Watayo Faqeer is a Sindhi folk story character. On a very cold night his mother said: “Wataya! You are close to God. It’s very cold tonight, can’t you ask God to spare a little bit of fire from hell to keep poor people like us warm here?” Said Watayo; “Amma [Mother], There is no fire in hell. Everyone has to bring his own.”
SPEECHES made at the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) rally in Karachi on Dec 25 were a perfect “motley mixture of high-sounding phrases … [and] adherence to the old routine”. It will hardly endear Imran Khan and his party to ordinary Sindhi and Baloch publics.
The issues speakers zeroed in on and the topics they did not touch upon offer an interesting insight into the ethos of the PTI and how out of touch it is with the Sindhi and Baloch political pulse. Both in terms of content and form there was little on offer for Sindhis and the Baloch in the vicinity of Jinnah`s mausoleum.
Start with what Imran Khan had to say about Balochistan. He quite correctly, and I am assuming sincerely, apologised to the Baloch for the wrongs done to them. Who was he apologising as? Was he doing it as a Punjabi? If so, he did not make it obvious. Nawaz Sharif did the same in a meeting with Sardar Ataullah Mengal only a few days back. Instead of echoing what Nawaz Sharif had said to Sardar Mengal, Imran Khan should have paid attention to the veteran Baloch leader`s response in which he considered such apologies hollow and minced no words in conveying to Mr Sharif that the Baloch youth viewed the army as a Punjabi army and not a national one.
Unless politicians from Punjab are willing and capable to rein in the army there is little hope of winning over the hearts and minds of the people of Balochistan. Imran Khan`s answer to Baloch alienation is to bring `development` to the province. Mention `development` to a Baloch and she/he immediately thinks of boots on the ground and men in khaki hunting down Baloch nationalists. `Development` in the Baloch perception means systematic exploitation of Balochistan`s natural resources and a denial of political rights spanning half a century.
Imran Khan quite naively invoked West Germany`s example of helping East Germany in the reunification of the two. He wants to play West Germany to Balochistan, conveniently forgetting that it was the East Germans who brought the Berlin Wall down to be one with their West German brothers.
In the case of Balochistan, the situation is almost the exact opposite where there is an ever-increasing aspiration to get out of Pakistan instead of an urge to be part of it. When it comes to Sindh, the PTI bowled, to use Imran Khan`s favourite cricketing analogy, a wide on Sindhis in both form and content. topi
Let us look at the form first. The team that Imran Khan chose to surround himself with on the stage did not even have a token Sindhi among them. Sindhis have not patented the Sindhi (cap) and it would have done no harm to adorn one when attempting to put up a mega political show in Sindh.
If you are going to punctuate speeches with songs then not having any Sindhi song on the playlist only sends a wrong message. Whether or not you appreciate Shah Abdul Latif`s poetry, it is customary to pay tribute to Latif when politicking in Sindh.
`Tsunami` may be a nice and thunderous word elsewhere but in the coastal areas of Sindh people associate it with misery not merriment. The list of such symbolic follies is too long for a newspaper column.
In terms of content there was little that Sindhis could identify with but a lot that would keep the PTI on the political margins in the province.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi`s speech was, again using cricket analogy, akin to Misbah-ul-Haq`s innings against India in the 2011 World Cup semi-final. Misbah scored only 17 runs during the first 42 balls he faced thus contributing to the cost incurred by Pakistan.
Qureshi did the same for Imran Khan in Karachi as far as PTI`s immediate fortunes in Sindh are concerned. Qureshi chose to play the nuclear nationalism card and accuse President Asif Zardari of being not as strong a nuclear nationalist as an ideal Pakistani president should be. He went on to educate, or rather bore, those attending with concepts such as no-first-use, Cold Start and asymmetric warfare.
The speech sounded more like a pitch to secure the slot of foreign minister in any future government than connecting with the masses in Sindh. Simply put, you don`t talk about that stuff in public rallies in Sindh. It finds little resonance with Sindhis.
Imran Khan was equally off the mark if one purpose of the show was to win the support of Sindhis. His road map was a motley of generalities guided by political naivety that made him look up to England as a model welfare state when he first set foot there as a teenager.
