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DAWN - Letters; 10 March, 2005

March 10, 2005

'Greater Israel' dream

By the end of the 19th century, a class of the expanding illusion industry's victims was able to draw up clever, sophisticated plans to enter the industry by creating the Zionist movement.

This movement benefited from the hostile feelings, accumulated fear, and mixed motivations toward Jews throughout the world in order to establish a dreamland of salvation and redemption for Jews - the state of Israel.

The powerful and the rich were more than willing to rid themselves of the historical burden of the Jewish community and to help lay the foundations for a European presence in the east.

Two dreams were to coincide as Palestine was seen as a land without a people and as the promised Jewish land of milk and honey. This industry of illusion was fulled by arguments based on religious inheritance, outright lies, and previous ideologies in order to bypass (and, in effect, deny) 2,000 years of Palestinian history and fulfil the Jewish desire to create the western dream in the east.

The Zionist dream, founded on illusion, could not coexist with the Palestinian reality - a people linked to its land, its history, its culture, and its values. The only solution was to destroy these links and to replace them with the means for another people to create new links in their search for identity.

Even though the result was mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land and military occupation, the Palestinian "problem" did not go away. It had to be confronted.

As always, the industry uses key academic and media institutions to publicize, promulgate, and defend their illusions, their deceptions, and their consequent aggression.

As the voice of deception grows stronger, human space is overwhelmed with information, news, opinion, images, and mentalities that only strengthen the illusion and diminish the range of vision. Year after year and generation after generation, the illusion becomes reality and the deception becomes blindness and obedience to the ideas and views of tyrants.

Zionism seeks to monopolize the world view and to persuade people that this one illusory view is the only world view. Any other interpretation is condemned as anti-Semitism, the remains of Nazism, or part of the "axis of evil."

Dependence on this deception leads to the antithesis of freedom and democracy - dictatorship. The aim of the Zionist movement was and still is the creation of a "Greater Israel" and the destruction of any possibility for Palestinians to build their own state, especially in Palestine.

In order to do this, Israel has tried and continues to do its best to keep instability in the region by threatening its neighbours and by interfering in the internal affairs of all Middle Eastern countries.

Indeed, they have not restricted their interference to the region but have extended it to countries in Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa and other places. Their justification is that Israel is under threat and must be strong enough to defend itself.

Using this justification, they maintained their nuclear cooperation with the late apartheid system in South Africa and kept their missiles pointing at southern parts of the former Soviet Union.

In addition, both the US and Europe, in general, have played a role in keeping Israel's superiority in the region both militarily and economically and they use the same justification.

The neighbouring countries of whom Israel is afraid include Egypt, which has had a peace treaty with Israel since the late 1970s, Jordan, which has also had a peace treaty with Israel since the 1990s, Djibouti, Somalia and other starving countries which queue up in front of American and European embassies asking for their daily bread.

IBRAHIM HANNOUNEH & SOBIA RAHIM

Via email

Crimes against women

Mukhtar Mai is devastated but standing tall. She vows to fight and plans to appeal to the Supreme Court. The burden of proof in our system rests with the victim. Failure to prove allegations in a sexual assault case can have potentially disastrous consequences.

The victim could easily be turned into a proven offender of "qazf" or slander, punishable with whipping (100 lashes) or capital punishment depending upon the circumstances of the case.

The majority of sexual assault cases in Pakistan deals with plaintiffs, witnesses and defendants who are illiterate and have no formal education. The police record their statements in plain Urdu or one of the local dialects.

These records are then translated into English for the courts, creating discrepancies or outright omissions. In some cases the omissions are deliberate and are intended to help the defendants, especially if they know people in higher circles.

In almost all such cases victims sign statements that they cannot read or understand. Introduction of evidence that is marred by shabby and often tainted police work, inadequate documentation and poor record-keeping by the police, do not bode well for the victim. It is relatively easy to find discrepancies within the records once they are reviewed by the higher courts.

Given the inconsistencies in the record, it is not uncommon for appellate courts to favour the defendant. You couple a poorly documented case with a good defence lawyer and the rapists can be home free.

It is argued that probably the stiffer penalties for sexual assaults comprise one of the reasons for the courts to err on to the side of defendant. These harsher capital punishments were brought into the system by the Zina and Hudood Ordinances.

In order to justify capital punishment the courts invariably have to set higher evidentiary standards. Inconsistencies, omissions, faulty or tainted evidence are valid grounds for acquittal.

The current Hudood laws are probably too idealistic. There is a lack of alternative or lesser punishment under sub-section (4) of section 10 of the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood Ordinance, 1979). Thus, if death cannot be awarded due to inadequate evidence, the accused has to be acquitted.

The judicial system appears helpless in such cases. On the one hand, it provides for harsher capital punishment for the rapists and, on the other, it sets the stage against the victims in a way that a conviction becomes unattainable.

Lesser penalties, including longer jail terms or life imprisonment, coupled with a higher conviction rate, could be a compromise that could be more practical. The idea, after all, is to get all rapists off the streets and locked up for good. In the current judicial system they end up right on the street, simply by default.

