Monday, 31 October 2011

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid (12 episodes)

A lot has been said and written about the menace that is Zaid Hamid. I started analyzing Zaid Hamid's lies/hyper boles in his program Iqbal ka Pakistan and wrote down six pieces which contained analysis of the first 12 episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan. The pieces were published on and this very blog. I felt that reading different parts of this work was a bit burdonsome and thus I combined the stuff and it turned out to consist of 65 pages and around Twelve THOUSAND words.!! This document is in PDF format and can be downloaded from here . Enjoy
The updated version of this document which contains analysis of 15 episodes and which is error-free can be downloaded from here.
 Episodes 16-20 can be downloaded from here

Friday, 28 October 2011

Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson

Love him or hate him, but you can't deny his status as the most famous innovator of the last 50 years. This book contains interviews with Steve Jobs conducted in last one and a half years. Worth a read
Can be viewed and downloaded here

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Muder of history (part 2)

(This is part 2 of the article, Murder of history)
1. Mujahideen had gone to conquer Kashmir in 1948.

The first war between newly-independent Pakistan and India happened in 1948 A.D in Kashmir Valley. It is postulated that the prime objective of Mujahideen(mostly from NWFP) was the liberation of Kashmir. Actually,when they reached near Sri Nagar, they forgot their “objective” and started criminal activities. Regarding this, Owen Bennet Jones in his book writes, “At this crucial juncture, when Kashmir was ready for the taking, Pakistan paid the price of the haphazard nature of its operations in Kashmir. Rather than striking forward, the tribesmen became distracted by the opportunities for plunder. Their increasingly lawless conduct had a disastrous consequence. The local Muslim population, rather than seeing them as liberators, began to fear them and, far from providing help to the tribesmen, turned against them. These developments and the bad international press Pakistan was receiving as a result of the invasion dismayed the government in Karachi. Officials not only disowned the tribesmen but also obstructed them. (Owen Bennet Jones, Pakistan:Eye of the storm, Yale University Press; 2002; Chapter 3; page 65)  Sherbaz Khan Mazari, a seventeen year-old tribal leader from Balochistan who tried to take some men to join in the fighting, later recounted that when he tried to enter Kashmir, ‘I was stopped by Pakistani officials who told me in clear cut terms that I would not be allowed to cross into Kashmir. It became clear that they thought we were intent on partaking in the plunder that was taking place.’ (Sherbaz Khan Mazari, A Journey to Disillusionment, Oxford University Press,Karachi, 2000, pp. 11 and 12.)

2. The wars between India and Pakistan(1948, 1965, 1971,1999) were a Jihad.

According to the book Al-Jihad Fil-Islam written by eminent Islamic scholar Abu-al-Ala Maududi, there are certain definite situations when Jihad becomes obligatory on Muslims. The pre-requisite conditions of waging Jihad are
a.    There should be an Islamic State(i.e which is based on Sharia Laws)
b.    Governed by a Ruler who is (a Muslim and whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how Abū Bakr transferred the reins [of his khilāfah to Umar] or through pledging of allegiance by the ulema or a group of the elite-elaboration by Javed Ghamidi, in his booklet The Islamic Shariah of Jihad, page 43, Reference from Hadith # 2533 in Sunan Abu Daud)
c.    If the ruler has the moral grounds and the military might to curb the oppression and injustice of the country against which jihād is to be waged.
When the head of the state declares Jihad against the enemy, it becomes Farz for Muslims to help the state fight that enemy. The Conditions in which the head of state can declare Jihad are

1.To curb oppression and persecution in another country – whether Muslim or non-Muslim.(Surah Al-Hajj, Ayah 39-40)(Surah Bakarah, Ayah 190-191)

2. To apprehend those who stop people from adopting the right path. (Surah Anfal, Ayah 36 and 47)(Surah Tauba, Ayah 9 and 34).

