Tuesday, November 20, 2012

قیام امن کے لئے کیا کرنے کی ضرورت ہے ؟؟




برسوں پھلے جب ما ر ٹن لوتھر کنگ نے اپنی مشہور زمانہ تقریر ‘میرا اک خواب ہے’ فرمایا اور عدم تشدد پہ مبنی سیاسی تحریک کا آغاز کیا تو شاید بہت کم لوگوں کو یقین ھو گا کہ عدم تشدد پہ مبنی کوئی تحریک کامیاب ھو سکتی ہے – مگر آج دنیا کنگ کی عظمت کو سلام پیش کرنے کے ساتھ اس کے آفاقی اصولوں کو اپنا رہی ہے
برسوں پھلے جب ہندوستان کے عظیم رہنما مہاتما گاندھی نے عدم تشدد کا اپنا فلسفہ پیش کیا تو بھی لوگ شش و پنچ میں پڑ گئے – مگر آج ‘گاندھی گیری’ نصاب کا حصہ ہے- اور دنیا بھر کے امن پسند گاندھی کے مقلد ہیں
بات جب بھی امن کی ہوتی ہے تو پھر کچھ رویےّ، کچھ عادتیں اور سوچ کے دھا رے تبدیل کرنے کی ضرورت وتی ہے- امن ایک ارتقائی عمل ہے جو کہ صبر اور برداشت کا متقاضی ہے- امن انقلابی عمل ہر گز نہیں ہے اور نہ کبھی رہی ہے

