Tag Archives: opinion

Former Pakistani ambassador: Pakistan behaves ‘like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel’

By Jamie Weinstein, Senior Editor

Recently removed Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani urged the American government to take a tougher line on his home country in a remarkably candid speech Wednesday afternoon.

“Pakistan ends up behaving like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel,” Haqqani told several dozens journalists, think tankers, opinion makers and government officials at a luncheon in Washington held by the Center for the National Interest.

“And the behavior change is not going to come unless and until there is behavior change on your part. So you should stop the meddling. … You have to stop going in and seeing all our politicians and thinking they are all your friends and trying to influence. Make Pakistanis realize that America has an interest in Pakistan, but you know what, America respects Pakistani opinion. Show respect for Pakistani public opinion. And if Pakistanis don’t want to be your friends, you don’t want to be their friends, thank you very much.”

Haqqani, who recently returned to the United States to become director of the Center of International Relations at Boston University, was removed as Pakistani ambassador late last year after facing charges that he sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Haqqani, who returned to Pakistan to face the charges against him at some personal risk, maintains the charges are baseless.

But Haqqani’s essential argument at the luncheon was that America and Pakistan should no longer put up the pretense that they are allies. Haqqani said that it is unrealistic to believe that “endless discussions and chats and what I call the class of narratives will somehow, some day produce a change of thinking either in Washington” or Islamabad.

The U.S. isn’t going to be convinced to treat India as an enemy for Pakistan’s sake and Pakistan won’t be convinced to give up its nuclear weapons or end its support for jihadi groups it sees as strategically beneficial for “regional influence” because America wants it to, he said.

Continue reading Former Pakistani ambassador: Pakistan behaves ‘like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel’

American Marxism as a guide to action:

Marxist political advice and its discontents

By Omar Ali

Professor Vijay Prashad  is the George and Martha Kellner professor of history at Trinity college. He is also a prominent left wing activist. The two roles have different requirements. Here he tries to bridge the gap. 

Someone had commented on 3quarksdaily.com that this is “Another bucketload of gormless Marxist verbiage around a central anti-semitic core: forget the mountains of corpses and the decades of torture and oppression – Assad’s main crime is defined as “neoliberalism … and a practice of accommodation with both the US and Israel.”

That triggered the following comment (i have edited the original slightly for clarity)  from me: The real problem with neomarxist verbiage is not double standards or selective outrage, its the unbridgeable gap between being a professor and being an actor on the ground in a civil war in a faraway country.
Vijay Prashad as a professor in a first world University may eventually contribute to changing the way X or Y issue is framed in the mind of the elite, and that in turn will eventually have some impact somewhere in actual daily politics and political struggles but those are big “eventually-s”. Some professors are OK with that and focus on doing their research and writing their books and teaching their students in the hope that their analysis will eventually “trickle down”. But that (for obvious reasons) is not very satisfying for most of us. Hence the need to suggest practical courses of action in today’s clash, to pick sides, to “organize a relief column”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your estimate of said professor’s wisdom and insight) this aspect of a professor’s work has near-zero real world relevance.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, but it does seem to be a real problem. Most right wingers are almost by definition closer to the ruling elites so maybe they dont feel the pain as much, but left wing professors are in a painful bind here..to have no opinion on proximate politics and wars seems silly, but to have an opinion that arises logically from their theoretical framework is frequently sillier, and any honest and good man may end up in Professor Prashad’s position. Its a real dilemma.

In an attempt to pre-empt misunderstandings, let me add:

1. My question is not about the details of his analysis.

2. Its about this scenario. Lets say Vijay is Vladimir Lenin. Well, in that case he is not only a theoretician (though he would like to believe that his superior understanding of theory informs his practice), he is an organizer, a rebel, a leader, a politician with day to day decision to make. Very fine nuances and very involved calculations will come into play. Many of those calculations will be very cynical. All of them will be locally bound by existing circumstances. Theory will have to give way again and again. But Vijay (probably not even in his own mind, but I don’t know him personally, so I cannot say for sure) is not Lenin. He is a professor. He does research, he writes books. He has theories. And he is part of a broader left wing academic current that has its own internal dynamics very far from the ground in Syria. I am saying I don’t expect him to say things that are too useful as guides to action.
3. What do you think?

