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Social Media is transforming politics

Rabia Sattar Zia

The mechanism that is most often offered for this state of events is the existence of echo chambers or filter bubbles. The argument goes that first social media platforms feed people the news that is closest to their own ideological standpoint (estimated from their previous patterns of consumption) and second, that people create their own personalized information env-ironments through their online behaviour, selecting friends and news sources that back up their world view.

Once in these ideological bubbles, people are prey to fake news and political bots that further reinforce their views. So, some argue, social media reinforces people’s current views and acts as a polarizing force on politics, meaning that “random exposure to content is gone from our diets of news and information”.

With the rapid and exponential growth of connectivity and networking predicted by Moore’s Law, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is disrupting many fields, but none more strikingly than democracy – and capitalism. Both institutions are based on the freedom to choose a leader, product or service based on the best available information. But only now are we realizing the significance of how this information is created, delivered, modified and consumed – how it has been skewed by the exponential growth in communications technology.

After Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, 2016 will be remembered as the year of cataclysmic democratic events on both sides of the Atlantic. Social media has been implicated in the wave of populism that led to both these developments.

Attention has focused on echo chambers, with many arguing that social media users exist in ideological filter bubbles, narrowly focused on their own preferences, prey to fake news and political bots, reinforcing polarization and leading voters to turn away from the mainstream. It has been responded with the strange claim that his company (built on $5 billion of advertising revenue) does not influence people’s decisions.

From the advent of language and the alphabet, through the evolution of printing, broadcast and the telephone, the control of communications was historically in the hands of a privileged few.

Private-sector social media platforms, such as Twitter and YouTube, allow anyone to transmit information to the masses without gatekeeper approval.This has redefined the broadcaster-audience equation. Previous power-brokers can no longer control the limitless information passing directly through cyberspace to personal smartphones. Entrenched rights are being dismantled, a new power is emerging in the world and ICT is leading this change.

There have been many benefits to society from this change. It’s now much harder to conceal things like political corruption, product defects and inadequate service. When politicians miss parliamentary sessions or make different promises at two different campaign sto-ps, the news is immediately disseminated. For businesses, a “hot mic” moment can go instantly viral or a seemingly minor problem with a product can evolve into a global recall – and corporate scandal — in an instant.

Compounding that, traditional forms of individual and mass communications are waning. Witness shrinking print newspaper readership, broadcast television viewers and fixed line telephones.

In 2016, a perfect storm of technology advanced combined with marginalized voices led to everything from Brexit to the recent U.S. presidential elections. Even with the huge growths in online retailers at the expense of their physical counterparts, we were all confronted with a new world order in which traditional assumptions of everything from news reporting and polling to advertising could be wrong. This is causing every government and business leader to question how to lead effectively and responsibly amid the confusion based on inaccurate information.

These surprises weren’t supposed to happen in the era of big data and artificial intelligence. Both the quantity and quality of information were supposed to get better. But as we became comfortable and confident with technology, the fundamental way we communicate and exchange information also changed.

This era of anytime mobility helps like-minded individuals band together via social media. They share information which isn’t necessarily incorrect, but is definitely myopic and biased, leading to what psychologists call “confirmation bias.” In the last few years, supporters who shared tweets and articles and reaffirmed beliefs that furthered their cause unleashed a populist movement that changed everything from geopolitics to who gets to live in America’s White House and South Korea’s Blue House.

Pundits everywhere have been speculating about how the economy, international politics, immigration and even the environment will change with these surprises. But even before these events, the world was already changing. Just ten years ago, such electoral results would not have been possible. In fact, back then the five largest companies on the planet were oil or oil-related. Today, the five largest are all information-based – data has truly become the “new oil” and, as with oil, it’s a resource that’s full of opportunities and surprises.

Unlike traditional public utilities, communication infrastructure and media, as well as the infrastructure underlying the internet, is now mostly owned by private groups. This is another example of how the balance of power between public and private forces has changed and even transcended boundaries of sovereignty, further complicating governments’ roles and making this a truly global issue.

Leaders today must realize that the revolution in communications is not an extension of the old ways, but a whole new paradigm. Anyone can become a broadcaster, pollster or news-maker. The full meaning of this change, evident in the votes of 2016, is only starting to reveal itself.

Politics is a lot messier in the social media era than it used to be – whether something takes off and succeeds in gaining critical mass is far more random than it appears to be from a casual glance, where we see only those that succeed.

Meanwhile, the only thing we can really predict with certainty is that unpredictable things will happen and that social media will be part of our political future.

Dre.iiuiswabi@gmail.com

 

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Trump’s secret plan!

Abdullah Muradoglu

Everybody knows that the “Israeli lobby” had a major role in US President Donald Trump’s “Jerusalem decision.” Of course, the Israel love of the Republican Party’s “Evangelist” wing and the Christian-Zionist wing has also been effective. In the Dec. 12 Senate election in Alabama, radical Evangelist Roy Moore, presented by Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is going to compete against the Democrat opponent, Doug Jones.

This competition is actually going to take place between the “Trumpists” led by the Republican Party’s mainstream leadership and Christian-Zionist Bannon. The party’s traditional center wing does not want Moore.

Despite the sexual abuse claims against him, Moore continues to receive Evangelist support. Moore’s election is going to strengthen the “Bannon battalion” that has waged war against the party’s mainstream leadership. If Moore gets elected, this will be a “Pyrrhic Victory” in which the winner is harmed as much as the loser. Because both the mainstream Republicans and the Democrats are going to be waiting to take Moore outside the Senate.

Trump’s delegation for so-called eventual peace between Palestine and Israel consisted of four people, including his Orthodox-Jew son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner. All members of the delegation, except for Egyptian-origin Coptic Christian Dina Powell, one of the “National Security” advisers, are of Jewish origin. Jason Greenblat was Trump’s company lawyer.

One other was US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. It is known that Friedman has always been against a two-state solution in Washington and that he supports the plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. On a different note, it is said that Powell will leave office in January or February 2018. Powell, who is said to be close to the “Globalists” in the White House, accepted this position for a one-year period.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis objected to Trump’s Jerusa-lem decision based on reasons of “security” and that it will harm relations with the Arab allies in the region.

But Trump said, “I will not change my decision.” Looking at comments in US media, Kushner guaranteed Trump that the Jerusalem decision would not threaten the peace plan. Kushner told him that reactions would be limited and, when negotiations came into question, everything would go back to normal.

