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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Breaking: Musharraf declares State of Emergency


    by Shariq
    3rd November, 2007 at 2:09 pm    

    Other opinions:
    Sepoy at Chapati Mystery
    Comments section at All Things Pakistan

    Thoughts on Musharraf’s Speech

    Not surprisingly, Musharraf used the increasing amount of terrorism as a justification for declaring a state of emergency. He painted quite a bleak portrait of a country infested with terrorists and religious extremists who were increasing in confidence and wanted to create a state within a state.

    Not many people would dispute the necessity for dealing with religious extremism. However, what he needed to do was to somehow convince the nation that the steps he has taken were to actually fight terrorism and not simply keep him in power, because the Supreme Court was about to rule that he couldn’t continue as President.

    I’m afraid he didn’t succeed. There were some tenuous comments about the Supreme Court ordering the release of 61 people who the intelligence services had said were definitely terrorists and even insinuated that they may even have been behind some of the recent bombings. Yet, the experience of Egypt has shown that if suspected terrorists are dealt with arbitrarily and not given due process, it only helps the extremists gain new recruits.

    He made a more valid point about the Supreme Court unnecessarily delaying the case relating to whether Musharraf could be President. However I think that the showed that the Justices were open to negotiation and I think its his fault that he wasn’t able to strike some sort of deal.

    Musharraf also talked about the economy and how if things were allowed to continue, the economic progress that had been made would be lost. I’m not sure this will do much good though as most of the economic gains haven’t ‘trickled down’ so to speak and inequality has actually increased.

    More thoughts soon.

    Update Musharraf will address the nation at 18.00 GMT

    General Musharraf has abolished suspended the 1973 constitution and declared a state of emergency in Pakistan. Telephone lines are not working properly and all private television channels have been taken off the air. The army have also taken over the offices of Radio Pakistan.

    The Chief Justice has been arrested, but an 8 member panel of the Supreme Court has ruled that the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) which Musharraf has put in place is illegal and should be set aside.

    Also, Geo is reporting that Benazir Bhutto who had initially refused to comment on today’s events was about to leave for Pakistan from Dubai but has decided to stay in Dubai.

    I’ll publish updates as well as trying to figure out what the consequences of this are going to be.

    Update: Aitzaz Ahsan, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and an influential member of Benazir’s Pakistan People’s Party has been arrested. This seems significant as it suggests that the rumoured deal between Musharraf and Benazir has been scrapped.

    Essentially by suspending the constitution Musharraf has established Martial Law in Pakistan. As former General Talat Masood, just said its euphemistically being called ‘Emergency Plus’ but is martial law.

    Benazir Updates: Apparently Benazir is travelling back to Pakistan, so my earlier comments about the deal being over may have been off the mark. Or Benazir might be going back despite the risk of being arrested, which I think is highly unlikely.

    The news keeps changing on Benazir. Sometimes she’s going back to Pakistan and at other times she isn’t. Frankly, if she hadn’t just survived a bomb attack I would say she was cynically exploiting the media to make it appear as if she wanted to go back but couldn’t, but I’ll reserve judgment for now.

    Benazir is back in Karachi. I wouldn’t be surprised if she still becomes the next Prime Minister. I no longer think this would be a good thing.

    Comment: I think which I can’t understand is why Musharraf thought it necessary to continue as president. The role of the President in Pakistan’s constitutional structure has always been that of a figurehead. If he wanted to retain some oversight over the civilian government he could have simply stayed as the chief or army staff. I’m guessing its because he wanted to keep the power to remove the civilian government, but he could have found another way around it.

    The thing with the PCO is that it states that all the branches of government will continue to work as usual. This is absurd as the constitution under which parliament for instance has been elected, has been suspended. Its an obvious power grab by Musharraf who was afraid of losing his Presidency, as there’s no other reason for him suspending the constitution and I think he’s going to lose any popular support he had left as a result.


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    Filed in: Current affairs,Pakistan






    91 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Global Voices Online » Pakistan: Emergency Declared - No News, No Internet.

      [...] and discussion at Metroblogging Lahore, Pickled Politics and Metroblogging Islamabad. KO writes on what it is like to “return to dictatorship”. [...]


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    6. Dubai » Blog Archive » Breaking News - Musharraf declares State of Emergency in Pakistan

      [...] spree wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBreaking News - Musharraf declares State of Emergency in Pakistan Other opinions: Sepoy at Chapati Mystery Comments section at All Things Pakistan Thoughts on Musharraf’s Speech Not surprisingly, Musharraf used the increasing amount of terrorism as a justification for declaring a state of emergency. He painted quite a bleak portrait of a country infested wit… Read the full post from Pickled Politics Tags: Current Affairs, Pakistan via Blogdigger blog search for dubai travel. [...]


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    1. Sunny — on 3rd November, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      whoa! Why did he do that?? That’s crazy!

    2. Shariq — on 3rd November, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

      I know. It’s insane. The supreme court was clearly about to rule that he couldn’t continue as President so he took matters into his own hands.

      My initial reaction is that this is going to set the country back over 10 years.

    3. Faisal — on 3rd November, 2007 at 2:40 pm  

      Well we should stand up and kil these bas***d generals

    4. Monkey — on 3rd November, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

      This was to happen. If anyone, it is the CJP who is insane. The judiciary was going so strong, they could have brought down the entire govt and the public would have very much supported them. But the idiot CJP didn’t control the situation properly.

      Obviously this emergency is focused more or less solely on the judiciary. Except for 4 judges, the entire country is running normally - the assemblies, senate, etc etc.

      What’s happening to my country? I don’t know who to support. The democratic leaders are bad news also, and now so is Musharraf.

    5. Shariq — on 3rd November, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      Monkey the CJ made mistakes but the whole crisis was triggered by Musharraf making some terrible mistakes.

      Your right clearly its aimed at the judiciary which makes the PCO absurd. No one objected to the PCO when he took power in the first place because there were exceptional circumstances with the whole airplane fiasco.

      In this case, its just a cynical power grab. Absolutely no need for it all.

    6. Vladimir — on 3rd November, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

      Let the fireworks begin… (Guy Fawkes and Divali of course)

    7. Monkey — on 3rd November, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

      I agree Shariq. Absolutely. But I really don’t know what to say and who to point the finger to.

    8. Daniel E. Levenson — on 3rd November, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

      I agree that this is not good, and probably points to the fact that things are much worse in Pakistan than we in the west realize.

      Also, this latest move by Mr. Musharraf is not going to win him any brownie points with the Bush administration. While it is not completely clear why he saw fit to take this particular action, it does not bode well for general stability in the region. If nothing else, it will strain US-Pakistani relations, and distract the Pakistani military to some extent, from their mission in the tribal areas. This, in turn, will further stress US assets in the region, potentially lightening up pressure on the Taliban and Al-Queda, as well as providing opportunities for other less-than-helpful players to step in and interfere with stabilization efforts. If you’d like to read more of my comments on this situation please visit my website: http://www.literarycomments.com

    9. Shariq — on 3rd November, 2007 at 4:47 pm  

      Daniel,

      You’ve put together an excellent piece. I’m particularly interested by the quotes urging Musharraf to stay away from the emergency. I wonder though if America had really wanted to, it couldn’t have put enough pressure to stop him from doing it.

      I also have a comment about Pakistan not doing enough in the border areas to combat the Taliban/Al-Qaeda.

      I don’t think enough people in the West realise how difficult it is for the Pakistani army to do anything in that area.

      Historically, they’ve always had special constitutional status as a Federally Administered Tribal Area as the government hasn’t been strong enough to impose central authority.

      The terrain is also incredibly difficult to fight in, especially against well trained people from that area who know it inside out.

      Finally, as a friend of mine said its almost impossible to distinguish between Taleban and normal tribesman in that area.

      The pakistani army’s expedititions in that area have been disastrous and severely affected army morale.

      If America had really wanted to stop this happening the would have concentrated on rebuilding Afghanistan instead of going into Iraq.

    10. Kulvinder — on 3rd November, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

      One of the surest signs that someone is either bullshitting or unsure what to do is when they ramble on.

      Listening to Musharraf I couldn’t actually fathom what his argument was, he rambled on about the police being prosecuted, the judiciary sticking their nose in where it wasn’t needed, islamic extremists, democracy, his three phase strategy, Abraham Lincoln, his need to preserve his three phase strategy for democracy by imposing martial law etc etc; but he didn’t actually have a point.

      It was little more than a man attempting to convince others his dictatorship was needed.

    11. Shariq — on 3rd November, 2007 at 7:47 pm  

      Agreed completely Kulvinder. It was completely incoherent. On the one hand he was trying to show everyone how his regime has been good for Pakistan, but at the same time he was saying that the country is in such dire straits that he had to declare a state of emergency. The 3 point plan works in theory but just didn’t ring true.

    12. Morgoth — on 3rd November, 2007 at 8:43 pm  

      That’s Pakistan totally fucked for another couple of years then.

    13. Jakey — on 3rd November, 2007 at 8:45 pm  

      All the signs of a defiant military dictator unwilling to give up power. I wonder how long Musharraf is going to stay as President. Will it be one year, two years, five years? Does Musharraf really have the support of the military? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. All this when people around the world were actually daring to hope democracy might return to Pakistan.

    14. Shariq — on 3rd November, 2007 at 8:45 pm  

      Pretty much

    15. Leon — on 3rd November, 2007 at 9:19 pm  

      Kulvinder #11, yep thought exactly the same watching his television address.

    16. Parvinder — on 3rd November, 2007 at 9:32 pm  

      Musharraf v. Bhutto… the devil you know or the devil you…know also. So I take it the elections in Jan are cancelled as the constitution is suspended? . A secular alternative is so in need but with half the country virtually under the islamists is there any way out?

