Q&A
“If I can captain and make a team out of new and old players, I can also deal with old and new leaders of PTI”

By Aoun Sahi
TNS: Would you support a court-backed military action against the civilian government to get its (Supreme Court’s) decisions implemented?
Imran Khan: I would support it because, first of all, the PPP government has sabotaged the Supreme Court from day one. Asif Zardari only reinstated the chief justice after our Long March. Then from the moment the NRO was annulled by the SC — which any SC in the world would have done and we know it thanks to Condoleezza Rice who states in her book that the Americans got Musharraf and Benazir together and waived off criminal corruption cases of 8,000 people including Asif Zardari’s amounting to over a trillion rupees — the government started confronting it. They have tried to defame the court; the ministers have passed defamatory remarks against the court and have defied judgments. So, if today after two years, SC finally decides to ask the army [to come to its rescue in implementing its decisions] people would be standing behind the SC.

Yeh Woh
Con-current affairs

By Masud Alam
It is my considered opinion that influential people often overrate their influence. Like the country’s interior minister asking out of reach terrorists to lay down their arms. Or the terrorists’ spokesman claiming to have killed someone in the name of a religion. Or the chief judge telling the government, which in turn tells the army, that all institutions must work within their limits. Or the general telling the nation he supports democracy.

obituary
Death of a king-maker
Pir Pagara's death wrapped up a historical chapter that was marked with moderation, wit and a politics based on civil-military partnership
Adnan Adil

Syed Sikandar Shah, Shah Mardan Shah the Second, crowned as Pir Pagara VII, a big feudal lord and the spiritual leader of Hurs, breathed his last on January 10, 2012 at the age of 83. With his demise, Pakistan lost a very influential politician who was a cementing force between the federation and the Sindh province. His colourful personality and his witty-cum-diplomatic small talk with the media earned him popularity countrywide. In the national politics from 1970 onwards, acutely polarised between the pro-Bhutto and anti-Bhutto camps, Pir Pagara symbolised the anti-Bhutto bloc.

Breaking news with death
Mukarram Khan Aatif is the 24th among the list of tribal reporters killed since 2002
By Mushtaq Yusufzai
“We left our native village in Mohmand tribal region and shifted to Shabqadar area of Charsadda district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, believing that we will be safe here. But the militants chased us even in this comparatively safer place and shot dead my younger brother,” Haji Yaqoob Khan, elder brother of slain tribal journalist Mukarram Khan Aatif, tells TNS.

Sins of omission
With many additions and omissions, the translated Urdu version of Imran Khan’s book attempts to paint the facts in local colours
By Aamir Riaz
In mid 201I, UK-based Transworld Publishers — an imprint of Random House — published a book in English language written by Imran Khan ‘Pakistan: A personal History’. In spite of the map controversy, the book was well received not only in Pakistan and India, but also in the West. 

 

 

 

Q&A
“If I can captain and make a team out of new and old players, I can also deal with old and new leaders of PTI”
By Aoun Sahi

TNS: Would you support a court-backed military action against the civilian government to get its (Supreme Court’s) decisions implemented?

Imran Khan: I would support it because, first of all, the PPP government has sabotaged the Supreme Court from day one. Asif Zardari only reinstated the chief justice after our Long March. Then from the moment the NRO was annulled by the SC — which any SC in the world would have done and we know it thanks to Condoleezza Rice who states in her book that the Americans got Musharraf and Benazir together and waived off criminal corruption cases of 8,000 people including Asif Zardari’s amounting to over a trillion rupees — the government started confronting it. They have tried to defame the court; the ministers have passed defamatory remarks against the court and have defied judgments. So, if today after two years, SC finally decides to ask the army [to come to its rescue in implementing its decisions] people would be standing behind the SC.

TNS: You mean the sanctity of court overrides any other consideration.

IK: Because, they are destroying democracy. You can have early elections and strengthen democracy but you destroy the Supreme Court and that is the end of democracy. You see the whole third world has elections but, because they do not have an independent justice system, they have elected criminals who are plundering the people.

TNS: You are characterised as army’s poster boy. How do you respond to this image-creation?

