My submission is that the Feudal system, Army, Bureucrats and Mullahs constitue the Evil Quad of Pakistan.
What do we mean by feudalism? It has several facets-moral and ethical values, political and economic system ,market economy integrating with it etc.
In my view all the above are a composite whole. Moral and ethical values get far more exposure as they result in cruel and medieval violation of Human Rights.
A typically sad story of “vani” was posted recently. A person was killed. The murderer was convicted and sentenced to death by the sessions court. An appeal was filed in High Court. But a compromise was reached by the parties. The murderer was required to pay the family of the victim blood money. He did not have it. The village punchayat decided that five girls from the extended family of the convicted murderer-all under ten at the time-be married off to boys from the victims extended family. The girls are now educated, the boys remain country bumpkins, and the girls refuse to live with the “spouses” they were “nikahified” to when they were babies. One cleric says that the Nikahs are not valid. But the victim’s family asserts their right under the “vani” scheme and the grooms, to bring the point home as it were, shot and injured two brothers of the girls. They,presumably, did not shoot to kill as they would, in turn, have to provide vani girls.
This story is very instructive and presents so many socially accepted norms of the society.
First, the High Court had to surrender its jurisdiction under the Law of Qisas. The murder was deemed an offence against a family and not the state. This would logically open the way, if a rich person was so inclined, to murder a poor person and reach a compromise to pay a bit of his ill gotten wealth. There is little chance that the compromise will be turned down. People when they are starving, in a State with negligible social supports, sell their daughters into concubinage. All the rich person has to do is to take care not to kill a person from an affluent family.
Second, we face the concept of the female human as commodity. Her body is for a punchayat to sell/barter or mortgage even under age girls. To my mind this is a greater atrocity than a punchayat ordained rape. In the latter case the victims are at least adults, not babies.
Third, babies can be legally wedded under parental/gaurdian consent.
Fourth, a cleric says that the nikah is not valid. This is a peculiarly “Islamic” fuddle. There should, one would have thought, be no controvercy on such a basic legal contract as a Nikah.
One could write a book on the moral turpitude of the feudal society, and people have done so, but parade of naked women through a village bazzar, first night of a bride in the chieftain’s bed (not the husband), “Honor” kliing, wedding to the Quran, bedding peasant’s wives routinely, forcing school teachers to leave the village lest the children be infected by the literacy virus, serfdom, bonded labor, feudal jails are a few illustrative examples.
Now let us move on to economic impact of feudalism. Land is not scientificlly utilized. With out ownership rights the tiller does not have an incentive to do his best. He is likely to be dispossessed any way, if he can not come up with his over lord’s share, as it would inevitably happen from time to time. An independent small farmers’ share of water is routonely usurped if the big man’s lands do not get enough of it.
But the biggest albatross is the instinctive resistance of large estate holders to modern farming techniques. They are apprehensive ,and correctly so, that the advent of modern technology, though it gave them enhanced revenues, would sound the death knell of their privelege. They love their place in heirarchy, and rightly so from their perspective, their demi-god status, which no amount of money can offer.
And privelege gave monetary dividend too. Aggricultural income was tax exempt!!. They now pay a nominal tax. Buying barren land was a standard measure of tax evasion. I know a lot of doctors in Karachi who did that.
Inter related with their perogeratives is their sway over the local bureucrats and the police. Vast majority of their crimes are not registerred by the police, that is, if the victim dare approach the police station. If a dare-devil does, he is likely to have his mud hut ransacked and his women folk abducted.
They get away with murder, and weddings to the Quran to keep the property in the family(in country head of PPP has two sisters so married).
This ,incidentally, works at the national level as well. Bhutto pointedly asked a recalcitrant High Court judge if his daughter still went to college.
The local Deputy Commisioner (now DCO) will back them up. It is a symbiotic relationship. The feudal will protect them by virtue of his seat in the parliament.
