Saturday, December 31, 2011

Something Sardar Patel said

The then- Director of the Intelligence Bureau of the (British) Government of India, Sir Norman Percival Arthur Smith, prepared an assessment in January 1947 on the situation in India.  It was rather gloomy.  Smith thought that India needed a strong center which would not be conceded by the Muslims; the weak center envisioned by the Cabinet Mission Plan "carries within itself the seeds of disruption.  It is difficult to foresee a joint policy in foreign affairs, and consequently in defence and finance".   Smith thought that the Indian leadership was too inept to overcome these inherent difficulties and therefore Pakistan was very likely; though Pakistan would not advantage the Indian Muslim.  Smith thought that the Congress should establish a strong center in the areas of Hindu preponderance, and exclude the North West, but was doubtful of their ability to do even that much.

This note, we are told was sent to the Private Secretaries to Atlee, Alexander and Sir S. Cripps.  Of course the Viceroy Wavell and others saw it as well.  The purpose of recording this note however is for the excerpt below.

The Transfer of Power 1942-47, editors Mansergh and Moon,
Volume IX, #304, pages 542-544

(h)  If Congress were wise, they would either attempt to dissolve by a psychological approach the psychological mistrust which exists or they would establish a strong Centre for areas of Hindu preponderance and to the exclusion of the N-West.  But I doubt if Congress is wise enough to do either of these things.
(l) The psychological approach which I would commend to Congress would have to be one of great generosity—an offer, if necessary, of one over parity.   I suggested this to Sardar Patel and told him, moreover, that any attempt to force the Muslims would result, through the disintegration of the police and Army, in the loss of N.W. India.   His reply was that, if I thought that generosity would placate the Muslim Oliver Twist, I did not understand either the Muslim mind or the situation.   With which sentiment I am tempted to agree

N.P.A. Smith

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jinnah - longevity

Alan Campbell Johnson in "Mission with Mountbatten" reports on an interesting conversation he had with Robert Stimson of the B.B.C..  This conversation was on December 22, 1947, which was soon after an interview Stimson had with Jinnah.

Stimson's general impression was that, subject to four great queries, Pakistan was perhaps a stronger entity than some of the critics recognised.   Those queries were: whether she could avoid war; whether Jinnah had long to live (in Stimson's opinion he looked fitter than in August, and he was himself at pains to say that he hoped to be operating for at least twelve years); whether she could secure economic support, and whether she could retain any of her Hindus.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Court's powers

The Pakistani judiciary granted the Governor-General the power to dissolve the Constituent Assembly.

Jinnah's powers

Yasser Latif Hamdani makes the claim
There are many myths that are woven around Jinnah’s period as Governor-General of Pakistan, one of which was forwarded by Campbell Johnson who inaccurately claimed in his book Mission With Mountbatten that Jinnah applied for powers under the Ninth Schedule of the Government of India Act 1935 (GOIA 1935). It was the Ninth Schedule of the GOIA 1935 that strengthened the Governor-General and gave him powers to ensure passage of bills in a form that had been recommended by the Governor-General. From July 19, 1947 onwards, the Ninth Schedule was no longer available.
(Also see this on the Cabinet Mission Plan web-site)

Pakistan and Section 93 of the Government of India Act 1935

Yasser Latif Hamdani has articles (1, 2, 3) in the Daily Times of Pakistan, on the vexed question of how democratic in spirit Jinnah was around 1947. These articles were provoked by a journalist (probably Najam Sethi, Aapas Ki Baat, December 14, 2011, 1, 2) who wrote:

A leading journalist, who is one of the finest journalists in my opinion, recently levelled four accusations at Jinnah, which he described as the reason Pakistani democracy has not flourished. First, that Jinnah chose to be the Governor-General instead of prime minister; second, that he concentrated power in his own hands; third, that he dismissed the NWFP [now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] Assembly; and fourth, that Jinnah chose Urdu as the ‘national’ language.

The purpose of this note is to examine one of the claims made in the Hamdani article and show it to be likely to be wrong.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Khaled Ahmed: Muslim view of 'decline'

Khaled Ahmed.

The Muslim resistance to mutation as a project of survival and its literalist insistence on a permanently settled dogma has forced them to think of changing the world. The idea is to change the world, not change according to the world. There are two doctrines that spring from this feeling of decline: ‘dawa’, that is, proselytising non-Muslims till they can’t think differently and thus contribute to the universal consensus based on unrevised tenets; and jihad, by which the Muslims mean war.

Jihad is an abstraction and peace-loving Muslims often explain it not as war but as efforts made in the way of achieving obedience to Allah. John Esposito, a British author considered sympathetic to Islam, once tried to register the peaceful meaning of jihad on a BBC discussion with a broad spectrum of Muslim scholars from the Islamic world. He was shocked to hear that the dominant Quranic sense of jihad was ‘qital’ (homicide) not ‘juhud’ (effort). Some new Muslim authors have recommended that jihad be added to the Five Pillars of Islam which are: ‘Kalima’, namaz, zakat, fasting during Ramazan and Hajj.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

About Afghan and Pakistani textbooks

It is true that the University of Nebraska, Omaha, was the conduit of US funds to the Education Center for Afghanistan in Peshawar, Pakistan, between September 1986 and June 1994. It is true that the Afghan mujahideen authored textbooks, in Dari and Pashto, for primary school glorifying violence and the University did not object. It is true that even though these books were redacted to remove all violent material in 1992, they continued to be available in Afghanistan.

However, if this following is the source of this information,
"A" Is for Allah, "J" Is for Jihad Author(s): Craig Davis Source: World Policy Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring, 2002), pp. 90-94
, available on scribd and elsewhere:,
then when Pervez Hoodbhoy writes, e.g.,

CIA funds went to buy advertisements inviting hardened and ideologically dedicated men to fight in Afghanistan, and a $50 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grant, administered by the University of Nebraska, Omaha, paid for textbooks that exhorted Afghan children "to pluck out the eyes of their enemies and cut off their legs." These were approved by the Taliban for use in madrassas (Islamic schools) and are still widely available in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
it is wrong in that:

1. The textbook that exhorted Afghan children to pluck out the eyes of their enemies and cut off their legs, dates from 1970, during the reign of King Zahir Shah.
2. The textbooks with the other violent stuff were available in Kabul in May 2000, apparently pirated from the original US-sponsored texts, printed in Peshawar.
3. It is not clear that the textbooks were available in anything but Dari and Pashto. (Urdu would be the main medium of instruction in Pakistan.) Therefore "widely available in Pakistan" is both not in Craig Davis' text, nor is it terribly significant, even if true.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tarek Fatah on Pakistani schools

Paraphrasing: The number one problem in the world today is the Pakistani army and the anti-Hindu propaganda is merely a symptom of the problem.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

As promised by Jinnah

SSridhar writes on BRF:

Jinnah told Islamists like Abu Ala al Mawdudi that he was getting them the land [namely Pakistan] and it was up to them to construct a mosque there. He knew what he was getting into.

Jinnah's letter to the Pir of Manki Sharif promising shariah was produced in the Constituent Assembly in 1949 to push through the Objectives Resolution. It is available in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates, Volume 5, 1949, Page 46.

While addressing the Karachi Bar Association on 25 January 1948 on the occasion of the Holy Prophet’s birthday, Jinnah said: “Some are misled by propaganda. Islamic principles are as applicable to life as they were 1,300 years ago. The Constitution of Pakistan will be made on the basis of the sharia”.