His solutions to complex socioeconomic and political issues are sought in simple steps like computerising the land records because a computer does not accept bribe or aspiration to provide free legal advice to 80 per cent of the population.
And no such talk is complete without customary tribute to Lee Kuan Yew`s ways of `developing` the tiny island of Singapore. These propositions resonate with the urban middle classes of Punjab and possibly Karachi but have little to do with various segments of the Sindhi population.
For Imran Khan the only hurdle in the way of exploiting coal deposits in the desert Sindh may be the law and order situation in Karachi but for Sindhis the issue is more complex and requires provinces having a greater say and decision-making powers when it comes to natural resources.
Imran Khan and his party have an attractive platform for the urban middle classes of Punjab but his slogans have little appeal where the Baloch and Sindhi political path is concerned, at least for now.
The writer is a Canada-based author. firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy » DAWN.COM
The language of the speech of former Foreign Minister and the vice chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Ghaznavi) is in urdu (Hindi). SMQ has proved himself a conservative and extremist fundo, who is desperate to reach to power at any cost. His personal grievances with Zardari for not giving him Foreign Ministry reached to a level where he is prompting highly poisoned arguments on nuclear issue, and promoting anti-India sentiments.
Courtesy: Duniya Tv News
The parameters and paranoia of the bygone Cold War just refuses to evaporate from the psyche of Pakistan’s military-establishment. That war might have folded with the folding up of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it seems Pakistan’s military-establishment is still largely stuck (albeit willingly) in the thick muck that this war threw up in this region in the 1980s.
by Tony Karon
“We are not talking to Iran, so we don’t understand each other,” outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace last month. “If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right — that there will be miscalculation, which could be extremely dangerous in that part of the world.”
Mullen’s warning of the perils arising from the two sides’ inability to communicate and understand each other’s intentions — “Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union”
– by Omar Ali
Pakistan’s predicament continues to draw comment from all over the world; in the Western (and Westoxicated Eastern) Left, the narrative remains straightforward(to such a degree that one is tempted to share an essay by Trotsky that Tariq Ali may have missed): US imperialism is to blame. In this story, US imperialism “used” poor helpless clueless Pakistan for its own evil ends, then “abandoned” them (it’s very bad when the imperialists go into a third world country, it’s also very bad when they leave) and they have now returned to finish off the job. I have written in the past about my disagreements with this Eurocentric and softly racist narrative and have little to add to it. In any case, no one in authority in either the imperialist powers or Pakistan is paying too much attention to the Guardian or the further reaches of the Left. But even among those who matter (for better and for worse), there seems to be no agreement about what is going on and what comes next. Everyone has their theories, ranging from “lets attack Pakistan” to “let’s throw more money at them” and everything in between. I don’t know what comes next eith
er, but I have been thinking for a few days about an outcome that many in the Pakistani pro-military webring think is around the corner: What if we win?
The fact that the US/NATO are in trouble in Afghanistan is no longer news. The fact that Pakistan is about to “win” may not be as obvious to many outsiders (or even to many Pakistanis). but “strategic victory” in Afghanistan is now taken for granted by the Paknationalists. And one should take them seriously, since their theories are not only a product of GHQ, they are also the basis GHQ’s own decision making. The circle goes like this: psyops operators create the theory in the morning. It’s taken up by the paknationalist media through the day and is on GEO TV by nightfall. The generals hear it on the evening news and excitedly call up their friends: did you see what everyone is saying!
– What does it mean for Pakistan to “win” in Afghanistan?
Most of my Pakistani friends think it’s a zero-sum game: what is bad for the US is good for Pakistan. Though some analysts have attempted warn that it may not be a glorious victory, but this kind of “negative thinking” is not the dominant mode in Pakistan. Even Pakistanis who expect some trouble are generally happy with the thought that the Americans will be escaping from the Kabul embassy hanging on to rope ladders. I disagree, and I disagree because I think that this defeat will not be fatal for the US, but it is very likely to be terrible for Pakistan. The US, while chastened and shocked (as after Vietnam?) will not be seriously wounded by defeat in Afghanistan; What happens to the economy at home will be far more critical than what happens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, neither of which have a big role in the economy, and the role they do have is entirely negative. The US will be better off getting out of Afghanistan. Pakistan will not escape that lightly.
First some clarifications: I am not talking about loss of US aid or the loss of vast sums of money that the US pays Pakistani contractors for supplying and sustaining their mission in Afghanistan. First of all, the US and NATO will need Pakistani help to get out safely and may pay more in defeat than they ever did in “victory”. And even when the taps are eventually turned off, the stoppage of US aid is not necessarily fatal. It’s a 200 billion dollar economy and while the poor may suffer some more as the upper classes squeeze them harder to make up for lost dollars, life is likely to go on. Severe sanctions are a more serious issue, but it’s possible that China can prevent those. There will, of course, be the inevitable military coup (most likely a “hidden” one, in which a civilian caretaker regime is installed by the army) and that will itself lead to a temporary improvement in administration in the core region; In short, all will not be doom and gloom if the Western tap does get turned off, especially if the turning off is gradual and if China can be convinced to help the upper classes out a little more. The real problems will lie elsewhere.
First of all, this “victory” will not lead to instant peace in Afghanistan. Even the paknationalists think Afghanistan will erupt in open civil war. Naturally, that’s a war they expect “their side” to win, but keep in mind that the Taliban, with full Pakistani support and little overt intervention on the other side, still could not conquer all of Afghanistan prior to 2001. After 10 years of western support, and with Iran, India and Russia already working on future scenarios, it is hard to see how the Taliban could easily roll back into Northern or Western Afghanistan. The civil war in Afghanistan will not be brief or decisive, and it will suck Pakistan into all kinds of trouble. Even in the best case scenario, it will be very tough. In the worst case scenario, Pakistan may collapse before the last American takes off from the embassy roof. The risks in case of “victory” are enormous.
Secondly, the jihadis will want their peace dividend within Pakistan too. Imran Khan and his admirers are waiting for the day when the Americans leave and we can talk to “our people” as brothers, but the brothers are not just fighting for America to leave.
They had an agenda before America arrived in 2001 and they have not given up on it. Neither have their friends in the security services. The jihadi faction of the deep state did not train half a million jihadis just to needle India. Pakistan itself will have to be cleansed of undesirables. The first in line will excite little sympathy; Zardari’s cronies, ANP diehards and Baloch nationalists will be “sorted out” soon after the coup, to cheers from Imran Khan supporters wearng Microsoft T-shirts. Neither will the Ahmedis get much sympathy. But the Salafists will not spare Shias and that will mean problems with Iran and with the remaining Shia population within Pakistan. Next the westernized elite will be asked to join the glorious Islamic revolution. Most will choose to accept and may even think that the jihadis are only looking for public expressions of piety, but they will soon find out that the Jihadis are serious. And that they had no idea what was cooking under the radar in half a million madrasahs and an impoverished, disenfranchised and much abused population of desperately poor people. While the burger-jihadis are working on their Microsoft certification and jerking off to Imran Khan and Shahid Afridi speeches on youtube, the rest of the country has neither water, not electricity nor basic law and order. The revolution will not stop at public piety. Until one day, the red death will reach the innermost sanctum: GHQ itself will be invited to reform. At that point, as defense housing society plots are redistributed, the victory will become very bittersweet indeed.
Does this mean that the ruling elite in Pakistan will in fact bite the bullet and help the US out just to save themselves? After all, the US intervention did provide the elite with a chance to give up their dangerous jihadi policy and switch to some alternative route to capitalism. But in spite of Chinese hints that they may be better off taking this road, the “Indian threat” meme has overwhelmed all other considerations and they do not seem to possess the vocabulary to try anything different. Revising their strategic doctrine may have seemed logical, but that logic has not made it past their mental defenses. This is a genuine mess. The kind where nobody is sure what will happen next.
A joke from the nineties (originally a Khalsa joke, but recycled and put to many uses since then) suddenly seems prescient; Prime minister Nawaz Sharif in those days was portrayed as something of a simpleton, getting by on the advice of his shrewd father (Abba ji). Here is the joke:
Nawaz Sharif: Abba ji, the economy is in terrible shape and nothing is working. What can we do now?