3. To punish those who have reneged on promises/pacts with the state.(Surah Anfal, Ayah 55-58)(Surah Tauba, Ayah 1-2,5-8)

4. Against the Internal saboteurs. (Surah Tauba, Ayah 73) (Surah Azhab, Ayah 60-61) (Surah Nisa, Ayah 89)

5. To ensure Peace. (Surah Al-Maida, Ayah 33-34)

6. To help Muslims living in Non-Muslim states If they are being oppressed and they call Muslim state for help.(Surah Nisa, Ayah 75)(Surah Anfal, Ayah 72-73)

7. To defend the state. (Surah Anfal, Ayah 60)

It is up to the reader to decide If any of Pakistan-India wars fulfilled the criteria. We didn’t even fulfill the Pre-Requisites.Regarding the fact that the wars are portrayed as  “Jihad”, lets have a look at Brig Gulzar Ahmad’s book “Pakistan Meets Indian Challenge” written about the 1965 War. He wrote, “Incidents have occurred, during this war, which remind one of the Golden Age of Islam, the days of Badr and Ohad which was the age of supreme sacrifices and the pride of achieving it”(Page 7). Mr Gulzar, on page 69, wrote “There was a hidden hand deflecting the rounds which would otherwise have taken a heavy toll of the advancing troops”.(Gulzar Ahmad, Pakistan Meets Indian Challenge; Al Mukhtar Publishers; 1967;Pages 7,69)            Brig ® A R Siddiqi in his book, “Image of Military in Pakistan” writes, “In his broadcast to the nation on the eve of the cease-fire, Ayub spoke eloquently of the performance of the armed forces. He declared: ‘Our forces were heavily outnumbered and they fought against tremendous odds, but God in his infinite mercy granted them the courage and determination not only to throw back the enemy forces but to inflict crushing blows both on his armour and on his infantry. Let this blessing of God and these achievements of the people and their brave and dedicated armed forces never to be forgotten. By this faith in God and in his cause and by his indomitable courage and superb craftsmanship, the fighting man has written in his blood a golden chapter in the history of Islam.’ The President’s broadcast was a go-ahead signal to the image-builders. His reference to the Pakistani’s soldier faith in God and contribution of a golden chapter to the history of Islam, gave the war a historical perspective and the military an indelible ideological image. The war became a total Jihad-a crusade against the evil o caste Hinduism”. Also, “The editor of a mass-ciculating literary Digest, Inayat Ullah, wrote: ‘Every officer, JCO and jawan of the army is a war hero. Every drop of the blood of these Ghazis and Shaheeds makes the heading of a separate chapter in Pakistan’s history’.(Brig ® A R Siddiqi, The Militray in Pakistan: Image and Reality; Van Guard Books; 1997; Chapter 5; Pages 103-108, 121)  Regarding Pakistan Army’s role in War of 1971, Lets examine the testimony of Army Officers given before Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report.
*There was a general feeling of hatred against Bengalis amongst the soldiers and officers including Generals. There were verbal instructions to eliminate Hindus. In Salda Nadi area about 500 persons were killed. When the army moved to clear the rural areas and small towns, it moved in a ruthless manner; destroying, burning, killing. (Lt. Col. Mansoorul Haq)
*Many junior and other officers took the law into their own hands to deal with so-called miscreants. There have been cases of interrogation of miscreants which were far more severe in character than normal and in some cases blatantly in front of the public. The discipline of the Pakistani army, as was generally understood, had broken down.  (Brigadier Mian Taskeenudin)
*General Niazi visited my unit at Thakurgaon and Bogra. He asked us how many Hindus we had killed. In May, there was an order in writing to kill Hindus.           (Lt. Col. Aziz Ahmed Khan)
(Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, supplement, part V, chapter II, paras. 12–17, Dawn; 6 February 2001; page 16)

A look at the genealogies of two of our founding fathers i.e Jinnah and Iqbal tells us that Mr. Jinnah belonged to a Sindhi family that had migrated to gujarat.(Akbar S Ahmad, Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity; Routledge, 1997; Chapter 1,page 1 ) while Iqbal belonged to a Kashmiri sheikh family. Also, there was a considerable population consisting of Jatts and Gujjars before Islam came to our part of the world. Most of us are descendants of those early converts. The people most likely to have come down from Arabia are the Syeds who claim to be direct descendants from the Prophet (PBUH). Interestingly, in a research  conducted by University College London, Y chromosomes of self-identified Syeds from the Indian subcontinent show evidence of elevated Arab ancestry but not of a recent common patrilineal origin For more on the castes of our country, visit this page.

4. Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman and his Awami league wanted to break the country.

