Tag Archives: Frustration

Thoughts on leaving Pakistan

By Manal Khan

The last time I put thoughts to paper was a year and a half ago, when my husband and I moved back to Pakistan from the US. It happened very suddenly, under very sad circumstances, and there we were – thrust into a disorienting new life, filling roles we had never anticipated, never wanted, inhabiting, once again, the cloistered, uninspiring world of Lahore’s privileged class.

Much elapsed during the past 18 months in Lahore – much to rejoice and remember. Engagements, bridal showers, weddings. Baby showers, and babies! Farewell parties and welcome-back parties, birthday parties and Pictionary parties.

PTI fever, elections, and Pakistan’s first peaceful political transition. Cliff-diving in Khanpur under a shower of shooting stars, dancing arm-and-arm with Kalash women as spring blossomed in the Hindukush,  tracking brown bears and chasing golden marmots in the unearthly plains of Deosai.

I rediscovered my love of history, of abandoned old places that teemed with a thousand stories and ghosts and memories, thanks to a research job at LUMS. I spent many days wandering the cool corridors of  Lahore Museum, many hours contemplating the uncanny beauty of the Fasting Siddhartha, whom I had the privilege of photographing up-close. I stood beneath the most prodigious tree in the world in Harappa. I got down on my knees with a shovel and brush during a student archaeological excavation in Taxila, personally recovering the 2,000-year old terracotta bowl of a Gandhara Buddhist monk.

But, there was also dissatisfaction. Frustration. Restlessness. When we were not travelling, we were in Lahore. And Lahore was, well, warm. Convenient. Static. Living there again was like a replay of our childhood; like watching a favourite old movie on repeat. After a while it got monotonous,  somewhat annoying, and a little disappointing.

Continue reading Thoughts on leaving Pakistan

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Brazil erupts in protest over services and World Cup costs

Some of country’s biggest ever rallies sweep major cities as bus fare rise is last straw in spiral of high costs and poor services

By in Rio de Janeiro, guardian.co.uk

Brazil experienced one of its biggest nights of protest in decades on Monday as more than 100,000 people took to the streets nationwide to express their frustration at heavyhanded policing, poor public services and high costs for the World Cup.

The major demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasilia, Belem, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and elsewhere started peacefully but several led to clashes with police and arson attacks on cars and buses.

The large turnout and geographic spread marked a rapid escalation after smaller protests last week against bus price increases led to complaints that police responded disproportionately with rubber bullets, tear gas and violent beatings.

Coinciding with the start of the Confederations Cup – a World Cup test event – the rallies brought together a wide coalition of people frustrated with the escalating costs and persistently poor quality of public services, lavish investment on international sporting events, low standards of healthcare and wider unease about inequality and corruption.

In Rio images and video posted online showed vast crowds.

While the vast majority of demonstrations were peaceful, several police were injured in clashes at the city’s legislative assembly, at least one car was overturned and burned and windows were smashed in the offices of banks and notary offices.

The unrest escalated during the night as a large crowd set several fires outside the legislative assembly, smashed the building’s windows and daubed graffiti on the walls proclaiming “Revolution”, “Down with Paes, down with Cabral [the mayor and state governor]” and “Hate police”. Police inside responded with pepper spray and perhaps more – the Guardian saw one protester passed out and bleeding heavily from a wound in the upper arm.

The causes pursued by the protesters varied widely. “We are here because we hate the government. They do nothing for us,” said Oscar José Santos, a 19-year-old who was with a group of hooded youths from the Rocinha favela.

“I’m an architect but I have been unemployed for six months. There must be something wrong with this country,” said Nadia al Husin, holding up a banner calling on the government to do more for education.

At a far smaller rally in Brasilia demonstrators broke through police lines to enter the high-security area of the national congress. Several climbed on to the roof.

In Belo Horizonte police clashed with protesters who tried to break through a cordon around a football stadium hosting a Confederations Cup match between Nigeria and Tahiti.

In Port Alegre demonstrators set fire to a bus and in Curitiba protesters attempted to force their way into the office of the state governor. There were also rallies in Belem, Salvador and elsewhere.