Election in rural constituencies, 80% of the whole lot, is a farce. Peasants are told off to vote for one or the other faction of feudals. It is a veritable musical chairs. Parliamentary seats are inherited. All political parties are patronized. It is a family affair. The most notable example is Abida Husain in ML, and her husband Fakhre-Imam in PPP.
The “Civic” society lost all legitimacy and claim on public support when political parties, feudals and their hangers on, aided and abetted the bureucratic subversion of the political process.They let Ghulam Muhammad, and later Iskander Mirza get away with unconstituitional acts. I recall a story of a wadera taking off rhe soes of Ghulam Muhammad, while on a cruise on GM barrage. He was a mnister a few days later.
High Judiciary gave them a legal fig leaf when the Supreme court decided not to take up his dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.
When the writing was clear on the wall that the scheduled 1958 elections will bring professional bourgoise to power, they conspired with the army to install military rule. Ayub was given a legal fig leaf too.
I must mention the structural difference between East and West Pakistan. The feudals in the East were mostly Hindus. They left for India. Professional bourgoise got a chance to dominate the political process. It is a little known fact that feudalism was abolished in East Pakistan about the same time as it was in India.
When Bhutto, whatever his other faults, and there were many, was able to establish civilian supermacy, the politicians openly encouraged the army to over throw him. His erstwhile sycophants, like the proverbial jackals, hid in the bushes when he was subjected to judicial murder.
They collaborated with Zia in all ways, joining his cabinet, giving retroactive parliamentary sanction for all he violations of the law, and taking part in non-party elections. Fakhr-e-Imam was for a while central assembly speaker. They aided and abetted him in passage of abnoxious Huddod and other laws. Post Zia, during the ten year civilian interregum they did not repeal the laws.
They kow-towed to the army chief Kakar when he forced the PM and President both to resign.
They all serve in the Government of the Ghazi of Kargil, Mullah, ML, PPP, and bureucrats, feudals the whole lot. The ones outside are those the Ghazi did not deign to pick up.
For all his high “falutin” progressive views Aitazaz Ahsan and many other like him do not hesitate in working with the champions of Quran weddings, and spreading the red carpet for the reincarnation of Elizabeth I (when she was PM, Benazir acted the part. Now she is Queen Mary of Scotts. There is a minor difference though, niether of the royal ladies was an embezzler).
They courted fascist organizations like MQM in their quest for offices.
Perhaps the worst exhibition of power hunger and self abasement was the pilgrimage of Benazir to Army GHQ to seek General Aslam Beg’s blessings to be allowed to become PM. He was a collaborator of her father’s assasins. Contrast her behaviour with that of Hasina of BD whose father had also been killed by the Army. She had the army officers tried in a court of law.
Aslam Beg once went to the Supreme Court, and loudly proclaimed that yes, he had diverted hundreds of millions of Government funds to finance candidates and walked away!! The justices gave not a whimper of protest.
Only a few honest and intrepid souls like Abid Manto, resisted the embelishments of power.
And Asma Jahangir and her ilk, would have us root for the pansies who masquerade as politicos in Pakistan!!
Feudals have undergone tremendous change in post colonial dispensation. They have broken their proverbial chains. They do not give a good God ,,, to law any more.
European feudalism took on the Royalty. The common man was relatively empowered in the process. Our Royals were overtaken by the western bourgeoise. Our feudals never got the chance to follow that path.
I should not have to define abolition of feudal system. We have the examples of India and the then East Pakistan. Roughly, the feudals were allowed to keep only the land they themselves cultivated, not share cropped, with a ceiling on canal and rain dependent land. They were left with fruit orchards they worked themselves, again with a ceiling. There were limits on other holdings as well.
India did it because Indian National congress was controlled ny the Indian bourgeoise. East Pakistan got away with it because their feudals were Hindus. Pakistan (West)went through the motions, with out achieving any thing twice, in Ayub and Bhutto days.
Acquisition of vast land holdings by civil/military establishments is an interesting study. If you ask your security gaurd to intervene in your family disputes, he will eventually take over your holdings. The triad of feudals, bureucrats and Mullahs asked the army ,time and again, to get rid of one bunch of civilians or another.
