Archive for terrorism

The Fires in South Asia

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , on December 6, 2008 by Umer

Vijay Parsad is a well-known public intellectual from India. His article on the recent Mumbai terrorist attacks and its repercussions clearly show how the progressive intelligentsia of India is trying to combat the reactionary anti-Pakistan public opinion emerging there, while the Pakistani intellectuals are either silent or are swayed by the anti-India hate mongering sprouted by the mainstream media. Time to wake up, is it not?

The Fires in South Asia

By Vijay Parsad

No one would have believed in the last years of the twentieth century that this world would be in such tumult over so little that is understood. Unimaginable violence, most of it for triumphs that are obscure. Politics buried so deep in their actions, that the motives disappear in the flames, and the suffering itself becomes the end. Aerial bombardment of entire countries, cold-blooded massacre of citizenries. Armies set in place to hold people down, and themselves held down by their inexperience and bewilderment. Populations motivated for revenge rather than for revolution, harmed beyond belief and then diverted from their oppressors to take their justice where it comes. A cheapened world, where values are given over to pieties, and tears quickly dry into the very rage that created them in the first place. Time is circular: this is the myth of eternal return, with the avenging angel appearing once as Demon, then Angel, then Demon again. This is our cauldron.

* * *

Aye dil he mushkil jeena yahan
Zara hat ke zara bach ke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan.
[O heart, living here is difficult,
Be alert, be crafty, this is Bombay, my love.]
Majrooh Sultanpuri, “CID.”

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Human rights campaigners are not terrorists

Posted in International Affairs, Law, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on December 4, 2008 by Umer

Protests at Baloch terror trial

Drop all charges against Marri and Baluch

Stop abusing the anti-terror laws

Human rights campaigners are not terrorists

London – 1 December 2008

On Monday 1 December, the Baloch ‘terrorism’ trial resumed in London. Friends and supporters of the defendants, Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch, staged a protest outside the court, calling for the trial to be halted and the charges dropped.

Photos of the protests are available to view and download for publication here.

Although the police and court officials were needlessly bullying, forcing the protesters to leave the court grounds, the supporters of the defendants made their point and were seen by court staff and by everyone who came to the court and who passed by it.

The Balochistan human rights campaigners Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch are being prosecuted on terrorism charges, which are widely believed to have been concocted by Pakistani intelligence.

Monday’s protest was supported by Baloch and Sindhi rights campaigners from Pakistan and by members of CAMPACC, the UK Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, which opposes abuses of the anti-terror laws.

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Communists of South Asia stand united

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by Umer

While chauvinistic vitriolic campaigns have been launched from both sides of the Pakistan-India border in the aftermath of horrific Mumbai terrorist attacks, communists of India and Pakistan stand proudly committed to the peace between India and Pakistan and reject all forms of jingoist tirades initiated from both sides of the border.

In an act of international proletarian unity, the Communist Party of India – Marxists (CPI-M) has released the statement of their Polit Bureau on the Mumbai Attacks with the statement of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) of Pakistan on the same subject.

Due to the efforts of CPI-M, the statement of CMKP has received wide coverage in the Indian media.

CPI-M condemns Mumbai terror attacks, calls for security revamp

November 30th, 2008 – 8:24 pm ICT by IANS –

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Sunday condemned the terrorist attack in Mumbai and demanded the government take measures to revamp the intelligence and security network to prevent recurrence of such incidents. “The continuous and widespread terrorist attacks, which have occurred in the country, have shown up the weakness in our intelligence and security systems. The country expects the government to immediately take effective steps to revamp and strengthen the intelligence and security set up,” the party said in a statement released after its politburo meeting.

Also calling for “identifying and taking steps against the forces with external links who have perpetrated this crime”, the party urged all the Indian people and political parties to “rise above any sectarian interests and ensure that the unity and integrity of the country is safeguarded by curbing all forms of terrorism whatever their source”.

The CPI-M said the government should investigate the terror attacks and afterwards “when the evidence of the links in Pakistan of the persons who committed this terrorist outrage is established, the government should take up the matter with the United Nations Security Council.”

The party also released statement of its sister organisation in Pakistan — Communist Workers and Peasant’s Party (CMKP) condemning the attacks.

“CMKP strongly condemns the barbaric and heinous acts of planned murder and destruction carried out by terrorists in Mumbai, India. We express our sincerest condolence with all the people who fell victim to this savage crime,” the statement read.

It also hailed the role of the entire Indian Left, which it said was “doing its utmost to reign in reprisals by Hindu fundamentalist forces against the Muslims of India.”

