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SACW | 2 August 2005

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    South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 August, 2005 [1] Becoming in Diaspora (Angana Chatterji) [2] Pakistan: - The Hasba network (Asma Jahangir) - The Hasba Bill and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
      South Asia Citizens Wire | 2 August, 2005

      [1] Becoming in Diaspora (Angana Chatterji)
      [2] Pakistan:
      - The Hasba network (Asma Jahangir)
      - The Hasba Bill and what it portends (M B Naqvi)
      - Taliban-Style Law, Another Blow for Liberals (Zofeen Ebrahim)
      [3] Indo-US Defence Accord: Sanctifying Atomic Apartheid (Praful Bidwai)



      Editorial, SAMAR Issue 19


      Are we Rushdie's "bastard children" of history, hybridity, and
      violence, from which transformation and tomorrows can generate?

      By Angana Chatterji

      At the junction of East-West and South-North, modern and postmodern
      citizenship, past and future collide in diaspora. In the United
      States, for those of and from India, those newly arrived, and those
      who have made this new and strange land theirs, dreams carry the
      promise and poison of history. In this nation become Empire, built on
      theft of Native American lands, genocide, slavery and immigration,
      discourses of freedom link capital with alienated labor, and memory
      with assimilation. This becoming is violent, its taxonomies are
      gendered and racialized, hierarchal in ways that cheerfully
      collaborate with the patriarchal cultures of "home."

      Such becoming produces complex, often-convenient, politics and
      morality that vitiate against a self-reflexive gaze. Caste, religion,
      gender, ethnicity still nuance the markers of association and
      segregation, as we are reshaped at the intersections of the local,
      governmental and transnational. Our experiences of race and racism
      allow a scripting of injustice but not necessarily reflection on our
      interactions with privilege and power mediated by class, gender,
      nation, sexuality, state and statelessness. We are perhaps more
      invested in claiming affinity with the margins of history than
      challenging the landscape of inequities that affect and implicate us
      differently. In between the coming-from and going-to, the interstices
      of "non-resident Indian/resident alien," "American Born Indian," the
      pan-ethnic "Asian-American," many are on a fast track to acquiring
      the brown version of "white." The democratizing power of capital and
      the forgetting necessitated by New World assimilation furthers our
      distance from each other, as, in private life, in increasing
      isolation, we seek our re-birth. Alienation is the superglue that
      holds us, as familial and social ties are reconstituted, under duress
      or in liberation, through surrogate kinships.

      British imperialism, and internal discriminations of caste, religion,
      gender and class have compelled desire, chosen exiles and forced
      evictions, in colonial and postcolonial times, from India to the
      Caribbean, the Middle East, to Malaysia, Mauritius, Trinidad, Guyana,
      South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Europe, Australia, and the Americas.
      Punjabis, primarily Sikhs, were among the first within the Indian
      diaspora to arrive on the West Coast about a hundred years ago, to
      work the fields of California and lumber mills of Washington. In
      1907, Asian-Indians were targeted in the Bellingham race riot. In
      1913, the Hindustan Gadar (revolutionary) Party was formed in San
      Francisco. The Immigration Act of 1917 in effect banned Asians from
      the United States and naturalized citizenship was conferred on
      "whites" exclusively. People from India attempted to identify
      themselves as Aryan, Indo-Aryan, bearing testimony to ethnocentrism.
      Immigrant groups in the United States have not formed "black" as a
      strategic political identity in opposition to white racism (contrary
      to Britain where the framing of black identity is not to appropriate
      "blackness" but to create alliance), and attempt to establish
      themselves as "white/Caucasian," "almost-white," seeking to pass
      rather than construct solidarities against a racist aristocracy.

      Subcontinental politics resonates on the cricket fields and within
      diasporic political movements, some emancipatory, some malicious.
      Among the latter is Hindu nationalism. Animosities travel the oceans.
      Even here, in other worlds, Muslims and Hindus, Hindus and Sikhs,
      feminists and patriarchs, first and third generations frequently do
      not speak with each other, do not know each other, and often mistrust
      each other. After all, the memories of place and remembrances of
      history cannot be reconciled in displacement, they demand
      confrontation and engagement, which, when denied, remain weapons that
      can wound. Alliance and association are predicated on the
      politicization of identity. Inconsistencies thrive. In a moment of
      celebration as Rumi, a second generation Indo-American lesbian, and
      Yolanda, her African-American partner, and Irfan, their Pakistani
      friend, stroll Gay Pride in the Castro in San Francisco, in
      Sunnyvale, the Hindu temple hosts a fundraiser for Ekal Vidyalayas,
      schools that indoctrinate adivasis (tribals) into Hinduism. As we
      debate the idea of an independent Kashmir, or discuss the genocide in
      Gujarat of 2002 at an university event, Hindu nationalists mobilize
      to honor Narendra Modi, its architect.

      In the United States, the fervor and funding of long distance
      Hindutva nationalism is intense. In dominant narrative, Hindu =
      India, Hindutva = Patriotism. Hindu extremist groups dedicated to
      promoting a Hindu theocracy in India advocate Hindu "Tatva" or
      principles, Nazi inspired. There is little space from which to combat
      its misogynist and strident insistence. Supporters have registered
      counterparts of major Sangh Parivar (Hindu nationalist) organizations
      in the United States, of varied denominations. Sangh: Overseas
      Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which unlike the Congress, has
      widespread backing in the United States, Vishwa Hindu
      Parishad-America; Sangh affiliated: India Development Relief Fund,
      Hindu University of America; Sangh endorsing: Indian American Forum
      for Political Education.

