Barrister Jafreeâ€™s Open Letter
By Barrister Jafree
I have been dismayed to read the article by Ms. Rafia Zakaria from Ohio (otherwise, one of the very few Indic-diaspora lawyer-columnists I have admired and praised) in the Dawn [February 17]. Since July 2008 I had kept her informed about the suffering, dilemmas and predicaments of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who was actually brutally kidnapped and ruthlessly-illegally Renditioned (along with her three perfectly innocent infant children) from Karachi (she was proceeding by taxi to the Saddar Railway Station on way to Islamabad due to horrendous harassment/ untold persecution from her former husband as well as the CIA functionaries and indigenous Khufia, and in the capitol-city of Pakistan she intended to take up employment at The Al-Shifa Hospital, and raise her three children) in 2003; and not arrested from Ghazni in 2008 as has been scurrilously and systemically claimed by CIA/FBI functionaries and aficionados/bounty-hunters.
Aafiaâ€™s helpless family consists of an elder sister, a brother, and an old, God-fearing mother. For six calendar years the unfortunate, law-abiding Family could not even have a First Information Report (F.I.R.) registered because of the Outreach and overreaction of the Powers That Be (read Unjustified Enrichment wonderboys) in Pakistan. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Finally, only late in 2009 a wishy-washy FIR was registered (without mentioning who had kidnapped Aafia and under whose patronage/sponsorship). That FIR is being investigated ahista-ahista by SSP Investigator Alhajj Niaz Khosa of Karachi while water has virtually crossed over the heads. This is no cause for applause except for the Made-in-America Military Industrial Complex!
Mid-July 2008 while visiting Islamabad (in connection with my Habeas Writs regarding outrageously wrongful confinement of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan by General Pervez Musharraf) I was shocked to learn from a mysterious,trembling phonecall that Aafia was being detained/abused in a dungeon jail in Kabul (â€œand was likely to be shot deadâ€). Immediately I made the best inquiries I could muster, and I filed a hand-written Writ Habeas Corpus in the Islamabad High Court . I did, for example, ask U.S. Ambassador , Miss Ann Patterson if she denied that the Embassy remained curiously (and coyly/smugly) silent so did our then Interior Secretary, Alhaj Syed Kamal Shah (who was Inspector General of Sindh in 2003). and our Minitry of Law, Justice and Human Rights. Such silence (indifference+apathy) is deafening, disgraceful and dreadful nonsense of arrogance.
Concerning my Habeas Writs, the Interior/ Foreign Affairs Ministries and Attorneys-General for Pakistan, (Qayyum and Khosa) wasted time of the Court and showed no concern for a fellow-citizen and human being. I made desperate efforts that the Attorney-General for Pakistan write a letter to United States District Judge Richard Berman (copying it to the United States Attorney in New York, 20005) that Aafia was illicitly kidnapped from Karachi in 2003. This was not done, sinisterly so, in spite of helpful directions from the Lahore High Court which have been openly flouted.
The reprehensible maltreatment of Aafia is a felony of designer Bait â€˜N Switch. The most pressing question here is simply not concerning what is happening (regretably so!) in Pakistan to other oppressed women and repressed men. More immediately relevant is the fact that Rafia Zakaria who is on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union never protested the gravely ill-treatment that has been accorded to Aafia who was transferred without any cause or judicial/extradition proceeding to the Death-penalty jurisdiction of New York.
The Afghan Government as well as the United States Officialdom violated, inter alia, the Geneva/Vienna Conventions and Treaty of Friendship and Commerce between Pakistan and USA  by not immediately informing Pakistan Embassy in Kabul (his would have been the case had she been arrested actually in Ghazni); rather the Pakistani Embassy in Washington was intimated MUCH AFTER my Writ and only after Aafia had been cruelly lodged in a New Yorkâ€™s Brooklyn Detention Center where she has been violated, physically harmed and variously humiliated and is being grossly inhumanly maltreated. Her son, Ahmed has told our illustrious Interior Minister (Government of Pakistan) that he never saw nor encountered his mother after being grabbed and separated from his nuclear family in 2003. in Karachi. This should make some lice to crawl over the ears of our Establishment!