In its report on the events of 1971, the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission argued that: ‘We must give full weight to the fact that before the elections he[Mujib] offered the Council Muslim League and the Jamaat-e-Islami a number of seats in East Pakistan which would have still permitted him to obtain the majority of the East Pakistan seats but not to have a clear majority in the whole house. Quite clearly his purpose was to be able to play the role of the leader of the largest single party without being under pressure for (sic) members of his own party to go through with the Six Point programme on the basis of an overall majority in the house. This fact clearly established that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at that time at least, had not decided on secession’. (Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, part I, chapter VI, para. 96; Dawn; 13 January 2001; page 21)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Image of Military in Pakistan

This book deals with the image created by Pakistan Army of itself, its origin, genesis, evolution and its rise and fall over a period of 60 years. This is one of the best books written on the topic of propaganda machines of army i.e. ISPR.
The author worked for decades at the ISPR and he knows the stuff he wrote based on firsthand information. This is a valuable book for students of Political Sciences and Pakistan History.
Preface and Chapter 1:- The birth of the image

Chpater 2:- The growth of the image
Chapter 3:- The rise of the image
Chapter 4:- The test of the image

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Gulls and Guys, Voyage of Adventure

Shoaib Mansoor, one of the most famous directors from Pakistan, wrote and produced a reality-style show in 1999 named Gulls and Guys, Voyage of Adventure. It was sponsored by Gold Leaf. Following are the videos from the show. The participants included
Salman Ahmad
Junaid Jamshed
Fakhre Alam
Captain Abdullah
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

De-constructing Zaid Hamid part 6

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid

God can not alter the past, but historians can.
Samuel Butler
Zaid Hamid is a TV-phenomenon popularized by his programmes like Brass Tacksand Iqbal ka Pakistan. Eight episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan have been examined by this author in last five issues. Episodes 11 and 12 of Iqbal ka Pakistan, are reviewed below.

Episode 11

They mentioned during the show that Iqbal Academy,Lahore had sent them books. Sadly, they did not even know WHERE Iqbal academy was located. I can not say anything for sure but I think people at Iqbal Academy sent those books because they thought Zaid and Ali are not making any sense and instead of commiting blunders abt iqbal, they should actually read him.
Zaid Hamid also expressed his views on the prevalent economic disparity and used the oft-repeated ideas of left-wing intellectuals to make his point.

Zaid Hamid:- Ummat e muslimah ki aakhri chatan Pakistan reh gaya hai. (Translation:- Pakistan is the last remaining  frontier of Muslim Ummah.)
Comment :- This line comes straight out of a Nasim Hijazi Novel named Aakhri Chataan(The last frontier). For those who do not know, Nasim Hijazi wrote novels about Muslim History which were quite much exaggerated and portrayed the “glory” of Islamic empire and bravery of Muslims in long-gone eras. Unfortunately, many of the audience does not know that those novels are a work of fiction and are not facts. Regarding the Pakistan is ‘the last frontier’ point, it reminds me of the ideology of Al-Qaeda as narrated by Syed Saleem Shahzad in his book “Inside Al-Qaeda and Taliban”. According to Al Qaeda’s Ideology, Khurasan will be the last battlefront before a Muslim Victory in the final battle. Khurasan includes Pakistan and parts of Iran and Afghanistan.

Zaid Hamid:- The Whole muslim ummah celebrated with joy when Pakistan conducted nuclear explosions.
Comment:-  Regarding the “Islamic Bomb”, I have explained in a previous article that this concept was given by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. There is no piece of news or documentray evidence that all the muslim countries erupted in joy upon hearing that we have gone nuclear. What Zaid Hamid and a lot of people in Pakistan fail to fathom is that a nuclear arsenal is of no use if you can not feed 50% of your population. We need not look further than USSR which had the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and they still failed to stop the economic landslide. The nuclear explosions sent us decades back in terms of development.

Zaid Hamid:- Most of muslim religious leaders were bought by Hindus and British before Independence.
Comment :- This is plain conjecture and defamation. Most of the muslim religious leaders did not want creation of Pakistan because they thought it would divide the muslims of India and because Islamic Scholars are not in favour of Nationalism. As I have written before, just because you do not confrom to a certain ideology does not give you a license to dole out false narratives. 

Zaid Hamid:- Pakistan is a re-grouping base for revival of Muslims.
Comment:- Facts tell us otherwise. In the last 10 years, the only thing of which Pakistan has been a base, is International and Domestic terrorism. What does Zaid Hamid even mean by “re-grouping”.? Not since the time of early Omayyad Caliphate have muslims been under a single ruler.

Zaid Hamid:- We are supposed to expand Pakistan.
Comment:-  This again is a convoluted narrative. As I have pointed out before, noone in the Pakistan movement ever hinted at expansion of Pakistan. This narrative only suits the military because they have got so many weapons and soldiers and they want to put all that money and infrastructure into some use.