      Deriving consent from Hindu cultural dominance in India, Hindutva
      hierarchicalizes difference, making Hinduism canonical and
      monolithic, posing as indigenous to nation keeping. Discourses of
      sexualized and structural violence are disguised in history/fiction
      of retributive justice. Culture is fixed, made stable. Commoditized,
      made artifact. Long-distance, its myths produce comfort. The
      arrogance of "First World" privilege and disconnection from what is
      meaningful compounds the intensity and power of becoming in this new
      world, amidst vast differences, contradictions, forces of
      homogenization. The greater the alienation, the more intense is
      nostalgia, and the reach for fiction, of impossible returns, as myths
      originate of an India that never was or should be, nurturing dreams
      where the Hindu prabashi (ex-patriot) can return to purge the
      motherland from impurities, restore honor, and claim victory. Those
      affiliated with Hindutva in the United States fashion an India of
      their imagination. Dangerous stories circulate: Muslims as polygamous
      terrorists whose deliberate identification and massacre in Gujarat is
      justifiable, even necessary; the demolition of the Babri Masjid as
      defensible expression of cultural justice; Christian conversions as
      profuse, threatening the majority status of Hindus in India; Hindu
      nationalism as emblematic of democracy. In the chasm of proxy
      nationalism, support for a Hindu India expresses pride in the glory
      of its past toward realizing its future. To dissent, as so many do,
      the persistence of structural inequities, of the politics of caste
      and cows in the present, is only to bear incriminating evidence of
      one's own bastardization, loss of purity, lack of faith and pride in
      "Indianness." What is this Indianness? Indic culture, chaste,
      beautiful, Hindu, despoiled by conquest and colonization?

      The "nation" survives cross-nation, and with it, a toxic and hyper
      nationalism. What are its effects? On the bodies of women? On the
      imaginations of children? There are about 1.67 million
      "Asian-Indians" and 2 million non-resident Indians in the United
      States today. Non-resident Indians record the highest per capita
      income among immigrant groups and are a part of the intellectual and
      business elite, even as, in the last decade, poverty among
      Indo-Americans has increased from 2 to 10 percent, most impacting
      single mothers and the elderly. Sexual and physical violence against
      women continues across class lines, and is strengthened as women fear
      reprisal under immigration laws. In April 2002, the Journal of the
      American Medical Women's Association cited that of 160 South Asian
      women questioned in the Boston area in 1998, forty percent reported
      victimization by "male-perpetrated intimate partner violence."

      Are we the "bastard children" (Rushdie) of history, hybridity, and
      violence, from which transformation and tomorrows can generate? What
      profusion of action and activism are necessary? What projects in
      recompense of history? Youth Solidarity Summer programs engage in
      anti-oppression work, Association for India's Development in
      livelihood and education. The Campaign To Stop Funding Hate
      formulates allied struggles to disrupt the predominance of the Hindu
      Right in diaspora. Faith and inter-faith organizations rethink
      religion for the present. Trikone, Saheli, Narika, Manavi inform
      conversations on gender, rights, and citizenship. The Forum of
      Inquilabi Leftists create openings for vibrant politicization,
      building and intervening upon family, community, cultural
      arrangements, education, in ways that support change and confront
      history. Prolific commitments and contributions abound-"Third World"
      feminisms, Indian-English, labor organizing, Nobel prizes, Silicon
      Valley successes. What incongruities proliferate? As Students for
      Bhopal organize against DOW; as the Coalition Against Genocide
      challenges Narendra Modi's visit to the United States; as feminists
      of/from South Asia protest Lakireddy Bali Reddy and Vijay Kumar
      Lakireddy and the trafficking of women for profit through bondage,
      immigrant servants cower in the laundry rooms of homes in suburban
      Albany; male youth are made bi-polar in the confines of patrilineage;
      matrimonial ads match upper-caste males with "fair" virgins as women
      seek to violate normalizing gendered roles. Where to, from here?

      Angana Chatterji is associate professor of Anthropology at California
      Institute of Integral Studies.


      [2] [Pakistan]

