Tag Archives: choice

China’s Choice: India or Pakistan?

Which South Asian country is more important for China’s future?

By Mu Chunshan

Among China’s relations with Asian neighbors, its ties with the countries in South Asia are generally considered to be the weakest. Now, with Sino-Japan tensions over the East China Sea and conflict with many Southeast Asian countries over the South China Sea, the role of South Asian countries has become more prominent. South Asia is now a focus in China’s regional strategy, as shown by President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the area.

When it comes to South Asia, people think of India and Pakistan first. China has an “all weather friendship” with Pakistan but an ambivalent, often testy relationship with India. But the future is sometimes different from both the past and the present. Moving forward,  which country is more important for China? Even without a clear answer, just puzzling through this question can help make many issues clear.

In fact, we only to need to answer two questions to know whether India or Pakistan is more important for China. First, which one is a major power? Second, which one can better help China realize its interests?

Which is the major power, India or Pakistan? The answer is relatively simple — India. When it comes to international influence, India is part of BRICS and the G20 and is a leader of the developing world through the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. India is well poised to become a major power in the world arena.

The answer is even more obvious from the economic perspective. According to the World Bank, India’s GDP in 2013 was roughly $1.9 trillion. By contrast, Pakistan’s GDP was only $236 billion, only about 12 percent of India’s. In 2013, India was the 10th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP.

India’s economy is just beginning to boom; its growth rate in 2013 was 4.5 percent. Experts believe that India today is like China in the mid-1980s, poised for rapid economic growth. Despite many difficulties, there is no reason for India’s economic growth to come to a halt. By contrast, Pakistan has not enjoyed the same type of economic growth in the past decade. Of course, at 1.2 billion, India’s population is far greater than Pakistan’s, but even when looking at per capita GDP India outranks Pakistan. The gap between two countries will probably widen in the future, placing Pakistan at even more of a disadvantage when compared with India.

Continue reading China’s Choice: India or Pakistan?

Polygamy as Lifestyle Choice, and a Reality TV Brand

By

LAS VEGAS — Kody Brown, his four wives and 17 children want to be the new face of polygamy, what some consider the next frontier after same-sex marriage.

That is why, the Browns say, they invited TLC television cameras into their homes for their reality show “Sister Wives,” why they have written a best-selling book about their lives, and why they challenged Utah’s polygamy ban in federal court.

Fear of prosecution under that law led them to flee to Nevada. Last month, a federal judge partly overturned the ban, ruling that prohibiting “cohabitation” violates the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion.

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/09/us/polygamy-as-a-lifestyle-choice-and-a-reality-tv-brand-name.html?_r=0

American strategy in Afpak

About the US soldier going postal in afghanistan…

By Omar Ali

I wrote this comment on the SWJ site and I just thought it would be interesting to see what people here think of the American “strategy” (or lack of one) in Afghanistan.
The killings today, while tragic and awful, are themselves indicative of nothing new beyond one soldier going nuts…could and does happen in most wars and more likely when a war has stretched on for a while and more likely with soldier and locals being different people (not necessarily different nationalities..pakistani soldiers in Bangladesh or even some Indian soldiers in Kashmir could feel equally surrounded by aliens). It will have a huge propaganda effect though. Anyway, my comment is more about the US strategy: what is it? what should it be? What would it be if you were president?

Continue reading American strategy in Afpak

BBC – Pakistan Hindu woman Rinkle Kumari ‘forced to marry’

By Riaz Sohail

A court in Pakistan has ordered police to find a Hindu woman who was allegedly abducted and forced to marry her Muslim husband.

In a petition before the Sindh High Court, the family of Rinkle Kumari say that her abduction was supported by a powerful politician.

But her husband’s friends say that she voluntarily left home in Sindh province and willingly converted to Islam.

Judges at the court said that Ms Kumari must be produced before them next week.

Human rights activists say that other reported abductions of members of minority communities in Pakistan, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, have not been properly investigated by the authorities.

In the most recent case, Hindu community leaders say that an oath Ms Kumari made in front of a court in her home town that she had freely got married and converted to Islam was made under duress.

They say that many others like her have been forcibly taken away by powerful politicians – some allied to the governing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The Hindu community has accused one of the party’s MPs, Mian Abdul Haq, of supporting the abduction and the forced conversion.

But in an interview with the BBC he strenuously denied the allegations.

“I contacted her family when Rinkle came to me last month,” he said.