Trump is hiding the details of the so-called peace plan like a secret. All plans evolve around Kushner’s friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It seems that Trump is dependent on the secret diplomacy between “the Arab front” and Israel, formed against Iran. We will better see what the “Arab front’s” attitude concerning Trump’s plan is at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit to take place in Istanbul on Dec. 13 upon Turkey’s call. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu is against the two-state solution. Last July, the Israeli government had approved some 1,800 Jewish settlements in Eastern Jerusalem. Trump’s Jerusalem decision will speed up the settlement policies, ongoing for years, to legitimize East Jerusalem’s occupation. Trump’s major donor Sheldon Adelson and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) are also against a two-state solution. According to the ZOA, the Israel-Palestine Agreement will hinder stability and the Palestinian state will constitute a security threat for Israel.

In the ZOA’s statement congratulating Trump’s Jerusalem decision, it reads: “Israel’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and Egypt today is strong due to mutual security concerns and the threats coming from Iran. The embassy moving will not change this.”

Yet, the ZOA’s ally Steve Bannon sees both “Hamas” and the “Palestine Liberation Organization” as “terrorists.” While he was Trump’s chief strategist, Bannon had refused to attend a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas at the White House saying, “I will not breathe the same air with a terrorist.”

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Donald Trump’s approach to Pakistan

Shakir Wazir

The US president Donald Trump announced the new South Asian Strategy on August, 21, 2017 wherein, he chastised Pakistan for providing safe havens to the very terrorists US is fighting. This might have flabbergasted most of the Pakistanis who would have done a double take on their TV screens and headlines of the newspapers that how the US’ frontline ally in the War on Terror could be shunned? But their relation has seen similar ruptures in the past as well. Their interaction can be conveniently divided into three epochs, each one characterized by intense engagement and abrupt estrangement up to the extent of placing sanctions! Each country has tried to influence the other with its own peculiar demands.

According to some analysts, the US-Pakistan relations can be divided into three significant interactions. Each of the three interactions has suffered cracks due to the variable importance of Pakistan in the eyes of U.S. The first two fall in the Cold War era (from the mid-1950s to mid-1960s; the second was during the Afghan Jihad in the 1980s) and the third one dates back to September 11, 2001, where under G.W. Bush, the Pakistani participation in the War on Terror ushered in a new era of cooperation.

The first engagement started in the Cold War especially after Korean War when US was looking for allies to contain communism, while Pakistan was deeply concerned about the power disparity in the Subcontinent with respect to India and was earnestly seeking ways to redress it.

The heightened security concerns and need for economic development forced Pakistan to reach out to the United States. Pakistan’s geo-strategic location worked as a linchpin for American designs and Pakistan got membership of the Southeast Asian treaty (SEATO) in 1954. The US strengthened Pakistan’s military capabilities and potential for economic growth. But in doing so the US encouraged the undemocratic tendencies and helped Pakistan Army to raise its national profile. With connivance of the US, the Pakistan Army with alliance of pro-Western conservative forces including Islamists dominated the country’s politics. The Pakistan’s religious profile at the time did little to US’ concern but in fact US saw it a measure of internal stability and a bulwark against communism. The first period of estrangement started in 1960’s when the US didn’t consider the Indian threat to Pakistan to be credible or real. Instead, US helped India to balance China’s growing power in post Sino-India conflict. The Pakistan Army, obsessed with Indian growing power, felt compelled to tilt toward China. This compelled Pakistan formally left SEATO in 1973.

In the second phase of engagement, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the US saw Pakistan’s help critical in its efforts to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. The US desire to disintegrate the then USSR and contain communism overshadowed any other concerns that the US had toward Pakistan, such as those related to democracy and nuclear proliferation. To cope with the Afghan irredentist claims, to funnel Afghan nationalist sentiments into pan Islamic sentiments and to have international legitimacy for the country’s isolated military regime, Pakistan allied itself with America to wage jihad against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The military dictator Zia-Ul-Haq’s regime allowed Pakistan to be used as a sanctuary, training ground, and staging area during the war. The CIA and the ISI collaborated in instigating an insurgency against the Soviet military.

This allowed Pakistan receive billions of dollars in economic and military assistance. However, it was no longer after the USSR disintegrated that the Pressler Amendment put bar on most of its economic and military aid and suspended delivery of F-16 fighter aircraft ordered and paid by Pakistan. Although the engagement between Pakistan and US in this period made a historic contribution to the end of the Cold War but the radicalism spawned by the Afghan jihad and co-opted by Pakistan would not rock the region but radiate far beyond. After the Russian retreat, the US left Afghanistan in the lurch to warring factions of the so-called mujahedeen (holy war fighters) and the weak Afghan government propped up by the Russia. The US turned its blind eye on infighting going on in Afghanistan to provide space for the mujahedeen to erase all remnants of communism. The Afghan government accused Pakistan of supporting mujahedeen to facilitate their entry to the throne of Kabul. Pakistan has consistently denied the allegations. At last, the Taliban, whose leaders and cadres emerged from the then mujahedeen, overran the Afghan capital and established a rule of their own. Pakistan was the first to recognize the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Taliban were accused of housing international terrorists groups, such as Al-Qaida, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and Pakistan based Kashmir mujahedeen etc. This arrangement was unacceptable to US which threaten to label Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Furthermore, after the deadly and abhorrent incidents of September 11, 2001, the two countries found a chance to cozy up again in US led war in Afghanistan. Pakistan had no option other than to cooperate under the threat of dire consequences if didn’t comply with the terms of US. Responding to the American demarche to choose sides between the US and the Taliban, president Musharraf promptly extended all his support to America in the war against terrorism. Pakistan dejectedly opted for fateful decision to side with America while jeopardizing its own strategic investment for many years. Musharraf’s decision was motivated by the objective of pursuing the country’s security, economic growth, the need to safeguard its “strategic nuclear and missile assets”, the Kashmir cause, and his own power consolidation and prolongation.

Although Pakistan received billions of dollars in economic and military assistance but it lost lives of more than 50 thousands innocent civilians and thousands of military personnel. Pakistan hoped that its cooperation in war on terror would ensure its say in Afghanistan’s future political setup and peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue but it proved to be mere illusions.

Rather, Washington pressurized Islamabad to abandon its support for freedom fighters in Kashmir and to declare them as terrorist organizations, while banning their operations at its soil as well.

