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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Fall of Dhaka and the Self Hating Pakistani's

Once again, another December 16 comes and goes, it serves to remind us of the darkest days in Pakistan's history. Some people in media absolutely love talking about it, so they can get an opportunity to show their anger, hatered and discontent towards the civilian and military establishments of this country, demonizing them as the worst thing to have ever happened to this country and giving people the impression that as long as this country exists, this very same establishment will commit crimes against its own citizens. Such media hoo ha, lead by the likes of Hamid Mir who I see as probably the greatest traitor in popular media today as well as his whole media outlet the GEO network. Such media hoo ha, further fuels the confused sentiments of the Pakistani youth who have developed a love hate relationship with their country as a by product of their disappointment and disarray with the political and civilian military establishment in not being able to do their job properly of running the country, fixing the mess that it is in and for a lacking sense of inequality. Problems are countless, corruption, lack of law and order, terrorism, sectarianism, you name it, its happening in Pakistan, peace and tranquility and equality is the right of every Pakistani and since their very right is not being met  This blog goes out to all those self hating Pakistani youngsters, who like to use the example of the 1971 war and the creation of Bangladesh to demonize their own country. There is more to it, there is more to what happened in 1971, more than what most of our own media or the international media or historians for that matter mention.

There is crystal clear truth in inequality and injustice done by the West Pakistani's with their brothers in the East, this does not mean that there is a need for all out war and a need to break the country apart. Let's not forget Bengal's vote made Pakistan a reality, the people of Bengal wanted to Pakistan, it was something their fore fathers fought hard for, and it was all thrown to waste within a generation.

To simplify let's take a quick look at some of the things, I won't be surprised If I am labeled a delusional fool after this blog, but it is a risk I am more than willing to take.

Pakistan General Elections 1970-1, Sheikh Mujib's Awami Party won a clear majority to form a government in the National Assembly, no denying that, also no denying Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's lust for power that many argue proved to be the decisive factor. But how many people know Sheikh Mujib won that election based on extreme nationalistic rhetoric, even using the term Bangladesh to refer to East Pakistan in his election campaign through out 1970 instead of using a Pakistani nationalist approach. It was the law of simple majority statistics that shaped the election results of 1970.

We all know Yahya Khan delayed the convening of the national assembly, but questions we fail to ask why was the NA session scheduled for Dhaka when the federal capital was Rawalpindi/Islamabad in 1971? More importantly, it is worth observing that why did all of a sudden over night all HELL broke loose in all of East Pakistan's urban centers especially the provincial capital, immediately after the NA session was postponed. The amount of carnage that followed in the weeks could only have been pre planned and the postponement used conveniently as an excuse to do so. And all this was weeks before the infamous operation search light took place at Dhaka University.

Members of the Awami League that won the election and its student wings across universities in East Pakistan were extreme left wing parties with communist ideologies and they took inspirations from treasonsm rebellions and uprisings of the past and guerrilla warfare, the kind that were very popularized in the 50's and 60's by the likes of Marxist revolutionaries such as Che Guvera and Fidel Castro that led the Cuban revolution. Extreme leftists just like Extreme rightest do not understand the concept of patriotism or national loyalty, they only believe in their cause or how they can profit from it. Essentially what they committed was an act of treason. Also none of this happened over night, planning and preparation for the separation of East Pakistan had been on the cards since the 60's. Indian historians have admitted to this that Bengali nationalist leaders from East Pakistan were secretly holding meetings in neighboring Indian states with representatives from New Delhi.

Contrary to popular belief, the Pakistan army was not an occupying army, it was the army going about its own business in what was then a province of their own country, they were asked to intervene on request of the East Pakistan police and civilian administrators as law and order had gone completely out of hand. Such practice is not uncommon even in the developed world where the armed forces are asked to come in and assist the police especially against domestic home grown terrorist organizations. The POW figure of 93,000 included police, civil servants as well as high profile civilians based in East Pakistan at the time, the actual military presence figure was somewhere between 50 to 65 thousand. An army that small in the province could no where commit the genocide or war crimes it keeps getting accused off. They were both trying to protect the border and fight with these domestic terrorists that had started attacking them. This does not even count the mutiny that happened within the army, many senior officers reported for work business as usual, only to be hacked to death by their junior officers. Why were the civilians handed over to the Indian army? The very same Indian establishment is guilty of crimes against their own people and for being a regional bully. It took over and occupied the princely state of Hyderabad, it took over Goa and Sikkim by Force and in the 1980's it launched the brutal Operation Blue Star against its own people that too at the holiest site of the Sikh religion. Not to mention their war crimes against the people of Kashmir through out the late 80's and early 90's, also their brutal suppression of the Eastern insurgency. Below is an image of when the Indian army conducted operation Blue Star.

