To understand the scale of Pakistan’s water shortages, take a look at Aquastat, the FAO’s water statistics database. Of all the nations most often associated with relinquishing farmland, only one — Kenya — has less water availability per capita than Pakistan’s 1400 cubic metres. In fact, of the nearly 200 countries listed in the database, only 35 have less water than Pakistan — many of them the parched countries of the Gulf that are seeking the water-laden farmland they lack at home.

Indeed, quests for overseas farmland are water hunts as much as they are land hunts. Yet investors are seemingly so seduced by Islamabad’s legal and financial inducements that they disregard the fact that Pakistan’s water supply can barely sustain its own farming, much less that of immense foreign agribusiness projects.

Pakistan’s water and energy shortages could also limit the possible benefits accruing from the deals, including better technology, more employment and higher crop yields. With limited energy to operate upgraded farm machinery, and limited water to irrigate cropland, farming job prospects could suffer and talk of increased yields could become irrelevant.

Land deals could mean not just compromised small-holder livelihoods but also widespread displacement. Not surprisingly, critics argue that big land acquisitions could spark violent responses and mass political unrest. Such predictions may be premature — other than in Madagascar, opposition has been relatively localised — but they are not far-fetched in Pakistan.

Here’s why. According to the World Food Programme, 77 million Pakistanis are already food-insecure, and many of them live in the country’s most volatile areas. Foreign land holdings could cause a flare-up of this food vulnerability powder keg at the worst possible time. During the height of last year’s global food crisis, Pakistan imposed export bans to keep domestic food prices down.

According to a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the UAE — which hopes to grow rice and wheat in Pakistan — then requested blanket exemptions from these bans.

Islamabad eventually relaxed export restrictions on Basmati rice. So a politically explosive scenario — such as the UAE trucking rice out of a drought-stricken or war-ravaged Pakistan and exporting it back to the Gulf while hungry locals look on — is not at all unrealistic. Throw that investment-protecting security force into the mix, and things could get really ugly.

Furthermore, there are long-standing rifts between Pakistan’s rural poor and its wealthy, landholding elite. Scores of huge land acquisitions — particularly if they displace poor labourers — would exacerbate these class-based cleavages.

Ominously, the Taliban’s actions in Swat reveal a new ability to exploit class divisions by pitting landless farmers against their landlords. Militants may well use farmland acquisitions as a pretext for fomenting a fresh class revolt in Punjab, the fertile, populous province coveted by the Taliban and reportedly ground zero for the farms race in Pakistan. Such a thought is enough to make one wonder if those farmland road shows are really worth the effort.

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Kashmiris, Nagas and Sikhs demand end to Indian Imperialism

LONDON, (APP)- On the occasion of India’s Republic Day, a powerful joint appeal Tuesday to the international community by key Kashmiri, Naga and Sikh leaders has highlighted the fundamental conflicts and contradictions at the heart of the Indian state, as well as the unwavering intent of their nations to secure freedom in accordance with their right to self-determination as enshrined in international law.

They issued a call to the international community to play a constructive role in dismantling India’s unlawful hold on their territories, which has been maintained purely by military means at the cost of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives since 1947, and to restore fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law in the most volatile region of the world.

The leaders included Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Chair of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir, Naga leader Th. Muivah, General Secretary of the NSCN-IM and Kanwarpal Singh of Dal Khalsa in Punjab.

Their message was endorsed by leading organisations based in the respective Diaspora communities which held demonstrations outside the Indian High Commission in London and elsewhere to once again publicly reject the Indian constitution as being applicable to their territories.

Rubbishing India’s claims to be a democratic, secular, peaceable state which complies with its international obligations, they pointed to the reality of a belligerent, militaristic state which oppresses the minorities and nations under its control, which has become a serial violator of international law and human rights.

They said Indian armed forces chief Deepak Kapoor’s recent public comments about bringing both China and Pakistan to their knees within 96 hours of a war betrays the dangerous  and aggressive mindset of the Indian establishment which has already conducted undeclared wars on the Naga, Sikh, Kashmiri and other nations using brutal means, systematically violating basic human rights, as routinely pointed out by the world’s leading human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty international.

Pending India’s compliance with the international standards the Naga, Kashmiri and Sikh leadership urged the international community to robustly dismiss India’s pretensions to a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

“It would be the height of folly indeed to reward a serial violator of basic international norms by giving it the means to frustrate the one international body that can hold it to account,” they observed.