The joint venture kept the two intact for some years. There were significant breakthroughs in manhunt of Al-Qaida and some Taliban leaders. Pakistan military carried out number of military operations in FATA. Sometimes the US lauded the role played by Pakistan Army in fight against terrorism and the sacrifices rendered by it, and at other times the operations were termed as perfunctory vis-à-vis Haqqani group, which itself was considered the most dreadful and veritable arm of ISI, who mounted tough resistance against ISAF forces in Afghanistan. The relationship between Pakistan and the US strained increasingly by differences over Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan. The US officials chided Pakistan’s military and intelligence agency as either harboring or going easy on militants even before the Navy SEALs tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011. In turn, Pakistani officials have cited Indian influence as a cause of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan has expressed its deep concerns over the Indian support of hostile political regime in Kabul and funding of militants, who use Afghanistan as a base to launch cross border terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

According to Hudson institute’s policy recommendations prepared by Hussain Haqqani (former Pakistan’s ambassador to US) and Lisa Curtis (Trump’s South Asian Advisor), the US engagement with Pakistan must be based on a realistic appraisal of Pakistan’s policies, aspirations, and worldview. Also, it must be acknowledged that Pakistan is unlikely to change its current policies through inducements alone. Some of the policy recommendations laid down by the Hudson institute included: avoiding to view and portray Pakistan as an ally and at the same time to keep an option for Pakistan to be an ally of the United States in future if it came up with the conditions set for it, to prioritize engagement with civilian government of Pakistan and continue humanitarian assistance programs administered by Pakistan’s civilian authorities, to enforce counterterrorism conditions on US military aid and reimbursements to Pakistan, keeping the option of using drones to target Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan, to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism in case it fails to end support for Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network, and to seek avoiding a complete breakdown in US-Pakistan relations.

The recent stalemate has heightened tensions between the two countries after Trump accused Pakistan of harboring “agents of chaos” during announcement of new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia. A US Army general and the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, John Nicholson, said that he had seen no change in Pakistan’s support for militants so far, despite Donald Trump taking a tougher line against Pakistan. CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned Pakistan that if it didn’t eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the US would act to destroy them. The recent visit of US Secretary of Defence James Mattis to Pakistan where he met PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa, was aimed to woo Pakistan to redouble its efforts against terrorists and to find a common ground with Pakistan. In response, the COAS of Pakistan, General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed Pakistani concerns regarding the Indian use of Afghan soil.

Generally, Pakistanis have learnt that the US has been threatening Pakistan from long times and nothing different is going to happen this time either. The mercurial president, Donald Trump, who sometimes veer off script of his speech, may designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. From the recent developments it seems that Trump is following the policy put forward by the Hudson institute. Some may argue that Pakistan does not need America for economic and military assistance because China is providing Pakistan with economic and military assistance. It must be kept in mind that China has very poor history in bailouts. The need of the hour is that Pakistan should revise its foreign policy regarding Afghanistan and India and should unequivocally communicate to USA. Otherwise there is no silver bullet to the problems Pakistan is facing in dealing with the superpower, USA.

 

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Condition Precedent

M Jahanzeb Butt

Long awaited appeal of the Punjab Government has been finally accepted by the apex Court, ruling out the injunction of the Lahore High Court. The critique observation on the decision of the apex Court has stated that the apex Court has applied the doctrine of ‘In casu extremae necessitatis omnia sunt communia’ (In a case of extreme necessity everything is common); contrariwise, the positivists has welcomed the decision and believes that the compliance as per provided through the verdict of the apex Court will result fairly for the protection of the cultural sites as well as for the construction of the “Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project”.

The apex Court’s observations regarding the congestion of the Lahore City set forth the requirement of the mass transit system. As, the mass transit system is the only solution for resolving the traffic congestion problem. The mass transit system for Lahore is based upon the four adjoining projects namely; 1) Green Line (Gajju Matta to Shahdara), 2) Blue Line (Jinnah Hall to Green Town), 3) Purple Line (Data Darbar to Airport), and 4) Orange Line (Multan Road to GT Road), which were suggested through a feasibility study of a private firm many years ago. The original feasibility study suggested that the Orange Line shall consists of total 27.1 KMs track; in which 20.2 KMs to be elevated through viaduct and 6.9 KMs underground. Due to budgetary position of the Punjab Government, another private consulting firm suggested for 1.7 KMs if underground portion meeting the budgetary requirements, and the project began for execution. The Orange Train was en-route beside 11 cultural sites, namely, 1) Shalamar Garden, 2) Gulabi Bagh Gateway, 3) Buddu’s Tomb, 4) Chauburji, 5) Zaibunnisa’s Tomb, 6) Lakshmi Building, 7) General Post Office (GPO), 8) Aiwan-e-Auqaf, 9) Supreme Court, Lahore Registry Building, 10) Saint Andrew’s Church and 11) Mauj Darya Shrine and the Mosque, and while constructing viaduct there was threat of damage or adverse effect on these sites. The Constitutional Jurisdiction of the Lahore High Court was invoked on the bases of two statutes; The Antiquities Act, 1975 and The Punjab Special Premises (Preservation) Ordinance, 1985, in these statutes 10 of these 11 sites were declared as antiquities or special premises setting condition that any construction or development in proximity of these sites, shall require a special permission from the competent authority. In accordance with the Antiquities Act the Director General of the archaeology department is the competent authority, which after deliberations along with the expert advise and feasibility study report allows the project; similarly, the competent authority under special premises ordinance allows the project. The deliberations through the feasibility reports clearly indicated that there was not any threat to any of the afore-mentioned sites, but still, the Lahore High Court, without recording any adequate reasons dismissed the permissions provided through the competent authorities and signalled red to the Orange Train.

The apex Court observed that as the consulting firm is hired by the Government of Punjab, so the main disagreement between the Parties and the Lahore High Court was the credibility of reports provided by firms.

The apex Court ordered to hire a new independent consultant for carrying out new feasibility study, which again exposed that there is not any threat of damage to protected and preserved sites.

The apex Court observed that the Lahore High Court has decided the matter without any reasonable justification, and on mere apprehension of the biasedness of the reports has rejected the version of the Punjab Government.

The Petitioners of the initial case has also misled both the Courts through misinforming that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (‘UNESCO’) has threatened to remove Shalamar Garden from the World Heritage Sites list. The apex Court thrown this argument vehemently after observing the 41st Committee Meeting report of UNESCO, and also directed the Punjab Government to collaborate with UNESCO to adopt the practicable measures to control and monitor the expected threats to damage cultural sites. The apex Court greeted the argument of the Punjab Government that through this project, the tourism will be promoted due to ease of access to these sites; the tourists shall be attracted.

The apex Court in its verdict also observed that the Lahore High Court has exceeded its jurisdiction by delving into the technical policy issues, which should be left with the experts of those areas, referring to Dossani Travels Pvt. Ltd Vs Travels Shop Pvt. Ltd (PLD 2014 Supreme Court 1).

