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sacw dispatch #1 (10 May 00)

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  • Harsh Kapoor
    South Asia Citizens Web - Dispatch #1 10 May 2000 _____________________ #1. Vilification campaign against Dr. Nayyar in Islamabad #2. Pakistan: In Search of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2000
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      South Asia Citizens Web - Dispatch #1
      10 May 2000
      _____________________
      #1. Vilification campaign against Dr. Nayyar in Islamabad
      #2. Pakistan: In Search of Identity
      #3. Pakistan: Call To Cancel Oil & Gas Concession In Pakistan's Kirthar
      National Park
      #4. Mumbai's well known secularist writes against anti Christian violence
      #5. All India Democratic Women's Association call's for action against ITBP
      #6. Communalism Combat May issue online
      _____________________

      #1.
      [Posted below is a letter from Dr. Nayyar, one of Pakistan's leading
      intellectuals who has consistently argued for peace with India]

      From: A. H. Nayyar

      Date: Monday, May 08, 2000 1:42 AM
      Subject: Us and them!


      I am at the receiving end of a vilification campaign from some right wing
      Urdu dailies. First, the newspaper Ausaf in a news item attributed some
      statements to me that I had not made. Then on the basis of these, wrote an
      editorial column against me, followed by another false story, this time
      leveling the charge of indulging in anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam
      activities. Nawa-e-Waqt has also written an editorial against me, asking
      for my sacking from the university. I am writing this to tell my version of
      the story.

      This relates to an event that happened on Tuesday May 2, 2000. I was
      invited to the National Institute of Psychology at Quaid-i-Azam University
      to give a talk to the students and faculty on the sense of insecurity and
      the weapons of mass destruction. The center-point of my discussion was that
      the sense of insecurity that has been with us as a nation for a long time
      has now turned into a state of acute paranoia, and I invited the students
      of psychology to see if the symptoms do point to the ailment. I pointed out
      that as an answer to our perceived insecurity we have constructed our own
      realities which quite often are at variance with the truth, and which in
      turn reinforce our paranoia. And this perpetuation is gradually making our
      condition pathological. To elaborate this point I gave examples from our
      textbooks, about distortion of history, and how things have worsened over
      the years. I recalled how my senior colleagues tell that in the late
      fifties, full ten years after independence, some of their examination
      papers were set in India, their thesis teachers used to come from India,
      how Radio Pakistan used to air Indian film songs until the early sixties,
      how Indian films were normally shown in Pakistani cinema houses, how we had
      the privilege of learning history in an impartial manner, with details on
      the reigns of early Hindu period of Ashoka and Chandargupt Moriya, etc. But
      then we purged ourselves of this openness and insulated ourselves in order
      to conform everything, including history, to our own mental constructions.
      I tried to show that much of what is taught to students nowadays is
      anything but truth. The students are fed on falsity and are taught to hate.
      Even the most recent history is blatantly distorted. For this I contrasted
      some lessons in school text books on the '65 war-where it is stated that
      India started the war, attacked Pakistan in the dark of the night, Pakistan
      valiantly fought back, winning large enemy territories, India desperately
      sought international help in stopping the war and Pakistan graciously
      returned the captured territories-against the statements of the former PAF
      chiefs, Nur Khan and Asghar Khan. Linking the state of collective paranoia
      with nuclear weapons, I quoted a serving Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
      Committee telling my friend Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy some years ago that he
      would not mind if Indians in retaliation to a Pakistani use of nuclear
      weapon destroy all the Pakistani cities and kill millions, as long as
      Pakistan can harm India in some manner. In short, I said that our
      collective paranoia has reached a pathological state, and realising it is
      like diagnosing an illness in time to look for an appropriate treatment.

      What happened in response to this talk was interesting. A student stood up
      and berated me for negating the Ideology of Pakistan and the concept of
      Jehad (I had neither spoken of the ideology of Pakistan nor of Jehad). He
      insisted that Pakistanis must destroy India even if it meant complete
      annihilation of Pakistan. What struck me most was the loud applause his
      statement drew from other students. The student then walked out in protest
      against my subversive talk. The rest of the students remained seated for
      another half an hour's discussion. And the discussion was lively with
      arguments both for and against my contention. I came to realise later
      talking to a student of mine that the younger people, particularly those
      who have passed through the mainstream educational system where the state
      indoctrination is so prevalent, are so heavily conditioned by the text
      books that what we say comes to them as an unpleasant shock. This may
      explain the ovation the student got after my talk. It also expalins why
      jehad has such a wide approval in the society.

