Posts Tagged ‘Muslims’

Conversations with Badami Bagh residents

March 15, 2013

By Ahsan Waheed
ZoneAsia-Pk

Badami Bagh is no less than a ravaged town awaiting life once again. Along the sides of the roads are little yellow tents set up for the Christian families who lost their homes when an angry mob set fire to the entire residential area.

These little tents are filled with people. It is as if the little tents have become portable homes for the citizens who have nothing else left. Little toys, water bottles, a pile of clothes – Badami Bagh residents have begun to reconstruct their lives within the temporary homes provided to them since there is no knowing when their real homes will be ready for them to go back to.

Read more…

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PAKISTAN SHAMED!!

March 13, 2013

By Ghalib Sultan
Area 14/8

The picture on top says it all. A mob in the background and an exultant youth in the foreground with smoke, fire and burning homes all around. This was the scene in the heart of Lahore when Christian homes were set on fire because of alleged blasphemy by a Christian who had already been booked under the Blasphemy Law by the police on the complaint of a Muslim. The mob that went on the rampage looting and burning homes was apparently venting their rage. No one died and no injuries were reported but Pakistan’s image was destroyed beyond repair-collateral damage from the point of view of the bigoted and the intolerant but a mortal blow to Pakistan for those whose heads hung in shame.

Now that the smoke has blown away, compensatory payments made to those who lost everything, the rebuilding process begun and some arrests made a clearer picture is slowly emerging. The Police advised the people to run for their lives hours before the mob arrived and they ran-the men, the women, the aged and the children all ran for their lives in all directions away from their homes leaving everything behind. Why did the police do this-to facilitate looting and burning, to save lives or because they did not want or could not face down the mob to protect lives and property? If the Police had advance information did this information flow upwards and if it did was it ignored? And if it did not then why not?

There are credible reports that the mob came prepared for their grisly task—with sticks, stones, gasoline cans etc. If so then this was no spontaneous venting of rage. This was a well planned event for which a large number of people had been mustered and prepared. If this was planned then who was behind it?- those who wanted the land on which the colony was built?- or those who had political motives and wanted to undermine the political administration in Punjab or was it a combination of both?. The land mafia would have known the consequences of such an atrocity and it is unlikely that they actually believed that the land would fall in their lap after the pillage. The political motive is more plausible and is also borne out by the fact that after the attack on the Christians some apparently counter attacks were organized on the pride and joy of the Punjab government-the new Metrobus system.

The Punjab government moved quickly to limit the damage and to begin rehabilitation work. An inquiry has also been ordered and arrests made. No doubt that there has been political fall-out but on the positive side people have rallied in support of the Christian community and against the forces of bigotry and intolerance that exist in society. There have been many previous incidents of this kind but never has exemplary punishment been awarded to deter such behavior. In the final analysis the blame must also go to people who are ready to undertake such criminal and reprehensible behavior.

Area 14/8: Who will provide affirmative action in India?

February 8, 2013

Area 14/8

Consumed with weapon purchases, maritime capabilities and external threats from China and Pakistan, India has it seems neglected to peek at the state of affairs within its own boundaries. In the past few months, multiple incidents infringing the right of freedom of speech have occurred which has prompted writer Salman Rushdie to smear India with his “cultural emergency” allegation.

Although Rushdie’s credibility is uncertain and his agenda equally debatable, his accusation rings of the truth. India’s cultural intellect, its writers, poets, film makers and artists are being censured if their opinion and expression does not conform to the mainstream perceptions of India. Recently, a Tamil film called Vishwaroopam was condemned by Muslim religious groups in Tamil Nadu since it projected Muslims in a negative light. The government decided to ban the release of the film claiming that they lacked sufficient police forces to monitor all cinema houses for riots. Vishwaroopam’s producer, Kamal Haasan was so disillusioned that he threatened to leave India for a secular state abroad. Eventually, he agreed to cut some scenes from the film.

Elsewhere, renowned sociologist, Ashis Nandy, was attacked for insulting unprivileged classes by drawing links between corruption and “other backward classes, scheduled casters and scheduled tribes” at the Jaipur Literary Festival. A case was registered against him by Rajpal Meena, Chairperson of the SC/ST Rajasthan Manch, and subsequently, he was charged with the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

The controversial Salman Rushdie also made headlines when he accused the West Bengal government of deliberately hatching a plan to prevent his participation in Kolkata Literary Meet for the promotion of his new novel, “Midnight’s Children”. Even last year, protests and death threats had compelled him to cancel his visit to the Jaipur Literature Festival.

There are many other instances where unconventional news or statements have been targeted. India ranked a shocking 140th out of 179 countries on the Press Freedom index, issued by Reporters Without Borders. Reporter Soorinje would attest to this fact. He was arrested for multiples offences including criminal conspiracy, rioting with deadly weapons and using criminal force on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty. Soorinje’s report on an attack on a birthday celebration involving Muslims at a homestay in Mangalore had held right wing extremists Hindu Jagarana Vedike responsible. Similarly, two women were arrested in last November when they Facebook comments offended followers of Bal Thackeray.

India should not be singled out for rising social discontent over freedom of speech. There are many such cases present in modernized societies too. The real issue concerning India is why the government chooses to be a part of this oppression? This is the government which likes to highlight itself as a democratic pluralistic nation where people of different religions, ethnicities, races and social statuses reside in harmony.

The government uses the maintenance of law and order as a justification for its extreme measures. But is law and order code for protecting parties’ mandate? In West Bengal similar to Tamil Nadu, people believed extreme steps were taken by the government to prevent any ill-will with Muslim voters. Are these infringements on the freedom of speech a political game only? Politicians may indeed be using cultural intellectuals as easy targets to keep the public distracted from pressing issues like poverty and unemployment.

It may not be just that the government is afraid of extremists; it may even share the same sentiments. Many state officials include hardliners like members of the Bharatiya Janata Party( BJP) sparking suspicions about state-sponsored terrorism. India’s Home Minister admitted to the involvement of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP in promoting terrorism within the country and placing the blame on minority communities. Just recently, BJP was very vocal in banning Pakistani writers from attending a literary festival in India.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Indian Constitution under Article 19. However, this freedom is subject to certain limitations such as “public order”, “decency or morality” and “security of the State”. The Supreme Court seems to be maintaining a low profile in controlling the government’s outbursts of actions. In Nandy’s case,for example, it stayed the arrest but also supported the state’s response saying that an “idea” is capable of inflicting harm.

Indian has failed to implement affirmative action. Since the government is not longer impartial, it is now up to the masses to reclaim their right to the freedom of speech.

Hypocrisy during Hajj

January 30, 2013

By Ziyad Motala
ZoneAsia-Pk

A pivotal theme in current Islamic political discourse is a demand for justice, a key tenet of the Quran. A popular complaint in Islamic political argument is discrimination against Muslims in the west such as the ban of the veil in European countries, minarets in Switzerland or racial profiling in many western countries. Unfortunately, there is a conspicuous lack of looking inwards to practices within Muslim countries. Muslims from all over the world have just completed the annual pilgrimage, the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The Hajj represents a critical pillar of Islam and is supposed to represent a universal gathering of Muslims, which transcends race, ethnicity, color or any other distinction. Muslims are supposed to meet in the sacred precincts surrounding the holy city of Mecca as equals wearing the same simple clothing meant to symbolize perfect brotherhood, where individuals or groups do not see themselves as separate entities and differences of lineage, tribe or race have no bearing.

The experiences of the Hajj are very different depending on which part of the world you originate from. If you hail from Saudi Arabia or the Gulf states, you will perform the hajj in relative luxury and privilege, which is denied to Muslims from the sub-continent, Africa or the rest of the world. Those from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have a different Hajj based on luxurious accommodations, and preferential treatment in performing the rituals. The latest egregious practice is the high-speed rail service, which transports the pilgrims from Mecca to the sacred sites where the rituals of the Hajj are performed. The train is reserved only for Saudis and citizens from the Gulf countries. Citizens from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries can be transported to the holy sites within a few minutes. For others, they will have to take the bus or walk which could take many hours each day. I cannot think of any other place in the world today that practices such crass racism. Imagine a train in the United States that states no Arabs — just people from the west — can ride in. The real tragedy is the lack of outrage from Muslims.