      Daily Times
      July 13, 2005

      by Asma Jahangir

      If the Act is passed, the Hasba force will act as chief prosecutor
      and enjoy wide powers, without any accountability. They will punish,
      admonish, watch, monitor, and even persecute
      Pakistan's rulers are extremely touchy about the image of the
      country. If only they were this focused on improving their governance
      skills. Forcibly stopping Mukhtar Mai from proceeding abroad and
      using brutal force against journalists and human rights activists is
      not likely to give them the progressive image they aspire for.
      On one hand, the government wants to present a soft face - at least
      to the world outside - but on the other, they have been caught
      napping while the Hasba Act issue has once again raised its head in
      the Frontier. Is it because the military government has lost its
      effectiveness? Or are there indeed parallel forces at play? Or is it
      simply to draw the attention of the West to the "evil" that they
      alone can counter?
      In all eventualities, the sad conclusion is that Pakistan is rapidly
      moving towards militancy of all sorts and forms. The Hasba force will
      only add its own weight to the falling structures of the state.
      The sponsors of the Hasba Bill have defended it on several grounds
      and assured the public that it will not be as menacing as it appears.
      Similarly did the Taliban, in Afghanistan, justify their Ministry of
      Vice and Virtue. The outcome was oppressive.
      In Nigeria, 12 northern states have Hasba set-ups and continue to
      justify them on religious grounds. Human rights organisations report
      that Hasba members deliver rough justice. They have been responsible
      for flogging and beating up people for being "un-Islamic". They have
      gone from house to house to ensure that people are not indulging in
      "un-Islamic" behaviour. Men and women have been prohibited from
      travelling together. According to reports published by Human Rights
      Watch, Hasba forces have stopped vehicles carrying men and women and
      forced the latter to disembark. Senior officials of the federal
      government describe them as "parasites" that are impossible to shake
      We can easily understand this. Haven't we also had a taste of laws
      based on religion? And who knows better than us that once a
      structure, institution, or law has been made in the name of Islam,
      even the most "progressive" of rulers has not been able to undo it?
      The Hasba Bill is as hypocritical as it is tyrannical. It vows to
      protect religious minorities and the rights of women in the face of
      traditional practices like honour killings. The mohtasib will ensure
      that all women get their Islamic share of inheritance. Not long ago,
      sponsors and authors of the Hasba Act had opposed amendments (weak as
      they were) in the Pakistan Penal Code that might have brought the
      perpetrators of honour killings to justice.
      Many of them have been the complainants in a number of blasphemy
      cases filed against religious minorities. They have threatened and
      even killed those accused of blasphemy. To this day, they have never
      raised a finger against those who usurp women's right to inheritance.
      No law has been proposed that protects either women or children from
      social and economic isolation. After having exploited children from
      marginalised sections of the society in madrassas and used them to
      carry out jihad, the Hasba group is now promising to eradicate child
      labour. Such double talk will not fool anyone. It is a deliberate
      provocation for all democratic forces.
      The mullahs have spared the armed forces from this inquisition. The
      Bill prohibits the Hasba network from snooping around the business of
      the armed forces. If their Islam is good for the country, surely it
      will also serve the armed forces. But the mullahs know their
      limitations. Their wrath, anger, and venom is reserved for the
      vulnerable. Women, children, and religious minorities are easy
      victims. In fact, these sections of society have already been victims
      of informal Hasba gangs.
      A woman activist and her teenage daughter were killed in the Frontier
      simply because the mother was working for women's empowerment. The
      government of Pakistan neither denounced the act nor take any
      measures to protect women activists.
      Instead, human rights activists are visited daily by intelligence
      agencies. They are grilled about their work, and their families are
      harassed. An admission by an NGO that it works for women rights is
      treated like a confession of guilt.
      The vigilante groups of the MMA already enjoy a free hand. They turn
      women away from university campuses for not covering their heads or
      other "immoral" behaviour. These vigilantes have even taken to
      visiting the "food street" in Lahore to check if "morality" is being
      observed. When these people threaten to beat up women athletes or
      those running in mixed-marathons, they are appeased.
      Apart from rhetoric, which is only meant for the outside world, the
      government has taken no measures, adopted no policy, or given any
      indication that the orthodoxy will not be allowed to take law into
      their own hands.
      The enforcement of Hasba law in the Frontier will further strengthen
      these people. The Hasba force will be institutionalised. They will
      cover the province through a network of mullahs ready to pounce on
      their prey. The Hasba Bill gives the provincial, district and tehsil
      mohtasibs wide powers and open-ended authority to enforce virtue and
      "whip" out evil. They can interfere with the media, education,
      bureaucracy, and in family matters. The Bill allows them to ensure
      that parents are respected, people are not extravagant, and beggary
      is not practised. All public places can be inspected to ensure that
      "true" Islam is being practised.
      Authors of the Bill have been clever. The mohatsibs will have a
      council, which will include lawyers, civil servants, and SHOs of
      police stations, allowing them to pull strings. This will boost their
      ability to do mischief.
      The Hasba mohtasib will have the freedom to design procedures. A
      police force will assist him in carrying out investigation,
      reconciliation, and administrating punishments. Any criticism of the
      Hasba force will be treated as contempt of court. No court can
      prohibit the Hasba force from carrying out any act. Superior courts
      cannot pass interim orders against their workings. The authority of
      the Hasba mohtasib cannot be challenged in any court and only the
      chief minister can hear an appeal against his recommendations.
      In short, if the Act is passed, the Hasba force will act as chief
      prosecutor of the province and enjoy wide powers, without any
      accountability. It will punish, admonish, watch, monitor, and even
      persecute. It will be accountable only to the chief minister.
      The Act makes an advanced degree from a madrassa a mandatory
      requirement for the Hasba mohtasib. They are expected to supervise
      Islamic "akhlaq" and "adab". This is no different from any past
      political bid to usurp all power in the name of Islam. Once the Hasba
      Bill is passed in the Frontier, other provinces will not lag behind
      for long.

      o o o

      The News International
      July 20, 2005


      M B Naqvi

      The Hasba Bill illustrates two causally-related problems of this
      country. First there is a wide sway of a certain interpretations of
      Islam that involve political activism. The second concerns the power
      of religious leaders and their parties that made an unexpectedly a
      good showing in the 2002 polls. I will not comment on whether or not,
      or to what extent, the military's intelligence agencies helped the
      MMA. All I can say is that virtually no one, outside the charmed
      circle of power, thinks that the mullahs captured two provinces and
      got hold of a third of the National Assembly simply by virtue of
      their popularity. Not unexpectedly, their political sights have been
      rising ever since. What is for certain is that the MMA's current rise
      is a political victory for a rather new interpretation of Islam.

