Tag Archives: insecurity

Aamir Khan alarmed by growing intolerance in India

BY DAWN.COM

NEW DELHI: Indian Actor Aamir Khan on Monday said that he has been “alarmed and shaken” by the number of incidents related to extremism in India, Indian news agency PTI reported.

Addressing an audience at the Ramnath Goenka journalism awards, the actor known for his unique and outstanding on-screen work said that the growing insecurity in the country has alarmed him and he and wife Kiran Rao do not feel the country safe for their children.

“My wife Kiran Rao even suggested we should probably leave India,” Aamir told the audience.

Aamir Khan claimed that his sense of insecurity has increased in the past few months and laid stress upon the people in power to strongly condemn such incidents.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221733

Hindu migration a concern

Hindu migration a concern in Pakistan

Every month one family migrates to India, say action groups

By: Ayyaz Gulzar, Karachi

Hindu leaders in Pakistan say persecution is the main reason for the recent migration of members of their community from the country.

“Every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes,” said Jaipal Chabria, a Hindu politician in Pakistan.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that every year about 300 Hindu girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will in Sindh province alone.

Hyderabad diocese’s Vicar General Father Samson Shukardin also referred to “increasing frustration” among minority groups. “Most of the cases registered from Hindu families are from the Haris (peasants) community. The recent murder of the only Catholic federal minister has also increased desperation among minority groups,” said the director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in the Catholic diocese in Sindh province. “Many Christian families wish to leave the country but cannot do so because they are poor,” he said adding “Minorities are feeling left out.” ….

Read more » UCA News

Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

To counter the emergence of fundamentalism in Pakistan, the ruling classes as well as intellectuals are advocating the revival of sufism. However, it is evident that ideas and the system cannot be revived because fundamentalism is a product of a certain time and space and fulfills the needs of that age.

Secondly, the very idea of revivalism indicates intellectual bankruptcy and lethargy of our intellectuals who are either not ready or do not have the capacity to understand the very phenomenon of religious extremism and its advent as a result of social, economic and political changes in society. A number of myths are associated with sufis. One of the arguments being that they converted non-Muslims and are responsible for the spread of Islam through the subcontinent. To portray them as missionaries discredits them as an impartial community. To convert someone means that they initially did not believe in the truthfulness of other religions. If this view is correct, it does not explain how they could create goodwill among people belonging to different religions.

Continue reading Past present: Why Sufism? By Mubarak Ali

350 deaths, 700,000 in Refuge camps, 1.5 million homes destroyed, 2.4 millions are severely affected by food insecurity in Sindh

– Pakistanis at risk over world inaction on floods: WFP

byAFP

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations warned on Monday that the international community had failed to respond to the latest flooding crisis in Pakistan, leaving three million people in urgent need of food handouts.

The nuclear-armed Muslim state has suffered two consecutive years of floods but has been at increasing risk of international isolation since US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden near the capital in May.

“Somehow the present flooding and the humanitarian impact of the present flooding has not yet picked the interest, the focus of the world,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

“If we have no resources, we have no response,” he told a news conference in Islamabad after visiting the flood-hit southern province of Sindh.

On September 18, the United Nations led an appeal for dollar 357 million in emergency funding to shore up rescue and relief efforts for millions of people suffering after floods swept away homes and farm land in southern Pakistan.

“The funding is not coming as swiftly and as fast at the levels it came to the response of the floods of last year,” said Lopes da Silva.

“Donors are being challenged by the level of resources required to address similar needs of humanitarian situations across the world,” he added.

Last month, the United Nations said only the Japanese government had pledged dollar 10 million in response to the appeal. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

The uniqueness of Sindh

– By Ayaz Amir

Just when the sector commanders had been put on the back-foot, and the MQM was vociferating in a manner not seen since 1995 (Gen Babar’s operation), who should come to their rescue but President Zardari’s personal emissary, Montecello University’s most celebrated doctoral figure, Dr Babar Awan.

He has brilliantly appeased the MQM by restoring Gen Musharraf’s  loaded [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local government system – first just to Karachi and Hyderabad and then, when … Sindh rose up with one cry against this hasty move, to the whole of Sindh. The MQM can hardly believe its luck – perhaps it hadn’t counted on so swift a Zardari capitulation – but anger in … Sindh is on the rise.

Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s outbursts had angered the MQM but secured the PPP’s vote bank in rural Sindh. Dr Awan’s gymnastics have pleased the MQM but poured fuel over the burning embers of Sindhi anger. From one extreme the PPP has swung to the other.

