Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘newspost’

One started praying for no ‘Pakistan link’ the moment the news of smoke discharging from an SUV parked at Times Square broke in the media. But it turned out later that it was done by a US national of Pakistani-origin. We were lucky that Faisal Shahzad could not assemble the bomb properly. One fails to understand how a westernised youth found the right connections and logistics to travel to the war-struck strongholds of the Taliban and other splinter terrorist organisations. Sadly, our omnipresent intelligence agencies couldn’t trace these links. How could Faisal Shahzad, during his brief visit to Pakistan, find out the proper links and get all the training without any difficulty?

How many Faisal Shahzads are still in the making? How many Pakistanis will further defame their religion and country in pursuit of their murderous goals?

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

source: The News

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Interesting revelation was made in The News, Newspost. Read the letters below. PIA, which was once one of the best airlines of the world, having played a pivotal role in the making of Emirates Airlines and Singapore Airlines is now ranked 2nd worst in the world.

Friday, April 30, 2010
This is with reference to a report published in CNNMoney.com (April 14), according to which, PIA is the second worst airline of the world in terms of on-time departures and delays. The report is based on findings by Flight Stats, a US-based company which has ranked Japan Airlines as the best airline for on-time departures. This deterioration of PIA is very disturbing given the fact that it now has a relatively younger fleet with nine Boeing 777s and 5 ATRs, following the grounding of its ageing fleet of fuel-guzzling 747s. Its fleet has the same average age as Southwest, which tops the list of US-based airlines for flight regularity and on-time departures.

The Pakistan government, in spite of the financial crunch, has pumped billions of rupees into PIA, but it has failed to provide it with a professionally competent management that could curtail pilferages and culture of corruption and kickbacks that have dominated the airline since Gen Musharraf’s tenure. It is the appointment of cronies, with known indulgence in financial wrongdoings, by Musharraf and the present regime that has led to PIA’s ranking amongst the worst airlines of the world. PIA is today as bad as Pakistan Railways. The only difference being that while railways has a depleted fleet of engines (courtesy Ashraf Qazi), PIA has 14 new aircraft. Both these organisations have been plundered through corruption, mediocrity, political appointments and pilferages. It is time the authorities concerned took action and prevented further loss to the national exchequer by sacking the incompetent management of PIA.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi
Islamabad

*****

Wednesday, May 05, 2010
I share the sentiments of Meekal A Ahmed, Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, Rashid Orakzai and Aneela Chandio (May 2). PIA was once run by men of integrity and commitment like Nur Khan, Asghar Khan, Rafique Saigol etc. These days, integrity and merit are apparently a disqualification as individuals shrouded in controversies are considered fit to head state-owned organisations. That PIA has gone from bad to worse does not seem to bother the elected government, for which cronies with their hand in the till are a source of pride and satisfaction.

No wonder the credibility of this government is almost non-existent. An airline with a fleet of Boeing 777s and ATRs being ranked as the second worst airline in terms of delays should have rung alarm bells in Islamabad. It is sheer incompetence that is responsible for this mess. Perhaps a third-party audit is due, or else this airline may face a major catastrophe.

R Chaudhry

Conroe, TX, US

Read Full Post »

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A shocking incident recently took place at the UET Peshawar where activists of the student wing of a religious party stormed a hostel room and beat a student there, reportedly, for listening to music. The poor student was beaten black and blue with sticks and the attackers did not even spare his guests who were present in his room. The student lost his life later while his guests are critically injured.

Such Taliban-like behaviour of this students’ group in different universities throughout Pakistan is not a new phenomenon. Such incidents take place wherever this group is active. I urge the government to enforce a ban on student bodies which have been promoting violence on campuses. I also urge the government to take the student’s killers to task. We are fighting extremism in FATA while our campuses in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar teem with extremist students who are little Baitullah Mehsuds in their own right. It is high time we cleansed our centres of higher education of such fascist elements.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

The News

Read Full Post »

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
With reference to the letter “A new leaf?” by Imaan Hazir (March 9), I would like to urge the media to highlight Mai Jori’s brave stand and encourage women like her so we can have true democracy in Pakistan. Mai Jori contested the election from an area which was recently brought into focus due to a heinous crime committed against women. Some women were buried alive there in 2008 in the name of ‘honour’.

Mai Jori deserves our full encouragement even if she has lost. The face of Pakistani politics can only be changed if women like her take a stand and vow to fight against old tribal customs and injustices committed in the name of honour.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

The News – NewsPost

Read Full Post »

Democracy or dictatorship?

Thursday, November 26, 2009
Ijaz Tabassum, in his letter of November 22, has recommended that we should bring back Musharraf. I will go a step further and recommend that military rule should, through a constitutional amendment if need be, return legally for a limited period with checks and balances. The problem with democratic governments is that they remain under pressure to go with what the majority of the citizens want, not what is best for them. If the majority wants that babies should be given cigarettes, babies will be given cigarettes. Civilians have ruled us for more than 20 years now, and during this period we have seen loot, plunder, crookedness and every type of fraudulency under the sun. Only two former military officers are listed among the hundreds of NRO beneficiaries. People of several South American countries, which have returned to civilian rule after a long time, are now beginning to feel they were better off under dictatorships.

