Thursday, November 19, 2015

Junaid Jamshed to ISIS - Islamic Corporatocracy

It is now a fact that Junaid Jamshed is a misogynist. No amount of selfies and hand holding with Hadiqa Kiani can convince us otherwise. The damage has been done and now he need not make a lot of effort to convince us. We have been reading several calls to boycott the self proclaimed mullah of the Tableeghi Jamaat and a progeny of Mullah Tariq Jameel. However, in those calls for boycott, people missed out the larger business interests of these mullahs.

Let me digress here a little. I lived in an average working class neighbourhood of Karachi, not poor, not too rich. Educated, working class people, living in houses built in the good old times of 60s and 70s. It was during the 80s and 90s as most of the older lot was retiring, and their sons transitioning into promising stalwarts of the corporate world; when all changed very rapidly. One can even say it changed as soon as the local mosques turned Deobandi with a Salafi hint. Mind it that a Deobandi might never admit to having a Salafi hint.

The suits, pants and shirts were switched with longer kameez and shorter shalwars. The clean shaved men grew beards without the moustache and suddenly the old used cars were turned into black-shiny corollas and accords. They stopped saying salam to the Shias and Ahmedis in the mohallah and kept upgrading their houses in leaps and bounds. No more incremental house building. The money poured in, the old house was torn and new one built. Where that money came from is a whole different debate, but remember the 80s and 90s reference.

Not just in the neighbourhood, but in the entire block one could bet without a glimpse that inside a shiny black corolla would be a moustache-less bearded mullah wearing his younger brother’s shalwar and older brother’s kameez. Anyway…I digress too much.

Coming back to Mullah Junaid Jamshed of the pop band Vital Signs, his many business interests like JDot, MeatOne, Al Shaheer Corporation Ltd, and celebrity business partners Inzamamul Haq, Saeed Anwar, and Muhammad Yousaf, we need to understand the idea of mullah corporatism. It is obviously a fraternity. So there is no room for women except when invisible in a burqa and niqab...or when helping in damage control stunts via music programmes. 

This corporatism or coporativism is the foundation of Islamic Corporatocracy. From Islamic finance and banking ideas to ‘halal certification’, it is all about increasing the coffers of this pop mullah generation. There’s another side to these pop mullahs.

The rogue or let’s say 'astray' of these pop mullahs wreck havoc in parts of the world under the banners of al Qaeda, Isis, Daesh, al Shabab, etc. Their militancy is replete with certain killing techniques, psychological manoeuvres, and media campaigns. Perhaps next they will apply for patenting certain decapitating techniques and women sex-slave finance and liquidity procedures as purely ‘Isis style’.

So for these pop mullahs on both sides, women can either be slaves or consumers of their designer goods.

Though on surface both these sides show differences in opinion, style, and even ‘a bit’ of ideology, their main aim is the same, increasing the influence of Islam by hook or by crook. In that, their misogyny, hatred for minorities, attire, and even language remains the same.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Where life is not sacred

Pakistan has lost more than 80,000 people in the war against terror. The country’s top intelligence agencies and the security establishment along with the Saudi-CIA coalition are to be blamed for this. Their not so savvy strategic maneuvers have failed and rather resulted in creating the monsters that now kill left, right and centre. But killings do not have an effect on this region as much as the thought of glory does.

You can sell the idea of ‘glory in death’ to the people of this region very easily since they grow up on the Greek Hero cult. From teaching children how those who are killed in battle are never really dead to conditioning women into believing they will have a better life in hereafter if they forget they are alive human beings, we thrive on the death of humans, their dreams, aspirations, and thinking ability. Our politics too is played on dead bodies. A better political party has more ‘martyrs’ and not many good living politicians. We have replaced the Greek hero with the word ‘shaheed’ (martyr).

Death is the other name of our religion. If you are Muslim, you must decide which kind to get the permission to live and then die to get access to the royal suite. If you are not Muslim, forget your basic human right to live, let alone live with dignity. It all boils down to living as a Muslim and dying while trying to make sure others are Muslim too.

