Choose the best available option

The following article has been published in the Sunday Edition of Pakistan Today, dated 7th September 2014
(For online version: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/09/06/featured/choose-the-best-available-option/ )

(For Published Version, Page 6:   http://issuu.com/abidoon/docs/dna_issue_40/7?e=3820687/9210255 )

Choose the best available option

Learn from history

Prof Dp

 By: Omer Zaheer Meer

The author is a Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, qualified accountant and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer  or omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

It was a harsh winter, like winters in Russia are. The mighty advancing army was not only unaccustomed but also ill-equipped to deal with the extremities of climate. The officer in charge contacted his commander in chief detailing the ground realities and proposing a retreat and re-assault in summer. The response was a firm no with orders to march on, citing that their forces had never retreated, defeating all the global forces till then. Soon, the same army was buried in the graveyard of history along-with the commander in chief and his empire.

This is not a fictional story but the real account of the turning point in the history of Adolf Hitler led Nazi Germany. This is not the only example, rather history is filled with such disastrous actions repeated by otherwise brilliant leaders. Refusing to realise ground reality and not saving one’s strength in adversities to fight back later often led to obliteration, as has been the law of nature.

Timing is crucial in politics. But the ongoing fiasco in Islamabad has been a comedy of errors, where political blunders were committed and key opportunities missed. For example, the whole crisis started with the Model Town tragedy for which there was no need or logical basis. Everything was under the government’s control with operation Zarb-e-Azb in place. Though certain PML-N sections claim there was a conspiracy in “police fire” and some firing from the Minhaj secretariat, the decision to send police force to “teach a lesson” to protestors was solely PML-N’s.

When angry protestors who clogged the streets of London were calling for trial and hanging of Tony Blair due to his invasion of Iraq, the British government did not fire, use tear gas or arrest them.

Similarly, there were many missed opportunities. The government denied some logical and basic demands despite making commitments. When the protestors led by Imran Khan were attacked by a mob led by the brother of sitting MPA of PML-N in the constituency of Khurram Dastagir – a powerful MNA deemed close to the PM – there was more bad blood. When the protestors landed with less than expected numbers due to various reasons in extreme weather conditions, key government ministers started mocking instead of showing goodwill by providing food and shelter to co-citizens and Mian Nawaz Sharif taking a delegation to meet Imran Khan at that time. Though some food was sent later on, the moment was missed, and it was returned.

As if that was not enough, brutal police action was used on protestors including women and children. The government’s claim that since protestors had gas masks and sticks, they were akin to dangerous terrorist’ makes one wonder about the state of mind of those in charge. Also an argument was constantly repeated that no one is allowed to protest with cranes, sticks and gas masks anywhere in the world and that prior permission for protests is always taken in the civilised world. Unfortunately even our ‘learned’ electronic media anchors failed to correct this false narrative.

There had been several protests in the west including UK, USA and France where protestors took to streets without any prior permission. The black rights’ movement is a famous part of American history while riots in cities of France including Paris are not too old, and who can forget the infamous million march in the streets of London that choked and effectively closed down the city. None of the above countries used containers to block their own cities or used deadly force to kill the protestors despite even serious havoc in the case of French protests. Yes the protestors are not expected to and should not have sticks or cranes but if we analyse honestly, what are they supposed to do in the face of brutal assaults by the state machinery and road-blocks using containers?

When angry protestors who clogged the streets of London were calling for trial and hanging of Tony Blair due to his invasion of Iraq, the British government did not fire, use tear gas or arrest them. Nor did they use containers to siege entire areas and their own cities. They let the protestors steam off and it ended peacefully. On the other hand when the French authorities used police force to try to quell protests, though avoiding live bullets or cranes for blockades, the protests turned violent and spiraled out of control. This should be a lesson for the government, to let protestors exercise their democratic right of protest instead of using fascist measures that turn protests violent.

When key organisers fail to provide even basic arrangements and when office-bearers could hardly pull out a 100th of the pledged numbers despite widespread support, Imran needs to re-evaluate his options.

Another unfortunate fact is that political divisions in Pakistan have reached the point where it’s believed there are only two views, ones’ own view and the wrong view. This needs to change. Opinion makers, analysts, anchors, leaders and even the general public needs to have an open heart and a receptive brain enabling them to listen and neutrally analyse facts.

The fact of the matter is that PAT never had a widespread following or legitimacy but PTI does command both. Unfortunately despite Imran Khan’s resilience, determination and honesty it has pushed itself in a situation where there are no truly winning options. In such a situation when most of the party is disenfranchised and internal issues warrant serious attention, when key organisers fail to provide even basic arrangements and when office-bearers could hardly pull out a 100th of the pledged numbers despite widespread support, Imran needs to re-evaluate his options.