Ayub Khan was ruling Pakistan when I was a child. Whenever foreign dignitaries visited Pakistan (among them were President Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth, the Shah of Iran, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson and others) they used to ride in an open horse-driven carriage with our president in Karachi (our capital at that time) on an immaculately clean Elphinstone Street (now the filthy Zebunnisa Street). People used to shower flowers on them from the side buildings. There were no police. I used to accompany my father to see them, and often they stopped the carriage to shake hands with the people lining the street just ten feet away. Invite President Obama now to do the same. I will eat my shoes if he can do it.

I say, first bring back Ayub Khan and his chosen governor of West Pakistan, Nawab Amir Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh. Musharraf can follow.

Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal

Rawalpindi

——————————————————————————————-

Saturday, November 28, 2009
Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal in his letter titled “Democracy or dictatorship” (November 26) has suggested that military rule should return legally for a limited period with checks and balances. He has also claimed that during the civilian rule the nation has seen loot, plunder, crookedness and every type of fraudulency. In my view the retired commodore has mixed up the conduct of certain politicians with the system of governance. I would suggest that the writer should carefully go through the contents of the article by Kamila Hyat (November 26) wherein she has very lucidly explained how democracies have done wonders in India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Bolivia. May I request the writer to look at the list of corrupt countries brought out by Transparency International and see for himself that the countries at the bottom are all democratic while the ones at the top have a weak democratic system?

Despite a high level of corruption in Pakistan, at least there is uproar in parliament as well as in the press on this problem and the prime minister has to respond to the questions being raised by the opposition relating to illegal appointments and promotions and other allegations of corruption. On the contrary, all the dictators in Pakistan appointed their cronies in lucrative positions without any questions asked. May I ask the writer whether the country was corruption-free during the rule of Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf? The writer has to understand the difference between legalised corruption and other types of illegal transactions. There are very few names of army officers on the NRO list because the armed forces do not fall under the purview of NAB or any other civilian anti-corruption agency.

Furthermore, no one can technically point a finger towards commercial plots and agricultural farms having market value of tens of millions rupees allotted by the government to individuals. The legalised corruption is not accounted for anywhere. During the eras of Ayub, Zia and Musharraf, remarkable progress was seen in development of infrastructure, but that was due to certain geo-political situations such as the Cold War, the Afghan war and the post-9/11 scenario in which Pakistan got financial and military support from developed countries, especially the US. Despite these lucky breakthroughs, the dictators failed to bring about any meaningful change in the country. Democracy in Pakistan will work very well if it is allowed to breathe freely without military interventions every now and then.

Dr Najeeb A Khan

Islamabad

*****

It was shocking to read the letter of Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal titled “Democracy or dictatorship” (November 26). The respected commodore believes that another dictatorship can save Pakistan from a mess created by a dictator who has fled the country in fear of being held accountable for the crimes he and his allies committed in the previous regime.

Let me remind the commodore that due to short-sighted policies of dictators over the years, East Pakistan became Bangladesh and Balochistan cries for its rights. Due to these tyrants, NWFP is burning. Due to these dictators and their lust for power, the Pakistan army is forced to fight an enemy that the state itself created during Zia’s regime. Pakistan became a hub of Islamist militias. It is because of these dictators and their continuous meddling in civilian affairs that every institution is weak and Pakistan hasn’t tasted the real taste of democracy. Curse upon these dictators and their puppets. If we want to progress and redeem our image across the globe, we must hold Musharraf responsible for the atrocities he and his friends committed. We must punish those who have made Pakistanis bleed and then move forward towards a real democratic culture which will take time to develop.

A corrupt ruler does not automatically make the previous tyrant good, neither does faulty democracy in its infancy mean that dictatorship is a better option. The current parliament may or may not teem with thieves accused of looting public money and brought back to mainstream politics by yet another dictator who engineered the NRO, but that should not justify military rule.

Commodore sahib is advised to have some sense as I remember his comments against dictators during the great “Bloody civilian” debate that he initiated in these very columns and later apologised to the readers for using derogatory language for his fellow civilian countrymen.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

*****

In his letter titled “Democracy or dictatorship?” (November 26) Commodore Parvez Iqbal favoured dictatorship over democracy. He should be reminded that the people of Pakistan are sick and tired of generals ruling them and rejected Musharraf’s policies in the February 18, 2008, elections. It was because of the dictatorships of Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf that today, even after 62 years, Pakistan is struggling to achieve success and prosperity and its people are deprived of the basic necessities of life. The answer to a flawed democratic system is certainly not dictatorship and it is this thinking that has destroyed Pakistan from within. Pakistan is still bearing the brunt of the actions and decisions of the past despots. Not one country in the world that is successful and prosperous today is run by a military regime or the system that Mr Iqbal is proposing.

