Monday, July 20, 2015

Rangers vs MQM-PPP in Sindh; India-Pakistan Ties; Eid in America; US-Iran Deal's Impact on Pakistan

How's Eid celebrated in America? Is it different from how it is celebrated in Pakistan? What do Pakistani-Americans do on Eid?

What will be the impact of Iran Deal on Pakistan and the Middle East? How will it help US and Iran and other powers, including India, strategically, economically and politically? Can the Israel lobby still sabotage this deal?

Are Pakistan Rangers targeting MQM and going easy on PPP in Sindh? Will Pakistan Army succeed in containing or eliminating MQM's militant wing? What is the PPP strategy in cooperating with Pakistan Rangers? Will MQM leaders be convicted of either money-laundering or murder or both charges in British Courts? How will it impact MQM as a political party in Pakistan? Will new leadership reform and recreate the party?

Are India-Pakistan ties taking a turn for the worse after Modi-Sharif meeting in Russia? Will Modi continue his policy of isolating Pakistan and use proxies to hurt his neighbors?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Misbah Azam ( and Riaz Haq (

Eid in America; US-Iran Deal's Impact on... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Eid ul Fitr in America; US-Iran Deal's Impact on Pakistan; Rangers vs MQM-PPP in Sindh; India-Pakistan Ties from WBT TV on Vimeo.
Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Eid in America

Scotland Yard Confirms Document Linking MQM to RAW

Ex RAW Chief on Agra Summit and Kashmir

Pakistan Opposition Indicts But Supports PMLN Government

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel

VPOS Dailymotion Channel


Riaz Haq said...

Leaked audio reveals neoconservative plan to torpedo U.S.-Iran nuclear deal:

The fanatical Israel-devoted group Christians United for Israel, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members,” yesterday held an off-the-record call to formulate strategies for defeating the pending nuclear deal with Iran. The star of the show was the Wall Street Journal’s longtime foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who spoke for roughly 30 minutes. A recording of this call was provided to The Intercept and is posted here.

Stephens, who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002 to 2004 (where he anointed Paul Wolfowitz “Man of the (Jewish) Year”), is essentially a standard-issue neocon and warmonger, which is why his mentality is worth hearing. He begins the strategy call with an attempt to sound rational and sober, but becomes increasingly unhinged and hysterical as he progresses. Here, for instance, is Stephens’ message that he believes should be delivered to wavering members of Congress:

Someone should say, “this is going to be like your vote for the Iraq War. This is going to come back to haunt you. Mark my words, it will come back to haunt you. Because as Iran cheats, as Iran becomes more powerful, and Iran will be both of those things, you will be held to account. This vote will be a stain. You will have to walk away from it at some point or another. You will have to explain it. And some of you may in fact lose your seats because of your vote for this deal. You’ll certainly lose a lot of financial support from some of your previous supporters.”

First, note the bizarre equation of support for the war in Iraq with support for a peace deal with Iran. Second, since when do neocons like Stephens talk about the Iraq War as something shameful, as a “stain” on one’s legacy? Stephens was a vehement advocate for the attack on Iraq, as was the paper for which he works, and never once suggested that he was wrong to do so. Third, yet again we find journalists at newspapers claiming the pretense of objectivity who are in fact full-on activists: here, to the point of colluding with a right-wing group to sink the Iran Deal — there’s nothing wrong with that on its own terms, other than the conceit that journalism is distinct from activism.

Riaz Haq said...

The search for jet black terrorists leads to the nabbing of white-collar criminals. It’s open hunting season. Shocked? You should be. That’s not how we do things in Pakistan. So what gives?

The last few weeks have witnessed frantic nab and grab action in many corners of the country, forcing citizens to scratch their heads and ask: Are we finally entering an era where the traditionally short arm of the law is growing in length? The evidence is mounting. In Peshawar, the government picks up a local Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf minister for corruption; in Karachi, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrest high-ranking officials of the Sindh government while taking away records and files from the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) offices; In Lahore, Pakistan People's Party leader and former hockey star Qasim Zia is seized (again by NAB) for embezzlement; in Rawalpindi, the army takes action against its own generals for financial bunglings, and the list gets longer and longer. This is crazy stuff. Suddenly, Pakistan’s law enforcement seems to have grown some teeth, a spine, and perhaps even a brain.

This sounds suspiciously like a new Pakistan. Are the leaders in grave danger of becoming good men?