      I recall Tariq Ali’s ‘Can Pakistan Survive’: ‘The triune influence of military dictatorships, failed populism and rural conservatism on the political development of Pakistan has reduced the country to a state of permanent crisis.’ While I don’t share much of Ali’s politics, his prediction of the death of the state may prove true?

    17. shariq — on 3rd November, 2007 at 11:25 pm  

      Actually I think the elections in january are going to go ahead. They’ll be a sham, but America is going to make sure that it happens.

      Tariq Ali is always very, very good on Pakistan regardless of what you think of his other work. I hate to say it, but he could very well be right about the long term prospects of Pakistan.

    18. Muhamad — on 4th November, 2007 at 1:00 am  

      I bet some former East Pakistanis are thinking that this is divine retribution. :-)

    19. Nav — on 4th November, 2007 at 1:56 am  

      Pakistan has for years stoked the impetuous penchant for violence held by the Islamic hard-liners, for example, in for support of the proxy against India in Kashmir, so to say they’ve made their own beds would be somewhat of an understatement.

    20. kELvi — on 4th November, 2007 at 4:29 am  

      It will be interesting to watch how Mush’s doormats in India - votaries of the “peace process” - spin this development. I am sure they will find some way to do it

    21. Nyrone — on 4th November, 2007 at 5:29 am  

      a desperate move from a desperate man.

    22. liberalcatnip — on 4th November, 2007 at 6:11 am  

      Checking in from Canada to see if you Pakistani bloggers still have internet access since the phones have been cut in Islamabad (from what I’ve read) and the media have been taken over by Musharraf.

      Stay safe. There are people all over the world like me watching what’s happening.

      Musharraf or Bhutto: either way it looks like a lose/lose situation.

    23. Jakey — on 4th November, 2007 at 11:12 am  

      The West is partly to blame for this state of affairs because they’ve been propping up Musharraf for years. They have mistakenly believed Musharraf is a close ally in the “war on terror”. Remember that it was Pakistan military with the help of their notorious spy agency (ISI) that created the Taliban and Al Qaeda is just a by-product of that. The international community should put as much pressure on Musharraf to step down.

      All this talk about democracy in Iraq, Iran and the Middle East all seem pathetic when the US shows double standards toward Pakistan. They’ve given him all the money and support he could have asked for. No wonder the general has become too big for his boots.

    24. Edsa — on 4th November, 2007 at 12:26 pm  

      As usual, India never knows how to react quickly to an international crisis. It just doesn’t have the requisite communication skills, the diplomatic finesse or any original proposals to offer.

      With Burma, it was clumsy, befuddled, dithering, over cautious, trying to please everybody.

      With Pakistan, it’s about the same: slow to react, muted, indecisive, looking over the shoulder, not sure what to say or how to say it.

      Does India deserve a permanent UNSC seat?

    25. Nav — on 4th November, 2007 at 1:57 pm  

      As usual, India never knows how to react quickly to an international crisis.

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      What can India do? What impact or influence do they really hold in Pakistani affairs?

      So what if they condemn Musharraf’s actions? They’ll be told to stay out of Pakistan’s own domestic issues.

      If they don’t, they’re told they’re weak.

      India is India, Pakistan is Pakistan- their problems are their own and not ours.

    26. Jagdeep — on 4th November, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      The Pakistani Army has, using a number of methods, managed to push the line that it is the solution to Pakistan’s troubles. The methods it has used are manifold. But the fact is, the Pakistan army is the problem with Pakistan, not the solution. The cancer is passing himself off as the chemotherapist!

    27. sonia — on 4th November, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

      i dont think former east pakistanis are in any position to talk about divine retribution since we are pretty much in the same position - both in states of emergency, one already is a military dictatorship, another one about o the way to being a military dictatorship, lots of talk about ‘elections’ but no signs of any…what else can i say?

    28. sonia — on 4th November, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

      well actually the problems of the indian subcontinent are entwined - because we all seem to hate each other so. ( bloody tribalists that we are) If only we would let go of old enmities and actually start co-operating, then.. But of course, in order to do that, we might have to generally stop fighting with whoever we disagree with - and start talking politely, but seeing as that seems to be currently not in the reach of Pakistan and Bangladesh..

    29. Sunny — on 4th November, 2007 at 8:28 pm  

      His crackdown on human rights activists and such people is most unnerving.

      Someone on BBC News said last night that the US was worried Musharraf wasn’t going to become another Shah of Iran. I thought that hit the nail on its head.

    30. Desi Italiana — on 4th November, 2007 at 8:56 pm  

      This is crazy.

      This martial law imposition shows that there is absolutely NO legitimacy to Musharraf. It is a pathetic attempt that only a coward, who knows his days are over, would enact.