One of Pakistan’s renowned political scientists, Prof. (Late) Khalid bin Sayeed narrates in his book, ‘Pakistan: The Formative Phase 1957-1948’ Jinnah’s assurances to a group of visiting Islamists thus: “…Constituent Assembly…will be predominantly Muslim…and would be able to enact laws for the Muslims not inconsistence with Shariah Laws and the Muslims will no longer be obliged by un-Islamic laws…”

While portraying himself as a secularist and a Constitutionalist, Jinnah nevertheless asked only an Islamic clergy, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani who had apostatised Shias, to raise the flag of Pakistan on Aug. 14, 1947. Later, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, who had apostatized Ahmedis and calling for them to be stoned to death, was made Sheikh-ul-Islam-i-Pakistan. It was Shabbir Usmani who drafted the Objectives Resolution.

In passionate speeches that Jinnah delivered to masses of the new state of Pakistan, he addressed them as ‘Mussalmans’ instead of as ‘Pakistanis’ and used terms like ‘mujahid’, ‘tenets of the Holy Quran’, and referred to Pakistan as a ‘bulwark of Islam’.

On the other hand, the only time he appeared to be secular was a feeble attempt in his August 14, 1947 speech when he said, "You are free . . ." etc. He neither said nor did anything before or after that to discourage establishing an Islamist Pakistani state.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gilani declares "victory"

After the then JCS Admiral Mullen made his remarks about Pakistan's support for the Taliban, there was a bit of a diplomatic dust-up. Then, e.g., here,

Prime Minister Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani has claimed “victory” in the recent stand-off with the USA, saying he has received a message from Washington that America needs Pakistan's support to win the war on terror.

Mr Gilani made the remarks while addressing a gathering in Bili Wala near his hometown of Multan in Punjab province yesterday, amidst tensions between Islamabad and Washington over ISI-Haqqani network links.

“It is due to the all parties' conference as well as the unity of Pakistan's political leaders that the USA has sent a message that they need Pakistan and that they cannot win the war (against terrorism) without Pakistan,” he said.

“They have also distanced themselves from the statement of (former US military chief Admiral Mike) Mullen. This is the victory of the Pakistani nation, political parties and the government's policy of reconciliation,” he said.

He did not say when the message was conveyed to Pakistan.

With that backdrop, this morning I read Peter Singer's review of Steven Pinker's new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature

Peter Singer observes the following:

[quote]That morality can be grounded in some commitment to treating others as we would like them to treat us is an ancient idea, expressed in the golden rule and in similar thoughts in the moral traditions of many other civilizations, but Pinker is surely right to say that the escalator of reason leads us to it. It is this kind of moral thinking, Pinker points out, that helps us escape traps like the Cuban missile crisis, which, if the fate of the world had been in the hands of leaders under the sway of a different kind of morality — one dominated by ideas of honor and the importance of not backing down — might have been the end of the human story. Fortunately Kennedy and Khrushchev understood the trap they were in and did what was necessary to avoid disaster. [/quote]

I'm pondering right now whether one of the problems is that India and Pakistan are differently gripped by this morality "dominated by ideas of honor and the importance of not backing down", and that is one reason for the utter failure to meaningfully communicate.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taliban-Army soldier debate

At the Internet Archive,, someone deposited an audio recording that purports to a debate between an army soldier and a Taliban.   This is an attempted transcript of that recording.  Unfortunately only the recording is available, with no context, when, where, who, etc.  Also, the recording evidently starts in the middle of the debate.

Monday, September 12, 2011

From a letter from Iqbal to Jinnah

Also the insertion of Jawaharlal’s socialism into the body-politic of Hinduism is likely to cause much bloodshed among the Hindus themselves. The issue between social democracy and Brahmanism is not dissimilar to the one between Brahmanism and Buddhism. Whether the fate of socialism will be the same as the fate of Buddhism in India I cannot say. But it is clear to my mind that if Hinduism accepts social democracy it must necessarily cease to be Hinduism.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

From the First Constituent Assembly

From here:

This speech was delivered by Mr. Sris Chandra Chattopadhya in opposition to Objectives Resolution, in Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 12 March 1949.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On the Objectives Resolution

Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani tweeted thusly:

If u care 2 read that debate u will realize many ldrs of Indep mov'mt disagreed with & voted against Obj Res

Civil & Military Gazette

A lot of quotes of Jinnah from the 1940s are sourced from the Lahore-based newspaper "Civil & Military Gazette". I had idly wondered what had become of the newspaper, and by chance, I found out today.

Ban on the newspaper
May 13 {1949}. Lahore-based Civil & Military Gazzette is banned on instigation of other leading journalists, including Faiz Ahmed Faiz (!), progressive editor of Pakistan Times. In an unprecedented move, six leading dailies publish the same editorial urging the government to act against CMG.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The liberals' Jinnah problem

Salman Arshad, in this comment on, makes it crystal clear

@ YLH:
If you really admire Jinnah for being the typical manipulative nasty politician who only admitted that “two religions equals two nations” only before 00:00 AM 15 Aug 1947, then there really is nothing to talk about.

You can go your way, let honesty go up anyone’s a***.
You need not even write this article.
But if you really admire Jinnah for being a man of principle, then the two nation theory is a matter of principle. Two religions means two nations which means they cannot live together in a democratic setup under the same constitution. In this case all nations MUST exist on the basis of religion (or any other cultural/social difference), and regions with majorities MUST be annexed (eg. kashmir) even through WAR because its a f****ing matter of principle.
Both cases are f*****up. No need to go into details. Just put a mirror before Pakistan. It will be clear.
The third case is the obvious one. Rise above these matters. Lets form our identity on the basis of a MISTAKE.

Let us be one of the few great nations in the world that admitted its own historical mistake. That might actually make us the greatest nation in the world. Lets admit that things have gone way forward and that there is no turning back. We are not merging with India if we admit our mistake.

As soon as we admit our mistake, we will be faced with the task of cleaning up the mess that our theory has created. That itself is a matter of a couple of decades.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jinnah January 1948

I do not have a record of this in my books, so posting it here for later validation.

Marvi Sirmed in the Daily Times:
Prevalent madness has been dictating everyone in power since partition, including Jinnah and every other leader, who would tow the popular line or make shortsighted attempts to appease the street sentiment instead of leading the alternative opinion. Jinnah did it as early as January 1948 while addressing the Jamaat-e-Islami women who were rallying for the enforcement of shariah. He assured them of the enforcement as soon as possible. (emphasis added)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jinnah's Revelation

I think Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani is the Deobandi cleric, member of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, who asked for the Islamization of Pakistan even during Jinnah's lifetime.

Anyway, we now have this:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

One more from Tharoor

I do understand that Pakistan has to survive in a tough neighbourhood and it needs a capable military. And I do not expect any Pakistani government, military or civilian, to act in anything but Pakistan’s own best interest.

But — and alas, there is a but — I don’t believe it’s in Pakistan’s best interest to be the country whose military consumes the largest percentage of national resources (both GDP and annual budget) of any military in the world. I don’t believe it’s in Pakistan’s best interest to adopt a policy of seeking “strategic depth” by destabilising its neighbours.

I don’t believe it’s in Pakistan’s best interest to try to wrest Kashmir from India by financing or arming violent militancy. I don’t believe it’s in Pakistan’s best interest to be the cradle and crucible of militant Islamist terrorism. I don’t believe it’s in Pakistan’s best interest to be a country where no elected civilian government has ever served a full term. And I do believe that any Pakistani liberal worth the name (take a bow, Marvi Sirmed) should have no difficulty in agreeing with any of these propositions.