They pledged to work together, along with their friends in the region and beyond, in order to promote a peaceful transition from the current unjust framework of Indian colonialism to a new order in South Asia where freedom, peace and security and justice would prevail.

The withdrawal of Indian forces from these occupied territories would be a pre-requisite for that transformation. Instead of indulging itself in Republic Day posturing, India would do better to reflect on the crimes it has committed and its own inherent contradictions.

Threatening its neighbours and inhumanly oppressing minorities may have become the raison d’etre for ‘Hindutva,’ but these policies offend the very notion of religion and will surely ultimately prove suicidal for  the Indian state.

It demanded ejecting India from all the UN’s humanitarian bodies until it improves its appalling record of mistreating its religious minorities.

In August 2009, the United States Commission for International Religious Freedoms put India on its ‘watch list’ of states that fail to protect such groups.

In the UK, Muhammad Ghalib, Chair of the All Party Kashmir Co-ordination Committee,  Amrik Singh Sahota , President of the Council of Khalistan, and the Naga Support Centre all pledged to continue their campaign to enlist international support for the peaceable implementation of their national rights.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, Chair of ‘Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination’, the cross party group at the Westminster parliament which promotes national self-determination, endorsed these demands.

Having been recently denied a visa to visit India specifically because of his support for these causes, he castigated the ongoing oppression of these freedom loving nations and urged the international community to hold India to account for its crimes.      Reflecting on India’s refusal to grant him a visa, he noted the move was consistent with India’s attempts to conceal its record by denying human rights groups, UN officials and independent observers access to conflict zones.

He remarked that all this was futile with the true picture is becoming ever more apparent to the global community which will be forced to act sooner or later.

It is not a democracy, stupid!

A political-aware person will never be fooled by such political rhetoric as “the only democracy in the Middle East (Israel)” or “the largest democracy in the world (India)” or the best democracy in the world (US).


Because these are simply political dramas played by a minority of the privileged class, every four years to fool the brainwashed public and the world community at large. In reality, there are only a few countries where democracy by dictionary definition (“by the people for the people”) is practiced but their elected leaders are not recognized as democratic leaders because they refuse to bow to the Zionist perceived democratic world.

Democracy, like the other slogans such as human rights, freedom, justce, gender equality, etc. – has been corrupted so much by the elites that they have all lost their original meanings. Interestingly, Muslims make the largest minority groups in the US, India and Israel – but they’re the most persecuted ones in those countries.

American writer Stephen Lendman wrote:

“Is it less true for America or in how Israel treats Muslims, many its own citizens yet denied virtually all rights afforded to Jews, and in Palestine none under military occupation.” Indian writer Arundhati Roy compared Hindu right wing (Hindutva) persecution of Muslims in India to Hitler’s persecution of Jews. She asks: “What kind of India they want? A limbless, headless, soulless torso  bleeding under the butcher’s clever with a flag driven deep into her mutilated heart?”

In the US, no political leader can dream of working for the interests of his own country. They all compete with each other to prove to the Israel lobby groups (AIPAC, ADL, AJC, etc.) that he/she can look after the interests of a foreign country (Israel) better than his/her opponents.

Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has pulled the mask from the US democratic charade:

“There are many Members of Congress who wants to be free. I am one of them. I wanted to be free to vote according to my conscience, but I had been told that if I did not sign a pledge supporting the military superiority of Israel, no support would come my way. And sure enough, I did not sign the pledge and no support came my way. I suffered silently year in and year out, because I refused to sign the pledge. An then like a slave that found a way to buy his freedom – I went to work – I wanted to be free – Free to cast the vote in US Congress as I saw fit and not as I was dictated to…..” – Cynthia McKinney.

Former Israeli cabinet minister, Shalamit Aloni, wrote in Ha’aretz (May 9, 2009):

“Sadly, Israel is no longer democratic. There’s a state and no equality of rights. Democracy exists but only in the formal sense: There are parties and elections and a good judicial system. But there is also an omnipotent army that ignores legal decisions that restrict the theft of land and owned by people who have been living under occupation for the past 42 years. And since 1992, it means an ethnocracy in which gentiles (non-Jewish citizen) are considered donkeys.”