      I really hope Bhutto doesn’t become prime minister, and I think that in any case, it’s highly unlikely. The only thing that the power hungry Bhutto would have gotten was the “power sharing” deal which would have put a veneer of democracy on Musharraf’s continuing rule. And I really wish she would just shut up and get out of the picture, but no, she’s right there issuing communiques.

      Sonia:
      “well actually the problems of the indian subcontinent are entwined - because we all seem to hate each other so. ( bloody tribalists that we are) If only we would let go of old enmities and actually start co-operating, then.. ”

      That is never going to happen, hon :) Because if all these countries stopped hating one another, it would remove their raison d’etre; it would deprive them of their reporting substance; and front page stories dedicated to “security” as the other country continues to build nuclear weapons would then have a large space to discuss other issues like alleviating poverty, etc. For too long, India and Pakistan have been each other’s other, and to remove that would be to leave each country without anything to define themselves.

    31. sonia — on 4th November, 2007 at 9:22 pm  

      good point Desi.

    32. shariq — on 4th November, 2007 at 9:51 pm  

      Desi, your right. This is crazy. The only way forward I see is for the other generals to get rid of Musharraf.

    33. shariq — on 4th November, 2007 at 10:01 pm  

      Sunny, Iran is one option but I fear that the more likely scenario is Algeria.

      Also not only is arresting human rights activists like Asma Jehangir unnerving, but it also doesn’t seem to make much political sense.

    34. Jagdeep — on 4th November, 2007 at 10:04 pm  

      Just saw on the news that Imran Khan is under house arrest too, as well as human rights activists. If Bhutto decides to put people on the streets, I guess Musharaff will be faced with either shooting people, in which case the army will definitively have turned on the people, and he deserves to strung up, or he will back down and cut some kind of deal. He’s finished either way. I’m going to check out the odds at the betting shop to see what I can get for him being taken out by another general in a mutiny.

    35. Jagdeep — on 4th November, 2007 at 10:09 pm  

      Shariq, do you reckon the army could mutiny or refuse orders if it came to a confrontation with protestors on the street? I mean would they refuse to shoot if it came to that? Seems to me that Musharaff is sitting on throne of dynamite.

    36. shariq — on 4th November, 2007 at 10:26 pm  

      Let me know what odds you get Jagdeep. I may put on a small wager as well. Unfortunately that would be a case of betting on something I want to happen rather than what I think will happen.

      Musharraf is basically using Benazir right now. She’s not going to put people in the street because she doesn’t want to go to jail and possibly suffer the same fate as her father.

      To be honest, I don’t even think that would be a good idea because as you say, it would just lead to unnecessary civilian casualties.

      America could trigger another coup by finishing aid or something, but I don’t think they’ll do that either because they don’t have any guarantee that the next general will be an Islamist even though that is very unlikely.

    37. Clairwil — on 4th November, 2007 at 11:08 pm  

      Deeply worrying. Absolute power never goes down voluntarily. Though the prospect of the ensuing struggle is frightening.

    38. asad — on 5th November, 2007 at 3:29 am  

      we forget that there exists a dialectical opposition between rules of military organization and principles of governing a society. one relies on command; the other on consensus. one favors regimen; the other requires participation. one stresses discipline; the other values accountability. one rests on order; the other on participation. that is why, when they assume power, armies distort societies, repress politics, demoralize and corrupt themselves, and lose wars.
      - eqbal ahmad | no, not again! | dawn | 1992

      there’s little else to say.

      this is a full-on attack on a majority of pakistani society. the law, the economy, the politics, the culture, and the very integrity of pakistan will suffer with each passing day of this farce.

    39. Desi Italiana — on 5th November, 2007 at 5:57 am  

      Shariq:

      “Also not only is arresting human rights activists like Asma Jehangir unnerving, but it also doesn’t seem to make much political sense.”

      Well, it makes sense for martial law ;) And now, with the media strictures and whatnot, anybody and anything could be arrested or banned (since “ridiculing” the head of state [Mush] and disrespecting “national security” are some of the things that could land you in jail and have the key thrown away).

      “The only way forward I see is for the other generals to get rid of Musharraf.”

      Hmm… not likely, but I don’t think this is a very good way. It simply extends the whole military in power theme. One general overthrows the other and takes his place. I’d like to see Pakistanis and civil societies get rid of Mush (though much more difficult because they are not armed like the Pakistani army and Mush’s coterie are).

      PS. US isn’t going to withhold any blank checks to Pakistan, the NYT reports. Hello $10 billion plus!

      Life must be very good for military dictators. I’m jealous of Mush.

    40. Desi Italiana — on 5th November, 2007 at 6:11 am  

      Sonia-

      Going back to the tribalism thingy you brought up, and my response being differences=raison d’etre, can you imagine what it would actually be like if Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh were not only on good terms, but cooperative terms? And no arms race? That would practically make borders null. What would be the point of borders and three different countries if all got along and cooperated, AND they have all this stuff in common? That,I think, would throw everyone off. People would have massive identity crises, more than they already do.

