Photograph Fazila Baloch allegedly enforced missing wife of Dr.Allah.Nazar of banned #BLF
Fazila, Zarina, Farah, Sakina, Sulma are among those names which are very common in Urdu-speaking and Punjabi-Speaking urban chattering class but some names are little bit strange for them like Ayal, Gorjan, Zheerag. When we add Baloch with these common and rare names then we understand their identity and region with which those belong. Now question is that why such names are being mentioned when we deal issues like internal displacement of the Baloch people or Baluoh asylum seekers, enforced missing persons and alleged fake encounters in Baluch populated areas.
But such names we see only in posts made on social media. In mainstream media there is totally silence. We can say that culture of silence has been prevailed and our print and electronic media totally submerged into this silence culture.
It has been said that allegedly Karachi rangers in Uniform and some other in plainclothes armed with guns stormed into house of Nawaz Atta Baluch, general secretary of Baluch Human rights orhanization-BHRO in Gulistan-i-Juhar Karachi in midnight on 28th October, 2017. Women in the said house were tortured when they asked the raided party to show the search warrants. A women named Farah Baloch was over thrown from the roof of the said house and got fracture in spine. Atta Nawaz Baloch, 8 years old Aftab s/o Muhammad Younis Baloch and two other boys were picked up by the raided party and now all picked up persons have been enforced missing because Karachi Rangers officially denied of conducting any raid in the house of Nawaz Atta Baloch of Baluchistan Human Rights Organization-BHRO.
It has been learnt that Farah Baloch( who got fracture in her spine cord during alleged raid of the Karachi Rangers at a house of human rights activist) is widow of Shahnawaz Baloch cousin of Nawaz Atta Baloch, who was killed by Pakistani securtity forces at his home in alleged encounter. Shahnawaz Baloch married to Farah Baloch just before three days when he was encountered to death by security forces. Farah Baloch called it fake encounter and extra-judicial killing of her husband. She was in struggle for justice with cooperation of BHRO when she faced Karachi rangers.
Incident happened in Gulistan-i-Juhar Karachi was totally blacked out in mainstream media and just appeared in Social Media as usual. Social media activists showed strong reaction on enforced missing of eight years old student Aftab baloch and over throwing of Farah Baloch from roof.
Protest campaign was getting momentum when news of missing of Fazila baloch, wife of Allah Nazar, head of banned militant baloch organization Baloch Liberation Front-BLF, her three yrears adopted daughter,Popal Jan, her relative women Sulma d/o Raheemdad along with her one and half year old son Irfan, Iyal d/o Amin baloch along her two years old daught Zaheerag and Gorjan appeared again on social media and totally blacked out by mainstream media as usual.
On social media after missing of wife of Dr.Allah Nazar baloch of BLF and three other women there are being made contradictory claims by Baluch organizations and pro-Pakistani security forces social media accounts.
Baluchistan National Movement, a baluch separatist political party uploaded a scanned press release on its tweeter and Facebook accounts( The Baluchistan Post, a news website also referred this press release while posting news of the said missing) which claims that Fazila baloch along with her three years old adopted daughter Popal Jan baloch and other there women, relatives of her, two younger babies had come Quetta for treatment of Fazila baloch suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-PST after getting injuries during a bombing o her village in Muskay district of Baluchistan and could not recover fully after botched backbone operation and they all were allegedly by intelligence agencies from Sariab road Quetta on 30th October,2017. But still independent sources did not confirmed this claim and neither any security or intelligence agency accepted that they had taken Fazila and others into their custody.
But Ahmad Qureashi a controversial anchor, seemed pro-security forces officials who are facing of allegations of making human rights violations in Baluch areas claimed in a tweet that Fazila baloch was arrested at Chaman Pak-Afghan border while trying to flee to Kandhar Afghanistan. But this calim could not be verified by security agencies of Pakistan immediately.
Popal Jan Three years old adopted Daughter of missing Fazila Baloch
After arising of insurgency in Baloch majority areas of Baluchistan access for national and international media has been near to banned now not only from security agencies but it is due to aggressive approach of baloch militant organizations.