At the time of writing this we’ve reached a political stalemate, with some positive indications from Shah Mehmood Quraishi’s eloquent address in the joint session of parliament. In the situation detailed above, and with a few dozen elected MNA’s, if Imran can ensure legislation inducing reforms and closing the loopholes in the system, get the election commission reformed and re-constituted with well-reputed and competent officials, and get an independent Supreme Court tribunal to investigate alleged rigging in 2013 elections, it’ll be a very good situation to be in for PTI under the circumstances and the only possible way out of the political impasse Pakistan finds itself in.

What PTI has achieved is unprecedented in Pakistan as thousands of people have braved extreme weather and continue to sit in for three weeks, sacrificing their jobs, family lives and personal comforts for the sake of a merit based system in Pakistan. Let’s hope all this was not for nothing.

Hero of Islamic World Dr. A Q Khan’s Felicitation message for Millat Thinkers’ Forum

Below is the felicitation message sent by Honorable Dr. A.Q. Khan, Hero of the Islamic World & Father of Pakistan’s Atomic Program on the auspicious occasion of the inauguration of the first indigenous, independent and international standard think-tank of Pakistan and Millat-e-Islamiya,

“Millat Thinkers’ Forum”

                               18th July 2014

Mr. Omer Zaheer Meer,                                                                                                              

Director,

Millat Thinkers’ Forum.

 

My dear Meer Sb,    Assalamo Alaikum,

I would like to congratulate you wholeheartedly on the formal inauguration of the Millat Thinkers’ Forum. It was the need of the hour that a forum be established where top professionals, successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, scholars, academics, media personalities, parliamentarians, lawyers, social workers, etc. can have discussions and brainstorm on matters of national importance and inform the public and the rulers of possible recommended solutions.

Most Western countries have such Think Tanks, which play an important role in advising the government on important matters. I hope that the Millat Thinkers’ Forum will be able to play the same positive role in Pakistan.

With my best wishes for the success of your highly commendable and nationally important initiative, I congratulate you once again on this auspicious occasion.

With profound regards.

 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. A.Q. Khan

NI & Bar, HI

Express Tribune’s Report on: Millat Thinkers’ Forum’s Inaugural Session

Thy brother’s welfare: Forum formed to counter ‘anti-Islam’

forces

Published: July 20, 2014

A number of lawyers and several Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders attended the launch of Millat Thinkers’ Forum on Friday. DESIGN: SAMRA AAMIR

LAHORE: The Millat brand launched an ‘independent’ think tank Millat Thinkers’ Forum on Friday, four years after it had launched Millatfacebook to provide an alternative to social networking service Facebook.

Millatfacebook was launched in 2010 after Lahore High Court had ordered closure of Facebook in Pakistan on account of alleged blasphemy.

Its sponsors call Millatfacebook “the sole rival of” Facebook.

Although Millatfacebook has not attracted a comparable number of users, its administration has received endorsement from some religious leaders who called the use of Facebook “un-Islamic”.

A number of lawyers and several Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders attended the launch of Millat Thinkers’ Forum on Friday.

The participants were handed a document carrying an introduction of the forum. The document highlights the importance of funding think-tanks and exempting them from tax.

It said think tanks were classified on the basis of their ideological perspective, sources of funding and prospective beneficiaries. Apart from governments the corporate sector funds think thanks in developed countries, it said.

It said most think tanks in Pakistan were limited by their patrons’ interests. Advocate Mian Khalid Habib Elahi, Advocate Zaheer Ahmad Meer, Omar Meer and Wajihur Rehman are some of the sponsors of the new forum.

In his presentation on ISIS: Implications for Pakistan and the Way Forward, Omar Meer said the US and Israel had formed the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

He said ISIS head Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi alias Dr Ibrahim had been captured by American security agencies and released later to set up the “anti-Islam” organisation. “If the organisation comes to Pakistan, there would be serious implications for the country.”

Meer said Millat Thinkers’ Forum would meet every month, identify problems facing Muslims and give its recommendations. He said minutes of the meetings would be uploaded on Millatfacebook.

Millat Thinkers’ Forum patron-in-chief Zaheer Ahmed Meer regretted that research was not given due importance in Pakistan.

“Through this think tank, we are trying to highlight several issues, including un-Islamic banking and respect for women.”

Co-patron Khalid Habib said the formation of Millat Thinkers’ Forum was timely.