Abba ji: Son, there is only one solution. Start a war with America. They will bomb the country and utterly destroy it. Then they will occupy us and launch a Marshall plan and we will be rebuilt with their money. Look how rich Japan and Germany have become after losing a war to America.
Nawaz Sharif: But Abba ji, what if we win?
But maybe I am underestimating the corrupt but shrewd ruling elite. Maybe they have enough self-awareness to sneak out of this one? Notice that Pakistan is opening up trade with India. We delayed an American victory in Afghanistan for 10 years because we don’t want Indian influence in Afghanistan. We don’t want Indian influence in Afghanistan because the Indians are our eternal enemies. Now the Americans are threatening us, so we are going to make peace with India to relieve pressure on the economy. When we are friends with India, will we still need to deny them “influence” in Afghanistan? Enquiring minds want to know…
These thoughts about the possible shrewdness of the corrupt elite were rudely interrupted by the following post on the paknationalist webring:http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/2011/10/02/2012-a-scientific-look-at-the-importance-of-the-year-2012-in-view-of-the-historic-events/#comment-124549. This is not a conspiracy site in some basement in Louisiana. This is the site closest to the mindset of our esteemed military elite and the “scientist” being quoted is one of Pakistan’s “nuclear heroes”. Hope may be premature.
Courtesy » Brown Pundits
By Frank Viviano
A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question. Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.
Is Western democracy coming apart at the seams? A decade ago, only paranoid alarmists would have posed that question. Today, it may be an expression of cold, brutal realism.
On both sides of the Atlantic — from the fires that raged in large stretches of London, to the political chicanery that brought the U.S. economy to its knees in early August — the institutional framework that came to define modern democracy in the 19th century is in deep trouble.
The principal organs of financial oversight and management are in tatters. Ferociously xenophobic political movements, an entire constellation of Tea Parties, now play important roles in nearly every European nation, as well as the United States.
Faith in elected leaders and legislatures, the central and defining institutions of democracy, has never been lower.
According to the Pew Research Center, the proportion of the U.S. public expressing trust in the federal government has fallen from just under 80 per cent in the late 1960s to barely 20 per cent today. ….
Read more → AlterNet
– You know something has gone really awry in the Pak-US relationship when the Pakistanis bring out their heavy political artillery against the US. Now who would not take Pakistan’s Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar seriously? Speaking to a television channel, the defence minister has threatened to withdraw Pakistani troops from the Pak-Afghan border as a response to the US decision to suspend roughly $ 800 million in military aid to Pakistan.
One can imagine that this tit-for-tat reaction from a minister who is indispensible to Pakistan’s security planning must have sent Admiral Mike Mullen, along with the joint chiefs committee, looking for cover. So indispensible is the minister that he was on a personal trip to the US — attending graduation ceremonies at Harvard, among other things — when the defence committee of the cabinet met twice in the wake of the OBL fiasco this past May. Can it not get more farcical than the security establishment firing from Chaudhry Mukhtar’s shoulder while General Kayani pretends to be a cool customer presiding over the corps commanders’ meeting?
Under the prevailing situation along the Durand Line, with both Pakistan and Afghanistan alleging that the other is violating the frontier, Pakistan would not venture into pulling back a single soldier. More than that, the Pakistan Army officials have declared on record that many of the Taliban-affiliated groups are their strategic assets. A pull-back would mean loss of protection for these assets rendering them to be likely targets for the ISAF, especially if the militants try to escalate things. So who is the Pakistani establishment kidding? Even the lamest bravado has to be tad tangible.
A few weeks ago, I had noted in these pages: “Osama bin Laden’s lair, less than a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, is not a pinprick that the world, let alone the US, would forget so easily. The Pakistani parliament may have been duped with it, but there is every indication that the US Congress and the White House consider the ‘intelligence failure’ excuse an insult to their intelligence. Senator Kerry’s soft but measured tone indicates that the Pakistani brass still has some time, perhaps through July, to make serious amends but all options, including moving the UN, remain on the table. The senator also seems to have spelt out some of the bare-minimum metrics for any rapprochement…the dismantling of the Haqqani network is at the top of the confidence-building agenda. The military events surrounding Senator Kerry’s Pak-Afghan visits suggest that the US is not about to blink first” (‘Pakistan and the US: beyond the tailspin’, Daily Times, May 19, 2011).
