View: Aitzaz Ahsan's intellectual journey —Ishtiaq Ahmed
Now, should a pir be treated differently in a court of law from ordinary citizens of Pakistan? Not so long ago, it was an established practice that ashraf (highborn) Muslims could not be tried in a court of law even for murder of the riffraff in northern India
A barrage of criticism has been let loose against Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan for arguing before a seven-member Supreme Court Bench that his client, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, accused of contempt of court, should be treated with deference because he is a pir (spiritual leader) and custodian of a noted Sufi shrine of Multan.
The core issue with regard to the alleged contempt of court by Mr Gilani that the Supreme Court is examining is the following: if the Pakistan Constitution grants a sitting president immunity from being tried in a court of law for abuse of office, can the apex court compel the prime minister to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen investigations into Swiss bank accounts held by President Asif Ali Zardari in which he has allegedly stashed millions of ill-gotten money? The defence counsel and his client's line of reasoning is not unfamiliar or outlandish. Ahsan has mentioned similar provisions in other state constitutions, so he is on solid grounds of precedence.
The problem is whether constitutional immunity covers offences such as looting the public purse, taking bribes and much worse. In our civics course at college, we were taught that the British monarch could get away with murder. So, if that is what the mother of all democracies has to offer, why should it not apply to our president? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, so the saying goes.
Moreover, what is the harm in a regime of privileges being extended to the head of government as well? Granted the prime minister is not facing any corruption charges but if a Pakistani think-tank is to be believed, Rs 8.5 trillion has been looted in the last four years from the Pakistani exchequer, correct or not. As head of the government' Mr Gilani does have a lot of explaining to do. My pro-PPP friends are surely going to retort that the military has been milking the Pakistani cow dry, and Mian Nawaz Sharif has in the past been accused of defaulting on bank loans to the tune of millions. So, why pick out the PPP leader for scrutiny? I think there is a point here. Also, should not our Supreme Court try some notorious judges who abused their high office and took bribes to hand down political judgements?
Now, should a pir be treated differently in a court of law from ordinary citizens of Pakistan? Not so long ago, it was an established practice that ashraf (highborn) Muslims could not be tried in a court of law even for murder of the riffraff in northern India (Catharine P Ewing, Shari'at and Ambiguity in South Asian Islam, University of California, 1988). In the rural and tribal areas, the writ of the landlord and landlord-pir combination still prevails. Considered in the light of such a heritage, Ahsan's plea that his client, a pir of a famous shrine, be shown some deference by the learned justices is a very minor invocation of tradition and custom.
This brings me to consider Aitzaz Ahsan's predicaments as an intellectual. I first saw him in the late 1960s in the Tuesday Group meetings in a Lahore Marxist study circle. He stood first in the civil service examination, but decided not to join the coveted CSP elite. If memory does not betray me, he issued a press statement saying that the CSP was the remnant of a colonial-imperialist bureaucracy and he could not serve in it.
Since then Ahsan has been struggling to find his niche. He joined the PPP, became a law minister and authored a book, The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan (1996). He advanced the thesis that the Indus Valley civilisation was separate and distinct from the Indo-Gangetic civilisation. Sir Mortimer Wheeler and Maoist leader Major Ishaq Muhammad had earlier laid the foundations of such a thesis.
Aitzaz Ahsan mentioned in the preface of the Indus Saga that he wrote it to refute Jawaharlal Nehru's assertion in the Discovery of India that from the Khyber Pass to Cape Comorin, notwithstanding infinite outward diversity, there was a "tremendous impress of oneness". Adopting the method of contrasts, he tried to demonstrate that the Indus civilisation was liberal, egalitarian and pluralist while the Indo-Gangetic civilisation based on the caste system was rigid, hierarchical and oppressive. It was a novel neo-Marxist-riverine spin on the Two-Nation Theory — not a negation of it but an affirmation of it in revolutionary jargon. Unfortunately, the Indus Saga could not establish credibility because under Ziaul Haq, whatever liberalism and pluralism the barrister had discovered was quickly dispensed with in favour of dogmatism, fundamentalism and rigidity.
Aitzaz Ahsan distinguished himself by leading the lawyers' movement against the authoritarian Musharraf regime, but the same lawyers later passed resolution after resolution demanding that Aasia Bibi, the Christian farmhand, should be hanged for blasphemy. Was the legal community fighting for democracy when they agitated to oust a highhanded Musharraf or defending professional interests? Historians would need time to pass judgement on that. Ahsan did not take part in the lynching campaign his peers had unleashed against that poor woman. He is too intelligent, sophisticated and enlightened to make such a blunder. Overall, however, Aitzaz Ahsan's ongoing intellectual journey has been in a right-conservative direction since the days he issued that famous press statement denouncing the CSP.