There is a certain urgency in what we are seeing unfolding; a certain deadlined challenge that is in the process of being achieved. An impression has successfully been created that the state finally means business; that the gloves are off and political expediency has been boxed and shelved. Onwards ho! Doors will be kicked down, closets overturned and skeletons dug back out. Villains, run.

For now, that is.

Retribution triggers such happy emotions. You killed our sons? Now hang. You looted our money? Now rot in jail. You abused your office? Now suffer humiliation. Yes, the average God-fearing, well-meaning, taxpaying citizen is experiencing deep catharsis watching lowlife individuals being dragged to justice. All power to those who have grown fresh spines. May you crush more them under your boot.

But wait. Everything that feels good, isn’t. Snatch and grab makes for great headlines, but what then? How many of these crooks, cons and racketeers will actually be convicted? Would not it be fairly easy for them to worm, wiggle and wriggle their way out of our criminal justice system and into the fresh, crisp air of lucrative freedom? Naming and shaming is good, but convicting is better.

Plus, hey who’s doing the naming and shaming? And at whose behest?

Three federal agencies backed by a federal minister inspired by a federal institution are driving this campaign. FIA, NAB and Rangers (in Sindh) cannot be accused of having a brilliant track record in the past. Yet, all three at this point seem a model of efficiency and resolve. Is it that overnight these three agencies have discovered their mojo? Or stumbled upon a hidden reserve of proficiency, performance and prowess? Or is it in fact a new-found will at the top that has transformed them into rocket-propelled chainsaws?

Chaudhry Nisar, the minister of interior (and exterior too apparently), wears a determined, no-nonsense look nowadays. They say he doesn’t take pressure and uses his moods like a lethal weapon. In Star Wars terminology, he is this government’s Jedi and the federal agencies are his lightsabres. Slash and burn.

Riaz Haq said...

How Pakistan’s Most Feared Power Broker Controlled a Violent Megacity From London

Though he was born in Karachi in 1953, Hussain has always identified as a Mohajir—a term that refers to those, like his parents, who left India after partition. In Agra, about 140 miles south of Delhi, Hussain’s father had a prestigious job as a railway-station manager. In Karachi he could only find work in a textile mill, and then died when Hussain was just 13, leaving his 11 children dependent on Hussain’s brother’s civil-service salary as well as what their mother earned sewing clothes. Such downward mobility was common among Mohajirs, who were the target of discrimination by native residents of Sindh, the Pakistani state of which Karachi is the capital. Hussain was enraged by his community’s plight. He and a group of other Mohajir students founded the MQM in 1984, and Hussain gained a reputation for intense devotion to the cause. After one protest, when he was 26, he was jailed for nine months and given five lashes.

Religiously moderate and focused on reversing discriminatory measures, the MQM built a large following in Karachi, winning seats in the national and provincial parliaments. It didn’t hurt, according to UK diplomatic cables and two former Pakistani officials, that it received support from the military, which saw the party as a useful bulwark against other political factions. Although Hussain never stood for elected office, he was the inescapable face of the MQM, his portrait plastered all over the many areas it dominated.

From the beginning, the MQM’s operations went well beyond political organizing. As communal violence between ethnic Mohajirs, Sindhis, and Pashtuns worsened in the mid-1980s, Hussain urged his followers at a rally to “buy weapons and Kalashnikovs” for self-defense. “When they come to kill you,” he asked, “how will you protect yourselves?” The party set up weapons caches around Karachi, stocked with assault rifles for its large militant wing. Meanwhile, Hussain was solidifying his grip on the organization, lashing out at anyone who challenged his leadership. In a February 1991 cable, a British diplomat named Patrick Wogan described how, according to a high-level MQM contact, Hussain had the names of dissidents passed to police commanders, with instructions to “deal severely with them.” (Hussain denies ever giving instructions to injure or kill anyone).

Even the privileged came under direct threat. One elite Pakistani, who asked not to be identified due to fear of retribution, recalled angering the party by having the thieving manager of his family textile factory arrested, unaware the employee was an MQM donor. One afternoon in 1991, four men with guns forced themselves into the wealthy man’s car, driving him to a farmhouse on the edge of the city. There, they slashed him with razor blades and plunged a power drill into his legs. The MQM denied being behind the kidnapping, but when the victim’s family asked political contacts to lean on the party he was released, arriving home in clothes soaked with blood.