Many of you think Indian aggression in East Pakistan is a myth just because it is written in our text books, well I have got news for you buddy, our text books might contain a million lies but this isn't one of them. The Indian army did actually invade a sovereign country's province (East Pakistan) from all sides since its borders were surrounded by the Republic of India. New Delhi did this arguing that it felt sympathy for the Bengalis and felt it had an international moral obligation to help the crises. They might have opened their doors for refugees from East Pakistan, but the they were also training traitors in the art of warfare and very conveniently invaded another country. The Pakistan army did not know what they assumed were otherwise border skirmishes would result in a full fledged invasion and ambush. Even weeks before the war ended, General Niazi who was in C in C in East Pakistan kept begging for political dialogue and asked for a cease fire, the international community did not subscribe to the request. Political dialogue and engagement did take place between Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib behind closed doors in order to reach a power sharing agreement, but power sharing was not good enough for Mujib's supporters, they wanted absolute control by hook or crook. Political injustice is one thing, it is another to actually commit treason and break up the country. Look up on YouTube and you will find interviews with Indian war veterens from the 71 war proudly claiming and admitting how they had been planning for years to dismember Pakistan and give them a crushing humiliating defeat.

The Mukhti Bahini was a terrorist organization, no different from the TTP. They were responsible for terrorist attacks on civilians, on government organizations, mass vandalism and mass murder. Like the TTP, they too rejected the Government of Pakistan, its very constitution and felt no qualms about resorting to murderous activities towards civilians and attacking the armed forces of what was then their own country. Just because they were not hidden behind the wall of big fat bushy beards and turbans like the TTP, this does not make them freedom fighters, makes them cold blooded murderers and traitors, and it was them who started the civil war in East Pakistan through acts of terrorism. And why exactly does no one call it Pakistan's civil war, every book out there, and every arm chair analyst out there calls it the India Pakistan war of 1971 or Bangladesh Liberation War. Bangladesh might have been treated like a colony but it was not occupied. Find me a single nation on earth that tolerates separatist movements that go hand in hand with terrorism. You might like to quote Scotland or Catalonia but their independence leaders are going about it in a peaceful manner. The British army unleashed its full strength against the IRA in Northern Ireland and the Spanish government did not tolerate the Basque movement and its acts of terrorism across the Iberian peninsula. If the TTP and its branches are terrorist organizations for you, so should non religious secular terrorist organizations.

I could go on and on and on about the events of 1971, but some of these points are just food for thought for people like you, for more details, read up a little, you will be surprised and shock to know that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

A Look Back at 1971 Fall of Dhaka, relevance very much even today.

(Above Image from December 16, 1971, when the Pakistan Army Surrendered to the Invading Indian army and the instrument of surrender being signed)

In March of this year, I penned a blog about the events of the 1971 and its significance to the history of Pakistan. For those who have not read my previous blog or are unfamiliar with what events transpired in 1971, it was the year Pakistan split into two with the Eastern half more popularly known as East Pakistan parting ways to become a newly established nation state of Bangladesh. December 16th is the year that most Bangladeshi's celebrate 'Liberation Day', while most people in Pakistan choose to conveniently ignore the date and its historical significance due to very obvious reasons, their are a few who remember it as a day of great shame and a great national tragedy , for those who witnessed the events of 71 before their eyes, the memories of that December are painful and tragic. For those few 'The Fall of Dhaka' is seen as the moment when their world came to an end, in pretty much a similar manner to how some French mourn the loss of Algeria, as like East Pakistan Algeria was part of Greater French Territory and not one of its colonial possessions. Another thing that Algeria had in common with East Pakistan was that it was not a continuous territory of France and was separated from the mainland by the Mediterranean sea. One difference here though was that East Pakistan was surrounded on almost all sides by India, and at the time of the 1971 India Pakistan war, there was a very hostile Anti Pakistan government sitting in New Delhi headed by the then Prime Minister Indra Gandhi.