“But they refused to respond – and then I was left with no choice but to convert her to Islam and get her married [according to] her will.”

Ms Kumari’s family say that she was kidnapped from her home on 24 February by Naveed Shah – who later married her.

They say that they have registered a police complaint against Mr Shah even though he appeared in court on 25 February with Ms Kumari, who made a statement before the magistrate that she had married him of her own free will.

The family and community leaders, however, say that the magistrate was under “a great deal of pressure” because hundreds of armed tribesmen loyal to Mr Haq were in the court premises.

Mr Haq said that his supporters would abide by the court ruling and that Ms Kumari would appear in court on 12 March.

Courtesy: BBC

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Pak society is “effectively cannibalizing itself” due to dehumanization of Ahmadis

Ahmadis: The lightning rod that attracts the most hatred

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.– Illutration by Faraz Aamer Khan

By Zofeen T. Ebrahim, DAWN.COM

A month after ten Ahmadi students were expelled from two schools in the village of Dharinwala, in Faisalabad district, all have been put back to school, not in there old ones, but in two schools in Hafizabad, thanks to Khalil Ahmad, father and grandfather of four students who were among those expelled.

“I managed to get all of them enrolled in two schools in the nearby city of Hafizabad,” he said talking to Dawn.com over phone from his village.

But it’s not been easy. Most parents of the expelled children are too poor, so Ahmed volunteered to pay for their admissions, their books and stationery. And that is not all. He, with the help of his two sons, makes sure they drop and pick all of them on a motorbike, doing turns.

In one school, the principal knows he has given admission to Ahmadi students but the educator believes faith should not come in the way of those seeking education. “In the other the principal has not been told,” Ahmed revealed.

Sadly, all during this episode, the government has remained a quiet bystander, as always.

It is not the first time that students have been expelled from an educational institution in Punjab because of their religious affiliations, remarked Bushra Gohar, a parliamentarian belonging to the secular Awami National Party.  According to Gohar, her party members had condemned the expulsion of students belonging to the Ahmadiyya community each time on the floor of the house. “However, a protest or condemnation from the parties leading in the Punjab has not been forthcoming,” she said.

For far too long, Pakistani students belonging to this minority community have been facing various forms of discrimination based on their faith.

“This tidal wave against the Ahmadiyya education shows no sign of ebbing,” Saleemuddin, the spokesperson of the Ahmaddiya Jammat, told Dawn.com.

He said after 1984, when the government promulgated the anti Ahmadiyya ordinance, both the government and the clerics have been trying their utmost to punish them in various ways.

“Ahmadi lecturers were posted away to distant locations and some were not allowed to teach. Ahmadi principals and headmasters were replaced. Ahmadi students were deprived admission in professional colleges. They were refused accommodation in attached hostels. They suffered attacks by extremist elements on campuses.”

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Islami Jamiat Talaba, the student wing of the Islami Jamiat has been tasked to cleanse the educational institutions, including universities and professional colleges of Ahmadi students.

Hasan Ahmed, who was among the 23 students who were expelled from Punjab Medical College, in Faisalabad, back in 2008, can never forget the stressful event and how “night after night, for over a month” he kept stressing over the events that turned his settled student life all topsy-turvy.

“I knew it happened to others, so was not completely caught unawares,” Hasan acknowledged. He is at present completing his house job in Lahore, keeping an “ultra busy schedule”.

Eventually all were re-instated in some college or another. “After months of waiting, just before exam, my friend was sent to Bahawalpur while I went off to a distant place of Rahimyar Khan in a college of lower merit,” narrated Hasan.

After a gargantuan effort, he was finally allowed to appear in exams from Lahore and then got admitted to Allama Iqbal Medical College, in Lahore.

“To be in a state of flux was the worst part of this episode specially since exams were approaching and I didn’t know which place I was to appear from,” said Hasan.

He expressed that till the identity of an Ahmadi remains undisclosed “he remains safe”.

But that is sadly not the case if you are living in Pakistan. People are culturally nosy and want to know your cast and sect. “Eventually they end up finding that you are an Ahmadi. Once they know, you can feel a change of attitude and it just takes a mischief maker to exploit others’ feelings against you,” said Hasan.

Till Hina Akram’s faith remained unknown to her teacher in Faislabad’s National Textile University, she was considered a star student. But after it became known she belonged to the Ahmadiyya community, she faced so much faith-based harassment that she had to quit studies.

“I was told to convert to Islam,” said Hina, who was studying in the sixth semester of her BSc.

