Why Pakistani PM Sharif should replace the army chief

By not extending the army chief’s tenure, PM Sharif can send a message to the military that he runs the affairs. But punishing a noted journalist for reporting about the civilian-military tussle is not the way to do it.

Pakistani military is the most powerful institution in the South Asian country. There is a consensus about it in the public, and the experts also endorse it. The army chief, currently General Raheel Sharif, calls the shots in the Islamic country and is the de facto leader. Constitutionally, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is head of the country’s executive, but his civilian government has almost no say in defense and foreign policy matters. Even the domestic security affairs are controlled by the army and its spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The proof of the army’s authority became evident yet again when on Tuesday, October 11, the government put renowned Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida on the Exit Control List (ECL), barring him from leaving the country.

Read more » Deutsche Welle
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/why-pakistani-pm-sharif-should-replace-the-army-chief/a-36014438

Sindhi Hindus in Gujarat

By Khaled Ahmed

Hindus were driven out of Sindh after 1947. They went to the neighbouring Indian state of Gujarat but were not accepted there by the local Hindu communities. Shockingly, these very Hindus, partly to be accepted as true Hindus, participated in the anti-Muslim violence in Godhra in Gujarat in 2002.

These facts have been revealed in the book Interpreting the Sindhi World: Essays on society and history; Edited by Michel Boivin & Matthew Cook (Oxford University Press, 2010). Like East Pakistan, nationalism in Sindh was language-based. The province was pluralist, just like East Pakistan. Hindus and Muslims lived in peace. Richard Burton wrote: “Hindu religion is not to be found in a state of purity in Sindh. Hinduism here is mixed up with the heterogeneous elements of Islam, and the faith of Nanak Shah. A Hindu will often become the murid (follower) of a Mussulman, and in some cases the contrary takes place… all great Pirs revered by the Moslems have classical Hindu names” (p.17).

The Supreme Court of India, in 2004, fined a litigant for asking to delete Sindh from the Indian national anthem, thus challenging any organic relationship between territory and nationalism (p.31).

The modern state of Gujarat consists of a strip of ‘mainland’ Gujarat, the peninsula of Saurashtra, and the western arm of Kutch (p.33). Later, Junagadh was also added. The Hindus of Sindh mostly moved to this state after Partition. They left en masse in 1948, after the immigrating populations touched off riots in Karachi.

Rita Kothari records the Hindu migration into Gujarat. Ships from Karachi arrived at the ports of Porbander, Veraval, and Okha on Gujarat’s coast. Movement towards Gujarat also happened indirectly, especially via Rajasthan, when Sindhis arrived from Mirpurkhas (p.58). These Sindhis looked ‘Muslim-like’ to the locals: “The Hindus of Sindh were not quite the most suitable examples of orthodox Hindus, as they were a meat-eating community in a largely vegetarian region” (p.59).

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/128170/sindhi-hindus-in-gujarat/

Exclusive: Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military

Excerpt:

BY CYRIL ALMEIDA

…. On the US, Mr Chaudhry said that relations have deteriorated and will likely further deteriorate because of the American demand that action be taken against the Haqqani network. On India, Mr Chaudhry stated that the completion of the Pathankot investigation and some visible action against Jaish-i-Mohammad were the principal demands.

Then, to a hushed but surprised room, Mr Chaudhry suggested that while China has reiterated its support for Pakistan, it too has indicated a preference for a change in course by Pakistan. Specifically, while Chinese authorities have conveyed their willingness to keep putting on technical hold a UN ban on Jaish-i-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar, they have questioned the logic of doing so repeatedly.

Extraordinary exchange

The foreign secretary’s unexpectedly blunt conclusions triggered an astonishing and potentially ground-shifting exchange between the ISI DG and several civilian officials.

In response to Foreign Secretary Chaudhry’s conclusions, Gen Akhtar asked what steps could be taken to prevent the drift towards isolation. Mr Chaudhry’s reply was direct and emphatic: the principal international demands are for action against Masood Azhar and the Jaish-i-Mohmmad; Hafiz Saeed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba; and the Haqqani network.