Expressing concerns that the attack might hamper the ongoing peace process between the two countries, it called on the Left and the people of both countries not to let Mumbai terrorist attack undermine the Pakistani-India peace process.

“Such a development will provide the Pakistan Army with an excuse to continue a heavy deployment on the Pakistan-India border and play in the hands of religious extremists to carry on with their deadly vendetta against the people of both countries in the name of religion, race and caste,” the statement said.

The CMKP also stressed it was the role of the Left in Pakistan to “expose and organise against right-wing forces, both inside and outside the Pakistan military that harbour an agenda against harmonious relation between Pakistan and India”.

CMKP Strongly Condemns the Terrorist Violence in Mumbai

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , on November 29, 2008 by Umer

CMKP strongly condemns the barbaric and heinous acts of planned murder and destruction carried out by terrorists in Mumbai India. We express our sincerest condolence with all the people who fell victim to this savage crime.

We also salute the entire Indian Left that is doing its utmost to reign in reprisals by Hindu fundamentalist forces against the Muslims of India.

We strongly feel that the role of the Left in Pakistan is to expose and organize against right-wing forces, both inside and outside the Pakistan Military, that harbor an agenda against harmonious relation between Pakistan and India.

The Left and the people of both countries should not let Mumbai terrorist attacks undermine the Pakistani India peace process. Such a development will provide the Pakistan Army with an excuse to continue a heavy deployment on the Pak-India border and play in the hands of religious extremists to carry on with their deadly vendetta against the people of both countries in the name of religion, race and caste.

The people of both Pakistan and India have been a victim of religious terrorism. It is for the people to understand that such terrorist organizations and action sprout from the ideology of hate and divide on religious grounds which is preached by both the Hindu and Muslim Fundamentalists. People should not allow any agenda put forward by such organizations to further the oppression of religious minorities.

Crimes of such barbarity must make people realize that the moment has arrived for the people of both India and Pakistan to develop a unified commitment towards peace and harmony in the world and combat extremism and terrorism in all its shades and colors.

When Bengal Cried…

Posted in International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2008 by Umer

The 1971 war against the Bengali population, paved on the “good intentions” of keeping the Pakistan together, was carried out in a classical genocidal fashion. “Kill three million of them,” President Yahya Khan reportedly said in February of 1971, “and the rest will eat out of our hands”. The genocidal war initiated on 25th of March with the attack on University of Dhaka where hundreds of students were murdered. In the subsequent months, hundreds of thousands of the Bengali people was exterminated, millions of women were raped, and millions were displaced from their homes. History has not forgotten the atrocities committed in the East Bengal by the Pakistani Army and their stooges in Jamaat-e-Islami.

Here, I am presenting the news about a report published by War Crimes Fact Finding Committee (WCFF) that has spent two decades documenting war-time incidents of the 1971 war:
Bangladesh ‘war crimes’ list out

Bangladeshi war veterans and intellectuals have published a list of alleged war criminals from the country’s 1971 independence struggle with Pakistan.

The War Crimes Fact Finding Committee (WCFF) spent two decades documenting war-time incidents and announced the publishing of the list on Friday.

The list has nearly 1,600 names and the publishers are demanding the prosecution of those who are alive.

The WCFF has also proposed the setting up of a post-apartheid South African-style truth and reconciliation commission.

Prominent names

Among the big names on the list are Yahya Khan, president of Pakistan during the 1971 war, General Tikka Khan, under whose command Pakistan launched the military crackdown to crush the liberation movement in Bangladesh and Lieutenant General Ameer Abdullah Khan Niazi, the Pakistani general who surrendered to India in December 1971.

Among the Bangladeshis on the list was Matiur Rahman Nizami, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party and a minister in a coalition government until October 2006.

There are several Jamaat-e-Islami members on the list, but the party has dismissed charges against them.

Tasnim Alam, the party spokesman, said: “Only the country’s highest court can declare anyone a war criminal. No individual, agency or organisation has any such right.”

The group that published the list, however, said around half of those listed were still alive and many were members of Jamaat-e-Islami.

‘Bangladeshi collaborators’

MA Hasan of the WFCC said: “Out of the 1,597 people on the list, 369 were Pakistani army personnel. The rest were Bangladeshi collaborators.”

“We have been investigating for 17 years. The list is on the basis of field-level investigation, mass graves and eyewitness statements,” Hasan added.

“We will give this list to the government and the election commission. Our demand to the government is that those perpetrators should be punished and disqualified from the next election.”

A court in the capital Dhaka has also ordered the police to submit a report on allegations against Nizami.