Pakistan doesn’t need the army or landlords to run it; it needs shrewd and sincere leadership elected through a democratic process. Let’s not forget the words of the Quaid-e-Azam who during his address at the Military Staff College said: “Never forget that you are the servants of the state. You do not make policy. It is we, the people’s representatives, who decide how the country is to be run. Your job is to only obey the decisions of your civilian masters.”

Hafsa Khawaja

Lahore
———————————————————————————————–

Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal’s letter titled “Democracy or dictatorship?” (December 1) in response to Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi’s criticism of his earlier letter was amusing. The distinguished commodore defends military regimes in Pakistan with arguments that are best left for concocted history books. He even throws in a reference about Venezuela being the epitome of good governance ever since Hugo Chavez came into power and has cemented his stay using all means necessary. He also had the audacity to claim that under Musharraf, we at least “saw a reasonable amount of stability”. Yes, try telling that to the Baloch.

Finally, the commodore throws at us a gem saying military leaders often have to make decisions on an ‘act-first-explain-later’ basis. In Pakistan, however, military leaders seem to be acting on an ‘act-first-then-forget-about-explanations’ basis. We are, after all, still waiting for explanations on the Operation Gibraltar, the Ojhri ammunition depot fire, Kargil, the 1971 war, the judicial murder of our first elected prime minister, the rape of the constitution a couple of years ago and so on and so forth.

Sohaib Athar

Boston, US

*****

This is in reference to Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal’s letter “Democracy or dictatorship?” (December 1) in response to my letter of November 28. The respected commodore listed a few good deeds of the military dictators and advised the civilians to go through history before criticising them. Commodore Sahib declared Field Marshall Ayub Khan a ‘charismatic leader’ who built Islamabad in five years. He completely ignored, however, the corruption and nepotism that marred his 10 year rule. He also forgot to mention the economic disparity created by his rule which led to public agitation and in result he had to transfer power to yet another dictator.

Commodore Sahib, while referring to Gen Ziaul Haq, ignored to mention that the US aid to help the mujahideen came through intelligence agencies Zia used to cement his own rule. The Afghan jihad converted Pakistan from a peaceful nation to a hub of Islamist extremists. Why doesn’t the writer remember that era’s heroin smuggling, AK-47 culture, religious extremism and diversion of scarce national resources to the military?

It was General Pervez Musharraf who put Balochistan on fire. Who sacked judges unconstitutionally after they refused to hand down a favourable judgment? Who was responsible for the murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti, the Lal Masjid fiasco, curbs on the media and the emergency of November 3, 2007, which he himself termed unconstitutional?

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

*****

This is in reference to the letter “Democracy or dictatorship?” by Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal (December 1). Looking into our past it’s not difficult to judge that due to the dictators our country is bleeding today. They have inflicted sever damages both to our geography as well as our independence and sovereignty just to prolong their own rule. We must not support them just for a few goods they have done during their long reigns.

Instead of saviours I hope Ayub Khan and Pervez Musharraf will be considered as the first and the last dictators, respectively, of Pakistan.

Kamran Bangash

Dubai

*****

This is with reference to Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal’s letter “Democracy or dictatorship?” (December 1). The retired gentleman never fails to start a controversy on your pages. Such issues should not be started in times of war when our forces are busy fighting a tough battle against cowardly terrorists. A state is built upon a social contract or the constitution which sets the boundaries in which various organs of the state should function. A negation of the contract occurs when any organ of the state crosses these limits. Martial laws, military rule and dictatorships, however benevolent, are a negation of the people’s right to govern themselves. We have paid the price for these violations in the shape of the Bangladesh debacle, sectarianism and Kalashnikov and heroin culture.

As regards his rhetoric about corruption, incompetence and inefficiency of politicians, that is none of the business of a bureaucrat (civil or military) to determine. The people are the best judge and their decisions are never wrong. Only they can judge their representatives. Also the degree of corruption among high-ranking bureaucrats, both civil and military, is far worse than politicians. The people of Pakistan, especially the young generation, are not interested in the sermons of retired military men about the blessings of dictatorship.

Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

Malaysia

——————————————————————————————

Friday, December 04, 2009
Commodore (r) Iqbal Parvez’ step to trigger the democracy-dictatorship debate is most inappropriate and ill-timed. With the country mired in countless problems and the army valiantly fighting in FATA to save the nation from terrorism the commodore should have exercised discretion. There can be no denying that the inept political class has repeatedly and appallingly let this nation down. A dispassionate examination, however, would lead us back to the ‘original sin’. The political manipulation, the empowerment of individuals, the culture of sycophancy and little acceptance for any dissent — all sprouting from that fatal October 1958 decision — have led to the current state of affairs.

