January 19, 2018

Fair Play

Fair play was as important in the ancient world as in the modern. That’s one reason why the discovery of a new inscription in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) it is so exciting – and in some ways so unsurprising.
A rock carving found in the summer of 2016 near Beyşehir near Konya in central Anatolia, features a depiction of a horse and a jockey – and outlines the rules of horse racing. The inscription sets out the guidelines to make racing fair and therefore enjoyable. No one wants to watch a race where the outcome has been rigged. One of the most interesting elements is the instruction that once a horse has won one race, it is ineligible to enter another. Likewise, an owner who had one winner, could not enter another race – to give others a chance to have fun too. Nice that more than one person should have something to celebrate.
This wasn’t about pushing mediocrity, but a way of making sure that the rich didn’t monopolise the entertainment, by buying the best horses, hiring the best trainers and paying the best jockeys. The Jockey Club of the time, at least at Beyşehir, saw it had a useful role in civic society.

An informative history of NDA courtesy

Wg Cdr Adarsh Bal.       HISTORY OF NDA


In 1941 the Government of Sudan gifted a sum of £100,000 (then a very large sum of about Rs 14 Lks) to the Viceroy to build a suitable War Memorial as a token of appreciation of the services and sacrifices made by the Indian troops for the defence of Sudan. Due to WW-II, and the character of the private armies from Rajputana, Hyderabad and Punjab who went to fight in Sudan, their peculiar mercenary status with a disconnect from the British officered Indian army, Hindus who were burnt and not buried, nothing was done to build a War Memorial. In 1943, then C-in-C Gen Auckinleck, directed that the unused fund is put to good use to build a new ‘Inter Service Academy (ISA), instead of wasting it on a National War Memorial. During the travel of the files up and down the corridors of power in South block in Delhi, ‘Inter Service Academy (ISA) morphed into a ‘National War Academy’ (NWA).

Based on recommendations of the C-in-C (then 2nd only to the Viceroy in GoI), on 22 Sep 1945 the Viceroy sanctioned construction of a new NWA to offer combined training to potential officers of three Services. The sanction envisaged setting up of an interim  ‘ Junior Experimental Wing’ (JEW) of the Indian Military Academy in Clement town (Dehradun), while the new NWA was to be built at the disused 28.4 Sq Km combined-forces training centre and mock landing ship, HMS Angostura, on the north bank of the Khadakwasla lake which had been used to train British and American troops for amphibious landings during early part of WW-II (Malaya campaign for which an amphibious attack had been planned). When NWA was ready, JEW was to shift to Khadakwasla. Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, popularly known as ‘Le Corbusier’ was appointed as consultant to develop the architecture and design of NWA. After 3 yrs training, final commissioning of the Cdts was to be after specialist service training at existing IMA (Dehra Dun)/ equivalent academies for Navy and AF in UK.

In keeping with his ‘Paanch Sheel’ foreign policy, Nehru did not approve of the name NWA due to its aggressive overtones and hence the name was changed to National Defence Academy (NDA) while laying the foundation stone on 6 Oct 1949.India's share of £70,000 Sudanese gift (remaining £30,000 was given to Pak) was used to construct the administrative block of ‘NDA’ (Sudan Block). Twelve Indian states were asked to donate Rs 5 lks each for the construction of 12 Sqn residential blocks & the Cdt’s Mess. The donor states for the Sqn residential buildings were - 'A Sqn'  Madras & Andhra; 'B Sqn' - Madhya Pradesh; 'C Sqn' - Maharashtra; 'D Sqn' - Bihar; 'E Sqn' - Uttar Pradesh; 'F Sqn' - Orissa; 'G Sqn' - Gujarat; 'H Sqn' - Karnataka; 'I Sqn' - Punjab; 'J Sqn' - West Bengal; 'K Sqn' – Assam and 'L Sqn' - Bombay.  The first four residential blocks to be constructed along with Cdts mess was the one between Cdt’s mess and Gole market, slated for occupation by No 1 Bn, with Able, Baker, Charlie, and Dog Sqns, then at ISW in Dehradun. 


While construction of NWA was being planned and executed, the interim plan for  ‘ Junior Experimental Wing’ (JEW)  was put into action, but under a new name ‘Inter Services Wing’ (ISW) to appease Baldev Singh who was then Def Minister. ISW started functioning on 17 Feb 1948, from the abandoned Italian Prisoner of War Camp barracks in Clement Town in Dehradun.  190 cadets (141 for the Army, 25 Navy and 24 for the Air Force) reported at Clement Town between 6- 9 Jan 1949, to form ‘Able’ and ‘Baker’ Sqns, with 4 Divisions subdivided into 8 ‘Sections’.  Though DK Ghosh, a naval cadet had the privilege of being Able -1, the first Cdt to report to ISW was A-188, DS Sabhiki (later Air Marshal) who reported at 0630 hrs on 6 Jan 1949.  The first batch had about 40 cadets from RIMC and KGRIM. Their training started from 11 Jan 1949.  In July 1949 when the second batch  joined, 'C' (Charlie) and 'D' (Dog) Sqns came in to being. It is not known when ISW changed to Joint Services Wing (JSW) or whether there was an official JSW. ISW (or later JSW) continued in Clement town and moved to Khadakwasla in small batches starting 7 Dec 1954.

ISW was officially notified as of 15 Dec 1948, when Col Kamta Prasad, Dy Cmdt designate and his team arrived in Clement Town, placed under command of Cmdt IMA  Brig Thakur Mahadeo Singh.  On 31 Dec 1948, Brig Singh issued routine orders splitting IMA into  Armed Forces Academy (AFA) wef 1 January 1949 with two Wings,  Military Wing  and an Inter-Services Wing (ISW). AFA was notified as the interim National War Academy, foibles of the political-military relations which existed right from day one after independence.

8 more residential blocks were commissioned in 1955, and NDA became a full-fledged establishment with around 1500 Cdts, under an independent  Maj Gen, distributed amongst 12 Sqns, ‘A to L’. During the naming of Sqns, phonetic names were adopted  and Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog became Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Fox. The reason why Dog was not made Delta and why they were named Fox is also not known. Fox was shifted to 2nd Bn along with newly raised E, G & H Sqns (with Fox occupying the block facing the Cdt’s mess, southern group  of blocks) .  No 1 Bn (A/B/C/D) moved to the new set of Northern blocks with C facing the Dhobi Ghat (infamous well into which stolen cycles were dumped). The older blocks vacated by 1 Bn was allotted to 3rd Bn (how Kilo came to occupy the block, facing Gol Market vacated by Dog Sqn). 3rd  Bn was now on the western side, in line with the Cdt’s mess. The MH was to come up later. Rest of NDA was constructed using internal resources of the army, army engineers and pioneers, and extraordinary resourcefulness of the Commandants, with no help from GoI or Ministry of Defence, both of which deemed Army superfluous till 1959 Chinese incursions at Longju (NEFA) and Kongka La (Ladakh). Afterwards, India headed for a war (1962) necessitating officer cadre, products of NDA !! Brig Hoshiar Singh was  Dy Cmdt at NDA and was moved into NEFA during 62 war, go and offer his head on arrival.  

For a while, starting 1978, while augmenting the strength of cadets to 1800, there was a separate NDA wing at Ghorpuri (in Poona) with 1st term Cdts, all clubbed together with a sobriquet ‘Ghorpuri lot’. Ghorpuri was later vacated and all Cdts transferred to NDA.  It is understood that during Adm Pareira’s time, around 71/72, there was a clockwise rotation of Sqns in each Bn block. The reason for this is not known. Now NDA has grown to 5 Bns, with 18 Sqns , Alpha to Romeo under a Lt Gen (or equivalent). It is understood that  there is likely to be further increase in the size of NDA, perhaps in porta cabins.

Cheers to NDA,

January 17, 2018

Tales from the dungeon: Dr Yousuf Murad Baloch


Tales from the dungeon: Dr Yousuf Murad Baloch (Part I)

January 18, 2018 1:34 am · 0 comments

Yousuf Murad Baloch

This is first part of Balochistan Time’s Tales from the dungeon series in which former victims of enforced disappearances tell their ordeal. Dr Yousuf Murad Baloch was among the first victims. He was taken away from Karachi in March 2005 along with other members of the Baloch Students Organization (BSO). He now lives in Germany.