      More interesting things happened the next day. The event was reported in
      the daily Ausaf of 3 May with its typical slant. It attributed to me what I
      had not said, and in a very venomous way. For example it quoted me as
      saying: "the two-nation theory was wrong", "It is Pakistan's armed forces
      which erected the wall of hatred between the peoples of India and
      Pakistan", "Pakistan is a mischievous country, and always nags India", etc.

      The next day, on May 4, the paper carried a column by its editor (in
      essence an editorial) with the provocative headline of "Indian Assault on
      Quaid-i-Azam University. The editor repeated all the statements falsely
      attributed to me the day earlier, questioning my loyalty to the country,
      and asking for my sacking from the university. I later learnt that in a
      seminar of journalists on May 3, some journalists, including the editor of
      Nawa-e-Waqt, spoke against me on the basis of the Ausaf news. Nawa-e-Waqt
      then wrote an editorial against me on 4 May. Ausaf published another news
      item on May 5, being more provocative this time by accusing me and my
      friends at the Institute of Psychology of indulging in propaganda against
      Pakistan and Islam, of being non-believers and denigrating Muslims.

      I have written to the editor of Ausaf in Urdu and am in the process of
      distributing this letter widely.

      Nayyar

      _________

      #2.

      DAWN Magazine
      7 May 2000

      IN SEARCH OF IDENTITY

      By Mubarak Ali

      SINCE its inception Pakistan has faced the monumental task of formulating
      its national identity separate from India. Partitioned from the ancient
      civilization of India, Pakistan has struggled to construct its own culture;
      a culture not just different and unique from India, but one appreciable by
      the rest of the world. The overshadowing image of the Indian civilization
      also haunted the founders of Pakistan, who channeled their efforts in
      making the differences between India and Pakistan more tangible and
      obvious.

      The fundamental difference between India and Pakistan was based on the Two
      Nation theory, strengthening Pakistan's Islamic identity. At the same time,
      a necessity was felt to outline the geographic differences between India
      and Pakistan. It was pointed out that West Pakistan had always remained a
      separate region geographically and historically, and, therefore, it had to
      be autonomous. Recently, Aitezaz Ahsan in his book The Indus Saga and the
      Making of Pakistan has emphasised the geographical and historical
      exclusiveness of Pakistan from the Indian subcontinent.

      The collapse of Russia and the emergence of Central Asian Republics
      inspired most intellectuals and government circles to revive the cultural
      links with Central Asia. There have been a number of newspaper articles
      tracing the cultural relationship between Pakistan and Central Asia,
      claiming that Pakistani people have more affinity with the Central Asians
      rather than with the Indians.

      In its initial years, the ideology of Pakistan was conceptualized in
      national terms rather than religious because it was the country (division
      between East and West Pakistan) and not Islam that was in danger. However,
      religion remained a strong basis of Pakistan's ideology. In 1971, Radio
      Pakistan broadcast the speeches of eleven eminent scholars on the Ideology
      of Pakistan with the purpose of providing "an analysis of the recent
      happenings in East Pakistan and expose the designs of anti-Pakistan forces,
      who have been conspiring since long to strike at the very roots of our
      nationhood"

      The tragedy of 1971 brought a shock to the people and also a heavy blow to
      the ideology of Pakistan. Under those circumstances, it was believed that
      the ideology of Pakistan was misused by the ruling classes and never
      implemented in its true spirit. More or less convinced of their Islamic
      heritage and identity, Pakistan's government and intelligentsia consciously
      attempted to Islamize the country. Historically, the process of
      Islamization was the outcome of the promises and declarations of the Muslim
      League leadership, which had vowed to put in place an Islamic system in
      Pakistan. Therefore, after the creation of Pakistan, it was logical to make
      Pakistan an Islamic state as it was achieved on the basis of religious
      nationalism. However, a few days before the physical Partition had to take
      place, Jinnah delivered his famous speech to the Constituent Assembly on
      August 11. The secular tone of the address created problems in the Muslim
      League leadership as well as in the circle of bureaucracy. An attempt was,
      therefore, made to censor Jinnah's speech. This, however, failed.