PTI leader Asad Umar said there was room for improvement in every sphere of life. He said if the Millat Thinkers’ Forum could change people’s way of thinking, it would be a great success.

Advocate Ahmed Awais said discussions behind closed doors were not enough. “For so long, we have failed to identify our enemy. The forum should play its role in this regard,” he said.

Mehnaz Rafi said opportunists in important places had had landed the country in all sorts of problems for their personal gains. “We need the Pakistan the Quaid-i-Azam aspired.”

PTI leader Hamid Khan said one reason for lack of research in Pakistan was people’s lack of interest in reading. He said another problem was that policies were being run on an adhoc basis. He said no political party had a permanent think thank to debate major issues facing the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Note of Thank & Corrections:

We at Millat Thinkers’ Forum would like to thank ET for the coverage and point out two factual inaccuracies for the correction of record as below:

1. The eminent dignitaries and members of Millat Thinkers’ Forum (MTF) included high-profile people from all walks of life including Top Defense Officials, Bureaucrats, Journalists, Top Professionals, Presidents of Professional Bodies including Bars, Social Workers, Educationists, Doctors, Businessmen, Politicians, e.t.c. Some of the honorable personalities to grace MTF’s inaugural session included:

  1. Mr. Asad Umar (Renowned Economist, Businessman & MNA),
  2. Gen (R) Ziauddin Butt (ex DG ISI & COAS),
  3. Mr. Absar Abdul Ali (Director, Hameed Nizami Press Institute),
  4. Sardar Asif Ahmad Ali (ex Foreign Minister, Pakistan),
  5. Justice (R) Sharif Hussain Bukhari,
  6. Mr Hamid Khan (ex Chairman & Vice Chairman of Pak BC, ex V.Chairman of Pun BC, ex President SCBAP. ex President LHCBA),
  7. Mr. Arif Masud Mirza (President ACCA (UK) – Pakistan),
  8. Mr. Arif Nizami (Renowned Anchor, Columnist & Editor Pakistan Today),
  9. Mr. Khurram Khosa (Advocate SCP & President PPP Lawyers’ Forum),
  10. Dr. Farzana Nazir (Doctor & MPA),
  11. Dr. Nousheen Hamid Miraj (Doctor & MPA),
  12. Mr. Mansoor Ur Rehman Afridi (Advocate SC & ex holder of several senior bar positions),
  13. Mrs. Mehnaz Rafih (Renowned Social worker, Intellectual & Political activist),
  14. Mrs. Ayesha Qazi (President Lahore Tax Bar Association),
  15. Mr. Hamid Zaman (Leading Industrialist),
  16. Sardar Arif Rasheed (ex Minister Irrigation, Agriculture, Forest & Fisheries),
  17. Mr. Walid Iqbal (Grandson of Allama Iqbal),
  18. Mr. Shahab Jafri (A. Editor Pakistan Today), e.t.c.

2. The statement attributed to me that  “the US and Israel had formed the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)” was in effect the claim of Mr. Edward Snowden and properly referred to in the keynote presentation during the Millat Thinkers’ Forum session.

