Governor Punjab Salman Taseer’s murder is a result of rising extremism and fanatisicm in the country. Shutting our eyes to problems of intolerance, extremism and fanaticism will not help the problem go away. In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to find out if the media, judiciary, lawyers and society at large also have a role in promoting extremist tendencies in Pakistan. The language of program is urdu/ Hindi.
By Dr. Shabbir Ahmed
Dictionaries define blasphemy as: In simple terms it means insulting someone or something considered sacred or inviolable by a community or group of people.
These days, Pakistan is gripped by the hysteria of blasphemy, particularly about insulting the exalted Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) or the Holy Qur’an. This situation is fast creating a national divide which spreads hatred against each other based upon what they believe and others believe. Every sect then considers itself right and all others wrong. The divergent beliefs thrust them to a massive enmity to the extent of absolute intolerance. The fanatics among the religious people have no hesitation in killing their opponents. Pakistan could possibly be heading towards a civil war. …
By Farooq Tirmizi
How valuable is one’s wealth if it is buried underground and one has no way of getting it out? And what would one say to somebody who came along and volunteered to extract this wealth, providing all of the technical expertise and putting up the entire investment costs, and letting you keep half of the profits? Would it be fair to say that this person was indulging in exploitative behaviour? Or would we say that a fair deal was on offer?
The above scenario is not hypothetical. It is exactly what is currently going on in the case of the Reko Diq mining project in Balochistan. The Tethyan Copper Company, a joint venture between Canada’s Barrick Gold and Chile’s Antofagasta, has spent $220 million to explore the Reko Diq area and, having discovered a feasible reserve of minerals, is now willing to spend the further $3.3 billion it would take to extract the minerals. And yet it is being treated like a neo-imperialist villain out to pillage Pakistan’s national treasures. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
by Adnan Farooq
In last ten years, beards have desecrated— in the literal and violent sense— 53 places considered holy by believers of different faith in Pakistan. They have bombed and raided mosques, churches, holy processions, seminaries, shrines, Imambargahs, missionary schools even hospitals. These acts of confessional desecration have claimed 1152 lives and maimed another 2780 innocent people, mostly co-religionists. Not a single incident has provoked any mullah, Media Mujahid or any media house to cry blasphemy. A committed Karachi-based activist and a fellow Viewpoint contributor, Muhammad Nafees, keeps compiling scary figures in his bid to wake a self-indulgent Pakistan up. The mainstream media almost never take note of his efforts. Undeterred, he keeps e-mailing his findings on e-mail lists. Look at the terrifying data, illustrating the breadth and depth of violent puritan blasphemies, he has dispatched:
Read more : ViewPoint
By David Kravets
(Wired) — Twitter confirmed Tuesday evening that its microblogging site has been shuttered by Egyptian authorities. This came hours after widespread reports that access had been cut off, as Egyptians took to the streets in what many hope and some fear would be a sequel to the revolution in Tunisia last week.
The day’s speculation that the Mubarak administration might have pulled the plug on Twitter underscored the power of the site and other social networks as tools to both coordinate and disperse news of a citizen uprising. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were widely used in Tunisia’s recent uprising and in Iran last year. …
Read more : CNN
“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline
“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa
“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster
The Flickering Flame
. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.
– Mariana Baabar
When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”
It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.
For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?
This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …
Read more : OUT LOOK
by Govind Chandiramani, India
Lots of Sindhis write about Sindhyat from time to time in different parts of the world. They write beautifully well, show the articles to their friends, who praise them. Afterwords they forget about it. But have we gone deep enough to understand Sindhyat? For understanding it, one has to go to the most ancient records available.
1. What are the oldest monuments still existing which provide us proof of the great civilisation we had in the past? .The answer is Moen jo Daro , Mehrgarh, Kot Diji etc.
What steps have we taken to preserve it? On the google , one comes across reports of neglect and chaos in Moen jo Daro. Our 25OO B.C monument. If Mohan jo Daro is neglected like this, what about places like Kot Diji and Mehrgarh? All these ancient proofs of our civilisation should be protected.
It is very heartening to know that Tata’s Institute of Research which is highly respected all over the world, is undertaking research on Moen jo Daro to find out if the city was laid as per astronomical placements of stars at that time. They have appointed a team of 4 experts. I can send the information to anyone who is really interested.
. Pakistan’s Sindh province faces acute hunger: UNICEF
By Chris Allbritton
(Reuters) – Pakistan’s Sindh province, hit hard by last year’s floods, is suffering levels of malnutrition almost as critical as Chad and Niger, with hundreds of thousands of children at risk, UNICEF said on Wednesday.
A survey conducted by the provincial government and the U.N. Children’s Fund revealed malnutrition rates of 23.1 percent in northern Sindh and 21.2 percent in the south.
Those rates are above the 15 percent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organization and are on a par with some of the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Northern Sindh also had a 6.1 percent severe acute malnutrition rate and southern Sindh had 2.9 percent, both far above the WHO thresholds.
“We are looking at hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” UNICEF chief of communication Kristen Elsby told Reuters.
A full report would be released Friday by the Sindh government, she said, along with the province’s response plan. …
The brave Egyptian people – Join together. …
NA bill proposes eight `national languages`
By Raja Asghar
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will have up to eight national languages — not just Urdu — if a private bill introduced in the National Assembly on Tuesday without any government objection is passed by parliament as a constitutional amendment.
The introduction of the long-pending and potentially divisive bill came after the government said it had no objection to the process, but there was no immediate indication if the ruling Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) would actually back the draft, most of whose 22 authors are its members, with Nawab Mohammad Yusuf Talpur on the top of the list, along with some well-known members of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Q. …
Read more : DAWN
India celebrated its 62nd Republic Day. ‘Republic Day’ marks the anniversary of India’s adoption of a democratic constitution and taking stage as the world’s largest democracy.