“I was handed some anti-Ahmadiyya literature to read, offered a refuge in Muslim home. But when she told the teacher she was an Ahmadi by choice he called her an infidel and warned her of severe consequences.

“You will face such a fire of animosity in the campus that not even the vice chancellor will be able to help you,” he threatened her.

True to his word, a hate campaign was initiated and a social boycott began. Out of college, she is desperately trying to go abroad. Her fate remains in balance.

But it’s not just the education aspect where the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby is hitting, said Saleemuddin. Since 1984, some 208 faith-based killings have taken place. The persecution against the community has surged following the May 28, 2010 massacre of 94 members of the community in Lahore.

After the four million Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims in 1984 by the state, they cannot call themselves Muslims or go to mosques. They cannot be overheard praising Prophet Mohammad. To add insult to injury, every Pakistani who claims to be a Muslim and owns a passport has declared that he or she considers them to be non-Muslims and their leader an imposter prophet.

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.

“The extremist elements are getting more and more powerful because of Saudi-US influence and the government’s policy of appeasement,” said I.A. Rehman, General Secretary Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“The Ahmadis are already the worst persecuted minority in our country – and things for them appear to be growing worse as hatred and intolerance spread,” Kamila Hyat, a journalist and a rights activist echoed the same sentiments. “The lack of enforcement of laws to prevent the preaching of hatred adds to the problem,” she added.

Saleemuddin said by allowing the extremist clerics to hold anti-Ahmadiyya rallies and conferences, the government is adding fuel to this venom. “People are openly instigated to kill us in the name of Islam,” he said.

“Violence and the advance of bigotry, prejudice and hate against minorities have never really been met with the resolve needed to remove impunity from the social equation in Pakistan,” Sherry Rehman, a legislator belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, agreed.
Instead, she told Dawn.com what is seen is an “expansion in the space for religious and sectarian apartheids, which has led now to heinous acts of brutality and exclusion of many, particularly Ahmadis.”

She warned: “This is a dangerous trend that conflates national identity with religion.”

Perhaps that is one reason why Pervez Hoodbhoy expresses: “Today, when religion has become so central in matters of the state, they [Ahmadis] do not stand a chance in Pakistan of getting rights, respect, and dignity. The overdose of religion given to young Pakistanis in their schools and homes means that nothing matters more than which religion and sect you belong to. Ahmadis are the lightning rod that attracts more hatred than any other sect.”

For its part rights groups like the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) say they have “repeatedly” raised the issue of “state tolerated persecution”.

“We are urging authorities to intervene in each case,” said Rehman. “But the situation is getting worse day by day.

Terming it “abhorrent and self defeating” when society allows “for the dehumanization of Ahmadis or Christians or the Shia for that matter, it is effectively cannibalizing itself,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of HRW.

“The federal government expresses regret at incidents but has made clear its unwillingness to repeal or amend discriminatory laws,” said HRW spokesperson.

Given the current intolerance, the fate of the new generation of Pakistani Ahmadis looks “quite bleak” said Rehman.

Even Hoodbhoy said: “For years, Ahmadis, Hindus, and Christians have been desperately seeking to flee Pakistan. They would be foolish to want to stay,” said Hoodbhoy.

This fails to dampen young Hasan’s spirits. He thinks the future looks “brighter than ever before”.

“Even if the situation is made worse in Pakistan, this does not mean the future is not bright. It’s a matter of time before we start getting equal rights in this country.

Often when they get together, the young Ahmadis discuss the “bitter realities” they have to face as Pakistanis.

“But we don’t want to leave our country at the juncture that it is at,” said a patriotic Hasan. This is because the contribution of the Ahmadi community towards building of Pakistan has been immense,” he said with conviction.

He said recently their leader urged all Ahmadis of the world to “fast once a week and pray” especially for the prosperity of Pakistan.”

Zofeen T. Ebrahim is a freelance journalist.

Courtesy » DAWN.COM

Religion And Rule Of Law In Pakistan

– By Dr. Khalil Ahmad

After military might, religion is the greatest alibi to defy the rule of law in Pakistan.

One of the most precious achievements of human civilization is the value of rule of law, as against the rule of man, ideology or faith. Herein is implied an inherent regard for the life and liberty of each person, his right to profess and practice any religion; in sum his right to live a life of his choice. It is as simple as that – that as against man, ideology and faith, rule of law is tolerant and accommodative of all creeds and all cultures, i.e. to all the individual differences of mind and body found in human beings. It looks upon each and every person as by birth endowed with certain inalienable rights, treats him as equal and without any discrimination; it provides equal protection of law to all; it gives every person right to be prosecuted under due process of law and prove himself innocent. That bestows the rule of law with an over-riding status. …

Read more → asinstitute

Bastards: theirs vs. ours!?