جنگ بدقسمتی سے ایک پیچیدہ حقیقت ہے- جنگ کے خاتمے کے لیے بہت سا رے  عملی اقدامات کرنے  کی ضرورت ہے- پہلا کام زبان اور اسکی استعمال سے متعلق ہے- ہمیں اپنے زبانوں سے ان الفاظ کا خاتمہ کرنا ھو گا جو کہ نفرت اور تشدد پھیلانے کا باعث بن جا تے ہیں- ‘خونی انقلاب’ اور ‘سرعام پھانسی ‘چڑھا نے جیسے الفاظ کا استعمال معاشرے میں اور بالخصوص جوانوں میں نفرت اور انتقام کا جذبہ ابھارتے ہیں
دوسرا قدم ان شخصیات اور تنظیموں کے خلاف اٹھانے کی ضرورت ہے جو صرف طاقت کو ہی اثاثہ سمجھتےہیں، اور صرف اس لیے طاقت کا حصول چاہتے ہیں تا کہ وہ اس طاقت کو استعمال کر کے دوسروں پر اپنا تسلط برقرار رکھ سکیں
انسانی نفسیات کے بہتر سماجی کردار کی نشوونما ایک ایسا میدان ہے جس پہ کا م کرنے کی شدید ضرورت ہے- ہمیں انسانی فطرت کے بارے میں لوگوں کا نقطہٴ نظر بدلنا ھو گا- انسان کے بارے میں یہ نقطۂ نظر ترک کرنا ھو گا کہ وہ صرف جنگ کی صورتحال پیدا کر سکتا ہے- جنگ کا حصہ بن جاتا ہے اور پھر جنگ کی غذا بن سکتا ہے-  بلکہ انسان ایک بڑا موسیقار، ایک عظیم شاعر، ایک مصور، ساینسدان اور فلسفی بھی بن سکتا ہے، اور یہی انسانیت کی آخری منزل ہے اور ہونی چاہیے
لوگوں کے مابین باہمی رابطے بڑھانے کی جتنی اہمیت اب ہے، اس سے انکار نہیں کیا جا سکتا- ہمارے درمیان غلط فہمیاں ہمارے بیچ رابطوں کے فقدان کی وجہ سے بڑھ  جاتے ہیں- بین المذاھب مکالمے اپس کے غلط فہمیوں کو دور کرنے میں اہم کردار ادا کر سکتے ہیں- تقلید کی بجاۓ تنقید کی روش کو اپنانا ھو گا- تقلید ہر اس شخص کی جو رنگ، نسل، زبان اور مذھب سے بالا تر ھو کر نسل انسانی کی فلاح کے لیے سوچے اور تنقید ہر اس شخص پہ جو اپنے خود ساختہ مقاصدکے حصول کی خاطر مذھب، رنگ، نسل اور زبان کی بیساکھی استمعال کریں- ایسی تمام شخصیات کو رد کرنے کی ضرورت ہے جو کہ ارض خدا پر بندگان خدا کے مابین فساد کا با عث بن جاتے ہیں
بدقسمتی سے اسلام کے اندر فلسفے کی حوصلہ شکنی کی گئی- منطق کی مخالفت نے فروھی اختلافات کو جنم دیا- تحریر سے مخالفت کا جواب دینے کی بجائے تلوار سے جواب دیا جانے لگا- یہاں مجھے رہ رہ کے اسلا م کے دو بڑے علما کی بحث یاد آتی ہے جب ایک عالم دوسرے سے کہتا ہے “میں کہتا ہوں کہ اپنی بات ثا بت کر مگر تو جواب میں خنجر نکا ل لیتا ہے-” فلسفے کی تجدید وقت کا اہم تقاضہ ہے- نوجوانوں کو ان علوم اور شخصیات سے متعارف کرانے کی ضرورت ہے جنہوں نے فقی مسائل کی  بجائے امن، برداشت اور حلیمی کے آفاقی تعلیمات کا درس دیا- مسخ شدہ تاریخ  پڑھنے کی بجائے حقیقی تا ریخ کو کھنگالنا ھو گا اور فقہی علما کی بجائے ان علما کی جانب مڑنا ھو گا جنہیں آج تک ملحد سمجھا گیا اور جن کے تعلیمات کو بدقسمتی سے  کسی بھی وقت نصاب میں شامل کرنے کی زحمت محسوس نہیں کی گئ  جیسے کہ ابن رشد، ابن عربی، عمر خیام، ملا صدرہ، رومی اور اس قبیل کے دوسرے حضرات
"زمین سلامت بھچیکو ای وجہ ہایا- محترم انسان دنیاری کم نومہ بونی”- کھوار ادب کے مشہور صوفی شا عر کے کلام کا خلاصہ یہ ہے کہ زمین سلامت رہنے کی ایک وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ انسانیت کا درد رکھنے والے لوگ اب بھی کائینات میں موجود ہیں- سانحہ چیلاس میں وہ لوگ جنہوں نے اپنی جان داؤ پر لگا کر بے گناہ لوگوں کی جن بچائ، وہ انسانیت کا درد رکھنے والے عظیم لوگ تھے- اس طرح کے لوگ کسی بھی معا شرے کے روشن ستارے ھو تے ہیں جن کے وجود سے انسانیت اپنے وجود کا احساس چیخ چیخ کر دلا دیتی ہے-  اور اس بات کا یقین بھی دلا تی ہے کہ ظلم و بر بر یت کے اندھیروں میں اب بھی روشنی کے کچھ چراغ ٹمٹماتے ہیں جو کہ پیروکاران امن اور محبت کو حقانیت اور سچائی کا راستہ دکھا لینگے- ایسے عظیم انسان دوست لوگوں کی قدر اور ان کی حوصلہ افزائی  معاشرے کے ہر فرد پہ لازم ہے
امن ایک سادہ سا عمل نہیں ہے- یہ ہر اس شے کا متقاضی ہے جو ہما رے پاس ہے- مکمل طاقت، تمام خواب،تمام 
توانائی، مکمل ترجیحات ، منظم منصوبہ بندی اور مسلسل کوشش

(Originally posted here)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do we really need a revolution