The Hajj as a gathering of Muslims, based on equality, simplicity and brotherhood is a fiction. The Hajj is a gigantic money making endeavor. All visits to the holy place have to take place under the auspices of a Saudi institution or company, which is totally Saudi-owned. Every opportunity is geared towards profit maximization. The Saudi companies in turn enter into agreements with parties in the local country where the pilgrim resides. The Saudi company takes care of the negotiation with the local hotels and other parties to organize and pay for the accommodations and internal transportation and the like. Saudis have profited greatly from the pilgrims who have been exploited on a scale that is beyond imagination. A two week visit to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj period (if you are not sponsored) in modest accommodations costs more than a month-long world tour (not counting the fact that for five days during the two week period, the pilgrim is staying in a tent). Imagine the outrage if a Saudi was told that he could not do business in the United States (including booking a hotel) except though a United States entity?

Saudi Arabia represents one of the worse examples of a stratified society at the apex of which sits the descendants of its founder Ibn Saud constituted in the current royal family. And then appears a pecking order based on lineage or clan and others recognized as Saudi. Then come hundreds of thousands of individuals (including second and third generation Saudi born), followed by hundreds of thousands of foreign guest workers.

The sum total of rights and privileges enjoyed — be it access to jobs, education, access to property, welfare benefits or the performance of the Hajj depends upon where one belongs in the pecking order. Those at the top enjoy considerable rights and power over those at the bottom. The most affected group is the foreign worker, particularly the foreign woman worker. These guest workers operate under a kafeel (master) to whom many are indebted for years, a situation that invites trafficking in people and a relationship akin to slavery. Over the past few days, we have been informed about several incidents of abuse of foreign guest workers from Indonesia in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Where is the outrage from Muslims and their scholars? Each year, thousands of female workers seek protection at foreign embassies from abuse and rape. International human rights groups and others have documented the rampant abuse, lack of fair trial standards, denial of freedom of movement, forced labor approaching conditions of slavery and beating of foreign workers. Also documented is the weak judicial system, which offers little protection to those at the bottom, rung of society. The judicial system gives more credence to the wealthy and locals in disputes involving foreigners.

Islamic law derived from the sayings of the prophet Mohammad articulates a vision of human dignity (in ways analogous to modern human rights) in stating “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; nor has a white man any superiority over a black man, or the black many any superiority over the white man. You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from Clay”. Conspicuously absent are protests among Muslims about racism, racial discrimination, gender discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance prevalent in so many Muslim countries starting with the cradle of Islam, Saudi Arabia.

Rev. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi

January 24, 2013

Written by BALDEV SINGH
ZoneAsia-Pk

Dear Oprah,

I am writing this letter because I think of you as an enlightened person. This letter is about the statements you made during the show you dedicated to the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. During that show, you compared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King with Mahatma Gandhi.

In one of your statement you said something like “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s sacrifice.” Oprah, what about those countless unknown and unsung heroes, who preceded Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. They too suffered hardships and sacrificed their lives for freedom and justice for the black people. As a matter of fact, black people revolted against slavery and started struggling for freedom the moment they were captured in Africa and the chains of slavery were put around their necks. Since that moment black people have expressed their suffering, sorrow, helplessness and burning desire for freedom and justice through their songs. That is the reason why black people have contributed so much for the creation and development of new music.

The mentality or thinking, which was responsible for slavery, made it sure that the history of slavery and their struggle for freedom and justice is not known to the world. And if this story has to be told, then it must be told the way that “mentality” wants it to be told. There are people even today who think that slavery was benign and slaves were happy and contented with their situation. These people also justify colonial rule by saying, “It was necessary to civilize the uncivilized.” On the contrary, it is our conviction that a civilized man doesn’t deny another man’s humanity. He doesn’t enslave another man or subjugates another man in any form or manner- politically, economically, socially and religiously.

Deliberate efforts have been made to blot out the history of slavery and black peoples’ struggle for freedom and their contribution to human society in all walks of life. For instance, you go to any major city in the USA, you find all sorts of museums, but you don’t find the one about slavery. The US Congress was very enthusiastic about Jewish holocaust museum in Washington D. C. However, the same Congress has been unwilling so far to establish a museum about slavery. Moreover, what about a holocaust museum of native Americans, the Indians? Whereas Jewish holocaust took place in Europe, the slavery of blacks and the genocide of the native people took place in the USA. I leave it for you to draw your own conclusion. However, I believe that it takes moral courage to look into the eyes of evil and not just empty moral rhetoric.

The emergence of independent Africa had a major positive impact on the “black civil rights movement” in the United States and the anti apartheid movement in South Africa. It boosted the morale of these movements and brought worldwide recognition to Dr. Martin Luther King and Mr. Nelson Mandela. That’s why, who knows how many “great men” were lynched in the United States and how many were tortured to death in solitary cells in South Africa before Dr. Martin Luther King and Mr. Nelson Mandela, respectively.

During that show, you compared Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King with Mahatma Gandhi. I think your information about Mahatma Gandhi is probably based on the writings of European and Hindu “myth makers” (historians). Had you known the truth about Mahatma Gandhi, you wouldn’t have said that Dr. Martin Luther King was following the policy of the great Mahatma Gandhi.

I think it is disgraceful to compare Dr. Martin Luther King with Mahatma Gandhi. For example, whereas Dr. King represented the aspirations of all black people, Mahatma Gandhi represented the interest of only high caste Hindus who constituted 10-12% of the Indian population. Whereas Dr. King appealed to all Americans to rise above their prejudices of race, religion and gender to form a just society, Mahatma Gandhi was the mastermind behind the partition of India into two nations, one Hindu and the other Muslim. Here are some facts about Mahatma Gandhi.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the state of Gujrat in Baniya caste whose occupation is business. After obtaining a law degree from England he returned to India. However, after a short stay he decided to move to South Africa where he thought he could make more money. A large number of Indians from Gujrat State were brought to South Africa as indentured servants. Being a caste conscious Hindu, he looked down upon the natives. He used to say:

I can see why a white man discriminates against an African, but why against us. We Indians have the same values, the white man has.

Besides his law practice he worked for the British army recruiting Indians during the Boer War and the Zulu rebellion. He was the commander of an ambulance corps made up of Indians.

The Bolshevik revolution of 1914 in Russia inspired worldwide nationalist movements against colonialism and dictatorships. To sabotage Indian national movement, the British colonists brought Gandhi to India. What the “myth makers” don’t tell is that the Indian National Congress Party, which was later controlled by Gandhi was set up under the patronage of the British Government and it was dominated by high caste Hindus, who constituted only 10-12% of the Indian population. Anybody who was considered a threat to the interest of the British or high caste Hindus was thrown out of the party. The high caste Hindus, who had control over the Indian economy, also wanted to usurp political power after the departure of the British. But there was one formidable obstacle in their path to achieve this objective. And that obstacle was the Muslim majority states of Punjab, Bengal, Sindh, Blouchistan and Northwest Frontier.

To exclude these Muslim dominant states from the Indian union, the Hindu leaders of Congress Party headed by Gandhi started making provocative statements to instill doubt and fear in the minds of Muslim population that their future in independent India under the control of Hindu majority was not safe. Muslim leaders started asking for constitutional guarantees to safeguard their future, which the Hindu leaders were not willing to provide.

Frustrated, Muslim leaders asked for partition of the country to create a Muslim state. They did not see the trap that “high caste Hindus” had laid for them. They fell into that trap without realizing the impact their demand would have on the future generations of people of the Indian subcontinent. The stage was set for the partition of India into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Gandhi and his associates congratulated each other for accomplishing their objective while holding Muslims responsible for the partition of the country. This is the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi for which future generations of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis would pay dearly, God knows for how long!

The cruel and deceitful nature of Gandhi was revealed when he counseled Hindu and Sikh refugees, who came to see him in April 1947, after they were driven out of their homes following a terrible massacre of Hindus and Sikhs in the Ravalpindi area of Punjab. Gandhi asked them to go back to their homes, as he exhorted them that he wouldn’t accept the partition of the country. He kept repeating like a parrot, “I won’t allow the partition of the country. The country would be partitioned only over my dead body.” You can imagine the level of his depravity, because his Congress Party had already accepted with his blessing the partition of the country as a condition for Independence. And a few months later on August 15, 1947 the Indian union was divided in two nations, one Muslim and the other Hindu.

The claim that Gandhi won freedom for India peacefully without shedding a drop of blood is the biggest fabricated lie of the 20th century.

Up to the start of World War II, the British government categorically rejected the demand for the independence of India in the immediate future. However, the situation changed dramatically after the war. The war was so devastating to the British power that their government found it impossible to build the infra structure and economy of the homeland while coping with the growing national liberation movements in the colonies. The British government wisely decided to grant freedom to its colonies.