So here we are in mid-July and the US has issued what is still a relatively mild rebuke, through suspension of the military aid. However, the way the geopolitical narrative in the post-OBL phase is shaping up, the current US measures have the undesirable potential of snowballing into more robust sanctions and further isolation of Pakistan. Both the US and Pakistan have few good options in the mini cold war, which they are fighting on the Afghan frontier but obviously the Pakistani choices are much more limited. The much-trumpeted Chinese support will subsidise neither the technological nor budgetary shortfall. Also, the détente that exists between the US and China and is not about to change soon. Admiral Mullen took off for China immediately after his remarks that implicated the Pakistani brass in Syed Saleem Shahzad’s murder. Short of threatening a regional destabilisation by militant proxies, including through blocking NATO routes, or its perpetual staple of ‘you cannot mess with a nuclear-armed country’, Pakistani deep state has little to fall back upon.
For some reason, the Pakistani establishment — and indeed a large section of the population — remains of the view that the world, especially the US, is out to get them and the regional and world powers are setting up tripwires for them at every step. This is followed by the perennial chorus about how the US ditched us after the Soviet withdrawal and the relations with the US having been transactional and utilitarian rather than strategic. The establishment, then, like Don Quixote, riding on his horse Rocinante –the right-wing media in this case — goes tilting at the US-Indo-Zionist windmills. But what really takes the cake is invoking the anti-US sentiment prevalent in Pakistan and how it will become worse if the aid spigot is turned off. What is lost on the Pakistani brass is that a zero-sum security paradigm is ancient history.
The Pakistani military leadership has been betting on a US withdrawal from Afghanistan that leaves the field wide open for them. It is an erroneous assumption and will likely result in the Pakistani security establishment biting off more than it can chew. It is equally wrong to assume that Afghanistan would portend any threat to Pakistan in foreseeable future. Also, in the wake of Ahmed Wali Karzai’s assassination, a continued US presence in Afghanistan after 2014 is almost a foregone conclusion. Three large US bases along with at least 25,000 troops, supported by robust air power is what the Pakistani brass will be grappling with if they are eyeing the Kabul throne for their chosen militants. The Pakistani civil and military leaders must recognise that their objective of imposing a 1996-style Pakistani puppet government in Kabul is neither legitimate nor attainable. After his brother’s murder, even the capricious Hamid Karzai — known for his occasional footsie with Pakistan — is unlikely to go along with any Pakistani designs on Kabul.
The mood in the US is reflective of an Americanism: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” The Obama administration had bad and worse choices vis-à-vis Pakistan to select from. The US government is not known to rush into making decisions and the present one is no different. It appears to be a considered opinion of the US administration and the lawmakers that in the fight against the extremist forces, the Pakistani army and the civilian government cannot be counted on due to lack of will and power, respectively. What the US must not lose sight of is the difficult but imperative task of helping ensure a relatively stable Afghan government, without which a prolonged US presence in Afghanistan is meaningless. And equally important is continued US support for Pakistan’s democratic dispensation, which is likely to get caught in the crossfire as the mini cold war escalates.
Courtesy: → Daily Times
– The cold-blooded torture and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad by “invisible agencies” roused the journalists of Pakistan to unite and demand an independent and credible commission of inquiry to unearth the facts and punish the perpetrators. A media “dharna” outside parliament in Islamabad was aimed at securing an independent supreme court judge to head the inquiry instead of Justice Agha Rafiq, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, nominated by President Asif Zardari.
Two questions arose. First, why did the media unite in such an unprecedented manner in this case when it didn’t do so in the case of the sixteen journalists so far killed this year in Pakistan? What was so particularly frightening or significant about this murder that compelled the media to stand up and be counted? Second, why did President Zardari originally pick a “Zardari-loyalist” to head this commission? Was this aimed at shielding any slip up or criminality on the part of the PPP government? And if it wasn’t, who was President Zardari trying to shield and why?
The answers are straight forward enough. Saleem Shehzad had recorded his problems with the ISI and left a testament indicting it if he was harmed. He was writing a book exposing the inroads into the armed forces and ISI made by retired or serving officers sympathetic to Al Qaeda’s violent ideology. Such exposure was deemed irrevocably embarrassing to the national security establishment. It explained the lack of preparedness on the part of the military to defend and protect itself — as evidenced in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Abbottabad in recent times. It also confirmed the fears of the international community about the security of the nukes, triggering scenarios of pre-emptive action against them in the event of their seizure by rogues allied to Al Qaeda. When Saleem Shehzad went ahead and published his book, he had to be silenced.
That, at least, is the media’s perception of what happened to him and why. Thus the media banded together to demand accountability so that the same fate did not befall any other journalist. If this perception was wrong, an independent commission of inquiry should have been able to establish the innocence of the ISI and redeem its credibility. If it was right, the ISI had to be chastened and cleansed of such elements. What is wrong with this way of thinking? Indeed, when an attempt is made to hide the facts behind a stooge commission, such suspicions and perceptions take deep roots and protests are inclined to become more widespread and violent. If President Zardari hadn’t finally heeded the journalists’ threat and appointed Justice Saqib Nisar to head the commission instead of Mr Agha Rafiq, the media was all geared up to announce a blackout of all government news and military press statements and advice.
Much the same sort of trouble for the government and military may be forecast for another commission of inquiry pledged by parliament to uncover the truth behind the Abbottabad debacle. In this case, too, the military seems to have leaned on the weak PPP government to desist from seriously inquiring into the mishap because it would deeply embarrass the “national security establishment” and conceivably jeopardise its “strategic relationship” with its Pentagon counterpart in the United States.
In both instances, however, there is one critical factor that threatens to derail the unholy nexus between a weak government and an arrogant military that are clutching at each other for protection. That is the opposition lead by Nawaz Sharif. The PMLN stood solidly with the fearful media in the first instance and will back the outraged public in the second. No less significantly, the sympathies of the newly independent judiciary are with the media, opposition and public. This is an inherently unstable and precarious situation. Where do we go from here?
The military has no option but to press the strategic “Paradigm Reset” button. The media and judiciary have joined the stake holders’ club. The military must realize that it is no longer capable of “managing” or “manipulating” or “blackmailing” the twice-bitten opposition to do its bidding blindly. The media too has been empowered by a wave of “citizen-journalists” who cannot be repressed. There are 20 million internet users in Pakistan and 4 million Facebook freaks and Tweeters. This organic new species had defied the dictators of the Middle East and smashed their censors. It is destined to do the same in Pakistan.
The situation is fraught with dangers of unmanageable upheaval. The military must adjust its sights accordingly. If, for example, the US were to launch any new unilateral action that outraged the Pakistani media, opposition and public, the military would be caught in the eye of the storm. It won’t be able to resist the public pressure but it also wouldn’t like to be savaged by America. Thus it could be the biggest loser in the game. Forewarned is forearmed.
Courtesy: Friday Times
The Pakistani security forces are murdering common citizens in cold blood and broad daylight: Their allegation appeared to be correct when footage aired on news channels showed the unarmed youngster had been shot from a very close range by one of six Rangers personnel gathered around him.The language of the video clip is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Duniya TV News (Crossfire with Mehar Bukhari – 9th June 2011)
Press Release : TORONTO – June 01, 2011: Baloch Human Rights Council (Canada) expressed deep sorrow over the targeted killing of Prof. Saba Dashtyari in Quetta today. Prof. Dashtyari was shot dead by unknown assailants, allegedly members of the security forces’ death squad, while he was on his way to Balochistan University.
To read more about Saba Dashtiyari : BBC urdu
– The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.
by Lawrence Wright
It’s the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country’s economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy. The other country, meanwhile, is spurned because it forges alliances with America’s enemies.
The country not chosen was India, which “tilted” toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Pakistan became America’s protégé, firmly supporting its fight to contain Communism. The benefits that Pakistan accrued from this relationship were quickly apparent: in the nineteen-sixties, its economy was an exemplar. India, by contrast, was a byword for basket case. Fifty years then went by. What was the result of this social experiment?
India has become the state that we tried to create in Pakistan. It is a rising economic star, militarily powerful and democratic, and it shares American interests. Pakistan, however, is one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a covert sponsor of terrorism. Politically and economically, it verges on being a failed state. And, despite Pakistani avowals to the contrary, America’s worst enemy, Osama bin Laden, had been hiding there for years—in strikingly comfortable circumstances—before U.S. commandos finally tracked him down and killed him, on May 2nd.