In São Paulo, which had seen the fiercest clashes last week and the main allegations of police violence, large crowds gathered once again but initial reports suggested the marches passed peacefully.

Read more » Guardian.co.uk
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/18/brazil-protests-erupt-huge-scale

Holding Onto Life

By Rev. Lou Kavar Ph.D.

The emotions caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them, particularly during a meditation class. I had no realization this was something about which I felt so deeply. I sat with forty or fifty others in the Buddhist meditation hall. The leader guided us in meditation to consider the ways we are attached to things that bring us suffering. As he spoke, we were reminded of ways that people value wealth and possessions, power and influence, or position and reputation. As he went through the list, I thought about the ways I value having nice things and receiving respect from others. He reminded us that all things we’re attached to will pass from our lives. One day, they will all be gone. If our happiness is based on them, what becomes of our happiness?

That’s when an overwhelming sadness welled up within me. Tears began to stream down my face. My emotional response had nothing to do with my worldly possessions, accomplishments, or the esteem of others. Instead, the awareness came to me that one day I would lose what I valued so much: my relationship with a spouse, my companion and friend.

The truth is that I’m not much bothered by my own death. I recognize that life has been very good to me. But for ten years, I’ve shared my life with another. I simply don’t want it to ever end. Recognizing that I am the older person, I know that I am likely to die first. The thought of leaving my beloved and not seeing life continue to unfold was simply overwhelming.

During the break between sessions, I spoke with one of the other participants. She noticed I had a strong reaction to the meditation. As I tried to put words around my experience, she said that she too was struck by her mortality – even though the leader never drew us to consider that our lives would end.

Over the last few days I’ve sat with these feelings. I’ve tried to understand them, particularly in light of the Buddhist teaching of impermanence. It’s a simple lesson found in other great spiritual traditions. Every thing is always in a state of flux. Every thing that exists is changing. What is today will be different tomorrow. When we try to hold onto what is now, we are only left with frustration because it will change. That’s the nature of the lives we lead.

Continue reading Holding Onto Life

US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

WASHINGTON: Washington and Islamabad should give up the fiction of being allies and acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners, Pakistan’s recent envoy to the US, who is now a hunted man in his home country, has advised both sides in a searing examination of tortured relationship between the two countries.

Instead, says Hussain Haqqani, till recently Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Washington should leave Pakistan to its own devices so that it can discover for itself how weak it is without American aid and support, eventually enabling it to return to the mainstream suitably chastened about its limitations.

“By coming to terms with this reality, Washington would be freer to explore new ways of pressuring Pakistan and achieving its own goals in the region. Islamabad, meanwhile, could finally pursue its regional ambitions, which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country’s power,” Haqqani writes about the broken relationship in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs journal.

“Once Pakistan’s national security elites recognize the limits of their power, the country might eventually seek a renewed partnership with the United States — but this time with greater humility and an awareness of what it can and cannot get,” says Haqqani who was ousted by Pakistan’s security establishment because he was seen to be working with Washington to contain the overarching influence of the military on Pakistan.

Taking a distinctly dim view of Pakistan’s prospects without US support, Haqqani acknowledges that “it is also possible, although less likely,” that Pakistani leaders could decide that they are able to do quite well on their own, without relying heavily on the United States, as they have come to do over the last several decades. In that case, too, the mutual frustrations resulting from Pakistan’s reluctant dependency on the United States would come to an end.

“Even if the breakup of the alliance did not lead to such a dramatic denouement, it would still leave both countries free to make the tough strategic decisions about dealing with the other that each has been avoiding,” Haqqani writes. “Pakistan could find out whether its regional policy objectives of competing with and containing India are attainable without US support. The United States would be able to deal with issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation without the burden of Pakistani allegations of betrayal.”

Continue reading US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

Why is this revenge imposed on poor people of Sindh who elected those who said that the democracy is the best revenge?

By: Khalid Hashmani

The article of Mehtab Akber Rashdi, in Sindhi daily Awamiawaz, published on Oct. 08, 2012 definitely explains the pain and frustration being felt by Sindhis all over the world. The following are some of the key points from her article for those who cannot read Sindhi:

1. The ordinance in its final form came out of the Sindh Governor House in the late hours of the night of October 1st with only one day’s notice, the assembly of Sindh passed it within minutes and imposed on the people of Sindh.

