Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meet Dr. General Ziaul Haq, Ph.D. (Courtesy: Abbas Zaidi/Abbas Nasir)

Dr Shershah Syed, a KU graduate and a member of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, said that the responsibility for failing varsities didn’t lie with the chancellor alone. “The faculty members and alumni of the relevant institutions must also share the blame, as they didn’t raise their voice and protest against malpractices.” Citing an example, Dr Syed said the Dow International Medical College, which was part of the DUHS, had been deceiving students for many years by lying that a hospital was attached to the varsity. “It’s a small ward and not a hospital as the university claims in its prospectus. On top of that, the institution charges its students an exorbitant fee of $12,000 annually,” he said, adding that no one was taking notice of the severe violation of PMDC rules. He expressed dismay over the prevailing situation and said the discussion could prove futile in that the higher authorities had already decided to extend the services of the DUHS and KU vice chancellors.- First it was the Sitara-e-Imtiaz awards that our government gave out so generously to numerous people that barely deserved them. Now, we are faced with the reality of knowing that our very own Interior Minister Rehman Malik has received an honourary degree of Doctorate from the Karachi University. What’s more shocking than the fact that Malik is now Dr. Malik, is the reason given to explain why he was chosen: The degree has been awarded in recognition of his “matchless services to the country in the war on terror and particularly in restoring peace to the citizens of Karachi.” The fact that thousands have died in the war on terror and are still dying seems to not matter here. The fact that Karachi has lost hundreds in target killings under Malik’s reign also does not seem to make a difference. What seems to be the most disturbing thought on this news however remains, who actually believes Malik has made any kind of positive impact to Pakistan’s security situation? More importantly, how could Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ebad assess that “Malik’s efforts against terrorism and valuable help in maintaining law and order in Karachi are known to everyone.” If that’s true, then could it be possible that we are all simply oblivious to the great man Dr. Malik just might be under that cloak of failures that he wears? REFERENCES: ‘Governor responsible for failing universities’ By Faiza Ilyas | From the Newspaper October 13, 2011 That’s Dr. Malik for you BY DAWN.COM ON 10 13TH, 2011

Geomentary - Mere Azeez Hum Watano. Story of the 3rd Martial Law - 21 Oct 2011 Part 1

When General Zia was awarded an LLD, there were no dissenting voices other than those of a few Punjab University professors. Most of them were sacked, and many of them were removed from department chairmanship - Ninety-nine percent of Pakistani (electronic and print) media (Urdu as well as English) is right wing, and 100 percent of it has run amok in fury over an honorary doctorate awarded to Interior Minister Rehman Malik by Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad Khan. A newspaper editorialised its anger thus: “The huge smile on ‘Dr’ Malik’s face as he accepted his degree reaffirms his own sense of surety that all that he is doing is right.” A columnist wrote in sarcasm: “Rehman Malik has joined the ranks of 5,300 PhD scholars in Pakistan.” The Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba (IJT) protested in front of the Karachi Press Club; its leader thundered: “Awarding honorary degrees on political basis should be banned!” Since I came to know about him in 2007, I do not remember a single moment when I liked Rehman Malik. Thus, this piece is not a defence of the degree awarded to him. I wish to read between the lines of what and why the media has been railing against who and why. I wish also to put on record that an honorary degree was awarded to a person far, far worse than Rehman Malik. First, a correction: someone holding an honorary doctorate does not become a doctor in the academic sense. Such a person cannot write ‘Dr’ in front of his/her name. If Abdul Sattar Edhi is given an honorary doctorate, he will not be considered a scholar, but, in his case, a social worker. Also, these frothing-at-the-mouth babblers have not identified whether Malik’s award is a PhD or a Doctor of Laws (LLD). What is this ‘sense of surety’? Only the editorial writer in question can answer. I have looked up dictionaries and usage manuals these past few days, and none of them enlightened me on this. Now a word about the IJT’s shock and objection over the award. It was this very IJT and its parent Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) that gave an LLD to General Ziaul Haq. Yes, this is what happened in 1978 after he had deposed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government and declared himself Pakistan’s Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA). Rehman Malik has been awarded the degree for, as the citation goes, his “matchless services to the country in the war on terror and particularly in restoring peace to citizens of Karachi”. This may be right or wrong, but Rehman Malik has not committed any treason. Will the IJT or the JI clarify on what basis they awarded an LLD to Ziaul Haq whose greatest act till 1978 was treason, the worst crime in Pakistan? The person who physically conferred the degree on General-CMLA Ziaul Haq was no other than Liaqat Baloch. At that time, he was president of the Punjab University Students Union. Now he is a deputy amir of the JI. He can explain the raison d’être of the conferment better than anyone else. When General Zia was awarded an LLD, there were no dissenting voices other than those of a few Punjab University professors. Most of them were sacked, and many of them were removed from department chairmanship. One of them was Professor Razi Abedi, a close friend of mine. He has recently told me that the police and intelligence agencies swooped down on pro-democracy/anti-Zia professors with a level of violence that is normally reserved only for murderers and drug-traffickers. In their ignoble task, the police and intelligence agencies were helped by student leaders and some Punjab University professors. I do support the IJT in its proposal that honorary degrees must not be awarded on political basis. Now that General Zia is gone, the Punjab University can revoke the LLD awarded to him. Shahbaz Sharif has complete control of the Punjab University. He can cast the first stone. This, I hope, will lead to the revoking of Malik’s award too. The real agenda behind the sound and fury over Malik’s degree is not the award per se. My understanding is that Malik is not the target at all. The real target is President Zardari, hated by the media, political parties, the ISI and the army (refer to WikiLeaks to learn about General Kayani’s love for Zardari). The formula is: whatever and whoever has Zardari’s support must be taken on. As a sidekick, the MQM can also be subjected to criticism because it is a Zardari ally. Thus, two birds can be killed with one stone. Reference: COMMENT: Did someone say “Dr General-CMLA Ziaul Haq” too? —Abbas Zaidi Wednesday, October 19, 2011 The writer is the author of Two and a Half Words and Other Stories. He can be reached at