American aid is hardly the only factor that led these two countries to such disparate outcomes. But, at this pivotal moment, it would be a mistake not to examine the degree to which U.S. dollars have undermined our strategic relationship with Pakistan—and created monstrous contradictions within Pakistan itself.
American money began flowing into Pakistan in 1954, when a mutual defense agreement was signed. During the next decade, nearly two and a half billion dollars in economic assistance, and seven hundred million in military aid, went to Pakistan ….
Read more : The New Yorker
After losing the 2004 presidential elections US senator John Kerry said that one video message of Osama Bin Laden cost him the Presidency. Days before the 2004 elections Bin Laden in a video message had urged the US public not to elect President George W. Bush again. The message had quite the opposite but desired effect as President Bush was re-elected with a big margin of votes.
Osama Bin Laden’s appearance just before the 2004 elections was a shrewd and calculated move where the Pakistan military helped Bush to retain the Presidency for the second time. Bin Laden was never a dangerous and formidable enemy as the Americans led the world to believe. Actually, the myth around Bin Laden’s power, influence and reach was carefully orchestrated by the U.S.
Bin Laden wasn’t a military commander or a guerrilla nor was he a religious or spiritual leader. He was also not a politician. He was a rich businessman and a friend of a former head of the Saudi intelligence agency who introduced him to the CIA in the 1980s. The CIA was looking for sponsors for its proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Bin Laden provided money and the CIA and the Pakistani ISI helped in planning that war.
At the end of the Cold War, Bin Laden was one of the characters that fulfilled needs of the world’s biggest imperialist power which was pursuing its strategic interest in the beginning of the 21st century using new tactics and means. Bin Laden was a tool, a puppet and an actor whose strings were in many hands. It is an old trick of imperialist powers to exaggerate threats and create fear among the public about real and perceived enemies.
Presenting threats out of proportion and enemies bigger than actually they are, Western militaries and secret services play mind games with their own public and the media are partners in the military mind games or psychological operations. During the Cold War, the U.S and its allies presented the Soviet Union as an evil power that was a threat to ‘civilization’. After the Cold War the focus was on personalities such as the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. All of them were presented as evil figures who wanted to destroy the West.
Probably retired Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed of the Pakistan Army and the then head of the CIA knew more about who was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington but in the post 9/11 America, Al-Qaeda was presented as the culprit and the biggest threat. Every Western TV network ran the same footage of alleged Al-Qaeda training camps at unknown locations where some people were taking ‘military training’ in a childish way. The training footage was a joke but it worked well in the charged atmosphere after the 9/11 incidents in the U.S. …
Read more : http://criticalppp.com/archives/47741
by Sher Ali Khan
A few days ago, the progressive-leaning parliamentarian Shabaz Bhatti was shot down in cold blood for advocating a moderated stance against a draconian law in Pakistan. The changing societal dynamics comes in the backdrop of a struggling democratic government, which is failing to assert itself for Pakistan’s survival.
It was almost a month ago when I wrote a report for the Express Tribune about the Christian community yearning for a ‘more tolerant’ Lahore. After exploring various pockets of the society, it was sad to see that the community had become insolent and rather afraid to even interact with general population.
If one spoke to historians regarding the character of Lahore say not sixty but thirty years ago, one would have found a completely different social structure in Lahore. Though Islam had rapidly become a majority entity, communal activities were not exclusive rather they were inclusive.
The story of Pakistan’s road down the conception of Islamic state has only hardened differences between various communities to the point Pakistanis cannot be considered Pakistanis without obeying to a certain brands of Islam.
For years, the army and the ISI have provided safe havens for militant groups as part of a greater plan to maintain a strategic and military presence in Kashmir and Afghanistan. It is clear with the confirmed death of Colonel Imam, the so-called father of the Taliban that the dynamics of these relationships have changed over time. Increasingly these militant groups have become rouge thus functioning beyond the scope of the state. …
Read more : View Point
Foods that Fight Infection
Colds and flu get their starts when just a few viruses slip into your system. Once they are inside, they immediately set to work making more viruses. If your immune system doesn’t stop them early on, they multiply to enormous numbers, and that’s when you start feeling sick.