In a case filed by a former Bangladeshi freedom fighter, Nizami has been accused along with 12 others of helping the Pakistani army plan mass killings in which thousands of villagers died.

However, Jamaat-e-Islami has dismissed the charge as an attempt to “defame” the party.

Since Bangladesh’s emergency government came to power in January 2007, war veterans have led calls for prosecution of war criminals.

CMKP Condemns Bhutto’s Assassination

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2007 by Umer

Karachi, Dec 29: Heinous horrified assassination of PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto, a most popular leader and former prime minister, has once against testified the magnitude of the tyrant savage system controlled by military establishment. What she fell prey to the suicide bombing and so-called Islamic militancy were the culmination of the politics of Islamisation and Jihad that where put into motion by the military Zia regime and still being done by a section of establishment and supported by a group of fanatics. The objective has been just to brutalise the society and thwart the democratic aspirations of the people, to prolong the undemocratic rule. This has also showed the fault of the existing socio-economic and political system that needs its elimination through sincere and protected struggle. Moreover, nobody is safe under military-dominated rule.

In a press statement, Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) Pakistan Chairman Sufi Khalik Baloch condemned the brutal murder of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, while urging to expose and punish all those involved in such crime against humanity and decency. He added that at such a sad moment, he shared the shock and grief equally with the leaders and workers of PPP as well as her family. He paid tributes that she died bravely as she was conscious of the threat under the cover of religious extremism, although the fact is that she became the target for the dislikeness of domestic cliques that are counted in the politics of Pakistan. He hoped her blood could not go in vain but help strengthen democracy and socio-economic rights of the people.

So will our fist strike again!

Posted in Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2007 by Umer

What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
Slaughter is an act of heroism…
How hard it is to sing when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
Horror which I am dying.

So wrote Victor Jara in his immortal poem Estadio Chile, moments before his death by the hands of one of the most brutal dictatorship that the world has ever seen – the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile; a tyranny sponsored, as ever, by the U.S.A. While repeating Jara’s words again, I remain convinced that the social-realist literature makes immensely more sense to people who have gone through the experience that the particular literary piece is talking about. I have read the quoted verses of the Jara’s last song countless times, but never before it generated so much strength and meaning for me as it does when I read it today.

The unforeseen and sudden death of Benazir Bhutto led to some of the most agonizing moments of my life. My first reaction when I heard the news of Bhutto’s death over the phone from a friend was utter disbelief – it has to be a rumor. But the news was soon confirmed as I switched on my TV set and messages started pouring in on my cell phone. What happened was horrific. For the first time in my life, I felt shocked to the extent that I was wordless.

To my young mind concerned with the good of my people, the assassination of Bhutto brought immense confusion and horror. As I stayed glued to the TV screen, there were a number of questions that cropped up, but I could not find an answer to any of them. It was like my thinking half died with Benazir. What will happen next? How will the powers that rule Pakistan use this event to their favor? What will happen to our struggle for democracy and social justice? How will people respond to the sense of insecurity that the assassination of Benazir has created? How will this event contribute towards the prevailing threat of religious extremism? Somewhere between all these questions was also a deep sense of sympathy for all those who once witnessed and mourned the death of great leaders like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and President Salvador Allende. I was living through the ordeal that they once went through. I could comprehend what it is to deal with political uncertainty and insecurity and what it is to live under the shade of fascist terror.

Confusion, however, is temporary, particularly if your mind is equipped with the tools of Marxist theory and revolutionary practice defines the motto of your life. So, I started explaining to myself what might be there behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in order to reach a conclusion about what needs to be done.

In my view, as I have written elsewhere, the murder to Bhutto resulted in collusion between the Islamic Extremism and the pro-Taliban lobby in the ruling establishment of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was not as much a threat for the former for the lack of effective power as she was for the latter. The pro-Taliban lobby in the armed forces knew very well that their defacement would be construed as the disgrace of their institution internationally and, therefore, enjoyed a strong cover through this blackmail. They also knew well that Benazir Bhutto, with a history of opposing the military rule of General Zia-ul-Haq that killed her father and with the patronage of Washington, will not miss a chance to publicize the activities of the remnants of Zia era in the international arena. Had that happened, the armed forces would have lost the much needed international image with which they justified its continuous rule over the people and resources of Pakistan. Benazir became, as Aitzaz Ahsan correctly pointed out, a threat for the establishment of Pakistan.