      After the passage of the Objective Resolution in 1949, it was argued that
      the Resolution automatically repudiated Jinnah's speech as it provided the
      Islamic basis to the new country. However, later on more arguments were
      given to reject this speech. It is said that the speech was just an
      'aberration' ; and delivered at a time when Jinnah was very sick. However,
      in spite of all such arguments, the speech is used by the secularists to
      put the conservative elements at bay. Liaquat's attempt to make Objective
      Resolution the preamble of the constitution, setting up the Board of
      Islamic Teaching in order to advise the Basic Principles Committees on the
      Islamic aspects of the constitution was the use of Islam to strengthen
      centralization and to curb provincialism. At this stage, though, the
      bureaucracy remained in opposition to the ulema and resisted to recognize
      them as the final authority in matters of politics and administration. That
      is why the proposal to establish the Ministry of Religious Affairs was
      rejected in order not to give them any space in the sphere of
      administration.

      The history of islamization can be traced to the Bhutto era when he
      attempted to set up the Ministry of Religious Affairs and coming up with a
      Haj policy by terminating the lottery system. The process was further
      accelerated after the general elections of 1977 when the opposition
      launched a countrywide campaign against Bhutto. The slogan of
      Nizam-e-Mustafa and Bhutto's counter-balancing efforts are major marks in
      that direction. Zia-ul-Haq furthered the process to buy legitimacy for his
      military regime. The element of communal and sectarian hatred in today's
      society are a direct consequence of the laws that the dictator had put in
      place. Contrary to expectations, the process of Islamization did not stop
      after Zia. Benazir in her two tenures maintained the status quo, while
      Nawaz Sharif added his own bit, like mandating death penalty to the
      Blasphemy Law.

      The happenings on the Islamization front, in fact, shed light on the
      intentions of the country's leadership, the way it has used Islam to its
      convenience and requirements. With the failure of the ruling classes to
      deliver the goods to the people, religion was exploited to cover up
      corruption and bad governance. Moreover, the process of Islamization not
      only supports but protects the fundamentalists in their attempts to
      terrorize and harass society in the name of religion. There are published
      accounts of the kind of menace that is spread by religious schools run by
      these fundamentalists. The political failure of the ruling classes is
      giving them further hope that the time is not far when they would be at the
      helm of affairs, like their counterparts did in Iran and Afghanistan.

      In any ideological state, efforts are made not only to protect the
      ideology, but also to disseminate it. Therefore, the state indoctrinates
      through media and education. The same process is being followed in
      Pakistan. Zia-ul-Haq, during his military dictatorship, coined the phrase
      "geographical and ideological boundaries" and made it the responsibility of
      his government to defend the same from external and internal enemies. This
      declaration made all secular and liberal-minded people enemies of the
      countries. They were warned again and again of severe consequences in case
      of any violation of the Ideology of Pakistan.

      To make the young generation conscious of the Pakistani ideology, the
      University Grants Commission of Pakistan made Islamic Studies and Pakistan
      Study compulsory subjects at all levels of the education system, even for
      the professional students. The Zia government also made the two subjects
      compulsory for 'O' an 'A' level students. This gave the government an
      opportunity to teach the students its own version of history, especially
      the Pakistan ideology, which is described as something like this: "The
      struggle was for the establishment of a new Islamic state and for the
      attainment of independence. It was the outcome of the sincere desire of the
      Muslims of the subcontinent who wanted Islam to be accepted as the ideal
      pattern for an individual's life, and also as the law to bind the Muslims
      into a single community." In asserting this identity, Pakistan is in a
      state of dilemma: in case of rejection of the ideology, it has to repudiate
      the very basis of its separation from India; to keep and preserve the
      ideology means to alienate the non-Muslim minorities to become a part of
      the Pakistani nationhood.