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem

Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem isn’t just the government. It’s the people

By Jonathan Kay

Since the Taliban resurgence began gaining force in 2005, a common refrain in the West has been that Pakistan must “do more” to rein in the jihadis who are drawing support from bases in the borderlands of Balochistan and Waziristan. American officials have made countless visits to Pakistan to deliver variations on this message — with nothing to show for it.

Earlier this year, the BBC disclosed a secret NATO report, based on 27,000 interrogations with captured Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees, concluding that jihadis operating in Afghanistan continue to receive support and instruction from Pakistani military handlers. One interrogated al-Qaeda detainee quoted in the report declared: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching.”

The usual Sunday-Morning-talk-show explanation for this is that Pakistan is hedging its strategic bets: Pakistani military leaders doubt the United States military can tame Afghanistan before American combat forces’ scheduled exit in 2013. And rather than see the country degenerate into absolute chaos (as occurred in the early 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet departure), Pakistani military leaders want to be in position to turn Afghanistan into a semi-orderly Pashtun-dominated client state that provides Islamabad with “strategic depth” against India. And the only way for them to do this is to co-opt the Taliban.

Continue reading Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem

Support Hamza Kashgari

In Defense of Hamza Kashgari

By Omar Baddar

…… “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” — Article 19 of the UN Declaration for Human Rights

To read more about Hamza Kashgari» Arab American Institute


Steve Jobs

” Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – (Steve Jobs)

Happy Independence Day, India and Pakistan. And congratulations Bangladesh, for having moved on

Midnight’s problem child

by Omar Ali

Pakistan and India are celebrating the 64th anniversary of “Freedom at midnight” with their usual mix of nationalism and jingoism (Bangladesh seems to ignore this nightmarish dream anniversary and will be mostly ignored in this article). The fashionable opinion about India (within and without, though perhapsless on the Indian left) seems fairly positive; about Pakistan, decidedly muddled if not outright negative. Is this asymmetry another manifestation of the unfair assessments of an Islamophobic world? Or does this difference in perception have a basis in fact? .

Read more → 3quarksDaily

Deep state as a whole going into suicide

Our atomic bomb complex

By Saroop Ijaz

There is something very falsely mawkish and diabolically insensitive about celebrations and chest-beating at the end of a week which suffered multiple terrorist attacks, including one on an important naval base. The venue was Lahore on May 28 and the cause for this sloppy jubilation was the Yaum-e-Takbir, i.e. the anniversary of the ‘Islamic atomic bomb’. A disgracefully and wilfully ignored anniversary falling on the same day was the wanton murder committed in the Ahmadi places of worship, one year ago. The irony here is agonising. If there is one item that brings moral and political certainty in the otherwise grim flux, it is the bomb. The bomb allows for a complete suspension of reason across the political spectrum. The ritualistic solidity of the opinion regarding the bomb is completely apt at some level, given its theological nature. Revelry regarding an instrument of mass destruction, which can kill millions of people in a matter of seconds, defies rationality and decency. ….

Read more : The Express Tribune

Asma Jahangir on Pakistan Army Generals in Cross Fire program

Wow!!! What a brave woman. Asma Jahangir giving her straight forward opinion about the political role of Pakistan Army generals in Duniya News program ‘Cross Fire’ with Mehar Bukhari. Pakistani generals have looted the country since 1958. People are living in poverty and they have all the luxuary of life. Their children go to the best schools and poor have no access to schools. THis is all done on poor Pakistan’s budget. The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Duniya News (Cross Fire with Mehar Bukhari), You Tube

Whither Pakistan

by Syed Ehtisham


The leadership of the Muslim League came mostly from provinces which were not parts of Pakistan. Jinnah, like all autocrats did not tolerate difference of opinion and had excluded the bright and the intelligent like Suharwardy and Fazal Haque while promoting Liaquat and Nazimuddin …

…. Jinnah, in a singularly misconceived move towards national integration, declared that Urdu and only Urdu will be the official language of Pakistan. That, I believe, was the first nail.

Jinnah, while he lived, kept all the levers of power in his hands. Liaquat, PM in name, did not even enjoy the powers White House chief of the staff does.

Jinnah died. Liaquat did not have the authority to embrace his legacy. The power brokers in West Pakistan would not allow the drafting of a constitution which would give representation proportional to the population of East Pakistan. I recall mullahs gave the argument that if you took out 20% of the population of the East who were Hindus, the numbers between the two wings would be equal. Some even suggested that Hindus be made to pay Jazya. Finance minister Ghulam Muhammad pointed out that they would in that case be exempt from taxes. That shut the mouth of the religious lobby.

Liaquat was reduced to offering a basic principles resolution (Qarardad e Maqasid), which declared Pakistan to be an Islamic State. That put paid to Jinnah’s legacy of separation of faith and state. ….

…. Yahya arranged an election on the basis of adult franchise. Mujib got overall majority and could garner two third majority with the help of smaller provinces. There was no problem with making Mujib the PM, except personally to Bhutto, but he wanted autonomy of the kind Jinnah had insisted on in pre-independence India. ….

….. Pakistan was further burdened by immense military expenditure, which necessitated an unholy mass of debt. All nation building measures remained in the limbo. Infra-structure, education, health, research and industry remained stunted. ….

To read complete article : ViewPoint

Flight of Reason – by Aamer Ahmed Khan

We published two photo galleries on BBC’s Urdu website last Friday. One on the Jamaat-e-Islami’s youth wing Shabab-e-Milli’s tribute to Mumtaz Qadri’s father in Rawalpindi and the other on the candlelit vigil in Lahore in memory of the slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

As expected, comments started to pour in almost instantly. The most telling among them simply said: “Please compare the crowd in the two, for every Taseer mourner, there are at least 50 Qadri supporters.” If nothing else, it says a lot about the state of siege in which liberal opinion finds itself, as more and more people flock behind Mr Qadri, a cold-blooded killer who had been painstakingly planning Taseer’s murder for weeks before he struck.

Irrespective of the number of people who gathered for the vigil in Lahore, I am stunned at their courage in standing up to a crazed mob that neither understands its religion nor the man who brought it to them. It is a mob of moral cheats that has become religiously, politically, intellectually and morally so bankrupt that it seems to have convinced itself that its only salvation lies in baying for innocent blood.

Let us give ourselves some idea of how courageous the dozens who flocked to the vigil in Lahore really are. Since the glowing tribute paid to Qadri by lawyers at his first court appearance, we have been trying to contact the lawyer leadership that spearheaded the civil society movement only three years ago to bring down General Musharraf’s dictatorship. In that movement, millions around the world saw the seeds of a politics that Pakistan has desperately been waiting for all its life — a politics that flows from the combined intellect of the mobile middle class instead of dynastic politics, hereditary constituencies and endemic corruption.

Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood became household names as tens of thousands of people rallied behind them wherever they went. For weeks, no political talk show in the country was considered complete without at least one of them in the chair. Since Taseer’s murder, they simply seemed to have vanished into thin air.

We finally managed to get through to two of them: one simply said that we are free to call him a coward if we want to but he doesn’t want to comment on the issue at all. The other one went even further: he said he would not even allow us to report that he was contacted for his opinion on the issue.

Predictably, Asma Jahangir was the honourable exception who not only spoke in detail about the atrocity against Taseer but was candid and unambiguous in her criticism of the legal fraternity’s sudden gush for a killer. But then, one has always known her to be one of the bravest women in the country.

Which brings to mind another brave woman who dared to bring a bill to the National Assembly aimed at amending some of the more draconian provisions of a law that has spawned nothing but injustice in the quarter century of its existence. Our crazed mob has distributed pamphlets advocating that she must meet the same fate as Mr Taseer. I am proud to have worked for her at Herald for six years. She was one of the bravest editors I know. Today, she has been forced into abandoning her public life by the tyranny of bloodthirsty criminals masquerading as religious zealots.

President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration has already surrendered to these criminals. It is pointless to expect him to fight this battle. However unfortunate as it may be for the liberals, they do not have the luxury to follow suit. They have to go on fighting even if their battle is far more dangerous than the one Pakistan has been fighting in its tribal areas for the last 10 years.