The conditions set forth for the Punjab Government for the completion of project and their compliance has set the test case of credibility of the construction consultants and the Punjab Government itself.

Such as; the Punjab Government shall make all essential arrangements to ensure that all the sites shall remain stable, while construction there shall be proper mechanism of vibration test, which can be a major threat to preservation of such sites, for control of dust regular sprinkling of water is also made part of the compliance and the preserved sites to be covered through protective sheets, most importantly, an independent consultant shall be hired for the monitoring of the project, for the construction and the operation phases, who will be submitting reports to advisory committee and will make recommendations to Director General, Archaeology Department, after the completion of the project the train shall be operated on experimental bases for 2 weeks and shall be monitored and after the approval of the expert the train shall then be commercially operated, if the vibrations produced are in acceptable limits, and the speed of the train shall be reduced when it will be near preserves sites, the most appreciated compliance is to setup a dedicated complaint line around all the antiquities and preserved areas for reporting damage or deterioration observed by members of the public or tourists, the apex Court has also directed the Punjab Government to setup 100 million fund for monitoring, renovation and reconstruction of the preserved sites.

The dissenting Judge of the apex Court has made prodigious observations regarding the afore-mentioned, almost 400 years old sites. The generosity of the dissenting memo has connected the culture with the human rights by referring to the landmark precedents throughout the world; which interpret the cultural preservation as preservation of human right and is part of the right to life, because life not only means mere protection from injury or death, would include, worth living, such as, tradition, culture and heritage. Siddharam Satingappa Mhetre Vs. State of Maharastra and Others. (2001 SCC 694). Also told that human dignity not merely mean to protect from continued drudgery, extends towards the human civilization, meaning thereby, tradition, culture and heritage. P. Rathinam/Nagbhusan Patnaik vs.Union of India and another (AIR 1994 Supreme Court 1844).

This decision of the apex Court has balanced between the culture and the need, the tradition and the modernisation, the decision the aforementioned is so balanced that the Punjab Government shall be balanced itself while completing and operating this project.

The operationalisation of this project was necessity, because Lahore is one of the few large metropolitans throughout the world without mass transit system, but this necessity should be with preservation of cultural heritage, the tradition and the civilisation, as per the apex Court has remarked.

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Terrorism, barbarism and educational institutions

Muhammad Rahim Haqqani

A student of grade-X says that at dusk when the TV channels show the footage of suicide bombs, I feel much fear and jolts that why one man kills a lot of other innocent humans? Why one human is thirsty to shed the blood of another man. Human beings are the greatest creature of God, but in this very country they are being crushed like crawling insects. Like millions of ants are killing on daily basis, some comes under the soles of men, some under the tyres of vehicles and some are drawn into the waves of canals and rivers. Ignorant of their fate they crawl here and there in search of food. The Quran describes that the count of ants informed their companions that the armies of Prophet Sulaiman (A.S) is coming this way, so you should leave the way otherwise you would be killed (Sabotaged). It shows that such a tiny creature also worried about their lives, and may they have some planning about right to live.

But in an unfortunate country like Pakistan, it is unknown that, who is the killer? And who are being killed? Anyhow next day when I goes to school I see a rifle in the hands of gateman, detector device, may bag is inspected and upon entering I see some watchmen on the roof of school building.

On opening books the pictures of those suicides becomes a permanent sight of my minds and eyes, and fear that such brutal and barbaric beasts may not enter our school, as happened in APS Peshawar, Charsadda University and Agriculture Training Center. Suddenly

I ask my desk fellow that who is the sole responsible for this suicide attacks and w-hat are the aims of such suicidal and non suicidal attacks.

My mate says that these attacks are carried out by America for their own benefits. Another mate from my back says that according to his father such attacks were inducted by India and Israel for their benefits which are our traditional enemies.

“Our teacher hears our buzzing that why you are creating noise in classroom”. I tell him the truth that he didn’t see the teacher coming into the classroom.

I was drowned in my thoughts that heard from my teachers, read in books that the flowering and non flowering small plants should not be plucked and harmed.

Urinating in stagnant water and shady plants and near parks and restaurants is prohibited. The coverings of bananas and other chewed material are dispersed here and there, is a crime, because it harms others. Likewise following the rule and regulations of traffic facilitate and ease other humans.

Beside this, the killing of crawling insects is also prohibited strictly in all religions of the world. Then the killing of human beings is the greatest sin in.

Likewise, the secular laws also prohibit the killing of human beings. But instead human is the enemy of other humans.

Let me give you a piece of my mind that if foreigners (others) are killing us for their benefits then what may the welfare and benefit of our country. It is a fact that the benefit of our country lies in peace, educational development, religious and economical prosperity. The ruling parties are doing nothing and their governance is not fruitful and they are not focusing on the welfare of public.

The teacher was listening to the students silently. He said once his father told that the Muslims, Christians and Jews all over the world were included in the descendents of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) like Hazrat Yaqoob (A.S), Hazrat Musa (A.S) and Hazrat Muhammad (SAW).

The killing of innocents is a greatest sin and crime.

In religion Islam, “The killing of one man is the killing of mankind”.

I remembered exactly hearing from my father that Ibrahim’s nation that is Chri-stian, Muslims and Jews, why they are not unifying for the service and welfare of manki-nd. My father told me that now religion has no concern with state’s politics. That is why majority of Christians and Jews are involved in mat-erialism and secularism. That is why in modern era these countries have no concept of God and religion and flourished with materialism meanness and self respect and limited to influence the world.

At the end of the period the teacher told that the suicide bombers were not humans but beasts. America and India are trying to destruct CPEC which is very beneficial for the economical stability of Pakistan and China.

The period lasted in this discussion. I think like me, learning of thousands of students will badly be affected by this situation.

This period was followed by Islamiat’s period and the teacher replied that we the Muslims are involved in amalgamation. The spirit of benefiting mankind is enervating day by day, lack of unity, amalgamation, women’s right is not awarded, children are not loved and elders are not respected, spirits of relations are shunning and ‘Hujra’ culture is ending.

Due to our sins, the emperor like Umar Bin Abdul Aziz is nowhere in the Muslim Ummah.

The teacher described a Hadith that our actions are our emperors. If we become the virtuous, God will send perfect emperors.

Presently due to our fake actions bad and incompetent rulers are swaying us.

Being a Muslim and a human being it is our duty to secure and help each other in our society and respect the right of each other. Being a Pakistani it is our identity that we should let go sectarianism and terrorist.

Being a Muslim, security of country and patriotism is a part of our faith.

