Tag Archives: Britain

Pakistan to overtake Britain as world’s fifth largest nuclear power

BY DAVID WILLIAMS

Experts think Pakistan could have 110 nuclear weapons

Pakistan is on the verge of overtaking Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear power at a time when the country faces an unprecedented threat from extremists.
American intelligence agencies believe that Pakistan now has more than 100 deployed nuclear weapons, an increase of nearly 40 per cent in two years.
It means that one of the countries considered the most unstable in the region is ahead of both Britain and, significantly arch-rival India, to own the fifth largest nuclear arsenal behind the United States, Russia, France and China.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359231/Pakistan-overtake-Britain-worlds-fifth-largest-nuclear-power.html#ixzz3goST4AzK
See more » http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359231/Pakistan-overtake-Britain-worlds-fifth-largest-nuclear-power.html

A Separate Scotland

By Naomi Lloyd-Jones

With the independence referendum just around the corner, Naomi Lloyd-Jones asks why the Scottish Home Rule Association, an important precursor of the SNP, has been largely forgotten.

Informing electors of the importance of the opportunity now afforded them, one of Scotland’s most prominent nationalists declared that:

For the first time since the Union, they will have it in their power to determine whether Scotland is to recover the management of its own affairs.

At first glance we may naturally assume that this comment relates to the independence referendum that takes place this September, but it was actually written 121 years ago by William Mitchell, treasurer of the Scottish Home Rule Association (SHRA). In the same piece Mitchell urged that the time had come for his fellow countrymen to throw off the shackles of the Westminster party system and support solely those who were pledged to the restoration of a Scottish parliament. The SHRA, formed in 1886 in the midst of an acute constitutional crisis, sought the passage of ‘legislation for Scotland in Scotland’ and used the term ‘Home Rule’ to ‘express shortly the right of the Scottish people to manage their own affairs’. They counselled that only a reinstated legislature could ‘carry out what the people of Scotland want’, for ‘the Scottish people know their own business best’.

Read more » History Today
http://www.historytoday.com/naomi-lloyd-jones/separate-scotland

 

David Cameron’s ‘Christian country’ remarks fuel mini media frenzy

‘Militant secularists’ offended by David Cameron talk about Britain’s status as ‘Christian country’

By Margaret Evans, CBC News

“Are you there God? It’s me David. And, um, well … I’ve managed to cause a spot of bother ….”

Apologies to author Judy Blume, but it’s hard not to imagine some of the inner conversations Prime Minister David Cameron might be having in the fevered wake of his pre-Easter comments about Britain’s “status as a Christian country.’

Admittedly, they might be a little more complex than the musings of a prepubescent girl struggling with her own religious identity while also trying to navigate the complex world of training bras and spin the bottle.

But David Cameron’s actual comments – and the reaction to them by a group of “militant secularists” as the tabloid press has dubbed them – have sparked a mini media frenzy in Britain.

Britain: a ‘Christian country?’

The debate has even drawn out the great serpent of spin Alistair Campbell, who has accused Cameron of exaggerating his Christian zeal in order to deflect government scandals. “How are we to believe Cameron believes it all when so recently he was twiddling the knobs on the radio trying to find his faith at all,” Campbell wrote in a blog.

Campbell, Tony Blair’s former communications chief, was referring to comments Cameron made about his own flickering faith just a few years ago when he famously said that it tended to “come and go” like a hard-to-find frequency on the radio.

Cue the quips about trying to tune in to religion and fuzzy dials.

Passing judgment

Cameron’s latest – and to some, offending – comments about his Christian faith came in the form of a pre-Easter reception at Downing Street for religious leaders. He followed up with an article written for a paper called the Church Times.

“I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country,” wrote Cameron, saying that Britain should be “more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.

“Being more confident about our status as a Christian country does not somehow involve doing down other faiths or passing judgment on those with no faith at all,” he wrote.

A group of prominent liberals was quick to challenge that, writing an open letter to Cameron in the Daily Telegraph and accusing him of fostering alienation and division in the UK.  

“We object to his characterization of Britain as a ‘Christian country’ and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders,” said the letter, signed by a bevy of “personalities” ranging from philosopher A.C. Grayling to author Philip Pullman. 

“Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a ‘Christian country,'” the letter said.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/david-cameron-s-christian-country-remarks-fuel-mini-media-frenzy-1.2619116

UK visas should be auctioned, migration advisers say

By Brian Wheeler, Political reporter The right to settle in Britain should be auctioned off to wealthy foreign investors, government advisers say. At present migrants can gain entry by investing £1m or more in the UK. Read more » BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26334978

Britain’s foreign aid has fallen into hands of al-Qaeda, DfiD admits

Almost half a million pounds of British taxpayer-funded aid and equipment has fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda, the Department for International Development has admitted.

By Andrew Gilligan

The terror group’s Somali franchise, al-Shabaab, “confiscated” the equipment from DfID contractors in multiple incidents over at least three months before any action was taken.

The admission is contained in the small print of the department’s latest accounts, which say that £480,000 worth of “humanitarian materials and supplies” was written off following repeated “confiscations” by al-Shabaab.

The confiscations are one of a series of developments disclosed by the department, which will increase controversy over the British aid budget, the only item of government expenditure that is rising sharply in an era of cuts.

British aid is due to reach about £11billion by 2015, to meet the Government’s promise that aid spending should be 0.7 per cent of gross national income. Critics say the 0.7 per cent figure encourages wasteful spending to meet the target.

Investigations by The Telegraph show a number of areas of questionable spending and results that are open to question, including how:

Read more » the telegraph.co.uk
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/somalia/10235384/Britains-foreign-aid-has-fallen-into-hands-of-al-Qaeda-DfiD-admits.html

Malala speaks at UN, vows not to be silenced

By: AFP

NEW YORK CITY: Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai told the United Nations on Friday that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, in her first public speech since being shot by the Taliban.

“They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed,” Malala said on her 16th birthday, which she spent making calls for greater global efforts to get children into schools.

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervour was born,” she said in a speech given several standing ovations.

The passionate advocate for girls education was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she road on a school bus near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley on October 12 last year.

She was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives, but the attack has given new life to her campaign for greater educational opportunities for girls.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as “the bravest girl in the world” as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1028531/malala-speaks-at-un-vows-not-to-be-silenced

NSA surveillance revelations: Osama bin Laden would love this

The US has shown itself so paranoid in the face of possible ‘al-Qaida-linked terror’ that it has played right into jihadist hands

By , guardian.co.uk

Washington has handed Osama bin Laden his last and greatest triumph. The Prism files revealed in the Guardian indicate how far his bid to undermine western values has succeeded in the 12 years since 9/11. He has achieved state intrusion into the private lives and communications of every American citizen. He has shown the self-proclaimed home of individual freedom as so paranoid in the face of his “terror” as to infiltrate the entire internet, sucking up mobile phone calls, emails, texts and, we may assume, GPS movements.

The vast databases of Microsoft, Google, YouTube and Facebook are open to government. They may cry “your privacy is our priority”, but they lie. Obedience to regulatory authority is their priority. And what does authority say? It says what authority always says: “We collect significant information on bad guys, but only bad guys.” As police states have said down the ages, the innocent have nothing to fear. For innocent, eventually read obedient.

This is the same trawling power that the British security services want parliament to approve in its snooper’s charter. It is defended on the same basis, that it is only exchanges, not content, that they seek. They do not really mean to snoop. And they do it only where “national security” is involved. Pull the other one. That is what the Stasi said. You can almost sense the smirk as they say it. And they have even persuaded half of parliament that they are right.

Inducing such paranoia about terror – always called “al-Qaida-linked terror” – is precisely what Islam’s jihadist regard as the crucial first step in undermining the west’s pseudo-liberalism. It requires democracy to lose faith in oversight, to let securocrats off the leash, to capitulate to “better safe than free”. It requires the regular click up the ratchet of control sought by each successive British home secretary. They are Bin Laden’s useful idiots.

The western democracies, and especially America and Britain, are the most invulnerable states on earth. They are rich and secure. They may suffer occasional explosions and killings, but they face not the remotest risk of “existential defeat”. Yet 9/11 brought into being an edifice of creeping surveillance and repression which democracy is clearly unable to curb. It has never been so at risk as now, from its own loss of faith in liberty. Osama bin Laden would be clapping his hands with glee.

Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/07/nsa-surveillance-osama-bin-laden

George Galloway: Behind the hagiography who was Margaret Thatcher and what did she really do?

Every controversial divisive deadly thing that Thatcher did is being placed in soft focus, bathed in a rose-coloured light – a first draft of history that is simply wrong.