The retributive struggle against the death of Benazir, therefore, has two main forces to blame: Islamic Extremism and Armed forces. Without ending the power of Army, the pro-Taliban elements within the Army responsible for the assassination of Bhutto can not be brought to justice. The struggle for democracy is now not just a struggle against Pervez Musharraf, but a struggle to bring the clandestine activities of intelligence wings of armed forces under public scrutiny. Army must no longer benefit from the privilege that it has been enjoying since the colonial era. People should not merely throw the Army out of power, but must conduct its post-mortem to see where the problem lies. Our struggle is no more about the separation between Army and politics, but about the subjugation of the former to the latter.

At this point in the history of my country, I humbly will call upon all my people to heighten their effort for democracy and resistance against military dictatorship and religious extremism. It’s time to refurnish long lost popular unity built on the foundations of democracy and social justice. It’s time to refresh our resolve for a better world. It’s time to renew our commitment for people’s rule. It’s time to live, for slavery is no better than death.

The water is transparent
White between our fingers
it flows
“El Fascismo-el Fascismo”

-Take your guitar
and play play
until our arteries brust
don’t let the dust
swallow your brain
the women
will give birth to grenades.

– Andrée Appercelle, To Chile, To Allende

The task that the history sets out for us is difficult but it’s crucial. Without struggle and unity, we will perish, and history will never forgive us. Hope, we can not loose. Struggle, we can not put down. And when we move forward, let the verses of Victor Jara, ready to embrace death for his cause, give us strength and courage:

To see myself among so much
And so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment…
So will our fist strike again!

Benazir Assassinated

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , on December 28, 2007 by Umer

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has gripped the nation with immense sorrow and grief. Benazir was the leader of one of the largest political parties of Pakistan, the Peoples Party of Pakistan (PPP), and has twice been the Prime Minister of the country. She died when targeted by a spray of bullets while returning from a PPP rally at Laiqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, giving her a fatal wound in her neck. The assassin later blew himself up killing twenty people in the blast.

A strong sense of uncertainty was all pervasive as the news came out. As my internet at home was not working, I remained glued to the TV set only to listen to the repetitive broadcast by newsmen with little information. News was seeping in only at a snail pace , but there was no other media outlets available. There was news about riots erupting all around Pakistan that were targeting, as expected, the banners with the election symbols of PML-Q, the pro-Musharraf Party, installed at every lamppost in lieu of the approaching elections. Buses and cars were being burnt and the some PML-Q offices were also stormed.

Such a reaction was all the more expected. After all, a leader of one of the largest political parties of Pakistan was killed in cold blood. As one of my friends, Taimur Rahman puts it:

In the PPP the people of Pakistan saw a mainstream political party that spoke about the rights of poor people. The slogan of roti, kapra, makan (bread, clothes, housing) galvanized millions against the military dictatorship of Ayub Khan in the late 1960s. The democratic reforms undertaken by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto challenged the interests of the traditional ruling class of Pakistan.

The death of Benazir Bhutto resulted from the strong stance she took against Islamic fundamentalism while being soft on rule of Pervez Musharraf. PPP had also decided to run in the upcoming elections on January 8th and many were expecting Benazir to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, irrespective of their opinion with regards to her ascendancy. The strong possibility of the rise of a secularist Benazir into power made her a mortal threat for those in the State who harbored sympathy for Islamic Fundamentalists, with whom the notorious intelligence agencies, such as the ISI, were closely knitted since the Cold War and the Afghan War. Benazir Bhutto become a symbol of resistance against Islamic Extremists – both residing inside and outside the State. She stood secularism and modernity against militant retrogressive and conservative trends.

The ruling dictatorial regime of Pakistan has proved its utter incapability in controlling the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism, which is linked with elements within the State due to historical reasons. Benazir had made it amply clear to everyone that she might be in danger of suicide attacks before coming to Pakistan. However, her return at Karachi was greeted by two suicide bombings that killed more than 150 people. After that incidence, Benazir reiterated that certain elements in the ISI want her to be eliminated. Yet, no concrete steps were taken by the government to curb the threats to her life. PPP was blamed instead for organizing mass rallies in the face of threats of suicide-bombing attacks in order to cover up the serious breach of security.

I have often pointed out elsewhere and on my blog that dictatorship incapable of remedying the menace of Islamic Fundamentalism. Islamic Fundamentalism can only be defeated by democracy. To this point, the message sent by the team of seems to hit the bulls eye:

No less than a democratic authority with punitive powers to act on extremism and with the capability of asserting the sovereign will of the people is required in Pakistan. Bhutto’s assassination must force democratic and progressive forces in Pakistan to get their act together in eliminating fundamentalism and extremism in the country.