2. Some had long suspected that the incompetent leadership of PPP would barter away something big to prolong their rule. But, nothing of this proportion and so harmful to Sindh was ever expected.

3. Indeed, generations of Sindhis will remember this revenge imposed on poor people of Sindh who elected those who said that the democracy is the best revenge.

4. Remembering Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, and Murtaza Bhutto, Ms Rashdai recites the following poem of Shah Abdul Latif:

ويا مور مري، هنج نه رهيو هيڪڙو،

وطن ٿيو وري ڪوڙن ڪائنرن جو

Gone are the principled and sincere heroes and just leaders!

Our homeland is now is in hands of selfish and unjust hoarders!

5. Instead of feeling ashamed of their actions, they shamelessly say that they had the democratic mandate to take these decisions. How can these people abuse the trust of simple, selfless and trusting Sindhi marrooars who trusted them to protect their rights and their future!

6. Once again, Sindhis have been shackled under another black law by their own representatives. Now is not the time to talk to them but to awaken men and women of Sindh to assess the damage that has been done to their future.

7. History is the witness that those betrayed Sindh ultimately fell in the list of traitors and no amount of effort in rehabilitating them.

8. The author assails the provisions that hand-over 41 of 43 provincial powers to mayors and how can one expect that equal rights will be enjoyed by every one Sindh.

I myself don’t understand as to why the PPP government that helped in restoring some provincial powers through the 18th amendment would turn around and give back most of those subjects to mayors. Do they know the consequences of what they are doing?

Obama Increases Pakistan Drone Strikes as Relations Sour

By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

President Barack Obama has ordered a sharp increase in drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan in recent months, anticipating the CIA may soon need to halt such operations in Pakistan’s territory, two U.S. officials said.

His decision reflects mounting U.S. frustration with Pakistan over a growing list of disputes — mirrored by Pakistani grievances with the U.S. — that have soured relations and weakened security cooperation. The U.S. is withholding at least $3 billion in reimbursements for counterinsurgency operations and security-related funding, according to congressional aides and Pakistani officials.

“We are reaching the limits of our patience, and for that reason it’s extremely important that Pakistan take action” to crack down on armed groups based there that attack American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday in Kabul. ….

Read more » Bloomberg

Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Pakistan’s puppet Court – By Shiraz Paracha

The Supreme Court’s controversial detailed verdict against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan is one more bad decision by a Court that has a dark history of collaboration with the military in depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights.

The Supreme Court has been transcending its legal boundaries and constitutional role. Its decisions are biased, unfair and politicized. The Court is not a neutral and objective defender of law and judges have been acting as puppets.

The Judiciary is not independent and appears to be playing someone’s game. Indeed the Supreme Court is acting as a proxy for imposing a controlled democracy in Pakistan. It seems that characters such as Imran Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan are part of this game. The former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was an architect of the latest effort to introduce ‘clean democracy’ in Pakistan. General Pasha was not alone in military’s one more political adventure.

Actually, the military considers itself the sole defender of Pakistan and generals have been trying to shape and control the Pakistani politics. In fact, the military never felt comfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. For this reason every few years new campaigns are launched to ‘clean’ the system.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s recent calls for the establishment of a technocrat government and Imran Khan’s Tsunami are reflections of military’s new efforts to bring a setup that ‘suits’ Pakistan. The Judiciary and media are means to complete that agenda. As the Parliament is about to complete its term, Imran Khan is threatening that he would not accept results of the new elections. Dr. Qadeer, dubbed by some as the future president, has joined hands with Imran Khan. The media and the Judiciary are taking cue from some in the military to pressurize the present government. All these actors want to maintain the status quo by imposing a controlled democracy.

Continue reading Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Hamid Karzai confronts Pakistan leadership

By Saeed Shah

Afghanistan’s president expresses frustration with the country he accuses of harbouring the Taliban during a visit to Islamabad

Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, confronted the Pakistani leadership on Thursday on a visit to Islamabad as his frustration with the country he accuses of harbouring the Taliban boiled over.