Ayub Khan stopped General Akhtar Malik from taking Akhnoor in 1965. His scion ran a fiefdom and owned an industrial empire. He schemed to defeat Fatima Jinnah in the 1964 elections. Pakistan’s political culture would have been quite different today if Fatima Jinnah had been allowed to win. Yahya Khan’s fair elections are a myth. His investment in such an election was the result of an erroneous input by the intelligence maintaining that no single party will return with absolute majority. He and his coterie were not willing to part with power even after Dec 16, 1971. Besides introducing heroin, Kalashnikov and drugs, Zia bloodied the streets of Karachi and unleashed serpents of religious extremism, fiery mullahs and sectarian violence on society. His era saw Pakistan losing the Quaid peak in Siachen to Bana Singh of the Indian army. Rather than the Soviets, it is the nation whose nose continues to be rubbed in the dust because of the defacement then received. Musharraf’s moth-eaten era will always be remembered for his abject failure to provide an alternate fresh political leadership. He finally compromised with those whom he had tirelessly condemned in the most vicious manner.

Let time and history be the arbiter if the Venezuelans’ choice is correct. In 1932-33 several posters in Germany read “Hitler — our last hope”. By 1945 Hitler had led his nation to annihilation and the world at large to complete destruction. Before becoming the supreme commander of the Allies’ expeditionary forces in 1943, Eisenhower was the allies’ commander in European theatre. He brought laurels for the free world. De Gaulle granted independence to Algeria in the teeth of opposition from his comrades. Let the politicians squabble as always — but let their nemesis be written by none other than the people.

Commander (r) Muhammad Azam Khan

Lahore

*****

I fail to understand why dictatorship can even be an ‘option’ for a country. What we need is a change of leaders, not of system. The present lot needs to be disposed of. We need a leader who is honest. There may not be many honest men in the present lot, but that doesn’t call for a military takeover.

Dr Habib Usmani

Muzaffarabad

*****

In his response to Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi’s letter, Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal (December 1) tries to wrongly glorify the eras of Pakistani dictators which have actually brought Pakistan to the brink of collapse. Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Musharraf, all were blotches of shame on the face of the country. The retired commodore tried to portray that all the military dictators had halos above their heads. If that is the case, then are the 16 crore Pakistanis wrong who rebelled and struggled against the rule of the military? I admit that there is widespread corruption in civilian governments but it is no secret that corruption and nepotism were more rampant in the years of these dictators, particularly Musharraf’s.

The new generation will not believe the false accounts of the so-called great military eras that destroyed our country. A few good actions of these despots cannot justify their rule or make us forget what they did to our homeland.

Hafsa Khawaja

Lahore

*****

With reference to the ongoing democracy-dictatorship debate and particularly the comments of Parvez Iqbal on December 1, let me say that as for the Indus Waters Treaty the commodore failed to mention the heavy price paid by the state by officially surrendering its claim to rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlaj, all tributaries on the east bank of the Indus, in lieu of aid and loan for the construction of Mangla Dam. This was done overlooking the fact that the reservoir would consistently be reduced and the water demand would keep growing. The fact that the canal irrigation without water would become redundant was also ignored.

The Basha Dam fiasco and the abandonment of the Kalabagh Dam project pose a serious danger of drought in the near future. The construction of the Baglihar dam during military rule is another feather in the cap of military dictators. The building of Islamabad by Ayub Khan was a decision simply to have the capital near his real power base, GHQ. As for the examples of Eisenhower and De Gaulle given by the retired commodore, they came through ballet. Could Pervez Musharraf have occupied the presidency through the ballet?

Jehangir Khan

Islamabad

Read Full Post »

BLOODY CIVILIANS!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Engineer Qadeer Ahmed says he feels proud that 30 years back he chose not to join the PMA and remained a ‘bloody civilian’ (Sept 7). Over half a million men are serving in our armed forces and only two or three former military officers are washing their dirty linen in public. And what they are doing is sad, but black sheep do manage to disguise their true nature over a long period of time before they finally expose their true colour.

If Engineer Qadeer had chosen to join PMA, he would have walked into his barrack with some ingredients of a strong character because he would have been carefully selected, but he would still have required more drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, will-power and nerve. These would have been given to him by the military academy.

His first rank would have been GC, which stands for ‘gentleman cadet’, emphasising the imperative for him to always think, talk, move, dress and behave like a gentleman. He would have been told that in official parties, politics and women are not to be discussed. He would have acquired good internal locus of control which, unfortunately, is lacking in our civilian population because neither the parents, both literate and illiterate, nor the educational institutions they attend, bother to nurture these qualities.

Examples abound. Why do we have so many casualties when some calamity takes place? No civilian is trained for first aid. No civilian parents care to learn how to fight fires or even how to escape when a house or an office catches fire. The only thing they know is push the man in front of you and run like hell. After a bomb explosion or an accident half the police effort goes in yelling at people to get back. I would not be wrong in saying out of 170 million people, 169 million cannot swim. The list goes on and on.

Even after retirement, I feel as proud as ever for having been a military officer and the pride will remain with me for the rest of my life. I remain grateful to the military for teaching me clean habits. To those few indulging in senseless whistle-blowing on TV, I would suggest they should do something equally senseless but more practical, commensurate with their IQ. Find a herd of sheep, take a sword, mount a white horse and yell ‘charge’.