      While one does not know why the Army has been supporting the MMA so
      much, as most say, the latter is certainly playing an astute game. It
      has been in an unavowed alliance with Musharraf, and probably also
      the Army, but it projects itself as an opposition party to gain
      credibility. What it bodes for the future is to be assessed because
      the military-mullah alliance is in complete working order.

      Amongst the MMA's achievements, what stands out is its astute move of
      getting the Hasba Bill passed through the Provincial Assembly. This
      poses a dilemma for the Musharraf regime: it is damned if it takes
      strong action against the MMA ministry. In that case, the MMA will
      claim that it is a victim of non-Islamic forces that are in power.
      Its leaders will call for popular support. The expectation is they
      will get a lot of votes in the local government elections next month
      as well as position themselves for a better showing in the 2007
      general election. The regime would also be damned if it does not take
      any strong action against MMA government. Musharraf's supporters
      abroad will blame him and may withhold some of their cooperation and
      acceptance for not having taken any firm action. Meantime, the MMA
      will claim victory and can be expected to go from strength to
      strength. That too will not please the friends of the regime, both at
      home and abroad. There is little doubt that the MMA will project
      itself as a doughty fighter for Islam. More importantly many people
      are likely to believe this.

      The Musharraf regime is skating on thin ice. Look at some of recent
      developments: (i) the US already views Islamabad's cooperation over
      Taliban to be partial. True, Pakistan does what America tells it to
      do without reservations. But, on its own part, it does not move
      strongly against the Taliban. The Taliban have regrouped in Pakistan
      and seem to have a whole network of support. (ii) The Indians are
      threatening to delay the peace process because they say the
      infiltration of terrorists in the Indian-controlled Kashmir has not
      stopped completely; they claim the infrastructure that trains and
      dispatches Jihadis is still intact. (iii) The London bombers have
      turned out to be Britons of Pakistani origin, some of whom came
      recently to Pakistan and seem to have been indoctrinated and trained
      here; the British experts seem to think that their wanted mastermind
      might be either in Pakistan, or have a strong Pakistani connection.
      (iv) India has just claimed that the six terrorists who stormed
      Ayodhya's makeshift temple were Pakistanis and were in all likelihood
      members of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. That also seems to point to a network
      of Pakistani terror-promoting organisations. (v) Everyone knows of
      the relationship between President Pervez Musharraf and those who are
      in fact the Taliban's godfathers. (vi) A Pakistani news magazine has
      given a lowdown on terrorist camps and on what is being described as
      an infrastructure for promoting terror.

      Drawing conclusions from these facts is not difficult. It is true
      Pakistan is teaming with Islamists who sympathise with the likes of
      the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and others of the kind. There
      is a definite advance in these ideas' acceptability in recent years
      as a result of what the US and the UK are doing in Middle East. There
      are also genuine Jihadist-producing organisations, most of which are
      grounded in a Deobandi school type orthodoxy, enumerated in the
      magazine article mentioned above. Too many now preach Jihad against a
      sinful West. That is the real problem: implications need to be seen
      of the fact that Pakistan is one of the places where vague ideas of
      an international Islamic revolution were first floated.

      Originally, the authentic Sunni Hanafi orthodoxy, represented by the
      Deoband school, produced an organisation in pre-independence India
      that believed that its goal was liberation from Imperialism; Islam
      was compatible with secular Indian nationalism; and the more noted
      Ulema of Deoband openly stood for the victory of secular Indian
      nationalism that was expected to be realised in a democratic India.
      Today, the Ulema of the same School in Pakistan have new political
      ambitions of ruling their country alone. They have used various front
      organisations, most of which have their own militias. They find no
      difficulty in sympathising with the beliefs that the Taliban had
      displayed in action in Afghanistan. Indeed, the actions of the
      Taliban in Afghanistan were fully approved by most religious leaders
      of Pakistan belonging to the Deobandi school as well as the

      The point is that the bulk of opinion in Pakistan seems to favour
      this particular interpretation of Islam. For the first time in
      history a large section of the Ulema has demanded a uniquely Islamic
      state that would enforce what the Hasba Bill seeks to achieve. The
      model is that of the Medieval Caliphate; a leader who by definition
      would be the top religious leader, autocratic ruler and top economic
      decision maker. His would also be the ultimate voice over matters of

      One makes the point that this interpretation of Islam is new. Before
      the 20th Century, Islam was seen as being complete everywhere,
      including historical India. No one needed any uniquely Islamic kind
      of statecraft that is supposedly implicit in the Quran and Sunnah.
      All kinds of kingdoms have existed in the Muslim world and they were
      good, bad and indifferent. But they were all, more importantly,
      accepted as being fully compatible with Islam. Ideas of democracy had
      not been heard of in Muslim countries; even today democracy is a
      foreign import that many Muslim leaders do not agree with.

      As the Hasba Bill shows, it is obvious that this proposed uniquely
      Islamic state would look to establish an autocracy on a grand scale
      that would take away all the fundamental human rights enunciated in
      the Pakistan Constitution and the UN Human Rights Charters. Also,
      they would do as Medieval Caliphs of the past did: pass whimsical
      orders dictated by political expediency. That has been happening
      throughout Islamic history. Muslim leaders, wherever they were
      ruling, were ruling as absolutist monarchs, and in practice were
      secular without actually being democratic. This shows that the idea
      of re-establishing the Taliban-like Caliphate is retrograde. The
      peoplewill not accept a Pakistani version of Mullah Omar.