Karzai’s language and tone flared to such an extent that the Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, intervened and called a halt to a meeting of the full delegations of the two countries, according to officials on both sides. After a break, a smaller meeting of just the top officials was held, on the first day of a two-day visit to Islamabad.

The Afghan president has long demanded that Pakistan bring the leadership of the Taliban to the negotiating table, including its chief, Mullah Mohammad Omar. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Afghan officials voice scant remorse to Pakistan

By Joshua Partlow and Karin Brulliard

A former Afghan official said Karzai is regularly frustrated by what he sees as the United States’ failure to take stronger action against Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan or pressure Pakistan’s military or intelligence agency to address the problem.

“We put all our eggs in the American basket,” he said. “The problem is, that basket has a huge hole in it, and it’s called Pakistan.”

KABUL — The Afghan police general watched on television as Pakistani soldiers solemnly saluted the coffins of 24 of their comrades who were killed in a U.S. military airstrike Saturday.

The general stood up in disgust. “That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” he said.

While U.S. officials from the war zone to the White House offered contrite condolences to the families of the dead and scrambled to repair the tattered relationship with Pakistan, Afghan officials have taken a tougher line. Frustrated by a Taliban insurgency they are convinced is supervised by and based in Pakistan, they have expressed little remorse, even accusing Pakistan of exaggerating the gravity of the situation to deflect attention from its own meddling in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials said the strike — which followed an operation by U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan army commandos — was justified because the troops came under fire first from a Pakistani border post. “We have absolutely nothing to apologize for,” a senior official said.

Read more » The Washington Post

Peace is not in line with Pak generals – Karzai

Ruling out negotiations: ‘Taliban talks futile’

With no headway being made, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top aides have hinted that they may abandon efforts at peace talks with the Taliban after concluding that negotiating with the militant leadership was futile.

Instead, Karzai has said, negotiations should actually be held with Pakistan – an apparent dig at Islamabad, which is regularly accused of harbouring the Taliban’s senior leadership.

The comments come on the heels of fresh allegations that the assassination of Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul was planned in Pakistan. Rabbani was killed in a bombing by a purported Taliban emissary who had come to visit the former Afghanistan president last month.

The frustration with stalled talks and the escalating violence come months before a key conference is to be held in Bonn, Germany – where it is expected that the Afghan end game will be charted. There had been reports that the Taliban leadership would be involved, in some manner, about the future of the war-torn nation.

“The peace process which we began is dead,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai’s national security adviser, said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s a joke,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Karzai and his aides have decided to shift their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has allegedly provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents.

“Their messengers are coming and killing … So with whom should we make peace?” Karzai said in the recorded address to the country’s senior religious leaders.

“I cannot find Mullah Muhammad Omar,” Karzai said, referring to the Taliban supreme leader. “Where is he? I cannot find the Taliban council. Where is it? “I don’t have any other answer except to say that the other side for this negotiation is Pakistan.”

Afghan officials have also unilaterally cancelled plans to host a trilateral meeting on Oct 8 with Pakistan and the United States. Instead, a special Afghan delegation will present Pakistani leaders with evidence about the killing of Rabbani, WSJ reported.

Courtesy: → The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

Sindhi-Mohajir Rapprochement is possible

– Rapprochement is possible

By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto

ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.

The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.

The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.

The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.

Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.

Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.

Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.

One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.

Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.

Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.

The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.

It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.

It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.

There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Quotes from the Quaid – How frustrated will you feel reading the following?

Quaid said: “Those days have gone when the country was ruled by the bureaucracy. It is people’s Government, responsible to the people more or less on democratic lines and parliamentary practice…Make the people feel that you are their servants and friends, maintain the highest standard of honor, integrity, justice and fair play.” ….

Read more: → Book Review: Quotes from the Quaid 

In-camera session: ISI chief shot back at ‘favour-seeking’ Nisar

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Though he spent a large chunk of the marathon session on the back foot, besieged by politicians, the chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency did come out of his shell to silence fiery Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Details of Friday’s closed-door session of a special joint sitting of Parliament continue to trickle out – with some interesting nuggets of information being narrated to The Express Tribune regarding an exchange between Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Chaudhry Nisar.

