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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Remembering the fall of Dhaka, Not everything was Pakistan's fault.

Yesterday's unfortunate and untimely tragedy in Peshawar has put the nation in a state of mourning, as armed gun men stormed a military owned public school and massacred over a 100 school children along with about 10 of their teachers and faculty members. December the 16th which was already a very dark day in the nation's history has become even darker courtesy of the events in Peshawar, we now have two tragedies with which to remember the date in the calender.

The original tragedy of 1971 is of course the Fall of Dhaka, which happened on December the 16th in 1971, which is when the Pakistan army under the leadership of General Niazi had surrendered to the invading Indian army in Dhaka and the new nation state of Bangladesh was born. Most media and most historians who have written or covered the events of 1971 have taken a one sided approach to the whole debacle that lead to the fall of East Pakistan. Very conveniently all the blame is directly or indirectly shifted towards the Pakistani state establishment and the Pakistan army as opposed to even remotely entertaining what else really did happen, I repeat what else really did happen? A national disaster of this magnitude can not solely be blamed one just one stake holder, in this case Pakistan.

Not taking away the blame from the Pakistani establishment for where they stand guilty, there is a lot that today's Pakistani's do not know about what happened in 71 and the years immediately preceding. The clock for the events of 1971 were set in motion back in the 60's and thorough planning for the dismembering of Pakistan was being planned not only in the cities of East Pakistan but also across India. Now to some I might sound like a conspiracy theorist nut like Zaid Hamid, I personally do not believe in conspiracy theories rather circumstantial evidences surrounding events, and other little facts conveniently buried under the rug.

People who think there was no Indian conspiracy to dismember Pakistan, let me tell you this, all of India along with all those involved in the war directly or indirectly proudly celebrate their master stroke of genius, how their years in the making plan helped them successfully break Pakistan apart that winter in 1971. Their years of hard work, propaganda, intelligence work and a swift timely unprovoked military attack sealed the deal.

Somethings that need to be brought to the attention of the people are....

India invaded East Pakistan from all corners, what was initially believed to be just border skirmishes transformed into a full fledged invasion by the Indian army against a small force of Pakistani soldiers. Total number of POW's were 93000, but those included West Pakistani police, civil servants as well as some prominent civilians from Dhaka, according to some estimates the actual number of armed combat ready Pakistani troops were 60,000. If the Pakistani army was expecting a full fledged invasion by India, they would have been better equipped, better prepared. India had also blocked its air space to Pakistan, so timely deployment of more troops was not possible either, not to mention the creation of the Mukhti Bahini by the Indian establishment to which they acknowledge to this very day. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of ethnic Bengali soldiers of the Pakistan army, belonging to the East Pakistan Rifles and the East Bengal Regiment that revolted against their own senior officers and butchered their fellow country men. 60,000 soldiers could not have massacred 3 million Bengali's and raped over 300,000 men. How do we know for sure that some of the war crimes were not committed by Bengali's (in or out of uniform) or by Indians that infiltrated East Pakistan.

Propaganda also played a significant role in tarnishing the image of the Pakistani community internationally by the Indian establishment and their allies, including those inside East Pakistan. Over night almost the propaganda was spread in East Pakistan that their own army is a foreign occupying force off aliens taking over the country, until Dec 16, 1971, East Pakistan was just another province of Pakistan and the army was in reality just fulfilling its active duties in what was a province of their own country. This propaganda was very similar in nature to the one's done by the Americans under the leadership of Washington and Franklin in reference to the British Army, the former having served militarily. Just like East Pakistan, the 13 colonies of America were just another white settler British colony.