 
Our living in a world full of tragedies is a universal fact. Social fabrics are shattered. The dissatisfaction of people with the functions of their respective governments has put them in a position to ask and preach for revolution. The term revolution has been framed as hanging political leaders and sacking governments through mob violence by various political leaders and writers in Pakistan. Who will lead such revolutions and what could be the repercussions are still ambiguous.
Revolutions have always been hijacked historically. Revolutions have always breed hatred, violence and sense of superiority among the suppressed, emotional and exploited revolutionaries. Once in power, these exploited revolutionaries shed more blood, kill more people, suppress their opponents with more brutal tract of force and turn to fascists gradually.
The recent Arab spring is an apt example of this. The so-called Arab Revolutionaries were such sick-minded that they even distorted the dead bodies of their opponents. Reports also revealed that the young brainwashed revolutionaries even sodomized the body of Qaddafi.
“The Muslim world in general and Pakistan in particular is not fit for revolution,” says Veteran journalist and intellectual Khalid Ahmad. “No one realizes that revolutions are pure destruction, at times rescued by an intellectual realization about where they went wrong”, he observes.
In the world of their fantasies, the revolutionaries are more concerned in suppressing their opponents instead of creating a stable environment leading to prosperity and peace based on humanistic values.
We are a society where self-congratulating has surpassed self-criticism. Primarily, such societies don’t need revolution, but evolution. Our futile efforts in hurrying for revolution will leave us with even more blood in streets, heap of bodies and chaos. Any urgent need to reform the society must never be revolutionary, rather evolutionary.
(Originally posted here )

Women and Voting in Pakistan


Orders of Election Commission Pakistan to fully ensure the women participation in voting has been out rightly rejected  by various political parties.  The political parties argue the ongoing war against terror and militancy in KPK and tribal areas a hindrance to implement the decision of ECP in spirit.
Earlier the ECP, during its meeting had directed all political parties to ensure the emancipation of women in voting process and had decided not to accept the polling result of any constituency having less than 10% of female voting turn-out.
The constitution of Pakistan guarantees to ensure women empowerment in the society, but Pakistan – a patriarchal society finds it difficult in implementing such constitutional provisions.
Sub-continent has a disturbing history of women seclusion in electoral process. Although the right of ‘women suffrage’ was extended to the whole Europe in early 20th century, but in sub-continent reserved seats for female was introduced under Indian Act 1935.
Developed countries have usually highest female voting turn out. Women had 7% more turn-out during the previous presidential elections according to the CAWP’s findings. The statistical data highlights that from 1996 to 2008, the female population had relatively highest voting turn-out. The state polls also lead to the same conclusion.
The case with developing countries including Pakistan is different, though. In Pakistan, female are not allowed to vote in various constituencies. Pakistan currently has 38.8 million registered male voters compare to 32. 2 million female registered voters. Female voters face severe hurdles in casting their votes and getting themselves to the highest echelons of the power corridor.
The female voting turn-out in Pakistan has less to do with the war on terror and militancy. The issue of female voting turn-out has a cultural phenomenon and a question of honor in the areas where according to people bringing out women for voting would bring bad names to their honor.
Political Parties in KPK don’t issue tickets to women candidates. In the lower house of Assembly, elected women representatives have very less proportion comparing to their male counterparts. Pakistan has 17 directly elected female representatives Out of 272 general seats of National Assembly. Of this, 10 members belong to PPP, 3 to PMLN, 3 to PML Q and one Independent candidate later joining PMLN. Of these 17 female members, 5 belong to Sindh and remaining to Punjab. There is no single female member from KPK and Baluchistan.
According to the research of National Commission on the Status of women, in March 2001 during the local government elections, thousands of women in over 13 out of the 56 union councils of Swabi were barred from casting votes after contesting candidates signed an agreement In NWFP, the local Jirga member, religious parties and even major political parties’ members were part of agreement.  Further, women in Dir, Kohistan, Batagram, and Mardan and from other parts of the country were not allowed to file nomination papers as candidates. Moreover during the local government elections in 1950-60, two candidates, Sher Ali Khan and Atta Ullah Khan, had an agreement in Pai Khel tehsil of district Mianwali that no women would be allowed to cast her ballot.  This agreement is still practiced to date.
These incidents clearly negate the militancy and insurgency to be the hurdle in women participation in voting stated by political parties as there is no military insurgency in Kohistan, Batgaram, Shangla and Mianwali. The issue is tribalism and tribal honor or more precisely the male chauvinism.
Instead of facilitating direct participation of women by allotting the party tickets, the Pakistan has opted for reserve seats for women in both the upper houses and lower houses only to facilitate the selection of women belonging to powerful political and landlord backgrounds.
It’s a high time that ECP takes up the issue seriously. It should ask political parties to allot tickets to its female workers in a certain proportion. The political parties not issuing tickets must be penalized. Moreover, the clergies and tribal elders opposing women voting must be trailed under constitutions. Any constituency having less than 20% of women voting turn out should have its result postponed and provisions of re-elections in all such all constituencies must be made.
Pakistan can’t afford to continue the half population hostage to the tribal elders and male chauvinists. Political awareness and political education in collaboration with civil-society organization should have a priority among the various objectives ECP has designed. National Assembly has passed various important bills during past few years including Anti-harassment laws, but has ignored the basic right of voting for female population. It is also responsibility of National Assembly along with ECP to ensure and empower the women in Pakistan. Until such timely decisions are not made, Pakistan’s half population – having diminishing voting trends of 45% in KPK, 41% in Sindh, 37% in Punjab and 19% in federal area in their circles will face the subjugation in the hands of its male law-makers and would be denied of their basic rights.
(Originally posted here)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Building the Future Youth