Even if they come from an Indian. Ay, there’s the rub...

A letter of Faiz

The Friday Times

In the early 1950s, poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, along with several left-leaning civilians and military officers, was jailed for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government. The trial became known as the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. A new book showcases for the first time some of the letters he wrote from Hyderabad Jail to his wife Alys, who was working then at The Pakistan Times.

Passed by the censor 7/3/52

Excerpt reproduced here might indicate the creeping Islamization of Pakistan even in 1952.
Life has its surprises, however, even here. The other evening I switched on the Radio to listen to some Indian music from Delhi (what our own Radio calls music is no more than a collection of amateur screechings because real talent like Rafiq, Pukhraj, and Anwar etc: seems to be banned) and do you know what I got? You can never guess. Yehudi Menuhin, perhaps the greatest violinist of all times, playing Bach and Pagannini in the auditorium of the Indian Film Festival. It made me angry and jealous and sad when I thought about it later. This country is now nearly five years old and in five years we have not given the people one real exhibition of anything of beauty, of culture, of ennobling pleasure. And yet there has been no dearth of 'tamashas'. But all that we can think of is to collect some silly old grey-beards from all over the world, make them talk a lot of bilge that no one cares a damn farthing about, give a few people an opportunity for lots of eating and lots of shouting and then forget all about it. India may be a bigger country but culture is not a matter of size but of the ways of living and thinking, and why should the people of this country not be given a chance at least to look at culture even if they can't live in it. Anyway it will all come some day perhaps and perhaps I shouldn't be talking about it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Awake and caffeinated

Marvi Sirmed, in the Daily Times: After an assessment of India, she continues,
Before the readers dismiss it as a eulogy of India, please consider what havoc we have played with our own people, our own country by not doing what India has been doing. And today, India remains much more respected and trusted than us when not even our closest allies are ready to trust us, including our ‘Muslim brothers’. Even if the central focus of our existence is to tackle India (really?), should we not re-assess our policies urgently? Or do we want our people to keep suffering for shortage of just everything that life demands and inflation of a useless collective religious zeal, which pushes extremist ideologies deep down our system?

Suffering is not a seasonal pursuit in Pakistan. It seems permanent, obscure, dark, infinite and undying. When every moment brings a new embarrassment, anguish, travail onto us, a new migraine to others, and our Generals still talk of hollow and ambiguous ‘honour’, one is obliged to think that Pakistan is a General away from peace, prosperity and honour. Time to shelve old, not-so-melodious music.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why Taseer angered Pakistani liberals

The article by Aatish Taseer in the Wall Street Journal drew angry responses from the Pakistani side.
E.g., Ejaz Haider.
Shashi Tharoor replied. Among other things, he wrote:

No, the “Indian threat” is merely a useful device cynically exploited by the Pakistani military to justify their power (and their grossly disproportionate share of Pakistan’s national assets). But Pakistani liberals are particularly prone to the desire to prove themselves true nationalists; it is the best way to ensure that their otherwise heretical opinions are not completely discredited by the men in uniform who hold the reins of power in the state.

As this otherwise minor editorial spat demonstrates, Indians need to put aside their illusions that there are liberal partners for us on the other side of the border who echo our diagnosis of their plight and share our desire to defenestrate their military. Nor should we be surprised: a Pakistani liberal is, after all, a Pakistani before he is a liberal.
 This is very perceptive.  E.g., see this item from the trial of M.M.Qadri, the killer of Salman Taseer (reproduced below).  What should be evident is that Qadri's lawyers are constructing the defence  that Taseer was insufficiently pious and so his murder is justifiable.  Since Pakistani liberals are for separation of piety and state (if not always for separation of religion and state), the one leg they have to stand on to prove that they are patriotic and not wajib-ul-qatl is their anti-Indianism.   Making anti-Indianism unrespectable will undermine them.

RAWALPINDI: Son of late Punjab governor appeared here on Saturday before Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) No-II, Rawalpindi judge Syed Pervez Ali Shah for cross-questioning and also for recording his statement.

Malik Muhammad Rafiq the lawyer of Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri (alleged killer of Salman Taseer) asked hard questions from Shahryar Taseer during hearing in Adiala Jail. The court adjourned further hearing till July 9.

As Shahryar Taseer the son of late Salman Taseer appeared in the court, Malik Muhammad Rafiq the lawyer of Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri asked as to how many times did his father marry in his life. Shahryar Taseer said, Four. To a question from the lawyer whether all wives were legally valid and the women were Muslim, he replied in the affirmative. But the lawyer countered him saying that his late father had gone to India in 1982, when dictator Zia-ul-Haq was in power, and he married a Sikh woman. The Sikh woman gave birth to a child named Atish Taseer in India at that time.

Do you know Atish Taseer, your brother? asked the lawyer and Shahryar answered in the negative. The lawyer presented a book titled Strange to History in court, saying that it was written by Atish Taseer, son from Sikh woman. Shahryar Taseer admitted that Atish had written a book on the life of his father which was published in India.

Malik Muhammad Rafiq, the lawyer told the court that Atish Taseer has written in the book that his father ate pork, drank excessively and had affairs with several beautiful women. Atish Taseer came to Lahore to meet his father Salman Taseer but he refused to meet him. Slahuddin Ahmed the closest relative of Salman Taseer arranged a secret meeting between Atish and his father. In the meeting Atish demanded rights of his mother and himself as well but Salman Taseer refused, said the lawyer.

When the lawyer asked Shahryar whether he or his late father had issued any clarification about the book Strange to History written by Atish about the life of Salman Taseer, he replied in the negative. Malik Muhammad Mumtaz Qadri the alleged killer of Salman Taseer was present during the hearing.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pakistan's admission to the United Nations

Pakistan was admitted to the United Nations on September 30, 1947. Legally, independent India is seen as the successor state to British India, and Pakistan as the new creation. So India is seen as having participated in the founding of the United Nations.

After the Security Council unanimously recommended the admission of Yemen and Pakistan to the UN, the General Assembly took up the resolution; and Afghanistan was the only nay-sayer to Pakistan's admission. (The vote was 53-1-0).  India welcomed Pakistan's admission; and I don't know why that vote doesn't put to rest the perpetual Pakistani paranoia that the Congress-led  Government of India wanted to undo Partition.

The UN website carries details of the resolution and accompanying speeches.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Super Powers are nothing without Pakistan

Urdu/Hindi needed to follow this youtube. But e.g., the US and China all rise and fall with Pakistan. If Pakistan cuts off the Gwadar route, China will be finished. Pakistan has taught China things about missile technology that China never knew.....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sadanand Dhume on Lieven's book

Sadanand Dhume in the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Lieven is unusually enamored of the army, which he calls "the only Pakistani institution that works as it is officially meant to." In itself, this observation would be unremarkable—the army gobbles up more than double the federal outlays for health and education combined—if it didn't shade into a peculiar adoption of much of the army's worldview as his own. That's the defense Pakistan's military is employing as it's besieged by civil society and by outsiders for its apparent collusion with terrorists.
This exaggerated concern for all things military gives Mr. Lieven's book the tone of a love letter to a general in Rawalpindi, the country's military capital.
 Dhume points out that as one holding on to the status quo, Lieven does not have Pakistan's bests interests at heart either.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


SSridhar on BRF:
One of Pakistan’s best known historians, Prof. K.K.Aziz, in his book, “Murder of History” has the following to say of a Pakistani propensity:

Almost every Muslim of any importance claimed, and still claims today, in his autobiography reminiscences, memoirs, journal and bio data, that his ancestors had come from Yemen, Hejaz,* Central Asia, Iran, Ghazni, or some other foreign territory. In most cases, this is a false claim for its arithmetic reduces the hordes of local converts (to Islam) to an insignificant number. Actually, it is an aftermath and confirmation of Afghan and Mughal exclusiveness. It is also a declaration of disaffiliation from the soil on which the shammers have lived for centuries, and to which in all probability, they have belonged since history began. If all the Siddiquis, Qureshis, Faruqis, ... have foreign origins and their forefathers accompanied the invading armies, or followed them, what happens to the solemn averment that Islam spread peacefully in India? Are we expected to believe that local converts, whose number must have been formidable, were all nincompoops and the wretched of the earth—incapable over long centuries of producing any leaders, thinkers, or scholars?

