Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War by C. Christine Fair

There is a famous saying about the Pakistan Army "Most countries have an Army but the Pakistan Army has a country". Right from Ayub Khan to Zia to Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan has had multiple, able and strong military rulers. Pakistan's history is full of coups by the Army and weak civilian governments who are almost always backed up the military.

The Pakistan army is the most powerful and enduring organization in Pakistan. Even during civilian rule it is the army which has controlled its defense and foreign affairs policy. No civilian leader can become a success there without the tactical help and tacit approval of the army. Pakistan's over reliance on the army has led to disastrous consequences for its economy, International standing and human rights.

The author, Christine Fair, argues that the Pakistan Army is the chief propagator of the two nation theory, which was floated by the Muslim League before India's independence the theory states that India should be split into two based on religious lines Pakistan for Muslims and India for Hindus. Pakistan Army always lives in fear of India's hegemony whether real or imagined. Kashmir is a central issue in their policies and the Pak army feels that they were cheated, when India annexed a huge part of Kashmir including the capital Srinagar. After the partition Pakistan also got the NWFP as a responsibility from the British, perhaps the most unmanageable area in the world where Osama and his gang hid for years. Pakistan Army felt cheated that they got only a fraction of resources after the partition but had to take care of the majority of problems which includes a large hegemonic neighbor, unstable and non friendly Afghanistan and the NWFP.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

From Fatwa to Jihad by Kenan Malik

Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, is perhaps one of the most controversial books of all time. Avid Muslims blame the author of portraying Islam and the founder of Islam, Muhammad, in poor light.

In "From Fatwa to Jihad", Kenan Malik chronicles England before the release of the book and its impact on the world post release. I had little or no idea about the controversy surrounding the book, it was flabbergasting to read about anti Rushdie protests in the heart of England, book burning, riots and murder attempts on publishers and proponents of the book. You expect such things to happen in UP, Kerala or Peshawar but to hear all this happening in so called civilized and progressive Europe is disturbing and worrying.

It made a sad story that Salman Rushdie who was a hero to Muslims and other minority communities in England became a villain overnight just because of one book. Rushdie was a strong critic of rampant racism in England and was a darling of the South East Asian community. Rushdie, who is regraded as one of the most gifted English authors of our time, reached infamous notoriety because of Satanic Verses.