Youth are not a stakeholders in the development process but they are now considered as partners in development. Youth groups and their increasing population have led to many movements around the globe. The Tunisian movement, The Rebels in Egypt and Libya were orchestrated by ambitious young people.

Whether Pakistan will witness a bright future as a result of youth activism is not certain, but one thing is sure that youth would be playing an important role in shaping the future Pakistan. To Imran Khan these Young voters will shape the future of Pakistani election. Few analysts are of opinion that  the voting trends among young people is the worst fear of President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif as the PTI Chairman has highest following of urban middle class which will have a great impact on upcoming election as half the voter in next election would be young voters. Same is the opinion of NADRA.


Militancy, however, is not the only attribute of youth in Pakistan. The young blood of Pakistan has come up with many innovative social interventions and initiatives which have put greater impacts on lives of many people in Pakistan and inspired many others to put their common strength for community uplift.
Eight years ago, a brave 16-year-old girl in Peshawar set up an organization to challenge the culture of violence that was reinforcing the oppression of women.

Today, the  Aware Girls is contributing significantly for gender equality and promotion of peace with its members aging in between 15- 29 year.

 Pakistan Youth Alliance is another youth initiative helping communities in times of natural disasters. The focus of PYA is mainly KPK and Punjab. The organization has successfully completed many projects against religious militancy and fundamentalism in Pakistan, some of such activities included Street Theater in Swat – Challenging extremism, inspiring leaders, Peace Parade on 14th Aug, 2011 and series of consultative dialogues on countering religious fundamentalism.

Challenging militancy in the Upper Dir is another organization, the Non-Violence and Peace-Building Network with its unique intervention strategies of Home based Peace Schools, Music for Peace and Peace club. The initiative has been started by a young man belonging to the region.

Among the highest mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan, a new volunteer movement -  Gilgit Baltistan Volunteer Movement is fighting against the sectarian menace through social media and practically. During the 2010 floods in Ghizer – one district of GB, the GBVM deployed its volunteer and distributed relief goods worth of million rupee. The relief goods were donated by people in Islamabad, and Rawalpindi which were collected here and sent to Gilgit through Army choppers and all these activities were handled by the volunteers of GBVM.
Today media is a thriving business in Pakistan. But there is a concept of ‘volunteer journalism’ initiated by Pamir Times. Started as a blog, today Pamir Times is the only source covering the Gilgit Baltistan. Its young volunteer journalists are busy to cover the news among the rough mountains of GB.

Pakistani youth are progressive. The government and international community should support the emerging youth groups and sane voices. Building the capacity of these youth organizations would enable Pakistan in creating a moderate voice against obscurantist ideology and growing religious fundamentalism posing grave threats to the basic survival of the country.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Making Democracy Work



The citizens of third world countries lurk between despair and hope. Their shattered hopes have made them more indifferent to the state affairs. In 21st century, when the developed world is benefitting from the tested wisdom of democracy, people in the developing countries are either looking towards military dictatorship or a narrow fundamentalist version of electoral democracy as the only way of salvation.
Pakistan, like other developing countries has been facing constitutional crisis since its inception. Our failure in drafting a cohesive constitution has paved the way for military despotism. In recent past frequent change of governments has been as common in Pakistan as it used to be in France during the 17th century.
There are no failed states, but failed democracies. The failure of democracy is the cause of state failure. Saving the states can be achieved only by saving democracies. It doesn’t matter which particular party heads the democratic governments.
One of many qualities of democratic governance is its self-correcting nature. Accountability of their elected representatives by public through transparent voting is still the best way of political transformation without hanging politicians, bloody violence and fancy revolutions. We should use no other means for political transformation than relying on conventional wisdom of people.
As some people are blaming democracy for all our national ills, amidst such confused narratives, our aim must not be wrapping democratic institution and seeking alternative ways as a governance model but to seek for ways whereby democracy works better.
Informed public opinion is one way through which democracy can flourish. Pakistan has changed. People now don’t have only one state sponsored television to influence public opinion. The thriving media industry can play huge role in shaping public opinion in favor of democracy. The more informed citizens Pakistan has, the more political and policy options will emerge.
Devolution of powers and emergence of regional political parties and groups will strengthen democracy. The 18th Amendment which empowers provinces by decentralizing administrative powers will have the most significant impact on democracy in Pakistan. Blaming federation for usurping provincial authority and misleading people on the bases of such rhetorics will not influence public opinion anymore. More practical policy oriented parties will emerge to lead the people in right direction.
Democracy fails because of high expectations of people. People have high expectations with political parties because they invest their time, energies and money at grassroots levels for them. Failing fulfilling such expectations create annoyance and resentment among people. That is not the case with dictators as they come to power by force and people have less affiliation with them. The expectations of people can be fulfilled by delivering result and fulfilling the political promises made with them. Democracy, in other words must be result oriented, not a mere blame game rhetoric aiming to malign the opponent political parties.
Fostering the cooperation with civil society organizations can lead to a strong democracy. With their international agendas of human rights, pluralism, good-governance, capacity building of communities and humanitarian aids, these civil society organizations can offer innovative ideas and ideals to governments and politicians as per their international exposure and their experiences of working with various national, international, ethnic and linguistic groups.
Pakistan, unfortunately, has always been at odd with civil society organizations. Public-Private partnership should be articulated as a top policy agenda for a viable and result oriented democracy.
In the last analysis, it is not the responsibility of politicians and parliament alone to uphold the democracy and work for its sustainability. The behavior of each state institution, particularly the judiciary and media to act in a democratic way and according to their prerogative authority and minimal interference with other state institutions can foster democracy in Pakistan.


(Originally Posted here.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mullahs and Development