This is the reason why, even though thousands of people are dead in this country, and many continue to lose their lives on a daily basis, we are not bothered. Those who die are either the bad people like Shias, Ahmedis, Christians, or Hindus, or the good people like Deobandis, Salafis, and other Sunnis. The bad people are of course dispensable being sub-human and the good people are the exalted ones, the eternal ones, the immortal shaheeds.

Lack of respect for the existence of life on earth and desire for the never-seen, never-proven next life is responsible for chaos in most of the countries where the religion of peace is sacrosanct, and Pakistan is no exception. It is why millions of people flee from the regions where this religion is sponsored by the state. But it seems that the roundness of earth is catching up with this escape route as well.

Fighters of the religion of martyrdom are now making life unsacred even in the bowels of secure zones. They are leaving no place to run. Their desire for glorious death is all consuming. From 80,000 Pakistanis, to 250,000 Syrians, their appetite for blood is insatiable. They want to kill, and will continue to kill unless those who follow the same death cult, do not start loving life on this planet.

For that, we need a rigorous rehabilitation process, since abandoning the drug of glory will not come easy.

As a starter, instead of cherry picking, they need to stop reading the parts in their book that sanction death to the infidels, maybe the need is to even eliminate such writings, or add them to the list of redundant verses. Their barbaric literalism needs to be caricatured perhaps a lot more than it is done now. Hopefully though not at the cost of a few more lives in places like the ******* ***** office.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The missing bye laws and killer quakes

Last Monday, October 26, 2015 a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. While the epicentre was in Afghanistan at the depth of more than 200 kilometres, the effects of the earthquake were felt all the way till India. More than 390 people have died in the natural disaster, which triggered several landslides and a glacial lake outburst flood in the northern areas of Pakistan. The highest casualties have been reported from Pakistan with at least 272 dead and 2,123 injured. This is the third major earthquake to hit the South Asian region this year after the May 12, 2015 tremor in Nepal that killed more than 200 which followed the April 25, 2015 earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 9,000 people.
Earthquakes are a part of life for people who live on seismic zones. The only problem is that at times, the infrequency of tectonic activity gives people temporary amnesia and they forget to use the age old ‘disaster-resistant’ construction techniques and safety measures their forefathers mastered over millennia. Let’s forget the moral judgements for now, and focus on the scientific causes of earthquakes and how one can actually try to survive through such a catastrophe.
It is for the governments to enable people to understand the natural disasters that can befall and why. So the authorities need to conduct early study of geologic deposits, seismic monitoring and create early warning systems as a few of the necessary things to mitigate disasters. The second is to create awareness on safety measures necessary for each disaster.
Such measures include fire alarms, fire drills and ‘drop, cover, and hold on’ drills, public awareness campaigns, print and electronic media advertisements for public safety, and educating teachers and children about safety measure. Throughout my schools years, I remember having a fire drill only once, when internationally it is mandatory to have at least one fire drill in an academic year.
Installing early warning systems is also important. However, the problem with earthquakes is that they don’t give enough time before striking, unlike cyclones, tidal waves, tsunamis, hurricanes, and bushfires. So, while an early warning system may work to evacuate before a tsunami, hurricane, or cyclone, it would not work in an earthquake because earthquakes strike suddenly, almost always without any warning.
Therefore, people living in seismic zones, especially on fault lines must be aware of the looming threat of a simple shake when the earth desires.
Mostly, earthquakes do not kill people, buildings do. So it is important that building by-laws incorporate construction techniques that help increase friction in a building, which in turn will increase the time of ‘collapse’ allowing occupants to safely exit. In short, earthquake resistance needs to be taken into consideration when planning a city and designing any infrastructure and buildings in a seismic zone.
Incidentally, almost the whole of Pakistan is situated in a seismically active zone. And while we do have an active Pakistan Meteorological Department and a National Disaster Management Authority, both leave much to be desired.
The magnitude 7.6 earthquake that struck on October 8, 2005, was a major catastrophe to hit the nation. With 80,000 people dead and three million people displaced, the destruction was of epic proportions. The epicentre of the trembler was near the city of Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, which lies in the collision zone of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plate. This collision zone is also responsible for the giant Himalayan Mountain Range.
It seems Pakistan learnt no lessons from the catastrophe. Building bye laws still remain neglected, and while the governments, both central and provincial are keen on bringing in foreign investment in the real estate sector, working out the necessary technicalities is at the bottom of their priority list.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Does the state sponsor takfiris?