Reported yesterday was a fiery speech by Nisar against the military establishment – but it emerged, through fresh information, that the DG ISI did not just stand there and take the tirade.

Pasha, who has been at the receiving end of a number of fiery speeches by the PML-N leader over the last few weeks, is said to have shocked Nisar by replying in the same token.

Nisar is said to have risen out of his seat for his speech right as the question and answer session was to begin. But a “visibly angry” Pasha snubbed Nisar in front of a full house.

Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the leader of the opposition as of late – alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favour, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend.

Since then, said Pasha, Nisar had launched a number of tirades against him in particular and the military in general. However, Pasha said he would not reveal what the favour was on the floor of the august house – but would if asked outside.

An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’. The DG ISI kept on grilling Nisar, asking the PML-N leader if he knew what the effects of his recent tirades had been. Pasha told the house that on a recent trip to the US he was told by CIA chief Leon Panetta in an important meeting: ‘Look, General Pasha – how can we trust you when your own country’s opposition leader is saying that you cannot be believed?’

Continue reading In-camera session: ISI chief shot back at ‘favour-seeking’ Nisar

Pakistan’s so called fanatics believe that sovereignty is violated when Al-Qaeda or Taliban are attacked, however when Al-Qaeda or Taliban attack innocent people of Pakistan, the sovereignty is not violated!

Parachinaris await next broken promise

Frustrated by lawmakers and politicians’ apathy and enraged by the negligence and indifference of the government and security apparatus, scores of youth and children from Parachinar held a protest march on Monday against the continuing siege of their town and killings of innocent commuters by militants.

Carrying coffins bearing the names of people brutally killed by extremists on their shoulders, the protesters marched from National Press Club to parliament house where the lower house was in session. The most noticeable thing in the rally, held on the 19th consecutive day of their peaceful protest, was the sight of young children wearing white shrouds. According to a press release issued on Monday by the youth of Parachinar, all the protesters were demanding was for the government to clear and open the Thal-Parachinar Road, which has been blocked for the last four years, and the continuing blockage of the road has created a plethora of problems for the people of the area. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Afghan insurgents have lifeline in Pak: Pentagon

WASHINGTON: Nato-led forces are making “tangible progress” in the Afghanistan war, with Taliban insurgents under pressure and forced out of key southern strongholds, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Although, the US military acknowledged battlefield gains over the past six months were tentative and “fragile”, it painted a more positive picture than the Pentagon’s previous reports to Congress.

The findings come at a crucial moment in the nine-year-old war as the United States prepares to begin a drawdown in July of its 100,000-strong force and as the Afghan government plans to take over security in some districts.

The Pentagon, however, warned that the insurgents still enjoyed a crucial lifeline through safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan, that the Afghan government was plagued by corruption and that a shortage of trainers for Afghan forces could hold back efforts to hand over security.

“Insurgent capacity continues to be supported by sanctuaries and logistical support originating in Pakistan, and insurgents will likely retain operational momentum in areas where these support structures exist,” it said. To consolidate progress in security, Pakistan needed to do more to eliminate the sanctuaries, the Pentagon said.

The presence of the safe havens threatens to undermine the war effort and has strained relations between Washington and Islamabad, with US officials frustrated at the Pakistan Army’s reluctance to crack down on militants based in North Waziristan. …

Read more : The News.com.pk

Pakistan : Not revolution but anarchy

– Not revolution but anarchy

by Waseem Altaf

Revolution refers to drastic change in thinking and behaving in the cultural, economic and socio-political context.

Socio-economic deprivation or gross disparity or conflict of interest among competing groups causes frustration which leads to aggression. The aggression so caused is channelized by leaders who symbolize an ideology. A critical mass of the population is necessary who are supportive of this ideology.

Today people in Pakistan are frustrated. This has caused aggression. The manifestations of this aggression are visible everywhere. The irritability of the common men, show of force and inflammatory speeches in public rallies, ever increasing crime rate, intolerance and impatience are all indicative of this aggression. However there is no such leader who has an ideology and who enjoys the support of a critical mass of the population which can bring about a revolution in this country. Hence the thought of revolution becomes even more irrelevant in a country where there are so many ethnic, social, political and religious divides with no leader enjoying mass support at the national level.

However this country is fast drifting towards a change. Let us see what the present state of the nation is:

Today it is not the government, the parliament, the media, the judiciary or even the army which calls the shots but the firebrand mullah in the streets who determines the tone and tenor of the statements and initiatives emanating from all the so called pillars of the State. Sherry Rahman has withdrawn the blasphemy bill, informed the Prime Minister on Wednesday 2nd of Feb. Sitting ministers either support the stance taken by the mullah or remain silent. While it is Mumtaz Qadri versus the State, the case has been shifted to Adiala jail for proceedings as the State does not feel secure in an open court in Islamabad. Last time the public prosecutor could not attend the court as the jail premises was thronged by Sunni Tehrik supporters of Mumtaz Qadri.Today the conduct of the Parliament is determined by the mullah as in the Senate, it was not allowed to say fateha for Salman Taseer in response to a resolution moved by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar. Even the liberal MQM members refused and not a single member of PPP rose to support the resolution. …

Read more : View Point

Many in Pakistan Fear Unrest at Home

By JANE PERLEZ

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Protests over crippling prices and corrupt leadership are sweeping much of the Islamic world, but here in Pakistan this week, the government blithely dismissed any threat to its longevity or to the country’s stability.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani insisted that Pakistan was not Egypt or Tunisia. “Our institutions are working and democracy is functional,” he said. The economy, while under pressure, is not in crisis.

But while Mr. Gilani appeared unruffled, diplomats, analysts and other Pakistani officials admitted to unease, and conceded that Pakistan contained many of the same ingredients for revolt found in the Middle East — and then some: an economy hollowed out by bad management and official corruption; rising Islamic religious fervor; and a poisonous resentment of the United States, Pakistan’s biggest financial supporter.

If no one expects Pakistan to be swept by revolution this week, the big question on many minds is how, and when, a critical mass of despair among this nation’s 180 million people and the unifying Islamist ideology might be converted into collective action.

Some diplomats and analysts compare the combustible mixture of religious ideology and economic frustration, overlaid with the distaste for America, to Iran in 1979. Only one thing is missing: a leader.

“What’s lacking is a person or institution to link the economic aspirations of the lower class with the psychological frustration of the committed Islamists,” a Western diplomat said this week. “Our assessment is: this is like Tehran, 1979.”

Mr. Gilani is right in that Pakistan held fairly free elections three years ago, when the democratically based Pakistan Peoples Party, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, won.

But the return to civilian government after a decade of military rule has meant little to the people because politicians have done nothing for voters, said Farrukh Saleem, a risk analyst and columnist in The News, a daily newspaper.

As it has been for all of Pakistan’s more than 60 years of history, Parliament today remains dominated by the families of a favored few, who use their perch to maintain a corrupt patronage system and to protect their own interests as Pakistan’s landed and industrial class. The government takes in little in taxes, and as a result provides little in the way of services to its people.

“Ninety-nine percent of Pakistanis are not affected by the state — it doesn’t deliver anything for them,” Mr. Saleem said. “People are looking for alternatives. So were the Iranians in 1979.”

There is little question that the images from Egypt and Tunisia are reverberating through Pakistani society, and encouraging workers to speak up and vent frustration in ways that were unusual even three months ago.

“There’s no electricity, no gas, no clean water,” said Ali Ahmad, a hotel worker in Lahore who is usually a model of discretion. “I think if things stay the same, people will come out and destroy everything.”

When a young banker in a prestigious job at a foreign bank was asked if Pakistan could go the way of Egypt, he replied, “I hope so.”

At the core of Pakistan’s problem are the wretched economic conditions of day-to-day life for most of the people whose lives are gouged by inflation, fuel shortages and scarcity of work.

They see the rich getting richer, including “the sons of rich, corrupt politicians and their compatriots openly buying Rolls-Royces with their black American Express cards,” said Jahangir Tareen, a reformist politician and successful agricultural businessman.

Food inflation totaled 64 percent in the last three years, according to Sakib Sherani, who resigned recently as the principal economic adviser at the Finance Ministry. The purchasing power of the average wage earner has declined by 20 percent since 2008, he said.