The mullahs are once again at odd with Civil Society Organizations and NGOs in Pakistan. Recently in Kohistan, the clergies have repeatedly threatened the NGOs to wrap up their activities or face dire consequences.
Two theories are predominant in Pakistan vis-à-vis civil society organizations and human right organizations. One theory is of religious clergies whereby they observe a strong Jewish conspiracy behind the functioning of NGOs and CSOs to corrupt Muslim societies. Another theory is postulated by eminent economist and development practitioners who are of opine that “The failure of government policies in reducing poverty paved the way for emergence of NGOs. The basic purpose of these NGOs was to act as a catalyst between government and communities, keeping their separate identity and less intervention from government. The state institutions and its public policy were unable to tackle core public issues, so a new, participatory, and democratic institution with new paradigm was necessity of time”. (S. Akbar Zaidi, ‘Issues in Pakistan’s Economy’ OUP, 1999. pp# 413-16).
But it seems obvious now that our hostile attitude towards CSOs and NGOs are shaped by clergical thoughts.
Edict against NGOs is not a recent phenomenon in Pakistan’s rural areas. It has been practiced like faith to mislead people against NGOs by religious clergies. Renowned development practitioner and founding General Manager of Aga Khan Rural Support Program, Mr. Shoaib_Sultan_Khan  in his book Aga Khan Rural Support Programme A Journey Through Grassroots Development narrates that how a development program like Aga Khan Rural Support Programme was propagated to be a sectarian program by religious ulemas and asked people to ban the program as it was sponsored by His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili community and thus a conspiracy to create an ‘Ismaili State’ in Gilgit Baltistan. Due to such strong religious propaganda AKRSP was not able to initiate any developmental program in Chilas – one of seven districts headquarters of Gilgit Baltistan. A man of international repute and a recipient of Magsaysay Award, he observes in his book that in Chilas the ““ulema issuing fatwas (against AKRSP) were not from Chilas but from Kohistan and KPK” (P#191). Shoaib Sultan states that the fatwas were so obnoxious that “in some places, they remained unconvinced and despite my being a born Sunni felt that I had sold my soul.” (Page #191). Khan further states, “Once I took Akhter Hameed Khan  to a diehard religious area and he asked the people that if they did not take advantage of the modern education and technology AKRSP is offering to them, they would be left far behind like the Mughals were left far behind the foreigners but they did not budge”.(P#191)
Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations play a vital role in providing jobs and mobilizing the communities. Their importance cannot be denied in mobilizing communities and building their capacities by adopting the ‘Participatory Development Approach.’ According to a report of Pakistan Centre of Philanthropy more than 100000 CSO and NGOs are working in Pakistan. Many Pakistani models of community development have received world recognition which includes Adult Basic Literacy Education initiated by Vincent David, Leprosy Reduction Initiative of Dr Ruth Pfau,Orangi_Pilot_Project of Dr. Akhter Hameed Khan, AKRSP model of Shoaib Sultan Khan, Akhuwat Model of Amjad Saqib andSindh_Institute_of_Urology_and_Transplantation program of Dr. Adeeb-ul Hasan Rizvi.
But, unfortunately, in Pakistan governments perceive NGOs their competitors and clergies consider them as a great conspiracy of west to sabotage the Islamic culture in Pakistan. For this very basic reason, many representatives of humanitarian agencies have been recently kidnapped and killed in Pakistan. The killing of Farida-Afridi and abduction of other foreign aid workers in Pakistan is a sign of drifting more towards obscurantist paths.
Civil Society Organizations and NGOs must not be considered competitors by government or a conspiracy hatched by Jews or other unforeseen forces by Pakistani people. They serve the people devoid of basic necessities of life in times of crisis and play a vital role in their own capacities to enhance the living conditions of rural and urban population.
The tattered economy of Pakistan cannot sustain and deliver in its current capacity. In such conditions, how Pakistan allows multiple ideas to be flourished and multiple actors to work will shape the future of the country.
Pakistan needs lot to do for building public-private partnership and to provide security to the people working with grass-root communities. In a society where hope for the future often becomes hope for survival, killing sane voices like Farida Afridi and other human right activists, social activists and community workers is a sign of medival thoughts and banning and opposing NGOs is a sheer stupidity depicting our prejudices against development, knowledge and civilization.

 (Originally posted here)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Regionalism in the Politics of Gilgit Baltistan



Among the mountains, in the legislative assembly of Gilgit Baltistan, no one is fighting with each other, but the ministers of ruling Pakistan People Party.

Shame is that a minister, named Muhammad Ali Akhter, yesterday jumped from the assembly window to physically thrash his opponent Muhammad Musa in the presence of all ministers and Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah.

Another minister, dealing with education matters, Dr.Ali Madad Sher has threatened CM to resign from his post over the appointment of higher officials of education department without his consultation.

The nationalist parties of the region along with the opposition parties have shown great concerns on the issues of current situation of the political turmoil and the attitude of CM, who belongs to the Baltistan region.

The CM has been accused of favoring the people belonging to his own constituency in appointing them at higher posts of government offices.

It is, however, not for the first time that such reports have been highlighted by local media. Only a year back the Chief Minister invited all the ambassadors of the foreign countries to Baltistan for investment purpose instead of Gilgit town, the capital city of Gilgit Baltistan.

Moreover, the education minister is involved in many cases too, the infamous among all was his upbraiding of the Headmaster and teachers of Government High School Gahkuch, the headquarter of Ghizer District, for not being able to arrange sofas for the minister.

Already at the verge of sectarian violence, the regionalism factor will add more troubles to the lives of common people of Gilgit Baltistan. It is a high time that our political leaders come out of their narrow mindset of regionalism and sectarianism and work for the betterment of the region as a whole. The CM is not only a representative of Baltistan but of whole Gilgit Baltistan. It is for him to realize the gravity of the situation; and, therefore, must act like a CM, not like a member of any Union Council.