Stephen Lendman under the title Israeli Democracy or Hypocrisy wrote:

Throughout history, regimes rhetorically embraced democracy as cover for more despotic policies, no different today throughout the world in countries like India, Pakistan, America and Israel practicing what Michael Parenti calls “democracy for the few,” (the) “shadier sides of US political life (in which) proponents of the existing social order have tried to transform practically every deficiency into a strength.”

In 2007, before the current economic crisis, the decline had “grown to alarming proportions.” It’s always that way for Israeli Arabs. Now, more than ever, it affects Jews, especially the elderly, holocaust survivors, immigrants, ultra-orthodox, single parents, families with four or more children, and Israeli workers (the working poor) struggling to get by in a nation less caring for their needs.

The result brings disturbing headlines like:

  • Half a million children living in poverty – report;”
  • 1 in 5 below poverty line, NII reports” – Israel’s National Insurance Institute; and
  • Jerusalem top(s) list of cities with poor families.”

Now it’s worse according to a February 2009 NII study showing:

  • one-third of Israeli children (774,400) living in poverty-stricken families;
  • one-fourth of Israeli households with children impoverished;
  • another 39,000 single-parent poor families;
  • 44% of all families needy enough to receive NII stipends;
  • over 400,000 families suffering from “nutritional insecurity,” a euphemism for hunger meaning they skip meals, eat less, some days not at all, and have nutritionally deficient diets high in carbohydrates and low in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and protein-rich foods.

Israeli streets highlight the problem – 1,000 or more daily at soup kitchens for a hot meal; older men and women picking through garbage in larger cities; and growing numbers of Israeli Jews joining the ranks of the impoverished as social benefits erode at a time of greater need. Like America, Israel no longer cares.

Overall, the conclusion is clear. Arabs never had rights in Israel, but increasingly, social benefits, human rights, and essential ones are denied Jews in a society no longer caring. The result is a nation looking more like America that looks more like a banana republic under a president, congress, and corporate community eroding its few remaining freedoms on the way to ending them all. (daily.pk)

One day we all will be terrorists!

“Dissent is no longer the duty of the engaged citizen but is becoming an act of terrorism.”

– Chris Hedges (in an article of the same title)

My generation grew up in a different Pakistan. A different Lahore, a different Karachi, a different Peshawar, a different Quetta, a different Islamabad and an entirely different country.

In Lahore, people sat in Pak Tea House and Coffee House and talked about politics, poetry, religion, culture and friendships gave birth, on a daily basis, to youthful romanticism of our times: the mutual seduction of kindred spirits within the confines of our cultural values and the gentleness of Urdu poetry, songs, geets (lyrics) and the Lahori humour. We celebrated basant (the kite-flying festival), maila-charagha (the festival of lights) and Urs Data Gung-Baksh (the festival of a saint). We observed Muharram with great reverence.

Karachi used to be alive 24 hours a day all year round. It was a city of “lights”, “fashion”, hustle-bustle of a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. Ethnic diversity and tolerance was the hallmark of this city.

Peshawar was a beacon of hospitality, a tribute to human gentleness and an affirmation of a rich community life.

Quetta’s apple-laden trees decorated its roads everywhere and the Balochis colourful existence found its spirit in its music, songs and even in its cuisine. Moreover, Pakistan’s rural society existed in purity, simplicity and the zealousness of hard working people.

Pakistan was a different country then: we lived in relative peace, tolerance and mutual harmony. A delicious puri nashta cost one rupee, petrol was Rs 2.50 a gallon, schooling was cheap, sugar and food were plenty, and a round-trip by PIA from Lahore to Karachi was Rs 250.

The majority of Pakistanis were poor even then, but there was no mass starvation, deprivation suicides, forced prostitution, massive collective depressive communities, agonising socio-psychological conditions, economic collapse, and no one knew of crippling demoralising inner fears. We did not know of institutional violence and extensive state terror – though police brutality and legal system atrocities were common, bureaucracy was horribly cruel, corrupt, inefficient and unbelievably powerful vis-à-vis the citizenry, commerce thrived on black marketing and the political class wholly and completely indulged in vested interests, inappropriate use of political power and mismanagement of state affairs.