I quote from my previous blog I wrote about Sabeen Mehmud.
In Pakistan, bad is on loop. You get done with the death anniversary of someone or some incident every month, and a new tragedy is added to the mourning list.
So, this time it is the killing of 47, nay 43 Ismailis. Since killings are merely a number for us now. Yesterday (May 13, 2015) six gunmen surrounded a bus carrying Ismaili Shias in the biggest city of Pakistan, Karachi. At least 43 people were shot dead including women and children. Their crime? They were Muslims of a different kind who do not believe in violent Jihad. They preach peace and tolerance and interpret Jihad as the spiritual striving to attain nearness to God (minus violence unless their imam calls for it and that too not for imperialism). Life is sad and getting sadder with time. Sorry for the rant. But I just saw a few pictures of the bus filled with blood.

Can we say none of this would have happened if there were no rogue elements in our security agencies and our society? Will we continue to remain blind to the problems within our system and blame everything on US, India, and Israel? Those three countries are not responsible for mosques that preach intolerance and violence, nor are they responsible for the public rallies and 'ijtemas' that banned militant organisations hold in cities or anywhere else. These are matters for the state to resolve, not for foreign countries to decide. Has the state banned websites spreading hatred against minorities? Did the state take any measures against religious seminaries that train militants and suicide bombers? Has the state decided to shut down mosques where extremists congregate, hide and hoard arms and ammunition? Or these are matters for RAW to resolve and take action on?

The fact of the matter is that our state is part of the problem. Otherwise the expenditure of more than 3.5 percent of the GDP on military would have shown some results. Unless, that money is spent on creating more monsters to target those 'unseen' hands of US, India, and Israel, or to give a helping hand to Sunni extremists funded by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and their likes. Here's a flyer found at the massacre site: 
Leaflet left at the crime scene
The flyers (in English and Urdu) found at the crime scene, declare the Ismailis as Rawafidhs (an Arabic word that means "rejecters", and is used by extremist Sunnis to refer to Shia Muslims for their denial of the first three Khulafa-e-Rashideen's right to the Caliphate). Despite these flyers, an alternate discourse is being spread by the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) along with the state sponsored, ISPR dominated media. This discourse is interesting and part of the huge puzzle called Pakistani politics.

AWSJ condemned the attack on Ismailis by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Yes, ASWJ, that thrives in propagating violence against minority groups, especially Shias, is condemning the violence against the peace loving Ismailis. On some level it might even sound ironic, as ASWJ is known to be associated with Sipah-e-Sahaba, a banned anti-Shia, terrorist organisation. But knowing how much the establishment recently tried to bring Taliban Khan in power and how they failed, it is not a wonder...


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jamaat-ud-Dawa loves Pakistan army

Demonstrators took to the streets in Karachi in solidarity with the army and ISI. PHOTO. MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS
This year in January, I wrote about Charlie Hebdo and then I stopped. I stopped because I felt unsafe. I thought of removing my writings from my personal blog because this country, where I chose to live, has no respect for me as a human, let alone as a free-thinking, outspoken, working woman. I did not blog for a long time. Not because there was nothing to write, but because I felt exhausted with dissent.

Is there any good left in Pakistan, I often ask myself, and before I find an answer, something bad happens ---again. In Pakistan, bad is on loop. You get done with the death anniversary of someone or some incident every month, and a new tragedy is added to the mourning list.

Last week on April 24, 2015, we lost T2F founder-director Sabeen Mahmud, who was allegedly shot by 'unidentified' assailants. Her crime, they say, is her involvement or show of solidarity with the Baloch, especially Mama Qadeer, who spoke about the missing persons of Balochistan at the T2F. It has been four days since Sabeen's murder. She has been buried and will probably be forgotten by the time the next tragedy hits us, but do we remember what we were doing in April last year after Hamid Mir was also allegedly shot by the ISI on April 19, 2014?