Zaid Hamid:- A good muslim should have economic and military strength.
Comment:- I do not understand what religion has got to do with economic means. History tells us that early muslims including Prophet(PBUH) were not wealthy and had to survive on bare mininum. How can Zaid Hamid justify that.? It is a fact that for a hungry man, the only religion is food but it does not mean a poor person can not be a good muslim.

Zaid Hamid:- Implementing system of collecting zakat wil ensure that there is no economic disparity in the country. Islamic economic system is the panacea to all our problems.
Comment :- Zaid Hamid probably does not know that a centralized Zakat collection and distribution centre in working in Pakistan. He also does not seem to know that when that system was implemented, 40 thousand Shias surrounded secretrait in Islamabad because their fiqah does not envision a centralized zakat collection system. Zia ultimately had to exempt them from getting Zakat deducted from their bank accounts. The “Islamic economic system” is nothing but a myth. Only TWO sources of revenue i.e Zakat and Ushar can not account for the complex economic system that is being used worldwide. If Zakat and Ushar was the panacea, it would have worked somewhere in the world in the last 1000 years.

Episode 12

Zaid Hamid:- Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was also a sufi.
Comment :- About Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi Dr Annemarie Schimmel wrote, “His dictum, “Mohammed has become Ahmad” points to his own name, Ahmad. He also regarded himself as a qayyum upon whom the world rests. Towards the end of seventeenth centuryAbdullah Khweshgi from Qasur accused the mujaddid of having arrogated Prophetic qualities, thus lately Maulana Maududi was very critical of Ahmad Sirhindi’s claim to be the mujaddid. Ahmad’s fame rests on his 534 letters which were described by Jahangir as “bunch of absurdities” and he had him imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior because of writing an anti-shia tract”. (Annemarie Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Sang-e-Meel Publications; 2003; pages 91 and 92)

Zaid Hamid:-  A firm belief can lead you to great things while doubt is not a good thing.
Comment:- I quoted Descartes in an earlier article who said, “In order to reach the truth, it is necessary, once in one’s life, to put everything in doubt.” This assertion by Zaid Hamid is a direct opposite of the Renaissance ideology that paved way for the golden age of science. If a person has firm beliefs, he become rigid in his mentality, he becomes less tolerant, his mind becomes stagnant.

Zaid Hamid:- Iqbal was preparing a “constitution” for revolution in the 1910s.
Comment:- ZH said it in reference to Asrar e Khudi and Ramuz e Be-khudi. They were indeed landmark books but unfortunately, majority of population of India was not very well versed in Persian which was the language in which these books were written. Consequently, there was no such great revolution. No leader  except Mr Jinnah fulfilled the criteria of an ideal personality at the time of formation of Pakistan. 

Zaid Hamid:- All politicians are corrupt.
Comment:-  This has been said before by Zaid Hamid. To be honest, there is not much that is wrong about this statement, but the system itself can not be corrupt. If democracy was a system that favored corrupt people,why would the system work for so many other countries of the world. Democracy has not been given enough time to work in our country. Military over-takes after every 5-10 years do not augur well for the democracy.
 (originally published at

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Steven Gerrard's Autobiography

The first thing I want to say is that I love to hate Liverpool Football Club. I am an ardent MUFC fan and that is the reason for my hatred. Still, I am presenting the autobiography of Steven Gerrard(aka Stevie G or Stevie Me, depends upon which club you support), the influential midfielder and Captain of LFC. Even though I don't like Stevie G, I liked his book. He is as much passionate about his club as Gary Neville is about his, which is a big statement. 
The book can be downloaded from here. It should be mentioned that the book can't be read on the website and has to be downloaded.

10 things I hate about Hasbe Haal

Hasbe Haal is one of the most-watched program in Pakistan right now. Personally, I love the work done by Sohail Ahmad on it. Still, there are many things not to like about the show. I have made a list of the 10 things I hate about the show. It is necessary to mention that I do not hate the show as a whole.

1. The Advertisements
Advertisements take up as much time as the program itself, which is extremely annoying. The show starts after almost 5 minutes of advertisements and after every 6 minute interval we get to delve into the dumb word of marketing.

2. Junaid Saleem's rants
The program used to start for a long time with Junaid Salim, lecturing the audience on political matters (this format has changed now and the 'views on news' segment precedes it). Mr. Junaid often talks about controversial issues and his bias is clear for all to see. He rarely presents the 'other' side of the case and goes on and on regarding a certain aspect. He has a vivid pro-rite wing, anti-liberal, antifeminist bias. He recently badmouthed senior journalist, Najam Sethi in the show. 