Often owners of big TV channels imposed undeclared censorship and black out policy on news about insurgent areas in Baluchistan. Independent reporting environment does not exit there and silence culture prevails there. Security forces and intelligence agencies not only those who are in denial position on question of human rights violations, and other related issues like extra-judicial killings, enforced missing persons but we see baluch militant organizations in denial position of attack on civilian peoples and even they justify attacks on Punjabi, Sindhi laborers, teachers, shopkeepers, doctors and others.
In the presence of state oppression, undeclared censorship, insecure environment for media persons, human rights activists, unfriendly attitude of both state and non-state actors in Baluchistan independently facts finding and to verify allegations of human rights violation with precision and accuracy have become very difficult task and not easy and without risk of life.
I think security forces and intelligence agencies making operations against baloch militant organizations in Balochistan even in Karachi are not very different in their methods and strategies than those adopted by Indian military, paramilitary forces, intelligence agencies in insurgent areas in India like Kashmir, Nagaland, and Maoist dominated areas in South India, enforced disappearances, fake encounters, discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, creed and identity, and denial or justifying positions are common phenomenon.
Urban chattering classes either in India or in Pakistan have same responses on such issues….. Near to total silence or very offensive or harsh toward rising voices on such inhuman and anti-human rights drives. Silence culture is very dangerous in case of Baluchistan and Baluch people. Alienation of Baluch people is increasing day by day from Punjab and they are very annoyed on silence in Punjabi dominated urban centers.
(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
‘babies are generally far more resilient than new parents realize’
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Riaz Malik says : Regarding Hamid Mir’s “support” for the Baloch cause, the Fake liberal Mafia always presents that clip of his interview with Shehzad Roy.
During that clip, Hamid Mir misappropriates and hijacks the Baloch cause to vent his prejudice against the previous PPP government and dilutes criticism for the army. but that is not the worst part. Hamid Mir also creates a False binary to equate Baloch Nationalist struggle with the cause of his favourite Takfiri Deobandi terrorist group, the Taliban.
In one part of that 7 minute interview, Hamid Mir chastised the army for allowing the US to “violate our sovereignty” when U.S. Seals came in and killed Osama bin Laden.
When Hamid Mir criticises the army’s operation against Baloch nationalists, he in effect wants the army to stop any operation against the Taliban as well. This is a tactic that was used by others as well including Imran Khan and I think even PML N.
Hamid Mir is a sectarian bigot and a fraud who misuses the Baloch cause to create sympathy for the Taliban and also to create opposition for any operation against the Taliban and other terrorists.
Who can forget the despicable performance of Hamid Mir when he ganged up with Irfan Siddiqui and allowed Imran Khan to harass and abuse Dr. Hoodbhoy in a Capital TV episode in 2009. In 2010, leading alternate site LUBP was viciously targeted by Hamid Mir for exposing his anti-Ahmadi bigotry and his links with the Taliban which lead to murder.
A symposium was organized by Irtaqa Institute for Social Sciences Karachi on 15 October, 2016. In that symposium participants expressed their concerns on issue of enforced missing people and violation of human rights in Pakistan.
In start General Secretary of Irtaqa Institute Kaleem Durrani presented brief introduction of Irtaqa Institute. “This institute reflects progressive point of view of intellectuals on changing situation in society. Today here are Hani Baloch and Mahin Baloch-daughters of enforced missing poet and writer Wahid Baloch- who are in constant struggle for release of her father since 26th July,2016”, he said.
“Their struggle once again issue of missing persons helped to bring in lime light and we pay tribute both of them for their courage and braveness. And they are both presiding over this symposium”, He added.
After inaugural speech made by Kaleem durrani, Hani Baloch made a speech. She said,” Enforced missing of our father Wahid Baloch has destroyed peace and calm of our whole house. A person who cannot see any person in pain has been missed since 26th July, 2016 and those are responsible for this missing are silent.”
“We are knocking doors of courts, Police stations and visiting again and again offices of lawyers but nobody is ready to hear our request. My mother are shocked and she is patient of hypertension. My grandmother is hospitalized and I could not muster up such courage to tell her truth”, she added more.
“ Here Human Right Commission for Pakistan, humanists, book lovers are not only supporting us but they are included in our struggle for release of my Baba(Father) Wahid Baloch and other missing persons. Symposium for Missing persons from institute like Irtaqa is sign of living humanity still in our society”, Hani Baloch said during her speech.