The choice of Dr Awan as PPP plenipotentiary was bizarre. How was he qualified to negotiate on behalf of Sindhi interests? The PPP is now on the back-foot. All the certificates of cleverness earned by Zardari for his supposed political sharpness have gone with the wind.

Dr Awan has proved adept at stalling and frustrating the Supreme Court. From the PPP’s point of view, he should have confined himself to that doctrine of necessity instead of floundering in the waters of Sindh.

In an ideal world, the PML-N should have been quick to exploit this opening. Alas, if wishes could be horses. It showed itself eager, a bit too eager, to embrace the MQM when the latter fell out with Zardari. But this proved embarrassing when the MQM’s falling-out proved to be less than definitive. Small wonder, it has yet to get its thoughts in order on the anger on the rise in backwater Sindh.

All of us could do with some clarity on a crucial issue: while the logic of smaller provinces applies to Punjab, because it is too huge and unwieldy, it does not, and cannot, apply to Sindh. Babar Awan and the PPP came perilously close to the idea of Sindh division when they proposed one dispensation for Karachi and Hyderabad – the restoration of Musharraf’s  [undemocratic, black, repressive & discriminatory] local body system – and another for the rural, revival of the commissionerate system. Sindh rural instantly saw red and the PPP had to back down immediately, in the space of a mere 24 hours. But the alarm had been sounded and Sindhi concerns have yet to be addressed or placated.

Carving a southern or Seraiki province out of Punjab will not endanger Punjab identity. Indeed, it will facilitate the task of governance and give a sense of belonging to the people of southern Punjab who feel left out of the orbit of Punjab affairs. But anything even remotely connected to the notion of Sindh division is almost an invitation to dangerous conflict in this most sensitive of provinces.

We should not forget the history of 1947 migration. If we leave Bengal out of the equation, there were two great waves of migration in northern India at the time of Partition: one from East Punjab to West Punjab, and vice versa; the other from Delhi, Lucknow and Bhopal in the north, and Hyderabad Deccan in the south, to Karachi. These migrations were dissimilar in character.

While Punjab suffered the most in terms of looting, plunder, killings and mass rape, when the dust settled and passions had time to cool, the process of assimilation was relatively quick because East and West Punjabis, minor differences of course apart, came from the same cultural stock. With minor variations of dialect, they spoke the same language and shared the same history.

This was not so with the southern migration to Karachi and Hyderabad. Karachi was a cosmopolitan city even then – a mini-Bombay, so to speak – but it was the capital of Sindh, the culture and language of whose native inhabitants was radically different from that of the people who were coming to it from India.

Karachi soon became the centre not of Sindhi culture but of the culture of displaced Dehi, of Delhi as it had been before the tumult of Partition. Delhi today is a Punjabi city. Its old composite, Muslim-dominated culture, the culture from which arose the poetry of Mir and Ghalib, is a thing of the past, lost to the upheavals of time and history. No conqueror, not Taimur and not Nadir Shah, could destroy Delhi, or transform its character, as decisively as Partition did. Those who seek the old Delhi, authors like William Dalrymple, have to come to Karachi to catch a whiff of the past.

Pakistan would be the poorer without this infusion of Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad Deccan culture. True, there was a downside to it as well, …. brought with their culture also their own prejudices. Insecurity and fear were part of their migrational baggage and these were infused into the thinking of the new state. But in cultural terms the arid wastes of Pakistan were enriched by that influx of talent and learning.

Punjabis being Punjabis, no new centre of culture arose in Punjab. But in Karachi we saw the birth of a transplanted culture, its soul carrying the imprint of loss and nostalgia, the usual hallmarks of any migration.

The downside comes from this very circumstance. Sixty four years after Partition we continue to live in the past, beset by old insecurities even though the times have changed and the old certitudes which gave birth to those insecurities no longer survive.

Sindhis are entitled to be a bit upset by all these changes. After all, they too are the inheritors of a great civilisation. Moenjodaro is the oldest pre-historic site discovered anywhere in India. There are other mighty life-giving rivers in the sub-continent: the sacred Ganges, the winding Brahmaputra. But only the Indus, sacred river of Sindh, gives its name to India. Hindus migrating to India from Sindh in 1947 take great pride in their Sindh ancestry.

Sindhi anger, nay Sindhi anguish, is centred on a primal concern. Why must the transposing of cultures be at their expense? And there is a fear lurking in their hearts, the fear of the Red Indian and the aborigine, of becoming strangers in their own homeland. This is a concern which must not be scoffed at. The rest of us, and this includes the successors to the civilisation of Delhi, should avoid words or gestures that smack even remotely of designs against the unity and integrity of Sindh.

From the immortal land of the five rivers, now only three left with us, thanks to the vagaries of history, more provinces can be carved out and no harm will come to it [Punjab]. But let no Punjabi leader or politician say that if Punjab is to be divided the same logic should apply to other provinces. This is wrong thinking. The same logic does not apply to Sindh, it does not apply to Balochistan. It is relevant only to Punjab and Punjab will be doing itself and the nation a service if it takes the lead in this respect, illuminating the path that others can follow.

A word may also be in order about another fixation of the Punjabi mind: Kalabagh dam. If Kalabagh dam is right then there is nothing wrong with the dams India is building on the rivers Chenab and Jhelum. If we are objecting to run-of-the-mill dams in Kashmir, dams whose water is not stored but is allowed to run, how can we support a storage dam on the Indus at Kalabagh? The logic just does not hold.

History cannot be undone. We have to live by its consequences. But Sindh of all regions of Pakistan requires a balance and moderation in the conduct of its affairs. Any hint of an unnatural hegemony of one part over the other is an invitation to anger and despair.

Courtesy: → The News

Save Pakistan or Taliban?

By: Former Senator Iqbal Haider

Excerpt;

…. The term “Taliban” being used here is inclusive of all their factions, groups of al-Qaeda and all the extremists, militant religious or Jihadi forces under whatever name or banner. In my view they are all the same. They all indulge in terrorism. They all have the common object of taking over state of Pakistan through terrorist activities. They all denounce other sects of Muslims as “Kafir, Wajibul Qatal”. Their different names with any prefix or suffix of Lashkar, Sipah, Jihadi or Tableeghi etc., do not matter.

Now that the same suggestion is being actively pleaded, the supporters of this suggestion must answer the most pertinent questions. First are Taliban willing to hold negotiations? I find no credible evidence to this effect. Secondly, why none of the pleader ever demands cessation of terrorist activities in Pakistan by Taliban as a condition precedent to negotiations? Thirdly, what would be the agenda of negotiations? Suppose if Taliban agree to hold dialogue, will they agree to abandon and denounce (a) terrorism; (b) their peculiar believes in the name of Islam and the policies that were followed by Mulla Omer in Afghanistan? Will the Taliban allow education to women, music, films, video shops, barbershops, television, photography, sportsmen wearing shorts, judiciary, democracy and democratic institutions such as are in Pakistan? Will the Taliban respect the historic monuments, places of worship and rights of the minorities without any discrimination and forcing them to wear any kind of mark of distinction? Will the Taliban respect all other sects of Muslims and allow them to freely practice all their religious rites and ceremonies without being branded as “Kafir” or “Wajibul Qatal”.

It is not expected of the Taliban to give answers in affirmative to these questions. Then the question arises that on what basis the negotiations are expected to be concluded? Are the advocates of this suggestion on the other hand willing to adopt the peculiar religious believes, policies, norms and practices of Taliban, which were in vogue under the rule of Mullah Omer? Is it possible to spell out the meeting points of negotiation with Taliban without subjecting the people of Pakistan of the beliefs and policies of a negligible number of Taliban in Pakistan.

There are no two opinions that Pakistan is at war with Taliban from within. The worst and longest war causing unprecedented and incalculable devastation in Pakistan. Never before our law enforcement agencies particularly our arm forces, paramilitary forces, police etc., had to sacrifice thousands of the lives of their officers and soldiers at the hand of Taliban. Never before so many thousands of innocent citizens became victim of the attacks unleashed by Taliban. Never before sense of insecurity of the life and property of the citizen as well as of the integrity of our country loomed so large. Never before Pakistan suffered such immense destruction of our economy, political, social, cultural life and sports.

Pakistan is facing the worst challenges from three fronts. Firstly the US and Nato countries are emphasizing that their war is against al-Qaeda. They are drawing a naive, illogical and untenable distinction between al-Qaeda and Taliban. Meaning thereby that their war against terrorism is confined against al-Qaeda only. As far as Taliban are concerned, is the headache of Pakistan mainly. The US is eager to strike a deal with Taliban through negotiations. ….

It is crystal clear that Pakistan and Taliban cannot coexist. If the Taliban are allowed to survive and increase their hold in Pakistan, it would amount to negation of Pakistan and negation of Quaid-e-Azam’s dreams, vision, philosophy and commitments as well as the objects and purposes for which Pakistan was created. Hence, we have no option but to cleanse Pakistan of all the Taliban groups, extremist obscurantist religious forces and all kinds of terrorists, so that Pakistan can be made a non-violent, peaceful, moderate, tolerant, progressive and modern state.