      On the other hand, as the ideology has been used by successive political
      and military leaderships for their own domination by means of maintaining
      over-centralization, it has disillusioned the small provinces. They see the
      ideology as a tool that is used to snatch their political rights and to
      deprive them of their regional and cultural identity. The alternative that
      is suggested by some Pakistani scholars is to reconstruct the Pakistani
      identity on the basis of territorial, rather than religious, nationalism.
      Hamza Alavi has rightly suggested that by doing so, "we will free ourselves
      from our present day hang-ups about the so-called Pakistan ideology and its
      confusing appeal to religion, which only has effect of promoting vicious
      sectarian conflict". So true, but who cares?
      _______

      #3.

      Please help us get endorsements.

      Aly Ercelawn


      CALL TO CANCEL OIL & GAS CONCESSION IN PAKISTAN'S KIRTHAR NATIONAL PARK


      The Government of Pakistan
      Chief Executive
      General Pervez Musharraf
      Islamabad, PAKISTAN.

      Dear General Pervez Musharraf,

      We are glad to learn of official initiatives towards the conservation of
      natural resources as a reflection of your intentions to promote just and
      sustainable development, and as a signal to actively abide by Pakistan's
      commitments to international environmental conventions.

      We are therefore extremely disturbed that your government has yet to cancel
      those concessions for oil and gas exploration granted by previous
      governments in complete disregard for national law and international
      commitments. We must draw your urgent attention to the particular case of
      concessions for exploration in the Kirthar National Park in the province of
      Sindh. From the facts available to us, these concessions need to be
      cancelled forthwith.

      As will be confirmed by the federal Minister for Environment, and the Sindh
      Ministers for Environment and for Law, any commercial activity and
      exploration specifically are forbidden in the Kirthar National Park by the
      Sindh Wildlife Act. Assurances by the federal government of complete
      protection of the ecological status of the Park led to its inclusion in the
      United Nations List of Protected Sites. Hence all actions which abet and
      promote illegal exploration are highly deplorable.

      Despite the unambiguous illegality of exploration in protected areas, in
      1997 the federal government granted a concession to Shell-Premier. The
      provincial government subsequently refused to permit Shell-Premier to
      proceed in violation of the law. However, the federal Ministry of Petroleum
      has yet to acknowledge the concession as an invitation to illegal conduct.
      Regrettably, Shell-Premier have also not offered to return the concession
      despite their apparent commitment to lawful conduct and environmental
      responsibility.

      To address concerns raised by the IUCN and WWF along with other citizen
      groups, the Sindh government and Shell-Premier had given assurances last
      January that all exploration activities will remain suspended until the
      independent assessment of a baseline study of the Park. Reneging on these
      promises, federal and provincial officials have colluded with
      Shell-Premier staff and consultants to accelerate activities in support of
      the illegal exploration concession. These include ecological
      investigations inside the Park by an Australian firm as well as the hiring
      of a Canadian firm to undertake further impact study of gas exploration,
      both being in violation of law and policy.

      You will surely understand our alarm at the certain prospects of
      irreversible ecological destruction of the Kirthar National Park. We
      therefore endorse the call by Pakistani citizens for the immediate
      cancellation of the gas and oil concessions granted to Shell-Premier.

      Sincerely


      Signature, Name, Organisation, Address

      _______

      #4.

      Source: Mid Day
      10 May 2000

      THE OTHER CHEEK

      by Ram Puniyani

      After a lull of many months the anti Christian violence is back on the
      pages of newspapers. Recently (March- April 2000) there have been several
      acts of burning of biblical literature, attacks on nuns and attacks on
      missionary institutions. Interestingly while the parliamentary affairs
      minister Mr. Pramod Mahajan assured that Govt. has the constitutional
      obligation to safeguard the minorities, Mr. Vajpayee in his characteristic
      statement went on to condemn the anti-Christian violence also
      assuring that guilty will be brought to the book.