Reading about the genome sequencing and the unique genetic markers that are said to have been found to identify inner-most Pakistaniyat, I was somehow reminded of the above.  
What he is referring to is this news that Pakistan has sequenced its first genome:

“Our nation is a mix of a lot of races,” said Prof. Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, who heads the project. “Pakistanis are like a “melting pot” ie a mix of Mughals, Turks, Pashtuns, Afghans, Arabs, etcetera.”
{No Indian component?} 

“According to the researchers, the newly sequenced Pakistani genome has uncovered a multitude of Pakistan-specific sites which can now be used in the design of large-scale studies that are better suited for the Pakistani population,” said Dr Choudhary, who is the director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Religion in the public discourse in Pakistan

Tazeen, at A Reluctant Mind, has a great essay.
She writes about how religion has played the determinative role in the media narratives of four killers who captured the headlines recently - Mumtaz Qadri (killer of Salman Taseer), Raymond Davis (CIA operative who shot dead two men), Osama bin Laden and Illyas Kashmiri.

Gul Bukhari on understanding radicalism

In the Daily Times of Pakistan, Gul Bukhari writes that
People will always be free to believe in what they will but they cannot be allowed to execute their ‘beliefs’ with impunity, with no concept of a state, law by consensus and without punishment because they are accorded, for some unfathomable reason, the pedestal of all moral high ground owing to emotions emanating from a set of beliefs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Musharraf: September 19, 2001

As close to a full transcript as I have come across of Musharraf's Sept 19, 2001 speech.  IMO, no one should profess to be shocked by the current state of US-Pak. relations; it follows from the policy outlined in the speech.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

How Pakistan Negotiates with the US

( How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States - Riding the Roller Coaster by Howard B. Schaffer and Teresita C. Schaffer)

Q&A with the authors.
....negotiators cultivate what one might call “the art of the guilt trip.” Important negotiations usually involve a major effort to create a sense of obligation on the part of the United States or to nurture and intensify the fear that failure to honor Pakistan’s requests will lead to disastrous consequences for U.S. interests.

Excerpt in The Hindu.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Alleged Death of Ilyas Kashmiri

Bill Rogio of Long War Journal relayed a purported picture of the dead Ilyas Kashmiri, the terrorist who was supposedly killed by drone attacks in September 2009, and June 2011.
Sharp-eyed and long-memoried vdutta on the Bharat-Rakshak Forum recognized the picture as being that of someone else - (from a newsitem in December 2008, one of the Mumbai attackers)

The body of suspected militant Abu Dera Ismael Khan. Indian investigators claim the Mumbai attackers had months of commando training in Pakistan
(Photo: Reuters/Mumbai Police handout)
So it remains to be seen whether the rumors of Kashmiri's death are true or not.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pakistan: Gini Index

Lieven keeps promoting the idea that income inequality in Pakistan is less than in India, and that too because of its social structure where kinship is very important, and kinship responsibilities serve to redistribute income.

The problem is that it doesn't seem to be borne out by published material.  I have not been able to find the original reports mentioned here, but for example:

According to a US State Department report, released in 2006, the Gini Coefficient for Pakistan is 68.0. According to the same report, the 'Gini Index' for Japan is 14.9, for Sweden is 21.0, for Switzerland is 21.1, for Germany is 22.3, for the United Kingdom is 23.0, for Canada is 23.1, for France is 32.7, for Iran is 41.0, for the United States is 46.6, for Argentina is 52.2, for Mexico is 54.6, for South Africa is 57.8 and for Namibia is 70.7. According to another United Nations report, from 1987 to 1999, the Gini Coefficient for Pakistan was in the range of 0.33 to 0.43, but it increased to 0.68 in 2006, yet the previous government kept on harping the tune of a 'wonderful' economic turnaround.

BBC: Lieven, Fukuyama, Hamid, Anam

20 MB Podcast:

Pakistan special - Anatol Lieven, Francis Fukuyama, Mohsin Hamid, Tahmima Anam 16 May 11

Mon, 16 May 11
43 mins
Andrew Marr talks to Anatol Lieven who argues that Pakistan, despite often being referred to as a 'failed state', has the makings of a viable and coherent country. Francis Fukuyama analyses the development of political institutions from early tribal societies to the growth of the modern state. The author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid, explores what it means to be middle class in Pakistan, and Tahmima Anam looks back to Bangladesh's fight for independence, and the relationship between religion and politics in her home country.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lieven: Terrorism against India is OK

Lieven in "The National Interest":
As I have written, I—like many other observers and, indeed, officials—was prepared to extend a measure of tolerance to the Pakistani military for its shelter to the leadership of the Afghan Taliban and past support for terrorist attacks on India (if only because this so clearly reflected the democratic will of the great majority of Pakistanis), as long—but only as long—as they genuinely and effectively cooperated in preventing terrorist attacks on the West; since after all that is what our soldiers in Afghanistan are supposed to be there to prevent.

Lieven: The nature of law in Pakistan

Lieven writes that in western societies, the purpose of the law since Roman times has been based on the principle that crimes should be punished, and the purpose of the legal system is, in principle, to eliminate crime.  However, in Pakistan and in "many other heavily armed kinship-based societies" the purpose of the law is the defence of collective honor and prestige, the maintenance of order and peace.  Therefore, the laws resemble traditional international law in that they are based in equal parts on diplomacy and rules, they "aim at compromise not punishment', and the threat of violence always looms in the background.  This arises because the idea of honour (izzat and ghairat) are fundamental to Pakistani society.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lieven: Pakistan and Taliban

In his narration of events in Afghanistan, Lieven mentions the Taliban and the Northern Alliance; he fails to mention Pakistan's support of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. 
Wiki: From 1992 to 1996 the warring factions destroyed most of Kabul and killed thousands of people, most of them civilians during the Afghan civil war. All the different parties participated in the destruction, but Hekmatyar's group was responsible for most of the damage, because of his practice of deliberately targeting civilian areas.[29] Hekmatyar is thought to have bombarded Kabul in retaliation for what he considered its inhabitants' collaboration with the Soviets, and out of religious conviction. He once told a New York Times journalist that Afghanistan "already had one and a half million martyrs. We are ready to offer as many to establish a true Islamic Republic."[30] His attacks also had a political objective: to undermine the Rabbani government by proving that Rabbani and Massoud were unable to protect the population.
The above was during the period that Pakistan backed Hekmatyar [especially see document 29 ** (PDF)].