Even though we lived with a million vices as a nation, but strangely enough, life was not as painful as it is in today’s democratic Pakistan. Neither was the entire nation, every one of its citizens, gripped with such forceful, depleting and paralysing fear – a fear that the management of the survival of this country has gone out of control. A fear that we all may be blown away from existence the next moment, if not literally then at least in a metaphorical sense!

Do you realise the seriousness of our contemporary political crisis?

The present state of our deplorable existence is the work of our decade long political leadership inclusive of Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship and the incumbent political dispensation in the country.

The fundamental failure of our national policy is this country’s ruling elite’s destructive all time political-economic-military alliance with the US and its allies (now India included).

Even at the time that I have described as the “golden days” of Pakistan’s past, our ruling elite was fully and comprehensively politically engaged with the US and its allies. However the US was in a different political mode then: it was fighting its own self-invented “demons” – the communist ideology and the communist nations (though communism was not a threat – it was a political experiment to solve mass poverty). The objective of American foreign policy was global political-economic and military domination.

In the present day world, the policy objectives of the US and its allies remain same: worldwide imperialist hegemony and exploitation by the west’s multi-national corporations.

However, in the contemporary equation, the west’s enemies have been redefined: Now we are the “demons”. They have declared a war against Muslim nations, their people, their faith, their culture, their traditions, their values and customs, their history and even against their existence as we know it today. Huntington in The Clash of Civilisations warns that if we do not transform our civilisation to a western model, then we must be prepared for an ultimate obliteration through successive wars at the hands of the west: we are given no choices.

Seven hundred Pakistani citizens died in American drone attacks in 2009 alone. It is not accidental!

What the US and its western allies do not understand is that their present war is not against an economic-political ideology (communism). This war is against a people, a faith, a history, an existential reality, an entirety of a civilisation, an actual formidable historical presence and an enduring spiritual entity. They, the US and its allies (which include collaborating political elites in Muslim countries), cannot win this war. Indeed, they can unleash havoc, a wave of destruction (as they are doing now), but they cannot and will not win!

Coming back to the context of Pak-US relations, consider the following most plausible scenario in the immediate future:

Through covertly managed organised violence, collaborations, propaganda, bombings and political manipulations, the US succeeds in destabilising Pakistan to an extent of complete political chaos, limited anarchy and a near civil war situation. Under the pretext of threat to international security, American and NATO forces are moved from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Pakistan’s nuclear assets are seized, a puppet regime is installed: Pakistan is de-nuclearised, India (the newest US ally) becomes a dominant regional power, Iran is contained, China-Russia growing political clout is checked, the US/west’s historical global dominance is achieved – the world is saved!

Is that what the Pakistani nation wants and deserves?

Imran Khan’s perspective on Pakistan’s foreign policy and domestic priorities is correct: we need to politically-militarily disengage Pakistan from the US/west’s global objectives. We need to immediately end this so-called War on Terror against our own citizens. We need to negotiate peace with political dissidents in NWFP, Balochistan and in every corner of Pakistan. We must appreciate the fact that political dissent is not terror!

We ought to, by engaging our own citizens and political dissidents, quietly and secretly do a complete “cleansing” of the foreign elements and local collaborators involved in organised violence in our country. This can only be accomplished by a determined, independent, nationalist and highly efficient political leadership that can make the national policy without American influence and interference. And this is the ultimate requirement of our times.

At last, Mian Nawaz Sharif said something right the other day: the public in Pakistan needs to think in revolutionary ways now.

Allow me to go one step further: what we need is a revolutionary political leadership in this country. We deserve a change in the political mindset and political conduct of this nation’s leaders. We need fresh leadership in Pakistan.

We all do not need to be politically loyal to our contemporary political dispensation or to our present political allies. We must completely reject a global political system of US/west’s dominance.

We all ought to be political dissidents! After all, dissent is a vital element of the democratic political process. It is a duty of an engaged citizenry!

One day we all might be considered terrorists by our western “friends”.

Never mind. So be it!

–By Dr Haider Mehdi
The writer is an academic, political analyst and conflict-resolution expert.

How US, UK lost Iraq, Afghan war?