In a condition, it is the first responsibility of the state to develop such policies which ensure security of public. Spoil each and every conspiracy of unrest and de-stability. Not to disturb educational environment. When there will be trust between public and government. Then no power of world can destroy and destruct Pakistan, and the enemies like India and Israel can do no wrong to us.

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They sold Jerusalem!

Ibrahim Karagül

Exactly 100 years ago, around about these days, we lost Jerusalem. We lost Palestine. We lost the entire region. We took refuge in Anatolia, the last fortress. We protected ourselves here. We built a shelter for all those flocking in from all corners of the region.
Exactly a century ago, we resisted in the Gaza wars, village by village, in the Canal wars, hill by hill; we sacrificed our youth who came from all corners of Anatolia. We paid heavy prices in Yemen, in Iraq and in Syria. We defended Medina, we defended the Kaaba; we defended the entire region without any discrimination.
This was a ‘Crusades attack’: We knew that this was a Crusades attack. We knew that this was an invasion aimed at the entire Muslim territory. We knew that this was a war to drive out Islam and Muslims from history.
A region had collapsed. The Muslim world had collapsed. We collapsed. They established garrison states, they established oppressive regimes. They took lands, our history and our honor hostage. They destroyed the Muslim world, from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific.
We were able to recover exactly a century later: We recovered exactly a century later. We found ourselves, we found our country, and we found our history and our personality. We learned what it means to walk tall, what honor and freedom means, what it means to be native. We started a history march; a rising wave from Anatolia, from Turkey. We rediscovered our neighbors, our past, our common areas, our cities, our civilization identity, and brought it to the present.
And they attacked once more: This was a march of the region. This was the struggle to revive, the struggle to rewrite history and to stand up on our feet again. This was the fight to save our countries, our cities, our people from the century-old burden on their shoulders, to break the shackles of slavery on our feet and minds.
A century later, they launched a full-fledged attack again. They are closing in on Turkey from all corners. They attacked with their partners on the inside and with terrorist organizations from the outside. They tried everything to negate this historic march. We were faced with a new Crusades attack. Almost the entire Western world became a single front and tried to silence us, to suffocate us.
If Turkey stands up on its feet, Jerusalem will be protected, Mecca will be protected, they know this!
Because they knew that if Turkey is up on its feet, history will be revived, the region revive, the Muslim world will be revived, and our ancient cities will liven up. If Turkey stands up on its feet, Jerusalem will be protected, Mecca and Medina will be protected, and all tutelage over the region will end.
Hence, we have started the “relentless struggle” against this full-fledged attack. We gathered to liberate our country, our nation, our region and our cities once again after a century. We spoke loudly from Turkey to the entire region, to Muslim communities. We said, “Get up.” We sa-id, “Stand tall.” We said, “Pr-otect your countries and citi-es.” We said, “End the century-old slavery.” We said, “Prepare for a new wave of invasion.” We said, “This wa-ve is going to destroy Muslim communities and countries, be alert.” We said, “You no longer need the West to protect you, be yourselves.”
We said, “Embrace your religion, your faith, your fraternity, this will be enough strength for you.” We said, “As Turkey, we are going to be in the foremost line of this front, we will never kneel, we will not surrender, we will not lose another century, you do the same.” We said, “We are being attacked by internal tr-aitors, you are being sold out by tyrannous administrators.”
They sold Jerusalem, they will sell Mecca and Medina too: Jerusalem has been sold. The first kiblah has been sold and was made subject to a very dirty deal. Those who bought power by giving oil until today are now conducting power negotiations by sacrificing Jerusalem. It was this dirty deal that they were promoting to you as “moderate Islam,” and Jerusalem was the first sacrifice. They promoted the fear of Iran and took Jerusalem. Tomorrow, through the same deal, they will also be taking Palestine. Tomorrow, through the same deal, they are going to take control over Mecca and Medina; they are going to take it under tutelage, they are going to take it hostage.
What was the deal betw-een United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the U.S. and Israel? Those saying, “We are now friends with Israel,” “We are now allies with Israel,” “The Arab-Israeli fight is over,” surrendered Jerusalem. How will they ever be able answer to history, to Muslims and to their own people for this?
Arab streets must hold those accountable for this great treachery: Those who made Jerusalem available cannot protect Mecca and Medina. They do not have such authority, such responsibility. The heart of Islam will soon be a subject of this deal as well. This team of administrators that have established an alliance with the U.S. and Israel today, will not say anything in the face of the destruction of their own countries and Mecca and Medina being taken hostage.
The Arab community, the Arab streets must hold accountable those responsible. The non-Arab Muslim world must hold accountable those responsible. Who, with what authority and courage is able to make Jerusalem the subject of a deal and make it available for their own power? Are the oppressed Palestinians the only ones responsible for defending Jerusalem?
War is being moved to the heart of Islam: Is it not the responsibility of Turkey, which, a century ago, resisted in every village of Palestine, is it not the responsibility of the billions carrying the Muslim identity? Is it not the responsibility of Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, and Iran?
Oh Muslims, the children of this region, of these ancient cities!
You are facing an extreme betrayal. You are facing the most critical picture of the great invasion restarted after a century that aims to push Muslims outside of history. Those saying, “We are going to move the war to the heart, to the center of Islam,” those planning an “Islamic civil war” project, have turned from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from Libya, from Syria, to the heart of Islam. They have turned to Jerusalem, to Mecca and Medina.
But Jerusalem will take its revenge for this: But Jerusalem will take its revenge for this. Mecca and Medina will take their revenge on those who have turned toward them. These sacred cities will take revenge on those who have sold them out. They will take revenge on those who have given them as hostages. Their “moderate Islam” projects, their “alliance with Israel” projects, their “joint front” projects and their “new axis” projects will be destroyed. Those who take part in this treachery today will be included in the most shameful pages of history.
‘Relentless resistance’ is the only option, we have no intention to lose: Oh Muslims, the children of this region, of these ancient cities!
“Relentless resistance” is the only option. We have no other option but to turn our countries, our cities, our villages in to resistance fortresses. We have no other option but to reverse this evil wind. We have no other choice but to purge the land of Islam from occupation and betrayal.
This is the showdown of the 21st century. We have no intention to become enslaved once more, to lose another century. It doesnt matter whether Arabs, Turks or Persian are in this showdown.We have no other way to fight than to drive them out of this territory.
We are putting up the same fight again after a century. We are facing the same invasion, we have to organize the same resistances. We are in a new rising era after losing a century ago.We have no intention of losing this showdown. Resistance is the sole option. It is now time for Intifada.

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Jerusalem as Trump’s political theatre

Hussain Abdul Hussain

“Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” said presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008. Had President Donald Trump, or any other sitting US president, said what Obama told AIPAC during his electoral campaign, such statement would have made history.

