Tag Archives: nerves

A man with nerves of steel

By Sadia Qasim Shah

PESHAWAR: Five years full of nerve-testing situations, tight security barriers, chilling death threats, social isolation (as others considered him a security threat to themselves) and apparently even the cold-blooded killing of his only young son seem not to have broken the spirits of the 55-year-old Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the spokesperson of the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government which had opposed the terrorists and successfully rescued the Swat Valley from falling into their hands.

“One should never lose hope,” says Mr Hussain in an exclusive interview with Dawn, with his typical serene smile and composed demeanour, showing no sign of bitterness even after losing his seat in May 11 general elections.

Mr Hussain doesn’t show he is a broken man, though he is going to observe third anniversary of his sole son who was targeted by the Taliban.

The man who as a spokesperson of ANP government emerged as a bold voice against the terrorist conglomerate called Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spent sleepless nights finding a way to express his innermost thoughts and agony after his only son Mian Rashid Hussain, only 26, was killed by Taliban to teach Mian Sahib a lesson.

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Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

Wisconsin shooting triggers painful memories of racism aimed at Sikhs

By Adrienne Batra

TORONTO – When news broke last week of the horrific shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara (which means gateway to the `Guru’) in Oak Creek, Wis., my mother had phoned me within minutes insisting I turn on the TV to see how `these idiots in the media are talking about our people.’

She was specifically referring to CNN’s coverage, which felt it necessary to constantly interrupt its commentary about the massacre to remind the audience that Sikhs aren’t Muslims.

Admittedly it was annoying, because, to me, it seems obvious since I’m Sikh and am therefore acutely aware of the difference.

However, it really bothered my mother. When probed as to why, she summarily said that, in this day and age, she couldn’t believe people don’t know how to differentiate the two.

It doesn’t, though, surprise me.

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, pictures of Osama bin Laden were running on network television 24/7. In the picture most often showed of him, he was attired in a white turban and had a long beard. This could explain why some just assume anyone with a turban is Muslim. A turban and beard, of course, are two of the most distinguishing features of a Sikh man.

The white supremacist trash who murdered six people and injured police officers (the cops who gunned him down should be given medals) at the Gurdwara last week probably fell into this category of people who live their lives blissfully ignorant.

And since 9/11, Sikhs in Canada and the U.S. have spoken out against increased `hate crimes’ perpetrated against the community. The Sikh Coalition, which has kept track of such incidences, reported in the months after 9/11 `300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans throughout the United States.’

In November 2001, some teens in New York burned down Gobind Sadan Gurdwara `because they thought it was named for Osama bin Laden.’ A Sikh family in New Mexico had their car defaced with images of genitals and profanities about Allah. There were numerous other brutal attacks on elderly Sikh men and young boys, many of which were motivated by hatred against Muslims. The Huffington Post’s Religion section has done an excellent job of putting together an unfortunately lengthy list of these acts of violence.

When my parents moved to Canada, my father cut his hair and chose to no longer wear a turban. That choice had consequences for him as his uncle, an over-educated doctor living in England, ostensibly disowned him.

But I know why my father did it – the same reason why our parents gave my brother, two sisters and I `Canadian’ names. He knew it would be tough enough growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1970s – not a lot of `brown’ people around, already looking different, and people having difficulty pronouncing your name – without compounding the issue of racism.

We didn’t experience such things as our cousins who grew up in Vancouver – they had their turbans kicked off, were called `towel heads,’ and told to `go back where you came from’ (even though they were born in Canada).

Despite my parent’s best efforts, I had my own brush with racism, but it pales in comparison to what others endured. I distinctly remember one incident when I was growing up in Saskatoon. At a friend’s house party, her father looked straight at me and said he didn’t want `Pakis’ in his house. I told him to go f— himself. At the time it, didn’t dawn on me that his pejorative reference was because he thought I was from Pakistan.

`My parents are from India you twit,’ kept running through my head.

Continue reading Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

A Hostage in Pakistan Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., is living under house arrest. The reason? He offended the country’s military.

By MIRA SETHI, Islamabad, Pakistan

There are forces in Pakistan that want us to live in fear—fear of external and internal enemies.” So warns Husain Haqqani, until November Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington and now a de facto prisoner of the Pakistani generals whose ire he has provoked. “But just as the KGB and the Stasi did not succeed in suppressing the spirit of the Soviet and East German people, these forces won’t succeed in Pakistan in the long run, either.”

I am speaking to Mr. Haqqani in a spacious room in the official residence of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, where the 55-year-old former ambassador—wearing a cotton tunic, loose trousers and white rubber slippers—has been living for weeks, mainly for fear that he might be assassinated outside. The living arrangements may seem odd for those unfamiliar with Pakistan’s fractured politics. But his fear is not ill-founded.

