SECOND OPINION: Election Commissioner should read this! —Khaled Ahmed’s Review of the Urdu press
What about the Quasimodo who holds the Inquisition, senior civil judge Rana Abdur Rasheed? Does he know what kind of reputation the lower judiciary has?
Our Election Commission is not very famous for conducting fair elections. The Opposition lambastes it on all electoral occasions. But Election Commission has its day too, when the candidates come to file their nomination papers at the office of the Commission’s returning officers. That’s when the Commission acts as Spain’s infamous Inquisition, insulting poor candidates with erudite catechisms on Islamic prayers.
Daily Jang (24 July 2005) reported that local government candidates who went to the Khanewal-Mailsi office of the Election Commission registration office were asked to prove that they were good Muslims by the officer in charge. A senior civil judge Rana Abdur Rasheed decided that it was not enough to be registered in the ID card as a Muslim.
A candidate of Union Council 42 failed to recite the Ayat al Kursi, another could not even get his kalima right, upon which the judge told him to spare some time for religion. Another candidate for councillorship was asked to recite the Qunoot prayer but he recited Namaz Janaza instead and when asked the occasion of reciting Qunoot, he said at the time of funeral. A woman was required to quote some ayaat from the Quran but she failed.
The candidates became so nervous at the high-handed conduct of the civil judge that one candidate thought the sun arose in the West! Another was asked the date on which Pakistan was established. He started looking for help at his father. He even got the number of namaz prayers wrong. One thought the Quaid was born on August 14, 1947 and another thought Pakistan was born on March 23, 1940.
Yet another candidate thought that the tomb of Allama Iqbal was in Multan. One thought that the idea of Pakistan was presented by Bhutto. The candidates thought that Ramadhan always came around in November, that Musharraf was prime minister of Pakistan while another thought it was Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
Rana Abdur Rasheed knew that returning officers do this insulting routine every time there are elections. He wanted to enjoy himself, so he did it too. This is sadism and it is a clinical case. What does the Election Commission want to prove? That Pakistanis are illiterate and therefore unfit to rule themselves?
What about the educated politicians and the mullahs who have let us down in the name of high education and Islam? What about the Quasimodo who holds the Inquisition, senior civil judge Rana Abdur Rasheed? Does he know what kind of reputation the lower judiciary has?
Writing in Jang, (28 July 2005) Abdul Qadir Hassan said that he did not know much about nuclear politics but he was reminded of AQ Khan when President Musharraf talked about Patriot missiles given by America to India. He said that all he remembered was the remark of a US deputy secretary when he said in 1998 that America would not tolerate the Pakistani bomb and he also remembered that President Bush had referred to the Crusades, which implied that the US would not let Pakistan flourish.
About this Crusades business, we should stop the charade. Bush used the word then immediately recanted. We thought it was our triumph, but it was not. During the Crusades, the Jews were forcibly converted or slaughtered at a massive scale, starting with Germany.
All along the route of the Crusades the Jews suffered great hardship. They were driven out of Jerusalem (where the Muslims had rehabilitated them earlier) and confined to just one city, Antioch, where they were humiliated daily. Why should the Muslims feel fidgety about the Crusades? The Iranian Muslims joined them against the Arabs.
Daily Nawa-e-Waqt (28 July 2005) editorialised that now Indian onions and garlic were being imported into Pakistan through the land route at Wagah near Lahore. India had always wanted that it should ignore the Pakistani demand for Kashmir and instead offer bilateral trade. Now sadly Pakistan had agreed to get onions from India instead of Kashmir.
This editorial is a glimpse into the mind of conservative Pakistan. Where should the onions come from? America? Soon we might export Iranian gas to India. What if the Indians started saying that benefiting Pakistan would make India vulnerable? Unfortunately there are people on both sides who think the same way.
Talking to Khabrain, (28 July 2005) Humayun Gauhar said that America was going to destroy Pakistan after dealing with Iraq. America in fact wanted to grab the resources of the Muslims. It created the Al Qaeda in cooperation with Osama Bin Laden. It was also the inventor of the mujahideen. But today if Pakistan got rid of the mujahideen it would destroy its own second line of defence. He said there would no Indo-Pak war but Pakistan could destroy Israel with two nuclear bombs.
How can the US destroy Pakistan after its job is done in Iraq? Gauhar says Pakistan can destroy Israel (where would the Arabs go?) with two bombs. If that is true, how can the Americans take the risk of attacking Pakistan?
Quoted in Khabrain, (29 July 2005) religion minister Ijazul Haq said that President Ronald Reagan was so keen to meet mujahideen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar that he sent his daughter three times to him to invite him but Hekmatyar had refused to see him. He also said that enlightenment (roshan khayali) was not wearing shorts and running in mixed marathons.
Ijazul Haq is the most ambivalent minister in Musharraf’s cabinet. (So that he can be in the next government if Musharraf falls?) Linking Reagan’s daughter to Hekmatyar may give him personal satisfaction. It is possible that the people he was addressing also derived some vague revengeful gratification from what he said, but the truth is that Hekmatyar was rejected by the Pushtun mujahideen in 1989. Hekmatyar also insulted General Zia by not listening to his advice which was for his own good. Hekmatyar is the stark example of Islamic isolationism which defeats its own exponent. That is what comes out from his biography. *