Ahmadi’s and shades of Nazi Germany

“And thus I clothe my naked villany

With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ,

And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”

_Shakespeare – King Richard III (I, iii, 336-338)_

The evil which men do lives long after their deaths, and shades of Nazism are alive and kicking in Pakistan, evil clothed in odd ends of holy writ, brandished about by the Taliban and much of the mainstream media in Pakistan.

Nazi Germany started presecuting their Jewish citizens slowly, with many steps along the way like banning their employment in Government in 1933, than in 1935 banning them from the Army, in 1936 declaring them non-citizens of the state and banning them from all professional jobs. Only half the Jewish population of Germany had emigrated by the start of WWII…Than there was the holocaust during WWII…

Pakistan is well along the Nazi playbook for getting rid of the Ahmadi’s – they’re already for all practical intents banned from government and military service, and back in 1974 Pakistan passed a law declaring them a despised minority – heck it’s part of the Pakistani constitution. This not being enough, in 1984 even more draconian laws were passed, which in short make it a jailable offense for Ahmadi’s to live life as they would like to (some of the punishments carry the death penalty).

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And that was Sultan Kot

Pasted here for future reference… from 2010 sometime when doing volunteer work after the 2010 floods in Sindh.

Sultan Kot Proposed Medical Center

Summary: No need to go there. For the long version, read on!

It’s a small hospital + maternity clinic, set up in 1936 by a english missionary lady. She ran it till 1976, at which point she left. The place was built by her, presumably on missionary funds. In those times it was the only hospital, so was much needed. The property belongs to the missionary, or to her church.

While it ran, it was the most english of institutions, with her wandering about a strict purdah town in her skirt and umbrella. She also taught english to the local notables, which means the Aghas, as they are the only notables in Sultan Kot.

Sultan Kot was founded by the orginal Agha who had run away from Afghanistan and given this area by the local bigshot at that time whose name I don’t remember any more. He had aspirations to be a Sultan, hence the name Sultan Kot, which is a new town he built. The Aghas own all the surrounding area – about 60,000 acres irrigated land and assorted non irrigated. The total population is about 15,000 people in all of this area spread over 20 villages.

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Afridi: Why are Pakistani’s so against India?

The captain of the Pakistan cricket team:

He asks why are Pakistani’s so against India when they watch Indian movies, every house watches Indian drama’s… so what’s the thing they’re against? He’s the most popular sports figure in Pakistan which everyone seems to like, so it’s good people like him are talking about such topics.

Interesting thing is that the reports covering him keep trying to divert him from this and back to we hate India!
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Security theater in Pakistan

All over Pakistan, there are nonsensical attempts at security theater. The theater part is done very well, with people roaming around with machine guns, concrete barriers, and lots of ways to make the lives of people miserable in an attempt to really impress those whose lives are made miserable by the security – but the actual security part gets forgotten somewhere by the wayside in all the theater.

Drive to any Pakistani airport, and security will be busy scanning all entering vehicles using a thin metal stick. What do thin metal sticks have to do with finding bombs? Nothing at all, but that is not a question the Interior Ministry of Pakistan would ever ask, especially when the person importing the metal sticks (which are now being made in Pakistan) is likely a friend of a friend of a general/politician somewhere. The sticks certainly add a lot of theater and delay, thus accomplishing what seems to be the main aim of security in Pakistan.

There is corruption everywhere in Pakistan, but how do you go about buying tens of thousands of dowsing rods for millions of dollars? Even in a corrupt country like Pakistan, at least part of the functionality is delivered. Schools might not run, and teachers might not teach, but schools are built and teachers paid. What kind of a institution or person buys an instrument which they know won’t work and thousands will die because of it?

The Iraqi government has spent $85m on the ADE-651 and there are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks that have killed hundreds of people.

…Iraq paid around $40,000 for each device.

 

How much is Pakistan paying? The BBC article mentions the same company selling useless detectors for 40,000 dollars to Iraq was also selling them to Pakistan.

The ADE-651 detector has never been shown to work in a scientific test. There are no batteries and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. Critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.

 

Science doesn’t worry the security establishment in Pakistan. Saving lives bothers them even less. Making money however, is really important and that’s the crux of the story.

In 1999, the FBI put out another alert: “Warning. Do not use bogus explosives detection devices.”

 

If people in the US were buying and using bogus devices, then no wonder Pakistan is too. For my public service of the day I will send a copy of this memo, the BBC’s article and a short covering note to Rehman Malik, the guy in charge of security all over Pakistan.

The British have banned exports of this fake metal detector - because it kills peoples. The Pakistan’s government reaction? Build the same junk here!