In my previous blog, I highlighted briefly that there are other sides to the story of what happened in 1971 and touched upon some elements such as the international media propaganda against Pakistan such as the concert in New York and I also high lighted on the massive genocide committed against Non Bengali's in the province. I will be continuing where I left off in my previous blog and I could not think of a better timing to pen this one then this December, as the events of 1971 have been very heavily in the news on international media and social media, courtesy of the hanging of a veteran politician from Jamat e Islami Bangladesh. I do not have the highest level of regard or respect for the Jamat e Islami, be it in Pakistan or their brethren in Bangladesh, nor do I know the individual sentenced recently was actually guilty of War Crimes or not, but with the Bangladeshi elections around the corner one can't help but think this is a political stunt in an attempt by the ruling Awami League to obtain re election, now that they have managed to dissolve the concept of a caretaker government, it seems ever more likely. It has also reflected and exposed the deep polarization and divide both politically, socially and culturally that exists within Bangladeshi society, especially between the socially and politically active secularists and the religious conservative which in a Muslim majority country still make up a sizable figure.

Pakistan has managed to keep itself in the news with respect to Bangladesh once again, by passing a resolution in the National Assembly condemning the execution of the Jammat leader for which even the foreign office of Bangladesh protested, and Bangladeshi journalists have resumed calls for an official Pakistani apology even accusing Pakistan of cowardly behavior. I would say it is unfortunate that we in Pakistan on the other hand have a Very Anti State media that keeps insisting on demonizing their own state apparatus unlike media outlets in other countries that do not compromise on nationalism and national interests. This is also relevance in the coverage that some media channels give to mark the Fall of Dhaka every year on December 16th. The narrative that they keep trying to communicate to the people of Pakistan is that their military and political establishment is inherently unconditionally evil, it is the worst thing to ever happen to Pakistan and it is the biggest enemy of the citizens of this state, and it is very obvious from the apparent war crimes they committed in 1971.

Not for a moment am I discounting or dismissing that war crimes were not committed by the Pakistan armed forces, what I am questioning is why is only the Pakistan army accused of committing War Crimes and acts of genocide in the 1971 war? The Bengali nationalists and their militant wing the Mukhti Bahini is guilty of treason and of committing massive war crimes against people in the then province of East Pakistan, they were responsible for not only attacks on an army which was their army, and their police, but also the tens of thousands of Non Bengali's they butchered, and if one is to believe the methods used mentioned by Sarmila Bose in her book, a Nazi style industrial mass killing mechanism was adopted by these nationalist militants. Not to mention the thousands killed by the 'Invading' Indian army that invaded by crossing the border from all sides after pretending to give a shit about what is happening in Muslim Bengal. Contrary to popular belief the Pakistani army was not an occupying army, it was the people's army going about its business in what was a province of their own country, even they were caught unprepared for what was about to unleash upon them, for the hell that was about the break loose on the streets and villages of East Pakistan, they as well as people in Pakistan did not know what was coming their way, something that would pull the earth beneath their feet and forever change history. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fatima Bhutto, One More Self Hating Pakistani Intellectual, Truly what a Waste.

Among the literary circles of Pakistan, among the intellectuals and the reading minority among the educated urban middle classes of Pakistan both home and away, Fatima Bhutto's new book is the talk of town among Pakistani's. From her book unveiling event last week at the London School of Economics to young adults wandering through the book shop or their book club in the city of Karachi too many people are eager to get their hands on this book titled The Shadow of the Crescent Moon. Many will be even glad to know that the book shop franchise chain Liberty books is selling a limited supply of hard back copies of the book autographed by FB (Miss Bhutto) herself. I was one of the fortunate one's who was able to pre-order the book on Amazon and it was automatically delivered my Kindle device on the day the book was released by Amazon UK. Like many I too was eager to read it, get my hands on it the first opportunity. Though I managed to finish the book in a couple of days time, I was extremely disappointed with the reading experience, and after only finishing a quarter of the book, I wanted to claim a refund from Amazon. Though I had not read her memoirs i.e. her previous publication this was a book I truly looked forward to.