MQM-H protesting against Geo in front of 
the Jang Press at I.I. Chundrigar Road.
We were, as usual, divided in two groups. One who refused to accept that Hamid was shot by the intelligence agencies, and the other, who alleged that the only people to attack the journalist were the farishtas. Last year, on April 28, 2014, there were countrywide protests by Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H), Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Anjuman Naujawanan-e-Islam, Pakistan Forces Lovers Forum, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), and countless other groups, some even from Kashmir, against Geo TV and Hamid Mir. Their clout? One cannot accuse a Pakistani intelligence agency of shooting someone.

The protesters refused to accept that the security agencies of Pakistan could be rogue or even have any rogue elements operating covertly. Their slogan? "We love Pakistan Army: Jamaat-ud-Dawa". We can guess the rest. A humble letter accompanying a metal pellet.

Last year's tags: Christianity, feminism, Islam, men, Pakistan, patriarchy, religion, temptation, women, academics, Army, colonialism, elitism, feudalism, generals, imperialism, India, military, archaeology, architecture, bye-laws, culture, heritage, Moenjodaro, Pink Floyd, Pink Floyd in Pompeii, PPP, Sindh, Sindh Festival, UNESCO, injustice, leftists, liberals, rights, secular, workers, Karachi, Parachinar, Quetta, Shia, Sunni, takfiri, Deobandi, Balochistan, British, Kashmir, nationalism, separatists, colonizers, English speaking, sub-continent, academia, employ-ability, employment, higher education, jobs

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Je suis Charlie or not?

Charlie Hebdo (was) racist, islamophobic, misogynistic, etc, to say the least of their so-called satire, BUT I condemn the killing of their cartoonists and other contributors, as well as the killings of the cops, especially the Muslim one. He died defending those who 'ridiculed' 'his' religion. Killing someone for not agreeing with our ideals is wrong, BUT one should not 'hurt' the sentiments of millions who revere the Islamic State Khaleefa, err...the prophet.
I condemn the killings of Charlie Hebdo, but what about the freedom of speech for the Palestinians who have been stopped from showing solidarity by the French government? It is wrong that terrorists (anybody who kills someone in the name of Islam does not have to be a Muslim) killed those who worked at Charlie Hebdo, but they should not have drawn the prophet (pbuh). If France cares so much about freedom of speech, why did it ban the advertisement showing Jesus as a woman? If France was not racist and had assimilated the 'Arabs' well, those two (killers) would not have done what they did.
These are some of the comments and ideas strewn all over my Facebook and Twitter timeline. I thank thee for such enlightenment. The 'if' 'but' arguments highlight the duplicity of the human race so beautifully. It is like a breath of fresh air, or the first shower after scorching heat. Call me callous, but I want to compare this moment of those with pens versus those with guns to the Palestinian youth throwing stones at the Israeli military. That is how unmatched the rivals were and are and will remain perhaps.

Deaths do not matter. Be them of cartoonists or those of killers themselves.

Actually, it is neither about the killings of Charlie Hebdo workers, visitors and the cops who were simply there at the wrong time, nor is it about those who killed a dozen people because of a certain mindset. None of this matters any more. What matters are the narratives and counter narratives. What matters is the fact that it is not as important to say Je suis Charlie as it is to say je suis 'so and so...'

It is about France inviting Netanyahu and Merkel to the solidarity rally, the banning of the veil in public, war in Syria and Iraq, Western hegemony against the Islamic world, their double standards and the right-wing narrative that will further fuel the anti-Muslim mindset in Europe.

Human deaths are no longer as valuable as today when all and sundry are looking to collect martyrs. As if the deaths of thousands of people of colour at the hands of Taliban, Boko Haram, al Qaeda, Daesh were not enough, the militant Islamists have given the European far-right the right number of martyrs to push for anti-immigration laws, job cuts, racism, and further reinforcement of the 'savage Muslim' idea.

And if that was not enough, there are people of the Pakistani Awami Tehreek in Peshawar, who are already paying homage to the killers Said and Cherif Kouachi; and Charlie Hebdo with all its activism for equality has actually died in the fight amid the far right Muslims, Jews, Christians, and their apologist leftists... Even if a cartoon on the cover says Je suis Charlie!