3. Najia's ignorance
Najia beg's only job in the show is to laugh. Of the 35-38 minutes of the program, she spends around 25 minutes in laughing. She also opines on some issues at times and her lack of General knowledge or that of Social norms is clearly exposed.

4. Funny videos
A recent addition to the format of Hasbe Haal has been that of funny videos. Playing a funny video on national media is not savvy. The can do it like the 'Moment of Zen' is done on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as playing a viral video on loop is not really funny.

5. Over-emphasis on traditionalism
Yes, we get it that our younger gen is facing moral decadence, that we need to respect our elders and give them ample time, or that taking unnecessary risks is not cool but can you please stop sounding less like Talqin shah and more like Junaid Salim and Azizi. If joint family system was that good, why are you people living as 'nuclear families'(defend as having only 1 bread-owner) yourselves.

6. Lack of Interviews
There are no external interviews on the show(they did interview Ch Shujaat once and Shehbaz Sharif once). Instead of parodying, why not interview the “real” Firdaus Ashiq Awan.?

7. No competition
Hasbe Haal started as a groundbreaking program which provided a nice mixture of humor, knowledge and critical analysis. Since its inception, it has gathered high ratings and managed to push many shows in its time slot, off the air waves. This lack of competition has meant lesser efforts on part of the Hasbe Haal management to improve the show. Even then, it’s the most watchable show on network television. Remember the golden saying, excess of everything is bad.

8. The 'intellectual' debate.
J.s thinks he is an intellectual. Azizi insists n him being one. This debate has been repeated ad nauseam. By definition, an intellectual is someone who uses critical or analytical reasoning in a personal or professional capacity. This means both Junaid Saleem and Azizi should stop scoring points and admit graciously that they are not intellectuals.

9. The absence of literature segment
Aftab Iqbal, the previous host of Hasbe Haal (the son of a widely acclaimed and prolific poet of Urdu) used to have a segment to discus common mistakes made in Urdu language. This was probably the only occasion in history of television in Pakistan that people got to know what linguistic mistakes they were making in daily lives. Since his departure, that segment has been scrapped.

10. Depiction of third gender.
Stereotyping is a pre-requisite for comedians and the same is done by Azizi in different segments of the show. The group subjected to the harshest stereotype is the mixed gender people. 

Imran Khan's biography

Imran Khan's Biography written by Christopher Sandford can be viewed and downloaded from here now.
This one is much more interesting than Imran Khan's recently released book because
1) It is written by a professional writer.
2) This not only include IK's narrative but also the narrative of other sources.
3) This book is devoid of the ideological propaganda contained in IK's own book.
Read and Enjoy.

Chapter 1:- Only a Game
Chapter 2:- Of Hospitality and Revenge
Chapter 3:- The Swinger
Chapter 4:- War without the nukes
Chapter 5:- The downhill struggle

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Excerpts from the next article: Murder of History

Murder of History 

I have written in for Posterity. In a hundred years’ time when the future historian sets out to contemplate the Pakistan of an age gone by and look for the causes that brought it low, he might find in this book of mine one small candle whose quivering flame will light his path.
K.K.Aziz, in Preface to his book ‘The Murder of History’

In the last 64 years, a lot of wrong Information has been passed on as “facts” by our textbooks and Media. In this article, I have mentioned some of the most popular myths about Pakistan History and tried to debunk them using authentic sources. I should admit that this is a beginner’s effort, I don’t claim to possess absolute knowledge nor do I claim that whatever I have mentioned is absolutely true. My basic aim is to provide an alternate discourse on the below-mentioned issues.

1. The 1857 War of Independence was in fact a mutiny

2. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the Pioneer of two nation theory.

3.Mohammad Ali Jinah was never arrestd in his life.

4. Allama Iqbal was the first person to present an idea of an Independent Muslim state.

5. The establishment of Pakistan as envisaged by 1940 resolution was favored by all the muslim leaders.                                                   

6. Pakistan was made in the name of Islam.

7. Mujahidin had gone to conquer Kashmir in 1948.

8. The wars between India and Pakistan(1948, 1965, 1971,1999) were a Jihad.

10. Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman and his Awami league wanted to break the country.