Incidentally, in the military, the world over, the phrase ‘bloody civilians’ is used as a figure of speech only, and no offence is intended.

Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal

Rawalpindi

————————————————————————————————–

Bloody civilians

 
 
 
Friday, September 11, 2009
Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal (Sept 9) must be truly a gentleman for admitting that the people in the military do use the phrase for those who are not one of them. I also appreciate the quality of their training and upbringing of their officers. But despite all the training and tall claims of character-building how come buccaneers of the likes of Yahya, Ziaul Haq, Aslam Beg and Musharraf all become four-star generals and take their turns in demolishing the vital institutions of the country?Second, who can deny that the half a million gentlemen own resources of the country much more than their due share? And third, under what law are lands leased to the armed forces by the provincial governments for specific purposes like defence converted into lucrative housing societies? This method of enrichment happens nowhere else in the world. To attain the respectability of being the most honoured institution of the country — something it enjoyed during the 1965 war — the serving gentlemen should take oath not to obey any unconstitutional and illegal order. That day onwards the nation will salute them.Another bloody civilianIslamabad

*****

This is with reference to letters by Engineer Qadeer Ahmed (Sept 7), Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal (Sept 9) and Shahid Saeed (Sept 10). Around 30 years back I also preferred not to join the PMA because I had the ability to study further. I have a double master’s and this is what I wanted to obtain: intellectual ability, which is what makes me proud to be a civilian. I do not judge others on the basis of their ability to provide first aid, their fire-fighting and swimming abilities.

Anwar Ali Khan

Islamabad

*****

I found Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal’s letter (Sept 9) entertaining indeed. Retired commodores, air marshals and generals are always right as is Commodore (r) Iqbal about how many Pakistanis know how to swim. I, for instance, never joined the army and I never learned to swim. Commodore, how right you are about ‘bloody civilians’ who not only miss to learn swimming but more by remaining civilians.

Dr A P Sangdil

Oslo

*****

This is with reference to Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal’s letter “A ‘bloody civilian'” (Sept 9). I am afraid the very mindset of the much-esteemed officers of the armed forces is the reason they cannot roam around in their own country in their uniforms. The other day I saw a lieutenant abusing a traffic police constable just because the latter had asked for the driver’s licence. For doing his duty, the poor constable was slapped and humiliated by the lieutenant.

Nowhere in the world do servants of the nation have the audacity to stand up and abuse civilians and call them names. It is high time that we, a nation of 170 million ‘civilians’, including civilian family members of those serving the armed forces, began asking those in uniform of their contribution during the past 62 years? We can begin with Ayub Khan and go all the way to Pervez Musharraf.

Those who wear uniforms and think that they are superior to civilians should realise and understand that it is the taxes paid by civilians which pay for the military’s expenditures.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

*****

With reference to the letter “A bloody civilian” (Sept 9) by Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal, I would say that over the years our armed forces in general and the army in particular have emerged as an elite ruling class. In this process they have penetrated into every possible institution. A lot of talented and deserving professionals have had their careers ruined.

Moreover, the general attitude of the military towards ‘bloody civilians’ is full of contempt. The question now arising in the minds of the public is: what is the difference between our military and the British colonial army which had the same scornful attitude towards the natives? They too considered us inferior and destined to be ruled upon by them.

I hope that they start teaching our military officers how to take criticism gracefully and to treat civilian with respect.

Muhammad Salman

Rawalpindi

———————————————————————————————————————————–

To be or not to be a civilian?

Sunday, September 13, 2009
It is Engineer Qadeer Ahmed who in his letter (Sept 7) said that he felt proud that 30 years ago he did not join the PMA and chose to remain a ‘bloody civilian’. If he (Engineer Qadeer) is proud to remain a bloody civilian, why should others feel offended by the use of the term? Why blame Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal who simply tried to defend the army as an institution (Sept 9). After all, the term is used as a figure of speech and not to offend anyone.

Our worthy men of letters must show maturity and stop bashing the army as an institution. It is our most reliable institution and is able to deal with crises and internal and external challenges to our national security. It takes years of training to make a soldier, unit and formation fit as a trained, cohesive and motivated force to perform its operational role. Let us not make the job difficult for our men in uniform.

Brig (r) Saud Bashir

Lahore

*****

With reference to Ameer Rizwan’s letter of Sept 12, may I say that after reading what he has written it is clear who the bigger fool is. If retired army officers live in palatial mansions and drive around in expensive cars, it is because they have served their life for the defence of the nation. Also I know that most of these retired officers, if the need arises, will rush to the defence of the nation. I doubt it very much that civilians will do the same thing.

Hassan Abdullah Rasool

Peshawar

*****

It is very unfortunate to see a useless debate on the word ‘bloody’ which started from the letter of Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal (Sept 09). What the commodore has said are surely his personal views and not of the armed forces. The armed forces belong to all of us, our own brothers, sisters, sons, parents and relatives are members of this institution. So how can one abuse their own blood? May I suggest to the nation not to carry on this kind of futile and harmful discussion? We all belong to Pakistan and together we have to defend it from the enemies. Instead of creating hatred we must work for the unity and prosperity of Pakistan because together we stand and divided we fall.