By George Galloway

The old saw that one shouldn’t speak ill of the recently dead cannot possibly apply to controversial figures in public life. It certainly didn’t apply to President Hugo Chavez who predeceased Margaret Thatcher amidst a blizzard of abuse.

The main reason it must not preclude entering the lists amidst a wave of hagiographic sycophantic tosh of the kind that has engulfed Britain these last hours is that otherwise the hagiographers will have the field to themselves.

Continue reading George Galloway: Behind the hagiography who was Margaret Thatcher and what did she really do?

Canada is not doing better

Ed Broadbent: Inequality’s a problem for Canada, too

By: ED BROADBENT, The Globe and Mail

I don’t know whether it’s smugness or indifference, but we Canadians can be a self-deluding lot. Growing inequality, portrayed recently in The Economist as a global scourge, when viewed from Canada, seems to be a problem only for others.

After all, it was other countries’ banks that crashed in 2008. It’s in southern Europe that tens of thousands are taking to the streets. And it was in France and the United States that recent elections were fought over the fact that those who created the mess, the top 1 per cent, are still getting big bonuses and low tax rates.

Well, guess what? Canada is not doing better. From 1982 until 2004, almost all growth in family income went to the top 20 per cent, with much of that going to the top 1 per cent, while the bottom 60 per cent saw no growth at all. The increase in inequality in Canada since the mid-1990s has been the fourth highest in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But does this matter? Yes, the evidence is in, and the conclusion is clear: Inequality does matter. In terms of social outcomes, more equal societies do better for everyone, not just for the poor, in almost every respect: health outcomes, life expectancy, level of trust in society, equality of opportunity and upward social mobility. A recent study showed that if Americans want to experience the American Dream of upward mobility, they should pack up and move to Sweden. They would have to leave the most unequal democracy and move to the most equal.

Continue reading Canada is not doing better

‘US using spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan’

* Defence secretary says Islamabad has ‘complete’ list of CIA agents in Pakistan

* US, UK against Pakistan’s nuclear programme

ISLAMABAD: Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Asif Yaseen Malik on Friday said that the US is using the spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan.

Speaking to a select group of journalists at the Defence Ministry, the defence secretary said Pakistan had complete information about the CIA agents working in the country. He said Pakistan has been informed by the US regarding presence of the CIA agents.

He added that no country was allowed to work undercover in the country. “The CIA also uses the agencies of other countries.” He said the US and Britain are against the nuclear assets of Pakistan, adding that America is using agencies of other countries against the country.

General Asif said there is no formal agreement between CIA and the ISI for secret operation. He said 95 percent of the defence policy is made by the three defence services on the basis of mutual consultation. He added that negotiations were going on for the replacement of spy aircraft that were damaged in attacks on Mehran and Kamra bases.

Read more » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\29\story_29-12-2012_pg1_2

‘Taliban are Pakistani military without uniform’ says Hyrbyar Marri

In the wake of the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by American elite troops, DW takes a closer look at Pakistan’s “other” war in a rare interview with a prominent Baloch leader.

Hyrbyar Marri is the fifth son of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, a veteran national leader and the head of the largest Baloch clan. In the late 1990s Hyrbar Marri went into exile in Britain. In 2007, he was arrested under a warrant issued by former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and held in Belmarsh – a maximum security prison in southeast London. Prominent British human rights advocates such as Peter Thatchell campaigned for Marri and accused the British executive of collaborating with Musharraf’s regime. Marri was eventually acquitted in 2008 by a British jury and remains in Britain where he has recently been granted asylum.

DW: What’s the current situation in Pakistani-controlled Balochistan?

Continue reading ‘Taliban are Pakistani military without uniform’ says Hyrbyar Marri

Does Britain back MQM’s violence? By Shiraz Paracha

– The British government shares some responsibility for violence in Karachi as wanted criminals use their UK bases to incite hate and violence in Pakistan.

Altaf Hussain, a British citizen and a mafia style leader of a linguistic group, everyday violates the British ‘Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994’ and the ‘Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006’ by inciting hatred and encouraging bloodshed in Pakistan.

Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 the following are arrestable offences in Britain:

a) Deliberately provoking hatred of a racial group. b) Distributing racist material to the public. c) Making inflammatory public speeches. d) Creating racist websites on the Internet.

From his London headquarters, Hussain gives hours long hate speeches over the phone to supporters of his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), in Pakistan. The MQM applies latest telecommunication technology to instantly spread Hussain’s hate speeches to thousands of people in different Pakistani cities.

In British law a hate speech is defined as:

“A gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic”.