IK: I find it quite funny (laughingly). But it is helpful, by the way, because in Punjab all the politicians look towards where the army is looking. Nawaz Sharif is one person who has been making a lot of propaganda along these lines and I told him not to do so because this way you will not have a party soon; everyone will come running to me (laughs again).

And Nawaz Sharif has no moral authority to call me an army’s man, because one person who is totally manufactured by the army is Nawaz Sharif. He was picked up from nowhere and made the finance minster and then the chief minister. Then billions of rupees were given to him to buy politicians. He started corruption in this country. Then he has the audacity to call me an army guy.

TNS: Tell us about your personal relationship with General Kayani and General Pasha?

IK: I hardly see them. I have never met General Kayani except once and that was during the All Parties Conference with other people, not alone. I just saw him long time ago in 2001 when he was General Musharraf’s staff officer. He used to be sitting in the corner; I never spoke to him. I met Gen. Pasha last time one and a half year ago, specifically on terrorism when I gave the statement that we would finish terrorism in 90 days if we got out of this war. I issued the statement after meeting with Gen. Pasha and discussing the situation with him. He agreed with me.

Look, if I want to reform Pakistan it can only happen if I rely on people and have them on my side. Otherwise I cannot take on the vested interests. If you don’t have people’s power, you have no chance against them.

TNS: How can you finish terrorism in 90 days when the first condition the Taliban propose for talks is to impose Shariah in the country?

IK: I think the moment the war [on terror] is over, you’ll see jihad will be over. What is most destructive is suicide bombing and becoming martyrs. The moment jihad is over, martyrdom is over. And then strengthening the people of tribal area is important.

TNS: Tell us what you think about the war on terror and drone attacks.

IK: I actually don’t know what the Americans are doing, what are they trying to achieve, and what constitutes victory for them. Are they trying to eliminate the Taliban; eliminating Taliban would mean eliminating the Pashtun nation because clearly the Taliban now has become a national struggle. How can they take on those 140,000 military machines greatest in history if the whole population is not helping them?

TNS: You have said the PTI government will have sensible relationship with the military. What does that mean? Would Imran Khan-led government have total control over foreign affairs?

IK:  I will rephrase that — if I do not have total control I would not be in government. I would never want to be in a position where I say look I couldn’t; because the army is doing this. What is the whole memogate thing about? Unless you have responsibility and authority together, you cannot do any management.

TNS: It is believed that you have different message for the people in Pakistan and for the West. What does it mean when the American ambassador praises Imran Khan publicly?

IK: There is nothing that I have said in public and not said in private. According to WikiLeaks, there is only one person [me] who is telling them [the Americans] in private what he was saying in public. I think by putting this question what you mean is whether I am anti-America or anti-India. I don’t think you can be anti-countries; you can only be anti-policies. For example, in Britain two million people came out in anti-war rallies against their own government.

TNS: What do you think about the blasphemy laws of Pakistan? Should these laws be reformed?

IK: The blasphemy laws should not be abused; this is the real issue. Because if you don’t have a blasphemy law, you will have people killing each other and riots. Remember this law was made by the British because communities lived together and if anybody insulted someone sacred, there would be riots and many people would be killed. So, at least you now have a law where someone has to go to a court of law and prove it. If you abolish it, there would be problems. In my opinion, false witnesses should be given a prison sentence.

TNS: What is your opinion on the Asiya Bibi’s case? Should she be in jail?

IK: No, she should not be in jail if she is innocent. Put it this way. In Pakistan today the society is so polarised that issues that were non-issues before the war on terror have become bigger. Today you have a serious problem of getting knocked off like Salmaan Taseer. Javed Ghamdi, one of our most enlightened Islamic scholars and a friend of mine, is now sitting in Malaysia for simply condemning suicide bombing as being un-Islamic. It is not time to talk about if Asiya Bibi should be in jail or not; the main issue is that law should not be abused and no innocent person should be framed under it. The total number of people affected by the blasphemy laws is 800 and none of them has been awarded death penalty so far. But we look at the 140,000 prisoners in Pakistani jail and according to jail authorities half of them are innocent.