Families are taking children out of school because they cannot afford both fees and food. Others choose between medicine and dinner.

A middle-class customer in a pharmacy in Rawalpindi, the city where the powerful army has its headquarters, told the pharmacist last week to sell him only two pills of a course of 10 antibiotics because he did not have enough money for groceries. …

Read more : The New York Times

Possibility of “revolution” in Pakistan?

Ripe for revolution? – By Mahreen Khan

…. Despite a wave of public protests, Egypt is unlikely to emulate Tunisia, due to factors also present in Pakistan. Egypt has a sharp religious divide between Coptics and Muslims as well as numerous Islamic groups pitted against each other. Arab analysts cite low levels of literacy and a general feeling of apathy and defeatism in the population as further reasons that Egypt will continue to fester rather than revolt. Pakistan has these and additional factors which militate against a revolution: deep and multiple ethnic, linguistic, tribal and sectarian fault lines; a paucity of alternative intellectual narratives, radical leaders or strong unions; and an elected government and freedom of speech. Ironically, democratic elections and free speech help perpetuate the corrupt, unjust stranglehold of the feudal-industrial power elite. Revolutionary forces require a moral impetus that illegitimate dictatorship provides but elected government does not. Secondly, frustration needs to simmer under a repressive regime until it reaches the temperature for mass revolt. Pakistan’s free media allows an outlet for public dissatisfaction. The often harsh treatment of politicians and police officials at the hands of journalists and judges ameliorates public anger. Vocal opposition parties, unhindered street protests and strikes allow a regular release of fury, draining the momentum necessary for the emotional surge that revolutionary zeal requires. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Yemen protests: Thousands call on president to leave

Thousands of Yemenis are demonstrating in the capital Sanaa, calling on Ali Abdullah Saleh, president for more than 30 years, to step down. This comes after mass protests in Egypt and a popular uprising in Tunisia that ousted its long-time leader. Yemeni opposition members and youth activists gathered in four parts of the city, including Sanaa University, chanting anti-government slogans.

They also called for economic reforms and an end to corruption. Yemenis complain of mounting poverty among a growing young population and frustration with a lack of political freedoms. …

Read more : BBC

Top US military commanders in Afghanistan are seeking to expand ground raids by Special Operations Forces across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, The New York Times reported

US seeking to expand raids into Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Top US military commanders in Afghanistan are seeking to expand ground raids by Special Operations Forces across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, The New York Times reported Monday.

Amid growing US frustration with Pakistan’s lackluster efforts at removing militants from strongholds there, the officials are proposing to escalate military activities in the nuclear-armed nation, the Times said in its online edition.

US forces have been largely restricted to limited covert operations and unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan due to fears of retaliation from a population that often holds strong anti-American sentiment in a country rife with militants.

Even these limited operations have provoked angry reactions from Pakistani officials. The drones are believed to be largely operated by the CIA.

Read more : DAWN

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End Game Has Started, for details : BBC urdu

“Rain made add up to the sufferings of the Bagri community”

by Jamil Hussain Junejo, Bin Qasim Town, Karachi

Such grave devastation through flood did not suffice desires of the nature. Probably, nature wants more.Therfore; it brought rain couple with medium level wind in District Thatta and Badin apart from other regions of Sindh on Wednesday. Most of the affectees staying under open sky and into fragile tents suffered a lot. The community which seemingly suffered more was Bagri community which was tentless because they were neglected by district authorities which like various sections of society consider them untouchables.” Nature did not discriminate in affecting the people but people discriminate in relief services” complained Bhooran, 32 years old mother of four children residing under open skey near society chock at Makli city of district Thatta.

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Why are we in this state!?

Khalid Hashmani
Khalid Hashmani

by: Khalid Hashmani, McLean

August 12, 2009: The reason is simple! The natives of the provinces, where these resources are located, are denied their due share of benefits in Pakistan. Much of this wealth is enjoyed by people who either live in other provinces or people associated with powerful and high-maintenance organizations such as military. This leaves very little for common men and women, particularly those who live in rural areas.

Continue reading Why are we in this state!?