      They would also start having to think about trivial issues like sanitation and potable water rather than which nuclearhead was tested in the Thar desert, how much money should be allocated to housing rather than spending another billion on some cruise missile named “Agni” or a Moghul conquerer, etc.

      Back to martial law.

    41. Desi Italiana — on 5th November, 2007 at 6:15 am  

      Edsa:

      “With Burma, it was clumsy, befuddled, dithering, over cautious, trying to please everybody.

      With Pakistan, it’s about the same: slow to react, muted, indecisive, looking over the shoulder, not sure what to say or how to say it.

      Does India deserve a permanent UNSC seat?”

      You could insert “US” in lieu of “India” above.

      Does the US deserve a permanent UNSC seat?

      PS. India’s going to be tight lipped for its own reasons, as it was with Burma. India and Pakistan are nuclear rivals, I don’t think their priority is pushing democracy right now (and really, they are kind of the last ones to talk in light of some “impunity gaps” that the Indian government has not addressed/redressed).

    42. Jakey — on 5th November, 2007 at 10:13 am  

      It’s sad the depths to which politics in the Indian subcontinent has fallen nowadays. Many politicians are actually criminals. They been involved in murders, fraud, robbery, kidnapping…you name it. To survive in politics nowadays you have to be ruthless. The more ruthless and corrupt you are the greater your chances of rising to the top.

      The ground reality in many parts of the subcontinent is that the law and constitution mean nothing. Politicians are in it for themselves.

    43. Ravi Naik — on 5th November, 2007 at 10:29 am  

      “Going back to the tribalism thingy you brought up, and my response being differences=raison d’etre, can you imagine what it would actually be like if Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh were not only on good terms, but cooperative terms? And no arms race? That would practically make borders null. What would be the point of borders and three different countries if all got along and cooperated, AND they have all this stuff in common?”

      What is so different between these three south asian countries, and European countries who over the centuries were bitter rivals, made two world wars, and yet, managed to create the european union, common currency and whatnot? Yes, maturity, but it will happen in South Asia as well, that I am sure.

    44. Ravi Naik — on 5th November, 2007 at 10:35 am  

      Why is everyone surprised? I would be really surprised if the little dictator decided to step out after all these years in power and allow free democratic elections in Pakistan. Even so being an ally in the “war on terror” ™.

      Let’s just cross fingers about Chavez that he doesn’t become a dictator as well, shall we? :)

    45. Sofia — on 5th November, 2007 at 10:46 am  

      I hope all the pakistani bloggers and journalists stay safe…it’s sad that in a democracy we become apathetic..yet those ppl fighting for a right to choose are losing their lives over it…should make us think about defending our rights here and not letting this government get away with introducing draconian legislation

    46. Edsa — on 5th November, 2007 at 11:25 am  

      Dr. Ali Ettefagh, an Iranian director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets, came out with a brilliant solution to the Pakistan crisis with an article in Washington Post:

      WHY NOT DISSOLVE PAKISTAN?

      He wrote:
      “Pakistan is not a country. It is a failed British fantasy about the fabrication of a nation-state of the 20th century. It is time to seriously review all of these structures and redraw the borderlines.

      “Pakistan was a phrase coined for an idealistic confederation of five Muslim provinces within the old British-controlled India (Punjab, Northwest Frontier Province or Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Baluchistan). However, these are tribal lands with distinct traditions and have very little in common. These provinces were all knocked together, on presumption of a common religion, and a “dominion” was fabricated within the Commonwealth with self-governance authority akin to independence after World War II.

      “It was all part of the post-war fire sale of territorial control of Britain. Pakistan’s short 60-year history is full of coups and raw, violent tribal rivalry, peppered by jailing or executing the previous rulers. Most recently, we saw a stark and bold example of such rivalry: a returning Pakistani politician, a former prime minister, was deported from his own country.

      “There is no commonly accepted language among these tribes and thus the official language of Pakistan is English. For as long as I remember, Iran’s eastern border with Pakistan has always been a hub of instability, smuggling and violent crime…”

    47. Sofia — on 5th November, 2007 at 11:30 am  

      Edsa, I don’t think you can dissolve a nation. Yes it is a nation, albeit a disparate set of tribal states, but then again so is India..and not even religion holds India together.

    48. Edsa — on 5th November, 2007 at 12:06 pm  

      Sonia, nation-states no longer have that integrity of old. If nations can be made, they can be dismantled too. For example, there was no Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait until the 1920s. They have all been created by the Brit & French imperialists of the time.

      Since Pakistan has been a perpetual nuisance and anomaly in the region, it should be broken up amicably. Baluchistan should go to Iran or Afghanistan, NWP to the Afghans, and Sindh and Punjab to India.
      Bangladesh seceded. Why not these provinces?

      But they need a dynamic godfather to plan this grand coup. The problem is that the (geographically) big player of the region, India, has no guts, vision, diplomatic force or reliable friends. It is lost in silly communal squabbles.