Bilal Shahid

Islamabad

*****

I have been religiously following the animated debate over the above-cited caption. Among all the letters, for and against (mainly against) I enjoyed M S Hasan’s letter (Sept 12) in particular, not least because of his indescribably admirable wit.

Umar Hayat

Toronto

*****

With reference to Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal’s letter, may I ask how many out of the nearly half-a-million men of the armed forces know how to swim? I would say that our cadets are taught not how to be gentlemen but rather to see themselves as superior than civilians — and hence the use of the term ‘bloody civilian’. In fact, they are taught these things so well that it doesn’t end after their retirement as Commodore Iqbal’s letter has proved.

Dr Habib Usmani

Muzaffarabad

I stand by what I said

Monday, September 14, 2009
My letter of Sep 9 has caused a sharp reaction from many people apparently because it has not been read with the right spirit. Regardless of the comments appearing in these columns, I remain convinced that we have, in quality of personnel, one of the finest armed forces in the world. For a very small fraction of what the Americans and the NATO are spending in Afghanistan, our military is achieving the same purpose at a much faster pace. For me, it was an honour and pleasure being a part of such a superb professional force, and no amount of misplaced criticism will distract me from this affiliation.

As for our civilians, they can see for themselves where they stand as compared to their counterparts in other countries. Relieving themselves in public on the nearest wall they can find, scratching themselves profusely, driving as if the Devil was on their tails, using the most colourful expletives and profanities in conversations and quarrels, spitting saliva by the gallons on the roadsides… I do not wish to elaborate more. Has anyone seen any member of our armed forces behaving like this?

One does not require resources or money to conduct ourselves in a human way. Only good sense and self discipline. I will not be apologetic for what I wrote in my letter.

Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal

Rawalpindi

At ease, Commodore!

Tuesday, 14th Sept, 2009

In reference to the letter “I stand by what I said” by Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal, may I say that we are all aware of the high level of capability of the Pakistan army and we laud its services? Having said that, I disagree with the disfigured picture of a civilian that the retired commodore has spoken of. Those who relieve themselves in public and scratch themselves profusely are not literate civilians. As for colourful expletives and profanities, these can be used by civilians and non-civilians alike. The only impression that one gets of the letter really is that the gentleman in question has a sense of pride which is rather obdurate.

Shakil Ahmed

Pabbi

*****

I agree with each word of the retired commodore and believe that he belongs to a community of the ‘finest men in the world’. I believe the retired officer was in service in 1971 and afterwards. While they were ruling the nation very few things were made public. I wish if he could clarify that the 90,000 guns these ‘finest men in the world’ surrendered are still in India’s possession or were taken back and the nation doesn’t know about it? Arrogance, surrenders, disregard for laws and disillusion — this is what this nation has experienced at the hands of these ‘saviours’.

Ahmad Nadeem Gehla

Kedah, Malaysia

*****

What can I say about Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal’s letter of Sept 14 except to be reminded of the fact that sometimes it is pointless arguing with some people? The ‘enlightened’ commodore thinks that every civilian relieves himself by the wall and spits on the road and one can only wonder how he came to this conclusion. May I have the temerity to ask that how someone who shows such ignorance could be promoted to the rank of commodore? Nevertheless, the retired commodore is advised to enjoy his retired life though he is now a ‘bloody civilian’ himself.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

*****

With reference to Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal’s comments, I would only remind the honourable commodore that not all land is even on earth. Not every civilian is alike and for the commodore to suggest that they are is downright absurd. I don’t want to be judgmental but the commodore’s view of civilians makes me think whether in his eye we are children of a lesser god perhaps.

I have had the honour of being in a military academy for a while (I left honourably due to personal reasons) and know a lot of respectable officers. However, the commodore would be heartbroken to know that these gentlemen have been seen doing all the ills of civilians as mentioned by him — and sometimes, worse.

I will be mature and show maturity and not pass any comments on the armed forces as a whole for the actions of a handful of people. I would ask the commodore if it is fair to place all Pakistanis in the category that he has.

Ali Iqtedar Shah

Islamabad

*****

I did my best to refrain from indulging in the ‘bloody civilian’ controversy but can no longer hold myself after the second letter on this issue by Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal (Sept 14). Many civilians have reacted sharply on being referred to as ‘bloody civilians’ and this was to be expected. However, it is disturbing to note that no letter of — even discreet — disagreement has appeared so far from ex-service men. I am sure there must be quite a few former generals who would be most unlikely to be heard shouting ‘bloody civilians’ and one that comes to mind is Lt-Gen Talat Masood.

Humayun Bashir

Riyadh

*****

The fact of the matter is that the military slang or informal military terms are used commonly by military personnel in all armies of the world. And yes it is true that some of the terms have been considered derogatory to varying degrees and attempts have been made to eliminate them. For example, we have terms like ‘blighter’, ‘bloke’, ‘bloody hell’, ‘bloody-minded’ and so on and in most cases these words are used within the military. In my 28 years of service I have never come across any occasion where I heard someone using the term ‘bloody civilian’ against any civilian.