Millat Thinkers’ Forum – Introduction

 FINAL LOGO

Introduction

  • Thanks for attending the formal Inaugural session of Millat Thinkers’ Forum (MTF).
  • Think tanks vary by ideological perspectives, sources of funding, topical emphasis and prospective consumers. In developed countries not only the Governments but corporate sector funds the think tanks too. Their importance is realized to such an extent that many countries allow tax-exemptions to these institutions.
  • Pakistan, however has lagged behind in this area. Unfortunately the culture of research has not been properly developed in Pakistan. The value of research and development is highly under-rated if realized at all in the circles making key decisions.
  • As if that was not enough, the few think-tanks that do exist, are mostly handicapped by their patronage’s interests, mostly foreign. Keeping these issues as well as the importance of independent think-tanks to the development of a country in view, Millat Thinkers’ Forum (MTF) was constituted.
  • MTF is the first totally ingenious, independent and international standard think-tank of Pakistan.
  • Millat Thinkers’ Forum has been working informally for some time and has even assisted some policy makers during this time and is to be formally inaugurated now.
  • The mission statement of Millat Thinkers’ forum is Diagnose (the issues), Deliberate (on the different aspects and complexities) and Decode (to understand and recommend/develop a solution).
  • Membership is restricted and focuses on high quality induction to ensure accomplishment of the objective of meeting international standards.
  • Founding team includes Mr. Zaheer Ahmad Meer (Chairman Professionals’ Social Network & Senior Advocate), Mr. Omer Meer (Chairman Liaison Committee LTBA, Qualified FCA & Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), Mian Khalid Habib Elahi (Advocate Supreme Court & ex- Deputy Attorney General Pun),  and Mr. Wajih Ur Rehman (Agriculturalist and Social Worker).
  • The members include top professionals, successful businessmen, scholars, media personalities, parliamentarians, social workers, academics, e.t.c.
  •  Some of the eminent members to grace our events include:
    1. Mr. Asad Umar (Renowned Economist, Businessman & MNA),
    2. Gen (R) Ziauddin Butt (ex DG ISI & COAS),
    3. Mr. Absar Abdul Ali (Director, Hameed Nizami Press Institute),
    4. Sardar Asif Ahmad Ali (ex Foreign Minister, Pakistan),
    5. Justice (R) Sharif Hussain Bukhari,
    6. Mr Hamid Khan (ex Chairman & Vice Chairman of Pak BC, ex V.Chairman of Pun BC, ex President SCBAP. ex President LHCBA),
    7. Mr. Arif Masud Mirza (President ACCA (UK) – Pakistan),
    8. Mr. Arif Nizami (Renowned Anchor, Columnist & Editor Pakistan Today),
    9. Mr. Khurram Khosa (Advocate SCP & President PPP Lawyers’ Forum),
    10. Dr. Farzana Nazir (Doctor & MPA),
    11. Dr. Nousheen Hamid Miraj (Doctor & MPA),
    12. Mr. Mansoor Ur Rehman Afridi (Advocate SC & ex holder of several senior bar positions),
    13. Mrs. Mehnaz Rafih (Renowned Social worker, Intellectual & Political activist),
    14. Mrs. Ayesha Qazi (President Lahore Tax Bar Association),
    15. Mr. Hamid Zaman (Leading Industrialist),
    16. Sardar Arif Rasheed (ex Minister Irrigation, Agriculture, Forest & Fisheries),
    17. Mr. Walid Iqbal (Grandson of Allama Iqbal),
    18. Mr. Shahab Jafri (A. Editor Pakistan Today), e.t.c.
  • MTF’s model involves quality research by a highly competent research team followed by monthly events where the best brains of the country would be brought together to provide their inputs. The finalized reports would than form the basis of MTF’s recommendations.
  • Information related to Millat Thinkers’ Forum including event information, pictures, videos, research and even finalized reports will be shared on Millat Facebook (www.MyMFB.com), the largest social network ever by Muslims.

Kind Regards,

MTF Team

Gaza: Holocaust version 2014

The following article is published in the Sunday edition (DNA) of Pakistan Today, dated 20th July 2014

(For online version: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/07/19/comment/gaza-holocaust-version-2014/ )

(For published version: Page 6  at:  http://issuu.com/abidoon/docs/dna_issue_33/4?e=3820687/8669388    )

Gaza: Holocaust version 2014

Zionist occupiers’ atrocities against Palestinian women, children and elderly make Hitler seem like an angel.

By: Omer Zaheer Meer

The author is a Director of the think-tank “Millat Thinkers’ Forum”. He is a leading economist, qualified accountant and anti-money laundering expert with international exposure who can be reached on Twitter and www.myMFB.com @OmerZaheerMeer  or omerzaheermeer@hotmail.co.uk

A sad tragedy ensues when the oppressed becomes the oppressor. Even worse is when it bites the hand that fed it in its worst hour of need. That is precisely the tragedy unfolding in occupied Palestine under the so-called Israeli occupation forces.

The disproportionate use of power is of least concern in a conflict where all international laws are floundered. Banned and illegal weapons like phosphorus, in addition to other internationally banned chemical weapons, are routinely used on civilian populations. Innocent civilians are routinely targeted and killed as are innocent family members of “alleged” Palestinian resistance members. Entire families are wiped out in such Israeli attacks. Children as young as just a few months old are slaughtered while women of all ages are butchered along with the elderly in what is termed collateral damage by Israel. A policy of collective punishment is being pursued by blockading 17 million human beings for eight long years, effectively turning Gaza into the largest open-air prison on the planet.

This Palestinian occupation is truly an asymmetrical conflict with Israel’s sophisticated, top of the range, highly destructive and even internationally banned chemical arsenal largely met with rag-tag home-made crude Palestinian rockets. The comparatively slightly better Palestinian rockets are extremely limited and used rarely by the resistance. Compared to a bomb shelter in almost every new house built in Israel, there is none in Gaza. Only recently the first Israeli fatality of the conflict incurred in over a week compared to over 200 innocent Palestinian children, women and elderly slaughtered in addition to young men. The only Israeli fatality so far was a Zionist volunteer delivering food to Israeli occupation soldiers near the Gaza border. The billions of dollars of annual military aid to Israel by the USA can be compared to a naught for Palestine.