      The fact of the matter is that in the twenty-first century,
      Pakistanis want all the human rights that have been promulgated in
      the UN Human Rights Charters or in the Constitution of Pakistan
      today. Aware Pakistanis will continue to oppose the pseudo
      religiosity of scheming politicians. The aware citizenry may be a
      minority today, but it includes a vast majority of social elites and
      the intellectual community, which are also known as the opinion
      makers. It is the business of this community to ensure that the
      darkness of medievalism does not descend on Pakistan.

      o o o

      Inter Press Service
      July 20, 2005

      Zofeen Ebrahim

      KARACHI, Jul 20 (IPS) - Liberal-minded people in this country are
      concerned at the 'Hasba Bill' passed in the North West Frontier
      Province (NWFP) assembly that seeks to severely restrict women's
      rights and institute a 'moral police' in the territory that borders

      What is particularly worrisome is that the Bill, described variously
      by liberals as 'talibanisation' and the 'martial law of the mullahs'
      gained an overwhelming 68 votes to 34 in the NWFP assembly that is
      dominated by the ruling, Islamist, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)
      party, when put to vote on Jul 15.
      However, the Bill - that provides for the appointment of a 'mohtasib'
      or ombudsman whose staff will police implementation of Islamic values
      and codes - remains invalid until signed by the President Pervez
      The federal government, for its part, has challenged the Bill and
      instructed the Attorney General of Pakistan to seek the opinion of
      the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Hasba Law in
      general and specifically on whether it violates fundamental rights
      guaranteed under the constitution.
      The other silver lining is that NWFP governor Khalilur Rehman has
      opposed it openly saying that he will not allow the province to be
      Even the Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao has said that
      ''laws based on hate will not be allowed to be enacted.''
      A battle of words has begun with Secretary General of the
      Jammat-Ulema- Islam (JUI) party, Maulana Fazlur Rehman warning that
      Musharraf's decision to seek a reference would create problems for
      the President.
      The MMA has threatened to initiate countrywide protests if hurdles
      are put in the way of the Bill's implementation. The MMA president
      and Jamaat- e-Islami (JI) leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed has accused
      ''foreign-funded NGOs'' of resorting to propaganda opposing the Bill.
      A five-member Supreme Court bench will commence hearings on the
      presidential reference in Islamabad on Jul 25.
      Meanwhile, the Bill, reminiscent of all that the former Taliban
      rulers of neighbouring Afghanistan upheld, has been severely
      criticised by human rights groups, women organisations and political
      parties, except of course the MMA and its alliance of religious
      If passed into law, say its opponents, matters can only worsen a
      climate that is already hostile for women, minorities and non-
      governmental organizations (NGOs).
      Women in Pakistan are already at the receiving end of laws like the
      Hudood Ordinance while a law against blasphemy has been used to
      attack members of religious minorities
      According to Akram Khan Durrani, Chief Minister of NWFP, he and his
      associates have a mandate to Islamise governance and society after
      the 2002 electoral victory of his MMA party.
      Various Taliban-style activites have begun in the province such as
      the defacing of billboards with pictures of women on them, banning
      music on public transport, theatre, barring male journalists from
      covering women's sporting events, and a ban on men coaching female
      Reacting to the Bill, Asma Jehangir, chairperson of the Human Rights
      Commission of Pakistan, said she feared NGOs would now become the
      targets of fundamentalists. Already workers with voluntary
      organisations have been attacked and even shot at.
      In Muslim writings Hasba (or hisba) refers to an inspectorate whose
      business it was to see that conduct in the public realm conformed to
      Islamic criteria.
      Terming it a ''full frontal attack on Pakistan'', Sherry Rehman,
      chair of Central Policy Planning in the Pakistan People's Party (PPP)
      said the Bill was a ''concerted political confrontation by orthodox
      forces to challenge the essence of the Pakistani state.''
      Politics apart, the most disquieting aspect of the bill, for most
      concerned citizens, is the appointment of a mohtasib, an ombudsman,
      who will have complete authority to issue directives to ''reform
      society in accordance with the teachings of Islam'' through his
      ''hisba force''.
      ''The mohtasib is more powerful than even the judiciary,'' says
      Nighat Kamdar of AWARD, an NGO working with women on HIV/AIDS, in
      Peshawar. Kamdar said the legislation would serve to make women
      further invisible.
      According to the text of the Hasba Bill the mohtasib will also be
      above law as any action taken ''in good faith and in public
      interest'' by him cannot be challenged.
      He will have the authority to make enquiries into alleged
      maladministration against any government office, his staff can get
      any documents from any government office if the mohtasib deems it
      necessary to watch and protect Islamic values and etiquettes and also
      watch the media.
      However, very conveniently, he will not ''interfere in any matter''
      that ''relates to or is connected with the defence of Pakistan or any
      part thereof, the Military, Naval and Air Forces of Pakistan or the
      matters covered by laws relating to these forces''.
      On this Rehman said: ''About 27 special powers have been given to the
      mohtasib in order to regulate the powers and lives of citizens that
      would violate directly the right of the individual. If the MMA was so
      committed to its version of intolerant Islam it would have
      uniformally enforced it on the military as well''.
      ''Since the Hasba is clearly a political move to gain control over
      the lives and minds of people, and to divert attention from real
      issues, its backers have not even attempted to bring it up at the
      Centre where it will be challenged and soundly defeated,'' said
      In Rehman's view, given such an arrangement, Islamist rightists would
      ''gain ascendancy, and enforce an intolerant version of Islam where
      pious statements would mask a naked greed for power and arbitrary
      interference in the fundamental human rights of the individual and
      justice system of the state.''
      ''The creation of a Hasba police is not about enforcing Islam, as
      Pakistan is not just home to Sunnis, but Shias as well as minorities.
      It is about assuming wide-ranging, controversial powers that are
      directly in contradiction not only with the spirit of Islam but also
      the practice of democracy as well as fundamental human rights
      enshrined in the Constitution,'' she added.
      According to the bill, the policing force will ensure observance of
      Islamic values like decorum at prayer times, check indecent behaviour
      (according to their own definition) at public places, discourage
      entertainment and business at the time of Friday prayers around
      mosques and remove causes of dereliction in performance of prayers.
      Critics say the force is designed on the lines of the Taliban's 'Vice
      and Virtue force' or even the 'muttawa' in Saudi Arabia.
      To be fair, the bill also seeks to curb the killing of women in the
      name of honour, discourages dowry, extravagance in weddings, beggary
      and child labour. (END/2005)