TNS: So, you think blasphemy law is being abused?

IK: Every law is abused. In Pakistan what law is not abused?

TNS: Let’s talk about elections; you want to have early elections.

IK: The moment the Election Commission has finalised fresh electoral rolls, there should be elections. We have a petition in the Supreme Court that these elections should be annulled because out of the 80 million votes 37 million votes are bogus.

TNS: You would need a lot of money to contest the elections. How do you aim to raise clean fund?

IK: It’s the first time in Pakistan’s history that we have done political fund-raising. I actually had dinners with people who contributed and we have done that in America; I will raise more money this time than anyone has ever raised in Pakistan’s history, all legal. I will announce a bank account and I will get everyone come and donate — but closer to the elections, once the election fever begins, and will have it audited. Remember I am the biggest fund-raiser in Pakistan. I know all the donors. Suddenly, the donors are coming and giving me money, saying Imran this is for hospital and this is for your politics. It never happened like this before.

TNS: Is there any group that you’ve decided you are not going to deal with, because your leadership also attended the ‘Difa’a Pakistan Conference’ arranged by Hafiz Saeed?

IK: As a politician, I believe you must talk to everyone, bring them to the mainstream. Because the moment you come into politics, you have to move towards the centre. Marginalization is dangerous. Talking to everyone does not mean you agree with their views, but you have to talk to them. Eventually there would be people who cannot be reconciled but I believe most of them you can. I would turn jihad to fix Pakistan; motivate them that they have to save this country rather than to marginalise them. And you have to change the thinking against India. This is no way we can maintain the relationship and survive as a nation because, if nothing else, the security cost alone will finish us.

TNS: You are talking about talking to people like Hafiz Saeed. But a few days back you said you can go for an alliance with anybody but Nawaz Sharif?

IK: This does not mean I will not talk to Nawaz Sharif. In fact, he is playing such a big double game. He deceived us twice; he destroyed APDM. We all announced boycotting the elections together but he went on and contested them. Balochistan problem is because of him. If he wants re-election, why does he not come out of assemblies?

TNS: Why do you think does he not?

IK: He is not doing so, because the moment he gets out of the Punjab Assembly, he will not be able to control his parliamentarians and they will join us. Because, he knows the public is with us. He believes in the power of victimisation.

TNS: Any possibility of alliance with the PPP?

IK: No alliance with any of them; I will fight alone.

TNS: And the religious parties?

IK: The only likely party is Jamaat-e-Islami but the problem is that most of our people don’t want to have alliance with it. We are now growing at such a rate that we don’t need an alliance. They will become an impediment for us because we are the only non-corrupt party.

TNS: Do you think Musharraf will return to Pakistan and is there a common cause with him?

IK: There is no common cause with him because he is responsible for this mess. He is the one who got the NRO and so there is no question of having an alliance with him.

I don’t think Musharraf will come. People in his party have asked me to request him not to come otherwise their lives will be in danger, simply because the people who will go after him are not normal assassins; these people will blow themselves up to kill him. And I am talking about the Lal Masjid where you know these madrassa students were burnt alive which led to the rise in extremism. Secondly, in the Nawab Akbar Bugti’s case, his grandson has already put a bounty on his head. In fact, he lives in a fool’s paradise and thinks that a few hundred thousand facebook fans means he is very popular in Pakistan.

TNS: Your next rally is going to be held in Quetta. Why have you chosen Quetta?

IK: Only because there is a serious problem in Quetta. There is an insurgency going on in Balochistan; we are trying our best to act as reconciliation force. The population of Quetta is very small but we are trying our best to get as many people out as we can. Basically, we want to get the Baloch and the Pashtun together. There are security issues and that is why we have selected a stadium.

TNS: There is criticism of the fact that you offer prayers at public rallies and also play music there.

IK: First of all it would be hypocritical of me if I do not pray five times a day and I do not offer prayers on stage. Secondly if I offer prayers, it means I respect the sentiments of my people whom I represent. This is Pakistan where people live by their religion. Why would I not respect them? Because I am Oxford-educated? It does not mean following the public opinion; it means respecting the tradition, culture and sensibilities of your people. People here will not follow a mullah, but if Islam is threatened, they will die for it.