Holocaust, as described by various Jewish as well as Zionist authors, was the alleged systematic and state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany.

It is worth mentioning here that present day Imperialist Israel is a fruit of political Zionism whose brutalities against Palestinian civilians are opposed even by moderate Jews across the globe. The genocide of and war crimes against Palestinians perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces, particularly in Gaza, has made atrocities of Nazi Germany seem lighter in comparison.

Let’s visit recent history to draw comparisons. The Nazis believed in racial superiority of Germans, deemed “inferior” Jewish and other non-German races as an alien threat to their survival and supremacy. This is pretty much the same attitude as that showcased by present day Israel against non-Jewish Palestinian Arabs, effectively treating them as a threat to Zionist “supremacy”. It’s even worse since most Israeli Zionists, particularly the impressionable youth, call for the annihilation of even innocent Palestinian children (widely available on social media), unlike Nazi Germany where people even helped Jewish women and children.

Holocaust, as described by various Jewish as well as Zionist authors, was the alleged systematic and state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany. The “Holocaust version 2014” by Israel is even worse. Not only are Palestinian Arab Muslims massacred systematically by the occupying Zionist regime, the imperialist state of Israel also controls their life by applying a total blockade particularly on Gaza, where the local population cannot even have emergency medical journeys without a cumbersome process requiring Israeli permission.

What is ironic and perhaps lesser known today is the fact that it was under the Muslim Ottoman rule that Jews fleeing from across the globe were provided sanctuaries and opportunities to prosper. The Jews were heavily persecuted by Byzantines after Christianity was declared the official religion (408 – 450) by Theodosius 11. Forceful conversions of Jews to Christianity were the norm.

With the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Bursa in 1324, a golden era ensued for the previously oppressed Jewish community. The Jews treated the Ottomans as their saviours. The toleration was to the extent that not only were Jews given high public offices, but also allowed to build huge synagogues like the Etz Ha-Hayyim (Tree of Life). Jews from all over Europe came and settled in Muslim Ottoman lands; from Hungary in 1376, France in 1394, Sicily in the early 15th century, Salonika in 1420, Spain in 1492 after Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand expelled the Jews during brutal Spanish Inquisition, and from many more places.

Now let us fast forward to the present era. The memory of the Israeli attack on the Turkish Flotilla carrying civilian aid to Gaza is not too old. More more recent is the case when Israel started bombarding civilians yet again in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on the planet. An ultimatum was given to people in northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes, raising fear of the worst atrocities to come. However, the fleeing civilians were forced deep within the already congested and tiny Gaza strip by Israel and its ally Egypt, refusing to open border crossings thereby denying them safety. The blockade of Palestinians, resulting in deaths due to starvation and a crippling economy for eight years, has conveniently been forgotten by the world.

With the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Bursa in 1324, a golden era ensued for the previously oppressed Jewish community. The Jews treated the Ottomans as their saviours.

Perhaps it is time that moderate Jews across the globe rise up to confront the extremist Zionists of Israel for the Muslim rulers seem to be sleeping, barring the lip service of a few. These Muslim rulers are so busy in their sectarian fights and protection of their rule that this human tragedy fails to evoke a serious response from them. While people around the world including Europe and North America have shown their discontent over what is commonly referred to as a brutal massacre by Israel, Muslim governments have continued to show little material support for oppressed Palestinians in Gaza.

A lesser explored aspect of the recent turmoil in Gaza is the political maneuvering of Netanyahu with allegations that the Israeli government knew about the whereabouts of the kidnapped illegal Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territory but decided to use it for political mileage. The incident was used to incite hatred, culminating in the abduction and brutal burning to death of an innocent Palestinian teen legally living in Jerusalem, by Zionist right-wingers. This observation is supported by the gag-order regarding the incident barring even the Israelis from having access to information about it. Furthermore, there were reports of raids on the Palestinian suspects’ homes two weeks before the occupying Israeli Government announced the names. All these indicate manipulation. Truly right-wing extremist Israelis led by Netanyahu gained the most at the expense of everyone else.

This is not the first atrocity against the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, nor can it be expected to be the last. What we should strive for is to create awareness and help the helpless, enslaved population of Gaza.

The big question is will moderate Jews recall the favours granted to them by Muslims, which ensued their golden era, and rise up with them to confront the Zionist monster which has unleashed its own version of Holocaust, only upon Muslims this time.