      Volume 22 - Issue 16, Jul 30- AUG 12, 2005


      Praful Bidwai

      By signing the nuclear cooperation deal with Washington, India has
      set its face firmly against nuclear disarmament and become America's
      junior partner - for dubious gains. This betrays the UPA's solemn
      promise to work for global nuclear weapons abolition.

      THE idea that you could snuff life out of millions of innocent
      civilians at the touch of a button is so terrifying and awe-inspiring
      that it typically creates moral doubt, fear and deep anguish even
      among the more cynical inventors, minders and potential users of
      nuclear weapons.

      Thus, as he witnessed a blinding flash from the world's first nuclear
      explosion, of the Trinity device, exactly 60 years ago, J. Robert
      Oppenheimer, the Father of the Bomb, famously recited from the
      Bhagavad Gita: "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds ... "
      In the preceding weeks, Oppenheimer had taken to reading
      mystical-spiritual literature, from which came the Trinity image. The
      choice of the Trinity site, prophetically named "Journey of Death",
      was equally telling.

      Years later, Oppenheimer recalled his fellow-scientists' reactions to
      the test's success, at which they were at once relieved and
      horrified: "A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people
      were silent". Fellow-physicist Kenneth Bainbridge said, bluntly but
      reflectively: "Now, we are all sons of bitches." Many soldiers and
      political leaders who have had their finger on the nuclear trigger in
      the past have similar responses, barring individuals like Paul
      Tibbetts, who to this day expresses no regrets over dropping the Bomb
      on Hiroshima. Psychologists like Robert Jay Lifton have analysed the
      onerous guilt such people carry and the suicidal-level anxiety they
      create in their potential victims.

      One distressing characteristic of the Indian bomb lobby is that it
      has never had any moral dilemmas about nuclear weapons. None of its
      numerous members has even said the Bomb is evil, although a necessary
      evil. Pride in being "hard-nosed" and uncompassionate has driven many
      of them to be contemptuous of all ethics. They "normalised" the Bomb
      in their souls long before it came into being.

      Manmohan Singh, then a Congress Member of Parliament, stood in sharp
      contrast to that lobby in the Rajya Sabha on May 28, 1998. Along with
      S.R. Bommai and S. Ramachandran Pillai, Manmohan Singh unrelentingly
      pilloried the Vajpayee government for the Pokhran-II tests, and
      passionately pleaded for disarmament. He accused the government of
      violating India's three-pillared nuclear policy "consensus". The
      first pillar is that "nuclear weapons [are] weapons of mass
      destruction and their use [is] a crime against humanity". So "India
      should be in the forefront of international efforts to work for a
      non-discriminatory, multilateral arrangement to have these weapons
      outlawed ... After ... the declaration that India is now a nuclear
      weapons-state, ... this consensus has been sought to be disrupted."

      Manmohan Singh charged the government with violating the transparency
      criterion, and with failure "to explain to our people as to what were
      the compelling circumstances" which necessitated the tests. He cited
      the National Democratic Alliance's betrayal of its promise to
      "undertake India's first-ever strategic defence review .... " He said
      there are "valid reasons" to believe "this is an attempt for
      political consolidation through the bomb ... on the part of a
      government which was tottering, which was far from cohesive and which
      did not know how to work cohesively."

      Manmohan Singh warned: "The Prime Minister has said that we are not
      going to enter into an arms race. But history is a witness to a large
      number of regimes, with good intentions, but being sucked in by
      circumstances beyond their control and ... piling up military
      budgets, which, ultimately, proved their undoing... National security
      has several other dimensions. There are military dimensions; ...
      economic dimensions; and ... social dimensions. And a single-minded
      pursuit of military objectives at the cost of all other national
      objectives is not necessarily conducive to the development of a
      balanced, sober, doctrine of national security. Therefore ... I have
      fears that this country will be sucked into an arms race and all
      these promises of health for all, education for all, employment for
      all ... would remain ... empty rhetoric... "

      On no-first-use, Manmohan Singh said: "[T]he archives of the Soviet
      Union and other countries ... show that even when [they said] they
      would not be the first to use nuclear weapons, their opponents never
      took that seriously. Therefore... people were sucked into large
      uncontrollable increase in expenditure on these armaments and I do
      not want this thing to happen to our country ... where 36 per cent of
      our people are still living below the poverty line ... .

