Hajj – Pakistani Politicians and Military

Two jokes that I recently received over Blackberry Messenger

Joke 1

Three politicians cannot perform Hajj:
1) Asif zardari, as he cannot throw stones on himself
2) Altaf hussain, as Hajj cannot be performed on telephone
3) Nawaz sharif, as he cannot shave off his head after spending 10 million rupees on hair implant. Also he is not allowed to take stuffed tigers with him on Hajj.
Joke 2
Reasons why Army Generals cannot perform Hajj
1 – orders from Americans have not been received yet
2 – batmen are not trained to perform Hajj yet
3 – militant groups have not started “Hajj for hire” services yet
4 – military rules do not allow for such extensive mixing with “bloody civilians
5 – they are not allowed to perform haj with a stick in hand.

Tiger Niazi and rape in East Pakistan

General A.A.K. Niazi signed the surrender of his troops to General Jagjit Singh Arora of the Indian Army in Dhaka on December 16, 1971. Niazi had earlier vowed that before the Indian Army took the capital of East Pakistan [that] Indian tanks would have to roll over his body. Between the promise and the surrender, many a Bengali woman was raped by Pakistani soldiers in the ardency of their “jihad.” Niazi condoned this for sheer practical considerations. He is reported to have said, “One cannot fight a war here in East Pakistan and go all the way to the Western wing to have an ejaculation!” This was thought funny at the time.

Hassan Abbas,  “Pakistan’s drift into extremism: Allah, the army, and America’s war on terror”

Yahya Khan’s indulgence on eve of ’71 surrender

English: President of Pakistan Yahya Khan

On December 14, 1971. Major General Rao Farman Ali and Lieutenant General A.A.K. Niazi, the military commander in East Pakistan, asked the U.S. consul in Dhaka (capital of East Pakistan) to transmit a sunender proposal to New Delhi. Before forwarding the proposal, the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad was instructed by Washington to get approval from Yahya. The foreign secretary. Sultan Ahmed, speaking on behalf of the president of Pakistan, gave the necessary approval. Yahya Khan did not have time to attend to this matter personally. On the eve of Pakistan’s surrender he was giving a party in his newly constructed house in Peshawar.” One of the few guests was Mrs. Shamim, known as “Black Pearl,” the Bengali beauty who was Yahya‘s latest sexual affiliate and whom he had recently appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Austria. As drinks flowed, so did the affair go progressively nude. It was when the whole party was drunk and unattired, except for Major General Ishaque, Yahya’s military secretary, that “Black Pearl” wished to go home. The president insisted that he would drive her personally, both of them stark naked. General Ishaque could not save Pakistan. but he did manage to knock enough sense into the sizzled head of a fun loving president to put him into his pants. Thus coincided the housewarming of the president’s house with the surrender in East Pakistan.

Hassan Abbas,  “Pakistan’s drift into extremism: Allah, the army, and America’s war on terror”

House Negro and Field Negro : Malcolm X

To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.

If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?” That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.

This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?” I mean, this is what you say. “I ain’t left nothing in Africa,” that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.

On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negro — those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call ‘em “chitt’lin’” nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That’s what you were — a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters.

The field Negro was beaten from morning to night. He lived in a shack, in a hut; He wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master. But that field Negro — remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die. If someone come [sic] to the field Negro and said, “Let’s separate, let’s run,” he didn’t say “Where we going?” He’d say, “Any place is better than here.” You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes. When they see this man’s house on fire, you don’t hear these little Negroes talking about “our government is in trouble.” They say, “The government is in trouble.” Imagine a Negro: “Our government”! I even heard one say “our astronauts.” They won’t even let him near the plant — and “our astronauts”! “Our Navy” — that’s a Negro that’s out of his mind. That’s a Negro that’s out of his mind.

Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‘Cause someone has taught you to suffer — peacefully.

Seed of Two Nation Theory

In our Pakistan History classes which were really about history of Sub Continent before partition, we were taught that Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan was the father of two nation theory as he was the one who presented this idea forward first.

Whether he was father of two nation theory or not, he surely comes across as the one who sowed the seed. I recently came across following two passages in his seminal “The Causes of Indian Revolt (1873 translation)

[5.2] If these two castes formed distinct Regiments perhaps the Mahommadans would not have objected to the use of the new cartridges.

Government certainly did put the two antagonistic races into the same regiment, but constant intercourse had done its work and the two races in regiment had almost become one. It is but natural and to be expected, that a feeling of friendship and brotherhood must spring up between the men of a regiment, constantly brought together as they are. They consider themselves as one body, and thus it was that the difference which exists between Hindus and Mahommadans had, in these regiments, been almost entirely smoothed away.