It wasn’t Gandhi’s movement which drove the British out of India, it was the impact of second world war, which made it impossible for the British to hold on to their Empire. Shortly after the independence of India, other colonies in Asia, Africa and Caribbean gained their independence peacefully. So what is so unique about India’s independence? Had there been no World War II, India would still be a British colony!

The other story that the “myth makers” do not tell is that the Independence of India was marked by one of the greatest upheavals of the 20th century. Two Indian states, Punjab and Bengal, were partitioned at the time of independence causing untold suffering and loss of life and property. In Punjab almost all the Hindu and Sikh population of about five millions were forced to leave their homes and properties on the Pakistan side where their ancestors had lived for hundreds of years. Similarly, about five million Muslims were forced to vacate their home and properties on the Indian side.

In the ensuing communal frenzy and carnage, may be as many as one million people perished and thousands of women were kidnapped and raped. About one third of the population of Punjab was engulfed in the inferno created by the independence of India. Of the total population of about five and half million Sikhs, about 40% were rendered homeless due to Independence. The population of Bengal was much higher than that of Punjab and you can imagine the human suffering there! The claim that Gandhi won freedom for India peacefully is a cruel joke on Punjabis and Bengalis.

To my knowledge only in two places, the United States of America and Ireland, the force of arms drove out the British colonists. Everywhere else the British freed the colonies peacefully. On what ground it is claimed that Gandhi won freedom for India peacefully without shedding a drop of blood.

The claim that Gandhi worked for the uplift of Dalits (untouchables) is also a myth.

Gandhi was a Hindu revivalist, who upheld every aspect of Hinduism including the caste system, which is the essence of Hinduism. His writings, speeches and statements confirm this.

I don’t believe the caste system to be an odious and vicious dogma. It has its limitations and defects, but there is nothing sinful about it. Harijan, 1933.

I believe in Varnashrama (caste system) which is the law of life. The law of Varna (color and / or caste) is nothing but the law of conservation of energy. Why should my son not be scavenger if I am one? Harijan, 3-6-1947.

He (Shudra, low caste) may not be called a Brahmin (uppermost caste), though he (Shudra) may have all the qualities of a Brahmin in this birth. And it is a good thing for him (Shudra) not to arrogate a Varna (caste) to which he is not born. It is a sign of true humility. Young India, 11-24-1927.

According to Hindu belief, he who practices a profession which does not belong to him by birth, does violence to himself and becomes a degraded being by not living up to the Varna (caste) of his birth. Young India, 11-14-1927.

As years go by, the conviction is daily growing upon me that Varna (caste) is the law of man’s being, and therefore, caste is necessary for Christians and Muslims as it has been necessary for Hinduism, and has been its saving grace. Speech at Trivandrum, (Collection of Speeches), Ramanath Suman (1932).

I would resist with my life the separation of “Untouchables” from the caste Hindus. The problem of the “Untouchable” community was of comparatively little importance. London Round Table Conference 1931.

I call myself a Snatana man, one who firmly believes in the caste system. Dharma Manthan, p 4.

I believe in caste division determined by birth and the very root of caste division lies in birth. Varna Vyavastha, p 76-77.

The four castes and the four stages of life are things to be attained by birth alone. Dharma Manthan, p 5.

Caste means the predetermination of a man’s profession. Caste implies that a man must practice only the profession of his ancestors for his livelihood. Varna Vyavstha, p 28, 56, 68.

Shudra only serves the higher castes as a matter of religious duty and who will never own any property. The gods will shower down flowers on him. Varna Vyavastha, p 15.

I have noticed that the very basis of our thought have been severely shaken by Western civilization which is the creation of the Satan. Dharma Manthan, p 65.

How is it possible that the Antyaja (outcastes) should have the right to enter all the existing temples? As long as the law of caste and karma has the chief place in the Hindu religion, to say that every Hindu can enter every temple is a thing that is not possible today. Gandhi Sikshan, Vol. 11, p 132.

The caste system can’t be said to be bad because it does not allow inter-dining and inter-marriages in different castes. Gandhi by Shiru, p129.

If the Shudar (low caste) leave their ancestral profession and take up others, ambition will rouse in them and their peace of mind will be spoiled. Even their family peace will be disturbed. Hind Swaraj.

The superiority of caste and race is deeply imbedded in the psyche of upper caste Hindus irrespective of their upbringing or the level of education or the place where they live. For example, in the words of a socialist leader, Madhu Limaye, “Nehru practiced both racism and casteism, despite his modern upbringing and outlook” (Telegraph, Calcutta, November 21, 1987).

In a revealing passage about his “making”, Nehru wrote, “Behind me lie somewhere in the sub-conscience, racial memories of hundred or whatever the numbers may be, generations of Brahmins. I cannot get rid of that past inheritance” (Jawaharlal Nehru, An Autobiography, (1936), Delhi, 1980, p 596.).

Sir V. S. Naipaul is a Nobel laureate in literature. His Brahmin ancestors were brought as indentured servants to Trinidad long time ago. He grew up in Trinidad and has spent most of his life in England. In his earlier work An Area of Darkness, 1964 he was unforgiving of India. Later the “Brahmin” in him stirred up and came out spewing hatred and venom. He condoned the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in June 1984, when Indira Gandhi ordered a military attack on the Golden Temple complex on the day when thousands of Sikh pilgrims had gathered there to celebrate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev (A Million Mutinies Now, 1990). In 1992 he justified the destruction of a 400 hundred-year-old mosque (Babri Masjid) by Hindu mobs lead by Bhartiya Janta Party (a fascist Hindu party) because of the mistreatment of Hindus by Muslim rulers centuries back in the past. He has become the darling of Hindu fascist organizations.

Mahatma Gandhi, whose Baniya (Vaisha) caste is two steps lower than the uppermost Brahmin caste, was a vigorous defender of the caste system.

“The caste system, in my opinion, has a scientific basis. Reason does not revolt against it. It has disadvantages. ………Caste creates a social and moral restraint……I can find no reason for their (castes) abolition. To abolish caste is to demolish Hinduism. There is nothing to fight against the Varnasharma (caste system). I don’t believe the caste system to be an odious and vicious dogma. It has its limitations and defects, but there is nothing sinful about it” (Harijan, 1933).

Gandhi’s calling “Untouchables”, as Harijans is a cruel joke on the Untouchables by an insensitive and depraved man.

Harijan literally means “child of God”. However, in India this label is used for the illegitimate children of temple girls (anchoress) fathered by priests. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the leader of the Untouchables, vehemently opposed Gandhi’s use of Harijans for the Untouchables. Recently, Ms Mayawati, a leader of the Untouchables asked rhetorically, “If we are Harijans then what are the upper castes like Nehru, Gandhi and Patel? Are they bastards?”

That Gandhi was an “apostle of peace” is not true.

Gandhi was a “Hindu revivalist” and “Hindu politician” combined in one, who used nonviolence as a tool for political objectives. He used to coerce others to concede to his demands by threats of “going to fast unto death”. He was no pacifist as is shown by his stand on the issue of Kashmir.

“One naturally thought that he would offer a nonviolent solution to the Kashmir issue and raise his moral stature. But no! He proved to be a false prophet. Seervai has documented that nonviolence with him was a political weapon. (H. M. Seervai, Partition of India, Legend and Reality, Bombay, 1989, p 172-173). He sanctioned the use of armed forces and laid the foundation of Kashmir problem which continues to haunt the subcontinent till today” (Sangat Singh, The Sikhs in History, 4th ed., 2001, p 258.)

According to Seervai, in a meeting with Viceroy Lord Wavell on August 27 1946, Gandhi thumped the table and said, “If India wants bloodbath, she shall have it and that if bloodbath was necessary, it would come about in spite of nonviolence.” Wavell was dumbfounded at these words coming from the mouth of “apostle” of nonviolence.

Gandhi was a very cunning man. He was not satisfied with the title of “apostle of peace”, he also wanted to project himself as a holy man, which for a Hindu required the practice of celibacy. He was a married man and proclaimed to be celibate at a relatively young age under forty. However, he used to test his celibacy by asking young girls to lie over him to find out whether he was in full control of his sexual feelings. I leave up to psychologists and psychiatrists to analyze what was in Gandhi’s mind and what happened to the emotions of those poor girls! He was always surrounded by women.