Bangladesh did not exist till Dec 16, 1971, then how do u explain a concert for Bangladesh happening in New York lead by George Harrison and Ravi Shanker many months before even the India Pakistan war of 71 began, while the Pakistani civil war was going on. Speaking of which no one ever refers to the events of 71 as Pakistan's Civil war, why is that? Or why is there a Government of Free Bangladesh in exile in Calcutta as early as 1970? Why as early as 1969-70 because of civil unrest visiting sporting teams had refused to play in East Pakistan. George Osborne in his book History of Pakistan cricket has reported that New Zealand were the last team to play a test match against Pakistan in Dhaka, after which all visiting teams had to meet agitation and pitch invasion courtesy of Dhaka University students, some of whom openly intimidated their fellow Pakistani's from the Western Wing with taunts that soon they will need a visa to set foot in Bengal. Speaking of Dhaka University students, let's not forget the intense efforts put in by the Awami League's student wings at universities across East Pakistan against the state of Pakistan and openly calling for secession. Doesn't show their intent to begin with?

The plan was set in motion in the 60's following the Agartala plot. Mujib's close confidants still alive today some of whom have served in the Bangladeshi parliament have confessed to the reality of the Agartala plot and that Awami leaguers were actively meeting with Raw agents as well as Indian politicians from Delhi to execute the plan. Treason was being committed and the courts had acquitted the traitors. Imagine if the courts had sentenced them to a hanging and had India not intervened in our domestic politics and internal affairs, just imagine. Separation with Bengal was inevitable but the hundreds of thousands of causalities of war could have been prevented, the needless civil war and blood path could have been prevented.

I will soon write a blog  on the human stories from the survivors of 71 that I have had the pleasure of meeting, for now I leave my readers with some questions they need to think about and just some food for thought, just to entertain other narratives and stories behind the fall of Dhaka.

Remembering the 16th of December

The 16th of December was the darkest day in the history of Pakistan. It was the day when the hard work of our founding fathers of Pakistan fell apart and the nation of Pakistan split into two, as the Eastern wing parted ways under the rhetoric of Bengali nationalism to emerge as the independent nation of Bangladesh. My annual blog on the fall of Dhaka has had to wait a day long delay this year due to the uncompromising tragic events that unfolded in the provincial capital of the KPK province.

For those unfamiliar with the events that unfolded, armed gun men attacked a military run primary school in the heart of Peshawar resulting in the death of over a hundred innocent  school children.  The Tehrik e Taliban have claimed responsibility.

This not only adds insult to injury on what was the darkest day in the history of Pakistan by making it even darker, it once again opens up the debate to questions about the traitors of our nation hiding among us, also finally we need to entertain the thought and silence some overly rationalist fellow Pakistani's by entertaining the idea that maybe there is also an element of foreign involvement in today's tragedy.

Denialists of foreign involvement in Pakistan forget,.that the enemy nation we were at war with takes great pride in everything they achieved in partitioning Pakistan in 1971 leaving us as a nation with scars which may never heal. Yes you heard me the enemy nation not only committed aggression but to this very day takes great pride in destroying Pakistan and the ideology behind it. Indira Gandhi the then Indian PM said it with such great pride that the two nation theory drowned in the Bay of Bengal.

Now coming back to The Taliban, how do we identify the traitors a midst our masses. No individual on this planet carried a marker or a label that indicates that they are terrorists and not one among us. Attacks such as those on the school today, that on PNS Mehran in Karachi and of course on East Pakistan in 1971 could not have happened without traitors a midst our ranks.

We now return to the original Question, how do we identify traitors without markers, with only an ideology of treason and devastation in their darkened hearts? For now we have yet another tragedy with which to remember the 16th of December.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Let's Talk About Bullying Again (Part 3)

Fairly recently I came across this little piece on the internet about Disney's Beauty and the beast which is a childhood classic for many and one of their great animated hits from the old days.Though personally not a fan of the popular children's tale, it gave insight into the story in a way a great number of us who have seen it in our childhood would have not observed. Seeing and observing something from the mind of a child differs significantly from how we see, perceive, feel and react to things as an adult. This little piece online gave quite some food for thought about the deep messages hidden between the lines, how there is more to a simple children's tale which we had seen many many years before any hint of adulthood wisdom kicked in. That little piece talks about bullying and social discrimination in a manner that makes it an important highlight of the children's animated film.