Hani regretted that when in Latin America Museum for commemorating of period of enforced missing persons are being erected, we are raising question: Why our papa Wahid Baloch was missed? But there is nobody here to reply us and no one here to tell us about alleged crime of our father. If my father committed any crime then what should my father to do for saving his life. Lessons of peace and brotherhood are given in schools and colleges here. Is that peace not to tell whereabouts my father? She questioned. Here are no democratic rights. I visit every place for justice but cannot find, she said.
Dr.Hafeez Jamali from Habib University said,
“Issue of missing persons has become issue of many people in Pakistan. Human rights are being violated and it is false to say that only militant Baloch people are enforced missing. Every Baloch has a missing which is either his/her class fellow or relative. Environment of fear is dominated in Baluchistan due to growing in number of missing persons. No young man in Baloch community, who do not see torture in dreams or he/she has not fear of enforced missing. When I was researching and collecting matter for my doctoral thesis then my observation was that in those days Baloch fishermen were frightened to go Karachi or come to Gawader city because fear of missing or picking up by intelligence agencies was in their mind. Dr.Hafeez praised much Hani Baloch and Mahin Baloch for their forthcoming for release of their enforced missing father and thus brave girls helped in breaking silence on issue of missing persons.”
Kashmiri student Jawad said,” Every Nation living in Pakistan is target of enforced missing and this is all happening due to demand for their rights from these nations. We will have to use every democratic way including through writing, making speeches, protest to make possible release of Wahid Baloch and this release will make possible more releases of missing persons in Pakistan.
Sartaj Khan, member of Revolutionary Socialist organization was also there along with his other comrades. His view was that in Pakistan, from Wazirstan to Karachi masses are being targeted of state campaign for capitalist occupation. So called development is state narrative and whoever raise voice against displacement, poverty, backwardness is declared at once traitor, terrorist and agent of state enemies.
“Issue of missing persons is also linked with capitalist developmental narrative of state”, comrade Sartaj added.
Political worker Praim Lal criticized funded oriented and project based non-governmental sector’s approach toward such issue and said that issue of missing of Wahid Baloch is a political issue and we cannot restricted it to just non political aspect. Project based NGO’s cannot run a political movement.
Rahat Saeed, a progressive writer and intellectual from Karachi said,
“Movement for release of Wahid Baloch, in fact is encouraging other families of missing persons. Release of Wahid Baloch is only way to stop enforced missing of people next. Intellectuals, Poets, writers cannot see massive violation of human rights and freedom for speech in society. This is desire of those evil forces which want to divide our society. Enforced missing is not civilized way to handle with alleged crimes and to protect the country. If Wahid Baloch is involved in any anti-state activity or in any other crime then a case should be registered against him and he should be produced in court.”
Human rights activist Abdulhai briefed the audience in symposium about details of human right violations in Pakistan. His view was that unlawful acts like picking up people and then missing them are being taken to frighten and terrorize the people active for human rights or challenging state narrative on different issues. When government set up a commission for enforced missing persons then Supreme Court disposed of all cases of enforced missing people and now this commission is working just in papers.”
Blogger and writer Asim Jan said,” Baloch, Sindhi, Urdu speaking , people from Gilgit-Baltistan,Kashmir and even from Punjab tenants are being picked up and now thousands of people are missing and state actors are involved in such extra-legal and unconstitutional acts. We will have to fight against this on larger scale.
Prominent activist of Democratic Students Federation-DSF Naghma Sheikh stressed on all nationalists, Marxists and democratic currents in all nations of Pakistan to become part of this movement for release of missing people in Pakistan till to achieve the target. We should adopt the message delivered by Hani Baloch today.
Baloch writer Imadad Hussain revealed worst situation of human rights in Lyari of Karachi. According to him there are thousands of residents of Lyari have been extra-Judicially killed or are now in list of enforced missing people. Mostly extra-judicial killing were of nationalist activists or political workers. People are so frightened that coaching centers have been closed. Many families were destroyed in the name of so called gang-wars. Victims are not only Baloch but some Sindhis also. He appreciated those persons and organizations who are raising voice for Wahid Baloch. He stressed on political workers and human rights activists to come Layari and collect evidences of genocide of people of Layari in Karachi. Wahid Baloch was a harmless not a celebrity but a small Baloch innocent writer and poet and he was picked up and now he is also in missing persons. In Layari such innocent children were slaughtered who ever chewed Pan along with.