NAUMAN NISAR

Via email

Expat 'experts'

I totally agree with the views of Saadia Ahmed Khan that people who move to work and live in another country invariably start on a fault-finding mission against Pakistan and Pakistanis. I have been living in London for the past two and a half years and I have, jokes aside, only met one couple who are actually happy with what Pakistan has to provide.

At a dinner party I once met a Pakistani man who was married to a British-born Pakistani (if there is such a thing) and he was of the opinion that he would have to send two bodyguards with his wife to work if they decided to settle in Pakistan. Does that mean that whosoever has no bodyguard to accompany them will meet the angels of death sooner?

Why do these people not realize that even if they become multi-billionaires in the UK, US or any other western country they will never get the respect that they can get in Pakistan, and at the end of the day they will always be second-class citizens? Why do these people not try and promote Pakistan when they are discussing it, why does everything have to be negative?

Maybe we should ask ourselves if we are worthy of living in a country for which so many people gave their lives.

A PAKISTANI

UK

(II)

My letter is in response to the letters by Ms Saadia Ahmed Khan (March 1) and Mr Khalid Ahmed (March 6). I would like to encourage more Pakistanis living abroad to take and interest in the current affairs of Pakistan, because I personally feel it is the only way of showing attachment to their own country.

Another point Ms Saadia Khan made was the discrimination against Pakistanis in other countries. I would like to ask this young lady what she thinks about discrimination in Pakistan?

How does she feel on being asked in her own country, "Are you a Punjabi, Pathan, Baloch, Sindhi or Urdu speaking?"

NABEEL HUSSAIN

London, UK

(III)

This is in response to Ms Saadia Khan's letter. Yes, it is a fact that we are considered second-rate citizens here, but believe me being a second-rate citizen here is much better than how we were being treated in Pakistan as first-class citizens.

I graduated from California State University as a mechanical engineer in 1975 and had a very good job in Los Angeles as a design engineer, but quit to return to Pakistan. For almost a year I was looking for a job, and in one instance a brigadier in National Construction didn't hire me because I was from Peshawar.

Anyway, after 24 years of staying in Pakistan I opted to move back to the US. I am a permanent resident of the US now. I don't resent a bit being, as Ms Saadia might consider us, a second-rate citizen here because we are much better off than what we were in Pakistan. Yes, we love Pakistan and that is one of the reasons I read Dawn every day.

HASNAIN

North Carolina, USA

CPLC affairs

This has reference to Mr Iqbal Khan's letter "CPLC affairs" (March 1). It seems that the writer does not know much about the CPLC. The CPLC is maintaining a computerized data of stolen / snatched vehicles and informs the owner of the vehicle if and when it is recovered. Complaints of any unlawful demands and delay in delivering procedures are always entertained and resolved by the CPLC.

The CPLC also shares information on recovered and stolen vehicles on a daily basis with the Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) of the police to ensure that all recovered and stolen vehicles are being recorded. A large number of people whose vehicles are stolen/ hijacked or whose vehicles are recovered in other parts of the country are being regularly assisted.

The CPLC requests Mr Khan to come forward and lodge whatever complaint he has about any unprofessional attitude of its staff. If verified, disciplinary action shall be taken. We believe that the CPLC is an institution which is run by dedicated volunteers and the change has no bearing on its performance.

SHARFUDDIN MEMON

Chief CPLC-CRC Karachi

Park in Malir river-bed

The ideas of developing a park on the Malir river-bed and subsequently a plan to create pockets of small man-made forests in the city, floated by the Karachi city nazim, have evoked a lot of response from readers.

Mr S. Nayyar Iqbal Raza (Feb 13) agrees with the scheme and proposes that the Malir river-bed afforestation can be accomplished by involving schools and schoolchildren. But Mr Iqtidar H. Siddiqui (Feb 20) has vehemently controverted the proposal.

In his opinion the scheme is not feasible for the reason that the Malir river is a hill torrent which in rainy season carries excess floodwater to the sea. In 1977-78 due to a heavy downpour in the catchments area the Malir river was in super flood that caused colossal damage to men and material because most of the river-bed was encroached upon. Such situations do occur whenever there are heavy rains in the catchment areas of the river.

Mr Raza later (Feb 24) contended that cycle of heavy rains is not regular in Karachi, otherwise it would have caused similar damage in the early 50s also. He has stressed that the Lyari river has been encroached upon from both sides by the Lyari Expressway, leaving the passage smaller which is a more serious threat to the water passage than planting trees in the Malir river-bed.

He has mentioned the examples of Holland, a below-the-sea-level country where dykes have been constructed to check sea intrusion, and the river Columbia which has been tamed by constructing various dams on it. He suggested that the waters of hill torrents such as Hub, Malir and Lyari should be harnessed instead of allowing them to go into the sea as vest.

The whole argument revolves around the fact as to whether these non-perennial rivers should be occupied or encroached upon or maintained and allowed to carry out the excess water into the sea safely without causing damage to human lives and property.

The fact is that hill torrents are natural outlets developed over centuries in particular geological conditions. These natural courses carry floodwater to the sea accumulated in the entire surrounding area, and not merely of only upper catchments areas.

