Friday, June 3, 2011

Who Ruined The Quaid's Dream (1966-1977)

Mujeeb’s Six Points (1966)

On 6th February 1966, Awami League presented their famous six points agenda which stirred a great divide between the West and East Pakistan. Through this agenda Mujeeb demanded separate currency, dedicated foreign exchange account, separate militia and power of taxation and revenue. Six points program was the base from where Bengalis started the struggle for their independence. Bengalis were deprived of their legitimate economic and social rights, thus Mujeeb’s demand for greater autonomy under the six points program received overwhelming support and the denial of Federation to accept these greatly supported their resolve.

Agartala Conspiracy Case (1968)

Government was under pressure from the protests and demonstrations by over 60% of the population as there was little public support with the military rulers even in West Pakistan. In those critical circumstances in 1968, GOP filed a conspiracy case against 35 prominent leaders, servicemen and security officials of East Pakistan for secretly organizing an armed revolt against the government of Pakistan. Bengalis took it as another attempt to push them to wall, therefore a mass protest campaign started against the Government. Adding fuel to fire one of the accused was shot dead by security personnel during confinement inside the army cantonment. The news of the killing led to the violent agitations, protesters put many important state buildings on fire. Although the conspiracy was real but the case was poorly handled by then military government. To much of the surprise, after fueling worst violent and turmoil, government of Pakistan withdrew the Agartala Conspiracy Case on 22 February 1969. The very next day Sheikh Mujeeb Ur Rehman vowed to struggle for independent Bangladesh in a great public gathering in Dhaka.

Yahya Khan The New King (1969)

Ayub Khan was responsible for most of the miseries Pakistan faced during his era; he banned political parties, gauged media and deprived the common man of the legitimate rights. After serving Pakistan in every field he made his worst decision of making a mockery of his own constitution and handing over the powers to a drunken old man Yahya Khan (who is also known as Rangeela Badshah). Yahya Khan inherited the legacy of dissent, revolt and exploitation; he had to transform a country which had been under one man rule for the last 11 years to a democratic country. After a military rule of 12 years general elections were held in December 1970, Awami League of Sheikh Mujeeb Ur Rehman swept the East Pakistan with 160 seats while PPP led by Bhutto got 81 seats in West Pakistan. In provincial elections Awami League won 288 seats and PPP got 144 seats. The elections drew a distinct line between East and West Pakistan, as PPP and Awami League failed to win a single seat in East and West Pakistan respectively (both provincial and national elections). After securing big victory in elections Mujeeb ur Rehman’s Awami League was the only contender to form federal government. But both military and politicians from West Pakistan were suspicious about Mujeeb, they did not want to hand over the control of the country to a politician, who had earlier been held for conspiring against state. Bhutto was in the airspace of East Pakistan returning back after the talks with Mujeeb when army started operation, the end result of which was establishment of Bangladesh. It is widely believed that Bhutto and Mujeeb had come to a settlement of power sharing but Military establishment did not agree. The operation resulted in East Pakistan war, India learning a lesson from operation giberalter infiltrated trained Bengali and Indian guerlillas with the anme Mukti Bahni. The war resulted in over 30,000 deaths (officially) international media believed that they were more tham 500,000. Paksitani Army surrendered and suffered heart breaking humiliation in a land which was their's some time ago.

Bhutto The Dictator (1971-1977)

Bhutto was a charismatic personality; he held the pulses of poor people of Pakistan. Soon after taking control of a divided Pakistan he promised to make a new Pakistan from the remains of broken one. During hsi regime Bhutto made many fatal mistakes; the first one of them was the nationalization policy through which industries and institution were put under government's control. On pretext of nationalization supporters of PPP occupied the precious industries by force, thus destroying the economic backbone, shutting the doors for private investment. At political front ironically Bhutto became a dictator he ordered revenge from those who opposed him, suspended thousands of civil servants and established a ghunda force called Federal Security Force (FSF) to control his opponents. Later he was hanged on the charges of ordering the murder of a political rival through FSF, Director General FSF Masood Mahmood became the approver in this case. Bhutto tried to find his friends in military forces by appointing General Zia as chief of army staff superseding 7 senior generals. He held the general elections in 1977 after opposition started an anti Bhutto movement under the banner of PNA. 1977 elections were heavily rigged and manipulated; therefore the movement of PNA intensified and resulted in the ouster and later hanging of Bhutto.

Hamood Ur Rehman Commission Report (1974)

After the fall of Dhaka Bhutto constituted a commission under the supervision of chief justice Supreme Court Hamood ur Rehman to investigate the reasons of East Pakistan fall and surrender of army without the orders of central command. Commission worked hard and submitted final report in 1974. Report examined the situation in detail and recommended the public trial of many senior army generals including Yaha Khan. Bhutto did not want to make army an opponent therefore he did not made the report public, hence no one was punished for breaking the country. It remained under cover until August 2000, when an Indian Newspaper India Today published the report (No one ever bothered to find out how the top secret document reached India). An army which was created to protect the boundaries of Pakistan was criminally involved in anti-human acts in East Pakistan including killings, rapes, smuggling and torture. If Bhutto had shown the courage and punished the responsibles, he might not be murdered judicially. The unpunished generals never regretted their crimes and in less than 7 years of East Pakistan debacle they were back to fulfill remaining task.