The British law forbids “communication which is hateful, threatening, abusive, or insulting and which targets a person on account of skin colour, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both.”

A fugitive, Altaf Hussain, is wanted in many criminal cases including murder and abduction in Pakistan. He had absconder to the United Kingdom in the early 1990s. Surprisingly, he was given British citizenship. Ever since he has been involved in crimes against people of Pakistan and his mercenaries have turned Karachi into a city of death and destruction.

Several of Hussain’s lieutenants in London are criminal gangsters who have been accused of murdering innocent people in Pakistan. ….

Read more → LET US BUILD PAKISTAN

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Altaf Hussain & MQM

Leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Altaf Hussain & MQM.

via → ChagataiKhanYouTube

Pakistan: Lies, lies and more lies

Lies, lies and more lies

By: Nazir Naji

We are gullible. We lap up any tosh that is fed to us. We were told in 1965 that India attacked us and we defeated it. The reality was that we were the ones who attacked and India attacked Lahore and Sialkot in retaliation. In 1971, we were told that Indian-trained Mukti Bahini is carrying out terrorist activities. The reality was that we launched an offensive on East Pakistan. We were also told that Mujeeb-ur-Rehman is a traitor and that he wanted to break the country with his 6 points. The reality was that he was ready to pass the constitution of joint Pakistan in collusion with Bhutto. He himself told me in a meeting, “Am I crazy? Why would I want to break the country and rule a province when I instead rule the whole of Pakistan?” We were also told that we were conducting guerrilla resistance or “jihad” against the Soviets because their expansionist plans extend to Karachi and Gwadar. In actuality, we were America’s proxy in a war between two superpowers. The Russians left but the motley crew assembled in the name of Jihad played, and is still playing, an unholy game of bloodshed unabated. We were also told that the mujahideen had conquered Kargil but the reality was that our jawans [army] were sent there in civilian garb for conquest but the Indian army apprehended them and our prime minister had to flatter the US to facilitate their return.

We weren’t really interested in Osama bin Laden. Many lunatics in our midst consider him a warrior of Islam but the world views him as a deadly terrorist. The deluded class of people doesn’t consider him the architect of 9/11 even though he himself praised the perpetrators initially and then eventually 4 years later accepted the responsibility for planning 9/11. But this particular group of people will not even be dissuaded by his own admission of guilt. They are mourning openly in newspapers. But the people who wrote obituaries in columns did not have the daring to attend his funeral prayers conducted in absentia in Rawalpindi and Lahore.

Anyhow, our military rulers milked the US and Britain for fighting terrorism and maintained that Osama Bin Laden (OBL) was not in Pakistan whereas America insisted the opposite was true according to its reports. But we kept denying it in the strongest terms. But we Pakistanis kept believing what our protectors were telling us. We always do, but what to do when the world refuses to believe them as easily as we do. The Americans kept searching on their own. And the day our protectors and guardians were slumbering, American helicopters in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s airspace flew to Abbottabad and smoked out OBL. They got their man and took him back to Afghanistan with ease.

President Obama addressed his nation to inform them of this victory. At 11 am PST, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, also conducted a press conference and clarified his stance and stated clearly that the world’s most wanted man had been found in Pakistan and our contestation that Pakistan is the hub of terrorism has been proved. But the keepers of our defence kept their lips sealed till 12 pm. Why? The only reason was that their lies had been indubitably exposed and there was no room left for denials or cover-ups.

Finally, the Foreign Office’s spokesman issued a loose and meaningless statement which stated that Americans have conducted an operation as they have stated against OBL. The horrifying fact that Pakistan had been aerially attacked was not even alluded to. Our borders and airspaces violated. An operation was carried out a mere kilometre away from the country’s biggest military academy but our defence systems remained dormant. We neither stopped the helis from entering our borders, nor condemned the aggression committed. The statement was drafted with such nonchalance as if informing of a routine matter. As if the occurrence had taken place elsewhere. As if it did not concern us in the least bit.

The Pakistanis who remember 1971 will relate that while a full-fledged war was raging in East Pakistan, we were being told some Bengali terrorist were merely disturbing law and order and the situation would soon be under control. On 16th December, a table was set up in the battle-grounds of Dhaka on which the commanders of our military sat down with the enemy commander-in-chief and signed the deal to surrender. But we were told by our Commander-in-Chief that it was a “temporary ceasefire.” His words did not belie at all that the ignominy of the world’s biggest military defeat had befallen us. That united Pakistan was no more. We learnt of the reality when the radios across the world were announcing that India had captured East Pakistan.