The film highlights how damaging bullying can be and the consequences of bullying, not just that but also some of the other types of bullying that takes place, and how we as a collective lot do not reject bullying, instead of we go an extra mile and glorify bullying behavior. There is a character called Gaston in the film that everybody developed a disliking for as he was seen as a non friendly character, but what the film also suggests and this is from the above link itself, that the character demonstrates that bullies are rewarded and beloved by society as long as they possess certain characteristics, while nice people who don't are ostracized. Even the love story itself is about two individuals who find comfort in one another after society rejects them.

The character of the beast and his outbursts of anger are also an important backdrop of the film. His anger is not because he is a monster, but because of society's attitude towards him and their decision to socially ostracize him by convincing him time after time that he is indeed a monster not worthy of social acceptance. See this here itself is a very important lesson from this Disney animated film, there are very deep psychological consequences of society's behavior towards a certain individuals who by their own circles are deemed different from the lot, especially if it is different in the wrong kind of way. By reinforcing the belief that one is a monster or sub human or in any way in a relatively inferior human being, society particularly the active self serving pricks are pushing one towards the belief that they are indeed human or simply put not EQUALLY HUMAN.

The Concept and idea of being equally human is an interesting one, there has been much debate on this in academic circles and their publications, but stimulating and productive discourse on the topic rarely takes place among standard social settings. People in society usually display such treatment towards not only those that are different from a standardized lot but also those deemed relatively inferior, and the way we have seen such behavior depicted in popular culture, it initiates with the work of self serving trouble makers, who would benefit directly or indirectly from the mistreatment of another And like its highlighted in the Disney article, these trouble makers are usually very conveniently ignored as trouble makers and are seen as fairly right people and fairly rightful in their approach because of certain characteristics they all possess. No one even remotely entertains the idea these trouble makers maybe the one's'who are really different because the general rule of thumb is good folks do not try and build hatred for others. It is these very people that lead others on as well to follow them into a web of hatred, discrimination and demonize they the others.

Examples are widespread in Pakistan, it is usually one person or a small group of people that incites provokes and gathers a mob against minorities, against law enforcement agencies and functional government institutes. These include acts of violence and persecution towards religious minorities such as Qadiyani' and Christians in Punjab and Hindus in Sindh. It also extends to include the trouble makers from BSO Azad at Universities across Balochistan in their personal feud with the state.

But let's look at it from a more micro perspective leaving behind political or religious or any other controversial elements to this debate. Early basic, primary and secondary schooling or education are the basis for behavior that shapes people as they move into adulthood. It is in these years that such behaviors are ingrained, conditioned or taught with respect what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Not everyone we went to school with has a standardized life map like a lot of us. Every child in school in the early years or as a teenager in the later years are a product of their environment, upbringing and their realities of life. Some of our fellow classmates are the only child, some come from broken families, some come with the baggage of trauma from abuse, some come from an over protective or overly ignored upbringing, some from very competitive and high expectation backgrounds, quite a few variables.

We all remember our schooling days of how there were always other children who were brutally picked on and they were the children picking on them, most of us were silent  restrained observers. In true essence we in our minds were actually condoning bullying behavior firstly by not only showing apathy and restrain from preventing a conflict (for whatever reason) and secondly by looking down upon the victim of bullying, harassment and discrimination as an inferior being, some one whose ill-treatment is justified. In a way we are reinforcing bullying by justifying it, we are reinforcing the belief that victims of abuse and mistreatment do not belong and they need to be rightfully put in their place. When was the last time, either of us dared to get up and question the bully or question the acts of bullying?

To Be Continued.....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dear Pakistani's, Please forget Khan.