So what is Gandhi’s legacy to mankind?

The obvious one is the partition of subcontinent into “Hindu India” and “Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh”. These three nations are a “living hell” for minorities. For example, India which claims with pride to be the biggest democracy in the world has killed more Indians in the last fifty years than the British colonists killed in 300 years. More than 95% of those killed by Hindu governments are Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Dalits (Untouchables). While the populations of these countries are groaning under the weight of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, ignorance and disease, India and Pakistan have built nuclear weapons. The next nuclear war will most probably be fought over the disputed territory of Kashmir in spite of the fact that neither India nor Pakistan has ever asked the Kashmiris what they want.

That Hindus are peace loving people and coexist peacefully with non-Hindus is also not true.

When Taliban destroyed Lord Buddha’s statue in Afghanistan, there were worldwide protests against this heinous crime against humanity. The most vociferous demonstrations and protests were held in India. However, how little did the Hindu mobs realize that the first damage to the statue was done by Hindu rulers of Afghanistan during the frenzy of Hindu revival? Buddhism flourished as a major religion in India for several centuries. During the Hindu revival, Buddhists were given three choices like Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition. Either convert or leave the country. Large number of Buddhists fled to neighboring countries. Those who resisted were killed, Buddhist monasteries were destroyed, monks were murdered, and nuns were raped. Buddhist literature was burned and their religious centers were converted into Hindu centers. The famous place in Bihar State where Lord Buddha is supposed to have received his light (knowledge) is still under the control of Hindus in spite of the protests of international Bhuddist community.

The “myth makers” keep repeating that Hindus have lived peacefully with Muslims, Christians and others for hundreds of years. What they don’t tell you is that during that period Muslims or the British ruled over the Indian territory. But look at the attitude of Hindus towards non-Hindus when Hindus were the rulers? During the revival of Hinduism they eradicated Buddhism from the land of its birth. All other progressive movements, which opposed the caste system were either crushed or subverted.

Immediately after independence in 1947, the so-called secular and liberal Hindu rulers lead by Jawahar Lal Nehru adopted an Indian Constitution, declaring “Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains” as Hindus with the stroke of a pen. Sikhs have been protesting against this heinous crime ever since. No Hindu leader worth the name has ever protested against this abominable injustice to the minorities. Imagine! How would the minorities react if the US Congress were to pass a law declaring all minorities as Christians?

The word Hindu is not found in any Hindu religious text or any other ancient writing. People who lived on the western side of Hindu Kush (killers of Hindus) mountains gave this name to the natives of India. The word Hindu means black, slave, robber, thief and a waylayer.

From my discussions with Americans about the caste system over the years, I have the impression that most of them think that caste system is like segregation or apartheid. Caste system may look like segregation or apartheid on the surface, but if one were to scratch the surface one would find that the Brahmnical caste system is the worst oppressive and exploitative system that exists on planet earth. Slavery and segregation in America and apartheid in South Africa have ended in a relatively short period, but the heinous caste system, which has been practiced in India for thousands of years, is still going strong. It is because the caste system was invented, taught, practiced and ordained by the Brahmnical (Hindu) religion.

Under segregation and apartheid the black people were denied their rights and had very few opportunities for advancement in comparison to white people. However, a black person under those circumstances could become a doctor, a teacher, and a minister or choose whatever occupation was available to them. Whereas the caste is stamped on you the moment you are born. There was no escape from this watertight multistory building with no stairs or ladder. You are born and die in the same caste, no matter how good or bad a person you are.

For example, a person born in a scavenger’s family would also be a scavenger in spite of his great intelligence. He couldn’t choose any other occupation. So a scavenger’s descendents remained scavengers for thousands of years. This destroyed the creativity of the Indian population. No wonder the Hindu civilization, which is as old as the Chinese civilization has made insignificant contribution to the development of human society in comparison to the Chinese civilization.

It is a mistake to think that Nazism was the product of Hitler’s sick mind. The roots of Nazism lie in the Hindu caste system. European colonists were intrigued by the Hindu caste system. They were astonished how Brahmins, who formed about 5% of India’s population, were able to exploit the rest of Indians for thousands of years by asserting their caste and racial superiority. The British used the same Brahmnical strategy, they proclaimed their racial and intellectual superiority over Indians to control their vast Empire in India. At the pinnacle of British rule, there were only about 200,000 British personnel in India. Who you think managed the Empire? They were the brown-Englishmen (subjugated Indians) who managed the Empire.

European writers like Max Muler were also fascinated by the Hindu caste system. They admired the way the Brahmins maintained the caste and racial superiority over thousands of years. Why shouldn’t the Europeans assert their racial and intellectual superiority the same way over black, brown, tan and yellow people? So people like Max Muler planted the seeds of racial superiority on the European soil. Others like him nurtured the seedlings, and the plants came into full blossom under Hitler. It is no coincidence that the Nazis used swastika, a propitious Brahmin symbol, as the emblem of the Nazi party.

I am willing to debate these issues with any one, anywhere, and on any stage.

Authors Note: An article Gandhi as a racist by Dr. Velu Anamlai (USA) published in Sikh Virsa, June 1997, was consulted for writing this letter.)

Islamophobic and Anti_Hindu crime in New York takes life

December 31, 2012

by Annie Robbins and Alex Kane
ZoneAsia-Pk

A horrific crime if we’ve ever seen one–and a reminder that Islamophobia affects many communities outside Muslim ones.

From the AP:

A woman who told police she shoved a man to his death off a subway platform into the path of a train because she hates Muslims and thought he was one was charged Saturday with murder as a hate crime, prosecutors said.

…..

“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up,” Menendez told police, according to the district attorney’s office.

……

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday urged residents to keep Sen’s death in perspective as he touted new historic lows in the city’s annual homicide and shooting totals.

“It’s a very tragic case, but what we want to focus on today is the overall safety in New York,” Bloomberg told reporters following a police academy graduation.

What kind of perspective is Bloomberg referencing? If someone said “I shoved a Jew in front of a train because I hate Jews,” would Bloomberg be touting drops in the city’s annual homicide and shooting totals? Quite an insensitive comment, at the very least.

After this news broke, Twitter was aflutter with people pointing to Pamela Geller as one culprit pushing anti-Muslim sentiment in the city. Geller’s organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, recently put up a new crop of ads that features the World Trade Center burning with a Qu’ran verse printed to the right of the towers.

Geller’s role in promoting anti-Muslim sentiment of the sort that leads to Islamophobic hate crimes should not be in dispute. But what should also be highlighted is how New York City’s own police force has promoted anti-Muslim bigotry time and time again, from surveillance of Muslims that places the whole community under suspicion to training officers with an Islamophobic flick.

Friend of Mondoweiss Lizzy Ratner made this point in her excellent piece on Geller in The Nation:

Though Geller and her crew are fringe elements, they are not random or spontaneous, idiopathic lesions on the healthier whole. They are, quite sadly, part of this country, outcroppings of something big and ugly that has been seeping and creeping through the body politic for years. In the decade since September 11, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry has become an entrenched feature of our political and social landscape. It lurks in the hidden corners of everyday life-in classrooms and offices and housing complexes-as well as in the ugly scenes that occasionally explode into public consciousness. In the special registration of Middle Eastern men after 9/11. In the vicious campaign against Debbie Almontaser, the American Muslim school teacher who tried to open the Arabic-language Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) and was tarred as an extremist. In the attack on the Park51 Islamic center, more commonly (if less accurately) known as the Ground Zero mosque. In the New York Police Department’s selective surveillance of Muslim communities. And that’s just New York City. All of these instances should have called on our horror and outrage, and in all too many of them, society hasn’t lived up.

This crime appears to be the latest manifestation of New York City’s Islamophobia. This time, it cost a life.

Kashmir- the violence never abated

November 19, 2012

By Sajjad Shaukat
Tacstrat

In the modern era, various forms of state terrorism continue by the Israeli armed forces on the Palestinians. While with the backing of Burmese military regime and the covert assistance of Hindus, recent bloodshed of the minority Rohingya Muslim community at the hands of the Rakhine extremist Buddhists in Burma (Myanmar) presents another such example. Similarly, during the Bosnian War (19921995), Serb forces slaughtered more than 10,000 Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and buried them in the unamed mass graves. That genocide was repeated in Kosovo where several men and women were murdered.

While, these atrocities are still fresh in the minds of every Muslim, but with the official backing of the government, massacre and harassment of Muslims by the Indian military including paramilitary troops in the Indian-held Kashmir has become a permanent feature.