Dr.Riaz Ahmad, teacher from Karachi University also made a speech in symposium. He said,
“To make people missing is to create fear among rights seeking people but when state of denial comes from those who do all this ,it means they are also coward and frightened people. They are aware of their guilt. Along with imperialists so called mega development projects our society has been facing murderous war and this war like situation we can give alternative face through stressing on right for speech and right to hear truth and right to bear it. This is only way to combat state and non-state barbarism. We should make fast movement for release of Wahid Baloch while contacting people through media and social media and grow our contacts each to other. “
Note: When I had posted my article on Cyril Almeida on my blog www.jagrti.wordpress.com then from my friend I received a link of a blog on Cyril Almeida. That article forced me to change my approach toward Amide’s inclinations. Alas! Almeida has also track record of making false binaries, dishonest journalism and even some time taking very clear pro-military establishment line. Now really I am confused. What should be my stance as whole toward Cyril Almeida?
Once upon a time when today’s hero of liberals of Pakistan was darling of ISPR. This was Cyril Almeida who had invited Pakistan Army to stop Asif Ali Zardari in coming power for second term. He had written,
“Only two things can stop [Zardari from second term victory]: Sharif, if he wises up and somehow stops the election from being stolen; the army, if it decides the costs of non-intervention are higher than the benefits of the status quo.”
Another painful thing came in my knowledge after knowing facts in the article sent by my friend was Cyril’s stance on Baloch and Hazra genocide in Baluchistan. Article writer revealed that:
“Here’s another example of how Cyril recycles and reinforces the Deep State’s lies. In his extensive three articles series on Balochistan (recently published in daily Dawn), Cyril Almeida tried to equate the Baloch genocide by Pakistan army with the violence by the Baloch nationalist groups. This is a classic case of false equation while ignoring the systematic kill and dump policy of the Deep State against the Baloch activists. Further, he did not write a single word on Hazara genocide by the army backed sectarian monsters. In the same article, Cyril shamelessly justified notable Baloch scholar Professor Dashtiyari’s murder by blaming him for his support to violent Baloch nationalist groups.”
I searched too and find many more same writings of Cyril Almeida in which he was taking totally side of Military Establishment and shifting all blames to PPP coalition government but there was an exception on side of Politicians his inclination toward PML-N and Nawaz Sharif was very supportive. On completing on year of coming in power by Asif Ali Zardari he wrote an article “In the year 2 AZBy” :
“But if the economy and militancy were sure to get worse before they got better, a shrewder politician would have understood the need to handle other areas better. Look at the Sharif brothers. In Punjab they are steering a government beset by many of the problems confronting the one in Islamabad. There`s a large cabinet, a dysfunctional coalition, little money, load-shedding, gas shortages, fuel shortages, dire inflation, unhappy farmers, dismayed businessmen, angry human rights activists, an antagonistic governor, unsettled bureaucrats — and yet the brothers come out on top in any poll.”
These facts opened my eyes and I am unable to call him real Anti-Establishment figure among journalist community. Cyril Almeida remained double-tongue journalist in era of PPP government and he was very loyal to the narratives of the Deep State.
One question comes in mind, what happened now in Era of Nawaz Sharif? One simple answer may be that in fact Cyril was not loyal to military establishment in period of PPP government but his real loyalty was with Mian Nawaz Sharif & Co. Perhaps in those days he was doing all rotten things on directions of Nazo Sahib to fail Zardari and his allies.
Cyril Almeida’s invitation to army to save Pakistan from Zardari
Critical readers of Pakistani media are quite familiar with Cyril Almeida and his double-tongue when it comes to the ostensible criticism of army and appreciation of democracy while remaining loyal to the narratives of the Deep State. Mr. Almeida’s writings and services to the Deep State are a living proof of the fact that there are not only right wing columnists and media persons (mainly in the Urdu press) who recycle and reinforce the Deep State’s narratives, there are also some seemingly liberal columnists and writers (mainly in the English press) who are equally friendly and useful to the Deep State.