Dear Fellow Pakistani's

Assalam O Alaikum

I hope all of you are well today and have not been too overly sensitized by the events of these past few weeks in our nation's capital. If you guys have been sensitized to a certain extent by what your seeing on TV, change the channel, I am sure something alternative would be a good change of scene. If you are just bored from the whole circus in Islamabad, have a break have a Kit Kat, switch the TV off, go outside the weather seems decent enough to step out.

Today I am writing to you with the best of intentions and my purpose here is not to incite, provoke or aggravate anyone here. I am not a schadenfreude, I do not particularly enjoy lighting a match as per say, but this something I need to say for the sake of the youth in my country, the teenagers as well as the young adults. I can not any further hold myself back, this Imran Khan is our national hero business has to end, he is no longer a good role model for the youth of Pakistan.

I am very aware so many of you see him as a national hero and the reasons that go behind it. For some of you he is the child hood hero who won the World Cup in addition to countless cricketing achievements, for some of you he is the philanthropist who built Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, while for some of you he represents a break from norm, tradition and status, and pretty much every demerit that goes with it. Some of the reasons are as follows in a non organized format. It is all my personal view, feel free to disregard it, but please read it with an open mind.

He encourages rowdy aggressive rude and hostile behavior among the youth that follow him
He encourages breaking discipline, defying law and order
He encourages intolerance for difference of opinion which is very reflective in his attitude towards his opponents as well as creating an army of volunteer social media trolls that are brutally violent towards those criticizing him and PTI.
He encourages civil disobedience, never a good thing, his was never was the Gandhian type.
He encourages violence and disruption to every day life, which has happened to millions of Pakistani's in these past few weeks.
He uses very bad language towards his opponents, open mudslinging off sorts, and encourages the youth to engage in the same kind of bad language use against their leaders. Very distasteful for a neutral and some years ago there would have been serious reprecussions for such language. Such language was also used in his election campaign across 2012 and 2013.
He is encouraging arrogance among the youth, we do not need another generation of urban middle class douche bags
He makes false promises to the youth, promises that he can not deliver, how many has he delivered on, has any one kept check?
He is all talk, all talk of problems and blaming the current Government for every single of them, wouldn't his energy be best suited for SOLUTIONS to those problems. Hello he is in opposition, he can have his voice heard.
This whole Islamabad Circus was a complete national waste of time and has badly badly hurt the economy. You Salaried class will not understand what the business community and the trader class has had to go through so shussh.
He totally disregarded major pockets of the country from among his potential voters, particular those in Urban Sind outside Karachi. Khan saab there is more to Sind than Karachi.
He is arrogant and over confident, and not to mention his I am Pakistan's messiah complex which is also what hundreds of thousands believe in.
Continous use of allegations without substantial proof.
Also where was all of this when PPP was in power, i see this as personal enemity with Nawaz
And Ofcourse being a SORE LOSER.

So Please, sit, relax, take a deep breath, have your favorite treat and think over it for a moment. Just food for thought.

Kind Regards
A Seriously Concerned Pakistani

Monday, September 1, 2014

Understanding Insafians (PTI Supporters)

They call themselves 'Insafians' or those that will deliver justice. This is the title not only adopted by active PTI party workers but also by PTI supporters both in Pakistan as well as overseas. They have been a very active lot since 2008 promoting the cause of Imran Khan and his political party Tehrik e Insaf, which itself means the movement for justice party. Their active campaigning was not limited to just Pakistan but was also very noticeable among their supporters overseas as well. From among them a very large chunk of PTI's supporters and their eventual voters comprised of young educated urban middle class voters especially from the Punjab province, parts of KPK and the mega city of Karachi.

The Tehrik e Insaaf Supporters are mostly a very loyal die hard bunch, some of them take their loyalty a bit too far as they have managed to cause a lot of discomfort for supporters of not just other rival political parties but also for anyone and everyone who does not agree with their political points of view or does not support the Pakistani Tehrik e Insaaf. They show very little tolerance if any for those supporting other parties or alternative points of view, people have parted ways with life long friends for absence of support for PTI, some have labeled others as national traitors, while some have crossed lines of decency by making use of bad language and the real extreme ones even resorting to death threats. People of Karachi, all that sound familiar?