The writer has a PhD from Stockholm University. He is a Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University. He is also Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. His latest publication is: The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Accounts (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2012; New Delhi: Rupa Books, 2011). He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
INVITATION FROM US ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY TO A.H AMIN
TWO STRATEGIC ASSESSMENTS ABOUT HOW THE WAR ON TERROR MAY BE FOUGHT -CLICK ON PICTURE TO READ
WE SALUTE THE AGE OF STRATEGIC ANARCHY
Thomas Paine on Religion
I disbelieve them all...My own mind is my own church" -Thomas Paine
" Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief;
and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all...
...My own mind is my own church."
(Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of America)
I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life I believe... the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven.
Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
ARCHITECT OF DESTRUCTION OF MILITARY VIRTUE OF US MILITARY-CLICK ON PICTURE TO READ
NEVER SET A SQUADRON IN THE FIELD NOR KNEW THE DIVISION OF BATTLE MORE THAN A SPINSTER
DEVELOPMENT OF TALIBAN FACTIONS IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN A GEOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT
BY MAJOR AGHA H AMIN (RETD),LTC OSINSKI,PROF ANDRE DEGEORGES
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THE ONGOING AFGHAN WARS MAIN BENEFICIARIES ARE THE CONTRACTORS AND TALIBAN AND LOSERS US TAXPAYERS
GRAND LIES AND CONTRADICTIONS ABOUT AFGHANISTAN BEING PROPAGATED TO FOOL US TAXPAYERS
CLICK ON TOP OF THIS MAP TO ENLARGE
BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS AGHA H AMIN
ESSENCE OF LIFE
TRUTH FOREVER ON THE SCAFFOLD WRONG FOREVER ON THE THRONE
NOT RETURNING A BOOK FOR WHICH YOU HAVE NOT PAID
What the Blog is About
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DESERT LORE COMMANDING AN INDEPENDENT TANK SQUADRON
IN THE DESERT SEPTEMBER 1992
MANS ROLE IN HISTORY -WHAT IS HISTORY , SOME QUESTIONS AND SOME POSSIBLE ANSWERS
A PAKISTANI MAJOR GENERAL WHO WAS GENERAL ZIAS CONTEMPORARY ON GENERAL ZIA
A.H AMIN'S QUESTION:--
What were your impressions about Zia as you saw him in the Army tenure?
MAJOR GENERAL TAJAMMULS ANSWER
I had not intimately known him before he became the Chief of the Army Staff but from his conduct during the Divisional Commanders Conferences, he appeared to me an incompetent and low grade officer.
In one of the Division Commanders promotion conferences, I even saw him sleeping with his mouth open.
He surpassed all limits of sycophancy when meeting the Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. While in uniform, he used to bow when shaking hands with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
I remember my old Brigade Commander, Brigadier Hayat, with whom I served as his Brigade Major, once told me that he had written in Major Zia ul Haq’s ACR when he served under his command, “Not fit to go beyond the rank of a Major”. It is an irony of fate that a person of such a calibre had ruled Pakistan for a long period of eleven years till he was finally killed in an air crash.
LINK FOR THE ABOVE QUOTE:--
INTERVIEW OF MAJOR GENERAL TAJAMMUL HUSSAIN MALIK:--
THE COMMANDANT OF THE COMMAND AND STAFF COLEGE QUETTA,PAKISTAN DID NOT HAVE THE INTELLECTUAL HONESTY TO ACCEPT THIS BOOK FOR THE LIBRARY ( CORRESPONDENCE AND MY ORIGINAL LETTER IN THE BLOG DIVERSITY AND DISSENT).TO READ THE LETTER CLICK THE LINK BELOW:--
THE COMMANDANT ALSO DID NOT HAVE THE COURTSEY TO RETURN THE BOOK WHICH WAS SENT FOR THE LIBRARY AS A DONATION AND FOR WHICH THE STAFF COLLEGE HAD NOT PAID. SEE LETTER FROM STAFF COLLEGE REFUSING TO RETURN THE BOOK FOR WHICH THEY HAD NOT PAID BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW:--
THE BOOK IS HELD IN US ARMY COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE LIBRARY,LIBRARY OF US ARMY WAR COLLEGE,FRUNZE MILITARY ACADEMY LIBRARY RUSSIA,LIBRARY OF CONGRESS USA AND AIR WAR COLLEGE LIBRARY AIR WAR COLLEGE KARACHI.