Special links with the military establishment
Pakistan’s media circles are aware of frequent contacts between ISPR and Cyril, a privilege which is not available to anti-establishment journalists. Recently Cyril’s close contacts with the Deep State were revealed by none other than another ‘colleague’ i.e. Ahmad Quraishi. Mr. Quraishi writes quite visibly upset by the fact that Mr. Almeida leaked details of a confidential brief by none other than General Kayani:
Columnist Almeida extensively quoted from a background briefing and turned inaccuracies into policy statements. Thankfully, he didn’t forget to add, “All comments were made strictly on the condition of anonymity being maintained.” Oh really?
Mr. Almeida apparently was one of four-dozen editors, talk-show hosts and columnists invited by Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaque Kayani to his office on Sunday for an informal and off-the-record chat on the country’s strategic situation. From the accounts of most of those who attended the dinner, Gen. Kayani spent a lot of time explaining the defense and army budgets and then delved into regional military issues when some of his guests went that way during Q&A. All discussion was strictly a ‘backgrounder’, meant to help journalists get a better context for regional developments. Organizers of the event stressed several times to all participants not to report on the event and not to quote.
One can debate how much a journalist should or shouldn’t stick to such official restrictions on information. What is beyond debate is the fact that Pakistan faces a very difficult and deteriorating strategic situation thanks to the blunders of our own and of some of our allies. If a senior official is candidly sharing information and context with Mr. Cyril Ameida and others, then Mr. Almeida, both as a journalist and as a citizen of the country, has the responsibility to reciprocate trust by controlling his urge to leak, especially when the information he just received deals with diplomacy and war and is not as urgent as exposing corruption and underhand deals.
Surprisingly for a professional journalist like Almeida, he tried to hide Gen. Kayani’s indentity by identifying him only as a ‘senior military official. Then he wrote, “The comments were part of a wide-ranging briefing given to editors, anchors and columnists on Sunday.” So much for being discreet.
Salmaan Taseer’s murder
Mr. Almeida also played a dubious role in the aftermath of PPP’s senior leader Salmaan Taseer’s murder by a robot of the Deep State. According to Abdul Nishapuri: a major element of the urban liberal activism after Taseer’s death was to blame the very party, the PPP, which Taseer so proudly served and died while defending its ideals of equality and social justice. See for example, how some of the urban liberals tried to attribute Taseer’s murder to a lone wolf instead of the Jihad Enterprise of the military state which has brainwashed and produced thousands of Mumtaz Qadris and Malik Ishaqs. This is how Cyril Almeida took to the lone gun theory (presented by one of his apprentice writers Samad Khurram) given his rabid anti-PPP leanings and his narrative of blaming Shaheed Governor Taseer’s murder on President Zardari. It is no coincidence that the murderer agreed with Cyril and Samad. The plan was well executed!
Cyril Almeida blamed the PPP for leaving Taseer alone and also for the ‘return’ of the army. Did the army ever leave the position of power, Mr Almeida?
Declan Walsh of The Guardian has written that Taseer was left “swinging in a lonely wind” after the Aasia Bibi case became a “political football”. “Zardari was powerless to act,” according to Declan. Possibly. That Zardari is often powerless to act is obvious enough. But at least you can admire a man who fights for something he believes in, who stands up for his friends when it matters. Instead, we are left with the rumour of a president who is spending a few weeks by the sea at the suggestion of a soothsayer. The hate-mongers in the vernacular media are particularly malign influences. Having seen the ugliness up close and the slyness with which it is foisted off on an unsuspecting public, you can’t help but feel a little ill. And increasingly if there is anything we should fault Asif Zardari for, it should be for surrendering without a fight on that front. The comeback the army has made, the total control it is exercising over national-security policy, the return to a position of singular prestige in the national imagination, all of that may eventually have come to pass anyway. But because no meaningful resistance was offered, it has happened in double-quick time http://www.cyrilalmeida.com/2011/01/07/dawn-op-ed-who-will-fight-back-by-cyril-almeida/
Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder
Not surprisingly, it was same author who had blamed PPP and Zardari for the murder of a senior PPP leader, Federal Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. For example, the crux of Cyril Almeida’s article in Dawn (The politics of appeasement, 4 March 2011) is that he blamed PPP and Zardari for the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti. His article suggests that Zardari must offer his own blood to prove his boldness; the PPP govt needs not to complete its 5 years (i.e., it should vacate the government for the PML-N, MMA and other right wing allies of the military establishment). Almeida is hardly trying to hide his venom against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari in the following lines:
THE fire the PPP tried to fight by starving it of the oxygen of publicity and public debate has just consumed another one of its own. In three years, the party has lost its iconic leader, a provincial governor and a federal minister. And still, nothing… The problem is that the PPP has collectively lost its way. It is fighting yesterday’s battles. This government’s raison d’être has come down to the narrowest of interpretations of government: completing its term.