Our soldiers serve in frozen places like Siachen and they give up their lives so that the nation may stay peaceful and its citizens secure. We have suffered enough over the years on such petty issues — we all make mistakes and no one is an angel. And in that context it is good that retired senior officers are at least admitting their guilt for past actions — and this needs to be appreciated.

Lt-Col (r) Mukhtar Ahmed Butt

Karachi

——————————————————————————————————————————–

This refers to the Sept 14 letter “I stand by what I said” which was a sort of a rejoinder by Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal to all the civilians who have criticised and chided him for his use of the term ‘bloody civilians’. The retired commodore makes a valid point about the general lack of civic sense among our people. He is also probably correct in saying that personnel of the armed forces do not relieve themselves in public, do not scratch themselves profusely, do not drive like mad, and nor do they utter colourful expletives, profanities or spit gallons of saliva on the roadside.

Since we have not seen armed forces personnel in military uniform in public places for a long time we have to concede to the commodore on that count. How many personnel of the armed forces, while in civvies, have indulged in this boorish behaviour is not known, therefore the benefit of doubt on this score as well should be given to the retired commodore.

Having said that, I can state with a degree of confidence that as compared to the over half a million, impeccably groomed, clean-cut armed forces personnel who could not be seen indulging in the kind of uncivilised conduct in public, elucidated so eloquently by Commodore Iqbal, there are at least a couple of million ‘bloody civilians’ in each major city of Pakistan who would also refrain from the same uncivilised and uncouth public behaviour.

However, the issue is much larger in its scope and context vis-a-vis the armed forces as an institution and with regards to its involvement in national politics, military takeovers and misadventures, and running businesses such as the sale of mineral water to cereals, fertilisers and LPG, from owning a bank, a road freight service to being the largest real estate developer in the country. The fact also is that the progeny of many an air chief marshal, general and admiral are now some of the country’s riches people and owning businesses and choicest properties.

The commodore is entitled to public expression of his views. What is suggested here is that the commodore should ‘stand at ease’ — he should not single out the bloody civilians for their bad conduct. We have a serious problem as a nation and such boorish behaviour is exhibited by all people in general regardless of their professional affiliation. And this can only change through across-the-board quality education, good governance, and transparent and effective accountability.

M S Hasan

Karachi

*****

This is in reference to the various letters regarding the ‘bloody civilian’ issue printed in the past week. It is sad to see Pakistanis who can’t remember the sacrifices of our soldiers. If all these people had any idea how the children of the shaheeds shed tears for their fathers and how their families manage to live without them, they’d become silent in an instance. Also, if a few people of an institution do something wrong, does that mean that the whole institution has done that wrong thing? We are all first Pakistanis — and we all love our homeland.

Maira Shaukat

Kamra

*****

There our black sheep in every community and institution. When we think of the army why do we see only the generals in their staff cars? Why don’t we see the soldiers sitting on frozen glaciers or in scorching deserts fighting for us? The army that they say nurtured the likes of Ayub Khan, Ziaul haq and Musharraf has also given birth to heroes like Captain Junaid, Captain Najam, Captain Bilal and Captain Waqas. Even then if the people of Pakistan still do not salute their army then I wonder how many more wives will have to be widowed, how many children will have to grow up without their fathers, how many mothers will have to receive their sons in coffins and how many more officers and soldiers will have to die before their loyalties are proven? Pak fauj zindabad!

Fatima Riaz

Bahawalpur

*****

With regard to the civilians versus non-civilians debate, may I say that while people have the right to express their viewpoint, it should not be at the cost of national integration? Such a situation is more dangerous in the prevailing environment and will help none but the vested interests of our national enemies. Our families are a blend of members having different professions. How can we call our brothers ‘bloody civilians’ or ‘bloody soldiers’? Everybody has the right to choose his or her profession but there are umpteen examples where young men preferred joining the PMA instead of prestigious professional institutions — because they wanted to join a cause. Most of them were fully aware that less than 50 per cent will have the chance to rise above the major level that too after a very tough competition. Facing bullets and leading men to face the bullets is indeed a very difficult and challenging task.

We must ponder on the very important question that having buried their young sons with their own hands and seen the dead bodies of young men on the media, why are parents still voluntarily sending their sons to join the armed forces? I am afraid the kind of argument going on in the media will badly hurt the sentiments and feelings of these people. What will be the result and who will benefit? The issue of DHA plots will be a lengthy debate but for now I will say that how many of us would be ready to sacrifice our own lives or those of our sons for a DHA plot?

Parvez Malik

Talagang

*****

This is in reference to Commodore (r) Pervaiz Iqbal’s letter “I stand by what I said” (Sept 14). The letter only goes to show that he has no regard for the people of this country, who are the strength of Pakistan. One is bitterly sad to see that the commodore is talking about the people of Pakistan as if they are from an enemy country. If he has an iota of decent bone in him, he should apologise to the people of Pakistan.