Geomentary - Mere Azeez Hum Watano. Story of the 3rd Martial Law - 21 Oct 2011 Part 2

DESPITE the many shortcomings of their alma mater, Karachi University graduates have been a proud bunch, having received a decent education and that too for next to nothing. Many of us students and our teachers braved perils everyday in just going to campus to receive/impart education as our counterparts do around the world routinely in safety. The word ‘peril’ isn’t being used loosely. One isn’t talking about the rickety ‘point’ buses which ‘flew’ us daily to the alma mater and back. In the years, I was reading economics at the Karachi University some half a dozen students were shot dead and dozens were injured in incidents involving student violence. Given how intense the automatic gunfire often was, it’s a miracle there weren’t more, many more, victims. Even teachers were not spared and some were assaulted, though it wasn’t as if they were targeted indiscriminately. Only those teachers were harassed and/or assaulted whose ideological leaning was to the left, something that was beyond forgiveness, reprieve as far as Zia and his surrogates in the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba (IJT) were concerned. This nexus between IJT and the Zia regime was so well-established that after a professor was beaten black and blue by the famed Thunder Squad of the right-wing student group, the military governor of Sindh, the chancellor, then dismissed him from service citing the most dubious of reasons. In this repressive environment, the IJT seemed to gleefully act as the military ruler’s ‘B’ team. Its armed squads seemed to operate with impunity as long as they delivered on their part of the deal. Gen Zia wanted ‘peace’ on the university campuses and looked the other way as his ideological allies used all manner of brutal tactics to suppress ‘progressive’ dissent at the institutions. Ask Senator Hasil Bizenjo who was shot in the foot while taking part in an anti-Zia protest. REFERENCE: Dislodged from a proud perchAbbas Nasir October 15, 2011 The writer is a former editor of Dawn.

Geomentary - Mere Azeez Hum Watano. Story of the 3rd Martial Law - 21 Oct 2011 Part 3

If you look at the official patronage extended like a protective umbrella to the IJT not just on campus but throughout Karachi, it is surprising, a tribute to their tenacity, that anyone with a progressive bent of mind survived at all. Against such a backdrop, who would be surprised if the university administration including the vice-chancellor tilted towards the IJT? It may be unfair to say that Dr Masum Ali Tirmizi, the VC in our days, was ideologically allied to the IJT. Perhaps he was meek and found it easy to succumb to most of the IJT’s demands as the student wing of the Jamaat-i-Islami was aggressive and enjoyed the backing of the country’s military ruler who had recently overthrown and executed the elected prime minister. The point is he may have often favoured the right in his decisions and earned the ire of all progressive forces in the university but at no point did anyone mistake him for ‘Saif Bhai’ (Saifuddin), the bespectacled and pimpled IJT nazim (boss) then. This was a time, when the Zia regime, the Jamaat and its student wing ruled the roost. Following bloodletting between the Khalqi and Parchami wings of the governing (PDPA) People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the Red Army had marched into Pakistan’s western neighbour. Hard-line Reagan had replaced the relatively soft Carter in the White House. The United States and its western allies embraced Zia and all Islamist forces in the country. The West saw them as vital pawns on the chessboard, as it took on the Soviets through these proxies. If the stranglehold of the right was loosened it was only for a day at a time as a handful of militant anti-Jamiat student activists offered no more than passing resistance. Despite killing two IJT activists on campus, they couldn’t dent the IJT’s near-permanent might and muscle. REFERENCE: Dislodged from a proud perchAbbas Nasir October 15, 2011 The writer is a former editor of Dawn.

