In Israel, women’s rights come under siege

By Ruth Marcus

Women are forced to board public buses from the back and stay there. Billboards with images of women are defaced. Public streets are cordoned off during religious holidays so that women cannot enter.

Continue reading In Israel, women’s rights come under siege

Criticized at home, Pakistan army defends its lack of air response during deadly NATO attack

By Associated Press

ISLAMABAD — Confusion and a communication breakdown prevented Pakistan’s airforce from scrambling to defend troops on the ground during the deadly NATO bombing last weekend of two border outposts, the military said Friday, responding to rare domestic criticism of the powerful institution.

The attack killed 24 Pakistani troops and pushed already strained ties between Washington and Islamabad over the future of Afghanistan close to rupture. Islamabad has closed its eastern border to NATO supplies traveling into landlocked Afghanistan and said it is reviewing its cooperation with Washington.

Thousands of Islamist extremists took to the streets across the country after Friday prayers, some shouting they would join the army in a battle with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. The chants were a worrying sign for the West, reflecting how the anger over the incident is uniting hard-liners and the military.

Others rallied against the country’s already weak government for its alliance with Washington.

The Pakistani military, which eats up most of the country’s budget and is accountable to no one, has said Saturday’s border attack was an “act of deliberate aggression” that went on for close two hours. It has also said that Pakistani commanders contacted and pleaded with coalition commanders to stop firing.

NATO and U.S. officials have disputed that account, which has triggered uncomfortable questions in this South Asian country over why Pakistan’s own fighter jets and helicopters stationed close to the border did not take off to defend the ground troops during the attack.

The military has said troops did fire back at the NATO choppers when they attacked.

A Pakistani military statement on Friday said the response could have been more “effective” if the airforce had been called in, but this was not possible because of a “breakdown of communication” and confusion at “various levels” within the organization. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Source – http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/criticized-at-home-pakistan-army-defends-its-lack-of-air-response-during-deadly-nato-attack/2011/12/02/gIQAkQaYJO_story.html

via » Siasat.pk

Zakaria: Pakistan – friends without benefits

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

You wouldn’t have thought anti-Americanism in Pakistan could get any worse, but last week NATO attacked a Pakistani army post, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Even before this episode, for which NATO expressed deep regret, it would be difficult to find a country on the planet that was more anti-American than Pakistan. In a Pew survey this year, only 12% of Pakistanis expressed a favorable view of the United States. Populist rage and official duplicity have built up even though Washington has lavished Islamabad with aid totaling $20 billion over the last decade.

I think it’s time to recognize that the America’s Pakistan policy is just not working. I write this as someone who has consistently supported engaging with the Pakistani government as the best of bad options. But the evidence that this engagement is working is thin – and gets thinner with every passing month.

Supporting Islamabad has been premised on two arguments. The first is that if we don’t, the Pakistani government could collapse and the country’s nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands, perhaps even ending up with al Qaeda. This misunderstands the problem. Pakistan is not Somalia. It has been ruled by a professional military for most of its independent existence, even when there has been a nominally civilian government in charge – as there is today. There have been no Gaddafiesque colonels’ coups in Pakistan; instead, the entire military, with its command chain intact, has moved to replace the civilian government.

Read more » CNN

John McCain, the presidential candidate in 2008 election says, ISI support to Haqqani network and other terrorist groups that are killing US forces in Afghanistan, angered U.S.

ISI support to Haqqani network angered US: McCain

Washington: Adopting a tough stance against Pakistan, a top Republican Senator has charged its intelligence agency with continuing to support the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency continues to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups that are killing US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices originates from two fertilizer factories in Pakistan,” Senator John McCain said. ….

Read more » IBN » Siasat.pk

Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube

Karachi is the broken heart of Sindh!