In this regard, instead of granting the people their genuine right of self-determination and holding plebiscite in the controlled territories of Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions, various sorts of state terrorism have become part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army against Muslim Kashmiris, especially since 1989. It has manifested in brutal tactics such as crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounter.

In this respect, in its report released on October 13, 2012 about detentions under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) 1978, Amnesty International disclosed under the title, PSA Still a Lawless Law that despite pressure on Indian government, the PSA has not been reviewed and amended. Therefore, new records are being made by Indian law-enforcing agencies and security forces in human rights violations in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

In its previous report, Amnesty International has pointed out: The Indian governments disregard for human rights in Jammu and Kashmir means that in practice people reportedly died in custody and that the whereabouts of the disappeared persons continue to be unknowngovernment forces continue to commit serious violations of humanitarian lawthe Muslim majority population in the Kashmir Valley suffers from the repressive tactics of the security forces. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, security forces personnel have extraordinary powers to shoot suspected lawbreakers, and to destroy structures suspected of harboring militants or arms.

Notably, after visiting more than 50 villages, similarly Citizens Council of Justice (CCJ) published a report in Srinager in September, 2012 on human rights violations in the Indian controlled Kashmir. On the basis of its survey, research and analysis, the CCJ report under the caption, Atrocity and Suffering revealed that a total of 502 people were either murdered or enforcedly disappeared, 2048 individuals were physically tortured, 6888 were subjected to forced labour and 40 people were killed in custody by Indian Security Forces. 234 Mosques and 700 civilian properties worth 103.8 crores were destroyed in the garb of anti-Mujahideen operations, while after being released from jails freedom fighters, faced different detention periods.

But it was a limited survey, as All Parties Hurriyet Conference Azad Jammu and Kashmir disclosed that from 1989 to 15 October 2012, there have been deaths of 93,274 innocent Kashmiris, 6,969 custodial killings, 117,345 arrests and destruction of 105,861 houses. Indian brutal security forces have orphaned over 107, 351 children, widowed 22,728 women and gang raped 9,920 women in the Indian held Kashmir.

Over the two decades of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Human Rights Watch has documented several failures to ensure protection of human rights. It has called for the repeal of those laws which provide the armed forces with extraordinary powers to search, detain, and use lethal force, leading to numerous human rights violations. They also provide immunity for security forcestheir prosecutions, even where the facts are well established, are rare.

In the recent past, Kashmir Quarterly also reported, Indian Forces killed a number of citizens, torched mosques, shops and houses in various parts of the valley. As a result, there were protest demonstrations in many cities. Troops desecrated the central Srinagar mosque and tortured worshippers whom they found inside.

It is of particular attention that in 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of Baramulla, Bandipore and Handwara. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of single and mass graves without markers. In this context, in the last few years, rights groups discovered nearly 3,000 unnamed graves in the various districts of Kashmir.

It is mentionable that in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-held Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have disclosed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and paramilitary troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

Recently, Chinas leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details on world-stunning unmarked graves in Poonch of the Indian occupied Kashmir. It pointed out the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.

While, Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and rights groups have stated that more than 10,000 people have disappeared, accusing government forces of staging fake gun battles to cover up killings. They also revealed that suspected persons had been arrested and were murdered through arbitrary executions, and then buried in unmarked graves.

Besides, on June 28, 2010, BBC reported, three men went missing in Indian-administered Kashmir in Aprilbut their bodies were discovered near the Line of Controla senior officer of the Indian army had kidnapped them by offering them jobs as porters. The troops later informed the police that they had killed three militants. Kashmirs law minister, Ali Mohammad Sagar says there have been several proven cases of fake encounters in the past 20 years.

BBC explained, There are hardliners in the Indian Army and intelligence agencies, who think that by raising the bogey of infiltration and gun battles near the border they can create terror among people and also put pressure on Pakistan.

It seems that non-condemnation of Indian massive human rights violations and non-interference for the seettlement of this issue by the so-called civilized international community, especially the US have further encouraged New Delhi to keep on going with its atrocities on the armless Kashmiri masses. Ignorence of the dipute by them involves the risk of nuclear war between Pakistan and India.

Indian authorities are not willing to talk with Kashmiri people on political grounds. New Delhi has reached a conclusion that only bullet is the right way of dealing with them. Surprisingly, Indian successive governments are trying to ignore the dynamics of the freedom movement of Kashmiris to maintain their alien rule.

However, despite the employment of various forms of massacre and harassment in the Indian occupied Kashmir, the war of liberation by the Kashmiri people will continue until they get their legitimate right of self-determination. If New Delhi could not suppress the movement in the past, it could also not do so in present and future.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

Indian predictions for the next major conflict

October 10, 2012

By Maj Gen GD Bakshi
Tacstrat

Significance of the Gilgit-Gwadar Corridor

The ominously rising strategic salience of the Gilgit-Baltistan region was made sharply apparent by Selig Harrison’s startling disclosure in 2010 that some 7,000-11,000 Chinese troops had entered the Gilgit-Baltistan area, ostensibly for flood control. The Chinese version claimed it was for repair of the Karakoram Highway (KKH). Indian military sources later reported that some 3,000-4,000 Chinese military engineering personnel were engaged in repair/widening of the KKH, construction of hydroelectric projects and building of tunnels (which could serve to hide missiles). A Chinese civil company (China Mobile) is also constructing cell towers for mobile networks in this region.

…Pakistani plans to lease the Gilgit-Baltistan area to China for the next 50 years.

For the protection of this workforce, initial media reports had indicated that a Chinese infantry battalion was deployed at the Khunjerab Pass but was later withdrawn due to the international uproar in May 2010. Reportedly, some permanent Chinese logistical infrastructure is now coming up at Challas that is indicative of a long-term stay. This is further reinforced by media reports in the Pakistani press of Pakistani plans to lease the Gilgit-Baltistan area to China for the next 50 years.

These are ominous developments, especially when one sees them in the context of the significant shift in China’s stand over J&K, from a studied neutrality during the Kargil War to a markedly hostile stance that not just underlines J&K’s disputed status (only in as much as it pertains to the positions held by India) but also marks its outright support for Pakistan’s claims over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the Gilgit-Baltistan area. Its forays into this sensitive region are merely a follow-up to its shift in stance. Enough indications of this paradigm shift have been available earlier, especially in China’s insistence on stapling visas for J&K resident passport holders and then, in a surprise move, its denial of visa to GOC-in-C Northern Command on the grounds that he was the commander of this disputed region.

Amazingly, the same yardstick has not been applied to India’s eastern army commander, who looks after the disputed Arunachal-thereby implying a new level of Chinese hostility over the J&K issue. The physical move-in of the Chinese military personnel into the Gilgit-Baltistan area now adds an ominous dimension to these pinpricks. Like Baluchistan, this area is restive. The hapless Shias of this region have been the victims of repeated Sunni pogroms and massacres. A Balwaristan freedom movement flickers here. The most recent massacre of the Shias took place here in February and April this year and have led to large-scale rioting and arson. The climactic event was the snow-cum-mud avalanche in Siachen that wiped out the 6 NLI HQ and Adm. Base at Gyari. Some 140 Shia personnel were wiped out in this major avalanche. Despite help from U.S., Chinese and German rescue teams, not a single body of the Northern Light Infantry (NLI) troopers was recovered. Apart from personnel casualties, the avalanche wiped out the road link, several helipads and the entire Adm. base. This has put the Pakistani troops deployed in the Central Glacier below our Soltoro Ridge positions in the areas of Ali Brangsa and Bilafond glaciers in dire straits. Even the helicopters of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans division had to be pressed in for the relief and rescue efforts.

Pakistani spokesmen have claimed that Siachen has no strategic significance whatsoever. What then prevents them from staging a unilateral withdrawal?