One way to stop this microbial invasion is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables washed by Cyristal clean water. These foods contain a variety of substances that strengthen the immune system. Making it better able to destroy viruses before they make you sick.
Lemons, grapefruit, oranges, cauliflower ad peaches are good for cold and flu. Garlic contains compunds anti- bactaria and anti-virus nutirents has been used throughout history for treating virtually every type of infection. Now there is a increasing evidence that it can help protect against colds and flu as well.
Garlic contains chemically active compounds. Two of them, allicin and allin, have been shown to kill germs directly. Plus, garlic appears to stimulate the immune system to release natural killer cells. Which destroy even more germs. Vitamin C is also very useful against cold and flu. To get the benefits of garlic, however, you have to eat a lot of it to stay healthy with Nutrition. If you get cold take black tea or green tea or herbal tea without milk and sugar. Take vitamin C or lemon juice and lots of clean water every day.
Army and country – George Fulton
At first glance, the WikiLeaks revelations about the Pakistani army aren’t exactly, er, revelatory. So General Kayani and the intelligence agencies call the shots in Pakistan. Nothing new there, you may be thinking. Everyone knows that. Any foreigner arriving in Pakistan is soon pulled aside and told a couple of pithy lines about the army. One being that the three As run Pakistan — Allah, America and the Army. The other is that whilst most countries have an army, the Pakistani army has a country.
But reading the cables starkly in black and white, one is reminded how truly prevailing the army is to Pakistan’s society and long-term survival. The very institution that is supposedly designed to protect us is bringing Pakistan to its knees.
Let’s take parliamentary democracy. In theory we have one of those, with elected leaders to do our bidding, but WikiLeaks reminds us otherwise. Zardari wants to implement stiff sanctions on terrorist financing and close down terrorist training camps, but he can’t. Why? The unelected and unaccountable military and intelligence agencies won’t allow it. We are also told that Kayani planned to pressure President Zardari to resign and replace him with Asfandyar Wali Khan. Er, on whose authority? Sorry, old chum, but I thought that decision fell to the Pakistani people at the ballot box, not a man who wears spaghetti on his shoulders.
The cables also reveal the army’s support of the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t the faujis’ raison d’etre, it’s primary reason to exist, the first line in their handbook if you will, to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic? Or perhaps it’s to make cornflakes that taste of cardboard?
But the reason for the army’s support for the militants is of course our hatred of India. Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Afghan Taliban, despite their continuous killing of our own citizens, are apparently a vital part of our national security. Read that sentence again and it sounds like something from “Monty Python”. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Yes let’s threaten India by funding and supporting people who attack India and, er, ourselves. Good job.
In addition, the army’s paranoia and cold war thinking has stopped successive civilian governments from making any constructive attempts at long-term peace with India. An economic powerhouse that could bring thousands of jobs to Pakistan remains a foe, thanks to the faujis.
For too long the military/intelligence nexus has been immune to any sort of accountability or criticism. We can judge the judiciary, pillory the politicians and mock the media. But the army receives a free reign. The generals/admirals/air marshals — who can be as corrupt and venal as the political class — rarely receive similar press coverage, despite the fact that the army is the biggest private landowner in Pakistan. They run businesses, residential areas, schools and hospitals but somehow they largely avoid scrutiny. Funny that. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
Catching a flu can make it harder to manage daily life, so you should do everything you can avoid cold or flu. When you are sick with a flu, your body sends out hormones to fight the infection. Having flu may curb your appetite, but it is important to eat something anyway. If you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, you will have to be careful not to allow your body to become dehydrated. Try to average about 1 cup of fluid every hour. If you are diabetic then choose water or sugar-free liquids. There is no medicine that will prevent or cure the common cold or flu, but there are medicines that can relieve some of the symptoms. These tips may help in flu: Take vitamin C espacially from natural source like lemon juice, orange juice, pomegranate juice, etc. Drink Black tea/Green tea/herbal tea without sugar and milk. Brsh and floss your teeth twice a day. If you smoke, quit. Take care of your general health.