I do ask why is Miss Rafia Zakaria silent about the violence and inhumanity accorded by the U.S. officialdom to Aafia within United States of America itself. The truth of the matter is that CIA needed some highly-educated person to â€˜crediblyâ€™ blame for the consequences of 9-11; they catapulted (and are victimizing) America-educated Aafia to fit that Negative Sum Mentality Purpose. Then, to add/ â€˜justifyâ€™ insidious insult to injury (to Aafia as well as the Occidental image of Islam) finding no evidence for six long years artfully arranged A-to-Z,
Aafiaâ€™s predetermined trial in God-forsaken New York where no civilized country even allows proper Extradition. This is a crying shame! Aafia was regretably denied threshold access to even choose her own lawyers or defend herself of her own. This mischievous misconduct offends all notions of process that was due and is now Overdue!!
By the way, Dr Aafia Siddiqui never re-married anyone as was wrongfully touted and spinned globally by FBI. Aafia is victim of that fascist syndromme: â€œCall a person a dog and then shoot herâ€ . The Neo-Improvisation and Restatement of that Syndrome is that before-predetermined-shooting-an-innocent-lady – – just have three or four heavy-weight American soldiers falsely claim that the chosen victim-to-be-blamed shot at them first by grabbing their gun which was lying on the floor of their overseas dungeon. As a former Assistant Attorney-General in the USA, I know that laying-down the heavy-gun on the floor is never dared and never done in suchlike circumstances. Additionally, no DNA or other physical evidence was discovered to that alleged-effect. The Jury returned the verdict of â€œGuiltyâ€ based on verbal evidence of Aafia versus four bought (and brought) witnesses. Law will accept the impossible but not the improbable and unreasonable. Let us not be somnobulant about that. I spent quater of a century in the USA learning and not-earning dollars.
In a nutshell, I must respectfully and conscientiously ask American bureaucrats that they should stop maltreating minorities and try to understand Islam in the proper light so that past wrongs and blunders can be rectified and only thus the Day Shall Dawn.
It is a long shot! But where there is will there is a way.
SYED MOHAMMED JAWAID IQBAL JAFREE OF PACIFIC PASLISADES,
MA Illinois LLM Harvard PhD Read FRSA London SASC PC, ATTORNEY AT LAW, ADMITTED IN PAKISTAN AND USA
By Bruce Loudon, The Australian
UNITED Nations investigators are preparing to question former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, amid mounting doubts over official versions of how she died and claims of a cover-up.
The Weekend Australian Magazine reveals today evidence that a bullet – probably sniper fire from a high-velocity rifle – killed the former prime minister.
The Musharraf regime said a â€œbump on the headâ€ resulting from a Taliban or al-Qaâ€™ida suicide bomber killed Bhutto on December 27, 2007, shortly before an election she was expected to win.
This evidence contradicts the regimeâ€™s claim that the murder was the work of the Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US unmanned drone attack.
There is no history of the militants using sniper fire – or even regular gunfire – in any of the hundreds of suicide attacks they have mounted in Pakistan.
Also revealed in The Weekend Australian Magazine is detail of the cover-up that followed Bhuttoâ€™s murder. The crime scene in Liaquat Bagh, a park in Rawalpindi, was washed with high-pressure hoses within 45 minutes of the blast, destroying almost all forensic evidence.
Naheed Khan, Bhuttoâ€™s political secretary for 23 years, who cradled her head as she died, told The Weekend Australian Magazine: â€œThere were bullets coming from different directions. There are lots of high buildings overlooking the area. This was a typical intelligence (agency) operation.â€
Ms Khanâ€™s husband, senator Safdar Abbasi, who is also a doctor, was in the Toyota Landcruiser when Bhutto was attacked. â€œThe way she died – her instant death – suggests very sharp sniper fire. A typical intelligence (agency) operation.â€
The Weekend Australian Magazine reveals that, despite the law in Pakistan mandating autopsies in all cases of murder, and doctors attending Bhutto telling police that one should be carried out, none was performed on her or others who died in Liaquat Bagh.
Within hours, her body had been flown to Sindh province for burial, without a full forensic examination.