Incidentally, it is worth pointing out that even entirely secular members of the Pakistani establishment do not see the Afghan Taleban as morally worse than the Taleban's old enemies in the Afghan Northern Alliance leaders, with whom the West has in effect been allied since 2001.  Their atrocities and rapes in the 1990s helped cement Pathan support for the Taleban.
(Summary of document 29:
This summary details recent events in Afghanistan and the role of Pakistan in supporting the Taliban movement. It describes how Pakistan preferred to groom incompetent commanders such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for leadership positions in Afghanistan who would then be reliant upon Pakistan. The failure of supporting Hekmatyar, which "effectively saw the lebanonization of Afghanistan," caused the Pakistanis to introduce the Taliban. The account notes that "Pakistan has lost every war it has ever fought." The cable also notes that "it must be a deeply troubling period for General (Musharraf) in Pakistan, who is asked to help hunt down the culprits that he helped to establish," and ends with a summary of the al-Qaeda agenda, the Pakistani agenda, and the death of Ahmad Shah Masoud in the context of the downing of the twin towers.

Lieven: Treatment of rivals

Lieven makes the following quotes about the Darwinian competition in Pakistani society.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lieven: Chapter 1: Understanding Pakistan

Lieven sets great store by Pakistan's kinship networks.  He tells us that whether run by civilians or by the military, the state is weak, and society is strong.  The military, he postulates, derives its strength from being like an extended clan.  He attributes the Pakistan's 2002 Gini Index of 30.6 (a relatively low value signifying greater income equality) to the obligations placed on the elite by kinship. (He doesn't tell us that the Gini Index was 41 in 1997-98, which strains his hypothesis.) 

Lieven says that "this is a cultural system so strong that it can persuade a father to kill a much-loved daughter, not for having an affair or becoming pregnant, but for marrying outside her kinship group without permission".  He also attributes to it the widespread practice of first cousin marriage, quoting a statistic that even among Pakistanis in Oxford, England, 59% of marriages are with first cousins; cousin marriage being one of the most important expressions of honoring obligations to one's kin.

(Lieven attributes the same kinship system to India; but he fails to note that among most Hindus, first cousin marriage is not allowed.)

The upshot is that Pakistan is very conservative - stuck in the mud  - and unlikely to have a revolution of any kind, Islamic or other.  This preoccupation with a violent revolt that overthows the Pakistani state and replaces with an Islamic fundamentalist order is, in my opinion, misplaced.  Lieven, like most Occidentals, thinks of the Pakistani Army as modernist.  From the Indian point of view, however, the Pakistani Army is fundamentalist to the core, with a modernist veneer necessarily in place in order to keep Western aid flowing in.   Pakistan's nukes are already in the hands of Islamists.  As Retd US Col. P.W. Lang writes 
Pakistan's military keeps it's existing and future nuclear capability out of the larger world game.  As has been discussed at SST many times, Pakistan either has or will soon have the real world CAPABILITY of ranging Israel's target set.  They have around 100 fully engineered and manufactired deliverable nuclear weapons.  They have aircraft and missiles (Shahiin 2 improved) that would do the job.  The missile launchers are fully mobile.  The US has zero control over this nuclear strike force.   Logically, the willingness of the Pakistan military to keep this "piece" off the chess board is a major boon to the US.  We do not want to see that willingness change to something else.
This Pakistani stance is not because the army is not Islamist; it is because it pays, and pays well.

Regarding Pakistan as a failed state, Lieven notes the first obituary was written in 1983, by Tariq Ali, Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State.  He says that Naxalites in India control a larger fraction of the territory than the Taliban ever did in Pakistan. He notes that Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma have had long insurgencies that have proportionally lasted longer, covered more territory and caused more casualties than the Taliban in Pakistan. Therefore "when compared to Canada or France, Pakistan inevitably fails.   When compared to India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, things not look so terrible."  If Pakistan was a state in India, it would rank somewhere in the middle in development, or "if India was only the 'cow-belt' of Hindi-speaking north India, it probably wouldn't be a democracy or a growing economic power either, but some form of impoverished Hindu-nationalist dictatorship, riven by local conflicts."

Lieven's analysis is deceptive, but I think demolishing it is not worth the time (exercise left to my few readers?).   Oh, and he translates "Bhai-sahib" (as one might use to address a bus conductor) as "Brother-Lord".  ("Brother-sir" would be better, no?)

I haven't finished the first chapter yet, so maybe more later.

Anatol Lieven's "Pakistan: A Hard Country" - Acknowledgements

These are my notes from reading Anatol Lieven's book, "Pakistan - A Hard Country".

The people Lieven thanks in the Acknowledgements includes some familiar names.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our theory trumps your practice

In a comment on Cafe Pyala, Ali wrote:'s something to ponder. Pre-47 assumptions about Hindu dominance were not the reason behind the philosophical conception of Pakistan. Pakistan was an evolution of the United India movement, which was simply a more universal form of the Islamic awakening described by Iqbal.

Why we're nowhere close to that vision of a near utopian paradise is our own fault. That India is nowhere close to that utopian vision, is why we parted ways in the first place.

We'll get it back though...after a bit of a struggle of course.
The highlighted sentences are exactly the attitude that is driving Pakistan down the drain.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More on the petition to reopen Ghazi Ilmuddin case

The Nation, Pakistan:

The petition has been filed by Dr Farooq Hassan praying for the judicial order to nullify the death awarded to Ghazi Ilmuddin in 1929 by a Division Bench of this court comprising English judges. The English Court acted with a policy to put a Muslim on gallows and without appreciating arguments made in defence of Ghazi by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and left a big lacuna by not recording the reasons why the defence submissions were not admissible, the petitioner argued. He says the old bench produced one page judgement skipping over the many steps. 

Reopening the Ghazi Ilmuddin case!!!!

Pak. Tribune

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court Chief Justice on Friday issued pre-admission notices to the federal and Punjab governments seeking assistance on whether or not the court could re-open the 82-year-old case of Ghazi Ilmuddin Shaheed.

He said the court needed to ascertain whether it had the jurisdiction to take up a case adjudicated before Pakistan.

Petitioner Imtiaz Rasheed Qureshi of the Save Judiciary Committee, had requested the court through his counsel, Barrister Farooq Hasan, to set aside the verdict given in 1929.
Ilmuddin had been sentenced to death by the LHC for killing a Hindu publisher who had printed a book insulting and ridiculing Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Laws of War

Excerpt from "Religion and Politics in Pakistan", by Leonard Binder: 

(much elided, but I don't think I've changed the meaning).
Pakistan 1947-48.

"...popular feeling had been whipped up by the cry that the struggle in Kashmir was a jihad....

Perhaps it was by accident, perhaps by inspiration as members of Jama'at-i-Islami claim, that Maududi came to be asked whether the fighting in Kashmir was a jihad or not; but his negative answer created a sensation.  This was in May 1948, when the Indian offensive forced Pakistani regulars into the line to save Muzaffarabad.   After some pressing, Maududi declared that for Kashmiris it might be a jihad, but so long as the governments of India and Pakistan were at peace there could be no jihad in Kashmir for Pakistanis....."

Then and Now

Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, speech at the meeting of the Muslim University Union Aligarh, March 10, 1941; Archives of the Freedom Movement, Vol 237
Pakistan is not only a practicable goal but the only goal if you want to save Islam from complete annihilation in this country.
Fida Husain, 14-year old suicide bomber seeking to add to the carnage at the Sufi shrine Sakhi Sarwar,  Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan, captured after his explosives failed to detonate, April 3, 2011, as reported in Dawn
You all are accomplices of the enemies of Islam who are bent upon eliminating Islam and Muslims,” he allegedly said. ”If I get a chance, I will again strike as a suicide bomber.”