TNS: What is Imran Khan’s future Pakistan?

IK: What was the original Pakistan of Jinnah? A welfare state. It will not be an Islamic theocratic state but an Islamic democratic state. How many times in the 1,400 years, except for the Taliban and that semi-theocratic government in Iran, did we have a theocratic government in the Islamic world? Never. There is no concept of mullah in Islam. In Europe they had the pope ruling them; we don’t have a concept of church. Islamic mean a humane and just state what Iqbal calls a “spiritual democracy” as opposed to the neo-liberal one where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s criminal what is going on in the name of neo-liberal economics and capitalism. I really believe in welfare state.

TNS: Are you planning some austerity campaigns to make Pakistan a welfare state?

IK: I will make sacrifices like Jinnah, the one leader I look up to. Every penny that he took from the public, he would think ten times before spending it. At the moment you got to get rid of all these symbols — PM house, president house, governor houses, CM houses. Would you believe Shahbaz Sharif has a discretionary fund of 30 billion rupees? Unaccounted, without audit. This is shameful. You need to have massive austerity campaigns. Start with the government, have the moral authority and then tell the army to cut down its cost.

I will have a cabinet of 20 ministers at the most; they will get out of these palaces. We will turn these palaces symbolically into education institutions, libraries; so that people don’t get attracted towards them and then abuse power like Mughal emperors.

TNS: So many old faces are joining your party which we believe has started creating problem for the old guard within the party. How are you planning to tackle this issue?

IK:  My experience is that of team-building. I captained Pakistan cricket team for ten years. In the next ten years thirty captains changed. If I can captain and make a team out of new and old players of Pakistan, it will not be hard for me to deal with old and new leaders of PTI.

 

Yeh Woh
Con-current affairs
By Masud Alam

It is my considered opinion that influential people often overrate their influence. Like the country’s interior minister asking out of reach terrorists to lay down their arms. Or the terrorists’ spokesman claiming to have killed someone in the name of a religion. Or the chief judge telling the government, which in turn tells the army, that all institutions must work within their limits. Or the general telling the nation he supports democracy.

There’s this funny little joke in Punjabi which I’m going to try translating here despite another of my considered opinions that jokes and swear words in Punjabi lose their bite in any other language, especially in English: It’s 1947 and there are two separate processions on the streets of Delhi. Sweeping the road with a broom, Elizabeth asks her husband, Joseph, what was the public commotion about? ‘It’s Hindus and Muslims. They want freedom’ he replied.

Will they get it?

Joseph rests his wheelbarrow of rubbish to ponder before answering: ‘We might give it to them.’

Those in the media are particularly sensitive about their area of influence. They want to speak for people, and they want to be authoritative and be liked at the same time. And for the past couple of days they are all in complete agreement that the most significant issues Pakistan faces today are: the memo saga, NRO case, and Pak-US relations. Are they speaking for Pakistanis?

Let me first define the two sets of Pakistanis who are as distinct as sun and moon but are often confused with each other by the pundits. There are Pakistanis like the ex-colonel who owns two houses in F-8 sector of Islamabad, and there are Pakistanis who work as domestic servants in the home, and as assistants in the office of the colonel-turned-businessman. The former set is small, well off and well articulated. The latter makes up the vast majority of this country’s population, but doesn’t have a face or a voice. It’s the latter set on which I decided to test the issues identified by media pundits. And for my enquiry I picked a dhaba at the edge of Jinnah Super, where lower income workers and students come for lunch.

Is the memo case important for you? I asked a young man wearing a tie under a full-sleeve sweater. ‘The memo written by Zardari?’ he took a guess. ‘That’s for the court to decide who had what role in the memo, but is it important for you?’ He munched on the question for a while and then said ‘no’ with a sheepish grin and turned his attention towards the roti in front of him. ‘How about you?’ I asked the gentleman in shalwar qamees who seemed eager to join the conversation. ‘The memo is just a turf war between the army and the government. Both want more authority, and both want to be the best friend of America. One will win, one will lose, what is it to me and you? Except, the one with more authority will lord over us more ruthlessly’.