      Can you imagine the tired, bumbling has-beens like Manmohan Singh or Pranab Mukerjee dreaming up a master plan to ‘re-arrange’ Pakistan and implementing it with the help of powerful brokers like the US & China?

    49. Sofia — on 5th November, 2007 at 12:27 pm  

      First of all it’s Sofia not Sonia.
      As for Pakistan being an anomaly, could you please explain Nepal, Burma, India, Bangladesh?
      Also, the histories of the middle eastern states is ever so slightly different to the creation of Pakistan.
      Your carving up of the provinces is simplistic to say the least.

    50. Morgoth — on 5th November, 2007 at 12:31 pm  

      Those other states are obstensibly secular in origin. Pakistan is demonstratably not. Maybe that’s what he meant?

    51. sonia — on 5th November, 2007 at 1:15 pm  

      yes well i think there is an original point that does need to be made ( and yes of course you can dissolve a ‘nation’ - or redraw boundaries, and create more ‘nations’ that is precisely what happened in 1947) that a sizeable chunk of the problems came from these arbitrary redrawing of boundaries and carving people up will nilly on the basis of some elites who decided things, and some silly misguided people who seemed to think that if there was a nation for ‘muslims’ we’d be somehow - magically much nicer to each other than ‘those hindus’ were. Well it didn’t quite happen, partly because it should have been obvious to anyone ( as i pointed out to Rumbold) that getting people masses of them - from A to B and B to A isn’t going to go quite smoothly and a lot of people will be upset, and there is no reason to think that people who are muslims are nice to each other.

      However whats done is done and i dont think carving up into anymore nations is going to help.

      of course, my main point is = and always has been - that i don’t know why people are so suprised after they’ve “invented” their new nation - that things don’t just #go smoothly# straight away. usually wars are involved in the creation of new nations - or at the very least, some kind of bloodiness - like what happened in the swap from ‘india’ into ‘pakistan’, and look at the creation of Bangladesh. yes if people make a decision, then fine, but i dont know why everyone - again thought - just we’re a bunch of bengalis, we’re going to - again- be ‘civilised’ to each other, and not want to power grab amongst ourselves. Its the same lesson ANimal farm teaches - thinking the ‘oppression’ comes from ‘outside’ - instead of actually - within our own social behaviour. and that once you get rid of the ‘Other’ - somehow, everything is going to go swimmingly okay. Its not.

    52. Morgoth — on 5th November, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

      However whats done is done and i dont think carving up into anymore nations is going to help.

      It was the only course of action in the former-Yugoslavia and in the former-USSR mind you.

    53. sonia — on 5th November, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

      im not suggesting things arent the ‘only course of action’ - what im talking about is taking some course of action, and then being flabbergasted and acting surprised when problems/consequences then arise.

    54. Jagdeep — on 5th November, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

      Once again, some moron suggests that Pakistan should be broken up. Rumbold, bless his heart, suggested something similar in a recent article, but his heart was in the right place and he just wasn’t thinking straight.

      Any such event would be catastrophic in terms of the loss of human life, the destabilisation of the region. And yet these clueless assholes pontificate knowing nothing about which they speak, the consequences of it, or the history of the region. Actually encouraging such a thing is not only simplisitic, it’s wilful stupidity and mischief making. Those people are neither friends of Pakistan, nor of India or anywhere else in the region, and actually have something malignant in their soul.

    55. Edsa — on 5th November, 2007 at 6:44 pm  

      Dear Jagdeep,
      You must resist hurling abuse - ‘morons’, ‘clueless assholes’ when the argument takes a turn you don’t like. Abuse doesn’t advance the argument, merely reflects your inability to help your own position by adding logical substance.

      The Iranian who proposed the breaking up of Pakistan is no fool - let me remind you of his credentials:

      Dr. Ali Ettefagh serves as a director of Highmore Global Corporation, an investment company in emerging markets of Eastern Europe, CIS, and the Middle East. He is the co-author of several books on trade conflict, resolution of international trade disputes, conflicts in letters of credit, trade-related banking transactions, sovereign debt, arbitration and dispute resolutions and publications specific to the oil and gas, communication, aviation and finance sectors. Dr. Ettefagh is on theexecutive committee and the board of directors of The Development Foundation, an advisor to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and an advisor to a number of European companies

      So he knows what he is saying and let’s give him the benefit of the doubt that he is acting in good faith.

      States have been broken up if the the powerful so decreed, as Morgoth has said about Yugoslavia.
      Of course, there will be violence and gore but a greater good might emerge from it all.
      Thanks for your comments, Sonia and sorry, Sofia, about the name muddle.