Monday, March 28, 2011


The change in the stance of the Muslim League about the Muslims left in India after the decision of partition can be ascertained  in the excerpts produced below:

Mushtaque Ahmad Wajdi was a senior officer at the time of formation of Pakistan. Late he retired as the auditor general of Pakistan. On page 148 of his book "Hungamon mein zindagi' (A tumultuous Life) he writes:

 "On May 30 1947, Shujaat Ali Husni invited all the Muslim officers over tea in Delhi with an emphasis on attendance. The reason was not known. On reaching there we saw  Qaid-e-Azam, Liagat Ali Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nashtar and some others. As the  tea was over, it was announced that Qaid-e-Azam will speak.

After the speech while replying to a question Qaid-e-Azam said, "From now on, the nationality of Indian Muslims will be Indian. They will have nothing to do with Pakistan."

I was shocked to hear this. Five crore Muslims were declared Indians at one go. Until yesterday they were promised a new country which would be an abode of peace for them. They were asked for sacrifices on this ground and they sacrificed their lives and fortune for this cause. Today they were pushed into a virtual hell with two words. What happened to the Two nation Theory?

Then I thought that after all Qaid-e-Azam, Liaqat Ali Khan and other leaders were also Indians. Definitely, they will stay back and take care of them, but that was not to happen." 

In his book, Pathway to Pakistan, Choudhry Khaliquzzaman writes,

"Qaid-e-Azam had now realised the dangers facing Muslims left behind in India. On August 1, 1947, before leaving for Karachi, Mr Jinnah invited all the Muslim members of the Legislative Assembly to bid farewell. Mr Rizwanullah asked some unsavoury questions about the status and future of the Muslims left in India. Never before had I seen Mr Jinnah so nervous and at a loss for words because he could clearly foresee how the Muslims were going to suffer. As the situation became really unpleasant I requested my colleagues to stop the discussion. I believe that this last conversation compelled Mr Jinnah to say good bye  to the Two Nation Theory on August 11, 1947 as the designated Governor General and the President of the Legislative Assembly."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ilam Din from the archives

(From Punjab Digital Library) - From "Catalogue of Panjabi Printed Books Added to the India Office Library 1902-1964", compiled by Ganesh Gaur, we find the following:

Panj F 1299 : Khvab Ilm Uddin va Nabi ka didaar. Verses in praise of Ilm Uddin, the murder of Rajpal, an Arya Samaji leader of the Panjab. pp 8. Author, 'Amar Uddin,  Amritsar, 1930.   26 cm, Persian char.

Panj D 1365: Ask e Rasul. Verses in praise of Ilmuddin, the murderer of Rajpal, pp8. Author Firoz Amritsari, Amritsar, 1930. 23 cm. Persian char.

Panj D 1362: Gazi Ilmuddin sahid.  Poems in praise of Ilmuddin, the murderer of Rajpal. 2nd ed. pp 8. Rahim Bakhs, Amritsar, 1930.  23 cm. Persian char.

Panj D 1440: Ilmuddin. Verses in praise of Ilmuddin, the murderer of Rajpal, pp 8. Author Mohammad Safi, Lahore, 1930. 23 cm. Persian char.

Panj D 1358: Jos e Islam. Poems in praise of Gazi Ilmuddin, the murderer of Rajpal. pp 8. Author Mohammad Safi, Lahore, 1929. 24 cm. Persian char.

Panj D 1380: Sahadat Gazi Lahori. Verses in praise of Ilam Uddin, the murderer of Rajpal. pp 8. Author Nur Mohammad, Amritsar, 1929. 23 cm. Persian char.

Panj D 1439: Sulah-e-isk. Verses in praise of Ilmuddin, the murderer of Rajpal, an Arya Samaji leader. pp 8. Aziz Uddin, Najmuddin, Lahore, 1930. 23 cm. Persian char


Jayagopal, Kaviraj:
Panj D 1058: Rajpal da vichora. Verses describing the murder of Rajpal by a Muslim. pp 8. Author, Lahore, [1929], 23 cm. Nagari char.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A bitter pill from PTH

Salman Arshad:

Sitting in 2011 we are looking at a reality that British India was a secular country, that Nehru/Congress were a group of very mature leaders (in contrast to Jinnah’s constituency).

Friday, March 18, 2011

As per the Muslim League, the Ahrar Supported Pakistan in 1942

Muslim National Publications, Bombay, issued a pamphlet in 1942, edited by Syed Sharifuddin Peerzada and Mohamed Usman H. Nanji, titled "Unpardonable Crime of Jinnah".  The foreword was by Husein A. Begmahomed, MLA.   A digitized version is available from the Punjab Digital Library.

The unpardonable crime, as per the Introduction:

"The chief target of attack is Qaed-i-Azam Jinnah, for he has committed the unpardonable crime of refusing to be an accomplice in the nefarious game of "usurping all power in the government of the country by depriving other claimants of their due, legitimate and inherent rights."
This pamphlet claimed that the Ahrar support Pakistan.  The text reads:

Ahrars Support Pakistan

Moulana Mazhar Ali Azhar, M.L.A., the leader of the All-India Ahrar Conference in the course of a statement in support of Rajaji's stand, in the "Zamzam" dated May 11 observes:-

    "The simple question is: Should Indians establish Pakistan and get India liberated from the British bondage or should the Indian nationalists adopt the postion that unless the Muslims gave up the demand of Pakistan, India should be left in bondage of slavery.

     "We, Ahrars, have taken the position for a long time that we should not oppose Pakistan.  We cannot tolerate a fratricidal war among the Muslims on the issue of Pakistan.  If Pakistan is established there will be no harm to Muslims.  The duty of the nationalists at this crisis is that they should not prefer the slavery of India to Pakistan.  They should, by support Mr. Rajagopalachariar, help in clearing the political horizon of India of all clouds of communal animosities.  So what we may be able to present a united front in face of every foreign powers."

Click on images for a larger-sized version:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The All Indian Majlis-e-Ahrar - 24th March 1947

From the Indian Annual Register 1947 (page 199, electronic page 240):

The All India Majlis-e-Ahrar
The Working Committee - Lahore - 24th March 1947
Ahrar's Change of Attitude to Congress

The Working Committee of the All-India Majlis-e-Ahrar at its session at Lahore on the 24th March 1947 passed a resolution suggesting the revision of its policy of co-operation with the Congress and giving it a new orientation in accordance with "the spirit and ideal of the Muslim nation."

The resolution passed by the Committee places the blame for the communal riots on the "Fascist Congress leadership."  It accuses the Congress of having set out on "a pre-planned programme of aggression" in order to coerce and intimidate the Muslim majority into submission and incapacitate it for its legitimate role in the Province.   The resolution asserts that the "gruesome happenings in Bihar and Noakhali and the other parts of the country were the results of the Fascist mentality of the Congress and states that this aggressive attitude of the Congress has forced the Majlis-e-Ahrar to revise its policy of co-operation with the Congress."  The Working Committee has also appealed to come together in a joint effort to achieve the emancipation of the Indian Muslims.