[5.3] The employment of Hindus and Mahommadans in the same regiment.

If a portion of the regiment engaged in anything, all the rest joined. If separate regiments of Hindoos and separate regiments of Mahommadans had been raised, this feeling of brotherhood could not have arisen, and, in my opinion, the Muhammadan regiments would not have refused to receive the new cartridges.

One should understand that Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan did not have any ulterior motive in mind. He was saddened by the harsh consequences for Muslims for collaborating with Hindus in the 1857 revolt. His purpose for dividing regiments along religious lines was to avoid circumstances wherein Indians of all religions feel united to rise up again against their colonial masters and then face much harsher punishments.

British took this lesson further (whether they picked this idea from Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan’s above essay or it was their own ingenious thinking I cannot say at the moment) and divided future regiments along ethnic, racial and even sectarian lines and then used this fact to their own best advantage.

PS: Thanks to A. H. Amin for introducing me to these facts.

How to spot a lying Dictator? It’s the percentages, stupid.

A lot of numbers are flying around in the media nowadays. Opinions have become polarized on every subject after financial crisis, Arab Spring, War on Terror etc. To give weight to their arguments, opinion makers quote made up (or so it seems) statistics to give credibility to their side of the story.

Most recently, King Mohamed VI of Morocco held a referendum to seek approval for  his proposed reforms. His proposal was approved by almost 99% of voters. From Huffington Post:

Moroccans on Friday overwhelmingly approved a new constitution their king says will bring the country much-needed democratic reform, the Interior Ministry announced.

The preliminary results showed a 98.94 percent approval rating and 72.56 percent turnout and appeared to indicate strong belief by Moroccans in the king’s promises of reform just months after hundreds of thousands marched throughout the North African country calling for more democracy.

98.94% approval rating and 72.56% turnout. Now where have I seen such numbers and referendum on such unilaterally proposed reforms before? There are no points for guessing that Pakistan would be the correct answer. We have a history of holding such referendums by military dictators.

When Ayub Khan appointed himself ruler of Pakistan, he carried out referendum to give legitimacy to his rule after deposing Iskandar Mirza in a bloodless coup. From Wikipedia

In 1960, he held an indirect referendum of his term in power. Functioning as a kind of electoral college, close to 80,000 recently elected village councilmen were allowed to vote yes or no to the question: “Have you confidence in the President, Field Marshal Mohammed Ayub Khan, Hilal-i-Jurat?” Winning 95.6% of the vote, he used the confirmation as impetus to formalise his new system.

The next referendum was carried out by next military dictator Gen Zia after deposing Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a coup (it wasn’t bloodless as he had Bhutto hanged).  And the question asked by him was

Whether the people of Pakistan endorse the process initiated by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the President of Pakistan, for bringing the laws of Pakistan in conformity with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and for the preservation of the Islamic ideology of Pakistan, for the continuation and consolidation of that process, and for the smooth and orderly transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people.

Say what? Come again?

From Wikipedia

It was reportedly approved by 98.5% of voters, with a turnout of 62.2%.

Finally, it was Musharraf’s turn and he carried out another sham referendum. (Since this happened in my life time, I have seen with my own eyes military bringing in people from interior Sind by truck loads at one of polling stations half an hour before election commissioner visited the place at NIC building, off Sharae-Faisal, Karachi). The question posed in the referendum was

For the survival of the local government system, establishment of democracy, continuity of reforms, end to sectarianism and extremism, and to fulfill the vision of Quaid-i-Azam, would you like to elect President General Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan for five years?

From Story of Pakistan

According to the Government there were 78 million eligible voters. Eighty seven thousand polling stations were set up, including booths set up at prisons, hospitals, petrol stations, workplaces, and markets. However, there were no voter lists or constituencies, and anyone who could prove his identity and age could vote at any polling station. According to the Government estimate, around 98 percent of the counted votes backed General Musharraf continuing in office and the turnout of the referendum was said to be around 70 percent.

What’s with the obsession of dictators with approval ratings reaching almost 100%? And when voter turnout has normally been less than 50%, how come voter turnout in referendums reach 70%? Don’t they know that this puts the credibility of the results into question.

Once these usurpers have legitimized their rule for the said period promising reforms, it turns out that by the time they leave (rather “forced to leave”) and take their reforms with them, the country is worse off compared to when they took over.

Based on this history, I will give King Mohamed VI of Morocco a maximum of 10 years of sham reform before he is booted out or is restricted to his palace.

Whereas these dictators create an infrastructure of polling/votes before quoting statistics, we have an Interior Minister who has taken to quoting percentages like a magician creating them out of thin air at his whims. But that is for another post.