Israel – Tel Aviv : As a Pakistani-American, I was initially hesitant to visit Israel in this political climate, but when an invitation from Tel Aviv University beckoned to explore prospects for ecological peace-building in the region, I felt obliged to accept. One of Israel’s most liberal universities was organizing a conference on the prospects for an environmental “peace park” with Syria in the Golan Heights and they wanted me to be the keynote speaker, given my previous research on such efforts worldwide. Some “Realists” might roll their eyes on such a prospect but the concept of “peace parks” is more than an idealist’s ramblings and has shown promise in resolving territorial disputes. Warring parties can be made to realize quite pragmatically that joint conservation is economically beneficial and also a politically viable exit strategy from a conflict. The US used such a strategy in the mid 1990s to resolve a decades-old armed conflict between Ecuador and Peru in the Cordillera del Condor region. The Obama administration’s deputy envoy to the Middle East, Fred Hof, has proposed the Golan peace park effort as a means of a peace-building with Syria as well in a formal paper written for the US Institute of Peace in 2008. So the idea is one which policy-makers are considering seriously and there are even detailed maps and plans that have been prepared to consider such a solution.
Nevertheless, the trip was risky in two ways: first in Pakistan, I would be immediately marginalized for visiting a country that is still perceived by many to be illegitimate. Second, as a Muslim of Pakistani lineage traveling to the region, I would be considered with suspicion in Israel as well as back in the United States. Thus I arrived with conflicting emotions and a protracted security screening at Ben Gurion airport, only to find the country in its latest conflagration in Gaza. An early January air attack on the beleaguered region had left four Palestinians dead and an aid convoy from the UK on Gaza’s border with Egypt was being stopped by Egyptians who claimed that they were under treaty obligations with Israel to ensure proper security measures. An Egyptian soldier was also killed in the frenzied fury of the waiting game for desperately needed aid.
To be fair, Asif Zardari made a good start, surprising many by his efforts to create an inclusive alliance.
It isn’t often that I agree with Nawaz Sharif. However, when he said a few weeks ago that the PPP was its own worst enemy, he put his finger on the problem this government has faced since it was sworn in nearly two years ago.
Deaths from cardiovascular disease are declining among men with diabetes, but not women, a new study suggest. Among diabetic patients with existing cardiovascular disease, researchers found women were 5.4 per cent less likely than men to have systolic blood pressures at recommended levels, and 5.9 per cent less likely to have their LDL- cholesterol under control.
Like the full bench of the Supreme court (SCP) judges, the military has no choice but to accept modernistic, universal views to save the state by eliminating primitive elements. Nevertheless, just like the SCP, obscurantist military officials, especially some retired hawks, are free to make loud noises while the moderates have to work silently
The NRO judgement alludes to contradictions and the torturous transition Pakistan is going through. The basic contradiction is manifested by the very fact that the highest judicial forum in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had to rely on the historical judgements of the courts of secular states. A few examples have been taken from Islam — Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) concept of equality — and reference to the notion of tauba. However, the court made it clear that these religious notions are taken to be secondary and used to strengthen the judgement, which is based on commonly practiced international law. Why such a contradiction?
The problem is that, whatever the republic of Pakistan is labelled, the country contains a more or less modern populace in relative terms. Furthermore, society has a consensus over the parliamentary type of democracy, in which every voter has an equal weight, requiring specific laws, rules and traditions. The religious parties or modern Islamic scholars cannot address the issue faced by such modern democracies, parliamentary or otherwise.