Sunday, March 19, 2006

cowasjee: pakistan, the make-believe country (in dawn)

mar 19th

i would gloat, but then, india is not much better.

and it is on the way to becoming pakistan. note the kerala assembly *demanding* that a known terrorist like mahdani be released. why? mohammedans have used their usual demographic warfare tactics well and a lot of new voters in kerala are mohammedans.

we'll soon be hearing more about how the mohammedans of kerala are the proud descendants of the *extremely civilized* conqueror tipu sultan. wait, small problem: then how will they reconcile that with the claim of descent from arab sailors?

simple solution: they will find an arab ancestor for tipu sultan. yeah, that's the ticket: tipu was a direct descendant of let's say, ali or ayesha.

ps. actually, cowasjee, pakistan *is* a banana republic.

====================

This wild and woolly land

By Ardeshir Cowasjee

NOW, we are neither a banana republic nor have we yet been universally
recognized as a 'paan-biri' republic. We continue, without too much of
a roaring success, to desperately tell the rest of the world that we
are civilized descendants of Mohammad Bin Qasim and his conquering
heroes.

Wild and woolly as we are, our leaders insist that in the majority, we
are moderate and strive for enlightenment.

Putting it mildly, we live in a strange environment. Last week's press
told us that a herd of wild boars from the Margalla Hills had invaded
parliament and disrupted the 'peaceful' and, of course, 'free and fair'
senate elections. Our prime minister was quick off the mark with one of
those familiar statements which no one believes and smilingly announced
to all and sundry that no money had changed hands during the election
process.

My old and wildly civilized friend Akbar Bugti, the Tumandar of all the
Bugtis (or nearly all as there are a few who disagree with him), has
taken to living in a cave in the wilds of Balochistan, his 'Dera'
headquarters having been blown to smithereens by the law enforcement agencies
assisted by the gallant Pakistan army. Science having advanced as it
has, I managed to speak to him via a satellite. He feels secure and
insists he is quite happy being guarded by his fiercely loyal tribesmen.

In Lahore, we are not allowed to fly kites for fear that we may
decapitate half the population of that fast burgeoning city. The enemies of
fun, the battlers against laughter, have won out once again.

Despite our numerous laws and legislations, despite our adherence to
habeas corpus, Dr Safdar Sarki of Jeeay Sindh fame remains untraceable.
Shortly after he was picked up, his wife circulated a letter via the
internet, e-mail, and otherwise : "Arbitrary arrest, torture and
disappearance of a Texan, Dr Safdar Sarki, by Pakistani authorities.

"On Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, my husband, Dr.Safdar Sarki, a Texan, was
taken away from his temporary Karachi residence by personnel belonging to
Pakistan's intelligence agencies. Dr. Sarki, a US citizen, had been
campaigning for secularism and democracy, and specifically for the
protection of the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan.
Witnesses report that Dr. Sarki was severely beaten for about an hour at his
apartment by Pakistani security personnel before being blindfolded and
moved to an unknown location.

"We the family and other Texan-friends have been trying to determine
his whereabouts but all efforts have thus far proved in vain. Anonymous
sources have reported that Dr. Sarki is being tortured in the custody of
the Pakistani military. However, the Pakistani authorities deny that
Dr. Sarki has been arrested. This has caused serious concern for the life
of Dr. Sarki, Pakistani authorities having a history of torturing
dissidents to death.

"My two sons Illahi (15) and Geanum (10) and I are very concerned about
the life and safety of Dr. Sarki and request your office to use all
available means to locate him in order to save his life. The
extra-judicial detention of a distinguished American human rights campaigner on the
eve of Mr. Bush's visit to Pakistan is a grave insult not only to our
president but to all Americans who value liberty and justice for all.

"We have contacted the State Department and the US consulates in
Islamabad and Karachi. They are aware of this case. However, so far, no
information is available to us. Please contact the U.S. embassy in Islamabad
located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Telephone (92-51) 208-0000;
Consular section telephone (92-51) 208-2700, fax (92-51) 282-2632, website
http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/ ; contact the U.S. consulate-general in
Karachi, located at 8 Abdullah Haroon Road, Karachi;. telephone (92-21)
568-5170 (after hours: 92-21-568-1606), fax (92-21) 568-0496, website
http://karachi.usconsulate.gov/.

Contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747
(during business hours) or 202-647-5225 (after hours); contact the office
of President Bush, who is shortly to visit Pakistan; contact the office
of President Musharraf at
http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/ThePresident.aspx. "

Dr Sarki is a citizen of the United States, but does he hold dual
nationality? Or is he also a citizen of this country? If he does and is,
then there is not much the US State Department or even George W. Bush can
do for him as the non-laws of Pakistan will prevail.

If, however, he holds only a passport of the United States which
proclaims: "The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby
requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the
United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance in case of
need to give all lawful aid and protection," one must wonder just why
the secretary of state has not intervened. Is the Sarki operation a joint
operation a la Waziristan?

On March 10, the Sindh High Court admitted an appeal filed by the
brothers Dr Akmal Waheed and Dr Arshad Waheed against their conviction and
sentencing by an anti-terrorism court and set aside both convictions and
sentences. The two were freed forthwith — by the court, that is. They
were not in fact freed, as the jail authorities refused to accept the
court's jurisdiction and announced that they would hold the two brothers
for a further 30 days under the Maintenance of Public Order. They have
been in custody since the middle of last year on the charge of, inter
alia, having trained, helped and treated terrorists, facilitating their
operations and providing them with financial assistance.

In 1976, I was imprisoned under Bhutto's orders the 1976 MPO also being
employed in my case. One fine day in Karachi Central Prison, walking
towards me I spotted Chauhdry Zahoor Illahi, the late father of the
present kingmaker, Chosaeb Shujaat Husain. 'Dr Livingstone, I presume,' I
said, hand outstretched. An angry Chaudhry shot back, 'Kowji, I am not
Livingstone, I am Zahur Elahi.' I confessed that I knew, and solicitously
enquired what he was doing in Karachi jail. He told me that he had been
picked up in Lahore and charged with having stolen a buffalo. His
whereabouts were not known to his family.

One of his law-abiding kinsmen had filed a habeas corpus petition in
the Lahore High Court and the judge had summoned the Lahore jailor to
appear in court the next day. As soon as the order was passed to the wily
jailor, he arranged for the Chaudhry to be whisked away. He was bundled
into a small Suzuki and driven to Karachi jail. The judge was thus able
to be correctly informed that the Chaudhry was not in the jurisdiction
of the Lahore jail.

I suggested that I file a habeas corpus petition in the Sindh High
Court which would put the Karachi jailor on the spot. The Chauhdry pleaded
with me to do nothing of the sort as he may then be bundled on to the
back of a Suzuki motor bike and carted off to Sibi or Mach jail.

Much later, in the mid-1990s, when Benazir was in her second term as
prime minister, and Nawaz Sharif was leader of the opposition, she had
Nawaz's father, old Mohammed Sharif, picked up, hauled into a car, and
taken away to be held in custody at some unknown location. It took days
for Nawaz to locate him.

It is not that Nawaz did not do his bit in the interest of unlawful
detention. Amongst those he had picked up and secluded were Najam Sethi of
The Friday Times who was assaulted in his bedroom in the middle of the
night, and Hussain Haqqani who was abducted from the roads of
Islamabad. Both were lost for days.

It seems to be the fate of the citizens of Pakistan to live and exist
in a wild-west woolly atmosphere, where anything goes other than the
law. Few remember that it was Mohammad Ali Jinnah who exhorted his future
law-makers to bear in mind, always and for ever, that the first duty of
any government, democratic or otherwise, is to maintain law and order
so that the lives and properties and religious beliefs of its citizens
are protected. From the very start, the small men who followed him have
never heeded his words.

Sarki's wife must realize that Texan George Walker Bush, even if Sarki
is a citizen of the US and of no other nation, is no Henry John Temple
Palmerston (1784-1865). He will not be ordering his aircraft carrier
Enterprise, to nuke-steam at full speed to our shores to 'demand' the
release of her husband. With the passage of time, mankind has diminished.

E-mail: arfc@cyber.net.pk

2 comments:

Kalyani said...

I am gurgling inside ebulliently and ROTFL out heartily...at reading *their* jinna's "exhortation to future law"(!:))!?!)"makers".......

Hoisted WITH and BY one's OWN petard!

someone said...

He told me that he had been
picked up in Lahore and charged with having stolen a buffalo.


I almost fell off my chair laughing. I would have laughed more, if the matter wasn't so serious.