The Extra-vagant republic of Pakistan

'If Muslims got ten rupees, they would buy a pretty scarf and eat a biriani whereas Hindus would save the money.'
Mohammed Ali Jinnah (Reference: - Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic identity: the search for Saladin, Akbar S Ahmed, Page 8)
Global Economy has been in recession since 2008. Countries considered to b Economic giants have been forced to undertake austerity measure and budget cuts. People in Greece started venting their anger on their inept rulers by means of protests and sit-ins. It was followed by massive student protests and later rioting in the UK. Recently, jobless people have taken to the streets in New York, Boston,Los Angeles, San Diego to protest against the monetary policies of USA. In our beloved country, Pakistan-admist all this-nothing has changed. The same old faces keep playing musical chairs. Our president is the 2nd richest person in the country, the leader of largest opposition party (NS) is the 5th richest person in the country. Our country owes more than 60 billion dollars in external debt and the figures are increasing. Keeping aside the extravagance of our ruling class, we need to inspect what the rest of country is doing. According to a research, an average Pakistani consumer spends 42% of his income on food. We spend hundreds of thousands of rupees on social functions specially weddings(farooq tirmzi in his article wrote that an average paki wedding cost about 40 times that of average national income of Pakistan). We waste natural water without even thinking twice.
We love building palatial homes. We must possess the latest mobile. We will spend the same amount on 1 buffet meal that we pay our driver for a month.Later we will use any means possible to reduce weight but not restrict diet. We will not turn unnecessary lights off. We will use Air Conditioners not below 18 degree Celsius.The real problem though, is about priorities and not extravagance. Our priorities seem to be hedonism, personal glorification and show off while we don't give a damn about our civic responsibilities. We don't like to pay our taxes.According to a report published on 30th September 2011, Pakistanis pay the lowest tax in the world. We will buy generators and UPSes to ward off load shedding but won’t report electricity thefts. We would save money by avoiding private health care and visiting quacks for our health problems.
We will donate generously to terrorist organizations wearing cloak of jihadis and withdraw our money from banks on 1st of Ramadan.
These attitudes need to change. We can't live like this forever. We should ask what WE are giving this country, rather than what this country is giving us.  Governments in almost all third world countries are corrupt. The change has to be started by us. We can start by switching unnecessary electrical appliances off, by saving water, by avoiding food in Bulk, by spending on our Children’s education, by paying taxes, by arranging simple weddings. It might sound like a utopia but It is easy to do and will ensure a better future for ourselves and our future generations.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Decontructing Zaid Hamid part 5

Deconstructing Zaid hamid

Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change it.
Karl Marx

 Dr Eqbal Ahmed, in his article, Religion in Politics 
[Published Dawn, 31 January 1999] wrote, “All religious systems are made up of discourses which are, more often than not, dialectically linked to each other as in light and darkness, peace and war, evil and goodness. Hence, it is possible to detach and expropriate a part from the whole, divest it of its original context and purpose, and put it to political uses. Such an instrumentalist approach is nearly always absolutist, that is, it entails an absolute assertion of one, generally de-contextualized, aspect of religion and a total disregard of another. The phenomenon distorts religion, debases tradition, and twists the political process wherever it unfolds. The idea of Jihad is a case in point.

It is an Islamic precept with multiple meanings which include engagement in warfare, social service, humanitarian work, intellectual effort, or spiritual striving. The word is formed from an Arabic root jehd which denotes an intense effort to achieve a positive goal. Jihad entails then a striving to promote the good and overcome the bad, to bring light where there is darkness, prosperity where there is poverty, remedy where there is sickness, knowledge where there is ignorance, clarity where there is confusion. Thus mujahada (as also jihad) in early Islamic usage was an engagement with oneself for the achievement of moral and spiritual perfection. A mujtahid is a religious scholar who does ijtihad, i.e. strives to interpret religious texts in the light of new challenges and circumstances.
Without a hint of doubt, contemporary Muslim ideologues and militants have reduced the rich associations of jihad to the single meaning of engagement in warfare, entirely divested of its conditions and rules. Thus the war against a Marxist government in Afghanistan and its Soviet ally became the most famous jihad of the 20th century even though it was armed and financed by the United States, a non-Muslim superpower. Today, such activities as terrorism, sectarian strife, and the killings of innocent people are claimed as holy warfare. This reductionism is by no means unique to the Muslim world.”
Zaid Hamid is a media phenomenon popularized by his programs “Brass Tacks” and later “Iqbal ka Pakistan”. He has been frequently criticised in the mainstream media due to his espousal of conspiracy theories about global domination of Jews and their economic policies. Eight episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan have been analysed in last four episodes. Given below is the analysis of episodes 9 and 10 of Iqbal ka Pakistan.