Actually, what makes it worse for the Pakistan army is the fact that the NLI, which has borne the brunt of the casualties in Kargil and Siachen, has 49% Shias, 23% Ismailis and just 18% Sunnis. 55% of the Shias hail from the Gilgit area and 35% from Baltistan. The Shias have been facing relentless persecution. In 1989, General Pervez Musharraf had brought in the blood-thirsty Sunni Pathans to terrorise the Shias into submission. In the Kargil conflict, the Pakistan Army disowned the dead Shia troopers of the NLI and over 600 had to be buried by the Indians. The anti-Shia pogrom continues. On 28 February this year, 18 Shia pilgrims were pulled out of buses and massacred in the Pashtun Khwa province. On 3 April, 15-20 Shias were killed in Chilas and 50 were wounded. This led to riots where more Shias were killed. The avalanche on 7 April, therefore, came as a climactic finale that shook the Shia troops. The legend of Teram Shehar, a town which was wiped out in a terrible avalanche, lives on in the folklore of Baltistan. The Shia troops are uneasy and restive, and their Sunni commanders are deeply worried. That is why General Kayani was unnerved by the recent avalanche and the impact it has had on the unfortunate Shia troops of the NLI. That explains his smart moves to use the Indian desire for peace to get the Indian army off the Saltoro Ridge, which it had secured at such heavy cost in blood and treasure.

Now that we have mastered the logistical and environmental problems, we can stay on, if need be, forever. If the Pakistani army has had it, they can withdraw, and Indians will not interfere with their retreat in any way. Pakistani spokesmen have claimed that Siachen has no strategic significance whatsoever. What then prevents them from staging a unilateral withdrawal? The problem is their over-cleverness and lack of sincerity and the quest to gain an upper hand in Afghanistan by encouraging peace noises on the eastern front. Unfortunately, this is a tactical gambit and not a sincere desire for peace.

The Malacca Bypass Strategy

What explains the Chinese moves in to the northern areas and their sudden change of stance over J&K? This move, in fact, is dictated by the compulsions of China’s energy security strategy. Some 50% of China’s energy/oil demand is met by the Middle East and another 30% is sourced from Africa. This entire energy flow has to perforce pass through the naval choke point of the straits of Malacca, Lombok and Sunda. Any navy worth its name could seriously disrupt the Chinese energy supply lines via Malacca in a conflict. This is the Chinese energy security nightmare, and they are feverishly engaged in trying to create a bypass that will help them to overcome their Malacca choke point vulnerability.

Currently, the Chinese problem is the security concerns about this pipeline’s long passage through Baluchistan and then Pakistan’s jihadi mafia-infested territory.

In layman terms, the Malacca passage from Iran or Africa takes 16-25 days for the Chinese tankers to complete. Once the KKH, rail and energy pipeline corridor comes through, this could be done in just 48 hours from the port of Gwadar. This explains the tremendous significance of the emerging Gilgit-Gwadar corridor for China. China had completed the KKH as far back as 1978. The KKH, which traverses over the Khujerah Pass, now extends up to the rising port city of Gwadar. Since 2006, work is on to widen the KKH. This will increase its operating capacity for heavy vehicular traffic some threefold. This six-lane highway is being complemented by a railroad. The Kashgar-Havelian rail link will be constructed by the Chinese Dong Feng Electric Company and will traverse a distance of 700 kilometres, from the Khunjerab Pass to link with the Pakistan rail network at Havelian, near Rawalpindi. Kashgar is being made into a special economic zone (SEZ), and the Chinese plan to establish a consulate in Gilgit.

Gilgit Pipeline

The third leg of this energy/trade corridor will be completed by the construction of an oil pipeline. As far back as in 2008, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jeichi had proposed that China should join the India-Pakistan-Iran (IPI) pipeline project. U.S. pressure did not let this aspiration materialise. The Chinese now have plans for a 2,000-kilometre pipeline that will follow the KKH railroad alignment. It could have a pipeline 1 metre in diameter with a flow rate of 8 metres per second and a pumping station every 120 kilometres. This would give it a capacity of 590,000 barrels per day (bpd) or an ability to carry virtually 9.8% of China’s oil imports. This pipeline project from Gwadar to Xinjiang would cost around $12 billion. Currently, the Chinese problem is the security concerns about this pipeline’s long passage through Baluchistan and then Pakistan’s jihadi mafia-infested territory.

Once this triple energy-cum-trade corridor with its high-capacity rail and road link and oil pipeline is completed, it will shorten the oil/trade transit from Gwadar to just 48 hours instead of the 16-25 days passage via Malacca Straits. In real terms, the Persian Gulf passage will be reduced from 6,000 nautical miles (nm) via Malacca straits to just 680 nm to Gwadar. The African passage via Malacca will be reduced from 10,000 nm to just 3,000 nm. The most vital aspect is that the crucial naval choke point of Malacca Straits will be bypassed altogether. This is a choke point that the U.S., Japanese or even Indian navy could easily throttle in the event of a major conflict.

So far, some $248 million has been spent on Gwadar. Of this, some $198 million has been spent by China.

How to reduce/obviate the Malacca choke point threat to China’s energy flows has always been a primary concern for China. Her recent forays into the Gilgit-Baltistan region stem from this clearly articulated Malacca bypass strategy that is fast becoming a lynchpin of her overall grand strategic design in Asia. Unless we understand these larger Chinese concerns and compulsions, we will fail to read the designs behind the Chinese forays into the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

The Gwadar Terminal: Reaching the Critical Mass

The entire Gilgit-Baltistan energy corridor from Xinjiang funnels over the Khunjerab Pass and terminates on the seaports of Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara. Of these outlets, the China-Pakistan axis is working feverishly to develop Gwadar as the hub of a new land-cum-sea-based silk route to Xinjiang and western China. This fishing village of Gwadar had a population of some 5,000 as far back as in 2001. Today, it is emerging as a bustling city with a population of 125,000. An international airport and steel and cement plants are planned. Crucial are a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and a massive oil refinery that are primarily being planned to cater to the Chinese energy inflows.

Work on the Gwadar port had commenced in 2002 and was completed in 2007. The port was operationalised in 2009.

  • It has a 12.6-metre dredged channel and three multipurpose berths that give it a wharfage of 6.2 metres.
  • In Phase II, the Chinese will add nine additional deep-water berths.
  • So far, some $248 million has been spent on Gwadar. Of this, some $198 million has been spent by China.
  • Pakistan’s defence minister, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, recently invited China to establish a naval base in Gwadar. The Chinese were understandably coy about acknowledging this fact so brazenly.

Renting Territory for Strategic Gain

The simple fact, however, is that Pakistan is desperate to rent its territory and port facilities to seek a new alliance and strategic embrace with the Asian giant China. Relations with the United States have reached a breaking point as the high-risk and duplicitous policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds is increasingly becoming untenable. Pakistan’s military-ISI complex has been desperately wooing Beijing with offers to rent its territory to gain an extra regional ally to counterbalance arch-rival India. Pakistan has been extremely successful at renting its territory to the United States for the Cold War and then for the Afghan War against the Soviets. It gamed enormous amounts of military and economic aid, which has enabled it not only to seek parity with India but also to keep India destabilised and off balance for the past three decades by unremitting asymmetric assaults-first in Punjab, then in J&K and now in almost all major cities of India. Pakistan is determined to replace the U.S. alliance by now renting its territory to China. Gwadar has already been offered as a naval base, and Gilgit-Baltistan is about to be given on lease. This indicates the level of desperation in Islamabad.

Pakistan has been extremely successful at renting its territory to the United States for the Cold War and then for the Afghan War against the Soviets. It gamed enormous amounts of military and economic aid, which has enabled it not only to seek parity with India but also to keep India destabilised

J&K: Theatre of the Next War

What are the implications for India? With the tremendous strategic significance of the Gilgit-Gwadar transport-cum-energy corridor, the entire strategic calculus about J&K has undergone a paradigm shift of monumental proportions. China has ominously altered its stance on J&K and has moved in a big way into the northern areas. Chinese military engineers have entered the Gilgit-Baltistan region and are feverishly engaged in widening the KKH and surveying the rail alignment to Kashgar. With this major Chinese move into Gilgit, J&K may well be the focus of the next major war in South Asia. This is the theatre where the China-Pakistan nexus is preparing logistically to take on India in a two-front war whenever the opportunity presents itself. All Chinese talk of Arunachal Pradesh appears in hindsight to be a grand strategic deception plan. It is increasingly becoming evident that J&K is the place where China and Pakistan can launch massive coordinated attacks in a limited war designed to pries this state loose from India. This entire paradigm shift has to be factored into any discourse on internal and external security in J&K. All narratives that leave these major developments out of the strategic calculus are seriously flawed.

Interlocutors’ Report: Recipe for a phased surrender of sovereignty?

The recent submission of the interlocutors’ report is now to be seen in this strategic backdrop. The interlocutors’ mission was born out of the sheer panic in New Delhi that followed the stone-pelting intifada that was engineered by the ISI. The failure to anticipate this next logical progression in Pakistan’s proxy war was regrettable. Emotions in the Kashmir valley tend to be intense. However, they are seldom deep or long lasting. The engineers of the intifada had correctly gauged the intense local anger at the tendency of the nervous CRPF troopers to be abrasive and somewhat rude in their roadside manners. This led to the flash of public anger. Failure to induct nonlethal weaponry led to needless casualties, which were used to fuel further stone pelting. It was an intense boil of public anger against bad roadside manners of the CRPF and, in any case, was not sustainable. However, this was seized upon by the capitulationist lobby in New Delhi to force the Indian state into abject surrender.This showed a clear lack of any grasp of the ground situation in J&K.

The ground reality is that the Indian army has largely broken the back of the terrorist movement in J&K. From a peak strength of 3,500-4,000 armed terrorists that Pakistan used to maintain in J&K each year (to keep the pot boiling at a precise temperature that would remain within Indian tolerance thresholds), the number of terrorists in the state has been reduced to just around 300. These 300 are mostly engaged in just trying to survive and have kept a very low profile. Having lost the terror battle, the ISI had then tried to generate a Palestinian-style intifada in the valley. Major sums of money were spent to mobilise stone pelters.

…we must not lose sight of the fact that 36 out of the 42 Pakistani terrorist training camps are very much active and churning out recruits.

However, after the initial hysteria, the security forces arrested Andrabi and other lynchpins organisers and money conduits for supporting the stone pelters. Use of dye sprays helped to identify principal ringleaders. Improvement in the roadside manners of the CRPF and the highly calming influence of Lieutenant General Ata Hasnain, the new GOC 15 Corps, rapidly helped to diffuse the situation. The interlocutors meanwhile were totally out of touch with the rapidly changing ground realities. Some of them had been the recipients of the seminar circuit largesse of Fai and his ISI cohorts. They produced a blueprint for surrender. They called for a return to the pre- 1953 status, reinstallation of a prime minister of J&K, appointment of a local governor, repeal of central legislations and, in fact, the putting in place of a secessionist architecture that after a decent interval would orchestrate a walk out of J&K from the Union of India. It would go out lock, stock and barrel, complete with its colonial adjuncts of a largely Hindu Jammu, a Budhist Ladakh and a Shia Kargil.

In the light of the sharply escalating threat envelope of a combined Chinese- Pakistani threat to J&K, it would be suicidal for India to loosen the hold of the centre in any manner-unless the Indian state is truly determined to lose on the negotiating table what it has won at such great cost on the battlefield. Of a piece with its capitulationist agenda was the interlocutors’ suggestion to do away with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). This act is not half as draconian as the patriot legislation of the United States or what some European countries have adopted to defend themselves against the twenty-first-century threat of jihadi terrorism. Frankly, this act provided the legal cover for the army to save the Northeast and then J&K. Though the ground situation has improved dramatically, we must not lose sight of the fact that 36 out of the 42 Pakistani terrorist training camps are very much active and churning out recruits. After the conclusion of the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1989, the ISI had trained its guns on Kashmir. We must wait and watch patiently for the turn of events the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will bring after 2014. Any indecent haste to dismantle our defences before that could result in a dangerous backslide we can ill afford.

The Peace-at-Any-Cost Argument

There was a school of thought in the United States, primarily led by Bruce Reidel, that felt that the only way to get Pakistan to act decisively against the Taliban-al-Qaeda combine was to arm-twist India into surrendering Kashmir. India’s failure to stand up to this American pressure resulted in the orchestration of a capitulationist chorus in the Indian media and a somewhat sincere but rather misplaced attempt on the part of the Indian leadership to negotiate peace at any cost with Pakistan. The military-ISI complex retaliated with an IM offensive in the cities of India and then the major assault of 26/11 in Mumbai that left 166 Indians killed and some 700 wounded. After initially adopting tough postures seeking action against the terrorists, the Indian state seemed to cave in completely to foreign pressure and exhibited a pusillanimous stance that seemed to indicate the Indian state wanted to resume peace talks even if a few thousand more Indians were killed in the process by Pakistani terrorists. Indian public pressure forced the state to resile from such patently capitulationist postures.

The long-suffering Americans have apparently lost patience at long last and are seemingly all set to dump Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Pakistanis two-timed their American allies. They swindled the Americans of some $20 billion and had the temerity to keep bin Laden in an ISI safe house some 800 metres from the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. Pakistan had the chutzpah to express outrage at the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad. Pakistan showed its hand by cutting off the U.S.-NATO supply lines to Afghanistan. As always, the Pakistani generals had overreached themselves. This military establishment has traditionally suffered from very high levels of subjectivity. In Afghanistan, they had gambled that the Americans would be routed and Pakistan would simply reimpose the Taliban after hanging Karzai from a lamp post a la Najibullah. The long-suffering Americans have apparently lost patience at long last and are seemingly all set to dump Pakistan. It was precisely at this pathetic juncture that Zardari made his peace overtures. The peace-at-any-cost lobby in Delhi concluded that this was their historic opportunity to do a “Munich” with Pakistan. It had seemingly been dumped even by the Americans and now, apparently, was the time to embrace this pariah and erratic state that had killed thousands of Indian citizens and would continue to do so in the future.

Hopefully, American pressure on India to do a pusillanimous peace deal with Pakistan will abate greatly after the recent bitterness in their relations with Pakistan. We only have to rein in the very misplaced zeal of our home-grown Munich lobby. India had rationalised that the peace overtures were from the civilian establishment in Pakistan and that we must strengthen the democratic elements against the military-ISI combine. The recent soft coup by the army via the judiciary in Islamabad shows that this view was rather naïve and subjective.

The right stance to adopt is a wait-and-watch stance to see which way the post-U.S.-withdrawal scenario in Afghanistan will pan out. It would not be prudent to dismantle our internal security structures in J&K that have succeeded in containing the situation quite well so far. Hence, it would be imprudent to remove the AFSPA, wholly or partially, and the interlocutors’ report needs to be consigned to the deepest dustbins of the archives. We should avoid for the time being any attempts to dilute the boundaries or permit any large-scale move across the LoC that could be exploited by the ISI.

It would not be prudent to dismantle our internal security structures in J&K that have succeeded in containing the situation quite well so far. Hence, it would be imprudent to remove the AFSPA, wholly or partially…

The Ideological Battle

In the meantime, the onset of normalcy will initiate its own logic and peace dividend constituency in J&K. The Indian state must consolidate its hard-won gains by facilitating the spread of liberal, secular and humanist education. That was one of the prime purposes of Op Sadbhavana, under which the army built hundreds of quality schools and computer-literacy centres. Kashmir was once a syncretic paradise where the tolerant Sufi version of Islam flourished. Kashmir had its tradition of the Nuynda Rosh, or the Nund Rishi tradition of Sufi saints who were revered alike by both the Hindus and the Muslims. It would be essential to revive these tolerant traditions and syncretic mores.

As part of their ideological battle, the Salafi-Wahabi ideology was sought to be spread in J&K by the jihadi elements sent in by Pakistan. The first casualty was the tradition of tolerance. This saw the exodus of the Kashmiri Pundits and the burning of Charar-e-Sharief, a shrine. The latest torching of Dastagir Sahib, a Sufi shrine, is part of that same diabolical ideological offensive to poison mindsets and harden identities along polarised and communal lines. Modernist education and a revival of the traditional Sufi culture of Kashmir would be essential to fight the battle at the ideological level. It would be essential to emphasise that the Lord of the Quran is not just the Lord of the Musalmeen but the Lord of the whole quainat (universe) per se. The very word “Islam” comes from “shalom,” which means peace-hardly the interpretation that the extremists have tried to impose upon it.

Oops, PTA did it again!

September 27, 2012

Area 14/8

The 15 minute trailer to a profane film has ignited rage in many Muslim countries including Pakistan. An official holiday called the “Ishq-e-Rasool” Day was observed last week to calm the storm. Pakistan demanded YouTube to take down the film trailer but Google,the owner of YouTube,refused to comply as the film did not violate any laws so to speak. Since Pakistan does not share a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT),Google was unable to block the video as it had in other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

Like the Ministry of IT and Telecom which failed to acquire the above MLAT with Google,PTA displayed its incompetence in blocking YouTube altogether. Not only was the disputed service banned but so were many other Google applications including Google Maps,Google Play, Google Drive,Google Analytics,Google Docs,Google Image search,Google Blogger,Google plus and all android applications. Even though Google services are interlinked,with the right hardware and software YouTube could have been blocked without affecting the rest of the network. Unfortunately,PTA does not have these facilities.

