Sunday, December 29, 2013


The Pakistani view of the people to their east as short dark rice-eaters (and meant in a derogatory, not a descriptive sense) has a long history.  I had previously posted a mention from 1941.   This post is to record a more recent one.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, in remembering the formation of Bangladesh, confesses:
Having seen only grotesque caricatures of history, it is impossible for Pakistan’s youth to understand 1971. But how can I blame them? Those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s knew in our hearts that East and West Pakistan were one country but not one nation. Young people today cannot imagine the rampant anti-Bengali racism among West Pakistanis then. With great shame, I must admit that, as a thoughtless young boy, I, too, felt embarrassed about small and dark people being among my compatriots. Victims of a delusion, we thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair and spoke chaste Urdu. Some schoolmates would laugh at the strange sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ayesha Siddiqa on Disneyland Pakistan

In the Tribune, Ayesha Siddiqa writes of the failure to recognize complexity, let alone learn how to deal with it:

The magazine, Hello!, has just published a special edition for Pakistan highlighting a list of ‘Hot Hundred’ — profiles of 100 Pakistani icons ranging from brilliant writers, playwrights, novelists, polo players, fashion designers, actors, singers, models and many others. The message is simple: Pakistan is not only about terrorists and extremists but also about very promising people, who can compare with their counterparts in any part of the world. One is, however, intrigued by the Disneyland or Hollywood characteristic of this Pakistan — very clean and tidy, English-speaking, educated, urban and upper and upper-middle class.

This Pakistan is not complicated either because it doesn’t want to bother with the uncleanliness of poverty or the chaos of nationalisms and beliefs.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

K.K. Shahid on Jinnah, Bhutto and intolerance

From the Daily Times of Pakistan:

...Whether it was supposed to result in a federation, or in two separate states (like it eventually did), the Two Nation Theory unequivocally stated that Hindus and Muslims cannot coexist. And that basically is Exhibit A of religious intolerance. Just because Jinnah’s version of intolerance was not baked inside a theological oven, does not make it any less divisive....

....For all practical purposes, modern day Pakistan came into existence on December 16, 1971. The country that was created via an Islamo-nationalist ideology in 1947 ceased to exist after Bangladesh came into being, especially since this new state’s creation in itself was a damning verdict on the former’s raison d’être. Hence, it was time for Pakistan to learn its lessons and realise that religion should not be used to unite a state that is so ethno-linguistically diverse. With Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto — like Jinnah, another man secular and liberal in his outlook — at the helm, it was time for Pakistan to right the wrongs of 1947 and maybe adopt a secular code, which would separate religion from the state. Bhutto did the exact opposite......

....That the two torchbearers of secularism in the history of Pakistan created a separate country in the name of religion and excommunicated a religious sect respectively speaks volumes for the legacy of secularism that we have inherited. That the two torchbearers of democracy refused to work under the mandate of Congress and the Awami League respectively and needed separate states to manifest their ideals, reveals our democratic ancestry. And so it should come as no surprise that both religious coexistence and democracy are alien concepts for us. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pakistani Liberals in lock-step with Army

Dr. Mohammad Taqi writes:

Ironically, this right-left harmony was also on display when several Pakistani soldiers were killed in a 2011 NATO air attack at the Salala check post. A country that unanimously, and rightly, demanded a US public apology over the Salala episode, quite disingenuously wants India to move on after the recent massacre of its soldiers.

Salala was not the only incident where the Punjab-based Pakistani liberal intelligentsia toed their security establishment's line. With some honorable exceptions, the liberal crowd in Pakistan, including those who have been part of the Track II peace process with India, hold views on Afghanistan that are remarkably similar to the Pakistan Army's.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two contrasting views of Ataturk

Over on the Daily Times of Pakistan, Mr. Yasser Latif Hamdani, a lawyer and author, writes of Ataturk
he abolished the state religion and made Turkey a modern secular republic, albeit flawed at times (a 1932 law banned 30 odd professions to citizens of Turkey belonging to the Greek Orthodox faith).
and of Jinnah and Ataturk:
It is also known that Jinnah stood for the same indicators of modernity, i.e. republicanism, women’s rights and the right of each person and indeed each Muslim to live free of the tyranny of the clergy’s dictates. Both men believed that sovereignty must rest unconditionally with the people and the parameters of material progress of a people were defined by their education, culture and civilisation.
Meanwhile. in the New York Times,  Edhem Eldem, a professor of history at Bogazici University writes:
Turkey’s past has little to offer in terms of democratic inspiration.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

N.W.F.P. election results 1946

Always check the facts when dealing with Pakistani liberals.