      "So I urge the government to spell out their [security] doctrine ...
      which takes care of military threat but at the same time... of the
      threats to ... social cohesion, and the economic equilibrium arising
      out of ill health, illiteracy, ignorance and disease. If we do not
      attend to these threats, you will have weapons of mass destruction
      like the Soviet Union had but the Soviet Union still withered away.
      Therefore, think before you act, think before you weaponise ... India
      must use its diplomatic skills to minimise the damage that has been
      created world-wide."

      Manmohan Singh concluded: "I think the impression will go round that
      the government has used these tests as a political lever to
      strengthen its hold on the people ... I, therefore, conclude by
      appealing to the government not to play politics with our ... Nuclear
      Policy. [T]he nuclear issue is ... not a partisan issue and any
      attempt to derive partisan benefits out of these tests would ... be
      an act of ... great disservice to our nation."

      Yet, Manmohan Singh has departed from the logic he himself advanced
      in opposition to Vajpayee's boast that by weaponising its nuclear
      option, "India will take its rightful place in the international
      community." By signing the nuclear cooperation deal with President
      George W. Bush, he has signalled India's descent into utter and
      complete cynicism. His government threw transparency to the winds.
      There was reportedly no discussion of the agreement's rationale and
      content in the Cabinet, its Committee on Security, or the National
      Security Advisory Board. Even the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),
      which will execute the agreement, was apparently not consulted about
      its feasibility and likely costs.

      The government did not establish the necessity of nuclear trade with
      the United States, or the wisdom of relying on nuclear power for
      "energy security". All it can cite is the judgment (discussed below)
      in the Mid-Term Appraisal of the Tenth Plan that nuclear power can be
      "an important tool for de-carbonising the Indian energy sector" - an
      issue that has never been properly debated. Above all, the government
      has legitimised and sanctified the present discriminatory global
      nuclear order.

      For decades, India campaigned against "atomic apartheid" - the
      world's division between a handful of (literally, eight) states with
      nuclear weapons, and the majority (180-plus) that do not or, have
      chosen not to, have them. Now, India has joined apartheid's rulers.
      That is the fundamental significance of India's admission into the
      nuclear club by its most powerful, arrogant and nuclear-addicted
      nation. That is why there is not even a token reference to nuclear
      disarmament in the Manmohan Singh-George Bush joint declaration.

      THIS was expected given the U.S.' post-September 11 nuclear posture,
      which relies heavily on nuclear weapons and recommends the
      development of new uses for them such as "bunker-buster" munitions,
      in addition to "Star Wars"-style ballistic missile defence.

      As the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said:
      For decades, India "was ... committed to nuclear disarmament... . The
      Rajiv Gandhi plan for disarmament was the last major initiative taken
      in this regard. The BJP-led government had begun the journey of
      accepting junior partnership of the U.S. in return for a de facto
      recognition as a nuclear weapon-state.... The current agreement marks
      an end to India's nuclear disarmament policy." This is a serious

      The Washington agreement is a consummate expression of Bush's
      unilateralism - in restructuring ("adjusting") the global nuclear
      regime to accommodate India's nuclear ambitions for U.S.-specific
      reasons. These centre on containment of China - a point repeatedly
      stressed in closed-door briefings by U.S. officials, and in documents
      such as `The Indo-U.S. Military Relationship: Expectations and
      Perceptions, an October 2002 Pentagon-commissioned study, and a
      recent Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report by Ashley J.

      This inspired the new policy disclosed on March 25 by senior Bush
      administration officials, who said the U.S. has decided "to help
      India become a major world power in the 21st century". This was
      reflected in the "New Framework" for defence, which aims to recruit
      India into a subordinate partnership to help the U.S. "embed" itself
      in Asia. India will probably be drafted into "low-end" operations and
      into the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative, which aims to
      intercept "suspect" shipments.

      For the U.S., the deal's importance is essentially geopolitical. So
      it has offered to accommodate India's ambitions: recognition as a de
      facto nuclear weapons-state (NWS) and access to civilian nuclear
      materials. This is a trade-off. But the bargain is asymmetrical. Its
      structure and text was written by Washington, into which India was
      fitted with minor alterations.

      India has undertaken several obligations, including "identifying and
      separating civilian and military nuclear facilities"; declaring
      "civilians facilities" to the International Atomic Energy Agency
      (IAEA)" and "voluntarily" placing them under safeguards; continuing
      its nuclear-testing moratorium; and "working with the U.S." for a
      "Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty". It will abide by Missile
      Technology Control Regime and Nuclear Suppliers' Group Guidelines,
      although it belongs to neither. The U.S. accepts no similar
      obligations, like safeguarding more facilities, or continuing its
      nuclear-testing moratorium. It plans to conduct tests.

      The agreement, admittedly, does not require safeguards on all Indian
      civilian nuclear facilities. India will presumably be elevated to NWS
      status in the IAEA regime, which imposes stringent safeguards only on
      non-NWSs, not NWSs. For instance, only four of the U.S.' 200-plus
      civilian facilities are safeguarded. The function of these, as well
      as Washington's signature of the IAEA's Additional Protocol is
      political, not physical. In practice, India will have to bargain over
      which facilities to declare. That is a function of distribution of
      power, itself unequal.