JUST COMPARE THIS PETTY INTELLECTUAL PARSIMONY AND BIGOTEDNESS WITH THE GENEROUS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF A BOOK OF MINE " THE ESSENTIAL CLAUSEWITZ " THAT I DONATED TO US ARMY MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT.REPLY OF COMMANDANT WEST POINT BRIGADIER GENERAL MC FARREN IS AS BELOW(CLICK ON LINK):--
UNKNOWN ORIGIN - ONE BELORUSSIA - ONE GREECE - ONE BELGIUM - ONE TURKEY - ONE SINGAPORE - ONE LUXEMBURG - ONE GERMANY -ONE SOUTH AFRICA TWO UK/GB TWO INDIA -FIVE PAKISTAN -EIGHT USA -EIGHTEEN
A PASHTUN KHALQI HEROIN,KHALQ ZINDABAD
A PASHTUN LADY IS FORMIDABLE IN ANY ROLE WHETHER IT WAS MALALAI AT MAIWAND OR NAGHMA OR M/S KAKAR MURDERED BY INSURGENTS IN KANDAHAR.THIS DIE HARD KHALQI TIGRESS WAS INDOMITABLE AND FEARLESS .A BORN KHALQI AND TILL DEATH A KHALQI SHE WAS A GREAT WOMAN.MAY ALLAH BLESS HER SOUL.
HIZB E KHALQ DEMOCRATIC AFGHANISTAN ZINDABADTWO NATO TIGRESSES (ATTACK HELICOPTER PILOTS) FROM AUSTRALIA AND NETHERLANDS WHO HAVE PLAYED HELL WITH URUZGAN AND KANDAHAR
THE ANTI US FORCES HAVE NO SAM CAPABILITY.HA HA HA THEY HAD ONCE WHEN THEY FOUGHTY FOR DIRTY US AND SAUDI DOLLARS AGAINST AFGHANISTANS OWN LEFTIST GOVERNMENT,HA HA HA LATER THEY SOLD BACK THE USA THE STINGERS AGAIN FOR US DOLLARS,AND NOW THESE TIGRESSES ARE PLAYING HELL WITH THEM,HISTORY IS REALLY VERY STRANGE,NOW THE AMERICANS ALSO MUST BE THINKING THAT THE OLD USSR WAS A BETTER OPTION THAN THESE DIRTY BEARDED CLOWNS HA HA HA AT LEAST THEY WERE ENLIGHTENED CULTURED PEOPLE
Old books best to read,old scotch best to drink,old wood best to burn
SIEG HEIL-ONE OF THE FINEST TANK DIVISIONS IN MILITARY HISTORY
Indomitable Paktiawal Jagran Aslam Watanjar Destroys the Daud Regime-Saur Inqilab April 1978
SAUR INQILAB ZINDABAD
ANNIVERSARY OF SAUR INQILAB KABUL 1985-PHOTO BY A DEAR FRIEND WHO WAS AN EXILE IN KABUL
SYCOPHANCY PAR EXCELLENCE PAKISTAN STYLE-HE SOLD HIS SOUL FOR DOLLARS
Do you think that the CIA is involved in creating an insurrection in Pakistans tribal areas as the Pakistani army claims and also some members of this blog like Brigadier Simon ?
MEMORIES OF KABUL
Who did 9/11?
THE MOST MISERABLE FAILURE OF HOPELESS INDIAN AND PAKISTAN ARMY-CLICK ON PICTURE TO READ
CLICK ON PICTURE TO DOWNLOAD AND READ
OLD FRIENDS BEST TO TALK TO
Do you think that the USA's political system truly represents the will of the majority of US citizens?
PHENOMENAL LACK OF ORIGINALITY
In 1990 while serving in the armour school it was stated in a lecture that the tank troop tactics pamphlet was a very original effort of some armour officers in 1950s.
In 1997 I discovered a US Field Manual in a second hand bookshop in Brooklyn which proved that little original effort was put in the Pakistani manual !
This map from the US FM was reproduced in every revised publication with the same accompanying description from 1950s to 1992.
Who assasinated her , the Al Qaeda or a state actor
There are many pages so please be patient and go through all of them if you have the time !