    56. Jagdeep — on 5th November, 2007 at 6:54 pm  

      Edsa, people who talk about how the world should effect to ‘dissolving’ a country of 160 million people, something that would result in a massive blood bath, loss of innocent lives on a large scale, the destabilisation of the entire region, masses of refugees; anyone who calls for that as if he were discussing the divisioning of a birthday cake is not only a moron, he is a callous, deeply disturbed and neglectful asshole. Dr. Ali Ettefaghs CV merely goes to prove that even highly accomplished men can simultaneously be deeply stupid and ignorant.

    57. Jagdeep — on 5th November, 2007 at 6:54 pm  

      Edsa, people who talk about how the world should effect to ‘dissolving’ a country of 160 million people, something that would result in a massive blood bath, loss of innocent lives on a large scale, the destabilisation of the entire region, masses of refugees; anyone who calls for that as if he were discussing the divisioning of a birthday cake is not only a moron, he is a callous, deeply disturbed and neglectful asshole. Dr. Ali Ettefaghs CV merely goes to prove that even highly accomplished men can simultaneously be deeply stupid and ignorant.

    58. Jagdeep — on 5th November, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

      Of course, there will be violence and gore but a greater good might emerge from it all

      Of course, whilst the likes of you and ‘Dr Ali Ettefagh’ sit in comfort in your armchair and home, safe and well, discussing the deaths of innocent people, the destruction of nations and societies as if you were conducting a game of chess, and those millions of Pakistanis were insects whose nest was regretfully to be smashed to pieces resulting in many of them, regretfully, so sad (but what can one do?), having to die. What abject and pathetic arrogance and ignorance allied to such pomposity.

    59. Shariq — on 5th November, 2007 at 7:18 pm  

      Completely agree with Jagdeep about the human costs of Pakistan breaking apart.

      You could make the case for the NWFP. But do you really want to see a number of regular Pakistani’s being subjected to Taliban style rule. To give you an example, Sajid and Zeeshan are a popular band from Peshawar (you can listen to some of their songs on youtube). Giving that province to the Taliban would mean future Sajid and Zeeshan’s would live in oppression.

      As for Baluchistan, you could give it independence as otherwise the army is being forced to fight its own people, but what would that achieve. They don’t want to become Iran. Would they then waste their money on creating a huge army themselves? What would stop them allowing al-qaeda types from training there.

      Besides and this is slightly cynical, but Pakistan relies on Baluchistan for its natural gas reserves.

      Finally, I’d say the situation of Bangladesh was completely different. The two parts of the country weren’t adjoining. The people of Bengal had their own distinct culture and were being oppresed. However even there, the freedom movement had major, major costs.

    60. Desi Italiana — on 5th November, 2007 at 7:32 pm  

      Since everyone is talking about partitioning nations which will presumably remedy disagreements, bloodbaths, etc, I’d like to carve my own little nation out of the US for myself and like minded individuals. There’s lots of room out in the deserts of Southern California, and I am sure that California doesn’t really need vast, empty deserts anyway.

      Anyone want to be a part of my new nation? It’ll be fun, I promise!

    61. Desi Italiana — on 5th November, 2007 at 7:33 pm  

      Shariq:

      “As for Baluchistan, you could give it independence as otherwise the army is being forced to fight its own people, but what would that achieve. They don’t want to become Iran. Would they then waste their money on creating a huge army themselves? What would stop them allowing al-qaeda types from training there.

      Besides and this is slightly cynical, but Pakistan relies on Baluchistan for its natural gas reserves.”

      Please tell me you see Baluchistan more than just being a “natural gas reserve” for Pakistan. Like, there is more to the Balochistan question than just al qaeda types running around…

    62. Rumbold — on 5th November, 2007 at 7:42 pm  
    63. The Dude — on 6th November, 2007 at 8:19 am  

      This is what happens when you’ve got a largely uneducated, illiterate and politically ignorant electorate. Pakistan is a country where all of the people can be cheated, all of the time, by their political betters. The difference between Musharraf and Bhutto is paper thin even to the most short sighted political observer, which is just another reason why the two came to a deal. Now suited lawyers are throwing rocks in the street. Musharraf’s confused reasoning for imposing martial law at this time was completely nonsensical and a straight forward grab for power but Bhutto’s cynical manipulation of the situation isn’t much better. I wouldn’t trust either of them as far as I could throw them.

    64. shariq — on 6th November, 2007 at 8:32 am  

      Desi, I agree Baluchistan is more than a natural gas reserve. I was just throwing that comment out there to try to and figure out the different angles with which you can view the situation.

    65. Sofia — on 6th November, 2007 at 11:46 am  

      I find it deeply disturbing that someone like Dr. Ali can so flippantly suggest the breaking up of a nation with its large population without thinking about the human costs of this. I’m sure most pakistanis would not want their country to be broken up either. If you then had surrounding nations in a sense soaking up the various groups there would more of the same problems that are currently facing sindhis, balochis etc. Stupid and naive suggestion from an “academic”.

    66. Sofia — on 6th November, 2007 at 11:48 am  

      And as for Morgoth’s comment about India, Bangladesh etc being secular..ha!! They may be in principle but religion plays a huge part in politics there. If it didnt’ you wouldn’t have seen all the massacres and religious politiking.