By: Shazia Nawaz

This is a response to ….sahib’s (— e-list) mails on bastards in USA and is a reply to his argument that all American should get paternity test done.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with having a child out of wedlock. There is nothing immoral about it. If you people do not understand it, it does not make it wrong. It’s a woman’s choice.

My co-worker just gave birth to her third love child. She likes children and does not want marriage. I asked another co worker who is 32 now and had a child at age of 16, that if she regrets having a child at age of 16, she said abruptly, ” no Dr. Nawaz, I do not regret MY CHILD.

Why so much stress on USA immorality?

Many Pakistani men openly confess that majority of them cheat on their wives. Some say 80 percent of Pakistani men cheat on their wives. (only God knows truth about Pakistani society), so whenever there is sex, there is a baby.

If you accept that 80 percent Pakistani men cheat on their wives (I hope not) then 80 percent Pakistani women give birth to illegitimate children? no ???

These men are cheating with someone but then of course I only know what I know. And I know two young Pakistani women, both say all their prayers regularly and fast in holy Ramadan, both are my age, both got pregnant with children of other men. Both told me because they thought I could help them abort the babies by prescribing a pill.

One girl’s husband has had vasectomy. So, she could not explain the pregnancy and wanted abortion. Other one could pass this child as her husbands if the guy she had an affair with was not black. I could not help either of them. Liability is a huge issue in USA. I would not prescribe meds like that. Both had to go to abortion centers to get abortion. Both are not my patients and do not live in my town (so not doing confidentiality violation) now, in Pakistan its very easy to pass a child as your husbands. I do not know how many, but I m sure countless women do that.

There was a woman on Geo Tv the other day, that video is on YouTube, she told camera how her father in law raped her for years and of course she complained now when he ran away with her money and jewelry. Only God knows how many children of this woman’s are his father in law’s. Watch the video here till the end.

My friend who works at Jinnah hospital tells me that countless women get pregnant by their brother in laws and are not married and come for abortion.

Let’s not flash morality that does not exist. If our men brag about their affairs, they also have to remember that an affair always produces a child.

To me, love child of a single woman is not a bad thing and does not reflect ” bad character”. Bad character is lying, deceiving, and harming others.

A love child of a married man or woman indicate deception to someone, and this is why falls under the category of immorality that way.

About the writer – Shazia Nawaz MBBS, MD. (Allama Iqbal medical college , Lahore, Session 1998). Practicing medicine in USA now. A blogger, a vlogger, a columnist, a You Tube talk show host, married to a wonderful man, mother of a beautiful 11 year old daughter. Wants justice and equality for all.

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 15, 2011.

Enemy within!?

Christian Jihad? Why We Should Worry About Right-Wing Terror Attacks Like Norway’s in the US

By Frank Schaeffer

There is a growing movement in America that equates godliness with hatred of our government — in fact, hatred of our country.

The Norwegian police on Saturday charged a 32-year-old man, whom they identified as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections, over the bombing of a government center and a shooting attack on a nearby island that together left at least 91 people dead.

In my new book “Sex, Mom and God” I predicted just such an action. I predicted that right wing Christians will unleash terror here in America too. I predict that they will copy Islamic extremists, and may eventually even make common cause with them.

There is a growing movement in America that equates godliness with hatred of our government in fact hatred of our country as fallen and evil because we allow women choice, gays to marry, have a social safety net, and allow immigration from other cultures and non-white races. ….

Read more → AlterNet

Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha

Excerpt:

The basic socio-political mindset of the Pakistani society is the outcome of various faith-based experiments conducted by the state and the armed forces.

The party

In 1995, sometime in May, an uncle of mine (an ex-army man), was invited to a party of sorts.

The invitation came from a former top-ranking military officer who had also worked for the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI. He was in the army with my uncle (who now resides abroad) during the 1960s.

My uncle, who was visiting Pakistan, asked if I was interested in going with him. I agreed.

The event was at a military officer’s posh bungalow in Karachi’s Clifton area. Most of the guests (if not all) were former military men. All were articulate, spoke fluent English and wore modern, western clothes.