Is the NRO case important for you? I asked a policeman with no pips on his shoulders. He just shrugged. Do you think the cases against President Zardari and others have any importance for you? I insisted. ‘What can I say … corruption is everywhere. Everyone does it. No one can stop it, not even courts. They are just playing politics, and I am not interested in it’. ‘Thieves. They are all thieves,’ the bearded manager sitting at the cash register shouts animatedly. I turn to him, ‘If politicians are thieves, do you favour generals as your leaders?’ ‘They are thanedars. The choice we have is between thieves and thanedars, and they are both out to loot this country’.

But surely US support is important for Pakistan, isn’t it? I asked a group of three colleagues from a telecom company. They smiled, one of them laughed out loud. ‘US money is important for those who get that money. And that’s not us’.

But all TV pundits are unanimous in their belief that these are the most important issues for Pakistan, and therefore for Pakistanis. None of you seems to agree. What kind of Pakistanis are you people? I tried to end on a lighter note, but the one with the necktie, who’d finished eating, put in the last word: ‘The TV wallahs don’t talk to me and I don’t listen to them. They obviously have someone else in mind when they talk of Pakistanis and their problems’.

[email protected]

obituary
Death of a king-maker
Pir Pagara's death wrapped up a historical chapter that was marked with moderation, wit and a politics based on civil-military partnership
Adnan Adil

Syed Sikandar Shah, Shah Mardan Shah the Second, crowned as Pir Pagara VII, a big feudal lord and the spiritual leader of Hurs, breathed his last on January 10, 2012 at the age of 83. With his demise, Pakistan lost a very influential politician who was a cementing force between the federation and the Sindh province. His colourful personality and his witty-cum-diplomatic small talk with the media earned him popularity countrywide. In the national politics from 1970 onwards, acutely polarised between the pro-Bhutto and anti-Bhutto camps, Pir Pagara symbolised the anti-Bhutto bloc.

He was born on November 22, 1928, in Pir Jo Goth village of Khairpur district and received his primary education there. Following the hanging of his rebellious father Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi by the British rulers in 1943, Syed Sikandar Shah and his younger brother Syed Nadir Shah were taken off from Sindh to Aligarh University High School, aka Minto Circle, in Aligarh under the guardianship of a British professor, Mr Turner. Dr Ziauddin, the vice-chancellor of the university, also looked after their welfare. Squadron Leader (retd) Ausaf Hussain, a class fellow of Syed Sikandar Shah at the school, remembers that from 1943 to 1946, the two brothers studied at this school and stayed at Zia Manzil. Ausaf Hussain used to go on hunting trips along with Pir Pagara. In 1946, the British rulers moved Pir Pagara and his younger brother to Liverpool, England where they studied at a private school run by Major C. Davis at a village near Harrow.

After Independence, some Sindhi journalists launched a campaign for the rehabilitation of Sikandar Shah and Nadir Shah and restoration of their spiritual seat (gaddi). Syed Anwer Qidwai, who was among the few journalists close to Pir Pagara, writes in his obituary in daily Jang that Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan met the two brothers in London and assured their rehabilitation. In 1951, they returned to Pakistan. In February 1952, their status as spiritual leader was restored and thousands of acres of land impounded by the British were reclaimed to them. Sikandar Shah was elected by caliphs of Hurs (his followers) as Pir Pagara VII.

When Pir Pagara took  charge, his followers, known as Hurs, who were organised as a militia, were in dismal condition with their lands seized by the British government and many of them were on the run to escape murder charges. He worked hard to restore their financial position and persuaded them to face cases in courts. Hurs were absolved in these politically-motivated cases and got back the ownership of their lands.

Pir Pagara saw to it that Hurs, who were branded as a terrorist organisation, became peaceful and law-abiding citizens and encouraged modern and religious education among his followers whether males or females. Later, he established a seminary in his ancestral village that came to be known as Jamia Rashidia along with a library packed with thousands of books. Today, eight branches of this religious school are spread over in different parts of Sindh. Hurs celebrate Pagara’s philanthropy and assistance to the poor students. In the wars of 1965 and 1971, Hurs played a crucial role in defending Pakistan’s frontiers along the Sindh border.

Late Azhar Sohail, a journalist who also had access to Pir Pagara and did a long autobiographical interview of him for his book titled, “Pir Pagara Ki Kahani, Kuch Un Ki, Kuch Meri Zubani,” writes that Pir Pagara patronised Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when he returned from abroad as a young lawyer and was not in good shape. Pir Pagara helped Bhutto by engaging him as a counsel for his followers’ cases. Pir Pagara, through his brother-in-law, Hasan Mehmood, also helped Bhutto to become a member of a Pakistani delegation that was sent to the United Nations by President Iskandar Mirza. Thus, he facilitated Bhutto’s entry into the corridor of powers. But when Bhutto became a blue-eyed boy of President Gen Ayub Khan, the two feudal lords of Sindh fell out. Pir Pagara was on the side of Gen Ayub Khan’s opposition, the Pakistan Muslim League led by Ms Fatima Jinnah.

Pir Pagara’s active politics started in the 1970s when Bhutto was at his peak and the opposition was very weak. Pagara cobbled together the United Democratic Front (UDF) and led the anti-Bhutto forces through his tenure. Bhutto instituted a treason case against Pir Pagara. In the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), Pagara was the head of the alliance’s parliamentary board. During the 1977’s agitation, he was briefly arrested but immediately released when his followers violently reacted to the arrest in Sindh. Afterwards, when most political people were appealing to Gen Ziaul Haq for pardoning Bhutto’s death sentence in the Kasuri murder case, Pir Pagara took no mercy on him and said: “It would be cruel to the sheep to pardon a wolf,” writes Azhar Sohail.

Sindh was up in arms against Gen Ziaul Haq in the early 1980s, but Pir Pagara collaborated with the military ruler and tried to get a way-out through persuasion and manoeuvering. In the days of strict censorship of media and blackout of political statements, Pir Pagara had the privilege to get headlines in the press. It goes to his credit that he created space for political activities even in those days when the military regime was in no mood to brook any opposition. During this period, he also earned reputation for making political predictions, many of which came to be true thanks to his connections with the military establishment. Through his witty political comments, he used to throw feelers, wage psychological war against his opponents and keep his supporters in high spirits. In the late 1980s, when Benazir Bhutto’s popularity was in full swing, he would say Benazir’s son, Bilawal, would be a member of his party.

He is also said to be one who persuaded Gen Zia to hold non-party elections in 1985 and got his follower, Mohammad Khan Junejo, elected as prime minister. Subsequently, tensions emerged between Gen Zia and Junejo, and Pir Pagara backed the civilian government till it was dismissed in 1988. His intelligent realpolitik throughout the 1980s could be termed the climax of his politics. During the Junejo days, he also strongly and successfully opposed the Jamaat-e-Islami’s efforts to get a Shariat Bill passed through the parliament, saying it was an attempt to enforce Wahabi Islam in the country and would divide the people on sectarian lines.

Pir Pagara had tried to get his brother-in-law Hasan Mehmood, a big landlord from Rahim Yar Khan, elected as Chief Minister of Punjab after the 1985 polls, but failed and Nawaz Sharif won the seat, thanks to Gen Ziaul Haq’s patronage. Later, he patronised Chaudhry Pervez Elahi to lead a faction of the Pakistan Muslim League against Nawaz Sharif. His differences with Nawaz Sharif lasted till his last day; his effort in 2010 to unite different factions of the Muslim League was turned down by Sharif.

After Nawaz Sharif’s rise as head of anti-Bhutto politics in Punjab during the 1990s, Pir Pagara’s role in politics started to shrink. In 1988, he lost elections to the Pakistan People’s Party even in his home constituency. It was a common refrain among the Hurs that they are followers of Pir Pagara in spiritual matters, but politically they are with Bhutto. During the last two decades, also because of his old age, he was mainly limited to Sindh where he had strong connections with influential Syed families and to southern district Rahim Yar Khan of Punjab where his in-laws’ family held the sway.