But Trump’s speech, in which he “recognized” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was more political theater than actual policy. Trump never uttered the word “united” to describe Jerusalem the capital. He said: “We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem,” meaning the borders of the Israeli Jerusalem were still up for negotiations with the Palestinians.

In other words, the Jerusalem that Trump recognized as the capital of Israel was not the one that many Israelis had in mind: undivided and under complete Israeli sovereignty. The Jerusalem that Trump recognized is more of a “virtual Jerusalem,” one that all parties — including many Arabs and Palestinians — understand would remain under Israeli sovereignty in any final solution. Its name, even if not uttered, is West Jerusalem.

The “peace process” that was started in the early 1990s, was premised on the understanding that any future deal would restore the 1948 UN borders, albeit with some negotiated changes. Between 1948 and 1967, West Jerusalem was under Israeli sovereignty. East Jerusalem was under Arab Jordanian sovereignty. It is implicitly understood that in a final peace deal, the Israeli capital would move from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem, whereas the Palestinian capital would move from Ramallah to East Jerusalem. For reasons of political theater, leaders on both sides rarely use the prefix East or West.

Both Palestinian and Israeli leaders often promise their constituents that Jerusalem would be the capital of their respective states in any future peace deal. The prefixes, East and West, are often implied. Trump became the latest leader to announce a policy on Jerusalem without qualifying whether he meant West or East Jerusalem, and without specifying the city’s borders. Such specifications would remain the prerogative of the two contending parties, the Palestinians, and the Israelis. This means that even after his hyped-up speech, the US policy on Jerusalem and the peace process remained unchanged, a fact that the US president made sure to emphasize.

Relocating a US embassy building should not be construed as a change in policy. Had Trump intended to change the US position on Jerusalem, he could have simply replaced the placard on the US Consulate in East Jerusalem to make it read the “US Embassy in Israel”. That would have made headlines, instead of the American president promising to hire “engineers and architects” to relocate the embassy and change history. So, what motivated Trump’s political theater? The answer could be found in the president’s “Recognizing Jeru-salem” proclamation, circulated by the White House, which read as follows: “In taking this action, President Trump fulfilled a major campaign promise of his and many previous presidential candidates.”

Fulfillment of “a major campaign promise” was the theme that dominated the headlines of most of America’s right-wing and Conservative news sites. Trump’s campaign promise on Jerusalem was never as clear as Obama’s. Trump never said he would recognize an “undivided” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He only said “Jerusalem”.

His proclamation came as vague as his promise, giving the impression that he was “making history” in favor of Israel, while in fact leaving the US policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict virtually intact. President Trump’s political theater aimed at winning favor with Israel, and therefore with Jewish American votes and monetary contributions for his reelection bid in 2020, started a few months back when he became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall. Both his “proclamation” and his visit aimed at showing that he was the American president who was willing to go where none of his predecessors dared to go.

Trump even said that the process of relocating the US embassy would take years. In other words, if Jewish Americans want to see the relocation process completed, they would have to bet on Trump and help him win reelection.

Trump’s policy on Israel has not been all theatre, however. The Trump administration has been conducting a Middle East policy that favors Israelis over Palestinians in more ways than the traditional US bias toward Israel. Of the many policies that favor the Israelis, Trump’s announcement of relocating the US embassy would have the least adverse effect on Palestinians. Since his election, Trump has appointed three Orthodox Jews to official positions and entrusted them with brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. These are US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, peace envoy and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and the long-time Trump organization’s confidante Jason Greenblatt.

So observant these officials are that when President Trump flew to Saudi Arabia on a Friday, Kushner and Greenblatt had to ask for a special permission from their rabbi in New Jersey to fly on a Sabbath.

While there is nothing wrong with people practicing whatever faith they believe in, the view of the American trio might be informed by their religious education, rather than their experience in international affairs or conflict resolution.

The Jewish Orthodox education of the three American officials, entrusted with brokering an Israeli peace deal with Palestinians, might be influenced by their dogmatic, rather than a realistic view of things.

Since Trump’s election, his policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has focused on reaching a speedy peace deal, whatever kind of deal, that would allow him to take historic photo ops showing him supervising an Israeli-Arab peace deal, like past presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

After all, Trump has always touted himself as the best dealmaker there is. He, therefore, thinks that brokering an Israeli-Arab deal — a deal that has proven elusive for all his predecessors — will show his unparalleled deal-making skills.

But the Israeli-Palestinian gap is too wide to bridge. Therefore, Greenblatt revived a peace deal that he was sure the Israelis would take: An Israeli peace deal with Arab countries, without the Palestinians. Greenblatt called his new approach the “outside-in plan”, as opposed to the “inside-out approach” that pinned Arab peace with Israel on an Israeli peace with Palestinians as a prerequisite.

Trump’s outside-in plan would hurt Palestinians more than relocation since it strips them of the Arab leverage that they have held for over half a century.

By conditioning Arab peace on Palestinian peace with Israel first, the Israelis would have an interest in accommodating Palestinian demands in order to win a bigger prize, which is normal ties with the rest of the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia, a member of the group of the world’s biggest 20 economies, the G20.

Because Jerusalem has a sentimental value for both Muslims and Jews, Trump’s non-policy speech stirred much debate and headlines across the world. But the fact remains that Trump’s speech on Jerusalem was a lot of talk and little change in policy. The actual change in US policy, however, has been taking place behind closed doors, and in unannounced trips that Trump’s “peace team” makes to some Arab capitals.

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Jerusalem is Muslims’ red line

Yasin Aktay

The US’s political mind, humanitarian values and rationality are not proportionate to its power. Unfortunately, the area of influence it occupies in the world through brute force also offers no hope or positive expectation for humanity. Every step it takes, due to its brute force, stirs up world politics. But recently, this effect has always been destructive, not constructive.

The Donald Trump administration even voicing the topic of moving the US’s Israel embassy to to Jerusalem initially fueled all world politics, primarily the Muslim world. Great anger is directed at the US administration from the Muslim world.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also said that he will not sit and watch a decision the US administration will take in this direction and that he does not have the slightest hesitation in relation to taking all the necessary measures. Turkey is also the term president for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In the event that such a step is taken, Erdogan has warned that he would gather the OIC leaders summit in Istanbul within 15 days, that the process could lead to the point of severing diplomatic ties with Israel and sharply warned the US against taking such a step. The president’s statement, “Jerusalem is our red line,” reflecting the feelings of the entire Muslim world, is important in that it reflects the determination of both Turkey and the Muslim world.