The events of 2nd May were no ordinary events. They exposed the hypocrisy of the people who are supposedly our guardians and exposed the discrepancies in their words and actions. Our lie had been called out. We denied for eight years that OBL was in Pakistan but he was caught here. We kept calling the world mendacious when we ourselves were liars. Because of this lie, our defence system was reduced to tatters but our government was pretending as if our sovereignty and defence remained unscathed.

On the evening of 2nd May, some people caught their wits and then it was thrown around that we had “aided” the US and our help is what led the US to bin Laden. But what the world really wanted to ask was that why did we repeatedly lie to them? The CIA Chief, Leon Panetta, told the representative of Congress that Pakistan had either willfully hid OBL or it was incompetent. The army’s own retired general, Talat Masood, said that the presence of Osama in Pakistan was due to the incompetence of our institutions and if they knew, that was an even graver mistake than incompetence. Whether it was collusion or incompetence, our defence system and the people responsible for it have failed unequivocally at their professional obligations and national duties. A failure in defence responsibilities is unpardonable. If court-martials had been conducted when necessary, we would never have seen this day. It’s the mistake of a few people; but the humiliation and disgrace is the lot of the entire nation. How much longer will we have to take this? How many times will we pay for the crimes of others?

The writer is one of Pakistan’s most widely read columnists.

Courtesy: PAKISTAN TODAY

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/05/lies-lies-and-more-lies/

Britain: Royal wedding exposes deep class divisions

by Alan Woods

On Friday 29 April the people of Britain will be invited to participate in the joyful celebration of the marriage of Mr. William Windsor and Ms. Katherine Middleton. At the same time that the government is cutting billions from unnecessary extravagances such as hospitals, schools, teachers, nurses, the old and the sick, the unemployed and single parents, the Coalition has had the good sense to spend a lot of money on something as essential to the Public Good as the nuptials of Willy and Kate.

One can see many advantages in this. At a time of falling living standards for everyone who is not either a member of the royal family or a banker, it can take the minds of the British public off unpleasant thoughts of unpaid debts and unemployment. It might even make them forget the recent mass demonstration that brought half a million of them onto the streets of London to protest the vicious cuts being implemented by the ruling Conservative-Lib-Dem Coalition. …

Read more : Marxist.com

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

In the US, where 45 per cent of young African Americans have no jobs and the top hedge-fund managers are paid $1bn a year on average, mass protests against cuts in services & jobs have spread to heartland states such as Wisconsin

Behind the Arab revolt lurks a word we dare not speak

BY John Pilger

The people of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Libya are rising up not only against their leaders, but also western economic tyranny. …

Read more : NewStatesman

Pakistan’s Nuclear Folly

With the Middle East roiling, the alarming news about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons buildup has gotten far too little attention. The Times recently reported that American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.

Pakistan can’t feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. Yet, with China’s help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel.

Even without that reactor, experts say, it has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons. That means Pakistan — which claims to want a minimal credible deterrent — could soon possess the world’s fifth-largest arsenal, behind the United States, Russia, France and China but ahead of Britain and India. Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.

Washington could threaten to suspend billions of dollars of American aid if Islamabad does not restrain its nuclear appetites. But that would hugely complicate efforts in Afghanistan and could destabilize Pakistan.

The truth is there is no easy way to stop the buildup, or that of India and China. Slowing and reversing that arms race is essential for regional and global security. Washington must look for points of leverage and make this one of its strategic priorities.

The ultimate nightmare, of course, is that the extremists will topple Pakistan’s government and get their hands on the nuclear weapons. We also don’t rest easy contemplating the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian leadership, the power of its army and the bitterness of the country’s rivalry with nuclear-armed India.

The army claims to need more nuclear weapons to deter India’s superior conventional arsenal. It seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from the Taliban and other extremists. …

Read more : The New York Times

Shame of Britain’s Muslim schools: Secret filming shows pupils being beaten

Shame of Britain’s Muslim schools: Secret filming shows pupils being beaten and ‘taught Hindus drink cow p***’

By Tazeen Ahmad

-Undercover footage shows pupils being taught religious apartheid, -Muslims who adopt Western ways will be ‘tortured in afterlife’ -Unprovoked beatings captured on camera in Yorkshire madrassa, -Boy threatened with bench by senior student left in charge of class

It is an assembly hall of the sort found in any ordinary school. Boys aged 11 and upwards sit cross-legged on the floor in straight rows. They face the front of the room and listen carefully. But this is no ordinary assembly. Holding the children’s attention is a man in Islamic dress wearing a skullcap and stroking his long dark beard as he talks. …

Read more: Mail Online

Pakistan’s nukes: How many are enough?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

The latest news from America must have thrilled many: Pakistan probably has more nuclear weapons than India. A recent Washington Post article, quoting various nuclear experts, suggests that Pakistan is primed to “surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power”.

