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DAWN - Letters; April 7, 2003

April 07, 2003


Are we ready for our turn?

THE recent sanctions imposed by the US on the KRL trading amounts to arm-twisting Pakistan. It had to happen eventually, so it did. In fact, Americans had never been happy about it. It seems they were waiting for the right time to come down hard on the KRL.

Now America’s objectives will be to pressurize Pakistan to roll back its nuclear programme. Pakistan, however, has responded well to the allegations levelled against the KRL. The US will likely act short of taking a military action against Pakistan if we make it clear to them that we plan to move ahead with our plans.

All must be mindful of the fact that South East Asia will entirely be a different case as a battlefield. With India, Pakistan, Russia, and China as the regional powers, the Americans preferably will be building pressures on Pakistan in a discrete manner by patronizing India.

The present situation is a test for President Musharraf’s genius and statesmanship. He has spoken well on the CNN about the US ban on the KRL saying that Pakistan will be least affected by the sanctions. He added that it was our independent programme, and that Pakistan had never indulged in any activity which would make our nuclear programme suspicious.

Pakistan can avoid becoming a US target from a position of strength, not weakness. It is more desirable that the government approach the OIC member countries and apprise them of the seriousness of the situation.

The affected countries must exercise their joint international influence and their economic and military strength collectively. They must also engage the rest of the international community.




THERE are clear indications that Pakistan will eventually be a target of those claiming to wage war on global terrorism. The myth that if Muslims become secular these onslaughts will end has been proved wrong first in Bosnia, and now in Iraq.

Another myth that if Muslims become obedient servants nothing will happen to them has also been proved wrong on numerous occasions, as in Gujarat in India recently.

Unfortunately, our self-imposed leaders, instead of opposing global terrorism being practised by terrorist states, have gone along with it shamelessly boosting the morale of these states. In fact, they have become partners in the global terrorism, which is killing thousands of innocent people.

We have witnessed the superb performance of some of our military leadership in 1971. Interestingly those military leaders are praised by the present one.

These leaders even went along the policy of the enemies against Islam and coined the deceptive slogan of ‘Pakistan First’. So when Pakistan is attacked, for the Saudis it will be Saudi Arabia first, for the Turks Turkey first etc. Nothing can make the enemy happier.



The end of civilization?

TODAY we are witnessing the worst form of aggression in human history. The bombardment of Iraq is not only a violation of international law, but an unforgivable crime against humanity as well.

This war is one of the most unpopular, illegitimate and unjustified wars the world has ever known. It has trampled over the ideals of peace, justice and human rights in the wake of terror and “pre-emption”. This war, if not stopped, could lead to the end of civilization itself.

The leaders of the superpower and its “poodles” plan to build an empire based on imperialism and neo-colonialism, an empire of military-industrial complex, in which waging of wars and killing of innocent civilians would be justified to sell their merchandise. They are set to impose their immoral will over six billion people of the world.

They are justifying this war as a war of liberation and freedom for the people of Iraq. What a mockery of peoples’ consciousness! The consequences of this war would be horrific!

There would be bloody street fighting once the allied forces enter Baghdad. They will have to fight the determination and defiant will of the Iraqis. More bloodshed will follow. Fellow Arabs from neighbouring countries will join their Iraqi brethren.

This could lead to what we all have been fearing — the beginning of a third world war, a war in which nuclear weapons would be used against civilians and states that could mark the end of the entire human race.

There is only one way we, the people of the world, could stop this destruction. We have to stand united to defy the immoral decisions of such selfish and arrogant rulers by initiating a civil disobedience movement. We have to take to the streets, lay siege to all seats of power, boycott goods that could help in aiding the war, stage mass protests and demonstrations, and be willing to sacrifice our lives for the cause of truth, justice and peace.

Let us not allow such rulers to kill, maim and imprison innocent people and conquer sovereign states in our name. Let them face the wrath of the people. As Gandhi once said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall — think of it, always!”



Islamic shrines in India

THIS is with reference to the letter titled “Islamic shrines in India” (April 1).

Although I appreciate the spirit of the letter which says that “whenever an ancient place of worship in India is pulled down, India loses a part of its rich cultural heritage and becomes poorer as a result,” I would like to point out a factual oversight.

The writer says that even the bigoted Taliban never destroyed a place of worship. It is evident that the writer missed the saddening scenes of the Bamiyan statues being destroyed by these reckless bigots.

This intolerance and disrespect shown by certain parties in India have more to do with vote bank politics than with “reclaiming our rich cultural heritage”. One needs to understand that the average Indian youth is more interested in practical matters such as education and the standard of living, not with what stood where.