Rahim Malik

Rawalpindi

*****

I want to comment on the ‘bloody civilians’ letters. As for such armed forces officers who are proud of their military training and discipline, I want to ask them a very simple question. At the PMA do they learn how to defy their superior commanders? And are they taught to distort and maul the constitution? Justifying their crime by blaming politicians for inviting them to power and civilians welcoming them cannot exonerate them (the armed forces) from their crime because a crime is a crime no matter what. A murderer cannot claim innocence on the plea that the victim’s family invited him to commit the said act.

As for Commodore (r) Pervez Iqbal, let me remind him and his kind that it is this lot of ‘bloody civilians’ who pay for their comfort and style. It is this pride of the armed forces officers which has brought our poor country to this sorry state in which it is now.

Rehana Rahman

Rawalpindi

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The Great Debate

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Commodore Parvez Iqbal has taken an exception to the bloody civilians relieving themselves on the nearest wall. Does he remember the exploits of our glorious commander-in-chief General Yahya Khan? As for civilians using profane words gratuitously one only needs to read the Hamoodur Rehman Commission to know of the colourful exploits of our generals. In India sometime back a general was court-martialled for embezzlement and in Pakistan we have yet to see that happen. Our poor citizens belong to a nation which is amongst the countries with the lowest per capita income and still has one of the seven largest armies in the world. From 1965 to Kargil we have had a long list of military failures but has anybody ever been held accountable?

Mohamamad Aamir

Lahore

*****

This is with reference to Pervez Iqbal’s letter. All I will say is that when you enter a cantonment area of any city life changes altogether. Carpeted roads, footpaths, fountains, good hospitals, schools and parks, clubs, sports facilities, subsidised living and what not, all at the expense of taxes paid by me, a bloody civilian. The armed forces were tested three times — in 1965, 1971 and 1999 — and failed all the three times.

Saleem Toor

Lahore

*****

The reason why some armed forces’ officers look at civilians with contempt is not because of good or bad manners but rather because the former have been in possession of power for a long period in the history of the country.

Dr Najeeb A Khan

Islamabad

*****

I was in the army for more than thirty years and to tell the truth I never ever heard the term ‘bloody civilian’ being used by any officer I knew or served with. As far as the issue of taxpayers is concerned, may I remind your readers that military officers are also taxpayers and that in their case, tax is deducted at source as well. Moreover, offering your life for the nation cannot be compared with paying taxes. In this regard we all must salute our shuhada and their families.

Iftikhar Ayub

Rawalpindi

*****

Engineer Qadeer Ahmad has succeeded in initiating an acrimonious debate on a point which is not there. Like Lt-Col Mukhtar Ahmad Butt, who in his twenty-eight service has never heard the term ‘bloody civilians’ being ever used, I myself, during thirty years of service, including being member and president of special military courts, have never heard this term being used. Ahmad Nadeem Gehla has referred to 90,000 men surrendering to Indians in the 1971 war. I would ask him to state the facts because the total number of troops was about 32,000 spread all over East Pakistan in December 1971, as I have explained in these columns recently.

Col (r) Nazir Ahmed

Islamabad

I am sorry…

Thursday, September 17, 2009
While remaining convinced that we need to reform ourselves, both at the personal as well as collective levels, if I have hurt any feelings, I want to end the debate in these columns from my side with these three immortal words… I am sorry.

On Dec 3, 1971, I was on short leave from my ship buying a few personal items in Saddar, Karachi, with Rs150 I had saved from my salary (I was the junior-most officer on my ship). Suddenly there was noise all around on the road, with people shouting about the war having broken out. My immediate thought was to get back to the ship, but I couldn’t find a taxi. An elderly gentleman dropped me at the dockyard in his vintage Volkswagen. Before I got down, he said “mein aap kay liye dua karoon ga, beta”, and drove away into the darkness. God bless him. A true, patriotic, thoroughbred Pakistani civilian.

The captain asked me to take over navigation officer duties and we left the harbour with only a handful of officers and sailors on board. A day later, we lost a ship, and with it several of my close friends and course mates. They were only 22 or 23 years old. They went down with the burning ship. I held back my tears as a compulsion. Yes, we lost the war because the odds were too overwhelming. We were fighting a regional power backed by a superpower. But every officer, soldier, sailor, airman and civilian fought hard. We recovered very rapidly. The enemy could not destroy us mentally. Let us put 1971 behind us. It will never happen again, rest assured. No hard feelings from my side. If you can’t swim, it’s OK. Let’s get on with life and move on. Pakistan Zindabad.

Commodore (r) Parvez Iqbal

Rawalpindi

 
 
 

Read Full Post »

 Meera’s ‘marriage’
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
One wonders if the new generation of Pakistani conspiracy theorists would label Meera’s recent marriage fiasco as a plot to divert attention from Blackwater and US marines. She can be funded by a Hindu-Zionist lobby and with her theatrics divert mass attention towards more trivial matters quite effectively.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

Islamabad

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »