Sindh Agriculturalists and US Aid-supported highly efficient Tube-Well

USAID/Pakistan Highlights U.S. Commitment to Helping Mitigate the Pakistan Energy Crisis through Tube Well Efficiency Improvement Program (TWEIP) in Pakistan

USAID is working with Pakistani farmers to reduce peak electricity demand through a USAID program that helps farmers replace irrigation tube well pump sets with new energy efficient pump and motor sets

via » Sindhi Excellence Team, Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 1, 2011.

The United States Should Change Its View on Pakistan

-With a Friend Like This

By ANATOL LIEVEN

If Washington wishes to improve relations with Pakistan, it needs to stop regarding Pakistan as an ally, and to start regarding it as an enemy — at least as far as the Afghan War is concerned.

Seeing Pakistan as an ally has not only obscured the reality of the situation, but has bred exaggerated bitterness at Pakistani “treachery.” And since Pakistanis also believe that America has “betrayed” them, the result is a thin veneer of friendship over a morass of mutual distrust and even hatred.

It would be far better from every point of view to admit that the two countries’ policies over Afghanistan are opposed to the point of limited conflict — and then seek ways to negotiate an end to that conflict.

Very little affection has ever been involved in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, and both sides have sought their own advantage at the other’s expense. The Pakistani masses have long harbored deep hostility to the United States, which is now being reciprocated by many Americans. Given the appalling consequences for both countries of an armed clash, there is every reason why both sides should seek to keep their mutual hostility from getting out of hand.

The need for a change in U.S. attitudes toward Pakistan forms part of what should be a wider shift in U.S. attitudes to the outside world. Not just in the “Global War on Terror,” but in the Cold War, Americans have been strongly influenced by the belief that “you’re either with us, or against us.” …..

Read more » The New York Times

Sesame Street to promote tolerance in volatile Pakistan

Sebastian Abbot

Sesame Street is coming to Pakistan but not as generations of Americans know it.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN – The TV show has a new cast of local characters led by a vivacious six-year-old girl named Rani who loves cricket and traditional Pakistani music. Her sidekick, Munna, is a five-year-old boy obsessed with numbers and banging away on Pakistani bongo drums, or tabla.

The U.S. is bankrolling the initiative with $20-million, hoping it will improve education in a country where one-third of primary school-age children are not in class. Washington also hopes the program will increase tolerance at a time when the influence of radical views is growing.

“One of the key goals of the show in Pakistan is to increase tolerance toward groups like women and ethnic minorities,” said Larry Dolan, who was the head education officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Pakistan until very recently.

The show, which started filming last week and will air at the end of November, was jointly developed by Sesame Workshop, the creator of the American series, and Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, a group in the Pakistani city of Lahore that has been staging puppet shows for more than three decades.

The American version of Sesame Street first aired in 1969, and the U.S. government has worked with the company since then to produce shows in about 20 foreign countries, including Muslim nations such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Perhaps nowhere else are the stakes as high as in Pakistan. The United States is worried that growing radicalization could one day destabilize the nuclear-armed country. Washington has committed to spend $7.5-billion in civilian aid in Pakistan over five years, despite accusations that the country is aiding insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan. ……

Read more » THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Another Pakistan

Pakistan Aslant: the two-hour version

by Chris Lydon

We’ve just put the finishing touches on a two-hour distillation of our long-running series of late summer and early fall, “Another Pakistan.”

The first hour explores the living history and swirling, murky present of “the country that could kill the world …” In the second, I’m probing the “Roots of Resilience,” the vital cultural and intellectual currents that we don’t hear about in the standard coverage, but that still run strong under the fractured state.

There’s nearly a month’s worth of strong conversation here illuminating for me the judgment that (1) Pakistan is not about to destroy itself, much less go away and (2) that Pakistan’s mutually-abusive marriage with the United States is not about to end, either. When our Pentagon accuses the Pakistan’s army intelligence of targeting American troops, and when Secretary of State Clinton is openly torn between war and peace initiatives in the tribal areas, count on it that the contradictions of the Pakistan story are with us for a while. But what’s the history unfolding here? How did it come to this? What do Pakistanis say?

So here is a start at the answers to these questions, gleanings from the artists, writers and thinkers who so often point the way through confusing and disturbing times.

Read more » Radio Open Source

Anti-Army Pakistan Music Video Goes Viral

By WSJ Staff

A young band from Pakistan has packaged many of the country’s social and political taboos into an explosive three-minute video that has gone viral on the Internet.

The music video is a satirical take on a wide-range of issues that vex many Pakistanis and pokes fun at the country’s powerful army, its political establishment and its Islamist sympathies.

The Punjabi song is called “Aalu Anday” (potatoes and eggs), an allusion to food price inflation. It had around 85,000 views on YouTube within days of being uploaded. ….

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Jamaat on trial

by Farooq Sulehria

Excerpt;

Delawar Hossain Sayedee, leader of the Jamat-e-Islami in Bangladesh, has been indicted with 20 counts, including 3,000 killings, rape and arson, during Bangladesh’s nine-month-long war of liberation.

If proven guilty, Sayedee could face the death sentence. He has denied all charges against him. Sayedee will now be tried by the International Crimes Tribunal, a domestic tribunal with no United Nations role, which was set up last year to investigate war crimes in 1971. The trial begins on Oct 30.

While the role of the Pakistani military has drawn some media criticism, the Jamaat’s role in East Pakistan in 1971 has gone largely unnoticed. …..

….. The Jamaat later on began to pay lip service to East Pakistanis’ concerns, like the language issue, or their under-representation in the military.

However, as the Jamaat saw it, the real problem was East Pakistan’s Hindus, who dominated the trade, and the communists. Maulana Maudoodi urged the ulema to rid the East Pakistani masses of what he called their ignorance of Islam, because “the influence of Hindu culture over their language, dress, habits and way of thinking is so big that they have lost all sense of its being an extraneous element in their life.”

The problem, so to say, was not exploitation at the hands of West Pakistan but what the Jamaat considered East Pakistan’s lack of Islamisation.

The Jamaat contended that Bengali literature was pervaded by Hindu ideas since Tagore was the major influence on it, while the similes and proverbs of Bengali reflected Hindu thought and social way of life. Besides, Bengali literature lacked what the Jamaat called Islamic politics, economics and way of life. ….

…. The pattern in both countries has been similar. In Bangladesh the Jamaat allied itself with the military junta when Gen Ziaur Rehman came to power. Gen Zia, like his Pakistani namesake and counterpart, began to revise history and textbooks. His purpose was to minimise the role played by Sheikh Mujib in the movement and project his own imagined role in it. A revision of history equally suited the Jamaat.

The Awami League and the left forces, however, kept campaigning for a trial regarding atrocities in the 1971 war. In the last general elections, such a trial became an election issue. The Jamaat stood exposed and lost the elections.

A similar process is necessary everywhere including Pakistan to correct distortions of history. A ‘Truth Commission’ investigating not just the 1971 war but all the wars including the “Afghan jihad” and the “War on Terror”, perhaps?

To read complete article » The News

Analysis: For Pakistan, Deep Ties to Militant Network May Trump U.S. Pressure

By PIR ZUBAIR SHAH and CARLOTTA GALL

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior administration officials visited Pakistan in October to demand that Pakistan’s spy agency either deliver the Haqqani network, a virulent part of the insurgency fighting American forces in Afghanistan, to the negotiating table or help fight them in their stronghold in Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas.

But there are any number of reasons why the Pakistanis may disappoint the Americans. Not least is that the Haqqani leadership — contrary to the American emphasis on drone strikes in the tribal areas — does not have to hide in Pakistan’s ungoverned fringes. So close are the Haqqanis’ ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence service that one might just as well look for them around the capital, Islamabad, or in the closely guarded military quarters of Rawalpindi.

Osama bin Laden was thought to have been hiding in the tribal areas, too, said a tribal elder reached by telephone in the Haqqani stronghold of North Waziristan. Instead, Bin Laden was killed by American commandos in Abbottabad, a small city deep in Pakistan that is home to a top military academy. Whether he was there with the knowledge of Pakistan’s spy agency is still unclear.

“The Americans have taken the hell out of us through drones all these years trying to target O.B.L.,” said the elder, referring to Bin Laden, and not wanting to be named for fear of his safety. “But they found him in Abbottabad. The same will happen with the Haqqanis, too.”

The freedom of movement the Haqqanis enjoy in Pakistan could be witnessed on a sweltering July day last year at a graduation ceremony at one of Pakistan’s largest religious schools, Darul Uloom Haqqania, well known for producing the ranks of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

Among the thousands who had gathered that day in Akora Khattak, just an hour from the capital, were top members of the Haqqani family. The family patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a graduate of the school and draws his last name from it.

The Haqqanis stayed for several hours at the event, which was almost certainly monitored by Pakistani intelligence agents, and, after lunch, left in a car with Islamabad license plates.

The Haqqani family, which runs the network like a mafia, maintains several town houses, including in Islamabad and elsewhere, and they have been known to visit military facilities in Rawalpindi, attend tribal gatherings and even travel abroad on pilgrimages, say military and political analysts who follow militant activity in Pakistan.

Among those present at the ceremony was Khalil Haqqani, a brother of Jalaluddin, and an important fund-raiser for the network who travels frequently to the United Arab Emirates. In February he was added to the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for having links to Al Qaeda.

With him were two of Jalaluddin’s sons. One was Nasiruddin Haqqani, often described as the Haqqani network’s liaison with Pakistani intelligence and the person in charge of channeling money.

Senior leaders of the group concerned with political and financial affairs, like Khalil Haqqani and another of Jalaluddin’s brothers, Ibrahim Haqqani, have long resided in Islamabad, said Vahid Brown, a counterterrorism expert at Princeton who is researching a book on the Haqqani network.

“My impression is they mostly live in the cities,” Mr. Brown said. He cited news reports and a tribal legislator as saying that Ibrahim Haqqani had lived in Islamabad for the past 20 years. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year also revealed that the two Haqqanis often traveled to the United Arab Emirates from Pakistan, Mr. Brown said. Ibrahim Haqqani even met an American official there for exploratory negotiations in late August.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, who manages the network for his father — and is the undisputed boss — travels freely around Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, according to two Western analysts with extensive experience of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The fact that he is able to drive around means he is protected,” one analyst said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Pakistani government.

Kashmiri and Afghan militant groups have long been supported by the Pakistani military, and many of their members carry passes that allow them to go through any police checkpoint, he said.

As much as Mrs. Clinton and other American officials would like the Pakistani leadership to make a definitive break with the Haqqanis, such free movement reflects the symbiotic relationship between the network’s members and Pakistan’s military.

The Haqqanis need a haven to train fighters and receive financial and material support, which they get from Pakistan, especially in North Waziristan, part of the tribal areas. Pakistan’s military, for its part, needs a proxy to extend its influence in Afghanistan after the Americans leave; that is what the Haqqanis give them. …

Read more  » The New York Times