There is no suggestion of any involvement by Mr Musharraf in her murder. But the UN investigators want to question the former general. Given the authority he wielded in Pakistan, including over the army and its agencies, Mr Musharraf, 66, is thought to be in a better position than most to cast light on events surrounding the assassination.
At his apartment off Londonâ€™s Edgeware Road, living under the protection of the British government, Mr Musharraf has appeared untroubled by demands to bring him back to Pakistan. He has played bridge with friends and eaten out during the holy month of Ramadan.
An internationally brokered secret deal allowed Mr Musharraf to step down and assured his future security.
After long delays in getting Security Council approval for its mission, the UN investigators started looking into Bhuttoâ€™s death in July and are expected to report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this year.
The investigators are reported to be preparing to talk to people in London and Washington, including CNN presenter Wolf Blitzer. On October 20, 2007, Bhutto sent Blitzer an email, through a friend, reading: â€œIf it is Godâ€™s will, nothing will happen to me. But if anything happened to me, I would hold Pervez Musharraf responsible.â€
Investigations into Bhuttoâ€™s killing are the subject of controversy in Pakistan.
By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS
I would like to discuss three presentations made last year (Summer of 2007) –in the Asian Art Museum — as part of the bi-annual meeting of the American Council of Southern Asian art in this City here on the Western shores of San Francisco Bay. I found the talks to be slight in news content; thus, I have previously refrained from composing on them, but because of circumstances, they have become a practicable article, and make an acceptable historical feature on an ancient vital Islamic tradition. An article on this form of piety stated that Sufism â€œâ€¦is aâ€¦mystical dimension of Islamâ€ where meditation plays an integral part.
People talking about Islam usually mention Sunnis and Shiâ€™a; among Sunnis are also Sufis â€“ there is mutual tension between Sufis and Wahhabi/Salafis. Salafis accuse the Sufis, saying â€œâ€¦[Sufism] has never played a part in normative Islam.â€
A position with which your author extremely disagrees!
First, your journalist acknowledges that his main sources for his background on the Sufis in an historical and contemporary context are an excellent unsigned, thorough yet concise article on the Internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia. My second source is a review essay I wrote on a book that is considered the main Western source on Sufism. Unfortunately, I do not have the piece at my fingertips; therefore, I am paraphrasing it ex aqua.
Sufism has gained much of its doctrine through accretion from the mystic environ of religious clusters that Islam absorbed in its Eastward expansion. Accordingly, to several Western scholars, Sufism arose initially in the Western Mahgreb in a region of present-day Morocco where Christianity had been repressed three hundred years before. There was a yearning for the type of mysticism found in monasteries of the old religion, but in the Qur`an there is a strong injunction to marry and procreate! The early â€œOrderâ€ solved this â€œproblemâ€ by creating brotherhoods of married men who followed Muslim law carefully. As their Society traveled into new lands, they met new converts. For instance, the Sufic poet, Rumi, who has had a considerable influence over contemporary thought here in the Westâ€™s, name derives from the word â€œRomanâ€ (i.e., the Eastern Roman Empire ruled from Byzantine) in the local language of Anatolia at that time. The Turks had held that province from which Rumi wrote for a comparatively short time. Thus, his family must have been fairly recent converts. Sufic thought gained much when it crossed into India. The great poet Kabir, who some scholars claim was a Sufi was not fully Islamized, even though he did accomplished the hajj, for he referred to God both in the Hindu terminology as Ram and, also, as Allah interchangeably in his poetry! Traditionally, in the Sufi-dominated Districts of India, the Hindus revere the Islamic Saints as much as their own.
Yet the traditional Islamic scholarship on the Sufis view their development in quite a different manner. The Sufic thinkers trace their origins through the Prophet (Blessed be his Name!) himself. To quote an early Sufi, their teaching â€œâ€¦is a science through which one can know how to travel in the presence of the Divineâ€¦â€
Their beliefs and persons have been persecuted by more fundamental (and, thereby, less mystically inclined) individuals. Consequently, their writings and practices took on an esoteric, secretive tone.