Delhi, India

Boycott of US, UK goods

THE call by some NGOs for boycotting US and UK products (March 31) must be praised. Many do not realize that corporate lobbying is more important to the US than public dissatisfaction, because the public can always be in some way assuaged. But when corporate America feels pain, its discomfort is delivered in a ripple-like effect straight back to Washington, for the two are closely intertwined.

It is time the Muslims put their words and condemnations into action, and realized they could fight oppression economically in many ways, no matter how seemingly trivial the product, and regardless of the position of their governments.

History has shown that boycott is one of the best weapons in the fight against oppression because its only demand upon the wielder is a limited degree of self-denial.


Philadelphia, PA, USA

Fate of IBA students

THIS is with reference to the letter of Ms Zaib-un-Nisa from Sukkur (March 26). We, the parents of the students of IBA, Sukkur, are worried about the future of our children. So far, none of the addressees has given any clarification whether the IBA at Sukkur is still affiliated with the IBA in Karachi.

I agree with Ms Zaib-un-Nisa that if the case is otherwise, then the students already admitted must get the degree of the IBA, Karachi, and the authorities concerned, specifically the directors of Sukkur and Karachi IBAs and the Sindh education secretary, should clarify the matter through the press at the earliest.



Removal of CPLC chief

YOUR report (March 25) on a Karachi metropolitan page regarding the removal of Mr Jameel Yousuf from the CPLC was very disturbing. In all likelihood this is the decision of the new Sindh administration and will not go well with the citizens and, in particular the residents of Karachi.

For a newspaper of your standing to have given this news a very small display shows that sufficient importance is not being given to this important development.

The role played by Mr Yousuf in the last over years in Karachi has been so noteworthy and commendable that it will be a pity if the citizens of Karachi do not rise and give all-out support for the reinstatement of Mr Yousuf as head of the CPLC.



Finance Division’s policy

I REQUEST the members of the National Assembly to amend the defective and unconstitutional policy decision by the Finance Division. For example, under the existing orders of the Finance Division, a move-over is not a promotion but an extension of the pay scale. This was clarified vide O.M. No. F.1 (79)IMP/97 dated 30-01-2001.

The said memo states that placement in a selection grade dose not involve assumption of higher responsibility or change in designation and is not a promotion. Hence it is clear that in both cases there is nearly change of pay scale from a lower to a higher scale, so both are identical cases. Thus a grant of a premature increment on selection and a non-grant of a premature increment on a move-over is violative of Article 25 of the Constitution.

Moreover, with effect from July 1, 1999, a 25 per cent increase in pension and a 25 per cent special additional allowance on a minimum of the relevant pay scale up to BPS-16 (excluding BPS-17 move-over employees) was sanctioned by the Finance Division, while the house rent allowance was allowed to employees up to BPS-16 instead of BPS-17, which is discriminatory and reflects a double standard policy.

The following points of law also deserve consideration:

(i) The Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi Bench decided in the writ petition No. 223 of 1992 that there was abundant authority now available which was to this effect that a change of grade from lower to higher in the pay scale amounted to the promotion of the employee.

(ii) The change of grade or post for the better is an element of selection involved that is promotion as per case the law reported as 1991 SCMR696.



Late-night weddings

I AGREE with the viewpoint expressed by Mr Iqbal (March 31) that marriages cannot be held and must of necessity be held late in the night because those in business or working in private enterprises come home late in the evening, i.e. 8pm. However, what is objectionable here is not the late-night weddings but the deception practised by people on their guests.

If the nikah cannot be held before 11 pm by all means let it be held after 11pm but why give the nikah time as 8.30pm on the invitation cards? This results in the time-conscious people coming five minutes before the given time only to find that, far from the host being ready to receive them, even the tables have not been laid out and the only persons present at the venue are the staff members of the catering establishment.

This kind of routine deception and fraud have become so common that it is worth complaining against. Mr Iqbal is correct in suggesting that people should be invited to come at 11 pm instead of 8pm.

I think it is time the government imposed fines for late marriages at the rate of Rs25,000 per hour. For example, if the printed time of nikah is 9pm but it is performed at 11pm and there is a delay of two hours, the host should be fined Rs50,000. This practice will ensure that people give a realistic time on the invitation card.



Larkana public parks

IN Larkana there are two public parks only, Jinnah Bagh and Bagh-i-Zulfiqar, whose major portions have been given to private parties by the settlement department. But there is no provision in the law to allot any portion of a public park to anybody.

It is strange that the Larkana municipality has not taken any step to cancel the allotment orders of the portions of the parks. It is common knowledge here that a political figure is in occupation of a portion of Bagh-i-Zulfiqar, and claims the right of its ownership.