I was not surprised by this but what did surprise me was a rather schizophrenic aura about the surroundings. Though modern-looking and modern-sounding, the gathering turned out to be a segregated affair.

The men’s wives were placed in a separate room, while the men gathered in a wider sitting area.

By now it become clear to me that I wouldn’t be getting served anything stronger than Pepsi on the rocks!

I scratched my head, thinking that even though I was at a ‘party’ in a posh, stylish bungalow in the posh, stylish Clifton area with all these posh stylish military men and their wives and yet, somehow I felt there very little that was ‘modern’ about the situation.

By modern, I also mean the thinking that was reflected by the male guests on politics, society and religion. Most of the men were also clean-shaven and reeking of expensive cologne, but even while talking about cars, horses and their vacations in Europe, they kept using Arabic expressions such as mashallah, alhamdullila, inshallah, etc.

I tried to strike up some political conversations with a few gentlemen but they expected me to agree with them about how civilian politicians were corrupt, how democracy can be a threat to Pakistan, how civilian leaders do not understand India’s nefarious designs, et al. …

The experiment

The Pakistan Army was once a staunchly secular beast. All across the 1950s and 1960s it was steeped in secular (albeit conservative) traditions and so were its sociological aspects.

In fact, until the late 1960s, Pakistani military men were asked to keep religion a private matter and religious exhibitionism was scorned at as well as reprimanded – mostly during Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s dictatorship (1959-69).

Continue reading Like army, like nation – by Nadeem F. Paracha

Are America’s Best Days Behind Us?

By Fareed Zakaria

I am an American, not by accident of birth but by choice. I voted with my feet and became an American because I love this country and think it is exceptional. But when I look at the world today and the strong winds of technological change and global competition, it makes me nervous. Perhaps most unsettling is the fact that while these forces gather strength, Americans seem unable to grasp the magnitude of the challenges that face us. Despite the hyped talk of China’s rise, most Americans operate on the assumption that the U.S. is still No. 1.

But is it? …

Read more: Time.com

Imran Khan is a Non- starter

By Saeed Qureshi

…. But all these years in the politics he has remained a non starter. Once in a while he appears on the stage, frets and fumes and then recedes into oblivion to reappear all of a sudden at a time of his own choice. He runs his political bandwagon by fits and starts. He is sincere and possesses unbounded passion and limitless energy to make a difference but his fury and passion is invariably short-lived, He suffers from a perennial malady of inconsistency and conceptual bipolarity. He swerves from extreme to extreme on both sides of his agenda. He thunders like the charged clouds but then drifts away after a strong but brief shower of hyperbolic statements and strongly worded propositions. …

Read more : Upright Opinion

Blasphemy and the Islamic way

by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Due to some recent events in Pakistan, the issue of blasphemy is again in the news. It is generally held that Islam prescribes capital punishment for those who commit blasphemy; that is, using abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. But this is quite untrue. According to Islam, blasphemy is simply a misuse of freedom and not a cognisable offence; the blasphemer is not liable to incur legal punishment. This kind of law has no basis in Islamic scriptures. If someone uses abusive language against the Prophet, Muslims must take it as a case of misunderstanding, and then try to remove this misunderstanding. They are required to do so by engaging in discussion or by providing the blasphemer with Islamic literature that gives the true image of the Prophet of Islam.
To use abusive language against the Prophet or to praise him are both a matter of one’s own choice. Whatever the choice, it is in God’s domain to pass judgment on it. Muslims have nothing to do in this situation except try to remove the misunderstanding and then leave the rest to God.
If there is such a case – which could be called blasphemy – and in anger one tries to punish the offender, one is simply reacting negatively to the situation. And acting in this way is looked upon with extreme disfavour in Islam. Islam always tries to go to the root cause of any given problem.
When one abuses the Prophet of Islam, it is most probably due to some kind of provocation. Without provocation, this kind of negative attitude is extremely unlikely. That is why the Quran advises Muslims to get at the real reason.

The Quran points to one such root cause behind this kind of act and urges Muslims to try to come to grips with it: “But do not revile those (beings) whom they invoke instead of God, lest they, in their hostility, revile God out of ignorance.” (6:108)
It is on the record that, during the Prophet’s time, there were some non-believers who used to use abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet of Islam never suggested any legal punishment for those persons. He simply directed them to one of his companions, Hassan bin Sabit al-Ansari, who would respond to their blasphemous statements and remove their misunderstanding by means of argument.  Islam suggests capital punishment for only one offence, and that is murder.

Read more : The Times of India