The blinding pace of events since her assassination — elections, insurgencies, terrorism in cities, Afghanistan, Mumbai, judicial crises, the list goes on — has obscured the fact that the party is still in a state of paralysis, ruled by a regent, waiting for its boy king, unsure of what the future holds.
For this, part of the blame must fall on BB. Like most leaders in politically unstable countries, hers was a one-person show. BB had minions around her, not a genuine second-tier leadership with political capital and standing of its own.
So when she was brutally struck down, gone with her was the vision for the party, what it stood for, how it could evolve to meet new challenges. There was no, in corporate parlance, ‘business continuity plan’; there was just a Bhutto continuity plan.
Paralysed, frozen, frightened and paranoid, the group that has coalesced around Asif Zardari has searched for answers to their predicament — but by looking backwards to what they think BB would have done.
Complete a term. That’s probably what BB was thinking. And that’s probably where Zardari got the idea from.
But there was a fifth period which also shaped BB’s thinking, a period that was tragically too brief and came too late to filter through to the leaders running the PPP today.
It was the period between Oct 18 and Dec 27 in 2007. Between the two devastating attacks, the bombing in Karachiwhich was meant to kill her and the attack in Pindi which did.
By all accounts, BB was a changed woman in those 10 weeks. She seemed to have understood that the game had moved on, that it was no longer just about elections and completing terms and politics of survival.
Now, today, with Shahbaz Bhatti dead, with Salman Taseer buried, with BB herself gone, perhaps Asif Zardari and his lieutenants need to focus on the last weeks of BB’s life.
Yes, a full term for a government would be unprecedented. Yes, it would help the democratic project. Yes,Pakistan’s democracy needs strengthening.
But that alone is no longer adequate. BB understood that in her last weeks. Retreat, withdrawal, appeasement, they are no longer options.
Baloch and Hazara
Here’s another example of how Cyril recycles and reinforces the Deep State’s lies. In his extensive three articles series on Balochistan (recently published in daily Dawn), Cyril Almeida tried to equate the Baloch genocide by Pakistan army with the violence by the Baloch nationalist groups. This is a classic case of false equation while ignoring the systematic kill and dump policy of the Deep State against the Baloch activists. Further, he did not write a single word on Hazara genocide by the army backed sectarian monsters. In the same article, Cyril shamelessly justified notable Baloch scholar Professor Dashtiyari’s murder by blaming him for his support to violent Baloch nationalist groups. This is what Mr. Almeida wrote:
When asked about the allegations that Dashtiyari had been killed by the intelligence agencies, a senior security official responded defiantly, “Who owned his death? BLA did. They put out statements eulogising him. Who was he close to? What were his politics?”
Multiple sources confirmed to Dawn that Dashtiyari, while never having taken up arms himself, was close to insurgent groups and at various times had exhorted violence against the state and other ethnicities living in Balochistan.
Blame the politicians
In another article, Cyril suggests that corrupt politicians are responsible for all ills in Pakistan including GHQ-AlQaida alliance:
“Can we fix ourselves? Take a look around. Does anyone think Asif Zardari has what it takes? Nawaz may have the chutzpah, but does he have the nous? Beyond them, what is there but a fetid pool of opportunists and political mercenaries?”
Kayani’s message to Zardari
In yet another article, Cyril Almeida, acting as an informal spokesman of the ISPR conveys the following message to President Zardari:
When the interior minister, the ex-foreign minister and the all-powerful spy chief met to decide the fate of Raymond Davis, two of those gents were of the opinion that Davis doesn’t enjoy ‘full immunity’.
One of those two has now been fired by Zardari. The other, well, if Zardari tried to fire him, the president might find himself out of a job first.
17th amendment and the status quo
Cyril is the same author who wrongly anticipated in Sep 2009 that Zardari will never allow the 17th amendment as he wants to keep the status quo.