Episode 9

Ali Azmat started the show by mentioning that people are accusing him of being an agent of new world order and a CIA Agent. He went on to state the agenda of the program.i.e to make  Pakistani(especially Muslim Pakistanis) realize that we are not living according to Iqbal's ideas and that we have been conditioned. He also said that Iqbal is a way of life. He later expressed his pleasure at getting commercials from Multinational Corporations.

Zaid hamid:I am fascinated that ALL of Pakistani youth is understanding Iqbal's ideology which can convert a man to a superman.

Comment:-  There is no standardized system in Pakistan which could indicate how much viewers watched a certain program(like Nielsen Ratings in the US). How can Zaid Hamid claim that All of Pakistan’s youth is not only watching but also understanding his program. Regarding this issue of Super-man, we have already discussed that this concept was presented by Nietzsche.

ZH:- According to Iqbal's philosophy of Khudi, politicians should stop begging (votes) to become parliamentarians, senators, governors.
Comment:- If politicians should stop begging people for votes, how will the system work.? This argument by Zaid Hamid is an indirect attack at Democratic system. Regarding Iqbal’s views on Democracy, I would like to quote Iqbal himself. He wrote, “For Islam the acceptance of social democracy in some suitable form and consistent with the legal principles of Islam, is not a revolution but a return to the original purity of Islam”.

ZH:- Britishers built roads in Punjab and ordered people to crawl and not walk.
Comment:- This is a blatant lie. No such incident can be found in recorded history that people were made to crawl across streets of Punjab. Incidentally, the majority of population in Punjab, when the British arrived, was of Sikh people. Even in the 1941 Census, Muslims made up around half of population of Punjab.

ZH:- We need to create and channelize Ghairat.
Comment:-  I would like to present the definition and explanation of Ghairat by a much better writer than myself. Nadeem F Paracha wrote, “‘Ghairat’ (pride or honour), is a term that is often heard and used in the Pakistani media these days. This is a term usually associated with TV news anchors, talk-show hosts, analysts and members of political parties who are verbose and smug, who get more space on TV news channels than votes.It is a term that reflects images and sounds related to the muscle-flexing, big-talking and huff-puffing ways of ultra-patriots, or in case of Pakistan’s electronic media – free-wheeling loud-mouthed charlatans playing the role of fiery dyed-in-wool patriots.”  For more explanation, visit here.

ZH:- The biggest problem of Pakistanis is that they are blaming themselves because of hype of western media.
Comment:-  Zaid Hamid thinks Introspection is our biggest problem. We should just stop pointing out the mistakes and deal with “external” threats. From the NFP article quoted in last point,  “This lets-be-positive-through-ghairat outlook is largely delusional. It leaves most of us navel-gazing or passionately contemplating about manufactured issues but conveniently ignoring what we as a society really ought to be doing – making sure that Pakistan is able to compete with the rest of the world on all the vital economic, political and cultural levels. Honourable sloganeering and going around pin-pointing ‘enemies’ and traitors, blasphemers and ‘agents’ will not achieve much”.

ZH:- Because we let Aimal Kaansi get arrested by Americans, we sold our ghairat.
Comment:-  Again the ghairat issue is being raised by Mr. Zaid Hamid. He is implying that we should let terrorists get away with murder, just to protect our National Pride.

ZH:- If we get united, they can’t do anything if we stop NATO supplies.
Comment:- Thankfully matters of the state are not run by people suffering from Delusional Grandeur like Zaid Hamid. In his opinion, we should stop NATO supplies so that there is no harm to Taliban alongside whom he has fought. He should read the newspapers sometimes. He probably does not know that 35 thousand innocent people of Pakistan have been killed by the SAME Taliban in last 7-8 years.  

ZH:- The system doesn’t let anybody enter itself unless they sell their dignity.
Comment:-  He is referring to the banking system here. As far as I know, no body puts a gun to your head to take a loan from a bank anywhere in the world. If you think it is against your grace, do not interact with them.

Episode 10

Ali azmat expressed his view that teachings of Iqbal should be made a part of our national Curriculum. I don’t think he has ever read a textbook of Urdu from Class 5 right up to Class 12. Even O and A levels students get to study Iqbal if they opt for Urdu as a subject. Which planet are you living on Ali.???
Zaid Hamid said that we want a national revival, to educate people that Iqbal is a powerful Force, without which Pakistan can't become a spiritual super power. He did not explain what a SPIRITUAL super power is. Who, by the way, is the incumbent spiritual super power.?