In the early centuries, Iman Al Ghazali answered that Sufic doctrine was compatible with Islamic law conclusively. In fact, â€œSufismâ€¦is the central organizing principle of manyâ€¦[other] Islamic groupings.â€
With the rise of more strident forms of Islam, Sufism is currently under duress. In many regions the repression made them illegal, and forced them underground. For instance, the Turkish government compelled the whirling dervishes into a mere entertainment. Yet there are areas in the Muslim world where they are still strong. To understand the attitude for an inquirer, a Sufi master was quoted as saying, â€œâ€¦the seeker must not self-diagnoseâ€ the situation.
The Islanicists have no sympathy for the Sufi reverence for saints, and their pilgrimages to the holy tombs for religious merit. In my following comments, these pilgrimages and the places of devotion and worship will be placed in context.
Persianate culture had a dominant position in the old Hindustan even before the rise of the Mughal Empire. An Indo-Persian culture dominated from western Persia well into the Subcontinent after the Muslim Empires in India, and Sufism had dominated Persian thinking before it crossed from Southwest into South Asia. Now, Sindh (presently in Pakistan) had been Islamic since the Ninth Century of the Common Era (i.e., A.D.). Sufism came forward with the Islamic conquest, but not from the top to the bottom. It burst through at the â€œgrassrootsâ€ level (i.e., bottom up), and was greatly embedded in the evolving Indo-Persian Islam. The â€œMissionariesâ€ were the humble, holy Pirs, a type of holy men with which the Medieval Indians could easily culturally identify. Soon, converted Indians adapted Islam and the Persian Worldview of Islam – even though they may not have chosen Shiâ€™a religious views.
An Afshan Bokari pointed out that female devotees upheld the high ideals of religiosity within the Timurid Empire, and were the mainstay of the Mosques during this period which not only included India, but Iran into Mesopotamia â€“ even into Syria — and a good extent of Central Asia. The Empire, founded by the Sunni military genius Emir Timur (Shakespeareâ€™s Tamerlane) was comparatively short-lived. Most of the acquisition of territory occurred during the late Fourteenth into the early Fifteenth Centuries (C.E.). This brief Imperial sway not only spread S.W. Asian ideas, but mystical Islam. as well. This can be termed a Timurid â€œideology.â€ Mystical Islam centered on feminine participation, also. This is markedly at odds with the modern Islamicistsâ€™ dogma. A site was shaped into the sacred by an association with a saint or a sacred act, etc. This confine almost became a â€œâ€¦second Mecca!â€
The major contemporary art historian, Catherine Asher, from Minnesota spoke on the â€œSufic Shrines of Shahul Hamid in India and Southeast Asia.â€ The basic style of the Sufic shrines spread into Peninsular and Insular S.E. Asia forming a consistent Southern Asian approach to sacred space. On the emigration of the righteous Pirs, it is hard to determine fact from legend. The Enlightened man often died in his travels. South Indian Islam, from which Southeast Asian cultural religiousness derived, assumed many traits of traditional Hinduism â€“ in this case the veneration of exceptionally piously devout men, and this practice advanced ever eastward. Males were encouraged to go to the tombs, besides, for a sort of â€œdarshan,â€ or, in the Islamic cognizance, a type of religious merit. Basically, the Sufisâ€™ influence flowed over three different faiths because the Pirs exhibited extraordinary powers to do miracles in their lifetime, and to bequest assistance from the tomb to his devoted believers â€“ whatever the saintâ€™s followerâ€™s religiosity!
Kishwar Rizvi talked about a shrine in the present Pakistani Punjab that was built around circa 1300 (C.E.). Most of the devoted came from the minority Shia community there. Further, there are many Sufic elements in the shrine, for it revolves around the casket of a Saint endowing the building as sared space. Women still retain a great responsibility in sustaining the shrineâ€™s sacredness. On the other hand, sexual degenerates are attracted to the location because of the laissez faire attitudes of the worshippers which may detract from the great postiveness of the greater Movement to more mainstream Muslims.
In this essay, your scribe has tried to describe a living tradition in Islam in historical and conteporary terms that has been repressed by the main thrust of the religion today, but is still strong among the common people in particular localities all over the World, and, furthermore, has brought many Westerners to the Qur`an, for its mystical saving methodologies.