By another resolution, the Working Committee opposed the partition of the Punjab as proposed by the Congress.  A sub-committee was also set up to contact other Muslim political organisations and formulate a common programme of action.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The State of Pakistan

Most of all, seething anger over the economic crisis that has led to some food prices doubling in the past year and some government agencies grinding to a halt. (In Lahore, police now demand that people who file complaints provide them with gasoline before they’ll head out and investigate.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Islamic State of India

Irfan Ahmad, in “Islamism and Democracy in India”, narrates:
In Pakistan he [Maududi] opposed the League leaders because they were also trying to establish an “infidelic system [kafirana nizam]“, the only difference being that it would be presided over “by an Abdullah [meaning a Muslim] rather than a Ram Prasad [meaning a Hindu]“. In India the Jamaat interpreted Maududi’s words to mean that even Hindus could run an Islamic state if it were based on the principles of submission to God, humanism and the sovereignty of God.
In the 1960s, Syed Hamid Husain (1920-1985), a prominent Jamaat[-i-Islami] leader, visited AMU [Aligarh Muslim University]. A scion of a feudal family, Husain, before converting to the Jamaat, was a Communist, was Westernized, and was an avid filmgoer. Under the Jamaat’s influence, he resigned from his job with the British Army, considering it haram. Because he had a Western education, the Jamaat regarded him as its star preacher for AMU. In his lectures to students, Husain attacked secularism, nationalism, and democracy, presenting Islam as an alternative system based on submission to God, humanism and the sovereignty of God. Describing Husain’s alternative as “foolish” and “reactionary”, an agitated student asked Husain how an Islamic system was possible in India. Intizar, a retired AMU professor who was a student at the time and attending the lecture, told me that Husain replied, “Yes, it is [possible]. If Hindus accepted the three Islamic principles, India could become an Islamic system.” When asked if he meant that Hindus had to convert to Islam, he answered no. At that, Intizar and his friends laughed at Husain’s “foolishness” [be-vaqufi] and “irrationality” [pagalpan].

Sunday, February 13, 2011

TFT on Taseer's father

The Friday Times Nuggets

Daily Jinnah noted that Governor Taseer’s dead body revealed that he was wearing a chain around his neck with a tablet with Allah and Muhammad PBUH written on it. This proved that the governor was himself a lover of the Prophet PBUH. His father MD Taseer was also a lover of the Prophet PBUH and had supported the killer of a Hindu blasphemer in his time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pakistan and taxes

Prof Christine Fair in The Daily Times

To free Pakistan of international meddling, Pakistan’s political leaders need only to subject themselves and their patronage networks to an agricultural and industrial tax, a move which Pakistan’s leadership has steadfastly avoided throughout the state’s entire history. Of course, it must improve income tax compliance too.

Given this refusal to expand its tax net, the state relies upon an admixture of international assistance and punitive and regressive domestic sales and income taxes to pay its bills. Sales taxes are especially regressive because they affect the poor far more than the wealthy. Government servants — whose income tax is deducted from their wages — and other honest income tax payers pay their way while the wealthy agriculturalists and business elite abscond. Bangladesh has a better tax compliance record than Pakistan.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A.I.R. 1930 Lahore 157

Ilam Din murdered Rajpal, the publisher of the pamphlet "Rangila Rasul", on April 6, 1929.  Ilam Din was sentenced to death on May 22, 1929.  Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Farrukh Hussain filed an appeal to the Lahore High Court against the death sentence.  Following is the All India (Law) Reporter record of the case.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blasphemy - Rajpal attacked thrice?

Mahasha Rajpal, publisher of the pamphlet "Rangila Rasul" made it three times to the New York Times:
September 27, 1927 after he was stabbed, and April 7 and April 8, 1929 after his murder.  From these I learn something that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Re: "I don't regard myself as an Indian"

In the meeting with the Cabinet Delegation, Maulana Azad noted Jinnah's statement of "I don't regard myself as an Indian".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"I don't regard myself as an Indian"

In an interview of Jinnah by Norman Cliff, published in the News Chronicle(London) of March 30, 1946, Jinnah declared "I don't regard myself as an Indian".  This was just after the Cabinet Mission arrived in India, and just before they arrived at Delhi to start conferring with Indian leaders.  This interview was mentioned in the Times of India a couple of days later, and so was known in India.

I suppose Jinnah's regarding himself not as an Indian was also a negotiating ploy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Blow up the topmast" - what does it mean?

On June 10, 1946, Hatim A. Alavi wrote to Jinnah {Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah Papers,  Volume XIII, Cabinet Mission's Parleys for Shaping India's Future, 1 April-31 July 1946, Editor: Z.H. Zaidi, #161, pages 235-237}

You said at our Council meeting [1] that we can work on the two decks, provincial and group, and blow up the topmast.  Will that be possible since the complete constitution is subject to ratification by the British Parliament?
[1] Held at Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, on 5 & 6 June 1946
What does "blow up the topmast" mean?  Whatever it was, Alavi seemed doubtful that the British would approve.

PS: The Council is the All India Muslim League Working Committee.

Did he or did he not?

The answer is probably somewhere out there - on July 27, 1946, Jinnah's address to the Muslim League includes this:
Mr. Jinnah proceeded to explain in detail the negotiations regarding the setting up of an Interim Government.  He said: 'It is entirely untrue that I submitted any list on behalf of the Muslim League.  On the contrary I definitely said that I was not prepared to submit any list until I knew that there was an agreed settlement and if there was no agreed settlement, the Viceroy was bound to go ahead with one major party that accepted it and that I would submit my list at that stage.  The Viceroy had no business to put my name when I had clearly made it know to him, in spite of his trying to persuade me, that I would not accept any office so long as I was the President of the Muslim League." (Annual Register, 1946, part II, page 171, or Speeches, Statements & Messages of the Quaid-e-Azam, Editor: Khurshid Ahmad Khan Yusufi Volume IV, page 2345)
The Transfer of Power papers, (Volume VII, Item 471) has this:

Note by Field Marshal Viscount Wavell
L/P&J/10/44:f 318
7 June 1946

Mr. Jinnah said that he must insist on the 5/5/2 ratio in the Interim Government and that he would not come in on any other basis.  As regards portfolios he said the League were particularly interested in Defence, External Affairs, and Planning and Development, with the last of these Commerce should go.

2. As regards himself he asked what would happen to his seat in the Assembly if he became a member of the Interim Government.  Would he have to resign his elected seat and take a nominated one?

3. He said the only portfolio he would consider was that of Defence.

4.  He said he hoped there was not objection to his remaining President of the Muslim League if he came into the Interim Government.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Provincial elections India 1946

The results of the provincial elections of 1946 in India, as per the Annual Register (click on the images for a larger view):

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Clerical Tsunami

Interview with Pervez Hoodbhoy.

Let me recount some personal experiences. The day after Taseer’s assassination, FM-99 (Urdu) called me for an interview. The producer tearfully told me (offline) that she could not find a single religious scholar ready to condemn his murder. She said even ordinary people like me are in short supply.

The next day a TV program on blasphemy (Samaa TV, hosted by Asma Shirazi) was broadcast. Asma had pleaded that I participate. So I did – knowing full well what was up ahead. My opponents were Farid Paracha (spokesman, Jamaat-e-Islami) and Maulana Sialvi (Sunni Tehreek, a Barelvi and supposed moderate). There were around 100 students in the audience, drawn from colleges across Pindi and Islamabad.

Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed around me (and at me), I managed to say the obvious: that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan; that the self-appointed “thaikaydars” of Islam in Pakistan were deliberately ignoring the case of other Muslim countries like Indonesia which do not have the death penalty for blasphemy; that debating the details of Blasphemy Law 295-C did not constitute blasphemy; that American Muslims were very far from being the objects of persecution; that harping on drone attacks was an irrelevancy to the present discussion on blasphemy.