Balochistan Operation (1973-77)

Balochis common man is as exploited as the Bengalis were in 1970, when Bengalis got independence, Baloch nationalists took is as an opportunity to get independence from federation. The insurgency grew stronger in Bhutto regime as NAP has formed the government in Balochistan comprising of nationalist parties with strong nationalist roots. Provincial government demanded more autonomy for the Balochis but federal government did not accept this demand. In the same year federal government foiled a rebellion effort and the provincial government was dismissed. After the dismissal of the government, nationalist insurgency exploded into widespread civil disobedience. Bhutto sent army to crush the insurgency and maintain law and order. A full fledged battle started between Baloch nationalists and Pakistan army which lasted for 4 years, as a result thousands were killed from both sides. The result of this operation was more rebellion and hatred and after 30 years of their struggle Balochis are still fighting. Why Balochis are fighting? Is a big question, but I think they are not fighting as most of them do not even think beyond a bottle of water or a piece of bread which is a rare commodity in the region. These are the Sardars and Waderas who want more shares in terms of money from Federal government. Federal government's policy regarding Balochistan have always been disastrous, they deal with the Sardars and pay them their share to silence the common Balochis, who have been deprived of basic necessities of life even in the 21st century. If we want not to experience another tragedy like East Pakistan we would have to address the needs and rights of the poor Balochi people. India is actively playing their role in fueling the nationalist movement, our agencies need to foil the links between these two.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saleem Shahzad's Murder and PNS Mahran Attack

Saleem Shahzad Murder

The dead body of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief of Asia Times Online, who disappeared on May 29, 2011, from the F-6/2 area of Islamabad, has been recovered from Sarai Alamgir. He was on his way to the studios of Dunya News channel to particiate in a program to discuss his latest report on the attacks on PNS Mehran when the producer made the last contact with him. Before abduction Shahzad had published an article on Asia Times Online regarding the attack of Al-Qaeda on PNS Mahran and links between Al-Qaeda and Naval soldiers. It is strongly believed that he was under threat from intelligence agencies for quite sometime as he wrote extensively about the Al-Qaeda, Taliban and their supporters in Pakistan.

Saleem Shahzad had strong interaction with Al-Qaeda and Pakistan Military; he published some exclusive stories about Taliban movement and Al-Qaeda. In October 2010 he was (according to him) investigated by ISI for publishing a story about the release of a Taliban leader by Pakistan to facilitate talks between Taliban and security forces. He published his much awaited book ‘Inside al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11’ in May, 2011.

The major cause of his murder is told to be the story published in Asia Times Online Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan Strike’, in which he claimed that Al-Qaeda carried out the attacks on PNS Mehran in Karachi after negotiations had failed between the navy and Al-Qaeda regarding the release of naval officials held by navy intelligence for their links with the terrorist organization. He wrote that some officials of junior cadre of Navy had been strong supporters of Al-Qaeda and they have been planning to attack US officials and experts working at base. They were caught and held by Navy for interrogations to find out to what extent teh militancy had crept into the naval ranks. The attacks on Naval buses earlier were warning calls by Al-Qaeda to release the linked officials.

The details of Attack on Mahran base provided so far confirm the report released by Shahzad, as it is not believable that only 6 terrorists engaged whole Navy, Army Commandoes and Rangers for 17 long hours killing 13 soldiers without the helping hands from inside. Who killed Saleem Shahzad will remain a mystery for ever as in a country where the murderers of its first PM had never been exposed, what is the value of a journalist, but the courage and grit he showed to expose the corruption within the military sytem will be remebered. God bless his soul the eternal peace and his family with the courage and determination to bear this great loss, ameen.

PNS Mahran Attack

Pakistan is under threat from all corners of the state; extremism and terrorism has paralyzed our nation, in these testing times Pakistani Military is the only hope left for most Pakistanis. But in a month the military has suffered the worst ever damage, first presence of OBL in Pakistan for more than 5 years undermined the efficiency of our intelligence agencies. Afterwards operation by US forces inside Pakistan proved incompetence of our army, now Mahran base attack has exposed the security and professional capability of our Air Force and Navy. Taliban and Al-Qaeda will definitely have links with military in Pakistan, as some former services chiefs still support them openly. Soldiers from lower ranks have strong affection with Islam, and it is obvious that they will not be happy for fighting against their own men for the sake of USA. We can expect some deep rooted dissent among the military officials, it needs to be pointed out and corrected otherwise we will not be able to get out of this mess.

In the last I would like to pay tribute to the soldiers killed in the Mahran Base attack for their sacrifice. I would also like to share a message sent by one of my college friends who is now a soldier at Pakistan navy. He told me that his colleagues in navy were very disappointed with the role of media in making a single person, Yasir Abbas hero out of 13 personnel martyred in the attack. I explained him the reasons why media was running such campaign, I fear I would not be able to share it here. Personally I am surprised to hear the News that Prime Minister has advised president to confer Nishan e Haider on Yasir Abbas for fighting bravely with the terrorists. What does it mean that the others who were killed did not fight bravely, or they were supporting the terrorists? His mother told a news reporter that he was on phone when blast happened so he disconnected the call. It clearly shows that he was even not aware of the attack until he heard the blast of terrorist attack on a nearby naval plane.

The martyrs should be respected and saluted but conferring the highest military medal to a soldier who was killed in their own den in such shameful security negligence would not only undermine the prestige of the award but would also be mockery of our proud military traditions. Common Pakistanis have always loved, supported and faced poverty for our military, but now the time has changed we can not worship them like the sacred cows if they would not be loyal and faithful to the poor nation. It is a need of the time to make a thorough investigation to cleanse our military from the people who are not loyal to our national interests.

Note: I was away for sometime therefore i was not able to update the series who ruined the Quiad's dream, i hope it will be completed soon.