    67. Kismet Hardy — on 6th November, 2007 at 11:56 am  

      “Musharraf used the increasing amount of terrorism as a justification for declaring a state of emergency.”

      Wonder where he learned that little trick?

    68. Guido Faux — on 6th November, 2007 at 12:18 pm  

      Democracy is not just about written rules. There is one very important unwritten rule:

      “Thou shalt not resort to violence when an election is lost”

      That rule appears to go against some deeply ingrained cultural tendencies in certain parts of the world which is why democracies there rarely last.

    69. Sofia — on 6th November, 2007 at 12:26 pm  

      ingrained cultural tendencies?? what kind of culture are you talking about? ethnic cultures, religious cultures, political cultures?

    70. Guido Faux — on 6th November, 2007 at 12:35 pm  

      “what kind of culture are you talking about?”

      Whatever particular facet causes them to break ‘The Rule’. Does it really matter which?

    71. Jakey — on 6th November, 2007 at 12:50 pm  

      Fortunately India is secular in principle and this is what has saved it from the kind of chaos we are seeing in Pakistan today. Pakistan is a more theocratic nation. All over the world from Northern Ireland to the Bulkans to Africa we’ve seen that sectarian policies based on one religion or one race or one language have led to bloodshed. Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan because people in East Pakistan rejected the western wing trying to impose Urdu on them. Yes, politicians are trying to take advantage of religion in India but ultimately these politicians will fail. The rise of militant politics in India is directly proportional to India’s grand old Congress party going rotten because of its long years in power and becoming synonymous with corruption.

      Secularism and pluralism go hand in hand. If a multicultural country like India is to survive it has to be secular. Nehru and Gandhi saw this wisdom at the time of Independence.

    72. sonia — on 6th November, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

      yes Sofia there is plenty of massacring and fighting and of course religion plays a big part, but the concept of nation-hood is not tied to people’s religion, but rather their ethnicity - for Bangladesh. A crucial distinction. If we insult the nation, people feel you are insulting ‘bengali-ness’, insulting the fight to get away from Pakistan, not insulting their Muslimness. You see - it does make a difference, if you are trying to criticize religion. if you are trying to criticize nationalism and patriotism, then people will get all funny and say stuff like oh you’re being anti-bangladeshi. So it is useful to be able to critique religion without getting tangled with the nationalist feelings - it makes it much easier.

    73. sonia — on 6th November, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

      And we would be having massacres without any religion being involved, we’re that nutty.

      however we dont have the horrible Hudood ordinances, so, we’re not that nutty :-)

    74. sonia — on 6th November, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

      after all, look at all the massacres muslims have been inflicting on muslims around the world.

    75. Sofia — on 6th November, 2007 at 2:50 pm  

      Guido, I find your comment on ingrained cultural tendencies a bit of a sweeping statement. And it is important to distinguish whether the culture you are talking about is one of the masses or of the ruling elites, as this would lead onto why democracy is not successful.

      As for religion and state, Sonia I do agree that nationhood is not necessarily attached to religion, what I was trying to point out is that the failure of Pakistani politics is not just about its disparate groups that were put together because of religion. Pakistan may have been a homeland for muslims of the sub continent, but any idiot would be able to see that it was only a homeland for those muslims who were able to migrate and would not have had the infrastructure to support all. Also there was the question of when exactly it became an “Islamic” republic.
      Jakey, as someone who visits India regularly and still has lots of family and friends there, it makes me laugh when people say India is first of all a democracy and secondly secular…I would call it limited democracy and secularism.

    76. Guido Faux — on 6th November, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

      “sweeping statement”

      Of course it is. If we’re talking democracy we’re talking aggregates.

      All it takes is a critical mass who don’t adhere to the unwritten rules and it’s game over.

    77. Jagdeep — on 6th November, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

      What part of India is your family from Sofia? Are you a MalerKotla Punjabi? :-)

    78. Jai — on 6th November, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

      Maybe Sofia’s a Gujju Vohra or one of the Hyderabadi crew ;)

    79. Jakey — on 6th November, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

      Sofia, I didn’t say India was a perfect democracy. It’s still realtively young and has some way to go but that’s better than a military dictatorship.

    80. Jasmine — on 6th November, 2007 at 8:37 pm  

      Why did you ever think that Benazir was a good think? She’s got more money stashed away than in Imelda Marcos’ shoe closet ;)

    81. Desi Italiana — on 7th November, 2007 at 12:14 am  

      Jasmine-

      A great article I came across on Bhutto:

      “Thank You, Suicide Bomber! No one is Talking about my $1.5 billion Anymore!”

      http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?192758

    82. Sofia — on 8th November, 2007 at 11:13 am  

      Maler Kotla? a hyderabadi?? nah..i’m from UP

      Guido, I didn’t get your point

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