Geomentary - Mere Azeez Hum Watano. Story of the 3rd Martial Law - 21 Oct 2011 Part 4

But even through this period, and yes I belabour the point, no matter how much he was castigated by the ‘progressives’, the vice-chancellor managed to more or less keep the dignity of his office intact. The recent bizarre decision of the University of Karachi to award an honorary doctorate to the minister of interior Rehman Malik for his services towards ‘peace’ in Karachi has left me bewildered. Mr Malik has been quoted in last Thursday’s Dawn as telling the cabinet he should be tasked with collecting the outstanding power bills as he had already succeeded in restoring peace to Karachi and Balochistan. Peace in Balochistan? Need one say more? And isn’t it public knowledge whatever modicum of peace has been brought to the metropolis is due to the suo moto action taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan? Isn’t it true the main hero of the piece is one Ijaz Chaudhry, a major-general? Yes he was the director-general of the Rangers removed from office earlier this summer by the apex court after Sarfaraz Shah’s extra-judicial killing by the Rangers’ personnel was captured on camera in Karachi. His quiet return to office dramatically ended the spike in violence and the target killings in Karachi and he has been rewarded with a promotion to lieutenant-general. One eligible to command a corps would hardly feel the need for doctoral robes. There can be no doubt Rehman Malik earned the gratitude of the MQM when the party was feeling vulnerable and uneasy in trying to figure out the meaning of Zulfikar Mirza’s outburst especially at a time when it wasn’t even clear whose tune the former Sindh minister may have been marching to. Dr Pirzada Qasim, the current holder of the venerable office of the vice-chancellor, may have merely acquiesced in this award to a controversial sitting minister, making dubious claims about the restoration of peace. But how will he defend himself if his critics charge him with having acted like an MQM sympathiser. And don’t ask me if I am still proud of being a KU graduate. REFERENCE: Dislodged from a proud perchAbbas Nasir October 15, 2011 The writer is a former editor of Dawn.

Syed Haider Farooq Maududi Exposing Jamaat-e-Islami - 1 (28 May 2011)

Syed Haider Farooq Maududi Exposing Jamaat-e-Islami - 2 (28 May 2011)

Syed Haider Farooq Maududi Exposing Jamaat-e-Islami - 3 (28 May 2011)

Syed Haider Farooq Maududi Exposing Jamaat-e-Islami - 4 (28 May 2011)

Senator Khursheed Ahmed Openly Supported Bhutto's Hanging by the hands of General Zia


With brainwashing on the one hand and erosion of academic freedom on the other, the campuses (once temples of learning and enlightenment) have been turned into centres of rowdyism and repositories of deadly weapon. Students belonging to various schools of religious thought, regional and ethnic groups, particularly the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba (the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami) , have played havoc with educational institutions. Professors were another target of the victimization carried out in this period. Members of the IJT launched a concerted campaign against professors known for their liberal views. In Punjab University, particularly, many professors were forced to resign, others were sacked. The situation was no different in the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, which had in the 70s attracted many brilliant Pakistanis who were teaching abroad. As the harassment became unbearable, most of these professors went back. To what extent fundamentalists blocked scientific knowledge can be assessed by one incident at the Karachi University, where a zoology lecturer was stopped from teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Similar incidents occurred frequently in the philosophy and the economics department. The situation has worsened wit the passage of time. During that period, a policy of appeasement towards the IJT made matter worse. Guns boomed at the Karachi University Campus for the first time in 1979 when, according to Imran Shirvanee, Raja Javed, a supporter of IJT, used a sten gun ‘to tackle the opposition.’ When the pen and free expression are throttled, the only means open to tackle opposition is a firearm. At that time, the IJT was the ruling party in Karachi University politics with Hussain Haqqani, Raja Javed was his close aide. Haqqani is a man of many roles. The former Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent was the media advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif when Benazir Bhutto was at the centre {1988-1990}. He switched to serve caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in 1990, and then switched back again to serve Sharif when he was elected Prime Minister. In 1992, he was sent to Sri Lanka as Pakistan’s High Commissioner. On the eve of Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal on 18 April 1993, he jumped the sinking ship and joined President Ghulam Ishaq Khan bandwagon. Immediately, he was rewarded by being made a special assistant to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Balakh Sher Mazari with the rank of Minister of State. Asked by BBC if he now deserved a mention in the Guinness Book of Records for switching loyalties so often, his reply was classic: I was always with the President.’”REFERENCE: The Web of Censorship by Late. Zamir Niazi published by Oxford University Press.

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