Somewhere deep in the pits of the ISI and the Pakistan Interior Ministry, the two institutions in charge of security all over Pakistan, there must be someone who has studied high school Physics and knows this whole thing is a blatant fraud. Maybe no one there has, or they’ve forgotten – in which case they could just watch the Feynman lectures.

There are many ironies in this whole story, not the least being that for dowsing to work you have to use magic – something which somehow doesn’t quite fit into what’s kosher in Islam and even require Rehman Malik to make good on his promise of killing the next blasphemer he met.

The US has been on a rampage against using devices which don’t work, so I have to fit in this gem from an Iraqi general, who could be the cousin of Pakistani ones:

“I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,” General Jabiri said. “I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.”

 

Of course he does, because generals know best. Especially those in third world countries. This same general went on:

Checking cars with dogs, however, is a slow process, whereas the wands take only a few seconds per vehicle. “Can you imagine dogs at all 400 checkpoints in Baghdad?” General Jabiri said. “The city would be a zoo.”

 

Speed and making money is a higher aim then actually working or being true. Whether education, security or government, General Jabiri perfectly encapsulates the ideals and values of much of Pakistan.

There are many other questions raised by the equipment used by security forces around Pakistan – like what good is the selection and tendering process for important equipment the government uses? If the UK doesn’t let you import your favorite magic wand does that make you think about magic and it’s effectiveness or do you ask someone else to build you a magic wand? If you ask a company to build a road and it builds a dirt track do you reward it with another project? So many more questions and nobody in the government to ask them…

How to create a really twisted ruling class, the golf course edition

People are generally good, and it takes quite a bit of effort to turn them into monsters. You have to start at a young age as that’s when people are most impressionable. One method is to send them to a madrassah, where they grow up mentally stunted and fed mental poison for years, with their star pupils turning into suicide bombers and assassins, amongst other achievements.

That’s one type of twisted, but to rule a country, other skills come into play. How do the children of the ruling class turn into monsters, and go on to wreck havoc on the country? Well, they too get trained in the art of becoming a self centered monster at a young age, and though they might not attend madrassa’s, or the school of how to steal more money than your neighbour, but they do have many institutions in their lives to strip them of their humanity. One is the nanny, and omnipresent servants, but thats a story for another day. Today’s story is about teaching children that it’s ok to hurt people.

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Escapees from the land of the pure

Life is tough in Pakistan if you don’t two the religious line (or at least hide the lack of toeing). Though in this case the victims escaped, hurray for them!

Asmaa Azeem is 22, Fatima is 16. They are sisters from Pakistan, seeking asylum in Sri Lanka. Their parents are religious fundamentalists and the girls want out. They want an end to the abuse, they want an end to the old religious order and they want a life of freedom; freedom of thought, freedom of expression and more importantly, freedom of religion. The girls are atheists, and proud ones.
The girl’s family are the obvious scoundrels and scum here, and it’s interesting how scoundrels and scum are always connected to the upper levels of the Pakistan govt:
They say their uncle is extremely influential in Pakistan and has many contacts with top officials and the Ministry of Interior.
And
Why did the ‘society’ she was brought up in, choose to turn a blind eye and even deny issues and incidents that took place right in its face? (She describes the sexual molestation a cousin went through at the hands of an uncle)  Why did women have no fundamental rights in her country? Why, why and more why?
The uncle probably went on to molest more of his nieces and nephews and achieved a high post in Pakistani society… and while the Pakistan embassy in Colombo is probably figuring out ways to extradite the girls back to Pakistan, real criminals roam free.

Times have really changed in this country. The media’s latest love affair with Raymond Davis has really stirred up enough people against anyone who’s different, that tourism is dead. A white face on the streets is just asking to be lynched. A lot of foreigners have asked me over the years whether it’s safe to travel across Pakistan, and I’ve always said yes, but with caveats which kept getting bigger over the years into what has become an absolute no.

It doesn’t really matter what the masses think – the majority might be flower hugging hippies all wanting peace, but the number of people wanting to kill others is large, and the number supporting these killers even larger – browsing through Pakistani TV a lot of the media shows support killing anyone who’se different – and considering people watch them, it’s one indication that their ideas have a following.

Update: Reddit post and discussion

Stephen Cohen on Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration, 2011 edition

A depressing read on Pakistan, including state failure, growing insecurity, govt failure and the increasing reliance on China:

“The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China.

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Send your ads to Awab, the happy new year edition

My friend Awab is running a free advertisment campaign to highlight stuff needing highlighting, so here’s my pitch for all the issues hiding in obscure dark corners all over Pakistan, and much deserving of recognition:
How about an ad for all those lonely groups of brigadiers and colonels toiling away in obscurity hatching plan after plan, I mean only the lucky few like Benazir’s plotters end up on the front page of the Tribune, I’m sure the rest could do with publicity too!