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29 October 2017

USA - The Dragon in Afghanistan

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A SOUTH ASIAN crisis is still brewing after US Secretary Rex Tillerson’s speed visits to Afghan­istan, Pakistan and India. The brief encounter in Islamabad confirmed the gulf in Pakistan-US positions.

What the US and India want from Pakistan is impossible for it to deliver.

The US has decided to ‘stay on’ indefinitely in Afghanistan. It knows it cannot defeat the Afghan Taliban. It is unwilling to accept an equitable political settlement. It wants to utilise Afghanistan as a base to contain China, resist Russia, push back Iran and coerce Pakistan to target the Afghan Taliban, in particular the Haqqanis, in order to make its ‘stay’ in Afghanistan as ‘comfortable’ as possible. The US also wants Pakistan to suppress the Kashmiri militants and restrain its nuclear and missile programmes. These latter aims are, of course, fully shared by India.

In his public remarks, Tillerson cloaked US demands in the garb of concern for Pakistan’s stability. In fact, Pakistan is most certain to be destabilised if it accepts the US and Indian demands.

In the Zarb-i-Azb and subsequent operations, Pakistan expelled the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani fighters from its soil. Some Taliban leaders periodically cross into Pakistan, Iran and other neighbouring countries. In the past, Washington encouraged Pakistan to maintain contacts with Taliban leaders to promote a political settlement in Afghanistan. Now, however, it wants Pakistan to kill or capture them.

In the crisis unfolding, China could do several things to support Pakistan.

If Pakistan does start doing so, it would produce two outcomes: one, the Afghan Taliban would join the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaatul Ahrar and the militant Islamic State group in perpetrating terrorism against Pakistan; and two, it would foreclose the possibility of a political settlement in Afghanistan since there would be no one left in the insurgency with the authority or stature to negotiate such a settlement. This will prolong Afghanistan’s civil war, the suffering of its people and instability in the region.

The consequences of forcibly suppressing the Kashmiri militant groups are similarly predictable. Two of these organisations, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, were placed on the Security Council’s terrorism list when the previous government in Islamabad agreed to this under US pressure. But these groups and others, like the Hizbul Mujahideen, enjoy considerable popular support in Pakistan. Military and police action against members of these pro-Kashmiri groups who have not committed any crime will produce a public outcry and possibly a violent reaction and intensify, not restrict, extremism. A programme for deradicalisation of extremist groups through job creation and social reintegration is the best option. This would be easier if India halts its oppression in held Kashmir and agrees to a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s reasonable concerns fall on deaf ears in Washington and, of course, in New Delhi. Encouraged by US patronage, the Modi government is brutally suppressing the latest revolt of the Kashmiri people. It has also adopted an aggressive posture towards Pakistan: sponsoring anti-Pakistan terrorism from Afghanistan; intensifying ceasefire violations along the Line of Control; and issuing repeated threats of ‘surgical strikes’, ‘limited war’ and a ‘Cold Start’ attack against Pakistan.

Not only has the US not opposed Indian brutality in held Kashmir and aggression and threats against Pakistan, it has itself threatened Pakistan with sanctions, drone strikes and military intervention unless it complies with US demands. American drone strikes appear to be already under way. If Pakistan does not respond to unilateral US strikes, India may feel emboldened to carry out its threats of military incursion. A South Asian conflict could be ignited by miscalculation if not design.

To twist an idiom, it is time for the dragon in the room (China) to make an appearance.

America’s new alliance with India, its intention to arm India to the teeth, and its endorsement of New Delhi’s aim to kill the Kashmiri freedom movement, are designed to secure India’s collaboration to contain China’s rising power across Asia. Tillerson made no bones in spelling this out in his CSIS speech before visiting the region.

Likewise, the US decision to ‘stay on’ in Afghanistan is designed in large measure to restrict China’s growing influence in South and Central Asia and, more specifically, to challenge, if not disrupt, President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. Defence Secretary Mattis objected that the Belt and Road passed through ‘disputed territory’. Tillerson last week criticised the conditions of Chinese financing for the Belt and Road projects.