The writer is Senior Advocate Supreme Court, former Senator, Attorney General & Federal Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights

To read complete article → THE NEWS

Pakistan’s Military Faces New Questions After Raid

By SALMAN MASOOD

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Battered by the fallout of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s army and navy chiefs came under fire again from analysts and raucous political talk shows for lapses in security that allowed militants to storm Karachi’s naval base, leading to a 16-hour standoff that ended Monday.

Journalists and retired service members repeatedly questioned how the militants could have breached the security of the naval base. The Navy chief, Admiral Nauman Bashir, was particularly pilloried for denying there was any security lapse when he spoke to journalists in Karachi after the attack.

The frenzied questioning on all of Pakistan’s news channels was an indication of the shock that the attack on Karachi’s naval base has caused around the country, still reeling from the scandal of the killing of Bin Laden on May 2, and the questions it further raises about the ability of Pakistan’s military establishment to safeguard its vital assets and nuclear installations.

The Pakistani military has come under unusual criticism for allowing Bin Laden to live for five years near the top military academy in Abbottabad, a small city about 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, and the latest attack was seen as yet more proof of the parlous state of Pakistan’s armed forces.

“The repeated failure of the Pakistani security forces to preempt terrorist activity has demoralized not only the Pakistani soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but has also severely dented the reputation of the three services in the eyes of the people they are expected to defend” wrote Javed Husain, a security analyst on the website of DAWN daily newspaper. “Worse still, the servicemen and the people have begun to see the terrorists as ten feet tall.”

The attack would have serious repercussions not only for the military but also for the security and unity of the country, Arif Nizami, editor of Pakistan Today, a Lahore based daily, warned on another show. The Pakistan Navy was a relatively weak flank and could be easily targeted, he said.

Hamid Mir, the influential host of Capital Talk on GEO TV, even dared criticize the military for its handling of previous attacks by militants. The attack in Karachi was similar in scale and seriousness to the 2009 storming by militants on the army general headquarters in Rawalpindi, and could have been avoided if there had been a public enquiry into the earlier attack, he said.

Mr. Mir said he feared an inquiry could be initiated against him or anyone else who raised this question. He has long advocated that Pakistan should not side with the United States, but he has also denounced the Taliban.

The attack in Karachi comes as the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has been indicating in private meetings with senior editors and defense analysts over recent days that he wanted to improve morale and dispel the impression of incompetence of the armed forces by redoubling efforts against terrorism and insurgency.

Reflecting the overriding concern the Pakistan military has about its nuclear weapons program, General Kayani repeatedly emphasized that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe from any attack or foreign intervention, according to one analyst who was present at one of the meetings.

The general added that Senator John Kerry gave him assurances during his visit to Pakistan last week that the United States is not interested in seizing Pakistan’s nuclear weapon. Senator Kerry told him he was ready to write down with his own blood that America was not interested in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, he said.

In an indication of the divide in Pakistani society, commentators differed in their reactions to the 16-hour battle, with some urging political and military leaders to come together on a united counterterrorism policy to combat militancy, while others repeated familiar anti-American, anti-Indian theories, calling for a change in foreign policy and relations with the United States as the way to end the violence.

The conflicting narratives were evident in a talk show on DUNYA TV Monday afternoon with the hosts repeating conspiracy theories but some of their guests speaking more plainly.

Much of the reaction to the attack on its southern port, Karachi, also revealed Pakistan’s deep seated insecurity and sense of vulnerability regarding its longtime rival, India.

“This is a security failure,” Shehzad Chaudhry, a retired air vice marshal, said on the show. The need of the hour was to focus on the security forces and their capability, instead of focusing on the question that who could possibly be behind those Taliban, who are attacking Pakistani military, he said. “There is a need to develop national counterterrorism policy and bring our own house in order first.”

Talat Masood, a retired Lt. Gen and defense analyst, said on the same show: “We should not go into self denial. This insurgency is against you. They want to destabilize the state of Pakistan.”

Yet many commentators remain reluctant to criticize the powerful military establishment in Pakistan and tend to fall back on repeating conspiracies that the world is out to destabilize Pakistan and remove its nuclear weapons by force.

Pakistanis, on the whole, are unwilling to accept the idea that their own Muslim brothers based in the tribal areas are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Pakistanis since 9/11,” said Arif Rafiq, a political analyst based in Washington in an interview. …..

Read more : The New York Tiems

Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration?

Interviewee:
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Interviewer:
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

In the first few days of this year, Pakistan’s coalition government was thrust into crisis after losing a coalition partner, and then a top politician–Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–was assassinated. A leading expert on the country, Stephen P. Cohen, says these incidents are symptoms of the profound problems tugging the country apart. “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China. …
Read more : COUNCIL on FOREIGN RELATIONS