He was a Sindhi feudal lord, but distinct from others of his ilk. He was a photographer, a star gazer and fond of English music, horseracing and hunting. He lived a life of luxury with a style that was unique to him. His departure wrapped up a historical chapter that was marked with moderation, wit and a politics based on civil-military partnership. For him politics was the art of possible and in that he excelled.

 

Breaking news with death
Mukarram Khan Aatif is the 24th among the list of tribal reporters killed since 2002
By Mushtaq Yusufzai

“We left our native village in Mohmand tribal region and shifted to Shabqadar area of Charsadda district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, believing that we will be safe here. But the militants chased us even in this comparatively safer place and shot dead my younger brother,” Haji Yaqoob Khan, elder brother of slain tribal journalist Mukarram Khan Aatif, tells TNS.

Mukarram Khan Aatif, 47, was associated with Voice of America’s Pashto language Deewa Radio and a local television channel, Dunya News. He was offering Maghrib prayers in the village mosque when two men armed with AK-47 assault rifles entered and sprayed bullets at the journalist. Mukarram Khan was shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in Peshawar where he succumbed to injuries on Jan 17.

He is the 38th Pakistani journalist and 24th tribal reporter killed since 2002, and the first to be killed in 2012. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), headed by Hakimullah Mahsud, claimed responsibility for the killing. “We killed the journalist because VOA’s Deewa Radio had refused to give us coverage and used bad words for Taliban militants. He was on our hit list,” the TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan tells TNS on telephone from an undisclosed location.

The militant spokesman even named some journalists who are on their hit list. “The journalists have become a party against us, therefore we have decided to kill them one by one.”

Brother of the slain journalist and his colleagues, however, say that Mukarram was an independent and impartial journalist and had done nothing for which he could be killed.

“Though he was a journalist, well-known to everybody and a very sensible person, to me he was still a child, a younger brother. I was always worried about his security but could not save his life,” Mukarram’s brother Yaqub laments.

Mukarram Khan had no children. “He was honest and hospitable. I remember how he would buy chocolates from the village shop and distribute among the village children,” his brother recalls.

Hameedullah Khan, a journalist and colleague of Mukarram Khan Aatif, says he was a thorough professional and was never short of story ideas. “Mukarram always used to file unique stories. He used to find a news report in everything,” Hameedullah says, adding Mukarram was intimate with friends, always stealing social gatherings, with his witty remarks and jokes. “His friends will always miss him.”

His colleagues in Deewa Radio says that Mukarram Khan always tried to file balanced reports not only on militancy, terrorist attacks, military operations, but on civic issues such as education and health. “He was a regular contributor on the problems of displaced people from various regions and especially from different areas of Mohmand agency,” says Hameedullah.

Mukarram had narrowly escaped the twin suicide blasts in Ghallanai area of the Taliban-controlled Mohmand tribal region two years ago, where two other journalists had lost their lives. “Mukarram used to recall the horror of the day when he watched the blast from a hundred yards distance, that killed so many people around him,” Hameedullah says.

Safdar Hayat Dawar, president of Tribal Union of Journalists (TUJ), recalls the slain journalist as “hard-working and thoroughly professional”, saying the tribal journalists have been continuously facing life threats. “How can these journalists work in the tribal areas where they are suspected as spies working for the US and Pakistan armed forces. Twelve journalists have been gunned down in the tribal areas since 2005 and we do not know what will happen next.” 

He says he had personally approached Mukarram Khan when the Pakistani Taliban objected to his work and gave him life threats, and advised him to be careful while dealing with issues related to the militants.

 

Sins of omission
With many additions and omissions, the translated Urdu version of Imran Khan’s book attempts to paint the facts in local colours
By Aamir Riaz

In mid 201I, UK-based Transworld Publishers — an imprint of Random House — published a book in English language written by Imran Khan ‘Pakistan: A personal History’. In spite of the map controversy, the book was well received not only in Pakistan and India, but also in the West.

Its Urdu translation has been recently published by an Urdu Bazar publisher. In the blurb written on the flap, Dr Khurshid Rizvi, a rare scholar of Arabic studies in Pakistan, has praised Haroon-ur-Rashid for an excellent translation. The Urdu translation has some amendments, additions and omissions, and there is no explanation in the book why these additions and omissions are made.