This statement echoed like the sound of hope in the media of the Muslim world.

Of course, whether the US will move its embassy to Jerusalem after this point is a matter of curiosity, however, it should not be overlooked that there is a context to this topic. This matter, as a matter of fact, has a history going far back, long before the Trump administration. The agenda concerning moving the US’s embassy to Jerusalem is, probably, one of Zionism’s strategic goals and plans since the day Israel was established.

This is one of the files that remain open at all times in the hands of the Jewish lobbies in the US Hence, the first steps taken in this regard had also come into question in the 1990s, during President Bill Clinton’s term. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which passed the Senate on Oct. 23, 1995 and the House of Representatives on Oct. 24, 1995, prescribed moving the embassy to Jerusalem, however, the political conjuncture of the time did not allow the enforcement of this decision. In addition to this, no new regulation that would abolish this decision came into question either. The said decision states that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since 1950, yet it was divided until 1967, and after the 1967 war known as the Six-Day War, Jerusalem became united and, in 1996, Israel saying that the Jews will be celebrating the 3,000th year of their presence in Jerusalem after King David entered Jerusalem, foresaw the US Embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem by no later than May 31, 1999.

George W. Bush, who came to office after Clinton, also, during his election campaign, had promised to implement this regulation, in other words, to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. However, when Bush also, similar to Clinton, started the Palestine-Israel peace process to mark the US’s hegemony over the world and its own role over the system, he did not implement the decision throughout his presidency saying it might negatively affect the process.

Similarly, during Barak Obama’s presidency, although this 1995 regulation came up on the agenda time and again, it could not be implemented. So, there was a context to Trump bringing up this topic during his presidential campaign. Of course, Trump announcing that the US would withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, cutting the payment to the U.N. Human Rights Council, which constantly takes decisions against the US (and Israel) and the promise to withdraw from UNESCO instigated Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration in Israel to support Trump, but the greatest motivation was provided by the promise to move the U.S embassy to Jerusalem as soon as Trump became president.

Such that as soon as the election results were announced, Netanyahu made a statement first congratulating Trump, then said that they expect the certain promises he made during the election campaign concerning Israel to be implemented as soon as possible.

At the current point, it is possible to say that Netanyahu’s expectations were largely met. We will see whether the Jerusalem decision will be enforced. However, although we do not have very clear information, we can note for now that one of the topics of dispute between the Pentagon and the Trump administration is this matter.

In short, the plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem is neither a new development, not is it going to be an end in the Trump administration’s Palestine policy. It is not difficult to say that our next topic of discussion will be, “a single state solution process.” The crisis in the region is becoming constant, it is becoming institutionalized. The strategy called “creative chaos” by Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and the social scientists around him, is going to start being implemented in the region.

However, it should first be noted that this creative chaos is slowly turning into a fire that directly surrounds the US as well, and that the US is burning down its throne in world politics. Second, it might even be unnecessary to state at this stage, but there has not even been the slightest progress in terms of solution in the Palestine issue carried out by the US. Third, how the new axis politicians seeking a new political future for themselves in normalizing relations with Israel in the Muslim world will find what they are looking for, or what kind of future will the thing they find prepare for them will be an important topic on the agenda.

 

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How to make quick peace with NK: Let Lindsey move to Seoul

Robert Bridge

Senator Lindsey Graham said the US is ‘getting close to a military conflict’ with Pyongyang, adding that Pentagon officials should stop sending their families to South Korea. But following Pyongyang’s latest missile launch, will they be any safer in the US?

In a deeply disturbing interview at the weekend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said preemptive US military action against North Korea is becoming “more likely.” “We’re getting close to a military conflict because North Korea’s marching toward marrying up the technology of an ICBM with a nuclear weapon on top that can not only get to America but deliver the weapon,” Graham told Face the Nation on Sunday. “The policy of the Trump administration is to deny North Korea the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tipped missile. Not to contain it,” he said.

“We’re running out of time.” Graham, who failed to mention years of provocative US military moves in the Korean Peninsula, then had some rather strange advice for military officials, which will certainly ratchet up the geopolitical thermostat in the region. “It’s crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, continued.  “So, I want them [the Pentagon] to stop sending dependents and I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.” The question is: will that precaution make any difference if worst comes to worst? NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, during a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday, warned that the North Korea’s “ballistic missile that was fired last week showed that all our States may be exposed to this danger.” Nevertheless, the games continue.

This week, after an illusory lull in the military exercises, the US and South Korea will hold“unprecedented” air force exercises, featuring six F-22 Raptor fighter jets and six F-35A stealth jets. A total of 12,000 personnel and over 230 military aircraft will participate. Pyongyang responded to the announcement about the war games, saying the US is “begging for nuclear war.”

Meanwhile, North Korea is certainly not oblivious to what happens to those chosen countries – Iraq, Libya and almost Syria, which just barely escaped the jaws of the regime change machine – that do not have the defensive means to protect themselves from US aggression.  They strive to get the most powerful weapons they can procure. This type of survivalist thinking has defined military strategy ever since men fought wars with spears and shields.

On September 3, 2017, North Korea stated it had tested a thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb), adding that the weapon could be “detonated…at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack.”

At the end of last month, North Korea stunned military analysts when it successfully tested its Hwasong-15, an ICBM that according to Pyongyang could deliver heavy nuclear warheads anywhere in the continental United States.  The missile had a 53-minute flight that finished its journey some 600 miles into the Sea of Japan.

Pushing Pyongyang: For Lindsey Graham to speak so loosely about the prospects of military action suggests the Trump administration wants Pyongyang to strike first, thus giving the US carte blanche to resort to ‘defensive actions’ that will most certainly inflict tremendous destruction on the entire region. Unfortunately, Graham has not been alone in uttering such reckless comments. White House security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday that North Korea represents “the greatest immediate threat to the United States,” and the potential for war with the communist nation is “increasing every day.”

Meanwhile, America’s loose cannon in the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley, told the UN Security Council “if war comes… the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.” So much for diplomacy. Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, called Haley’s spectacle “a really bloodthirsty tirade.”  “If someone really wants to use force to – as the US representative to the UN put it – destroy North Korea… then I think it’s playing with fire and a huge mistake,” Lavrov added.

However, before Lindsey and McMaster uttered their provocative comments, Lavrov preempted their saber-rattling by one day, reminding Japan and South Korea that, in the case of war with North Korea, they will be the “first victims” in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula.

“Unfortunately, they are trying to drag the Japanese, and South Koreans in the same direction, who… will be the first victims in the event of war on the Korean Peninsula,” Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian broadcaster STV. Although Lavrov failed to mention it, there are also tens of thousands of US military personnel and their families in the region who would also come under significant risk in the event of some emergency.