The serious threat usually posed to Karachiites in rainy season for the last so many years is on account of the fact that people have encroached upon the lands on both sides of these channels, obstructing the outflow of the water. As a result, the entire city can be inundated with rainwater.

The best example can be seen in Islamabad where the architects at the time of planning did not disturb the natural outlets of water and allowed them to remain in their original shape.

The city of Islamabad receives the highest rainfall in the country but these natural rivulets discharge excess water outside the city bounds without causing any damage. Therefore, even in heavy rains, Islamabad remains safe.

My suggestion is that we should not interfere with these natural outlets which have come into existence through centuries. We should instead immediately remove the encroachments already made so that Karachi can be saved from further disasters.

As for creating man-made forests, the best location will be the millions of acres of government land that are available around the city of Karachi. We may construct small underground arteries issuing from these rivers to water these forest nurseries.

Parks we can develop in areas where amenity plots for have been provided in the master plan. The amenity plots on which the builder mafias have erected unauthorized structures, such as referred to by Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee in his column "Who can say? What? (Feb 27), should be got evacuated for the purpose.

MANZOOR H. KURESHI

Karachi

Balochistan crisis

This has reference to Qazi Faez Isa's article "Facts about the crisis in Balochistan" (Feb 19), which presents the true feelings of the common Baloch. Unfortunately, people do not have the right platform to give voice to such bitter realities, and no option but to let the sardari system rule and ruin their lives.

For every Baloch it is a matter of great pain that the 'committee' established under Mushahid Hussain's leadership - aimed at addressing pending matters relating to the Baloch people - surprisingly has no common man of Balochistan on board, but only sardars who are already struggling to save the (sardari) system and not the poor Baloch people.

In the historical context it could be said that there would be nothing for the common man if the sardars remain as policymakers. The resources of Balochistan belong to the Baloch people and not the sardars. Therefore, the actual owners should be involved in the future strategy for the utilization of natural resources.

Only two things can safeguard the rights of the Baloch people: not allowing history to repeat itself, and implementing the laws made for the abolition of the sardari system.

FARIDA ANJUM

Khuzdar

Helmet law

People who use motorcycles are not rich in any sense. Many of them live below the poverty line, and are being compelled to use hot-pots, vases, and safety caps as helmets just to save themselves from the furious eyes of the Punjab police who have centred their resources on catching motorcyclists without helmets. An ordinary helmet which normally costs Rs300 to Rs400 is being sold at Rs1,200 to Rs2,000 without any check.

It is pity that such a law was framed outside parliament and its pros and cons were ignored. As a matter of fact, it should have had the imprint of members of assemblies because they are public representatives. They know the people's grievances.

QAZI ATTIQUE AHMED

Lahore

PIA shares

I had applied for 500 shares of PIA in response to its public offer on June 7, 2004 through MCB, Malir Halt branch, Karachi, video my application No. 03. Even though eight months have passed, I have neither received the shares I had applied for nor a refund of the Rs10,000 deposit.

I have already contacted PIA and MCB officials, but to no avail.

KASHIF ATHAR

Karachi

'American folly'

Mr George Singleton's letter "American folly" (March 3) is in the very best tradition of western double talk. The US went to Iraq not to enforce democracy but to 'find and destroy WMDs' in spite of strong denials by the UN inspectors that any WMDs existed.

Some reason had to be found for the devastation and killing of civilians in Iraq. Democracy came in handy especially as the West does not tire of considering itself the fountainhead of freedom, liberty and democracy. What is the difference between this mass killing and the aggression of Hitler and Mussolini?

Not the slightest link could be found of Afghanistan with the 9/11 incident. Up to now not a single clue has been produced of an Al Qaeda link with 9/11. This is of the same level as the German accusation against Poland of having intruded into German territory, duly producing the bodies of a few hapless prisoners who were murdered and shown as casualties.

There are several countries in the world which need to be reformed but Afghanistan was picked up for the purpose of oil and gas from Central Asia, and Iraq also for the same reason plus the protection of Israel. The US dare not touch North Korea, let alone China and Russia which are daily accused of human rights infringements.

F. HASAN

Karachi

Delays in court

Although access to justice has become more and more expensive and time-consuming, neither the government nor the judiciary is taking any action to lessen the problem.

In high courts as well as subordinate courts cases are listed but repeatedly adjourned. It is suggested that cases should be fixed with the consent of both the counsel/parties and should be postponed only subject to heavy costs.

It is also suggested that since appeals are fixed for final hearing in the Supreme Court in Islamabad, only those cases should be listed which are to be proceeded with, as it is expensive to attend court hearings in Islamabad and then face adjournments/postponements.

The Chief Justice may issue orders to the office of the Supreme Court to de-list cases if there is likelihood that cases to be attended to by Karachi advocates would not be proceeded with. This would save the time and money of parties who have to bear expenses repeatedly each time a case does not proceed and is re-fixed for subsequent hearing.

ABDUL SAEED KHAN GHORI (ADVOCATE ON RECORD)

Karachi