      It should be noted that just a month and a half ago, before this second
      round of anti-Christian violence began Bajarang Dal held its convention in
      UP and sent its usual 'clarion call' of the need for the awakening of
      Hindus against the conspiracy of conversion activities of the
      missionaries, which according to them are anti-national activities. On the
      top of all this the vice president of VHP, which has played a major role
      in anti-Christian propaganda, which preceded this violence, Giri Raj
      Kishore not only said that this violence is being blown out of proportion
      by the media but also demanded a probe into these episodes.

      This violence suddenly came up on the social scene from late 97. In 1996
      there were seven cases of anti-Christian violence which went up to 24 in
      1997 and 120 in 1998. Gujarat was the major theatre of this violence where
      under the BJP rule the VHP and Bajarang Dal had a field day and they went
      on 'merrily' to burn the Bibles, chase the missionaries
      with the slogan "Hindu Jago- Christi Bhago"(Awake Hindus, Pack up
      Christians). Around this time calls were also given "Christians-Quit
      India". In the wake of all these happenings the Gujrat Deputy Commissioner
      of Police Mr. C.P.Singh in an interview given to Teesta Setalvad
      (Communalism Combat Oct.98) said, "One thing was clear in the pattern of
      incidents. It was the activists of the VHP and Bajarang Dal who were
      taking law into their hands, which posed serious threat to the peace in
      Gujarat. Many of the attacks on the minorities took place after these
      organisations had whipped up local passions against conversions (by
      Christian missionaries) and alleged forced inter-religious marriages. Our
      investigation revealed that in most cases these were entirely baseless
      allegations".

      Around this time Mr. Vajpayee visited Gujarat and while totally
      turning a blind eye to the intimidation of minorities and the anti
      Christian violence, did a neat cover up job for the deeds of his siblings
      from VHP and Bajarang Dal. Instead of calling for action against the
      culprits of violence he demanded a National debate on conversions.

      The culmination of the first round took place with the ghastly murder of
      Pastor Graham Stewart Stains and his two minor sons Philip and
      Timothy (Ages 9 and 7 respectively). President K.R. Narayanan was so much
      aghast by this event that he went on to call this as the incident
      belonging to the "world's inventory of black deeds". As per him it was a
      monumental aberration which went against the traditions cherished by all
      Indians. Pastor Stains was torched to death by the Bajarang Dal activist
      Dara Singh who could be nabbed only after a long delay. Even before any
      investigations could take place three of the ministers of the BJP led
      coalition rushed to the spot and in an 'instant investigation' concluded
      that murder is a part of international conspiracy to destabilise the BJP
      led coalition.

      Wadhawa commission concluded that Pastor Stains was not
      involved in conversions. Between 1981 to 1991, in Keonjhar district.
      percentage of Christians went up marginally from 0.299% to 0.307%. During
      the same time the percentage of Hindus went up from 95.10 to 97.62(Wadhva
      Commission Report). But this commission failed to take note of all the
      evidence of Dara Singh's links with different wings of Sangh Parivar(SP).
      Special Investigation Team headed by Padman Sing pointed out that "Dara
      Singh was an activist supporter of Bajarang Dal". CBI-Orissa Police report
      concluded that Dara Singh attended RSS camps at Maliposi, Champua and
      Ghategaonareas of Mayurbhanj district. (The Week, Sept.5th 1999). There
      are many more evidences of the links of Dara with different wings of SP.

      The intense anti-Christian propaganda, which preceded this phase of
      violence, was based on the falsification that Christian missionaries are
      using fraud and inducement to convert the gullible Adivasis. The decline
      in the percentage of Christian population tells another tale while
      quashing this baseless charge. As per the census of India 1991 and 1971
      the population of Christians in India stands as follows- 1971- 2.60%,
      1981-2.44%, 1991- 2.32 %. The SP needs to be 'complimented 'for its
      'brilliant' application of Gobbelesian technique. At a time when the
      percentage of Christian population is actually declining, it can
      'successfully' inject the myth in popular psyche that conversions are on
      the rise. And this myth is than used to rouse the sentiments and emotions
      of average people to generate the hatred against the Christians.