Wars are planned, financed and fought by governments, not by groups or ordinary people. Wars are based on political agendas and they long for complete control over resources, people and territory. Most wars would have multiple reasons, domestic, foreign and global outreach. The American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought to maintain US domination worldwide, to occupy the untapped natural resources of the Middle East, in particular oil and gas, and to protect the value of American dollar as a stable international reserve currency. In September 2000, the proactive policy paper written by the neoconservative intellectuals to envision the “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC): sets the milestone, seeking American domination over the rest of the world powers and to meet its energy needs, plans to occupy by force all the oil resources in the Arab Middle East. The blueprint supports military occupation of the oil-exporting Arab countries and regime change where it is necessary – to fulfill the PNAC policy aims of global domination. Centuries ago, German historian Carl Von Clausewitz wrote On War: “War is not merely a political act but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.” The wars are declared by few and not the majority masses. The small ruling elite who plans and wages war is often afraid of citizenry reaction and refusal to accept the rationality of a war. Throughout history, European nationalism institutionalized the doctrine of war as a necessity to promote national interest and racial superiority over “the other” by using war as a means to that end. Most proponents of wars have used “fear” as one of the major instruments of propaganda and manipulation to perpetuate allegiance from the ordinary folks to the elite warmongers in a crisis situation. Sheldon Richman (“War is Government Program” ICS, 05/2007), notes that “war is more dangerous than other government programs and not just for the obvious reason – mass murder….war is useful in keeping the population in a state of fear and therefore trustful of their rulers.”



Ordinary citizens do not have passion for war as it disturbs their safety and security, and destroys the living habitats. The ruling elite, the actual warmongers, force people to think in extreme terms of hatred and rejection of others so that people would be forced to align with the rulers to support and finance the war efforts. Sheldon Richman describes how Herman Goering, Hitler’s second in command, understood the discourse of war making: “Of course the people don’t want war but after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether, it’s a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a Communist dictatorship.” (Sheldon Richman, “War is Government Program”)


Paul Craig Roberts (“The Collapse of America Power”: ICS, 03/2008), attempts to explain how the British Empire had collapsed once its financial assets were depleted because of the 2nd World War debts. Correlli Barnett (The Collapse of British Power, 1972) states that at the beginning of the WW2, Britain had limited gold and foreign exchange to meet the pressing demands of the war. The British Government asked the U.S. to help finance their ability to sustain the war. Thus, ‘this dependency signaled the end of British power.’ For its draconian wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is heavily dependent on China, Japan and Saudi Arabia. It is well known that American treasury owes trillions of dollars to its foreign debtors and therefore, its financial dependency is increasingly becoming an obvious indicator of the end of American global hegemony and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that the US financial system has broken down and some of the leading banking institutions have gone into bankruptcy, the roller coaster repercussions can be seen across the American economic, social and political spectrum of life. Under the Bush administration, American capability and vitality has shrunk and in fact appears to be dismantled as a superpower in global affairs. It is no wonder that other nations of world no longer seem to take the U.S. and its traditional influence, seriously.

In the collapse of American power, Paul Craig Roberts stated: “Noam Chomsky recently wrote that America thinks that it owns the world. That is definitely the view of the neoconized Bush administration. But the fact of the matter is that the US owes the world. The US “superpower” cannot even finance its own domestic operations, much less its gratuitous wars except via the kindness of foreigners to lend it money that cannot be repaid. It is undeniable that the US is “bankrupt” because of the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. David M. Walker Comptroller General of the US and Head of the Government Accountability Office (December 2007). reported that “In everyday language, the US Government cannot pass an audit.”


Did the US hegemonic war achieve any of its set goals for world domination? Have the US and UK Governments secured any viable hydrocarbon energy routes to ensure their depleting gas and oil stocks and the much planned control over the Arab oil reserves? Is the US dollar still a welcomed international currency used by the world nations?


Mike Whitney quotes the retired U.S. Army General Ricardo Sanchez challenging the prevailing notion of the Bush Administration “Mission accomplished” in Iraq, when he asserted that the occupation of Iraq is a “nightmare with no end in sight.” The General claimed that the US administration is “incompetent” and “corrupt” and that the most American people could hope for under the present circumstances is to “stave off defeat” in Iraq war.