According to the latest available data, there are about 40,000 US military personnel stationed in Japan. At the same time, there are 35,000 US military personnel serving in South Korea. And herein lies the solution for bringing a swift end to the ratcheting up of hostilities between the United States and North Korea. Let those pugnacious people – Lindsey Graham, HR McMaster, and Nikki Haley, for example – who speak so freely and recklessly about war in the Korean Peninsula – be required to live and work in South Korea and Japan, precisely in range of North Korea’s missile launches, much like the rest of the local population. That would change their hawkish tunes very fast, and we’d be much closer to the road of peace and diplomacy rather than bloodshed and militancy.

 

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Curse of circular conspiracy theory

Iqbal Khan

There was a nation-wide sigh of relief when Faizabad sit-in ended peacefully, thanks to good offices of Pakistan Army. This wasn’t the first time when Army played such a role. Over the decades, our national system has become quite fragile. After every sit-in, long march or threat thereof and each shady judicial verdict, political system emerges weaker and another chunk of power quietly changes hands, from elected and accountable institutions to shady entities, some of wh-ich are pathologically pow-er hungry, inherently some of these are neither publicly accountable nor responsible.

Societal polarization is on rise, truth and logic has since long become a causality, partisan approach has taken the centre stage marginalizing out logical and impartial analysis. Diame-trically opposite vie-ws exp-ressed by two High Courts of the country, with regard to recent sit-in in twin cities is just tip the of iceberg representing lawlessness within the judiciary. Floating of no holds barred narratives create an information fog leading to circular conspiracy theory, whereby everybody blames everyone else for the wrongdoing. Much like circular debt of electricity sector, circular conspiracy concept continues to snowball long after the crisis is over. Availability and stature of honest arbiters is shrinking as most of them are continuously getting discredited, and hence unacceptable. Judicial commissions which were once an icon of high hope have stooped so low that these days they become controversial even before they start working on their assignment.

This is adding unpredictability to the system. It is indeed a dangerous trajectory and if the trend continues, there could be a stage when no one is perceived as an honest broker and credible guarantor. Within the national system, all actors-individuals and institutions- are eyeing for absolute power without accepting responsibility. And, in this free for all wrestling, first casualty is national image and pride. The emerging image is of a Banana Republic, having spineless administration and just a semblance of governance.

Engineering and reverse engineering in political structures, conflicting judicial judgements, militarized internal security setting, emergence of parallel decision-making centers have made the environment very murky. Social media has taken the role of a spoiler, spread of unauthentic information to a huge number of recipients in near real time could lead the mob to act before authenticity of information is verified. It is especially so when issue has enormous emotive value like blasphemy. Social media could very well be employed by adversaries for creating controlled or uncontrolled chaos at state and non-state level, within a specified time slot to divert attention from something happening in tandem that is more serious and more damaging.

Yet, all is not lost, system though decaying, is still functional and people are avoiding to indulge into actions leading to rocking the boat. Two elected prime ministers obediently walked away form their office with dignity, in line with court decisions, ‘jury of history’ is still out with regard to veracity of these decisions. Change of military commands is taking place in an orderly manner, and chief justices are being replaced in a non-controversial manner.  Need of the hour is to pause, rethink and at least consolidate on what all is intact.

Siege of Faizabad interchange has happened umpteenth time, each time it paralyses the twin cities leading to a lock-down situation in the federal capital, as most of the people working in Islamabad commute from Rawalpindi. Yet, nothing has been done to offset this vulnerability.

Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal has stated that the “Document of finishing dharna was not desirable but there was little choice because if [the] situation had persisted [for] another 24 hrs there would be riots.”  The deal, according to Iqbal, “was unfortunate” and “not an end that we can be proud of”. He also conceded that the Faizabad operation was launched without the ownership of the political leadership.

“On the assurance of the chief of the army staff, we are calling off the sit-in,” Tehreek-e-Labbaik leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi told the crowd. Like a disciplined crowd, they vacated the site. As per written document, the government accepted six of the protesters’ conditions; interestingly, however, Rizvi has declared that additional nine demands had also been accepted but both sides agreed to not to document those; government has not rebutted the claim. Rizvi told his supporters that the army chief himself had become a guarantor.

When the situation spiraled out of control, the government ordered police and paramilitary troops to stand down and called on the army to restore order in the federal capital. Subsequently, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa went into a huddle with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi where they concurred that army troops would not use force against protesters and would only provide back-end support. This radiated the impression that Army had declined to obey the orders. Though use of military against a highly charged crowd is not a wise option, this saga of tasking the Army and Army wriggling out of it should not have become a public knowledge.

Major demand of protestors was resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid whom they blamed for a change in the oath of elected representatives. Zahid has the dubious distinction that he can draft anything for anyone, he was author of infamous November 03, 2007 emergency proclamation order by President Musharraf. Yet, to give the devil its due, the minster has indicated in his letter to the President of Pakistan that he had long ago offered to resign, he had also conveyed that he was not behind insertion of the text that triggered the turmoil, and amendments to electoral law were framed by parliamentary committee on electoral reforms. If the law minister was ready to resign then asking him to stay on was a foolish idea, strengthening the impression that those actually behind the controversial amendment forced the law minister to stay on as their shield.

Topping of the cake was the sorry state of affairs of superior judiciary. IHC objected to the terms of agreement, besides questioning the role of the armed forces as mediator in the episode. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, said an acknowledgement in the agreement indicated that the army chief, instead of following the orders of the chief executive, became a mediator. “Prima facie, role assumed by the top leadership of army is besides the Constitution and law of land. Armed forces, being part of the executive of the country, cannot travel beyond its mandate bestowed upon it by the organic law of the country i.e. Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

And just a day after IHC criticized the army’s role as a ‘mediator’, Lahore High Court judge highly admired the same role of the military. Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmad observed that had the military not ensured an agreement between the government and the protesters there would have been massive killings due to police operation. Everyone knew that it was the army which saved the country from disaster, Justice Ahmad said.

Political analysts are of the view that government decision to give in is a “major embarrassment” and it underscores the rising misplaced influence of religious groups.  Senate chairman is of the view that “Parliament would have to re-establish the writ of the state damaged.” He opined that the role of the military in ending the protest through a written agreement was a direct threat to democracy. He termed the government’s role in the whole saga as “pathetic”. Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the civil-military leaders must speak to one another through available mechanisms and not through the media. The way this avoidable 21-day siege evolved and ended has raised many questions, which need collective answers from the national leadership.

Iqbal.khan9999@yahoo.com