Sunday, March 31, 2013


Dear Faqir Muhammad,

In reply to your latest MUSHAHIDAT and communication, I have to say this:

You have provided me an additional proof for my categorizations as “TAHREEF” of how the maters are being interpreted. I will refer you to four documents, initiated by the Imam of the time, viz:

  • Address to the participants of International conference Amman (see URL

  • Confidential Aide-Memoir given to the researchers/IIS - I am sure you also have a copy-from which you have quoted in your recent letter to the local council.
  • TALIMAT series publication prepared by IIS and finally
  • Preamble to the Constitution.

The notion of “private prayer and personal search” as mentioned  by the Imam is surely in conflict with the form of “Ibadaat” you advocate through the type of “PUBLIC JASHAN” that you had planned to hold in Baltit Didargah. I, in fact, categorize your attempt in the light of conspiracies to disturb the harmony in Hunza instead. Please read my views on the post on my blog (Hunza Development Forum)

I am sure that in the light of your motivations you will not buy this notion of mine but even then I do not feel any hesitation in appealing to your group to put an end to the disruptive activities that you are presently engaged - in the name of humanity, peace and tranquility of Hunza. Please recall the behavior of our prophet towards people of TAIF who were averse to his call.
If at all you want to propagate your ideas - towards implementation of the AGENDA assigned by the sponsors, Izhar has given you a more practicable and less disruptive recommendations, i.e. start a “Blog” it will reach a greater number of eyes and ears.


Case of ISAR ALI PANJWANI: Borne 9th October 1999; Appointed Life Governor of DKH 11th Nov 1999 [age only 30-days old] 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
6:45 AM

International Designs in GB

This post will provide the context for sophisticated methods used by the world powers and also the background to the origins of so called "Nationalistic Movements" as well as the very recent incident in Karimabad Hunza. I hope the intellectuals of the region do read my views to increase the awareness of different forces involved in the 21st century "GREAT GAMEPART-II", RUSSIANS (to have an idea of the players in our part of the world read page 89 of the book 'OBAMA'S WARS The Inside story' by Bob Woodward) and help prepare a determination within the population - specially young impressionable minds not fully aware of the history - to resist the nefarious long term intentions.(Please read these linked posts also :
EURESOLUTIONS , GAWADAR NEWVIDEO  , SEMINAR EUVIDEO  IDSA COMMENTS , UNPOUN WEBCASTSPEECH). we need to comprehend the designs and safeguard ourselves - in simple words avoid being manipulated by parties based outside the region (Increased Interest by various Political Parties of Pakistan are not without any reason:)

Hunza has been compared to a heaven on earth by many visitors and the legendary "SHANGRI-LA" image created in James Hilton's 1933 novel Lost Horizonis popularly believed to be inspired by the harmony existing in this society. In recent years, however this legendary corner of the world is being subjected to disharmony by a number of hidden hands through alien political platforms and strange cults. see FAQIR also click to download and listen OBAMA

Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 01:44 GMT 02:44 UK
Pakistan's Northern Areas dilemma
(Caption of the picture -not posted): Resentment is growing over the local population's lack of political status
By Victoria Schofield
For over 50 years, the Northern Areas in Pakistani-administered Kashmir have been administered by Pakistan although they are not legally part of it. (compare this statement to the instruments of accession rendered by Mir of Hunza, Mir of Nagar, Governors of Yasin, Punial and Koh-i-Ghizr in 1948 and also the meetings with Liaqat Ali Khan in Karachi - Read the book by William Brown also posted on this blog - Hisam)
This curious position arises from what the Pakistani Government calls its unresolved dispute with India over the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
(caption of another picture):The region is strategically very important
When a ceasefire was agreed between the two warring countries in 1949, Pakistan retained control of one-third of the state, India two-thirds.
Of the area administered by Pakistan, a small strip of territory established its separate administration and became known as Azad (Free) Jammu and Kashmir.
The larger area to the north, through which the river Indus runs, was taken under the direct administration of the government of Pakistan.
Click here to see a map of the region
It borders Pakistan's North-West Frontier to the west, Afghanistan and China to the north, Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the east, leading to the frozen wastes of the Siachen glacier.
The Northern Areas are, therefore, as strategically important to Pakistan as they were to the British in the days of empire.
No status
The issue of its status appears even more anomalous because, at the time of independence, the princes whose separate principalities comprised the area, had indicated their willingness to join Pakistan.
That their accession has never been accepted has been a great disappointment to the majority of the approximately one million inhabitants, who are 100% Muslims (Sunnis, Shias and Ismailis).
Many of the boys who died in Kargil were from the Northern Light Infantry which is based in Skardu.
Local journalist
Unlike Pakistan's other four provinces, the Northern Areas therefore have no political representation and no status under Pakistan's constitution.
Instead their affairs are subject to the control of a non-elected minister for northern areas who is selected by the federal government.
From Pakistan's point of view, the accession of the Northern Areas could not be accepted lest India interpret the action as validation of the status quo.
The fear is that Delhi could see this as an indication that Pakistan was prepared to accept the ceasefire line as an international border and that the UN resolutions, requiring a plebiscite to be held throughout the state, were no longer relevant.
Mass movement (Note the term used and also the ground reality! - Hisam)
Even so resentment among the local people remains.
Relations were also strained when, following the construction of the Karakoram Highway in 1978, Pakistan set up a customs post at Sost - just south of the Khunjerab pass leading from China.
The local inhabitants fiercely resisted any attempt at taxation and adopted the slogan "no taxation without representation".
Mirroring the movement for independence which began in Indian-administered Kashmir in the late 1980s, a movement for independence in the Northern Areas has now been gaining adherents.
Many of those who fought in Kargil were from the area
It is currently divided between those who are demanding independence of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir and those who are calling for the independence of Balawaristan (from the old name by which the Northern Areas were once known, Boloristan - Paloi for present day Baltistan).
This movement has been given renewed impetus among the youth following Pakistan's incursion into Kargil in 1999.(note the psychology behind these sentences.)
"You see many of the boys who died in Kargil were from the Northern Light Infantry which is based in Skardu," says a local journalist.
"They are upset that initially they were not owned by Pakistan. Instead the Pakistani Government tried to pass them off as mujahideen."
On the other hand, those who see the benefits of not paying taxes are less concerned about their lack of political rights than about the economic aid they are now being given to develop what is still a poor region.
Pakistan's leaders are unlikely to relinquish control
Recent initiatives by the Pakistani Government to encourage tourists to come and view an area which contains spectacular mountain peaks, almost equal in height to Mount Everest, are welcomed.
There is now some slight hope that if the Kashmir dispute is indeed resolved by India and Pakistan, it may pave the way for a resolution of the political status of the Northern Areas as well.
Those, however, who support the independence movement are bound to be disappointed.
Pakistan may have consistently supported the Kashmiris' right of self determination and continued to insist that the Northern Areas form part of the disputed territory, but, regardless of its lack of political representation, the government has always regarded the Northern Areas as ultimately part of Pakistan.
There is, therefore, no question of Pakistan ever agreeing to relinquish control of the area, either to form part of an independent state of Jammu or Kashmir or as an independent state in its own right.
Victoria Schofield is a Pakistan analyst and a writer on South Asian affairs
Source: BBC
Latest (with compliment to Ejazullah Beg and Pamir Times):

China's Discreet Hold on Pakistan's Northern Borderlands
By SELIG S. HARRISON Published: August 26, 2010

While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China. The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army. China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours. Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects. Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites. Until recently, the P.L.A. construction crews lived in temporary encampments and went home after completing their assignments. Now they are building big residential enclaves clearly designed for a long-term presence. What is happening in the region matters to Washington for two reasons. Coupled with its support for the Taliban, Islamabad’s collusion in facilitating China’s access to the Gulf makes clear that Pakistan is not a U.S. “ally.” Equally important, the nascent revolt in the Gilgit-Baltistan region is a reminder that Kashmiri demands for autonomy on both sides of the cease-fire line would have to be addressed in a settlement. Media attention has exposed the repression of the insurgency in the Indian-ruled Kashmir Valley. But if reporters could get into the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir, they would find widespread, brutally-suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy. When the British partitioned South Asia in 1947, the maharajah who ruled Kashmir, including Gilgit and Baltistan, acceded to India. This set off intermittent conflict that ended with Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, the establishment of Pakistan-sponsored Free Kashmir in western Kashmir, and Pakistan’s occupation of Gilgit and Baltistan, where Sunni jihadi groups allied with the Pakistan Army have systematically terrorized the local Shiite Muslims. Gilgit and Baltistan are in effect under military rule. Democratic activists there want a legislature and other institutions without restrictions like the ones imposed on Free Kashmir, where the elected legislature controls only 4 out of 56 subjects covered in the state constitution. The rest are under the jurisdiction of a “Kashmir Council” appointed by the president of Pakistan. India gives more power to the state government in Srinagar; elections there are widely regarded as fair, and open discussion of demands for autonomy is permitted. But the Pakistan-abetted insurgency in the Kashmir Valley has added to tensions between Indian occupation forces and an assertive population seeking greater of local autonomy. The United States is uniquely situated to play a moderating role in Kashmir, given its growing economic and military ties with India and Pakistan’s aid dependence on Washington. Such a role should be limited to quiet diplomacy. Washington should press New Delhi to resume autonomy negotiations with Kashmiri separatists. Success would put pressure on Islamabad for comparable concessions in Free Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In Pakistan, Washington should focus on getting Islamabad to stop aiding the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley and to give New Delhi a formal commitment that it will not annex Gilgit and Baltistan. Precisely because the Gilgit-Baltistan region is so important to China, the United States, India and Pakistan should work together to make sure that it is not overwhelmed, like Tibet, by the Chinese behemoth.

Selig S. Harrison is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a former South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post.
Please also see my year 2005 Analysis as contained in the posts dated 02 March 2010 and 06 Apr 2010:
Analysis of sectarian conflict in GB
Post Election Perusal with Government of GB

It is also interesting to see my year 2005 analysis in the above posts and the context contained in following statements by Hillary Clinton in Apr 2009, we need to comprehend the designs and safeguard ourselves - in simple words avoid being manipulated by parties based outside the region (Increased Interest by various Political Parties of Pakistan are not without any reason:)

US created Taliban and abandoned Pakistan: Clinton
By Anwar Iqbal Saturday, 25 Apr, 2009

…. But the problems we face now to some extent we have to take responsibility for, having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan,’ she said.
‘Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union.’
‘They invaded Afghanistan… and we did not want to see them control Central Asia and we went to work… and it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea… let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen.’
‘And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.’
‘And guess what … they (Soviets) retreated … they lost billions of dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.’

Press Release

"Pakistan has no Locus Standi in Gilgit Baltistan"06.15.10, 10:00 AM EDT

GENEVA, June 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A conference on "Ground Reality in Gilgit-Baltistan" was held in the United Nations Geneva Room No. XXVII during the 14th Human Rights Council to address the issues and concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a region of Jammu & Kashmir under Pakistani occupation. At the end of the conference, MEP Ryszard Czarnecki and Senge Hasnan Sering of Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress called the press to issue a joint statement.
The MEP informed the audience about the partnership which has developed between the advocacy groups of Gilgit-Baltistan and the representatives of the EUP. He said that the partnership has helped promote the cause of self determination of Gilgit-Baltistan and highlighted the plight of the people. MEP expressed his concern that Gilgit-Baltistan is situated in a politically sensitive region and surrounded by three nuclear powers namely India, Pakistan and China. Moreover, if the genuine demands of the natives of this region are not respected then it can cause further instability. He said, ''India and Pakistan must work together on the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan and constitute a working group involving the representatives of the governments of both countries as well as those from the civil society of Gilgit-Baltistan." MEP also expressed his concern for Pakistan's unilateral decision to use the land and resources of Gilgit-Baltistan to construct mega dams, which inundates local dwellings, farmland, pastures and also impacts the wildlife habitats.
MEP expressed his disappointment with the government of Pakistan, after being refused the permission to visit Gilgit-Baltistan, which could have allowed him to learn about the ground realities. He showed his desire to meet the members of the civil society and human rights defenders of Gilgit-Baltistan after receiving the opportunity to travel to Gilgit-Baltistan. MEP said, ''The issue of Gilgit-Baltistan will be raised in the European Union Parliament, and the members will be informed about Pakistan's apathy towards the rights and concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.''
Mr. Senge Hasnan Sering, who is in Geneva to attend the fourteenth UNHRC Session, also spoke on the occasion to the media and members of advocacy groups, HR defenders and political action committees. He said, ''Pakistan's presence in Gilgit-Baltistan is illegal and the unilateral decision to impose herself on the land and people of Gilgit-Baltistan is a clear violation of the resolutions of the UNCIP on Jammu & Kashmir. If Pakistan continues to occupy the region, the unstable political conditions may ensue in a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. It is in the best interest of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as the international community to persuade Pakistan to withdraw its forces and civil administration from the region."
Senge Sering objected to the fact that Pakistani citizens continue to arrive in Gilgit-Baltistan and acquire assets, mining leases and claim citizenship to the area. The situation is leading to change in local religious, ethnic and cultural demography and enabling the Pakistani citizens to claim their stake in region's political matters. Senge Sering said that his party Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress will also raise this issue with the members of the American Congress. He also expressed his concern over the plight of the people of Hunza and Gojal, who have suffered due to the landslides, glacial outbursts and inundation of their villages in the last few months. He condemned Pakistani government for not reaching out to the local people to solve their issues. He said, 'Pakistan is only interested in exploiting the natural resources, which lawfully belong to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The locals are denied the right to own and earn income from the use of natural resources since Islamabad makes decisions on their behalf.' In the end, both MEP and Senge Sering appealed to the representatives of the advocacy groups to support the cause of Gilgit-Baltistan and help others learn about this region.
SOURCE The Office of Ryszard Czarnecki - a Member of the European Parliament

An Analysis of Sectarian Conflict in GB and Possible Solution


The theology of murder

Ever since the tragic sectarian conflicts in 1988, civil society in GB and even the government in the region have seen an ever-increasing fragmentation. Killing, counter killings and confrontation with the government has resulted into a situation of anarchy, especially in Gilgit town. Government, sensitive individuals and groups have tried in the past to overcome this situation but with limited or no success. One such group with the proposed name "Karakuram Peace Forum" held a well attended conference on May 8, 2005 at Gilgit, the organizing committee headed by Mr. Nazir Sabir (SI), a famed mountaineer from Hunza with a number of credentials achieved by him, had contacted and requested me to accept the position of convener for their forum.

I had shared my analysis of the situation and views and how deeply felt wounds can be healed and requested the committee to share their analysis before I can decide to participate in this effort. This analysis is reproduced towards diagnosis of the issue.

My analysis of the situation and proposal for bringing about a balance in the society has been as under:

Perspective: The revolution in Iran by Imam Khumeini advocated the concept of "Walayat-e-Faqih" (SHEIKH , NASRULLAH) and issued the religious edict for a world wide armed struggle for establishment of the same. Shia Isna-ashris in Pakistan also heeded to this call and started arming themselves. The world powers, specially USA in view of its global policy such as anti soviet stance in Afghanistan and its dislike for Irani revolution, responded by prompting (Mrs Clinton StatementCLINTON VIDEO Sunni Muslim states such as (CLICK) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (REASON, THREATRAFIDA ) to encourage formation of Jehadi groups (at present stage TALIBAN) with full participation of Pakistan. In Gilgit the blood bath of 1988 occurred for which Shia's consider the government of the time to be a responsible party in furthering American stand.

Impact of Recent Global Economical Scenario: Chinese emergence towards economical giant status, has alarmed Europe, USA, India, Russia and the middle East. The KKH and Gawadar port development (LINK) will prove a sizable conduit of trade for CIS and China. This factor has also prompted powers outside Pakistan including Iran and Gulf countries to destabilize this possible trade route for their own economical interests.
Over the years, two of the intellectual movements (SALAFI - sponsored by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Wilayat al-Faqih - sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran) have evolved into increasingly violent confrontation - almost as a war between two movements – very much ENGINEERED by the world powers within their scheme of running the globe (Watch this VIDEO). 

Solution: Now it is imperative for every citizen in the GB to keep National and regional interests to be supreme to group /sectarian feelings. This would be possible only if we manage to heal the past wounds and recreate a pluralistic society in the region. For this to happen we need to work on the model of "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" concept adopted by South Africa to balance its fragmented society. This concept of course should be acceptable to Sunnis and Shias alike as the Quranic teaching extols the virtue of forgiveness over revenge (Sura 42 Ayah 40).

Copy of my communication to US administration: 
Dear Sir,
These comments are with reference to resolve in defusing ISIS:
West has done a thorough research and engineered the SALAFI movement towards the strategic goals, it is we Muslims who get carried away through ignorance about this manipulation.Better option to defuse ISIS: USA must apologize to the world and admit that it was a mistake to Engineer the movement of SALAFA as well as WALAYAT-UL-FAQIH as a strategy towards fueling sunni-shia war.

My Feelings:
Approaches and views shared with me by a number of Sunni and Shias of the region in the recent few months shows a desire on their part to trust intervention of individuals of proven integrity and honesty of purpose to bring about a rapprochement in the society. I have, however not been able to gauge the policy of the government to favour or disapprove such a course. However, I can only hope that government will also be willing to support such an idea. 

Ayah 40
Yusuf Ali The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation His reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong. 
Pickthall The guerdon of an ill deed is an ill the like thereof. But whosoever pardoneth and amendeth, his wage is the affair of Allah. Lo! He loveth not wrong doers. 
Transliteration Wa jaza_u say yi atin say yi atum mitsluha_ faman afa_ wa aslaha fa ajruhu_ alal la_h in nahu_ la_ yuhib buz za_limin 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DRIVING REGULATIONS - Still listed in the GB Driving Licence

(Tenth Schedule, M. V. Act, 1939)
1. The driver of a motor vehicle shall drive the vehicle as close to the left hand side of the road as may be expedient, and shall allow all traffic which in proceeding in the opposite direction to pass him on his right hand side.
2. Except as provided in regulation 3, the driver of a motor vehicle shall pass to the right of a traffic proceeding in the same direction as himself.
3. The driver of a motor vehicle may pass to the left of a vehicle the driver of which having indicated an intention to turn to the right has drawn to the centre of the road and may pass a tram-car or other vehicle running on fixed rails, whether traveling in the same direction as himself or otherwise, on either side provided that in no case shall he pass a tram-car at a time or in a manner likely to . cause danger or inconvenience to other users of the road or pass on the left hand side a tram-car which, when in motion would be travelling in the same direction as himself while the tram car is at rest for the purpose of setting down or taking up passengers.
4. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not a vehicle travelling in the same direction as himself:- (a) if his passing is likely to cause inconvenience or danger to other traffic proceeding in any direction, or (b) where a point or corner or a hill or an obstruction of any kind renders the road ahead not clearly visible.
5. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not, when being overtaken or being pass by another vehicle, increase speed or do anything in any way to prevent the other vehicle from passing him.
6. The driver of a motor vehicle shall, slow down when approaching a road intersection, a road junction or a road corner and shall not enter any such intersection or junction until he has become aware that he may do as without endangering the safety of person thereon.
7. The driver of a motor vehicle shall on entering a road intersection, if the road is entered is main road designated as such, given way to the vehicles proceeding along that road and in any other cast give way to all traffic approaching the intersection on his right hand.
8. The driver of motor vehicle shall, when passing or meeting a procession or a body of troops or police on the march or when passing workmen engaged on road repair, drive, at a speed not greater than fifteen miles an hour.
9. The driver of a motor vehicle shall (a) when turning to the left drive as close as may be to the left hand side of the road from which he is making the turn and of the road which he is entering. (b) when turning to the right draw as near as may be to the centre of the road along which he is travelling and cause the vehicle to move in such a manner that — (i) as far as may be practicable it passes beyond, and so as to leave on the driver’s right hand, a point formed by inter section of the centre line of the intersecting road and (ii) it arrives near as may be at the left hand side of the road which the driver is entering.
(Seventh Schedule, M. V. Act. 1939)
1. When about to turn to the right or drive to the right hand side of the road in order to pass another vehicle or for any other purpose, a driver shall extend his right arm in a horizontal position outside of and to the right of his vehicle with the palm of the hand turned to the front.
2. When about to turn to the left or to drive to the left hand side of the road, a driver shall extend his right arm and rotate it in an anticlockwise direction.
3. When about to slow down, a driver shall extend his right arm with the palm down ward and to the right of the vehicle and shall move the arm so extended up and down several times in such a manner that the ingal can be seen by the driver of any vehicle which may be behind him.
4. When about to stop, a driver shall raise his right forearm vertically outside of and to the right of the vehicle palm to the front.
5. When a driver wishes to indicate to the driver of a vehicle behind him that he desires that driver to overtake him he shall extend his right arm and hand horizontally outside of and to the right of the vehicle and shall swing the arm backwards and forwards in a semi circular motion.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

GB Indepedance Day Keynote Speech - 01 November 2012 Chinar Bagh Gilgit


  1. For a historical analysis of the question at the end of this speech I request the readers to go through page-19 to 29 of " Musalmanun ki Siasi Tarikh Hisa awal" by Zahid Chaudhry, published by "Idara-e-Mutalia-e-Tarikh" Lahore -in 2003.
  2. Please go through the accession document and try to find facts: In July Kashmir ruler invites the delegations, in Gilgit first meeting of the VCOS TAKES PLACE (find where) A document is signed under oath (find out who wrote that document) , then see the information addressees on the accession letter written to Quaid, try to reason in the light of background (1946 Golden Jubilee visit to Bombay- interview on return to Gilgit by the Political Agent - Col Bacon) you will know how it happened. You may read three of my blogposts viz WHO IS WHO IN GILGIT, and STATUS OF GB Part-I and PART-2

page-44 of post on: saga of development of ismaili

  2. Dunya


ACADEMIES [Watch the video and corelate with the remarks in this speech]


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Excerpts from an Interview of H.H. The Aga Khan

“Iran could even contribute to the worldwide removal of nuclear energy for military use. That is what I told the Iranians several years ago: “Your history is that of an intellectual nation several thousand years old which has brought to Islam all the richness of its culture and its philosophical thought. Keep following the path that is truly your own and the world will thank you for it.” (Click this link to see and hear the BACKGROUND to this remark by the Imam of the time)
Also SEE a recent video on the topic of Nuclear facilities:  AHMADINEJAD


“In 1957, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan became the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims (a Shiite branch). In this position, he must take care of his flock’s spiritual life, as well as their economic health. This could be considered almost an impossible task, since there are Ismaili communities in many countries worldwide, from the Middle East and Africa, to Asia, Canada, the United States and Europe. But thanks to the immense fortune his family has built up over the centuries, the Aga Khan has been able to set up projects designed to enhance their lives wherever – or almost wherever – his fellow Ismailis live. For instance he was one of the pioneers in micro-credit operations, helping rural populations take advantage of the slim surplus from their farm production. In this historic document, the leader of the Ismaili Muslims reviews a half-century of philanthropy and shares his vision of Islam, and the relationship between religion and State.”
English Translation of Jean-Jacques Lafaye’s Interview in French
with His Highness the Aga Khan
“The Power of Wisdom”
“the Imamat is an institution whose two-fold mission is to guarantee quality of life and to interpret the faith. The religious leadership of the Ismaili Imam goes back to the origins of Shia Islam when the Prophet Muhammad appointed his son-in-law, Ali, to continue his teachings within the Muslim community”

Jean-Jacques Lafaye: Your Highness, as spiritual leader of Ismaili communities throughout the world, you exert unquestionable influence on the international scene. Nevertheless, you have no wish to be regarded as a political player…
Aga Khan: …or as a politician. From my point of view, even though religious groups and governments have to maintain relationships based on cooperation and mutual respect, religion and politics are two quite different things.
Lafaye: You are the embodiment of the Imamat. Your co-religionists see you as their “lord and master.” What form does your leadership take?
Aga Khan: In both Sunni and Shia Islam, the Imam is responsible for the quality of life of those who look to him for guidance and for overseeing the practice of the faith. There is no division as there is, for example, in the Christian interpretation, between the material and the spiritual. The Imam’s responsibility covers both domains. Hence, his first concern is for the security of his followers; his second is for their freedom to practice their religion; his third is for their quality of life, as I have just mentioned. I repeat, the Imamat is an institution whose two-fold mission is to guarantee quality of life and to interpret the faith.
The religious leadership of the Ismaili Imam goes back to the origins of Shia Islam when the Prophet Muhammad appointed his son-in-law, Ali, to continue his teachings within the Muslim community. The leadership is hereditary, handed down by Ali’s descendants, and the Ismailis are the only Shia Muslims to have a living Imam, namely myself. The other Shia – the Twelvers – revere a “hidden” Imam who will return on the Day of Judgment to take part in the final judgment. It is the presence of the living Imam that makes our Imamat unique. The Sunni are completely different in that they do not accept the idea of continuity of religious leadership by members of the Prophet’s family.
“I think that most conflicts arise out of essentially political problems. I emphasize, it is not about religious but political issues Religion is often no more than a pretext or, even more so, an instrument manipulated by political forces.”
Lafaye: So your community with its worldwide presence is unique within the context of Islam.
Aga Khan: It is indeed unique since it recognises only one Imam who exercises his authority over all Ismailis throughout the world. There are Ismaili communities in the Middle East, Africa, South-East Asia, Central Asia, Canada, the United States and Europe. This diversity is expressed through our cultural and linguistic traditions, and through the variations in the way we practice our religion, but all Ismailis are united by their recognition of a single Imam.
Lafaye: You advocate a humanistic Islam. How do you react to the violent outpourings of certain political and religious leaders in the Middle East and to acts of terror carried out in the name of your religion?
Aga Khan: I studied history – specifically at Harvard – and I feel very uneasy when I see religion being held responsible for all the human problems that no one knows how to solve. When people talk about a “clash of civilizations” my response is that what we are in fact dealing with is a “clash of ignorances.” I think that most conflicts arise out of essentially political problems. I emphasize, it is not about religious but political issues. Religion is often no more than a pretext or, even more so, an instrument manipulated by political forces. Thus, the problems in the Middle East or Kashmir are, in the strictest sense, political but with an added religious dimension. This tendency is not peculiar to the Muslim world. Christian countries have had the same experience. You only have to look at Northern Ireland.
Lafaye: In 2007, you celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of your accession as Imam of the Ismailis. Which have been your greatest successes during that period?
Aga Khan: The Cold War era presented me with my first major challenge. Part of the Ismaili community lived in the Soviet republics. As a result, its members had little or no contact with their Imam. At the time, as well as dealing with the burning international issues of the moment, we were considering what position we should adopt vis-à-vis Communist countries. It was an extremely complex situation. What was our organization’s role in a world where Communist dogma came face to face with capitalist dogma? Not to mention the internal tensions within each country. After ten or twenty years we managed to streamline all our activities and to make sure that the Imamat had at its disposal credible, specialized and competent international institutions capable of operating in many countries and providing effective help to Ismailis throughout the world.
“Microfinance relies on the honesty of the borrower because he or she is not asked for any guarantee…But as the accounts were checked and discussed in public each week, a kind of public morality came to light in a most remarkable way. Men repaid 98% of their debts, women 99%.”
Lafaye: You were among the first to introduce microfinance – a financial tool which has become the most effective solution in the development of poor regions. Where did that idea come from?
Aga Khan: In the early 1960s we became aware of a horrendous gulf – I use strong words because it was a particularly dramatic situation – separating rural and urban populations in the developing world. The rural populations were completely marginalized. Then we discovered that, in both the West and the developing world, all decisions regarding development support were taken by “urban” organizations. By that I mean that the decision-makers knew absolutely nothing about the reality of the lives of millions of men, women and children who were virtually invisible, lost in the midst of vast regions. National political systems took no interest in these populations, through lack of any effective census arrangements or electoral system. Before our very eyes, the vast majority of Ismailis living in Africa and Asia were being totally excluded from the development process. I have to say quite frankly that this was a terrible discovery. At the beginning of the 1960s, I completely overhauled our development support processes. I decided that our priority was to provide these rural populations in the developing world – isolated, ignored, with no local leadership or contact with the decision-makers in the big cities – with an effective form of aid.
Lafaye: What were your key initiatives?
Aga Khan: First of all, we needed to make improvements to agriculture itself, hence the Aga Khan Foundation’s Rural Support Programmes. Above all, the main thing was to guarantee access to food. It should be remembered that many of our communities were on the brink of famine, for example in the east of Tajikistan during the civil war in the early 1990s, but also in Syria and other countries. We helped consolidate agriculture in the affected areas. I won’t deny the fact that this was more easily done in the former colonies of western nations than in the Soviet Republics where our activities relating to the distribution or sale of the harvests were curbed by the state-sponsored collective farm system. And then we noticed an interesting phenomenon. In general, the farmers managed to produce a tiny surplus, be it daily, weekly or monthly. These surpluses were sold and the money made from their sale was spent in winter when there was no agricultural produce. What could be done to stabilize and multiply these minuscule savings?
In order to consolidate them, we came up with the idea of microfinance and set up village organizations whose accounts could be made public. Microfinance relies on the honesty of the borrower because he or she is not asked for any guarantee. But as the accounts were checked and discussed in public each week, a kind of public morality came to light in a most remarkable way. Men repaid 98% of their debts, women 99%. We established village associations and then created inter-village associations. These groups went to see the banks which in turn lent them money. This marked the beginning of a genuine financial support system, namely microfinance, which is now so well known. Since then, the program has continued to expand, so much so that we now have micro-insurance as a means of guaranteeing access to education and healthcare for members of large families. We have moved from the financial domain into that of social protection. We are developing the program in partnership with the Gates Foundation and are already trying it out in Tanzania and Pakistan.
“Before these two men [Presidents Obama and Sarkozy] came to power, it seemed to me that major international issues were suffering a kind of paralysis. Fortunately, things have changed. The two presidents belong to a younger generation. Both have shown great open-mindedness and I think they can be trusted.”
Lafaye: You have mentioned women are exemplary. And yet the position of women in Muslim countries is often cause for criticism in the West. What is your stance on this as Imam?
Aga Khan: We must briefly take a look back at history. In pre-Islamic Arabia, women were no more than chattels, sold at the market like cattle. When Islam was in its nascent stages, the followers of Islam decided that this situation was unjust. In Islam, men must respect women and women must respect men. Nevertheless, we are also concerned with avoiding any abuse of freedom that might cause women to be regarded as objects as they are perceived by certain schools of thought in the West. Islam firmly rejects the notion of woman as object. In future, even beyond the Muslim world, I believe it will be the abuse of freedom that fuels debate. Indeed, in many areas people defend the principle of freedom to a point where freedom tends to become depravity, permissiveness and disrespect. At that point, Islam says “no.” And that doesn’t only apply to the problem of the relationship between men and women. Take the economic crisis that is affecting us all. The root of the problem is that certain financial institutions have been allowed too much freedom, which they have abused in a way verging on the immoral.
Lafaye: Which personalities, past and present, do you see as providing moral benchmarks?
Aga Khan: I wouldn’t use the word “moral”, which is delicate. I would sooner say “humanistic.” Who are the men and women who have displayed admirable humanism? In the course of my life I have met all sorts of people. Political leaders, artists, philosophers. Among those who have made an impression on me I can happily include Pierre-Elliott Trudeau, Kofi Annan, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Jomo Kenyatta, who was the first President of Kenya, Derek Bok, who was President of Harvard for a record 20 years, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who was appointed a Messenger of Peace by the United Nations. All these men possessed or continue to possess one extraordinary quality – the ability to step away from their own value system and put themselves in the place of the people they are dealing with. They knew how to place themselves in another person’s shoes in order better to understand and help that person. It is an ability that I deeply admire, an irreplaceable talent that is unfortunately all too rare.
Lafaye: People like to compare and contrast Presidents Sarkozy and Obama. What do you think of them?
Aga Khan: Before these two men came to power, it seemed to me that major international issues were suffering a kind of paralysis. Fortunately, things have changed. The two presidents belong to a younger generation. Each certainly possesses a young man’s determination and sufficient confidence in his energy, education and intellectual capabilities to be able to say “I am going to take a fresh look at this issue.” Both have shown great open-mindedness and I think they can be trusted. It would be unrealistic to say that they are going to solve every problem. But in my view their rejection of taboos and all forms of inflexibility is very important. And in Russia, too, younger leaders are in charge. There exists throughout the world a desire for change after years that have seen a marked unwillingness to give ground, particularly over the disaster of the war in Iraq, which was horrendous. These young leaders have to begin by repairing the damage done before they take office.
“I had great respect for the man [President Zia]. He was deeply religious and honourable, but he was no theologian. By attempting to make Pakistan more Islamic than it was, he failed to answer a crucial question – what kind of Islam did he intend?”

Lafaye: Can independent financial players like Bill Gates or George Soros counterbalance the weight of international institutions?
Aga Khan: The involvement of these super-rich businessmen in development issues is a wonderful thing. Firstly, it brings a new economic dimension to development aid, based not only on donations but also, and most crucially, on the creation of wealth. It also contributes know-how from the private sector which governments would be unable to provide. In developing countries, there is a huge gap to be filled in this area. Whether in relation to education, healthcare or finance there is no private-public partnership. Not long ago, the financial institutions in many countries were all in the public sector. That is not to say that these institutions were inefficient, but they could be manipulated by successive governments. As regards education, for example, remember the 1970s. At that time, certain governments, in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, tried to create an artificial national unity by encouraging the teaching of languages that no one outside the country could speak. This linguistic nationalism had regrettable consequences at international level. For example, a degree in medicine from Pakistan in Urdu was worthless outside Pakistan, which was absurd.
Lafaye: So let us talk about Pakistan. How do you regard this country whose political life is characterized by the alternation between military régimes and periods of what might be termed democracy and which has now become the crucible for the most radical Islamism?
Aga Khan: It is a country whose huge difficulties date back to its creation in 1947. As you know Kashmir, a part of which is located in Pakistan, remains in dispute to this day. Furthermore, the government in Islamabad has not managed to exert its authority over the north and north-west of the country. In a situation like this instability could be seen as structural. Pakistan’s second great problem dates back to an independence movement which created a nation based on the fact that a particular section of the population were Muslims. But in these regions the religion was itself pluralistic, which meant that from the outset the very thing that bound the nation together also sowed the seeds of division.
Paradoxically, these divisions were reinforced by the Zia ul-Haq’s* policy of Islamisation. I had great respect for the man. He was deeply religious and honourable, but he was no theologian. By attempting to make Pakistan more Islamic than it was, he failed to answer a crucial question – what kind of Islam did he intend? No one ever asked that question. So the Sunni went one way and the Shia another, and then the problem of Afghanistan arose in 1979. I had what I would term a “special” relationship with Zia ul-Haq. I have not forgotten that he helped us to establish our university – the Aga Khan University in Karachi. At our last meeting before he died in 1988, he admitted he had been wrong. He told me, “I think I made a mistake in trying to turn Pakistan into a more Muslim country, because it caused many more internal divisions than we expected.” He was a very honest man.
“In my view, the chief cause of the revolution in Iran originated in the regrettable mismanagement of the economy under the Shah’s régime. I regret to say that, of all the heads of state I have known, he was probably the one with the worst understanding of economic issues – or he was poorly advised.”

Lafaye: You have just mentioned the problem of Afghanistan. What effect did developments there have on Pakistan?
Aga Khan: After the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979, western leaders thought to themselves: “We won’t drive the Russians out through direct intervention, and it would be better to mobilise the Pakistanis.” In its turn, Pakistan called upon the most extremist elements. The result was that ultra-radical groups entered Afghanistan, which is not a nation state, but merely a place where different ethnic groups, tribes and religious ideas come together. These Islamists then swarmed across the entire region, including Pakistan. So Pakistan paid the price for having sided with the West in that endless war. In such a context the military rulers seemed to provide stability. But in Pakistan as in other countries of Asia and Africa, while having the army in power generally guaranteed independence and stability, considerable difficulties prevented the government to become a successful democracy.
Lafaye: While we are on the subject, what are your thoughts on the concept of “democracy for export” as proposed by former US President George W. Bush?
Aga Khan: I believe that George W. Bush’s stance on democracy was merely the result of his wish to justify the invasion of Iraq after the event. But moving beyond the case of Iraq, the important thing is to understand why, at this time and in so many countries, especially those in the developing world, democracy is so fragile. As I see it, one of the main explanations is that the situation arises out of the weakness of what I call “constitutionality.” Indeed, the vast majority of the countries that I know live with dysfunctional constitutions, drawn up at times of historical transition – following independence or regime overthrow – and based on injudicious compromises, frequently adopted to satisfy a tribe, a minority or a religious group. Nowadays, many governments are considering the possibility of redrafting their constitutions. Look at what is happening in the countries of the South and even in Eastern Europe. It’s remarkable.
Lafaye: Do you believe that, in Afghanistan, it will be possible to establish representative government and military institutions despite all the problems facing the country?
Aga Khan: In Afghanistan as in Iraq, despite years of trying it has not been possible to create a local army or police force effective enough to guarantee security. To achieve long-term stability in these countries, western forces would have to remain there for a very long time. Under current conditions, it is extremely difficult to create an effective Afghan national police force. Imagine I am a Shia Hazara and among the other recruits I come across a Pashtun whose father I know murdered my brother. The only solution is to let time do its work. That certainly does not mean that I am advocating a fatalistic view of the situation. I believe we have to pre-empt these political infernos and try to snuff them out them using political tools. The more results we achieve by purely political means, the more success we will have in separating purely apolitical, religious ideas from the politico-theological hotchpotch preached by extremist groups and movements. Today, the world is divided into theocracies and secular states. Sometimes people talk – quite rightly – about the three nations which are, each in its own way, theocratic, namely Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia. If they were to change, you would have a different world. If I dare say it, politics should be left to politicians, and God to God.

A folio from the Diwan of Hafiz, an unsurpassed masterpiece of Persian literature and Iran's contribution to cultural thought
Lafaye: Doesn’t the Israeli constitution, which does not allow the formation of clear, stable majorities, also impede the achievement of enduring peace between the Jewish state and its neighbours?
Aga Khan: I do not know the specifics of the Israeli constitution well enough. However, as I told you, it makes no doubt that the problem of dysfunctional constitutions is the most frequent source of political instability in a vast number of countries.
Lafaye: What should Israel do now to achieve lasting peace?
Aga Khan: I have never wanted to engage in this debate but I believe there is one fundamental requirement – a viable Palestinian state. Furthermore, I shall surprise you by saying that, as far as I am concerned, one of the conditions for peace is the acceptance of Israel by the Shia minority within the Muslim world. Iraq has a Shia majority, so does Bahrain, and there have always been large numbers of Shia in Lebanon. Let’s not forget that Bashar El-Assad is himself a Shia. This is an essential key, something that President Sarkozy understands very well. Agreement with Sunni countries** is fine, but it isn’t enough.

Lafaye: How do you analyse current developments in Iran?
Aga Khan: The direction in which Iran is moving is very worrying for the whole world, including other Shia nations. In my view, the chief cause of the revolution in Iran originated in the regrettable mismanagement of the economy under the Shah’s régime. I regret to say that, of all the heads of state I have known, he was probably the one with the worst understanding of economic issues – or he was poorly advised. This ineptitude led to growing numbers of pockets of resistance. Khomeini only had to arrive on the scene for the course of history to change radically. I am a Shia and when I heard his speeches I thought that no Shia on earth could remain unmoved by his preachings.
Lafaye: Which brings us to the nuclear issue, always so worrying. Should all nations be allowed access to nuclear power for civilian purposes?
Aga Khan: It seems to me that rules of non-proliferation are now applied to all nuclear technology for both civilian and military purposes. In fact, the conditions for the sale of civilian nuclear energy is like some kind of technological colonization, insofar that the most advanced nations make a point of holding on to all the “keys.”
From this point of view, we are a long way from the democratization of nuclear energy. Maybe I’m naïve but I advocate another approach, which I call “positive proliferation.” I am in favour of the widespread distribution of civilian nuclear power. Of course, careful thought must be given to the conditions under which positive proliferation would operate. How to avoid environmental problems. How to prevent the misappropriation of civilian nuclear power for military purposes. As you know, I have studied history and it has never been possible to halt any globally significant scientific advance. The positive proliferation that I would dearly love to see happen is based on a simple principle: yes to energy, no to arms.
Lafaye: How do you see Iran’s ambiguous attitude to this issue?
Aga Khan: Iran’s current policy in this respect is causing concern in the Sunni world. If Tehran managed to obtain nuclear weapons, certain states in the region could just as easily equip themselves with a bomb, probably with help from the West. The atmosphere is tense, even paranoid. Nevertheless, through the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is important to build up and maintain constructive collaboration with the Iranian authorities in dealing with this issue.
Iran could even contribute to the worldwide removal of nuclear energy for military use. That is what I told the Iranians several years ago: “Your history is that of an intellectual nation several thousand years old which has brought to Islam all the richness of its culture and its philosophical thought. Keep following the path that is truly your own and the world will thank you for it.”