The quad constitutes the van gaurd of the society in Pakistan.
Ayub Khan retired the generals from the army on appointment to the cabinet or governorships. His officers learnt graft from the civilians. His son became an industrial magnate over night. Coveted lands were alloted to a select few.Army commission started taking precedence over superior civil services. Indian army officers were green with envy.
But the corruption was limited to a tiny percentage of officers.
Come Zia, he introduced officers, brigadier and above, still in uniform to higher level civilian jobs. He turned a blind eye- it was not too difficult for him, he was cross eyed-to the Generals who were raking it in, in drug and arms trade. Land allotment continued. Army went into commerce and industry in a big way.
Now the army are trying to disposses farmers in Sargodha and many other places in the Punjab.
The Ghazi has placed even junior officers in civilian jobs.
A clear case of collusion between the army and the feudals/bureucrats/mullahs can be made out. Army got land, industries and commerce as a pay off for protecting the vested interests.
Asma is supposed to have emphasised the difference between Islam, Islamists and findamentalists. This is parsing. She could do it with finnese, if she got a lesson or two from the greatest living exponent of the art, good old Bill Clinton.
She should get credit for refusing to visit Guantamo Bay unless she could interview the prisioners with out security gaurds around. UN personnel have turned down similar invitations. That adds to her credibilty, and that may have been the point.
NGO’s and Human Right’s organizations in the third world are beholden to the Imperium for funds and patronage. They are allowed to criticize their Govenments and do cosmetic work. They make a decent living, and would be hard put to making ends meet if the largesse was with drawn. They, like the main stream media in the West and East, do not have to be told in so many words, the bounderies they might not cross. They are truly house broken. They would not participate in any movement aimed at structural change. They would not call for abolition of feudalism. They would not support a militant trade union.
They would sob when a woman’s honor was violated. They would exhibit her in international forums. They would rail against a minor cog in the machine. But they would shy away from raising a finger against the core evil as Asma did.
It is of course a complex problem and mind boggling in scope. The evil quad-Feudals, Army, Bureucrats and the junior hanger ons, the Mullahs are entrenched in Pakistan. Population is exploding. No amount of development, even if the Government were honest, could hope to cope with increase in numbers. Half hearted family planning campaigns are launched once in while but are hastily withdrawn at the first protest from the Mullahs. Illiteracy levels are actually on the rise. Subterfuges are utilized to claim increase in the number of the literate. Any one who can painstakingly scribble his/her name is included in the ranks. Standard of education is so low that university graduates are hard put to write a simple job application. Water supply is totally inadequate. The military have taken over the supply in all major cities, and they charge a hefty price. Air pollution is such that a visitor can not tolerate it during rush hours in Karachi and Lahore. Policemen wear masks. There is a medical condition in which persons exposed to polluted air for long have difficulty breathing clean air. City dwellers in Pakistan hate going out of town. Joblessness has reached alarming proportions. Frustrated youth join the ranks of robbbers and zealots.Health care has deteriorated so that basic services have to be bought, or gone with out.Graft and corruption have reached such heights that it is virtually impossible to get any thing done with out paying a bribe. Long gone are the days when dishonest money was a mtter of shame. Now it is flaunted. Cost of living is such that the vast majority of people just subsist. IMF and world Bank dictate privatization, so basic food will soon get beyond the reach of the common man. Infra- structure, roads , bridges, railway system, electric supply, canals, ports, drainage system,all have been allowed to deteriorate. Clifton in Karachi, a posh area is rendered imppassable for days after an inch or two of rain.There are some show case roads like the motorway and the super highway. But most city roads are full of pot holes or worse.
The problem is immense and the sob sisters, agents provcateurs all, would have us worked up at one component of the evil quad, the quasi-military dispensation. They are perhaps worried about their kin getting lesser proportion of the loot.
We, of course, do not have an equitable and civil society. How could we? Distributive justice is an illusion. With the evil quad functioning as the vangaurd of the society, how can it be otherwise?