ZH:- Imam Khomeini was  exiled to France and he returned after 20 yr.s.
Comment:- Khomeini spent about 14 yr.s in Exile(1964-79). Initially, he went from Iran to Turkey, then Iraq and then France. Also, he was not the most popular leader of the opposition until 1977 when Dr Ali Shariati died. To answer If the Iranian model can b recreated in pakistan,read here.

ZH:- Western Civilization is dying and we have started Self Discovery.
Comment:-  We have discussed previously about Western Civilization. It can be argued that Western civilization is dying or not but where is the evidence that WE have started self discovery.? 

ZH:- We are being brought up in an absolutely controlled environment. Mass Media is doing Mind control.
Comment:-  These lines come straight out of the George Orwell novel, 1984, in which there is a Big Brother which controls every aspect of peoples’ lives. This is also an oft-repeated mantra of modern conspiracy theorists and is a classical symptom of Paranoid Schizophrenia.   

ZH: - Patriotism that confronts Islamic Ideology is a farce. In the next sentence, he denies that.
Comment: - In a rational discourse, you have to chose either one argument or its opposite argument. You can't have both as it leads to confusion. Zaid Hamid has ignored this principle time and again. He did it with the above mentioned point as well. According to the leading Islamic scholars of 20th century, Abu-al-Maududi and Syed Qutab, nationalism (basis of Patriotism) is contrary to teachings of Islam. Maududi wrote, 'Islam can't be contained by ideas of nationalism which is based on racial and historical traditions'. He also wrote 'If you want to remain Muslim, you should understand that unlike Judaism or Hinduism, Islam is not based on racial nationalism'. (Maududi, musalman aur maujuda siasi kashmakash; published in 1941; volume 3; pages 46 and 47)

ZH: - People respect Pakistan because we are a nuclear power. We should be proud that now Islamic civilization has nuclear capability. The whole Muslim world is looking at us now.
Comment: - Zaid Hamid should have used the word 'fear' instead of 'respect' because that is closer to reality. 'Western Powers' are fearful of our nukes getting in the 'wrong' hands. Indeed the whole Muslim world rather the whole world is looking towards us, but with suspicion. We are top exporter of terrorism to the world. The assertion that other 'civilizations' have got nuclear bombs and we have not was the brainchild of Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He wrote in his book, 'we know that Israel and South Africa have full nuclear capability. The Christian, Jewish and Hindu civilizations have this capability. The Communist powers also possess it. Only the Islamic civilization was without it, but that position was about to change. (Bhutto, If I am Assassinated, Classic, Lahore, 1979, pages 137 and 138)

ZH: - Balochis are aligned with Israel to disintegrate Pakistan because they claim that Balochistan as it is now was never part of areas in Pakistan. Baloch Insurgency is due to 1% people in Balochistan.
Comment: - Zaid Hamid does not know the first thing about Balochistan. He probably does not know that Army operations have been going on in Balochistan since April 1948(1st operation started on 1st April 1948, 2nd was conducted in 1958, 3rd in 1963, 4th in 1972-3, 5th in Musharraf era). With this kind of history, which sane person would remain safely ensconced in his house and not defend his territory. He also does not seem to know that the claims of Baloch people are right. Due to this ignorance, he laid all the blame on his favorite enemies, Zionists.

ZH: - Islamic terms like Taqwa cannot be translated in English because it is a weak language.
Comment: - Linguists all across the world agree that NO language is made for translation. Every single word in a given language has its distinct sociological background and that word loses its flavor when it is translated to another language. Islamic (Arabic) terms are no exception. Also, you just can’t label a language as weak because you seem to loathe the people who speak it and the language which you yourself speak with relish.!! Also, we can’t translate “BALUNGRA” in english..

(an abridged version of this article was published today at

Decoding Two Nation Theory

Two nation theory is said to be the building block of Pakistan. The architects of Two nation theory are said to be Sir Syed, Allama Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah etc. I recently read a book which is a scholarly work tracing the root of the theory and the misconceptions about its origins. Very few books in Urdu are research-oriented, scholarly works but this one defies the stereotype. The name of the book is, Dau Qaumi Nazriya, aik tareekhi jaiza(Translation: Two Nation theory, a historical perspective).
I am providing links from where the book can be read and downloaded and please remember that this is for educational purposes only.
Part 1 about Sir Syed (available for download only)
Part 2 about Iqbal
Part 3 about Quaid i Azam
Part 4 about the REAL creators and promoters of the theory.
Instructions for Download
1.Click on the links given above
2. When the Google Docs page opens, there is an option "Download Original" on the top right. Click that and document will be downloaded in PDF format.