      The anti-Christian violence came up as a part of the SP campaign to get
      bigger foothold amongst the Adivasis. It is in these remote areas that the
      missionaries from decades and centuries are busy with their
      social work. SP's aim is to arrest the secularisation process, which is
      helped due to their educational, and health related activities.
      The violence, which has been cultivated, has passed through different
      conveyor belts. The RSS manufactures the basic hatred philosophy, BJP
      applies this in the in political sphere, VHP specialises in the vehement
      anti minority propaganda and Bajarang Dal 'solves' the problems by the
      'liberal' use of trident and other associated implements of Religion based
      politics of Hindutva.

      With most of the anti Christian crime getting exonerated by the state
      machinery ruled by SP member BJP, and dominated by the silent and violent
      supporters of SP the word has gone round that one can get away after
      attacking Christians. Also there seems to be a silent sanction to the anti
      Christian violence due to the rabid anti Christian propaganda
      spearheaded by SP.So now even the Bajarang Dal probably does not have
      to 'spend' its energy for the Hindutva agenda of minority bashing, as now
      all and sundry lumpens and criminals of different hues and shades have
      discovered the soft target in Christians. That is probably the reason as
      to why now even different denominations of SP also can confidently ask for
      the probe in to something which had been their major activity.Also they
      are sure that if Dara Singh's links with SP can be ignored by Wadhava
      Commission other lesser connected followers can do no harm to these
      organisations.
      __________

      #5.

      08 May 2000

      The conduct of the security and paramilitary forces in the state of Jammu
      and Kashmir has been a part of 'unconfirmed' general knowledge for a long
      time. Rarely does Indian media report the incidents of wanton destruction of
      property, indiscriminate firing, arrests, tortures and 'encounters' by the
      security forces. When it does, it does so in a very cautious, roundabout
      manner--avoiding giving out precise details and the scale of the outrage.
      The last incident of outrageous firing on the peaceful, unarmed
      demonstrators in Anantnag (who were protesting the killing of five innocent
      civilians by the forces claiming that they were militants responsible for
      the Chattisinghpura massacre of Sikhs) shocked all democratic people and
      brought to light the method used for 'resolving' the insurgency problem in
      Kashmir. On the heel of it comes the news of the rape of a woman by the men
      of Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

      We give below the statement issued by the All India Democratic Women's
      Association (AIDWA) on the latest incident.

      dastavez@...
      musafir@...

      For a democratic and secular South Asia

      * * *

      TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE ITBP RAPE ACCUSED

      The All India Democratic Women's Association expresses its strong
      condemnation and anger against the rape of a woman in Marwal, Pulwama by two
      men of the ITBP. Even though the police have registered an FIR the men are
      yet to be arrested, pressure is already being put on the victim and her
      family to withdraw the complaint.

      The situation of women in J and K is going from bad to worse with women
      being caught in the cross fire and being victimised including sexually
      assaulted by the state forces on the one hand and being targetted by the
      terrorists on the other. Such actions by the state forces on a hapless
      population is a gross violation of human rights. It gravely compromises the
      struggle against terrorism and separatism.

      The most stringent action must be taken by the Government to punish the
      guilty without any delay.


      Brinda Karat
      General Secretary,
      All India Democratic Women's Association
      __________

      #6.

      Communalism Combat May issue online
      http://www.sabrang.com/cc/current/index.html

      Main stories are:

      India's Shame (cover story)
      50 years after the constitution
      proclaimed equality for all Indians,
      over 160 million Dalits continue to
      be victims of a ‘hidden apartheid’,
      treated as untouchables, and
      worse
      *****
      'Hinduism, Thy name is inequality!' (History)
      Manu's is a degenerate
      philosophy of Superman as
      compared with that of
      Nietzsche and therefore far
      more odious and loathsome
      than the philosophy of
      Nietzsche’
      — Babasaheb Ambedkar
      ****
      Violence in the north, dialouge in Kerala (Targeting Minorities)
      Christian groups challenge the
      NMC’s claim that attacks on nuns
      and priests were 'non-communal'

      __________________________________________
      SOUTH ASIA CITIZENS WEB DISPATCH (SACW) is an informal, independent &
      non-profit citizens wire service run by South Asia Citizens Web
      (http://www.mnet.fr/aiindex) since1996. Dispatch archive from 1998
      can be accessed by joining the ACT list run by SACW.
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