I appeal to the SHC chief justice to take suo motu action, and issue orders for restoration of this portion of Bagh-i-Zulfiqar for use by the public.



Hockey victory

I WAS happy to watch the Pakistan hockey team clinch the Azlan Shah Cup. After the shameful debacle of the national cricket team, the Pakistan hockey team has brought honours to the country. After defeating the current world champions, Germany, the Pakistani team must be preparing for bringing home the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics.

Our hockey players start the game with a cry of “Allahu Akbar” and then focus on the game, whereas the attention of our cricketers tends to be focussed on the huge amount of money they get paid.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that hockey is our national sport, cricket claims a lion’s share from our sport budget without giving much in return. I am an avid fan of hockey and football, and it would give me a great pleasure if the government paid more attention to developing these sports too.



Teaching in English

I HAVE been following the discussion on “Teaching in English” in the recent past in your columns. The letters by Ms Maheen Rashdi, Mr Mooraj and others have made an excellent argument in favour of English since most information on the internet is in this language.

However, in my experience of teaching science and engineering to graduate students in various universities in Pakistan, it was brought to my attention that the students will prefer to have the lectures done in Urdu with a liberal use of English technical terminology. They thought they can grasp the “meat and potato” of my lectures more effectively if they do not have to translate the language at the same time in their mind. Needless to say, it was a difficult transition for me to lecture in Urdu since I had left Pakistan forty (40) years ago — but I did my best.

I think we need to keep Urdu and other regional languages alive. Urdu is in big trouble in Pakistan and the US because most people mix a tremendous amount of English in everyday conversation. But at least Urdu is understood, if not spoken, throughout Pakistan more than any other regional language. Even in the US, when we have an ethnically diverse gathering, including the people from north India, the language of choice is either English, Urdu, or a mixture of both.


Edmond, Oklahoma, USA

Gold medals

I AM a former student of the Geography Department of Karachi University. I hold the first class first position in the department’s examinations in 2001.

At the convocation held on March 1, 2003, many position holders got gold medals except a few, including me. What is the fault of those students who study hard all these four years, but in the end they know that there is no sponsored gold medal for them?

What is the use of studying so hard? I would suggest that the university must give all such students something as a token of appreciation at the convocation which they can remember all their life.



Cricket debâcle: who is responsible?

I REFER to Mr Salahuddin Ahmed’s article of March 30 in your esteemed newspaper, in which he has held the manager, the coach and the captain responsible for Pakistan’s debacle in the Cricket World Cup.

After such an abject failure of the team, one must expect an avalanche of criticism of everyone concerned in the cricketing establishment and Mr Salahuddin is, of course, entitled to express his opinion. I hope shortly to publish my own account of the tour so that criticism can be incisive, well-informed and constructive.

There are three points, however, in Mr Salahuddin’s article that are factually wrong. First, he states that I ‘eagerly’ accepted the appointment as Manager. In fact, I did so, as the press reported, with reluctance for several personal and cricketing reasons.

Secondly, he refers to the ‘loud-mouthed bluster (of the three) before departure about winning the prized cup’. The truth is that Richard Pybus was not even present in Pakistan before the team’s departure and both Waqar and I had grave reservations at the hype in Pakistan indicating that Pakistan were favourites to win the World Cup. The fact is that in our public statements before and during the tour, Pybus, Waqar and I attempted to temper these wild expectations that were not only unrealistic but placed unnecessary pressures on our players. While expressing our hopes and potential to succeed, we invariably scaled them down with a sense of realism and modesty.

Thirdly, everyone accepts that a manager’s role lies essentially in the administration, morale-building and public relations field. He needs, of course, to have a basic knowledge of cricket. Unlike the famous polo playing brigadier who in 1962 was the Pakistan team’s manager and entered the Lords Long Room by loudly enquiring: “who is batting in this chukka?”,

I feel I have the elementary understanding of the noble game. In fact, most of my friends consider that I have a deeper understanding of cricket than foreign policy because they know of my family background that includes the Nawabs of Pataudi as my close relatives, that apart from being a cricket fanatic I have in my Cambridge days batted against the likes of Tyson, Loader, Moss and Laker, bowled to Cowdrey, Dexter and Sheppard and captained teams that included our Test stalwarts, Khan Mohammed, Mahmood Husain and Saeed Ahmed.

Also that I am a playing member of the MCC and the only Pakistani, with the possible exception of Omar Kureishi, to have watched Don Bradman, five times, on the famous Australian tour of England in 1948. This rudimentary knowledge of the game and the fact that I was manager of the successful team to India in 1999 probably prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board to persuade me to take on the mantle again.


Manager, Pakistan Cricket Team (World Cup 2003),