 If you are an educated Baloch and you do not plan to appear in the competitive exams, or you have failed to mould your voice into a specific obedient tone always beginning your sentences with “sir”, or you do not believe in the divinity of the Pakistan army, then you are most likely to end up in a secret services-operated torture cell. Also, if in any way, you happened to have read the wrong books, you can be taken to a tour to dungeons for re-education.

The pain you are inflicted upon in these torture cells is of another level. Torture is an institutionalized science in Pakistan and your torturers follow a certain protocol to inflict maximum pain, break down your spirit and influence your thinking to fit into the official narrative.

Before I start telling my ordeal in military-operated dungeons, let me explain why I happened to be present at the place which the security forces raided and took us away.

I was the elected Press Secretary of the Baloch Students Organization (BSO), responsible for the group’s press releases, press articles and publications. I directly reported to the Chairman of the organization.

The BSO, as the name suggests, is a leftist nationalist student organization in Balochistan. The literature its members are encouraged to read mostly preach anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and independence struggles. Although the BSO perceives Pakistan as a model of Islamofascism, it has to walk a thin line when it comes to dealing with the sensitive subject of religion.

In 2005, we anticipated that the ongoing negotiations between Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and the Pakistan government were going to fail and that the army would eventually attack the outspoken leader of the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP).

There was always a sense of readiness and preparation among the BSO leadership for mass protests in case any move was made by the army. We were preparing to mobilise the non-tribal Baloch people to stand for their rights.

In the governance system of Pakistan and the colonial mind-set, any and all voices for rights or justice are considered as a cover for insurrectionists.

The BSO was not only challenging the lies of the state narrative but also educating the masses to dismantle the dehumanizing collaboration of tribal sardars and the state forces in Balochistan.

It was the first time after a long interval of relative calm in Balochistan that the state narrative was being questioned, and the legitimacy, authority and supremacy of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) and the regular army was being publically challenged in Balochistan.

It was during such a press conference in Quetta that the police made a move to arrest Dr Imdad Baloch, the then Chairman of the BSO. We had to smuggle him out of Quetta to Karachi.

On March 17, 2005, the army tried to knock out Nawab Akbar Bugti in an aerial assault on his house in Dera Bugti, killing more than 70 people. We saw this as the beginning of military operations in Balochistan.

I contacted Dr Imdad and went to Karachi to discuss the BSO’s protest campaign against the looming threat of violence against Baloch civilians. With some twist of fate I, Dr Imdad, Dr Naseem, Ali Nawaz, Akhter Nadeem, Gulam Rasool and Dr Allah Nizar — all of them either current or former BSO leaders — ended up being crammed into an apartment in Karachi owned by a relative of Dr Naseem.

On the night of March 24, I cooked biryani, not knowing this might be our last biryani for a long time. After dinner I remember trying to start a discussion with Dr Allah Nizar about the recent stock market crash as I believed it was the result of investor fear from the foreseen military operations in Balochistan. He took some time out from reading a magazine to explain that the crash was more about investor greed rather than Balochistan and how politicians used stock market crashes to rob the small investors of their money.

Being on a full stomach from the oil-rich biryani coupled with tiredness, I dozed off rather quickly.

I felt heavy boots on my neck. Both my hands were forcefully pulled behind, twisted and tied, and my eyes blindfolded with a piece of cloth, all in no time, even before I could wake up properly.

I used to be a heavy sleeper but that changed after this incidence.

By the time I woke up, I had already received plenty of kicks and punches on every part of my body. “Do you have a gun on you,” asked one of my captors. “No,” I replied faintly. He shouted something to his colleagues from whom one joined him to drag me down the stairs.

The speed of the operation augmented by the terrible fear seizing me had rendered me paralyzed. I could not apprehend the noises and screams around me nor could I understand the betrayal of my body.

It was on the stairs when my bare feet-falls felt the paan juice someone had spitted on the stairway. By now I had gained my senses. I felt my heart sinking in my stomach. That dull ache in my belly persisted for days.

The person handling me checked my side pockets and took everything away. I had a mini phone book, my identification card and some money on me. I could see his disappointment when he berated me for not carrying more money. I was not certain but this behaviour confirmed my immediate presumption that our captors were from the notoriously corrupt Karachi police.

From our study circles and stories told by my grandfather I had some knowledge of enforced disappearances of Baloch activists in the 1970s. At one moment, I thought of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the dreaded premier intelligence agency of Pakistan, but I conveniently dismissed the thought, as the fear of the ISI was too great. But you can’t choose your tormentors. Not in Pakistan.

As we were dragged out of the Block H of the Nouman Avenue Apartments, the characteristic knocking noise of the pickup diesel engines could now be heard among the human noises. I was blindfolded but I could hear others being dragged along, beaten and abused all the way. One of the captors guided me to a seat in the back of a pick-up truck where I felt that someone else was sitting beforehand. When my body touched his I felt that his hands were also tied on the back. I had an instinctive sense that he was one of my friends. I did not have the strength to ask him who he was nor did I think it necessary. I also realised that my head was in a sack which had strings loosely tied to my neck.

Approximately 20 minutes in our detour to the unknown, the vehicle stopped for a short interval. I heard the opening of gates as if we were passing through a military check post. Within another minute or two, the vehicles came to a complete halt. One of the captors took hold of my hand and walked me through what I judged a gate. Then he guided me through what seemed to be four downward stairs and then through some corridors. We were in some kind of a basement.

I was made to sit on the ground. After a few minutes which I believe was when they had brought all the others, a person with an authoritative voice asked us our names. About five minutes later another person asked our names again.

Two guards grabbed me by my both arms and guided me through a corridor. I heard the opening of a lock and a metal door. My hands were still tied with a cloth on the back. They pushed me into the cell and locked it on my back. I heard one of them yelling at me to sit down.

After sitting for some time I assumed that no one was attending me. Having lost the strength to sit any longer I slowly laid myself on the ground, which had a stinky and moist smell. There was an odour of urine in the air as though we were near some toilet. I lied down motionless for hours on the stinky floor. At some point I stealthily rubbed my face against the ground to loosen the blindfolds. The cloth slipped a little and I could see that the colour of the bag on my head was black.

It is difficult to accurately judge time in a dungeon. I heard a very distant and feeble call for prayer, certainly coming from a nearby mosque. Although not being an adherent Muslim I recognized the morning azaan (prayer call) as it is different from other azaans.

I was awake but thoughts were not in my control, in an inexplicable state. A feeling of defeat and cynicism ran through my head like a dream.

I remembered my grandmother. I was twelve years old when she died from malaria. She passed away at the Panjgur Civil Hospital awaiting treatment. I was young but I knew that the lack of doctors was the reason for her loss. It was the trauma of her helpless demise that had convinced me to become a doctor. And look, I thought, how I got myself into this messInstead of attending my medical classes I am here, tied and blindfolded.

I was with these incoherent thoughts that I suddenly heard the door of my cell open once again. It broke the sequence of thoughts which in fact were not in any sequence. One of the guards came in. My blindfolds were removed, hands untied from the back and were instead handcuffed on the front with a Made-in-USA-inscribed handcuff. This was the first time I was seeing the faces of my captors. The feet were chained with locally-made fetters and a large Chinese lock above my ankles. The weight of the lock caused me constant pain in the ankle.

I was asked if I wanted to drink tea and bread. I declined. I had forgotten what hunger was. They hooded my face with the black cloth bag and left, locking the cell behind.

After what it felt like hours, I heard the opening of the door once again. Two people grabbed me by my hands and guided me to another room through what I believe was a corridor. Just before entering the room they told me that I had stairs ahead to climb. My fourth step fell on flat ground and I felt being inside a room. Here they removed the black bag from my head, unlocked the handcuffs and made me sit on a seat.

In front of me was a table and on the other side of the table sat four people in civilian clothes. A guard stood behind me. Our mobile phones, books, magazines, telephone diaries, ID cards etc were scattered on the table. I was asked to identify my things. I did identify my ID card and the Nokia mobile phone.

I was pleasantly surprised that my telephone directory was not there. I supposed it had been kept along with the money by the soldier who searched my pockets at the time of my apprehension, and like the money he had not handed it over to his seniors. I was in a way relieved that the poor army soldier had taken my phone book as the “spoils of war”, for I did not have to answer questions about my contacts. In another stroke of luck, someone had stepped on my mobile phone and broke it at the time of our arrest. They tried to switch it on in front of me thinking I might have broken it myself. In any case, the damaged mobile phone spared me extra questions.

One of them had thick eyebrows and an elongated nose dropping to cover the middle of his thick moustache. He was tall with a stretched-down face and seemed to be in his mid-fifties. Even in his silence he appeared to be overshadowing others.

The one who was half bald and slightly fat introduced himself as Jameel and that he was a Pashtun from Quetta and had come especially for us. He had a fairer skin than the other three and asked me for tea and biscuit which I declined.

Noticing my dry mouth, he said, “You are thirsty. Drink this glass of water.” I realized he was right. The kicks and punches had left me dehydrated. I took a few sips from the glass on the table.

The other three kept silence and let Jameel do the interrogation. While the thick moustached man observed me, the other two wrote something on the notebooks they were carrying.

“Do you know where you are?” Jameel asked.

“In Karachi police custody, sir,” I replied as naively as I could.

Giving me a mocking look, he said, “Don’t fool yourself. Your asshole would be filled with petrol by now if we were the police.”

I could not say a word.

He continued. “Look, boy. We are the ISI. That is the difference between the police and the ISI. They fill your asshole with spices because they do not know anything about you and we stuff your shithole because we know everything about you.”

Then, suddenly changing to a more stern tone, he asked why I had lied to them the other day when they asked me about my name.

I had not given them any pseudonym. Believing they had gotten it wrong, I told them my name again.

“And what is your father’s name?”

“Murad.” I replied.

He shouted at me to stand up. As soon as I stood up, I received a forceful beating at my buttocks. The guard standing behind had used his studded wide leather belt which they call Chetter in Urdu. The pain was excruciating. It was far superior than the beatstick of our schoolteachers.

“I am telling the truth, sir,” I cried out like an obedient student being punished for no reason.

He asked me my father’s name again. I was completely clueless. That was the name by which everybody knew my father.

Before I could answer, Mr Jameel said, “Your father’s name is Mohammed Murad.”

I remembered he was correct. It was me who had forgotten that my father’s official name is Mohammed Murad. But what difference did it make if you do not add Mohammed. For Jameel it made a difference and he explained why.

“Look, boy. You know what your problem is? You people take Islamic names and then feel embarrassed to use them. Do you consider yourself a Muslim when you do not know your father’s Islamic name but remember his un-Islamic name?

He waited for my reply.

“Yes, sir. I am a Muslim,” that was all I could say.

As if he had anticipated my answer, he asked promptly, “If you are a Muslim recite dua e qonoot.”

I could only recall a word or two of dua e qonoot as I had never memorized it.

I was hit again with the Chetter on my upper back and bums. I wished I had memorized dua e qonoot.

“What is your position in the BSO?” He continued his interrogation.

“I am just a member,” I lied unwittingly, hoping that I would escape some torture and questions by presenting myself as an ordinary member of the BSO.

Jameel ordered me back to my cell. In the cell, I was provided with a diaphanous white shirt and a similar pyjama. The shirt had a yellow luminous X stitched on the back. The pyjama hanged by a thin rubber band on my waist. My Made-in-USA handcuffs were replaced with Pakistani handcuffs and the hands were tied on the front. The black hood on my head was also taken away. The fetters remained with a constant heaviness on my legs.

The cell was around four feet wide and six feet long. The door was of black metal with bar openings about approximately at a height from which anyone standing outside the cell could easily look into. The light from a bulb hanging from the ceiling of the corridor illuminated my cell round the clock. Just inches above the foot of the door there was an additional horizontal opening, approximately four inches in width and one foot long. An oscillating fan with its ever humming noise was mounted on the wall just opposite the door opening.

There was no way one could tell what time it was. When they slipped flat bread and some daal in a plate from the lower hole of the door that I could tell its purpose and also the time. I still could not convince myself to eat. I knew by now that there were other prisoners in the nearby cells but I could not hear any of my friends’ voice.

When the guards had apparently left the corridor and I heard some prisoners speaking among themselves I gathered some strength and yelled out in Balochi to check if any of my friends were there. Akhter and Ghulam Rasool replied back confirming that they were in the nearby cells. Before we could initiate a conversation, a guard gave me a hard truncheon blow on the face through the upper bar opening of the door. Either the guards walked with great caution or they wore shoes which muffled sound. Either way it was difficult to know beforehand that they were coming until they tapped on the metal door with their truncheon.

The other prisoners were hardened al Qaeda members. Due to their devotion to Islam they enjoyed respect in the eyes of the guards and apparently had the privilege to exchange a few words among themselves during the day. I felt all prisoners should be treated equal; discrimination hurts, even if you are already in a cruel place like a dungeon.

The sudden realization that I had not urinated since I had been held gave rise to an urgent urge to urinate. When I timidly asked the guard, he pointed to an empty two-litre Pepsi bottle at the corner of the cell and said, “Urinate there”.

The beatings from the guards did not look so frequent, just occasional slaps on the neck, or a sporadic pulling of hair, a light kick on the legs, or, on some occasions, a twisting of ear. The guards did those things to me more out of a habit than necessity. It was their way, as I believed, to relieve themselves of their daily pressure.

Somehow, in an unexplainable way, the victim acquires these habits from their tormentors. I know this because, after being released, I used to have this urge of occasional abusive outbursts, pulling someone’s hair, or slapping them. Such is the complexity of the relation between the tormentor and the tormented.

I was in complete solitude; always in a dream like state. Facts, time and dates were all blurry with a distorted mood of helplessness and compliance. Most of the day passed in a trance like state, daydreaming.

I had learnt that to visit the toilet more frequently one should start praying. This allowed five or four visits to the toilet every day. You might get a glimpse of one of your friends peeping from the bar openings while walking through the corridor, though you are not allowed to turn and look.

By now I had confirmed that Akhter Nadeem, Ghulam Rasool and Naseem were in the same dungeon. I had not seen Imdad, Allah Nizar and Ali Nawaz Gohar. The cells were painted grey black. There were every type of graffiti on the walls. Previous victims had also carved out their names on the walls. After every three meals and the isha prayers I would carve a vertical line on the wall to keep track of the days.

At nights a guard would come once or twice and tapped the door with his truncheon. He was accompanied by an officer. We were obliged to wake up from the sleep, stand up facing the wall and raise our hands. If you took time to execute this task, the guards would open the door and start hitting you with the truncheon. I learnt this the hard way when one night I had thoughtlessly decided not to heed and kept sleeping.

It was also required that I do not look back and see the accompanying officer. The guards would always warn that a glimpse of the officer would block all our chances of getting out of there alive. I believe the job of the officer was to ensure no prisoner died of torture. He would occasionally ask questions about my health. There was complete silence otherwise.

For days I would not be spoken to. At times, despite the fear of torture, I longed to be interrogated. I longed to be spoken to by the guards despite knowing that the Punjabi language could not be spoken without verbal slurs. And these slurs were coarser in the dungeon.

Holding ones urge to defecate until the guards had the courtesy to take you to the toilet was gruelling. Going to the toilet was similarly punishing too. It was a squat toilet. The door was only two feet high so that the guards could pull the chain when required; one end of the chain was locked into the handcuffs and the other was in the guard’s hands. The guards would count to forty five and pull the chain.

One had to defecate and wash himself while the guard was looking, all in 45 counts. Most of the guards were cooperative though. They would count slowly if there was no officer around. But, again, an occasional pull before washing was always expected. In normal life this would be maddening, but in a torture cell one is even robbed of his anger. One would look with pleading eyes to the guard to count a bit slower.

One day, probably the evening of the fifth day of my detention, two guards entered my cell. They ordered me to stand and face the wall. My hands were handcuffed on the back and the black cloth bag was put on my head. The bag alone would freeze my entrails.

After being blindfolded, I was walked to the interrogation room, staggering all the while. Inside the interrogation room, a new voice sarcastically welcomed me. I could also hear Jameel say, “Sir, this guest is from my province. I hope you entertain him well”.

In a coercing tone, the interrogator started his pre-torture lecture. There was always a lecture at the beginning and one at the end of the interrogation.

“Look boy,” said he, “it has been days that you are rotting here. It does not bother us at all if you linger here for another few years. It all depends on you. If you cooperate and tell us the truth, you might suffer less and might not rot here.”

Then he read out a list of things that I had done in the last previous years, mostly about BSO lectures, seminars and protests, including the one in which I had worn a black armband. These details were enough to convince me that they had been watching me and they knew details of my political activities.

He continued his condemning lecture. “Since you have already diminished your chances by lying to us about your role in the BSO, you are a good candidate to be eliminated. You should know we know everything. You know how we eliminated Hameed Baloch*? He was hanged and he became a hero but that was a mistake. Things have changed now. We will not hang you. We will let you rot here.”

The talks were meant to inflict maximum degradation and submission before being flooded with questions ranging from politics to prostitution. I was made to step on a stool and stand on it. Being blindfolded, it was difficult to maintain my balance. There was a time frame to answer each question. The answers were always required to be instantaneous. If the interrogator felt that you are taking too much time or you are thinking, you would be either pricked with a needle on any part of your body or hit with a single blow of chetter or a slap on the face. You could never guess what sort of hitting you will get on the next question. If you fell from the stool you would be laid on the floor, feet raised, and beaten until your feet tore with pain. After being hit ruthlessly at the soles, it wold be more difficult to keep the balance on the stool with swollen feet.

The interrogation went on for hours, sometimes repeating the exact questions numerous times. Every time a question was repeated my previous answer would be presented to me in a twisted form to prove me a liar. If I tried to argue that I had not said such a thing I would be beaten with the chetter, or the truncheon until I accepted I had indeed said that.

This combined procedure of twisting my answers and torture rendered me so confused and terrified that at the end I did not know what I had actually said. At some point into the interrogation I felt that it did not matter what I said; I would always be proven, with reason, to have lied and then beaten. My calves felt like bursting out with blood after being swollen due to the hours-long stand.

At times I was told that my friends had already confessed to several acts of crime and they had also testified against me. Then they would ask me to speak about my friends’ crimes. I could have reasoned why I was being asked to testify about their crimes if they had already confessed, but I knew better than this. I had learnt that reasoning would lead to further beatings. The best bet was to avoid reasoning and give them an impression that you were in complete compliance and submission. Submission and compliance gratified their latent “army superiority complex”.

At the end of the day’s interrogation, my handcuffed hands were tied to the fetters of my feet at the back and I was laid face down so that my shoulders and knees both were raised. Two people took turns to hit my feet soles with a stick, and my knees, legs and arms with the chetter until I lost consciousness.

During the interrogation sessions, the most frequent questions were:

From where does the BSO get its money?

What plans do you have for protests against the Pakistan military?

Why are you against the military?

What is the relation between the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) BLA and the BSO?

What is the relation between the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) and the BLA?

Have you ever met Nawab Akbar Bugti or Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri?

How are the BSO members trained?

Do you extort money from businessmen, or others? Why do people donate to you?

Who are leading the BLA and the BLF?

Have you ever visited any foreign country?

Do you know anyone who has carried out bomb blasts or is a guerrilla?

What does the BSO want and how are you going to get it?

Who are the BSO leaders in Karachi? They also asked about certain BSO members from Karachi.

Why does the BLF use Balochistan in its name and not Baloch like the BLA? To this, I obviously did not have any answer.

I had regained consciousness by the time I was brought back to my cell. Every part of my body was in writhing pain. I had bruises all over my body and I had started passing blood-red urine. The bottle filled with this urine was a reminder of the torture. Whenever I tried to stand a searing pain ran from the soles to the backbone. Time and dates were once again blurred as I had stopped praying and eating. I was drained, exhausted and in a vague state of mind until I fell asleep.

They had arrested some new Islamic militants and Akhter Nadeem was shifted to my cell because of shortage of space. I had not known Akhter Nadeem well before being arrested. I only knew that he was a former BSO member and a contractor in Gwadar. Yet, it was delightful to talk to someone after such a long period of complete silence and solitude.

My bruises were getting better.

(To be continued.)

*Hameed Baloch was a member of the BSO who was sentenced to death by a military court. He was executed in 1981

Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations

Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations By Daryl Copeland

by wpengine | Jul 20, 2011 | FeaturesPast IssuesSummer 2010: Pursuing Human Rights Through Public Diplomacy

Given the often-stodgy perception of “the diplomat,” author Daryl Copeland sets out to modernize and reinvigorate the field of diplomacy and the role of the diplomat in his engaging book, Guerilla Diplomacy.  A career diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service, Copeland draws from personal experience to question the role of diplomacy within the international system, as he believes that role is ill-adapted for the age of globalization. He calls for a restructuring of the traditional “diplomatic ecosystem”—comprised of the foreign ministry, foreign service, and diplomatic corps—through a convincing four-part framework.  His solutions are not simply tailored for the traditional diplomat or government official but are relevant for an audience comprised of NGOs, business people, and trade commissioners.

Copeland begins by examining how elements of the Cold War, which carried over into the globalization era, have created conditions for instability in today’s world. In addition to a lingering “us vs. them” mentality in which terrorists have replaced communists, he describes how a scarcity of resources during the Cold War gave way to the desire of populations for goods, services, and technology in the post-Cold War environment.  Businesses recognized this opportunity and took advantage of conditions by raising capital in finance centers, assembling products in cheap labor markets, and marketing in areas of product demand.  Economic centers were created through a diffusion of business responsibilities interconnected with mass communication ability.  All of this, Copeland believes, played a role in building a hierarchy of dependent nations and resulted in present day poverty found throughout many parts of the world. He calls development a double-edged sword, where prosperity is increased in one location while poverty and dependency are, in turn, elevated in another.  The relationship between development and security is a major introductory theme, where he argues, contrary to the military theory of establishing security before development, such development is a precursor for security; concurrently, however, development may also ultimately lead to insecurity.

With this in mind, Copeland proposes a new world order as an overarching concept that he touches upon throughout the book.  The three-tiered world order of development, created by way of the Cold War Eastern and Western Blocs, he believes, is outdated and, instead, should be modernized by adapting a system based on globalization’s level of impact on development. This new categorization system avoids adherence to national boundaries and instead encompasses areas such as the nation-state, regional specific populations, and even specific career fields.  Copeland considers Science and Technology (S&T) as the new currency for development and characterizes globalization’s footprint in a particular region by its level of S&T present in the “global political economy of knowledge”. The author uses the term “digital divide” to explain the difference between groups advancing in globalization and those who are largely excluded.

After laying out the historical context and establishing a framework for a new world order, Copeland moves forward with his argument that the skill sets of traditional diplomats are outdated and not equipped to address the complex challenges of today.  The state of diplomacy is best described by Copeland when he writes, “[D]iplomats don’t know what they need to know, do not know where to get what they need to know, and would not know what to do with it if they got it”. He calls for a more effective approach to diplomacy that moves away from direct government-to-government relations and toward one where partnerships are formed between governments and foreign publics through a dialogue facilitated by civil society.

Copeland applauds public diplomacy as an advance on the diplomatic spectrum, especially when it is grounded in local cultures and demonstrates shared political values abroad.  While public diplomacy is admired, however, he believes this practice can be taken one step further to create the diplomat of the future.

On the diplomatic spectrum, “guerrilla diplomacy” falls farthest away from traditional diplomacy but incorporates all elements of public diplomacy including listening and seeing.  Copeland believes in experimenting with the role of the diplomat.  He proposes that diplomatic “posts” should include internet cafes, virtual desks, and Fortune 500 companies in order to take advantage of 21st century venues of influence and regional knowledge.  He also proposes a diplomatic reserve force as well as diplomatic SWAT teams with roving ambassadors in post-conflict zones to assist with reconstruction instead of generals and tanks.  In defining the role of the guerrilla diplomat, Copeland develops a comparison between counterinsurgency operations and the new world order where guerrilla diplomacy should characterize future diplomatic relations.  Just as the military has rules of engagement, guerrilla diplomacy has the rogue tools of engagement borrowed from warfare.  In today’s counterinsurgency operations, the soldier must keep his ears to the ground and eyes on the horizon using every sense to interpret his environment.  The guerrilla diplomat, in turn, will have to employ a high level of situational awareness, agility, and self-sufficiency, while also utilizing abstract thinking.

The unique themes and revolutionary proposals in Guerrilla Diplomacy are exactly what the diplomatic community needs today as a guide to entering the 21stcentury.  Copeland thoroughly explains how the world has evolved since the Cold War and why new methodologies are necessary and relevant. Guerilla Diplomacy provides the much-needed innovative tools of diplomatic engagement to navigate the dimly lit path ahead

Hasan Nasir Ki Shahadat

Umer A. Chaudhry reviews a book containing graphic details about the Communist leader Hassan Nasir’s killing.


Hasan Nasir Ki Shahadat
Major Ishaq Mohammad
Xavier Publications, Multan
Rs. 500

The letters of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg moved the lyrical pen of Faiz Ahmed Faiz to write his monumental poem ‘hum jo tareek rahon mein mare gaye.’ The Rosenbergs were Marxists and victims of McCarthyism. A few hours before they were sent to the electric chair in 1953, they left an everlasting message of hope for their children: “Be comforted then that we were serene and understood with the deepest kind of understanding, that civilization had not as yet progressed to the point where life did not have to be lost for the sake of life; and that we were comforted in the sure knowledge that others would carry on after us.”

McCarthyism is widely documented as a dark chapter in the history of the U.S.A. It is considered synonymous with Communist witch-hunts, state-sponsored red bashing, illegal detentions of left-wing activists and the arbitrary use of state power to censor progressive political expression. McCarthyism was not merely an American experience. During the heyday of the Cold War, systematic repressive measures against Communism were introduced by almost all allies of the U.S.A. Pakistan was no exception, although there has been very little written on this subject, and there is no accessible documentation in this regard. Who were the victims of anti-Communist repression in Pakistan? How were these radical Socialists persecuted? What is their history? These unconventional questions are usually sidelined or silenced.

Major Ishaq Mohammad’s book ‘Hassan Nasir ki Shahadat’ lays bare to some extent the murky historical chapter of state repression of Communism in Pakistan. Major Ishaq Mohammad needs no introduction. He was imprisoned for four years along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Syed Sajjad Zaheer in the hitherto unresolved 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case. Ishaq Mohammad gained massive popularity during the 60’s and 70’s as the leader of the Mazdoor Kissan Party. He led the peasant revolts of Hashtnager and was well-known for his militant stand against capitalism and landlordism. Arrested after the military coup of General Zia-ul-Haq, he suffered from paralysis during his imprisonment. Despite his ill-health, he refused the military government’s offer for medical help provided he tendered an apology. Defiant till his last breath, he bade farewell to this world in 1982.

‘Hassan Nasir ki Shahadat’ is woven around a tale that has never been told. The story is set in the winter of 1960 when Ishaq Mohammad, a young lawyer well into the second year of his legal practice, met Faiz Ahmed Faiz on Lahore’s Mall Road and found him unusually depressed and perturbed. Faiz told Ishaq Mohammad that ‘ a Communist from Karachi’ had been brought to the Lahore Fort. He was subjected to heavy torture – so much so that his cries of pain terrified other prisoners in the Fort. It was the wife of one such prisoner who had told Faiz about the horrifying torture.

Ishaq Mohammad had been to the Lahore Fort as a detainee in 1959 and 1960, though only for short periods of time. The Fort was a symbol of terror in Pakistan at that time. This symbol of Mughal majesty had been turned into a draconian detention and investigation centre during the period of British colonialism. The “criminals” of the independence movement were often detained in the Fort for questioning through questionable means. After 1947, the Criminal Investigation Department took over the command of the Lahore Fort. The conditions there, well-documented in the book under review, were already horrific enough to paralyze a sane mind. The law enforcers, trained under the colonial regime,applied their “investigation techniques” on stubborn detainees.

After the ban on the Communist Party along with its sister organizations, and the military coup of 1958,the Lahore Fort was often used to interrogate leftist political activists. Major Ishaq Mohammad knew that the ‘Communist from Karachi’ was none other than Hassan Nasir, the Provincial Secretary of the banned underground Communist Party active in Karachi. He was also a member of the National Awami Party (NAP). Despite being the scion of a landlord family of Hyderabad, Deccan, Hassan Nasir had taken up the cause of the oppressed in Karachi. He was arrested in 1952 and exiled to India for one year. He returned to Pakistan immediately after the completion of the exile period and gave up his comfortable life to continue with his political struggle.

Ishaq Mohammad moved a habeas corpus petition in the High Court at Lahore through the able representation of Mahmood Ali Kasuri on November 22, 1960. It was during the hearing of the petition on the next day that the news of Hassan Nasir’s death surfaced. According to the government version, Hassan Nasir committed suicide by hanging himself from a nail in his detention cell at the Lahore Fort on November 13. Progressive circles around Pakistan were shell- shocked. How could a young man full of hope and commitment take his own life? Ishaq Mohammad also refused to believe the government’s version. In order to protect his comrade’s dignity, he devoted himself to the magisterial inquiry into the cause of death of a detainee in police custody, mandated under section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898.

Gradually Ishaq Mohammad started to uncover the lacunas in the State’s version: the discrepancy about the position of hanging marks on Hassan Nasir’s neck, the contradictory accounts of marks found on Hassan’s elbow and knee, and the absence of any plausible motive for suicide. A great deal was required before the inquiry could be finalized. The attitude of the state officials and the magistrate towards Ishaq Mohammad was highly hostile. For more than half of the questions asked by Ishaq Mohammad during different cross-examinations, the police officials standing in the witness box took the plea of secrecy in order to frustrate the legal process.

The most sordid episode in the magisterial inquiry emerged when the dead body of Hassan Nasir was exhumed. Ishaq Mohammad considered the dead body to be his primary evidence that could conclusively prove that he had died due to torture and not suicide. Despite his repeated requests before the magistrate and the High Court, the dead body was not permitted to be exhumed. Even the site of the grave was not identified by the police, nor did the Court order the police to do so. Hassan Nasir’s dead body was only allowed to be exhumed when his mother arrived from India to take the body back home with her. On closely inspecting the teeth, hair and feet of the corpse shown to her, his mother, Zehra Alambardar Hussain, refused to accept it as that of her son. The police had decided to conceal Hassan Nasir’s body from even his mother. It was at this point that Ishaq Mohammad decided to withdraw from the magisterial inquiry. The whole apparatus of the state under military rule had united to keep the circumstances of Hassan Nasir’s death a secret. The judicial probe was thwarted.

Ishaq Mohammad’s efforts to document the course of the inquiry have filled a major vacuum in Pakistan’s history. While informing readers about the proceedings in the magisterial inquiry, the book under review touches some very important topics like the colonial character and workings of the Punjab police, state sponsorship of torture, and the cruelties that occurred in the Lahore Fort.

At many points in the book the author has written that history will do justice to the cause of Hassan Nasir. Disappointed by the magisterial enquiry, Ishaq Mohammad left the final verdict to the conscience of the people of Pakistan by writing ‘Hassan Nasir ki Shahadat’. He was sure the records that were buried by the police under the plea of secrecy and “the broad national interest” would one day see the light of day. That day has not yet arrived. The publication of the book under review is a grim reminder of justice denied to a person who sacrificed himself for the betterment of humanity. It is also an indictment against the current rulers of Pakistan who continue to keep the details of this gruesome episode a secret.

The book review was first published in The Friday Times, Lahore July 10-16 issue. The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore and can be reached at: umer.ch@gmail.com

Who gave BJP/RSS the right to represent Hindus in India

An excellent retort to a question so called liberals and seculars commonly ask:

Q: Who gave BJP/RSS the right to represent Hindus in India......

Answered by Neil Mezi on quora:

Not that I am any RSS fan,
But who gave you the right to steal and claim all of India’s freedom struggle as gift/charity to Indian masses by the sole family/nepotistic dynasty - The Gandhis? Aren't you erasing, white washing, mocking the sacrifices of millions of freedom fighters, mass heroes like Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekar Azad, Subash Chandra Bose etc that laid down their lives for the country?

Who gave you right to loot India for 60 years?Who gave you right to name all airports, ports after your nepotistic family? Is India your personal property?

Who gave you right to donate India’s land coco Islands etc to other nations without seeking Indian masses permission? Is India’s land your personal property?

Who gave you right to declare muslims as minority when Parsis, Jains, Jews, Buddhists, homosexuals, transgenders are actual minority and muslims the second largest majority?

Who gave you right to tax hindu temples and shrines and use the money for government and expenditure for all religion masses, but exempt tax on muslim and Christian shrines in name of appeasement? Are you punishing hindu faith believers for being hindus?

Who gave you right to segregate common laws meant for all? You reformed Hindu law and don't touch other religion’s law?

Who gave you right to allow muslims to practice polygamy etc but ban other faiths to do it, isn’t this sheer hypocrisy/ open bias towards one religion followers under the pretence of being secular party?

Who gave you right to spend Indian tax payers money on madrassa religious education when you don't pay same amount of funds to other religion followers education?

Who gave you right to fund haj subsidies, provide minority quota etc to them when you don't provide same subsidies to other faiths to visit their shrine or provide minority quota to kashmiri pandits in JK or other 8 states where hindus are in a minority?

Who gave you right to send/ use Indian navy frigate to lay wreath on sea burial of Edwina Mountbatten by her love interest Nehru in his personal capacity at British’s South Coast? Is Indian Navy machinery, your family members personal property?

Who gave you right to provide secret/safe passage to criminal Warren Anderson, Union Carbide CEO who was charged with manslaughter by Indian court and put in custody?

Who gave you right to flee a person from custody who was responsible for blinding and deaths of lakhs of people in Bhopal gas tradegy? Whose generation after generation still suffer deformity and yet received no compensation from them. Wasn't that betrayal and criminal on your part to India?

Who gave you right to mock 26/11 tragedy, strikes at border etc from the likes of Digvijay Singh, Sanjay Nirupam etc?

When Congress can answer all these questions, they can bother questioning others.

January 16, 2018

Hassan Nasir: The man who wasn’t there


Nadeem F. ParachaUpdated November 08, 2015

A political party poster with Hassan Nasir’s image

On October 31, during the first phase of the local bodies’ elections in Sindh and Punjab, I was going through the many images (of the event) that were being uploaded on my Facebook timeline.

Since the PPP (in Sindh) and the PML-N (in the Punjab) were clearly sweeping the polls, most of the uploaded pictures were of workers and supporters of the two parties celebrating their big wins in the elections.

However, as I was flicking through the photos on my iPad, I suddenly came across images of two celebratory gatherings — one in Sindh and one in Punjab. In these pictures more than a dozen or so supporters were carrying posters of a bygone communist activist, Hassan Nasir.

His face has become a symbol of defiance on political parties’ posters, since the 1970s

What is this, I wondered? Initially I supposed that the photos were of some PPP workers trying to link their party’s victory (in the area where the photo was taken) to the PPP’s distant socialist past. But I couldn’t see any PPP flags in the photos.


Intrigued, I messaged the young gentleman (on Facebook) who had uploaded the pictures. I asked him who the folks in the photos were.

The young man was a Sindhi and a student at the University of Sindh in Jamshoro. He told me that he was a member of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) — a leftist grouping of various small Marxist outfits who had merged in 2010 to form the AWP.

One of the photos was taken in the city of Okara in the Punjab, and the other was taken in Naseerabad, a town in upper Sindh’s Qambar Shahdadkot District.

The AWP had won a seat in Okara, Punjab so the Okara photo was of young AWP workers celebrating their contestant’s victory which they claim was achieved by putting up a committed party worker.

The other photo was of Naseerabad where the AWP had won a couple of seats in the mentioned elections. But I pondered, what was Hassan Nasir (who passed away in 1960) symbolising in a gathering of a left-wing group in this day and age; and / or 25 years after the demise of the Soviet Union and with it, communism?

I had first come to know about Nasir when I was a teenaged college student in Karachi in the early 1980s. Posters with his image had continued to crop up during the many movements that emerged against the reactionary Ziaul Haq dictatorship (1977-88).

At the time, the posters were mostly being issued by left-wing student groups such as the NSF, and parties such as the Mazdoor Kissan Party (MKP), and also the PPP.

In 1985, a MKP activist had told me that posters of Nasir had even emerged during the 1977 movement against the first PPP government of Z.A. Bhutto (1971-77). Some leftist groups, after being incensed by Bhutto’s ‘authoritarian personality’ and his regime’s ‘betrayal of its socialist agenda’, had joined hands with the right-wing alliance (the PNA) in a bid to topple Bhutto.

Ironically, before all this, Hassan Nasir’s image had actually first been used on PPP posters during the 1970 election when the party was positioning itself as a socialist alternative to the religious right and the ‘capitalist / feudal statuesque’.

So Nasir’s face continued to crop up (as a symbol of defiance) in the early 1970s, the late 1970s, and the early 1980s. It continues to pop up even today.

However, unlike Che Guevara (the celebrated Latin American revolutionary who was killed in 1967), and whose image too continues to be used by various protest groups around the world, Nasir’s image is yet to get his very own ‘post- modernist’ makeover by also appearing on coffee cups and on baseball hats!

But who was Hassan Nasir?

Hassan Nasir was born into an aristocratic Muslim family in Hyderabad Deccan, India. After finishing school in his hometown, Nasir got admission in UK’s prestigious Cambridge University where he came into contact with various young British and Indian Marxists.

On his return to India, and against his family’s wishes, he plunged into a peasants’ uprising against feudal lords and British Colonial overlords in the Telangana region.

When the movement collapsed after the departure of the British in 1947, Nasir decided to migrate to Pakistan. In 1950, he arrived in Karachi and joined the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP). His family stayed back in India.

Though just 22 years old at the time, he greatly impressed the CPP leadership with his profound knowledge of Marxism.

Soon, Nasir’s revolutionary outlook and charisma made him popular among college students, peasants and factory workers. In 1954 he was arrested by the government, jailed, tortured and then forcibly flown back to India.

However, in 1955, he quietly slipped back in. Since the CPP had been banned, Punjabi and Urdu-speaking leftists began joining progressive Sindhi, Baloch, Bengali and Pashtun nationalists to form the National Awami Party (NAP). In 1957 Nasir was made the party’s secretary general in Karachi.

He turned his office into a busy working and planning area for leftist students and trade unionists. Though his aristocratic background could have easily guaranteed him a rich and comfortable life in Karachi, he chose to live among labourers cramped in and around the make-shift shanty towns that had sprung up in the glittering metropolis.

In 1958, when Field Marshal Ayub Khan launched a military coup, he ordered a crackdown against leftists as well as against the religious parties. Nasir went underground.

Veteran communist leader, Jamal Naqvi, in his 2014 memoir writes that in 1960, Ayub, while being briefed by Karachi’s police chief, lost his cool when Nasir’s name came up. He is reported to have lashed out and shouted, ‘How is that bloody communist still free … ?’

The Ayub regime was equally harsh towards the religious parties. But Nasir’s activities and his popularity among the students and labourers had begun to greatly perturb the regime.

Nasir was finally located, hiding in a shanty town in Karachi. He was picked up by the police and then flown in chains to a special cell that had been set-up by the police in Lahore’s historical Lahore Fort.

Naqvi informs that here Nasir was continuously tortured, beaten up and refused food and water for days. Then finally, he was slayed in his muggy, tiny cell. He was just 32.

The Muslim aristocrat’s son who had become a communist rebel was never seen or heard from again.

The press was told that Nasir had died in an accident. The news of his death left his father suffering a mental breakdown. He had wanted his son to become a civil servant. His mother refused to believe that the body that the police had shown to the press was his.

With Nasir’s father indisposed, his mother travelled alone to Lahore to reclaim the body. ‘This is not my son’s body,’ the ailing old woman shouted and then fell to the ground. She was escorted out by the police and put in a waiting rickshaw.

She returned home empty-handed. Till this day, nobody is quite sure what happened to the young man’s body and where is it buried. His father passed away and the family eventually lost its aristocratic status in India. The mother too died soon after.

The country’s leftists consider Nasir to be their first modern ‘martyr’. That’s why his face has continued to emerge on posters ever since the 1970s.

‘He still symbolises defiance and clarity of purpose beyond the political cynicism and rightest demagoguery of today,’ (sic). This is how the young man who had uploaded the pictures described Nasir when he wrote back to me.

Indeed. Well, as long as Nasir (like Che) too doesn’t end up on coffee mugs …

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, November 8th, 2015

Policing Practices in a Global Perspective



5 JANUARY 2018

From Aarhus to Manila

Peter Albrecht, Maya Mynster Christensen, Mette-Louise Johansen, Helene Maria Kyed, Paul Mutsaers, Dennis Pauschinger, Finn Stepputat, Francesco Colona, Jairo Matallana-Villarreal, Louise Wiuff Moe, Naomi von Stapele, Anna Warburg, Morten Koch Andersen


■   Prioritize support to the establishment and maintenance of bureaucratic checks and
balances, as this is essential to ensure legitimacy of the police.

■   Question forms of policing that rely on suspicionbased
preventive practices or arbitrary use of violence, even if popularly normalised.

■   Pay attention to how positive and negative aspects of CVE/counter-terrorist strategies to counter violence, extremism or terror directly and indirectly
shape contemporary policing across the global North and South.

Policing in the global North and the global South is becoming more alike. An increasingly common characteristic is the blurring of boundaries between rule-based and more personalized policing styles. Reasons for this approximation include a growing focus on fighting or preventing radicalisation globally, and a general debureaucratisation of policing that has occurred in the global North.

More than half of the world’s population live in cities,
and urban centres will absorb almost all population
growth in the coming decades. The growing size and density of cities combined with increasing inequality between their inhabitants, means that urban areas have become sites of intensified insecurity and violence. This occurs in a context where a multitude of actors makes claims to policing urban violence. While the mandate of the police is to enforce the law, police work in practice often extends beyond the official mandate of state-sanctioned law enforcement and crime regulation, breaking down clear-cut divisions between public and private. Policing in the global South and North is usually characterized as vastly different by researchers and policy-makers alike. However, by exploring how the state police make order in urban settings around the world, global commonalities emerge, including the blurring of boundaries between bureaucratic and more
intuitive policing styles.

Policing across the North-South divide
Policing in the global South is commonly seen as taking place in a context of limited statehood. In turn, this means that a multitude of actors – such as gangs, ex-combatants and private security firms – engages in and makes claims to policing the city in the absence of the state police. This emphasis tends to put the role of the state police in the background and means that the global South is approached as somewhat unique, even exotic, when it comes to the role of so-called non-state actors.

Yet, contemporary policing practices in the global South are not necessarily substantially different from those in the North. One of the reasons for this is that policing of complex urban security threats in the North associated with radicalization and terrorism have given rise to an expansion of policing beyond securityrelated aspects of law enforcement.

Covert policing and security as social welfare
A major shift in policing practices, which has contributed to greater resemblance on a global cale,
began in the early 2000s in the context of the “War on Terror”. Across the world, countering violence and extremism has gradually legitimized more covert policing practices that push and sometimes cross the boundary of what is within the rule of law. In Nairobi, for instance, where terrorist attacks are linked to Somali refugees, policing has translated into arbitrary arrests, and practices that disregard national and international law.

Policing in many parts of the world is often accompanied by
considerable fear among the police and policed alike.

In Europe, the agenda to counter violence and extremism has legitimized the extension of policing
practices into new sectors of the welfare system, and thereby blurred boundaries between security and other public services. The ‘Aarhus Model’ in Denmark was established as a counter-radicalization initiative that is run by a variety of social services, including the youth sector, unemployment centre, street-based workers, social-psychiatric services – and the police.

The partial dissolution of what constitutes a particular policing task is reinforced further by the way in which radicalization is depicted. The ‘Aarhus Model’ uses the World Health Organization’s model for how epidemics spread to explain the dangers of radicalisation. While Danish authorities do not see the relationship between radicalization and a virus as one-to-one, they see radicalization as something that spreads, and while some are more at risk than others are, everyone can be ‘infected’.

Proximity and plural policing
An emerging commonality between policing in the global South and North is the blurring of boundaries between bureaucratic, rule-based and more personalized and intuitive policing styles. When states are considered fragile or failing, a central characteristic is a weak bureaucratic system that lacks administrative and political checks and balances. Fragility and failure are labels that are applied to a number of states in the global South. At the same time, the perception that bureaucratisation – or too much of it – is negative and even, anti-liberal, influences the evolution of policing practices in the global North.

Police reform in the Netherlands, for instance, has over the past years sought to minimize the distance between the public and the police by debureaucratising policing practices. This involves minimizing the paperwork and administration that is part of working within state institutions, but creates distance between police and population. The rationale behind debureaucratisation is that police officers should be in the streets, not behind desks.

This has led to a move from ‘state externality’ to ‘state proximity’, which blurs the boundary between professional and private identities of police officers. These processes of blurring have facilitated a shift from criminal to popular justice, including racial profiling, which is increasingly central to policing practices across both the global South and North.

The move from rule-based to more intuitive policing styles has also facilitated the appropriation of military techniques. This ranges from the employment of military equipment in the fight against urban crime to an array of propaganda methods to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of the population.

Debureaucratisation in the global North may have diminished the distance between the police and the policed, and made the demarcation of competencies between state institutions progressively blurred. However, in several countries, primarily across the global South, the extension of policing beyond state-sanctioned law enforcement has never diminished, because bureaucratic practices always played a limited role in this regard. In Maputo, for instance, the police in many cases work through constant negotiation of legality and popular legitimacy. What is at stake is the status of the police, indeed, the definition of what the state should and should not do.

Violence against the police and police violence
Police violence is rarely applied without a degree of acceptance from a cross-section of the population that fears crime, terrorism or both. However, the police is not only the perpetrator, but also a victim of violence.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, kneecapping is used methodically to punish suspects, and in Rio de Janeiro politicians and the police depict policing as warfare in certain parts of the city. Policing in these contexts is often accompanied by considerable risk for local communities, but also for the officers themselves. In Rio, officers perceive their routines inside and outside their job as unsafe. They risk assassinations, for instance, during armed assaults when they respond to a robbery or if the perpetrators realise that they are robbing a member of the police. At times, they are
victims of targeted attacks.

As the police seek to maintain and enforce urban order, different rules and practices often apply to
different socio-economic and ethnic groups. Indeed, a moral boundary may be drawn between those who are allowed to live and those who are not. In poor urban settlements, in Nairobi for instance, policing strategies are built up around the explicit use of violence. The
target of extra-judicial killings is commonly young men suspected of being thieves, (potential) terrorists or both.

Policing is a form of social control that includes
processes of surveillance and the threat or use of
physical punishment to make and sustain order.

Violent forms of policing are also prominent in the Philippine government’s War on Drugs. In Manila, the police portray themselves as working inside the law, yet act outside it. This form of policing has created a climate of fear that is used as an order-making strategy; yet, fear and insecurity are experienced by the policed and police alike.

The broader population in Nairobi and Manila observes extra-judicial killings ambiguously. In Manila, the government’s War on Drugs is legitimate in the sense that the visibility of drugs and crime have decreased. Fundamentally, the public accepts the premise of the war on drugs, that is, the existence of a drug crisis in the Philippines. In Nairobi, violent actions by the police are to some extent accepted both inside and outside poor urban settlements, because they are linked to
perceived corruption and inefficiency of the judiciary.

This policy brief presents notable points of discussion from a workshop on urban policing held in Copenhagen on 22-23 June 2017. The workshop was hosted by DIIS · Danish Institute for International Studies and the Danish Institute against Torture (DIGNITY).

The policy brief is written by:
Peter Albrecht & Maya Mynster Christensen with: Mette-Louise Johansen, Helene Maria Kyed, Paul Mutsaers, Dennis Pauschinger, Finn Stepputat, Francesco Colona, Jairo Matallana-Villarreal, Louise Wiuff Moe, Naomi von Stapele, Anna Warburg, Morten Koch Andersen, Kari Øygard Larsen, Birgitte Dragsted Mutengwa og Steffen Bo Jensen

Will the Dollar Survive the Rise of the Yuan and the End of the Petrodollar?

Source: Mises.org

01/10/2018Alasdair Macleod

This might seem a frivolous question, while the dollar still retains its might, and is universally accepted in preference to other, less stable fiat currencies. However, it is becoming clear, at least to independent monetary observers, that in 2018 the dollar’s primacy will be challenged by the yuan as the pricing medium for energy and other key industrial commodities. After all, the dollar’s role as the legacy trade medium is no longer appropriate, given that China’s trade is now driving the global economy, not America’s.

At the very least, if the dollar’s future role diminishes, then there will be surplus dollars, which unless they are withdrawn from circulation entirely, will result in a lower dollar on the foreign exchanges. While it is possible for the Fed to contract the quantity of base money (indeed this is the implication of its desire to reduce its balance sheet anyway), it would also have to discourage and even reverse the expansion of bank credit, which would be judged by central bankers to be economic suicide. For that to occur, the US Government itself would also have to move firmly and rapidly towards eliminating its budget deficit. But that is being deliberately increased by the Trump administration instead.

Explaining the consequences of these monetary dynamics was the purpose of an essay written by Ludwig von Mises almost a century ago. At that time, the German hyperinflation was entering its final phase ahead of the mark’s eventual collapse in November 1923. Von Mises had already helped to stabilize the Austrian crown, whose own collapse was stabilized at about the time he wrote his essay, so he wrote with both practical knowledge and authority.

The dollar, of course, is nowhere near the circumstances faced by the German mark at that time. However, the conditions that led to the mark’s collapse are beginning to resonate with a familiarity that should serve as an early warning. The situation, was of course, different. Germany had lost the First World War and financed herself by printing money. In fact, she started down that route before the war, seizing upon the new Chartalist doctrine that money should rightfully be issued by the state, in preference to the established knowledge that money’s validity was determined by markets. Without abandoning gold for her own state-issued currency, Germany would never have managed to build and finance her war machine, which she did by printing currency. The ultimate collapse of the mark was not mainly due to the Allies’ reparations set at the treaty of Versailles, as commonly thought today, because the inflation had started long before.

The dollar has enjoyed a considerably longer life as an unbacked state-issued currency than the mark did, but do not think the monetary factors have been much different. The Bretton Woods agreement, designed to make the dollar appear “as good as gold”, was cover for the US Government to fund Korea, Vietnam and other foreign ventures by monetary inflation, which it did without restraint. That deceit ended in 1971, and today the ratio of an ounce of gold to the dollar has moved to about 1:1310 from the post-war rate of 1:35, giving a loss of the dollar’s purchasing power, measured in the money of the market, of 97.3%.

True, this is not on the hyperinflationary scale of the mark — yet. Since the Nixon shock in 1971, the Americans have been adept at perpetuating the myth of King Dollar, insisting gold now has no monetary role at all. By cutting a deal with the Saudis in 1974, Nixon and Kissinger ensured that all energy, and in consequence all other commodities, would continue to be priced in dollars. Global demand for dollars was assured, and the banking system of correspondent nostro accounts meant that all the world’s trade was settled in New York through the mighty American banks. And having printed dollars to ensure higher energy prices would be paid, they would then be recycled as loan capital to America and her friends. The world had been bought, and anyone not prepared to accept US monetary and military domination would pay the price.

That was until now. The dollar’s hegemony is being directly challenged by China, which is not shy about promoting her own currency as her preferred settlement medium. Later this month an oil futures contract priced in yuan is expected to start trading in Shanghai.1 Only last week, the Governor of China’s central bank met the Saudi finance minister, presumably to agree, amongst other topics, the date when Saudi Arabia will start to accept yuan for oil sales to China. The proximity of these two developments certainly suggest they are closely related, and that the end of the Nixon/Saudi deal of 1974, which created the petrodollar, is in sight.

Do not underestimate the importance of this development, because it marks the beginning of a new monetary era, which will be increasingly understood to be post-dollar. The commencement of the new yuan for oil futures contract may seem a small crack in the dollar’s edifice, but it is almost certainly the beginning of its shattering.

America’s response to China’s monetary maneuvring has always been that of a nation on the back foot. For the last year, the yuan has been rising against the dollar, following President Trump’s inauguration. Instead of responding to China’s hegemonic threat by increasing America’s role in foreign trade, President Trump has threatened all and sundry with trade restrictions and punitive tariffs. It is a policy which could not be more designed to undermine America’s global economic status, and with it the role of the dollar.

In monetary terms, this leads us to a further important parallel with Germany nearly a century ago, and that is the contraction of the territory and population over which the mark was legal tender then, and the acceptance of the dollar today. The loss of Germany’s colonies in Asia and Africa, Alsace-Lorraine to France, and large parts of Prussia to Poland, reduced the population that used the mark without a compensating reduction of the quantity of marks in circulation. Until very recently, most of the world was America’s monetary colony, and in that context, she is losing Asia, the Middle East and some countries in Africa as well. The territory that offers fealty to the dollar is definitely contracting, just as it did for the German mark after 1918, and as it did for the Austro-Hungarians, whose Austrian crown suffered a similar fate.

The relative slowness of the dollar’s decline so far should not fool us. The factors that led to the collapse of the German mark in 1923 are with us in our fiat currencies today. As Mises put it,

If the practice persists of covering government deficits with the issue of notes, then the day will come without fail, sooner or later, when the monetary systems of those nations pursuing this course will break down completely.

Updated for today’s monetary system, this is precisely how the American government finances itself. Instead of printing notes, it is the expansion of bank credit, issued by banks licensed by the government with this purpose in mind, that ends up being subscribed for government bonds. The same methods are employed by all advanced nations, giving us a worrying global dimension to the ultimate failure of fiat currencies, whose only backing is confidence in the issuers.

Now that America is being forced back from the post-war, post-Nixon-shock strategy of making the dollar indispensable for global trade, the underlying monetary inflation of decades will almost certainly begin to be reflected in the foreign and commodity exchanges. There is little to stand in the way of the global fiat monetary system, led by the dollar, to begin a breakdown in its purchasing power, as prophesied by Mises nearly a century ago. Whether other currencies follow the dollar down the rabbit hole of diminishing purchasing power will to a large extent depend on the management of the currencies concerned

How a Fiat Currency Dies

The last thing anyone owning units of a state-issued currency will admit to is that they may be valueless. Only long after it has become clear to an educated impartial monetary observer that this is the case, will they abandon the currency and get rid of it for anything while someone else will still take it in exchange for goods. In the case of the German hyperinflation, it was probably only in the last six months or so that the general public finally abandoned the mark, despite its legal status as money.

Mises reported that throughout the monetary collapse, until only the final months, there persists a general belief that the collapse in the currency would soon end, there always being a shortage of it. The change in this attitude was marked by the moment people no longer just bought what they needed ahead of actually needing it. Instead, they began to buy anything, just to get rid of the currency. This final phase is what Mises called the crack-up boom, though some far-sighted individuals had already acted well ahead of the crowd. Both these phases are still ahead for the American citizen. However, we can now anticipate how the first is likely to start, and that will be through dollars in foreign hands being replaced for trade purposes with the yuan, and then sold into the foreign exchanges.

Once the process starts, triggered perhaps by the petrodollar’s loss of its trade settlement monopoly, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility for the dollar to initially lose between a third and a half of its purchasing power against a basket of commodities, and a similar amount against the yuan, which is likely to be managed by the Chinese to retain its purchasing power. It will be in the interests of the Chinese authorities to promote the yuan as a sounder currency than the dollar to further encourage foreign traders to abandon the dollar. From China’s point of view, a stronger yuan would also help ensure price stability in her domestic markets, at a time when countries choosing to remain on a dollar-linked monetary policy will be struggling with rising price inflation.

There then emerges a secondary problem for the dollar. A fiat currency depends in large measure for its value on the credibility of the issuer. A weakening dollar, and the bear market in bonds that accompanies it, will undermine the US Government’s finances, in turn further eroding the government’s financial credibility. This will be happening after an extended period of the US Government being able to finance its deficits at artificially low interest rates, and is therefore unprepared for this radical change in circumstances.

As the dollar’s purchasing power comes under attack, lenders, whether they be those with surplus funds, or their banks acting as their agents, will increasingly take into account the declining purchasing power of the dollar in setting a loan rate. In other words, time-preference will again begin to dominate forward rates, and not central bank interest rate policy. This will be reflected in a significantly steeper yield curve in the bond market, forcing borrowers into very short-term financing or using other, more stable monetary media to obtain capital for longer-term projects. This, again, plays into the yuan becoming the preferred currency, possibly with a rapidity that will be unexpected.

The US Government is obviously ill-equipped for this drastic change in its circumstances. The correct response is to eliminate its budget deficit entirely, and refuse to bail out failing banks and businesses. Bankruptcies will be required to send surplus dollars to money heaven and therefore stabilise the dollar’s purchasing power. A change in the Fed’s attitude towards its banks and currency is, however, as unlikely as that of the Reichsbank subsequent to the Versailles Treaty.

Therefore, it follows that capital markets in dollars will inevitably be severely disrupted, and market participants will seek alternatives. Remember that the dollar’s strength has been based on its function in trade settlement and its subsequent deployment as the international monetary capital of choice. Both these functions can be expected to go into reverse as the trade settlement function is undermined.

Whether China will be tempted to employ the same methods in future to support the yuan as the Americans have during the last forty-three years for the dollar, remains to be seen. It may not be a trick that can be repeated. There is a great danger that a significant fall in the dollar will lead to global economic stagnation, coupled with escalating price inflation, affecting many of China’s trading partners. China will want to insulate herself from these dangers without adding to them by going for full-blown hegemony.

We are beginning, perhaps, to see this reflected in rising prices for gold and silver. China has effectively cornered the market for physical gold, the only sound money of the market that over millennia has survived all attempts by governments to replace it. Her central planners appear to have long been aware of the West’s Achilles’ heel in its monetary affairs, and have merely been playing along to China’s own advantage. As the dollar weakens in the coming years, her wisdom in securing for herself and her citizens the one form of money that’s no one else’s liability will ensure her survival in increasingly turbulent times.

Now that’s strategic thinking