By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi
It is 16th December. Every year this day reminds me of the painful event in 1971 when Sonar Bangla, the East Pakistan fell and hundreds and thousands of patriotic Pakistanis became prisoners of ego and lost everything including their citizenship and became stateless. After 38 years those Pakistanis along with the next two generations born in the mean time are still stateless. About 300 thousand of these people are living in miserable conditions in 70 camps scattered in various regions of Bangla Desh. There hopes of repatriation to Pakistan have been exploited by different governments and political parties every now and then. The Secretary General of Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Council (SPGRC) Mr. Haroon ur Rasheed in a recent interview disclosed that Gen. Zia ul Haq was committed to repatriate these people and a Rabita Trust was established in 1988 for this purpose but unfortunately he was killed in the plane crash.
Listen to the interview of Haroon ur Rasheed with Dr. Mujahid Ghazi from ABN Chicago this last week [audio: ABN-Stranded-Pakistani-Haroon-Rasheed.mp3]
He also said that the only other person who was sincere was Nawaz Shareef, who started the repatriation by providing houses in Mian Chunnoo in Punjab. After only 325 persons of first 56 families were repatriated his government was taken over by General Musharraf and the whole matter went into cold storage.
Guest Blog by Ishaal Zehra
Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina has said that the recent mutiny in the paramilitary force Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) which killed 73 army officers was aimed at triggering a civil war and warned that the masterminds behind the bloody revolt still wanted to achieve their goal. The 33-hour mutiny by the rebel BDR soldiers on February 25-26, 2009 was initially believed to have been caused by disputes over pay and command structure.
Commerce Minister Lt Col (Retd) Faruq Khan, who heads a high-power committee to coordinate the foreign and local investigations into the February 25-26 carnage, said “a dangerous conspiracy is going on to destroy the development of the country”. Whereas the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hassan Mahmoud admitted that terrorist outfits with alleged cross-border links still existed in the country despite years of massive anti-terrorism campaigns.
At a glance, Bangladesh’s 37-year history has been a turbulent one, with many incidents of political turmoil and violence, where most of the time cross-border linkage was confirmed at the public level (even if not acknowledged at government level). This recent mutiny reminded me of the tempest that rocked Dhaka University and other educational institutes of Bangladesh, in August 2007 which ended up in the imposition of curfew like situation in the country. At that time too the sole purpose of the tempest creators (master minds), seemingly, was to start a civil war by bringing the people face to face with the armed forces through the so-called student movement. The Bengali media reports later disclosed that the havoc was actually masterminded by the Indian Intelligence Research and Analysis Wing – RAW. In an exclusive interview with VOA Bangla service, the first elected mayor of Rajshahi City, Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman Minu said that he feels that India is behind the terrorist activities in Bangladesh. Minu said that because of the Indo-Bangladesh porous border, it has not been possible for the government to apprehend the terrorists.
Guest blog by Ahmed Nadeem
Political and administrative blunders being committed by our saviors on daily basis are clear signs of death of the Feb 18 mandate. Bad luck of our leaders – Media picks each of such blunders and passes to public. The shady explanations, fake excuses and rhetoric of leaders which follow to justify governance become an entertainment rather then satisfying the public. Blame goes to media – a ready scapegoat. The day Sarah Palin said that she is an expert in international relations as she can see Russia from her hometown; her dream to become Vice President was over. Ask our leaders and they will tell you it was fault of Tina Fay, who did the prank on Palin. Blames also goes to establishment and non-democratic forces. No mention of own blunders and endless hunger for power. This is not their stupidity alone. Our leaders have no idea of the times and the world in which they are living.
Zardari has been out of touch with people for last 10 years. He has no idea what Pakistan he is living in today, so are the politicians, judges and bureaucrats. None of them is connected with people. None of them gets public feed back about their actions, decisions and repute. This isolation leads them to make unpopular decisions and ultimately becoming civilian dictators. These decisions cause distrust and frustration in public. Politician in rest of the world runs their blogs and keeps connected with their constituents and public through face book or online forums, emails and text messaging. By doing so – they get public feed back and gauge public mood to form future policies. This results in popular decisions and good governance. None of parties or leaders in Pakistan affords to be open to criticism or public access because of their past baggage and morals.
In 1971, the Chairperson of the PPP, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, refused to acknowledge the mandate of the people of East Pakistan and prevented a democratically elected government from functioning. Notwithstanding the mess that our “great” army had left us with, it was the PPP Chairperson who had adorned complete dictatorial stature and threatened to break legs of anyone who would attend the assembly inauguration session in Dhaka. Bangladeshis resisted and eventually took up arms and fought for independence. Pakistan had lost its most populous province and split into two.
Today, another PPP Chairperson has engineered a verdict that refuses to give the democratically elected government its right to function. Zardari is doing exactly what Bhutto had done in 1971 – eliminating all challenges that may come in his way to become another “Civilian Martial Law Administrator”. It was Sheikh Mujeeb, the rightfully elected leader of Pakistan, who was the biggest challenge to Bhutto’s throne. For Zardari, it is the rightful Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who will not only revoke the NRO but also put an end to the stretches of today’s corruption.
Guest Blog by Silence fromIslamabad Observer Blog
Bloggers are also socio-political commentators; any change in the social and political landscape of a society will mean a shift in blogger’s orientation. Unlike mainstream media men, bloggers are considered to be voice of ‘people’ as they themselves belong to various political and social backgrounds and reflect what a man in street is thinking about socio-political environment of a society.
PAKISTANI BLOGGERS contributed a lot in terms of awareness and physical participation against former Dictator Pervez Musharraf, when he sacked the Chief Justice of Pakistan and later imposed a ‘Mini Martial Law’ to sack impartial judges.
Before general election in Pakistan, there were reservations about NRO and so called ‘deal’s’ rumors between Musharraf and exiled political leadership, but as a whole PAKISTANI BLOGGERS were for democracy. They had a huge impact to mobilize the young voters that they swayed the final majority against a ‘Dictator’. Participation of youth in rallies of Chief Justice and Benazir Bhutto is the evidence of impact of still ‘incubating blogging’ in Pakistan. They were blogging for change.