My individual experience with Tehrik e Insaf supporters goes back to my time in the United Kingdom back in 2008-9 when I too was a graduate university student in the British capital London. Pakistani student associations at not only my university (King's College London) but also other universities in the capital were very active in promoting their support for the cricketer turned politician as well as trying to arrange his talks and seminars on the future of Pakistan at their respective campuses. I myself have attended three of them one held at my own university, one held at University College London and one at the London School of Economics. In addition to that a fair amount of time was spent around people that generally had great admiration for Khan himself.

There were a lot of things quite admirable about Imran Khan chairman of PTI. For a lot of Pakistani's he is their childhood hero especially for those in their 20s and 30s he is a hero they grew up believing in, and belief in Kaptaan or captain went back to their childhoods in the 80's and the 90's. He was a dynamic leader on the cricketing field when he was captain of the Pakistan cricket team and thrived despite the odds. He captained the Pakistani cricket team to countless test victories around the globe and towards the end of his career despite a threatening injury, in the 1987 Cricket World Cup took Pakistan to the Semi Final and finally World Champions in the 1992 edition of the cricket world cup in Australia. Before a crowd of 87000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Imran Khan lifted the Cricket World, Pakistan's first Word Cup and dedicated it to the people of Pakistan. I was only seven but I remember that day, the joy that World Cup victory brought to us, and the great escape in the semi final before that courtesy of Javed Miandad and Inzamam ul Haq.

Imran Khan retired immediately after the World Cup handing over the captaincy to Javed Mianded and dedicated himself to building the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital in Lahore so that free state of the art health care could be offered to the needy. The noble cause of Imran Khan took many years and years of hard work and a donation drive that took him not only across Pakistan but across the globe. Around the same time, he did try and kick start his politcal career.

By winning the World Cup, Imran Khan gave us Pakistani's particularly th youth the belief that we can be World Beaters both on and off the field essentially kick starting our highly integrated emotions with the performance of our cricket team followed by SKH and in the years that followed establishing Namal College. Through SKH and Namal he further reinforced the sense of heroic belief that such philanthropy does not require state level support and can be initiated and executed by an ordinary individual with the right intention.

This sense of hero icon attachment played a very big role in inspiring people with his fiery energetic campaign speeches where he promised the youth and his would be supporters an idealistic Pakistan, a Utopian Pakistan where the problems of present would cease to exist, where there would exist equal opportunity for everyone, man, women, child, rich and poor regardless. A Pakistan where we will have endless respect in the international community, a Pakistan we can proud off. with talks of revolution and how great revolution. Such talk, such rhetoric only serves the purpose of further sensitizing the already overly emotional, volatile and at times judgmental and impatient youth of Pakistan that wants nothing short of perfection and idealism.

On paper all that looks really really great but ground realities can be a great obstacle and no magic wand in the world can over night change the way Pakistan works and functions, as Anatol Levin has described Pakistan in his book as a tough country one that has survived so many ordeals and is still functioning. Pakistan functioning the way it is no short of a miracle considering all that it has gone through in its history.

So when PTI supporters get aggressive be it online or offline, they are actually under the belief their doing so out of not just patriotic duty, but a sense of obligation to the one they believe can deliver this so called NAYA PAKISTAN. It is the right of every Pakistani to want a Pakistan that delivers and lives upto their expectation. They desperately want that NAYA PAKISTAN and are fully convinced that it is only possible through this man, Imran Khan, so any disagreements on the belief that Khan Can deliver is nothing short of blasphemy. One can only hope and pray a day comes whens difference of political opinions and diversity of political support becomes acceptable again as it is a necessity for any pluralistic and progressive society.