So far, China has responded somewhat passively to the US-India strategy. After Trump’s Aug 21 speech, the Chinese foreign minister defended Pakistan’s counterterrorism credentials. The Chinese foreign ministry refuted Mattis’s comment against CPEC. However, given the anti-Chinese genesis of the two-front threat which Pakistan faces today, and China’s strategic stake in the success of CPEC, it appears essential that Beijing extend strong political support to its oldest ‘strategic partner’ and ‘do more’ to equalise the South Asian equation that is presently tilted against Pakistan.

During all previous Pakistan-India crises, especially the 1965 and 1971 wars, China extended diplomatic, material and military support to Pakistan.

In the crisis now unfolding in South Asia, China could do several things to support Pakistan:

  1. — strongly endorse Pakistan and the UN’s demand for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan and help build a regional coalition in favour of such a settlement;
  2. — call for a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with international law and denounce India’s brutal repression of the Kashmiri people;
  3. — oppose all threats of use of force against Pakistan from any quarter and declare that any aggression against Pakistan will evoke an appropriate Chinese response;
  4. — affirm that CPEC’s security is the common and joint responsibility of Pakistan and China;
  5. — offer Pakistan advanced and appropriate weapons systems to defend and deter aggression from the east or the west.

The forthcoming visit of President Trump to China offers the opportunity for a powerful President Xi Jinping to convey China’s opposition to America’s India-centric policies and destabilising demands on Pakistan, and to propose a plan for comprehensive Sino-US cooperation to advance security and prosperity across Asia, including South Asia and the developing world.
"The dragon in the room" by Munir Akram, a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.

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Saudi promise of ‘moderate Islam’ shifts power سعودی عرب میں تبدیلی

The man who may soon be king of Saudi Arabia is charting a new, more modern course for a country so conservative that for decades there were no concerts or film screenings and women who attempted to drive were arrested.

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FOLLOWING the rapid ascent of Mohammed bin Salman to the second-most powerful position in Saudi Arabia, a series of unprecedented changes have occurred in the desert kingdom. The young crown prince — seen as the actual power behind the throne — had earlier announced that resort islands off the Red Sea coast would be developed, where the strict religious laws of the kingdom would not apply. He had also recently said that the ban on women drivers would soon be phased out. And the latest in this series of declarations came on Oct 24, when the prince announced the launch of NEOM, a $500bn mega project on Saudi Arabia’s north-western tip. Bin Salman has dubbed this bizarre dream “the first capitalist city in the world. ...” where Saudi law will, again, not be applicable. Along with these futuristic visions, the crown prince has talked of returning his country to ‘moderate Islam’.

From these pronouncements, it appears that bin Salman is embarking on a nation-building project, using a mix of social engineering and authoritarianism to fashion a new, ‘liberal’ Saudi Arabia. However, some things must be considered if the Saudi establishment is serious about changing direction. Firstly, opening nightclubs, beach resorts and allowing concerts, yet at the same time smothering all dissent and criticism, does not translate to a liberal setup. While the prince has announced these ambitious projects, his government has also intensified repression of critics, real and imagined. Over the past few months, clerics, activists and members of civil society have been rounded up by the security apparatus. Even some dissenting members of the royal family have reportedly been detained. For a truly pluralistic sociopolitical setup, people must be allowed to criticise their government, assemble peacefully and discuss ideas openly without fear. Secondly, it is a fact that at its core Saudi Arabia remains a tribal, conservative society. Therefore, any attempts at change must be incremental and, most importantly, should take the population on board. It should be remembered that the 1979 seizure of Makkah’s Masjid al-Haram by religious zealots was triggered by their apprehensions that the House of Saud was not ‘pious’ enough. Much of Saudi society — mainly because of the royal family’s patronage of hard-line clerics and their influence on the education system — may resist high-speed changes that threaten to undo social and religious structures. Therefore, for the sake of stability, the Saudi rulers need to progress steadily but carefully. [Editorial Dawn ]
Since catapulting to power with the support of his father, the king, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed forth changes that could usher in a new era for one of the United States’ most important allies and swing the kingdom away from decades of ultraconservative dogma and restrictions. He’s introduced musical concerts and movies again and is seen as the force behind the king’s decision to grant women the right to drive as of next year.

Opposition to the changes has so far been muted, but some critics of the prince have been detained. When social openings in the kingdom were taking place four decades ago, Sunni extremists opposed to the monarchy laid siege to Islam’s holiest site in Makkah.

Prince Mohammed’s agenda is upending the ruling Al Saud’s long-standing alliance with the kingdom’s clerical establishment in favour of synchronising with a more cosmopolitan, global capitalism that appeals to international investors and maybe even non-Muslim tourists.

The prince grabbed headlines in recent days by vowing a return to “moderate Islam”. He also suggested that his father’s generation had steered the country down a problematic path and that it was time to “get rid of it”.

In his sweeping “Vision 2030” plan to wean Saudi Arabia off of its near total dependence on petrodollars, Prince Mohammed laid out a vision for “a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method”.

Prince Mohammed, or MBS as he is widely known, used a rare public appearance on stage at a major investor conference in the capital, Riyadh, this week to drive home that message to a global audience.

“We only want to go back to what we were: moderate Islam that is open to the world, open to all religions,” he said in the ornate grand hall of the Ritz-Carlton. “We will not waste 30 years of our lives in dealing with extremist ideas. We will destroy them today.”

His remarks were met with applause and a front-page article in the Britain’s Guardian newspaper. In expanded remarks to the paper, the 32-year-old prince said that successive Saudi monarchs “didn’t know how to deal with” Iran’s 1979 revolution that brought to power a clerical Shia leadership still in place today.

That same year Saudi rulers weathered a stunning blow: Sunni extremists laid siege to Islam’s holiest site in Makkah for 15 days. The attack was carried out by militants opposed to social openings taking place at the time, seeing them as Western and un-Islamic.

Indeed, Sunni extremists have used the intolerant views propagated by the ideology known as Wahhabism to justify violence against others. Wahhabism has governed life in Saudi Arabia since its foundation 85 years ago.

The ruling Al Saud responded to the events of 1979 by empowering the state’s ultraconservatives. To hedge the international appeal of Iran’s Shia revolution, the government backed efforts to export the kingdom’s foundational Wahhabi ideology abroad.

To appease a sizeable conservative segment of the population at home, cinemas were shuttered, women were banned from appearing on state television and the religious police were emboldened.

Much is now changing under the crown prince as he consolidates greater powers and prepares to inherit the throne.

There are plans to build a Six Flags theme park and a semi-autonomous Red Sea tourist destination where the strict rules on women’s dress will likely not apply. Females have greater access to sports, the powers of the once-feared religious police have been curtailed and restrictions on gender segregation are being eased.

Unlike previous Saudi monarchs, such as King Abdullah who backed gradual and cautious openings, Prince Mohammed is moving quickly.

More than half of Saudi Arabia’s 20 million citizens are below the age of 25, meaning millions of young Saudis will be entering the workforce in the coming decade. The government is urgently trying to create more jobs and ward off the kinds of grievances that sparked uprisings in other Arab countries where unemployment is rampant and citizens have little say in government.

The prince has to find solutions now for the problems he is set to inherit as monarch.

“What MBS is doing is a must requirement for any kind of economic reform. Economic reform requires a new Protestant ethic if you will, a new brand of Islam,” said Maamoun Fandy, director of the London Global Strategy Institute.

This new Saudi version of “moderate Islam” can be understood as one that is amenable to economic reforms; it does not close shops at prayer time or banish women from public life, Fandy said.

In other words, Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms require social reforms to succeed.

Buzz words like “reform”, “transparency” and “accountability” all used by the prince in his promotion of Vision 2030 do not, however, mean that Saudi Arabia is moving toward greater liberalism, democracy, pluralism or freedom of speech.

The government does not grant licences to non-Muslim houses of worship, and limits those of its Shia Muslim citizens.

The prince has also made no mention of human rights concerns. If anything, dozens of the prince’s perceived critics have been detained in a warning to others who dare to speak out.

Some of those arrested were seen as critics of his foreign policies, which include severing ties with Qatar, increasing tensions with Iran and overseeing air strikes in Yemen that have killed scores of civilians and drawn sharp condemnation from rights groups and some in Washington.

Meanwhile, Prince Mohammed faces a Saudi public that remains religiously conservative. That means he still needs public support from the state’s top clerics in order to position his reforms as Islamic and religiously permissible.

These clerics, many of whom had spoken out in the past against women working and driving, appear unwilling or unable to publicly criticise the moves. In this absolute monarchy, the king holds final say on most matters and the public has shown it is welcoming the changes.—AP
Read .. Wahabism 
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism By Aya Batrawy, www.dawn.com

What are the differences between Ottoman Islam and Arabic Islam?
Ottoman Empire was not a secular state but it was also not a state which was ruled by sharia laws.
Now, “arabic islam” is a loose definition. But if we have to compare it, we can compare it to islam of today’s saudi arabia to highlight the contrast.
In Ottoman Empire, religion was used as a unifying tool, it was very practical. And supposedly local judges (Kadı(s)) followed sharia but again this was mostly nominal; for example, alcohol was legal in Ottoman Empire, kadıs could not punish someone for drinking.
Also, religious hierarchy followed a pattern similar to eastern roman empire. Highest religious authority was Şeyh-ül İslam who was also part of The Imperial Council (Divan-ı Hümayun) but his authority was below Padişah (sultan, emperor, khan whatever you want to call it) just like patriarchs authority being below basileus in Roman Empire. Nominally, Padişah needed decree of Şeyh-ül İslam for certain actions but they always gave permission, in cases they tried to oppose, they would simply be replaced by a new Şeyh-ül İslam.
Moreover Ottomans had lots of secular laws besides Sharia such as Atam-Dedem Kanunları (literally meanins laws of the forefathers) derived from turkish traditions. Non-muslims were not subject to same civil laws as muslims; Ecumenical Patriarch of Konstantiniyye was responsible of orthodox christian subjects concerning civil laws for example.

Also, Janissary Order, world’s first standing army in modern sense, elit troops of the Empire, were members of Sufii Dervish Order which significantly diverges from Sunni Islam. Ottoman Dynasty was Sunni muslim just like Sauds but Saudi Arabia follows wahhabism which is the most strict form of Sunni Islam. On the other hand, Ottoman dynasty’s şehzades (princes) would become a member of Janissary Order once they are of age. The ceremony in which princes enter into the order includes an oath that is obviously non-sunni traditions such as pledging in the name of Ali etc….

I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince | World ...

https://www.theguardian.com › World › Saudi Arabia

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4 days ago - When Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced Tuesday that he wanted the kingdom to return to “moderate Islam,” not ...

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www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Middle East

5 days ago - Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, speaking at a major investment conference, has promised his kingdom will return to “what we were before – a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world”. Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud made the ...

Saudi Arabia promises a return to 'moderate Islam' - CNBC.com


4 days ago - Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has promised a return to "a moremoderate Islam."

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5 days ago - Saudi Arabia's ambitious young crown prince has said he will lead his country back to “moderate Islam” as he announced plans for a vast new ...

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metro.co.uk › World › Saudi Arabia

5 days ago - Saudi Arabia has pledged to 'return to moderate Islam and eradicate the remnants of extremism' with ambitious plans for the future. Crown ...

Saudi crown prince promises 'return to moderate Islam' | Saudi Arabia ...


4 days ago - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday said Saudi Arabia would "return" to a "moderate Islam that is open to all religions" ...

Saudi crown prince promises 'a more moderate Islam' - CNN


4 days ago - The 32-year-old trying to revamp Saudi Arabia 01:42 ... Tuesday to destroy "extremist ideologies" in a bid to return to "a more moderate Islam.".
سعودی عرب کے ولی عہد محمد بن سلمان کا کہنا ہے کہ وہ سعودی عرب میں ’معتدل اسلام کی واپسی‘ کے لیے کوشاں ہیں۔
یہ بات انھوں نے منگل کو اقتصادیات امور کی ایک کانفرنس کے دوران کہی جو کہ العریبیہ ٹی وی پر براہِ راست دکھائی گئی۔
محمد بن سلمان کا کہنا تھا کہ ’سعودی عرب 1979 سے پہلے ایسا نہیں تھا۔ سعودی عرب اور پورے خطے میں مختلف وجوہات کے لیے 1979 کے بعد سے الصحوہ (آگاہی) کی ایک تحریک چلائی گئی۔‘
ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ’ہم اپنی زندگیوں کے آئندہ 30 سال ان تباہ کن عناصر کی نذر نہیں ہونے دیں گے۔ ہم انتہا پسندی کو جلد ہی ختم کردیں گے۔‘
شہزادہ محمد بن سلمان کا کہنا تھا کہ ’ہم پہلے ایسے نہیں تھے۔ ہم اس جانب واپس جا رہے ہیں جیسے ہم پہلے تھے، ایسا اسلام جو کہ معتدل ہے، اور جس میں دنیا اور دیگر مذاہب کے لیے جگہ ہو۔‘
یاد رہے کہ حال ہی میں سعودی عرب کے بادشاہ شاہ سلمان نے شاہی فرمان جاری کیا تھا جس میں خواتین کو ملک میں پہلی بار گاڑی چلانے کی اجازت دی گئی ہے۔
شاہی فرمان کے مطابق متعلقہ وزارت اس بارے میں ایک ماہ میں تجاویز دے گی اور یہ حکم 24 جون 2018 تک ہر صورت میں نافذالعمل ہو جائے گا۔

کیا سعودی عرب میں تبدیلی آ رہی ہے؟

اگر آپ کسی سے سعودی عرب میں تبدیلی کے بارے میں پوچھیں تو وہ کہیں گے: تبدیلی آئے گی، لیکن اپنے وقت پر۔
اس کا مطلب یہ ہے کہ اس کام میں سالہاسال لگ سکتے ہیں تاہم خود سعودیوں کو مہینوں میں تبدیلیوں کی امید ہے۔
ریاض میں ایک کامیاب سعودی تاجر خاتون نے مجھ سے کہا: 'میں نے ایک مرد شریکِ کار سے شرط لگائی تھی کہ عورتوں کی ڈرائیونگ پر پابندی اس سال کے پہلے چھ ماہ میں اٹھ جائے گی، اور انھوں نے کہا کہ دوسرے ششماہی میں۔
'لیکن اب میرا خیال ہے کہ یہ پابندی اگلے سال کے شروع میں ہٹے گی، اور اس کا اطلاق صرف 40 سال سے زیادہ عمر کی خواتین پر ہو گا۔'
ریاض کے شاہی حلقوں میں بھی ایسی ہی پیشنگوئیاں گردش کر رہی ہیں۔ بعض یہ بھی کہتے ہیں کہ نوجوان خواتین کو بھی جلد ہی اجازت مل جائے گی۔
سعودی عرب جیسے کٹر قدامت پسند معاشرے کے ہر شعبے میں تبدیلی سست رفتاری سے آتی ہے جہاں مذہبی حکام انتہائی اثر و رسوخ کے حامل ہوتے ہیں اور بہت سے سعودی اپنے موجودہ طرزِ زندگی سے چمٹے رہنا چاہتے ہیں۔
لیکن اس کے باوجود تبدیلی آ رہی ہے اور اس کا اثر حکمرانوں اور معاشرے دونوں پر ہو رہا ہے۔
ریاض میں گلف ریسرچ سینٹر کے جان سفاکیاناکس کہتے ہیں: 'وقت بہت کم رہ گیا ہے۔'
چند سال قبل سیاہ سونا کہلانے والے سعودی تیل کی فروخت سے آنے والا منافع آدھا ہو کر رہ گیا ہے، جس کا اثر زندگی کے مختلف شعبوں پر پڑ رہا ہے۔
تیل کا کارخانہ

سعودی عرب کی 90 فیصد آمدن تیل سے ہوتی ہے
سفاکیاناکس کہتے ہیں: 'یہ تیل عشروں سے انجن کا کام کر رہا تھا۔ لیکن اب بہت سے انجنوں کی ضرورت ہے۔'
اس مقصد کے حصول کے لیے سعودی حکومت نے گذشتہ برس وژن 2030 نامی منصوبہ تیار کیا تھا۔
اس کی باگ ڈور 31 سالہ نائب ولی عہد شہزادہ محمد بن سلمان کو سونپی گئی ہے، جنھوں نے دنیا کی بہترین ایجنسیوں سے کہا ہے کہ وہ منصوبے اور تصورات پیش کریں۔
ملک کے بااثر وزیر برائے تیل خالد الفالح کہتے ہیں کہ 'وژن 2030 انتہائی اہم ہے۔'
سرکاری نوکریوں میں بھاری تنخواہیں اور پرتعیش مراعات ختم کر دی گئی ہیں۔ نجی شعبے سے توقع ہے کہ معیشت کی نمو میں وہ بڑا کردار ادا کرے۔ لیکن ابھی اس کی رفتار سست ہے۔
ایک سعودی نے نام ظاہر کیے بغیر بتایا: 'بہت مشکل نظر آ رہا ہے کہ وژن 2030 اپنی منزل تک 2030 میں پہنچ جائے۔ تاہم کم از کم کوئی وژن ہے تو سہی۔'

وژن 2030 کا ایک مقصد نجی شعبے کو تقویت دینا ہے
نوجوان شہزادے کو معلوم ہے کہ ایک اور گھڑی بھی چل رہی ہے جو تبدیلی لانے کے لیے دباؤ بڑھا رہی ہے۔
دو تہائی سعودی ان کی عمر کے یا ان سے چھوٹے ہیں۔
شاہ عبداللہ کے تعلیمی وظائف کے پروگرام کے تحت لاکھوں نوجوان سعودی مغربی تعلیمی اداروں سے فارغ التحصیل ہو کر ملک واپس لوٹ رہے ہیں۔
ایک طرف تو وہ نوکریوں کی تلاش میں ہیں، دوسری طرف انھیں ایک ایسے معاشرے کا سامنا ہے جہاں سینماؤں پر پابندی ہے اور ریستورانوں میں مردوں اور عورتوں کے لیے الگ حصے ہیں۔
تاہم تبدیلی کی سمت میں قدم اٹھائے جا رہے ہیں۔
اب گلیوں میں بدنامِ زمانہ مطوع نامی مذہبی پولیس نظر نہیں آتی جن کا مشن 'برائی کو روکنا اور نیکی کو فروغ دینا' تھا اور جو اکثر اوقات اپنی حد سے تجاوز کرتی تھی۔ ان کے خاتمے کا سہرا ولی عہد کے سر باندھا جا رہا ہے۔
ریاض کے امیر شہری کہتے ہیں کہ شہر میں کچھ ایسے ریستوران کھل گئے ہیں جہاں زنانہ مردانہ شعبوں کا زیادہ سختی سے خیال نہیں رکھا جاتا اور وہاں تیز موسیقی بجتی رہتی ہے۔
میں ولید السعدان سے ایک صحرائی ریس کے موقعے پر ملی۔ وہ کہتے ہیں: 'ہم چاہتے ہیں کہ عورتیں گاڑیاں چلائیں اور سینیما کھلیں۔'
صحرا میں گاڑیوں کی ریس ایک ایسی سنسنی ہے جس سے سعودی قانونی طور پر لطف اندوز ہو سکتے ہیں۔

دو تہائی سعودیوں کی عمر 30 برس سے کم ہے
لیکن یہاں بھی صرف مرد ہی اپنی فور وہیل اور ایس یو وی گاڑیوں میں دیکھے جا سکتے ہیں۔
'عمومی تفریحی محکمہ' نامی ایک اور محکمہ یہاں سرگرمِ عمل ہے۔ لیکن اپنے نام کے باوجود اس محکمے کی کوشش ہے سعودی چند حدود کے اندر زندگیوں سے لطف اندوز ہوں۔
محکمے کے چیئرمین احمد الخطیب کہتے ہیں: 'میرا مشن لوگوں کو خوش و خرم دیکھنا ہے۔'
انھوں نے بڑی محنت سے سال بھر میں 80 کے قریب میلے، آتش بازی کے ایونٹ، موسیقی کے شو اور دوسرے مواقع ڈھونڈے ہیں جہاں لوگوں کو تفریح فراہم کی جا سکتی ہے اور جن پر تنقید بھی نہ ہو سکے۔
انھوں نے بڑے محتاط انداز میں مجھے بتایا: 'ہم زیادہ لوگوں کو زیادہ مواقع فراہم کرنا چاہتے ہیں، ہم قدامت پسند لوگوں کو بھی سرگرمیوں سے متعارف کروانا چاہتے ہیں۔'

بہت سے سعودی نوجوان مغربی اداروں میں پڑھ کر لوٹے ہیں
ایک سعودی ٹور آپریٹر گلہ کرتے ہیں کہ 'سعودی ہر سال 70 ارب ریال باہر کے ملکوں میں چھٹیاں منا کر خرچ کر ڈالتے ہیں۔' ان کی کوشش ہے کہ وہ سعودی عرب میں بھی دبئی یا لندن کی طرح سہولتیں فراہم کریں تاکہ لوگ باہر نہ جائیں۔
عورتوں کو گاڑیاں چلانے کی اجازت دینا سماجی کے ساتھ ساتھ معاشی مسئلہ بھی ہے۔ مطالعہ جات سے معلوم ہوا ہے کہ اگر عورتیں گاڑیاں چلانے لگیں تو اس سے معیشت کو خاصی تقویت ملے گی۔
تاہم سیاسی اصلاحات، انسانی حقوق کا ریکارڈ اور عورتوں کی زندگیوں پر پابندیاں ایسے معاملات ہیں جن پر کوئی بات نہیں کر رہا۔
یہ ایک ایسا ملک ہے جہاں ہمیشہ سے لوگ سستے پیٹرول، بغیر ٹیکس دیے اور مفت پانی اور بجلی کے عادی رہے ہیں۔
تاہم اب ٹیکس عائد کیے جا رہے ہیں، جس کی وجہ سے اب سعودیوں کو اپنی آمدن پر نظر رکھنا پڑ رہی ہے۔

صحرا میں گاڑیوں کی ریس ایک ایسی سنسنی ہے جس سے سعودی قانونی طور پر لطف اندوز ہو سکتے ہیں
نادیہ الہذی انجینیئر ہیں جو پہلے تیل کی صنعت میں کام کرتی تھیں اور اب وژن 2030 سے وابستہ ہیں۔
وہ کہتی ہیں: 'سعودی بہت عرصے تک ہر چیز کو بہت آسان لیتے رہے ہیں۔'
وہ امریکی صدر کینیڈی کا قول دہراتی ہیں: 'یہ مت پوچھو کہ تمھارا ملک تمھارے لیے کیا کر سکتا ہے۔ یہ کہو کہ تم ملک کے لیے کیا کر سکتے ہو۔'
سو اب سعودیوں سے زیادہ کچھ کرنے کا مطالبہ کیا جا رہا ہے۔
سیاسی مبصر حسن یاسین کہتے ہیں: 'ہماری مثال ایسے کچھوؤں کی طرح ہے جن کے نیچے پہیے لگ گئے ہوں۔ ہم مقامی مطالبے اور21ویں صدی کے تقاضے پورے کرنے کے لیے تیزی سے حرکت کر رہے ہیں۔'
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