Sharif wants Zardari to give back the powers that Musharraf arrogated to the presidency, powers that tilt the institutional balance decisively in favour of the president. Which is why Sharif keeps demanding that the 17th Amendment be undone first and only then a constitutional reforms package be debated.
Zardari’s problem is that while the status quo suits him best, he’s on the wrong side of the consensus of the political class. Other than whoever is currently occupying the presidency and his acolytes, no politician believes that the president and his appointed governors should have the power to dissolve assemblies or that the president rather than the prime minister should have the power to make key appointments in the judiciary and the armed services.
Inside Almeida’s mind?
In his recent piece in Dawn on 16 Sep 2011, Inside Zardari’s mind, the update, Cyril Almeida writes: “army [can stop Zardari], if it decides the costs of non-intervention are higher than benefits of status quo.”
Here are some key extracts from Cyril’s article and my brief comments in square brackets.
The arrogant Zardari will be grinning smugly. The paranoid Zardari will be seeing shapes in the shadows.
[He is your country’s elected president. At least show some respect, Cyril!]
To steal an election, a civilian has to neutralise three players: the army, the main political rival and the outside powers. If two of those factors gang up against you, you’re good as gone.
[Did Zardari steal an election? How?]
Zardari thinks he can pull it off and clear a path to emulating ZAB in 1977. Once rivals and threats are neutralised, he plans to use money, patronage, fear and control of local administrations and the interim set-up to sweep to victory. It will be ugly, it will be nasty, it will be vintage Zardari, the man he’s skilfully hidden behind the avatar of Zardari the democrat the last three-and-a-half years.
[Really, Cyril, do you really believe this is how PPP came to power?]
Ever the opportunist, Zardari has used history to his advantage.
[Carry on abusing. If we criticize you, resort to the ad hominem plea.]
Many in the [army] high command loathe him. They feel utter contempt for his utter disregard for matters of governance and the economy. Of course, they also fear that the awesome incompetence and plunder on the civilian side may shrink the army’s trough and imperil their privileges.
[Spot on, Cyril. You are doing excellent advocacy of the institution which values you the most.]
In Punjab, there’s the Imran Khan factor to peg back Sharif. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ever-reliable Fazlur Rehman can help hold down the ANP and the PPP. In Balochistan, the brutal repression of the insurgents and their sympathisers could erode the appeal of the moderate nationalist parties. The convulsions in Karachi are helpfully reminding the people why they shouldn’t have faith in any politician.
[Excellent plan. Did Athar Abbas tell you about this?]
So, paranoid Zardari may be wondering if the boys in uniform have quietly begun deploying their weapons against him.
[What have been the boys in uniform quietly telling you, Cyril? Share with us]
Zardari had hoped the IFIs and the West would bail him out by bailing out the country, but they have baulked, tired of the transparent lies about economic reforms and fiscal responsibility.
[Now you, Cyril, are acting both as a foreign policy expert and economy expert, which clearly you are not. Any evidence to your claims?]
Zardari is turning to the pièce de résistance of his rule: converting an accidental term into a monumental edifice to cunning, guile and opportunism by snatching a second term.
[Winning an election is equivalent to cunning, guile and opportunistic snatching?]
The piles of cash have been acquired; the interim set-up studied for loopholes; the presidential overhang will be deployed to full manipulative effect.
[Now you are reading from the same script which is also provided to Ansar Abbasi, Haroon Rasheed and Mosharraf Zaidi. Read it again. Do you have evidence to prove your baseless allegations?]
Zardari is about as much a democrat as Musharraf or ZAB.
[Of course, I heard Anasar Abbasi saying the same line a few days ago.]
Having inverted the rules of divide and conquer — now, it’s the Punjabi-led establishment that is divided between the army and Sharif — Zardari will be master of all he surveys.
[Apparently this is the urban elite’s main concern, the internal divisions within the Punjabi-Mohajir elite dominated establishment. Good job, Cyril.]
Only two things can stop [Zardari from second term victory]: Sharif, if he wises up and somehow stops the election from being stolen; the army, if it decides the costs of non-intervention are higher than the benefits of the status quo.
[Thank you, Cyril, for so clearly inviting army’s intervention in the name of national interests. The costs of non-interventions are indeed too high, not for Pakistanis, but for urban (fake) liberals of Pakistan].