For those who do not know who Miss Fatima Bhutto is, she is the niece of former late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, grand daughter of the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was head of state in the 70's, and the daughter of late Murtaza Bhutto who was gunned down outside his Karachi residence in the 90's. She was educated at the Karachi American School, Columbia University in New York and The School of Oriental and African studies in London. There is no shortage of blood that has been shed by her family in the decades that this dynasty has been a prominent part of Pakistani politics and society. Many would call the Bhutto's a cursed family, a political dynasty forever marked onto the political arena and coming hand to hand with tragic consequences as their fate.

Many in Pakistan's urban middle classes admired Miss Bhutto, especially those with a dislike for the Pakistan People's party or the legacy of her paternal aunt and her grand father. Many saw her as a true patriot, some one really sincere to Pakistan, some even saw her as a beacon of hope for the revivalism of Zulfiqar Bhutto's legacy onto Pakistani politics, many saw her as the future of Pakistan's dynastic politics and the rightful heir to her grandfather. After reading her debut fictional novel I am starting to suspect otherwise and I am beginning to wonder if she is very disconnected from what it means to be a Pakistani and embrace this soil or is she trying to position a certain propaganda through her literature, or is she just simply another self hating Pakistani intellectual like the thousands more like her who think hating their country is one that will gain them popular appeal, and as such they justify their extreme criticism by saying they love this country hence their right to criticize, however that would vary on the level and nature of the actual criticism meted out would it not?

Her book it seems is nothing short of an Anti Pakistan propaganda aimed at maligning the state and its apparatus as being a monster that is always and always an evil demon off sorts down the throats of ordinary citizens of this nation. Not to mention the mediocre quality of writing that has gone into this book, a huge contrast from the debut novels of other Pakistani fictional writers such as Mohsin and Kamila. The book is set in a very small remote FATA or KPK province town called Mir Ali (There is an actual town by the name of Mir Ali in FATA). One can make an assumption that the town depicted in the book is a fictional one as opposed to basing it on the real Mir Ali, based on how the town is described and other locations in proximity to it, such as a town of it's small size and that also one in the FATA region having a large university campu with an extensive arts, political science and mass comm departments. The university depicted in the book is also seen as a hot bed of Anti State secessionist political activity led by the far left students and the youth of the town. This forms the back drop of the book, a fictionalized secessionist movement brewing in a remote FATA/KPK town which is also under heavy military presence, where the military establishment is responsible for strange disappearances of young men.

Sounds quite similar to allegations made by BSO Azad in Balochistan province, does it not? The real life town of Mir Ali in Pakistan lies in the South Waziristan region of FATA, and it is a town that was brutually plagued by Taliban presence, which were cleared out by the intervention of the Pakistan armed forces. For those that don't believe this statement, look up the Battle of Mir Ali on Wikipedia, and for those even more curious about this random insurgency, Google it, you won't find a damn thing. Though it is also a reality of the KPK/FATA region that there are many politicians and some political parties based on the province that are Anti State, the party whose founding fathers did not a extreme left wing politicians who did not accept the partition of India and the establishment of Pakistan. To this very day they continue to maintain their links with those on the other side of the Durand line to the West or those sitting East of the Radcliffe line in present day Northern India. Do not be surprised if we meet people from KPK who are apathetic towards Pakistan and have strong ties with people living in New Delhi.

As far as Miss Bhutto is concerned, as a patriotic Pakistani who truly admired her over all these years, I am truly disappointed and I genuinely expected not just far more balanced objectivity in her political angle but also quality of creative fictional writing. For a debut novel disappointing effort even though the second half is far more reader friendly than the first half, and as far as her attempt at spreading Anti Pakistan sentiment among the influential affluent educated urban middle classes, it was distasteful. We can only hope Miss Bhutto steps out of her luxurious Old Clifton Bungalow and communicates, engages and understands the millions among the Pakistani youth for whom this country  is more than just a mark of citizenship and a passport. Last thing we need is another Self Hating Pakistani among our educated intellectual lot, such gifted individuals with their attitude are a great loss to this nation.

Pakistan Zindabad