      The BJP's criticism that the agreement will cap India's
      fissile-material production and interfere with the working of
      civilian reactors is misplaced. IAEA safeguards need not affect
      spent-fuel reprocessing from power reactors. IAEA inspectors cannot
      visit unsafeguarded facilities. All the same, India will become a
      party to lopsided and discriminatory nuclear control arrangements.

      India's second objective was to get access to civilian nuclear
      technology and material, especially from the U.S. However, A.
      Gopalakrishnan, former Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Chairman,
      argues (Economic & Political Weekly, July 2-8) that the U.S. is not
      an attractive or appropriate nuclear source: it "has no worthwhile
      current expertise in the design, construction, operation, maintenance
      or safety of any of the type of reactors ... in the Indian nuclear
      power programme".

      India's main line of reactors uses natural uranium, whereas all U.S.
      commercial reactors burn enriched uranium. India produces very little
      of this and most will go into the submarine reactor under
      development. The Tarapur reactors do need enriched fuel and spares.
      But no spares are available for these anywhere. Besides, they are
      nearly 40 years old and unlikely to run safely for long.

      If India wants to expand nuclear power substantially, it will
      certainly need natural uranium, which is becoming scarce as old mines
      get depleted and new mining projects face popular opposition.
      However, there is no broad national consensus on substantially
      boosting nuclear power generation. Besides missed targets,
      under-performance and high costs, nuclear power is fraught with
      occupational health and safety problems.

      There is no solution anywhere to the serious problem of high-level
      wastes, which remain active for thousands of years. Fast-breeder
      reactors have not proved successful anywhere. France, which made the
      world's highest investments in these, has abandoned the 1200 MW
      Superphenix after numerous accidents. The thorium cycle is still
      experimental. Environmentalists are as fiercely opposed to nuclear
      power as its proponents support it.

      LEAVING these issues aside for the moment, can nuclear power
      genuinely contribute to "de-carbonising" the energy sector, as
      claimed? There is little evidence for this. Electricity generation
      accounts for only nine per cent of global carbon-dioxide (CO2)
      emissions. And nuclear energy accounts for just 16 per cent of global
      electricity - in India, for a paltry 3 per cent. So the scope for
      cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the nuclear route is
      meagre. India must concentrate on other sectors, especially

      Each step in the nuclear fuel cycle, from mining to reprocessing,
      emits GHGs. There are far superior renewable alternatives (including
      co-generation and mini-hydel). In India, wind generation (3595 MW)
      has overtaken nuclear power capacity (3310 MW). Emissions from wind
      are estimated at one-half to one-third of those from nuclear
      electricity, per kilowatt-hour. While nuclear plants do not directly
      produce CO2, they produce a lot of heat.

      Nuclear expert Jinzaburo Takagi shows that between 1965 and 1995,
      Japan's nuclear capacity rose by 40,000 MW. But carbon-dioxide
      emissions tripled. France has long derived 70 per cent-plus of its
      electricity from nuclear plants. But in 2000, its GHG emissions were
      still rising. Real GHG reductions can only happen through a change in
      Western patterns of energy consumption, which India is emulating.

      Physicist-energy expert M.V. Ramana argues: "Nuclear power tends to
      require and promote a supply-oriented energy policy and an
      energy-intensive development pattern. Its high cost also means that
      any potential decreases in carbon emissions due to its adoption are
      expensive, certainly higher than energy-efficiency improvements and
      other means to lower thermal power-plant emissions."

      The Washington agreement's benefits are thus modest, if not flimsy,
      and do not represent progress towards "energy security". India would
      be mistaken to place all its eggs in the "nuclear cooperation"
      basket. For, it is unclear if Bush can sell the deal to his Congress
      and the NSG. A House committee has just approved a measure preventing
      exports of nuclear technology to India. "This is a way ... to send a
      signal on this particular treaty," says a Republican member.

      The U.S. establishment is divided over loosening the global nuclear
      order to accommodate India. People like Tellis advocate
      accommodation. Others like George Perkovich oppose it: "The costs of
      breaking faith with non-nuclear weapons states such as Japan, South
      Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden and others who forswore nuclear
      weapons [are] too high .... " Robert Einhorn, a non-proliferation
      aide under Clinton argues that the Manmohan Singh-George Bush deal
      "sends the signal that bilateral relations and other strategic
      interests will trump non-proliferation... And that will reduce the
      perceived penalties associated with going nuclear."

      The 44-member NSG has countries that are likely to oppose dilution of
      its tough "Guidelines" - including Brazil, Argentina and South Africa
      (which renounced their nuclear capability) and possibly Japan,
      Germany and Sweden. In India, many DAE scientists are unhappy with
      the deal; they were excluded them from consultation.

      A final word. Bush has declared India a "responsible" nuclear power,
      like all "other such states" "with advanced nuclear technology". We
      must ask if this is a contradiction in terms. States, which build
      weapons that can kill millions of innocent people, and are willing to
      use them, cannot be "responsible". On their 60th anniversary, we must
      remember that Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain history's worst terrorist
      acts, far surpassing the Twin Towers attacks.

      India must not further compound the horrific blunder of Pokhran-II.
      It must take, as the UPA's Common Minimum Programme promised, "a
      leadership role in ... working for a nuclear weapons-free world."



      India Pakistan Arms Race and Militarisation Watch Compilation # 155
      (2 August, 2005)
      URL: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IPARMW/message/166


      Buzz on the perils of fundamentalist politics, on matters of peace
      and democratisation in South Asia. SACW is an independent &
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      DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in materials carried in the posts do not
      necessarily reflect the views of SACW compilers.
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