Continue reading A Hostage in Pakistan Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S., is living under house arrest. The reason? He offended the country’s military.

Tehelka – Coup & Memo: In the battle of nerves between the civilian and the military establishment he who can stay the longest, wins

Round 1 to the Civilian Government

In the battle of nerves between the civilian and the military establishment in Pakistan, he who can stay the longest, wins

By Mohammad Taqi, Columnist, Daily Times

EVER SINCE the controversial Memo in October 2011, allegedly seeking American help in case of a military coup, trouble has been brewing in Pakistan. The latest is the sacking of Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Nadeem Lodhi as defence secretary on 11 January by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The civilian-military relationship in Pakistan is going through a churn. The military wants to get rid of President Asif Zardari. The Supreme Court allowed itself to be dragged into the situation through a PIL. But the elected Pakistani civilian government, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its coalition partners are not going to give in without a fight. Under the circumstances, the sacking of Lodhi was inevitable. It sends a clear message in a long drawn out war of attrition that will ultimately decide which way the balance of civil-military relationship tilts.

The establishment has been speaking through press releases issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). On 11 January, it issued a fourth statement criticising the government. Previously, the prime minister had retaliated by implying the army was trying to become a State within the State and had issued a visa to Osama bin Laden. That did not go down well. The civil-military relationship has not recovered from this blow, and relations are souring. The judiciary appears to be allied with the military establishment or at least feels that their interests are in confluence.

The army wants the current PPP dispensation to go, but a text-book coup d’état is not possible in the present day. With an active social media, a questioning press and Pakistan’s economic condition, it is not a feasible option. The army is frustrated and is making this public but with everyone harping on about democracy for so long, it’s not easy for anyone — not Kayani, not the top judge — to sack the present system. They might be facing allegations of corruption or bad governance, but you have to vote them out.

Gilani’s statement says the army chief and the DG, ISI, Shuja Pasha did not follow the protocol in the Memogate proceedings in court. The briefs the three filed with the court were diametrically opposed to the government’s position in the Memogate scandal. Constitutionally, the ISI is under the prime minister. The army chief reports to the president and also the PM via the defence ministry. The defence secretary made a statement in the court saying the government has administrative and not operational control over the army and the ISI.

Prior to that, Pasha met Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in London. The ISI is an intelligence-gathering and not an investigating agency. He brought back evidence that is now being made admissible in the civil court. Pasha went without the permission of the civilian leadership. The PM was informed through Kayani only after he returned.

Things would have been different a decade ago; the army would have toppled the government. Today, it’s a battle of nerves. Whoever blinks first, loses. So far, Gilani has not blinked, but his options are limited. Even if he fires Pasha and Kayani, he has to select from a pool of 200 generals, as he has no one in the PPP to replace him. Pasha’s head is certainly on the chopping block, but the PPP will not win this by a knockout, but on points. Taking it to the last round will mean they have won. As long as Zardari, Gilani and Hussain Haqqani — and the general public — stick together, the civilian government will prevail.

Courtesy: Tehelka.com

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main51.asp?filename=Op210112Round.asp

Democracy or dictatorship?

Democracy or dictatorship?: Resolute Gilani paves way for govt resolution

By Qamar Zaman / Zia Khan

ISLAMABAD: Steady nerves and a pointed address.

The premier remained composed on Friday, despite a raring opposition and potentially wavering allies in the face of a deepening row with the military and the judiciary – and the government also managed to introduce a highly-anticipated resolution in the house.

The resolution was moved, symbolically enough, by the PPP’s thus far most steadfast ally, Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, amid a protest from opposition benches.

Before the resolution, addressing a special session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said he would prefer going to the people over begging for the opposition’s support for a fresh vote of confidence in parliament.

“I do not need a vote of confidence,” Gilani said, adding that he was elected prime minister unanimously.

The session, it was widely believed, had been convened in the wake of the Supreme Court warning President Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister of disqualification over the non-implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict.

But the prime minister snubbed the notion that his government was afraid of the NRO at the get-go.

“We have not come for the NRO. We do not need your support to be saved from the military and have not come for a clash of institutions. We have also not come to be shaheeds (martyrs),” the premier said, responding to the leader of the opposition’s query seeking a justification for the ‘emergency session.’

“Somebody should tell us the reason for convening this session and what you are afraid of,” the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had said earlier.

We have to decide whether there should be democracy or dictatorship in the country … democracy should not be punished for our mistakes”. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune