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 Long March destination: USA

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Number of posts : 12
Age : 57
Registration date : 2008-06-11

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PostSubject: Long March destination: USA   Long March destination: USA Icon_minitimeFri Aug 08, 2008 8:36 am

Long march: destination USA
By Dr. Mohammad Taqi

The movement for the restoration of judiciary in Pakistan, at its peak appeared to be the most successful public agitation in the history of post-1971 Pakistan. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most colossal failure of recent times as well.
If one were to credit someone with the victories scored by lawyers since March 9, 2007, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan is the only person. Indeed, he has claimed this honour in an article published in the Newsweek of June 21, 2008. There would be few, if any, to argue against the fact that Ahsan has been the de facto and de jure leader of the 17-month-long struggle and its face both within and outside of Pakistan.
However, with this ownership also comes the responsibility for the failures and miscalculations that have intermittently marred the struggle and culminated in Ahsan snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the parade grounds of Islamabad.
Victory indeed has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan and hence Aitzaz Ahsan's proclamations that the decision to call off the long march was not his alone.
For many of us directly or indirectly involved with this struggle, the surrender speech did not come as a surprise. There had been clear signs in the weeks leading up to the long march that indicated the indecisiveness, inability or pure unwillingness of Ahsan to deliver the coup de grace.
In the American political parlance, Ahsan has always been a flip-flop; a vacillating leader, unsure of himself, letting the moment slip through his hands.
However, in case of the long march there is one thing for sure that Ahsan had packed his bags to arrive in the USA on June 25, 2008. His decision to embark upon this journey was known to his hosts in the USA, no later than June 1, 2008.
The million dollar question is as to what Ahsan knew, good ten days before the long march that to borrow words from a doctor friend made him plan a coffee break in the midst of resuscitating a dying patient.
Sure enough it was not a message from the Brigate Rosse of Umme Hassan, that he has subsequently blamed for planning to sabotage the long march.
If he had faith in his cause and comrades, the conventional wisdom would have been to plan for the success of the march and to take charge of the situation in the event the proverbial Bastille fell.
On the other hand prudence would dictate that the long march being the culmination of the lawyers' effort and probably the most potent weapon in their armamentarium, one should have planned for the contingencies in the event this cruise missile turned out to be a dud. By any stretch of imagination, a US trip does not belong on the emergency preparedness list of a failed long march.
One can only deduce that the lawyers' leadership was either presented with a carrot, a stick or both by the powers that be, long before the march took place.
The buildup to the march also indicates that whereas the participants were being primed for a long haul, no specifics were given about the mission and its objectives. A conspiracy of confusion was unleashed on the poor lawyers, who had given everything away thus far and were ready for a final showdown.
Vague terminology and symbolism was deployed by Ahsan and his cohorts, beginning with the word long march itself. The phrase was thrown around as casually as was done by Qazi Hussain Ahmad a while back. Words like "yalghar" (attack) and "parrao" (camp out) were used by the leadership to build the momentum. Army House was mentioned many times as the target of a potential sit-in, only to be changed and confused with the parliament.
No accurate assessments were made as to what would it entail to support the stay of a 100,000 strong entourage in Islamabad. Logistics and finances were completely ignored, as was the study of an event fairly similar in objectives i.e. the march led by Mufti Jafar Hussain.
Is it possible that these blunders of Himalayan proportions were acts of omission? If one were to give the benefit of doubt to Ahsan, the answer is yes. However, even in that case it reflects sheer incompetence, lack of will and a cavalier attitude on his part. Busing in a hundred thousand people from all over Pakistan only to be told to go home a few hours after arriving in Islamabad, is a cruel joke with the people in general and the legal fraternity in particular.
This takes us to the question as to what Ahsan is really up to by making two trips to the US in less than two months. After he met Senator Joe Biden on June 26, 2008, the Senator told a room packed with Pakistani doctors that Ahsan had asked him to cut the American aid to Pakistan. Maybe the Barrister said something to this effect, maybe he didn't but it begs a question as to what was he doing making rounds at the Capitol Hill.
He had been quoted in the Pakistani media that his June visit to the US was at the invitation of Allama Iqbal Medical College Alumni of North America but as it turned out he started meeting the US politicians at least one day before he attended any event involving the doctors.
As a disclaimer I must add that an organization, the American-Pakistani Physicians for Justice and Democracy, of which I am the president, also requested Ahsan to attend our annual seminar on justice and democracy, which he did on June 28, 2008.
Now Ahsan is back in the US, apparently to receive an award from the American Bar Association, on behalf of the Pakistani lawyers. There are also reports that he will be raising funds for an international conference on judiciary, to be held in Pakistan in October 2008.
It appears that having squandered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to effect change in Pakistan, Ahsan is now trying to regain through American blessings, what was lost on the parade grounds of Islamabad.
In his zeal to meet and greet the American think-tanks, media and politicians, Ahsan seems to have forgotten that the man, who had led a successful long march, was a nationalist first and foremost. Chairman Mao Zedong aptly said that the revolutionary struggle is a struggle of masses; it can only be waged by mobilising the masses and relying on them.
(The author practises and teaches medicine at the University of Florida and is the president of American-Pakistani Physicians for Justice and Democracy. He can be reached at
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Number of posts : 12
Age : 57
Registration date : 2008-06-11

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PostSubject: Re: Long March destination: USA   Long March destination: USA Icon_minitimeFri Aug 08, 2008 8:36 am

It is a tragedy, when people sitting abroad think they are the masters of the scenario taking place way back in the country they left for greener pastures.They rely of news from media which is sold, maimed and prostituted. And hence begins a chain reaction and build up of a personality which does not exist!
Obviously Dr Taqi, has not read the books Aitzaz has written, Divided by Democracy, Indus saga I and Indus Saga II,in which Aitzaz laments the creation of Pakistan propounds Nehru's Theory of Akhund Bharat. Had Dr Taqi read these books, he would have evaded him like a plague instead of wining & dining him.
Dr Taqi also seems blissfully unaware of the fact that Aitzaz used the PPP platform and exploited the Reinstatement of Judges Issue to kick start his own political party, a plan that failed to materialise when he was put in a sub jail. Chocolate boys who discuss politics with a scoth in the chill of their drawing rooms are hardly the stuff heroes are made of!This, was the reason for tension between him and Benazir at the time of her death.
I am surprised by Dr Taqi's naviete in asking the question of Aitzaz's ill timed trips to US. This question should have been raised when over 30 US Senators signed a petition for his release which was carried by nearly all newspapers in Pakistan, at the time he was in sub jail(Not even a jail)..
As far as Aitzaz's integrity is concerned,we all know the gems of wisdom he sowed as the Interior Minister.
No,Dr Taqi?
Yasmeen Ali
Writer/University Professor
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