The response? Not a single clap for me. Thunderous applause whenever my opponents called for death for blasphemers. And loud cheers for Qadri. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said he had Salman Taseer's blood on his hand, he exclaimed “How I wish I had done it!” (kaash ke main nay khud kiya hota!). You can find all this on YouTube if you like.
One can debate whether this particular episode (and probably many similar ones) should be blamed on the media, whether it genuinely reflects the public mood, and whether those students fairly represented the general Pakistani youth. But there is little doubt which side the Pakistani media took. This was apparent from the unwillingness of anchors to condemn the assassination, as well as from images of the smiling murderer being feted all around. Mullah guests filled the screens of most channels. Some journalists and TV-show participants favorably compared Qadri with Ilm-e-Deen. Others sought to prove that Taseer somehow brought his death upon himself.
The program:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Pakistan’s Islamic fixation — King Farouk/Faruq of Egypt on Pakistan‘s Islamic fixation quoted in “Mainsprings of Indian and Pakistani foreign policies” by S. M. Burke (Pages 138 and 139) :
King Faruq was reported to have ridiculed Pakistan's devotion to Islamic causes by saying to his courtiers, “Don't you know that Islam was born on 14 August 1947.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Embedded in the Cultural DNA?

The extra-judicial killing of blasphemers may be embedded in Pakistan's cultural DNA.  I say so because I came across a poem by Pakistan's national poet, Muhammad Iqbal, that supposedly commemorates such events.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sins of the Father

R.K. Kaushik tells us:
Salman Taseer was murdered because of his stand on the blasphemy law regarding Holy Prophet. There is a strange coincidence. His father too had praised, defended and arranged for the funeral of Illamddin in 1929 because Illamddin, who had killed Rajpal Malhotra, the owner of Hind Pocket Books and father of former Punjab Governor Surender Nath because of his comments on Holy Prophet.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saudi Barbaria

From BRF, this link.  A woman is gang-raped, and so is given hundred lashes for adultery.

"Only Religious Thugs Love Blasphemy Laws"

Nick Cohen in The Guardian:

If the circumstances were not so hideous, the successful attempt by Pakistan to persuade the UN Human Rights Council to condemn blasphemers who defame religion would have been a black comedy. Every word its diplomats used in 2009 to protest against Islamophobia turned out to be a precise description of the prejudices the Pakistani state was appeasing at home.
"Defamation of religion is a serious affront to human dignity leading to a restriction on the freedom of their adherents and incitement to religious violence," thundered the Pakistani officials to the UN in 2009.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the marvellous Norwegian singer Deepika Thathaal (Deeyah). To Norway's shame, religious thugs harassed her and her family and drove her out of the country for the crimes of being glamorous and sexy and singing about freedom.
She came to Britain, and to Britain's shame, our religious thugs called her a "whore" and threatened to kill her too. She fled to America and told me that if white racists had driven an Asian singer from two countries, her case would be a cause celebre. As it was, the bigots who persecuted her had brown rather than white skins, so Europeans looked away.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Almeida on opposing the Jihad

Cyril Almeida,on the situation in Pakistan:
When it comes to using state power, the major political parties have a pretty equal, and pretty awful, record of opposing the infrastructure of jihad.

Perhaps the worst of the lot so far in this respect has been Asif Zardari. Sure he says all the right things, in his glib, oily way, but what has he really done?

Gauba on the Sikhs

K.L. Gauba, Consequences of Pakistan, 1946:

The Problem of Khalistan

But the foregoing table is only a faint indication of the problem involved. A separation of the Ambala Division from Punjab would mean the division of Sikhs of the Punjab into two provinces.

Are the Sikhs willing to be so divided ?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

From K.M. Munshi's Hyderabad Memoirs

K.M. Munshi had the following to say (1957)(The End of an Era - Hyderabad Memoirs)
(emphasis added)

"The Indian National Congress, the architect as well as the instrument of Indian nationalism, was for several decades dominated by Mahatma Gandhi and his devoted band of followers, both Hindus and Muslims.  It exercised great self-restraint.  But for it, Muslim separativeness would have led to the growth of fierce Hindu aggressiveness.

When the transfer of power from the British to Indian hands became a clear possibility, the separativeness which dominated certain sections of Muslims found expression in their growing demands.  They wanted separate electorates; communal weightage; then, a balance of Hindu-Muslim provinces in the Federal government; later, a claim to equality of representation with the Hindu community. ...Ultimately when freedom was at hand, this separativeness took the shape of a blunt refusal to live in the same country and a determination to establish a separate homeland......

....Once  Pakistan was conceded and the Congress installed in office in New Delhi, communal fanaticism lost its hold over vast sections of the Hindus.  The fanatic impulse among most of the Muslims who remained in India was also curbed, at least on the surface.

But these new developments created little impression on the North Indian Muslims of Hyderabad....The Ittehad, inspired and dominated mostly by the Indian Muslims was also aided by local adventurers.  Its natural ambition, therefore, was to build a modern fascist centre of communal aggressiveness in India on the crumbling edifice of the State....Their object, scarcely concealed, was to establish Islamic domination, with or without the aid of Pakistan, first of Hyderabad, then of the South and ultimately of the whole of India.

Had this attempt succeeded, it would have precipitated so powerful a Hindu sentiment as to have spelt the end of a free democracy in India.  It would have also arrested its march towards a modern democratic state.  The end of the Ittehad, therefore, served to bury this potential catastrophe once for all.

...If Hyderabad had remained unintegrated with the rest of India, the country would have felt outraged.  The communal fascism of the Ittehad would have developed into a civil war between the communities.  The Muslims of India, who had been accepted as an integral part of our democratic society, would have come to be looked upon as hostiles.

...By the Police Action, the people of India not only met an internal challenge; they fulfilled the destiny which had been denied to them by the accidents of history.

With the close of the Hyderabad episode, therefore, an era came to an end.

The tragedies of Pakistan

In reflecting on Salman Taseer's death:
One of Pakistan’s bigger tragedies is that it is boring.

On Salman Taseer's death

Kapil Komireddi writes in the Guardian

Who bears the responsibility for Taseer's death? To Pakistan's liberals, the principal cause of religious extremism in their country begins and ends with one person: General Zia-ul-Haq, an austere bigot who governed the country from 1976 until his death in 1988. Apportioning the blame so disproportionately exonerates his predecessors, erases the deeper history of theocratic idealism that underpins the very idea of Pakistan, and promotes, to the present generation, the erroneous idea that, prior to Zia, Pakistan accommodated pluralism.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jinnah on the Constituent Assembly

This is from "Pakistan & Constituent Assembly", by Iftikhar-ul-Haq (1946).   One objection to a Constituent Assembly elected by universal adult franchise is that the electorate is mostly illiterate.

Mr. Jinnah elucidated this point on 4th December, 1939, when in a statement in the New Chronicle he said,  "Mr. Gandhi is neither concerned with the size of the country, nor the illiteracy of the masses.  A truly representative assembly presupposes that in order faithfully to express the judgment of the people it can be o[nly?] be constituted if you have a fully developed public opinion, an electorate educated [ ] experienced, free from superstition and capable of judging the vital political issues affecting the country, and not as India stands today, composed of castes, creeds, superstitions, provincial jealousies, quite apart from the main division of British India and Indian States.  The assembly proposed by Mr. Gandhi at best, therefore, be a packed body manÅ“uvred and managed by the Congress caucus".

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gauba's assessment

In Consequences of Pakistan, 1946, K.L. Gauba had the following assessment of the position of the Muslim League after World War II began, reproduced below.  It is of interest as a contemporary Punjabi view of the situation.