By Khalid Hashmani

As relationship between Pakistan and the USA moves downwards, Washington DC is once again seeing a flurry of seminars, discussions and briefings organized by various Think-tank and academic institutions. One such event was focused on astonishing expansion of Karachi. The event was inspired by a recent book called “Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi” written by Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition. Using this book as a backdrop, Global Economy and Development and Metropolitan Policy at Brookings Institution organized a discussion on November 29 with Steve Inskeep. Other panelists included Stephen Cohen, Alan Berube, and Shuja Nawaz. Johannes Linn moderated the discussion. One highlight of the discussion was a rebuttal by a Sindhi-American that “Karachi is the heart of Sindh and Sindhis will never allow separation of Karachi from Sindh” when panelist Shuja Nawaz stated that a proposal to make Karachi as a separate province along with creating other provinces. (Full audio and details at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/1129_instant_city.aspx).

» YouTube

Karachi could lead growth of Pakistan

Steve Inskeep, a reporter for more than twenty years has been a frequent visitor to Karachi and other parts of South Asia. His interest in Karachi intensified after he attended the trial of killers of journalist Daniel Pearl in the city. In 1947, Karachi’s population was only 400,000 lived in Karachi; most of who proudly identified themselves as Sindhis. The UN population figures show Karachi’s population to be around 13.1 million. The population growth has been astonishingly high with migrants coming from other provinces and neighboring countries. Every imaginable problem of instant urbanization can be seen in Karachi. Steve gave an example of person who migrated from Swat some years ago. Originally, he came to Karachi for better education but ended up opening an import-export wholesale business. The rampant corruption touches every aspect of life. A place where already rich politicians, political parties, military and civilian officials, and gangsters become super rich by using their influence to take over large pieces of land including parks, schools, playgrounds, or any land or condemned building and then sell the land in small parcels at huge profits. A city that has become as ungovernable as the central government and sees constant interference from Pakistan’s military and other semi-organized groups. Unlike other mega cities in India like Mumbai where economic growth is impressive, Karachi remains stagnated under the weight of unhealthy competitive interests, ethnic rivalries, and religious differences. In concluding his presentation, Steve said if there is a way that Pakistan could get back to the path of economic growth, Karachi will lead the way that growth. In an answer to a question, Steve talked about Karachi could follow the footsteps of Hong Kong and become a big commercial center in South Asia if Pakistan gets its act together and manages its relationship with India more cooperatively.

In some ways Karachi-Sindh is like Los Angles and New York

Continue reading Karachi is the broken heart of Sindh!

Pakistan: Government a toothless tiger, says Asma

By Monitoring Desk

Asma Jahangir, Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir on Saturday termed the government a “toothless tiger” as it lacked moral authority and power.

She had earlier talked about the judiciary in the same manner as according to her, it also “does not entertain any moral authority because its decisions are not acted upon”.

Asked in an interview in Samaa TV programme Zer-e-Behas hosted by Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami about the reason she had decided to represent Husain Haqqani in the SC, she said she had earlier been approached by Haqqani to plead his case which she declined, but subsequently changed her mind when no lawyer was ready to take up the case. Asked to substantiate her point why the judiciary lacked moral authority and was media-driven, Asma said the judiciary ran on the principle of moral authority which was the basis of its power. She also said there was no similarity between the Watergate scandal and the memo issue. “This is called showing way to others.”

She said because the judiciary was not an elected institution, it should avoid indulging in controversies. To her “the standard should be the same for everyone. If some Allah Ditta approaches the judiciary, he should get the same treatment meted out to Nawaz Sharif.”

Read more » Pakistan Today

A French minister of Arab origin says ‘there is no such thing as moderate Islam’

By AFP

Paris – A French minister said there was no such thing as moderate Islam, calling recent election successes by Islamic parties in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia “worrying” in an interview published Saturday.

Jeannette Bougrab, a junior minister with responsibility for youth, told Le Parisien newspaper that legislation based on Islamic sharia law “inevitably” imposed restrictions on rights and freedoms.

Bougrab is of Algerian origin, whose father fought on the French colonial side during Algeria’s war of independence, and said she was speaking as “a French woman of Arab origin.”

“It’s very worrying,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know of any moderate Islam.”

“There are no half measures with sharia,” she added. “I am a lawyer and you can make all the theological, literal or fundamental interpretations of it that you like but law based on sharia is inevitably a restriction on freedom, especially freedom of conscience.” ….

Read more » AL ARABIYA NEWS