A whitewash technique has affected students,researchers,businessmen and all those companies which rely on services provided by Google for external as well as internal communication with colleagues and clients. Google products could no longer be downloaded. Complaints regarding sluggish internet speed were also reported.

Many of the companies affected by this action are small scale enterprises which cannot afford to add more losses in an ever increasing expensive work environment. This is particularly a stressful time for companies whose work is linked to foreign companies like traders or call centers.

There is still a part of the population which believes electronic communications are limited with the majority choosing to opt for a non-technical or cash-only method for transactions. But in fact,it is these disruptions that have hindered technological progress in Pakistan causing it to lag behind other nations in the international market. Unreliable circumstances in Pakistan have discouraged foreign investors from bringing their business to the country. In order to compete in the global market,Pakistan must have the same facilities as other nations.

The anti-Islam video was no-doubt meant to hurt Muslims and it has been even condoned by non-Muslims. Banning YouTube mirrors Pakistani sentiments but as many other Pakistanis agree,there are alternative ways to express resentment. Some suggested holding milaads,conferences and even the production of a film showing the true personality of the Prophet while others urged to ignore the film so that it fails to profit the filmmaker. The public can be expected to react emotionally but it is the job of the government and religious scholars to consider the whole picture before taking drastic decisions and even worse,poorly executed ones.

Kashmir: The Martyrs’ Day

July 13, 2012

By Sajjad Shaukat
Area 14/8

The Martyrs’ Day, popularly known as Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir is observed on July 13 every year on both sides of the Line of Control and all over the world by the Kashmiris to pay homage to 22 Kashmiris who were martyred in 1931 to free Kashmir from the brutalities of despotic Dogra rulers. The day is the milestone in the history of Kashmiri struggle against foreign occupation.

The history of Dogra rule (1846-1947) in Kashmir is replete with tyrannous treatment, meted out to the Kashmiri Muslims by Dogra forces. Under the Dogra rule, they were leading so miserable life that it was difficult to differentiate them from beasts. Slave labour, heavy taxes, capital punishment for cow slaughter, and living under constant terror was order of the day.

In this regard, Yousaf Saraf in his book, ‘Kashmiris Fight for Freedom’ calls it “free forced labour” and “instead of donkeys and horses, Kashmiri Muslims were used for transportation of goods across the far-flung areas”.

Atrocities of the Dogra regime could also be judged from the book of Sir Walter Lawrence, ‘The India We Served’. While describing the pathetic picture of the Kashmiris, he writes, “army was employed in forcing the villagers to plough and sow, and worse still, the soldiers came at harvest time and when the share of the state had been seized” and “there was very little grain to tide the unfortunate peasants over the cruel winter.”

Under that tyrannical regime, political rights could not be imagined; even the religious rights had been segregated away from the Muslims of the state.

On April 19, 1931, the ban of Eid Khutba ignited widespread demonstrations in the Jummu city for a number of days. It was followed by desecration of the Holy Quran at the hands of Dogra forces, which resulted into outrage among the Muslims throughout the state. In Srinagar, people gathered in Jamia Masjid to denounce this blasphemy. One such get-together was held in Khankah-e-Muella Srinagar, which was addressed by prominent Kashmiris. When the meeting was concluded, a youth, Abdul Qadeer, pointing his finger to the Maharaja’s palace, raised slogans “destroy its every brick.” With the accusation of sedition, he was arrested forthwith. Abdul Qadir was to be tried in the court but due to large public resentment, the court was shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.

On July 12, 1931, in response to the shifting of court, intense public protests were held throughout the city. The next day, on July 13, 1931, thousands of people thronged the Central Jail Srinagar to witness the in-camera trial of Abdul Qadeer. As the time for obligatory prayer approached, a young Kashmiri stood for Azan. The Dogra Governor, Ray Zada Tartilok Chand ordered soldiers to open fire at him. When he got martyred, another young man took his place and started Azan. He was also shot dead. In this way, 22 Kashmiris embraced martyrdom in their efforts to complete the Azan.
The people carried the dead and paraded through the streets of Srinagar, chanting slogans against Dogra brutalities. Complete strike was observed in the city, which was followed by weeklong mourning. This incident shook the whole state and the traffic from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Srinagar to Jammu came to halt from July 13 to 26, 1931. The 22 martyrs are buried in Martyrs’ Graveyard at Khawaja Bazar, Srinagar.

Since 1989 when liberation of Kashmir entered a new phase, Indian military troops have been using all inhuman tactics of ethnic cleansing to disturb the majority population of the Kashmiris. For this purpose, various methods of state terrorism have been part of a deliberate campaign by the Indian army against Muslim Kashmiris. It has been manifested in brutal tactics such as crackdowns, curfews, illegal detentions, massacre, targeted killings, sieges, burning the houses, torture, disappearances, rape, breaking the legs, molestation of Muslim women and killing of persons through fake encounters.

According to a report on human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir by Indian Army and its paramilitary forces, there have been deaths of more than 95 270 innocent Kashmiri from 1989 to June 30, 2010.

Over the two decades of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, Human Rights Watch has documented numerous failures to ensure protection of human rights. It has called for the repeal of laws such as the Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, and the Public Safety Act. These laws provide the armed forces with extraordinary powers to search, detain, and use lethal force, leading to numerous human rights violations. They also provide immunity for security forces-their prosecutions, even where the facts are well established, are rare.

Kashmir Quarterly has reported, “Indian Forces killed a number of citizens, torched mosques, shops and houses in various parts of the valley. As a result, there were protest demonstrations in many cities. Troops desecrated the central Srinagar mosque and tortured worshippers whom they found inside.”

It is notable that the memory of the Serb atrocities has still been fresh in the minds of the Muslims, while India’s state eliminators have followed the same practice in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, in the worse form of state terrorism. In 2008, a rights group reported unmarked graves in 55 villages across the northern regions of Baramulla, Bandipore and Handwara. Then researchers and other groups reported finding thousands of single and mass graves without markers. In this respect, in the last few years, rights groups discovered nearly 3,000 unnamed graves in the various districts of Kashmir.

It is of particular attention that in August, 2011, Indian Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officially acknowledged in its report that innocent civilians killed in the two-decade conflict have been buried in unmarked graves. The report indicated 2,156 unidentified bodies which were found in mass graves in various regions of the Indian-controlled Kashmir. Notably, foreign sources and human rights organisations have disclosed that unnamed graves include those innocent persons, killed by the Indian military and para-military troops in the fake encounters including those who were tortured to death by the Indian secret agency RAW.

In its recent report, China’s leading News Agency Xinhua has unearthed more gruesome details on world-stunning unmarked graves in Poonch in the Indian-held Kashmir. While quoting reliable local sources, the report disclosed the statement of Sofi Aziz Joo, caretaker of a graveyard as saying, “Police and Army used to bring those bodies and direct me to bury them. The bodies were usually bullet-ridden, mutilated, faces disfigured and sometimes without limbs and heads.”

Today’s Kashmir presents the worst possible case of state terrorism where Indian forces threaten to eliminate entire masses engaged in demanding implementation of the United Nations resolutions. According a latest report, more than half million people have been massacred by the Indian troops so far.

It is mentionable that dialogue between India and Pakistan took place on a number of occasions, but produced no outcome, prolonging the agony of the subjugated people of the occupied Kashmir due to Indian intransigence.

Notably, silence of the US-led western countries has encouraged India to continue its alien rule in Kashmir. Therefore, Indian forces keep on employing various methods of state terrorism mercilessly on the innocent Kashmirirs, demanding their legitimate right of self-determination.

However, observance of Kashmiris’ freedom struggle on the Martyrs’ Day every year is reaffirmation of the fact that Kashmiris will continue to fight against Indian illicit occupation. In this context, Youme Shuhada-e-Kashmir is an ideal day for Kashmiris to seek inspiration to carry their struggle for freedom to its logical end. At this time of distress, the people of Pakistan’s side with the oppressed ones are sharing the grief of Kashmiri freedom lovers. Pakistan also observes Youme Shudaha-e-Kashmir on July 13, launching a protest against the oppressive polices of Indian occupation, which has continued against the hapless Kashmiris.

Nevertheless, on July 13, all over the world, Kashmiris renew their pledge to continue the ongoing war of liberation for the accomplishment of their right of self-determination and for the independence of occupied territories from the despotic Indian rule.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com