In the preface, Haroon-ur-Rashid says that Ghulam Mohyuddin had done the translation while he had given it final touches. He also says that he had reservations regarding what Imran wrote in English in Chapter 2 and 10. Among those who rechecked the final version included Urdu columnist Aamir Hashim Khakwani, Rana Mahboob Akhtar and Mian Khalid Hussain.

On page 226, Imran Khan talks about his first gambling experience. On page 228 in Urdu, there is an additional six-line explanation from the author — Imran Khan criticising media persons for using his confessional statement negatively.

On page 370, there is another addition where Khan is talking about his Lahore public meeting of October 30, 2011, which he did after publication of the English version. If these additions were so important, they could be printed in footnotes rather than in regular text.

In the English version on page 296/7, there are some sentences about Syed Ahmad Shaheed Barelvi. These are “Even in nineteenth century during the twilight days of India’s Mughal Empire, when Syed Ahmad Barelvi founded a revolutionary Islamic movement it failed to take hold. Barelvi preached jihad against non-Muslim influences and tried to rally the Pashtun tribes to his cause but they disliked his rigid brand of Islam and abandoned him, leaving him to be slain by the Sikhs who had at that time conquered the settled Pashtun areas.” In Urdu translation on page 303, translation of the sentence “leaving him to be slain by the Sikhs” is missing.

On the same page, there is another example of omission in the Urdu text. “There is a strong Sufi influences in Pakistan, which will always be at odds with the strict literal Islam of Wahhabi ideology that influences many militant groups. This tension is represented by the two main schools of thought for Sunni Muslims in Pakistan. Barelvis typically lean towards South Asia’s traditional brand of Sufi Islam with its saints and shrines and message of tolerance. Deobandis, on the other hand, are more ideologically aligned with the Wahhabis and are therefore more sympathetic to the Taliban’s version of Islam (Page 297).” In Urdu text on page 303, the omitted phrases are; ‘strict literal Islam of Wahhabi ideology’ and ‘aligned with the Wahhabis’.

In the English version on page 75, Imran Khan writes about the forced exile of Mian Nawaz Sharif after October 1999, while in Urdu on Page 70 it is not there.

In the English version on page 79, Imran Khan writes about the early days of Islam as “Hereditary kingship replaced the budding democracy of the Medina State and only in the twentieth century did it make reappearance in the Muslim world”. The translator did not feel necessary to translate it in Urdu.

On page 67 in the English version, Khan writes “at stake were Western puppet regimes in oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia….” In Urdu translation on page 62/3, the translator missed the name of Saudi Arabia.

On page 68, Imran Khan writes “Zia, keen to legitimise his unconstitutional takeover of Pakistan,….” Yet the translator finds it unnecessary to mention the words “unconstitutional takeover” on page 63.

On page 66, Imran Khan criticises the US and CIA-backed coup to overthrow Mossadegh, yet CIA is missing in Urdu on page 61. The sentence which is missing on the same page also shows preferences of translators. Just read it “Mossadegh had had the temerity to stand up for the rights of the Iranian people and seize the country’s oil production, which had hitherto been controlled by the British Government’s Anglo-Iranian oil Company”.

In English on page 69, Imran Khan writes “Zia’s Islamisation and Musharraf’s enlightened moderation failed”, while in Urdu on page 64, the translation of Islamisation is mazhabiat and enlightened moderation is secularism.

There is a consistent pattern of omissions in the Urdu version as mentioned above with a few examples. It is neither called a separate book nor translation as mentioned in the blurb and in the first article of the book. At the back title, the publisher has used pieces of book reviews of the English version. Yet on the credit page, the name of the English-version publisher is absent. Why was the team of translators not satisfied with Imran Khan’s version as represented in English is an interesting question?

Famous historian Patrick French in his book Partition of India; Liberty or Death called Jawahar Lal Nehru the western face of Gandhi. So is the English version of Pakistan: A Personal History a western face of Imran Khan.

Aamir Riaz is a Lahore-based editor and researcher



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