To that, Gen Akhtar offered that the government should arrest whomever it deems necessary, though it is unclear whether he was referring to particular individuals or members of banned groups generally. At that point came the stunning and unexpectedly bold intervention by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Addressing Gen Akhtar, the younger Sharif complained that whenever action has been taken against certain groups by civilian authorities, the security establishment has worked behind the scenes to set the arrested free. Astounded onlookers describe a stunned room that was immediately aware of the extraordinary, unprecedented nature of the exchange.

To defuse tensions, Prime Minister Sharif himself addressed Gen Akhtar and said that policies pursued in the past were state policies and as such they were the collective responsibility of the state and that the ISI DG was not being accused of complicity in present-day events. …

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1288350/exclusive-act-against-militants-or-face-international-isolation-civilians-tell-military

Water Resources of Jammu Kashmir and Belligerent Occupation

NayyarBy Nayyar Niaz Khan

The tension between India and Pakistan over Jammu Kashmir has its traditional rivalry over the ownership of entire Jammu Kashmir State, while the majority of masses in Jammu Kashmir is resisting for the right-to-self-determination. Presently, diplomatic lingo on either side is intimidating to add the real dimension to the conflict; this very dimension surpasses the human, political, cultural and economic rights of people in Jammu Kashmir and strips off the hidden desires of occupiers. Both the nuclear rivals are wide-open that their real tension over Jammu Kashmir is the control over its natural resources: Water being of the prime importance for which the entire Jammu Kashmir may turn into a blood-bath.

Continue reading Water Resources of Jammu Kashmir and Belligerent Occupation

Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize for Study of ‘Self-Eating’ Cells

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his discoveries on how cells recycle their content, a process known as autophagy, a Greek term for “self-eating.”

It is a crucial process. During starvation, cells break down proteins and nonessential components and reuse them for energy. Cells also use autophagy to destroy invading viruses and bacteria, sending them off for recycling. And cells use autophagy to get rid of damaged structures. The process is thought to go awry in cancer, infectious diseases, immunological diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Disruptions in autophagy are also thought to play a role in aging.

But little was known about how autophagy happens, what genes were involved, or its role in disease and normal development until Dr. Ohsumi began studying the process in baker’s yeast.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/science/yoshinori-ohsumi-nobel-prize-medicine.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Charles Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.Charles Dickens

  • Via » Above paragraph adopted from social media.

The real utopia: This ancient civilisation thrived without war

The Indus civilisation seems to have flourished for 700 years without armour, weapons, inequality or royalty. Here’s how to build a paradise on Earth

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Ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

PICTURE a peace-loving Atlantic island ruled by reason. Its 54 cities are governed by educated officials and an elected-for-life prince. Although war hasn’t been abolished, it is used only as a last resort. People see no glory in fighting, and capture enemies rather than kill them. This is the original Utopia – the pagan, communist and pacifist world sketched out exactly 500 years ago in Thomas More’s eponymous work of fiction.

More’s book has exerted a powerful pull on our imaginations – not least through utopian science fiction. But in a world of autocracy, fanaticism and terrorism, it seems as far from reality as ever. Indeed, arguments still rage about his true intention. His title, derived from the ancient Greek ou-topos – meaning “no place” – is a pun on eu-topos, “good place”. Was More proposing a blueprint of an ideal society or satirising the self-interest, greed and military exploits of the hereditary monarchies of his time?

On one thing nearly everyone agrees: no utopia has ever existed. Large human societies tend to be governed by coercion. The instinct for warfare has been a driving force in nearly every civilisation of the last five millennia, from ancient Mesopotamia to the British Empire.

Or has it? One mysterious, ancient society might give the lie to that. The civilisation of the Indus valley is the most enigmatic of the four great early civilisations. But while Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and ancient China gloried in warfare, it seems absent from the Indus valley. Was this a real, functioning utopia? If so, how did it survive, and why did it eventually disappear?

Read more » New Scientist
See more » https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23130910-200-indus-the-only-great-civilisation-ever-to-survive-without-war/