Scarce resources, from day one, have been wasted on buying arms. They have not enhanced the country’s security. Kashmir(with out going into the merits of the case) is still firmly in the grip of India.Insurgency in Indian controlled Kashmir could not survive with out infiltration of saboteurs from Pakistan. It would be as peaceful as the Indian Punjab where insurgency subsided after Benazir withdrew support from Khalistanis. No Kashmiri in his proper senses would opt for Pakistan any way. They have seen the fate of the country men. Niether country would countenance independence of the region. India pretends that it is a matter of secular principles. Pakistan bases its claim on religious affiliation. The actual prize is the water source.
The vaunted bravery of Pakistani soldiers came to nought in East Pakistan. The commanding General had his epaulets torn off by his opposite number in the Indian Army in full glare of international TV camera lights. A Japanese officer would have committed Hara Kiri. The Pakistani officer socialized, wined and dined with the victors the same evening.
The Ghazi of Kargil managed to suprise the Indians. He had tactical advantage.The PM, stupid that he was ,lauded the bravery of “our martyrs and Ghazis”. But when the going got rough, he had to hasten to Clinton, with tail between legs, to beg for rescue of the country.
The Ghazi cried foul and used it as a pretext to throw the man out.
The much bally hoed efficiency of the army has been exposed recently..Witness their disarray in earthquake relief.
That India wants to take over the country is a totally fraudulent concept, exceeding the lies and fabrication of Iraq and WMDs. If India wanted to take over, all Indra Gandhi had to do was to tell her Generals to walk into Lahore in 1971. Pakistan army, never any good except at subjugating unarmed civilians,was in shambles.
I can not vouch for the veracity of the statement, it seems to stand to reason, but a high Indian retired security official told me that in 1971, Indra did want to fulfil the dream of her father- of an undivided India. Her Generals were also gung ho. But she was quizzed by the right wingers in her party, if she really wanted to add to the already considerable number of Muslims in India. With the Muslims of Pakistan in its fold, Indian population adhering to the faith would be 35% of the total. A united and determined 30% can control the central legislature. With 15% of the population, Muslims are the deciding vote on 200 of the 565 seats in the Indian parliament. Congress wins if Muslims support it. They lose when Muslims sit out an election.
Indra quietly subsided.
Canada sits next door to the US behemoth. It does not strive to go down the self destruct path of competing with the giant neighbor. Why can’t Pakistan? Why can’t the country utilize its resources for economic development which will impart it stability? It is among the lowest rank of underdeveloped countries in social services expenditure.
NGO’s and Human Right workers, even if their primary loyalty was to the country, have but the substance of straws in a hurricane. For structural change, I can see no alternative to a grass roots radical movement comprising Industrial workers, Peasants, Serfs, Landless laborers, Petty bourgeoise, Lower grade Government officials and Teachers led by Progressives in the vangaurd. It is incumbent on all the honest intellectuals to join the movement. The Government will come down hard on them, but they will prevail in the end. The honest among the do gooders are frittering away their energy, wasting their time, and impeding the historical purpose.
I was born in Dewa Sharif, UP, India in 1939.
I went to school from the fourth to eighth class in Gonda, UP and the 9th grade in Jhansi, UP, India.
We moved to Quetta, Pakistan and went to school for the 10th grade and intermediate college in the same town.
I was in Karachi University 1954-57, then Dow Medical College 1957-62. I Was in the National Students Federation from 1954 to 1962, trained in surgery in the Civil Hospital Karachi 1962-65, proceeded to England 1965 and trained in General surgery and orthopedic surgery till 73, when I left for Canada 1973-74, USA 1974-83, back to Karachi 1983 and built a hospital and went back to the USA in 1991, been in the USA since.
I retired from surgery in 2005.
I have worked in various HR and Socialist groups in the USA.
I have Published two books ,:”A Medical Doctor Examines Life on Three Continents,” and ,”God, Government and Globalization”, and am working on the third one, “An Analysis of the Sources and Derivation of Religions”.