Some may shrug off this report as alarmist anti-Pakistan propaganda, while others will question the accuracy of such claims. Indeed, given the highly secret nature of nuclear programmes everywhere, at best one can only make educated guesses on weapons and their materials. For Pakistan, it is well known that the Kahuta complex has been producing highly enriched uranium for a quarter century, and that there are two operational un-safeguarded plutonium-producing reactors at Khushab (with a third one under construction). Still, the exact amounts of bomb-grade material and weapons are closely held secrets.

But for argument’s sake, let’s assume that the claims made are correct. Indeed, let us suppose that Pakistan surpasses India in numbers – say by 50 per cent or even 100 per cent. Will that really make Pakistan more secure? Make it more capable of facing current existential challenges?

The answer is, no. Pakistan’s basic security problems lie within its borders: growing internal discord and militancy, a collapsing economy, and a belief among most citizens that the state cannot govern effectively. These are deep and serious problems that cannot be solved by more or better weapons. Therefore the way forward lies in building a sustainable and active democracy, an economy for peace rather than war, a federation in which provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, elimination of the feudal order and creating a tolerant society that respects the rule of law. …

Read more : THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

India called itself the “largest democracy” but beyond that it is as rotten as it can be!

Niira Radia is Madam Power

by B. R. GOWANI

The elections, Western style, is the only criteria to be considered for any country to be qualified as a “democracy.” India, of course, has ritually held elections since its independence from Britain in 1947 and has called itself the “largest democracy.” But beyond that, the system is as rotten as it can be. The Transparency International’s 2010 report on corruption ranked India at 87th place out of 178 countries. The people in India don’t need any reports to tell them how corrupt the entire system is because they experience it everyday. On the other hand, corruption in nation’s upper echelon has been confirmed by the recent “Radiagate” scandal–India’s WikiLeaks.

While the United States is busy saving its face in the wake of the WikiLeaks’s release of the cables of US diplomats’ conversations around the world, some Indian politicians (in power and in opposition), industrialists, journalists, ministers, lobbyists, and others are trying to extricate themselves from the mess they’ve been plunged into due to the release of the telephone tapes of conversations between them and Niira Radia–probably the greatest lobbyist India has ever seen. It is alleged that she herself has accumulated a decent amount of money too; Rs.300 crore, i.e., over US$66 million.

Read more : Globeistan

WikiLeaks episode III: ‘Britain, US pressing MQM to oppose NRO’

Rehman Malik felt establishment, Saudi Arabia were working to oust Zardari.

KARACHI: According to a US State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, Interior Minister Rehman Malik suspected that the ‘establishment’ was out to get President Asif Zardari and that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was being influenced by the US and the UK.

In a meeting held on November 9, 2009, Malik claimed to then US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson that the “MQM had repeatedly stated that both the US and the UK had urged the party to oppose the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) – a move that led the government to withdraw the legislation from parliamentary consideration and placed the future of Zardari at risk.” …

Read more : The Express Tribune

WikiLeaks : Zardari with his future assasin!?

WikiLeaks: Zardari and the ‘backup plan’

WASHINGTON: Fearing an assassination attempt, President Asif Ali Zardari has made extensive arrangements, revealed a new WikiLeaks cable release.

Zardari had spoken to former US ambassador Anne Patterson in 2009, saying that he had instructed his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to name his sister Faryal Talpur as President if he is assassinated, reported The Guardian.

In another cable quoted by the newspaper, US Vice President Joe Biden recounted to Britain’s then Prime Minister Gordon Brown a conversation with Zardari last year. Zardari told him that Kayani and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency “will take me out,” according to the cable.

Another memo cited in The New York Times quotes General Ashfaq Kayani, chief of the military, telling the US ambassador during a March 2009 meeting that he “might, however reluctantly,” pressure Zardari to resign. …

Read more : The Express Tribune