America and Britain appear lost, not knowing how to come out of the self-engineered defeat in wars against Islam. Both superpowers are led by ignorant and arrogant elite not having any knowledge to fight the wars except thinking big and jumping here and there to demonstrate their material possessions and transitory power. They even do not know the enemy and do not have one, well defined in their plans to fight against. Masses have sympathi
es with the true believers and the Islamic Resistance appears to have lost nothing. Taliban or other mujahideen fighting against the aggressors know their enemies and enjoin support of the masses without bribes and bank balances. They had no banks to declare bankruptcy and no Bush and C heney to go down in disgrace. The Mujahideen remain intact and active on all the fronts even buying weapons from the US and Russia to fight against them. American, British and Russian business establishments know well how to trade in global arms market. America and Britain lost the wars , the day they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.


As a declining superpower, the US is extremely nervous not knowing how soon it could be replaced by smaller nations of the developing world or a combination of new emerging economic powers such as China, India and others. America is in desperate need of a Navigational Change. President Obama got elected with the moving slogan – “Yes We Can.” Would President Obama know how to make a navigational change when there is nothing left to navigate for Change?

—Dr Mahboob A Khawaja

Zardari’s art of oratory keeps one guessing

MR Right is mad at people who say President Zardari recounted in a recent speech scores of his ‘sins’ that were making him unpopular but forgot to mention the most? obvious one. “Which one is that?” I asked. “He makes bad speeches,” Mr Right said. “His critics think he should leave it to others in his party because some of them have better natural talent to offend the public.” “They must be referring to a party bigwig who is good at making embarrassing ‘khapay or not khapay’ (Needed or Not-Needed) comments about Pakistan,” I pointed out. “But I don’t agree with people who call President Zardari an unimpressive or weak orator. I swear he speaks with authority,” Mr Right observed.

“After his stern warning at the Benazir Bhutto’s second death anniversary meeting in Naudero that anyone daring to cast an evil eye on democracy would be dealt with severely, the demand for protective gear for the eyes suddenly went up in the market. Believe me, he sounded like the great Z.A. Bhutto who had once warned agitators not to underestimate his strength to crush them because he could be weak but not the chair he was occupying at that time. He thumped his chair with his right hand,” Mr Right added.

“She is an old-fashioned lady,” Mr Right remarked. “She has definitely lost touch with etiquettes of politics which have undergone tremendous change over the years. Look at the Lahore Lion Nawaz Sharif, he didn’t find anything objectionable in his speech. He rather expressed his confidence that President Zardari’s utterances would not harm democracy.”

“This shows you too have developed a liking for President Zardari’s style of governance, his handling of his opponents and his understanding of national issues, “I asked.
“Yes, you may call me his biggest fan,” Mr Right replied. “I adore his foxy ways to make it to the top. And I love his speeches, which contain nothing but words of great wisdom. He can become a model for other speakers who want to leave an impact in politics.”

“Really?” I could not hide my astonishment. “ Yes, I want to open a school for budding speakers in Pakistan to train them in the art of public speaking, “ Mr Right replied. “ The school will show videos of President Zardari’s speeches in class rooms as I find them extremely educative.”
“Are you serious?” I said.

“Definitely,” Mr Right continued. “He is an enigmatic speaker, nobody can make out what he is saying and who he is referring to. This is how a seasoned politician should deliver his speech.”

“But the audience should at least be able to figure out the target of his ire, the cause of his concern and identify enemies,” I said. “And why he is always taking about ‘non-state actors’ cooking up stories and hatching a conspiracy against everything, democracy, government and nation?” I said. “That’s what I like most about him, he is a man of his word,” Mr Right stressed. “He mentioned the word ‘conspiracy’ in one of his earlier speeches and continues to repeat it every time he appears in public. Others should learn from him how to adopt a consistent stand. My ‘school for speakers’ will help those politicians who change their stand every day and only confuse their followers.”? “Are you referring to Nawaz Sharif & Co, the ‘double talk’ dealers? One day, one of their leaders advises the president to quit and next day he clarifies that his party will not ask him to leave,” I said. “And Mian Sahib himself assures help to the PPP boss to remain in saddle for five years and then immediately demands removal of those involved in corruption. People are unable to understand his party’s policy.”

Mr Right smiled. “I have a very fine piece of advice for them: Don’t listen to them.” “But it doesn’t solve the problem,” I said. “As a listener, everybody wants to know the trick to read their leaders’ minds?” “For this also President Zardari has provided a solution,” Mr Right said. “Every good speaker must have a spokesman who specialises in clarifications and is able to make his speech pleasant by turning all the thorns of his speech into roses”.

Najmul Hasan Rizvi—Khaleej Time

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