In this article on,  it is claimed
Dr Khan Sahib became the premier after the 1946 election on the basis of 30 members in a House of 50. Out of these 30 members, 12 were Hindu MLAs and 16 were Muslim MLAs on Muslims seats (not 19 as Bangash claims repeatedly).
A little bit later, the article tells us that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, an ally of the Congress Party (which is correct).

In "Muslims, Nationalism and the Partition: 1946 Provincial Elections in India" (1998) , Sho Kuwajima provides the party-wise results (page 230) : Congress 30, Jamiat-ul-Ulema 2, Akali 1, Muslim League 17.

Since the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind was an ally of the Congress Party, it means that Dr Khan Sahib became the premier after the 1946 election on the basis of 32 members (I don't yet know about the Akali (Sikh) member).

Page 231 of the same book tells us of the Muslim seats, Congress won 19, the Muslim League 17, and the Jamiat-ul-Ulema won 2.

Thus of the Congress 30, 19 were Muslim exactly as Bangash claims repeatedly, and 11 were non-Muslim.

Whenever these elections are mentioned, we should note that the total electorate in the 1946 elections was 41,075,839.  The estimated population of India in 1945 was 299,621,000.  Sho Kuwajima estimates that "the proportion of the total electorate to all the population of the same age group may be roughly less than 28 per cent."

PS: Here is one of the articles of Bangash that is perhaps the source of the argument.

Article 356 of the Indian Constitution

The discretionary powers of the Governor-General and Governor of Section 93 of the 1935 act were done away with in the Indian Independence Act of 1947. But the Indian Constituent Assembly debated and introduced something similar in Article 356 of the Indian Constitution.

We are told:[1]

On August 29, 1947, a Drafting Committee was set up by the Constituent Assembly. Under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, it was to prepare a draft Constitution for India. In the course of about two years, the Assembly discussed 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 amendments tabled.

When it was suggested in the Drafting Committee to confer similar powers of emergency as had been held by the Governor-General under the Government of India Act, 1935, upon the President, many members of that eminent committee vociferously opposed that idea. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar then pacified the members stating:

'In fact I share the sentiments expressed by my Hon'ble friend Mr. Gupte yesterday that the proper thing we ought to expect is that such articles will never be called into operation and that they would remain a dead letter. If at all they are brought into operation, I hope the President, who is endowed with these powers, will take proper precautions before actually suspending the administration of the provinces.'

He added: 'I hope the first thing he will do would be to issue a clear warning to a province that has erred, that things were not happening in the way in which they were intended to happen in the Constitution.'
 S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, 1994, (Wiki), when the Supreme Court of India set strict boundaries,  stopped the previous abuse of this provision of the Constitution.

[1] EXECUTIVE DISCRETION AND ARTICLE 356 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA: A Comparative Critique K. Jayasudha Reddy and Joy V. Joseph, EJCL Volume 8.1, March 2004

Sunday, March 10, 2013

KKS: Don't blame the Taliban

This appeared first in Pakistan Today, I believe, but I could not find it there.   Read it at The Telegraph, part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


No commentary necessary, situation normal....

LAHORE: An enraged mob torched dozens of houses located in a Christian-dominated neighbourhood of Lahore on Saturday, DawnNews reported.
The mob attacked the houses in Joseph Colony in Badami Bagh police precincts in the provincial capital following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man. The man was booked under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

It appeared that the man had been falsely accused of blasphemy but the police was forced to register a case to placate the mob, a local police official said.  (Dawn)