Courtesy: http://www.columnspk.com/flight-of-reason-by-aamer-ahmed-khan/

Middle East : Israel – Palestine issue

by Omar Ali

… expecting the US and Europe to get up on their own and solve this problem (or any other problem they helped to create) you are being foolish.

On the other hand, it is equally foolish to assume that one can ignore the existence of US, Europe, public opinion, etc and decide “we” (meaning the exalted Ummah) will solve it on our own, thank you.

The facts on the ground are that Israel is the more developed power (with a huge advantage over its Arab neighbors, though not as much as it used to enjoy in the past when the camel jockeys were still stuck in the 18th century). The Palestinians are the weaker party. The weaker party has to use more of its brain than the stronger party (and in the best case, they use Judo: they turn the enemy’s strength against them).

The Palestinians have to work long and hard to get public opinion in Europe and the US to turn adjacent to Israel (and they have done a lot of that work and managed to get Europe especially to move further apart from Israeli hardliner positions, with patient hard work they will get the American public to move the same way, it can be done), they have to resist them on the ground, they have to organize enough to be able to sustain the struggle and they have to eventually offer the Israeli public an “out”…a way to settle this without being annihilated.

The last is important because it is important to remember that the Israeli public also consists of human beings, in this case organized in a rather sophisticated and capable culture. If their only option is annihilation or victory, they will fight tooth and nail. If they have a reasonable option short of annihilation, they too can be split between moderates and hardliners.

..read the voluminous literature about Mahatma Gandhi….

Or check out Hussein Ibish on the internet:


Courtesy: crdp@yahoogroups.com, Mar 22, 2010

‘Stupid’, it’s the local dynamics that matter most…

By Sahar Gul

Courtesy: Airra

At this crucial time when there is need of uniting nation around the single national interest of providing relief to the IDPs and successfully annihilating the Taliban in the Malakand division and restoring peace in the region, the discourse by some people to equate Taliban with the Pashtun nationalist agenda seems nothing but an effort to create startling diversion which no doubt ultimately hampers the attempts to eliminate extremism from Pakistan.

Continue reading ‘Stupid’, it’s the local dynamics that matter most…

What do people in Buner think about ongoing war?

By Zar Ali Khan Musazai

About 3 million people from restive Swat, Buner and Dir migrated to comparatively safer areas of Mardan, Swabi, Nowshera, Charsadda, Peshawar and some others in down Pakistan , a small number where these IDPs were restricted to settle or encamp. In other three provinces of Pakistan some political parties and individuals opposed the entry of IDPs from Pashtun areas.

Continue reading What do people in Buner think about ongoing war?

Demographic explosions, Sindh and strategic vision

by: Prof. Aftab Kazi, PhD (Pittsburgh)

Please note: The writer is HEC (Higher Education Commission) Foreign Professor, FCS, National Defense University of Pakistan.

..In my opinion, despite the demographic dilemmas, the situation in Sindh can be managed in short-term to be controlled in long term. Not through the kind of political activism of a nationalist/ sub-nationalist nature, but by the government of Sindh, if it has the will and strategic vision, because politics is often in fluid; hence subjected to constant change. Unfortunately y the Sindh Government and cohorts lacl strategic vision, just like most, if not all Sindhi politicians did during 1950s. Migrations and demographic explosions are common to every society cross-continentaly. Wise societies and civilizations have attempted to incorporate demographic changes to their advantage by implementing specific political socialization processes through certain policy mechanisms. Why politicians in the Sindh government are holding up from introducing Sindhi language and Culture as a compulsory part of the curriculum for all Sindhis and non-Sindhi speakers, aimed at incorporating all newer elements within the societal mainstream? Pathans won’t object to this and by now, under the constantly changing demographic environment MQM is likely to approve albeit with some short-term hesitation. This political socialization mechanism, if adapted, could be the insurance for Sindhis that they will not converted into a minority by naturalizing all non-Sindhis within their cultural fold.

Continue reading Demographic explosions, Sindh and strategic vision

ISSUE OF I.D.Ps AND THE RIGHTS OF SINDH (A nationalist point of view)

Khalique Junejo’s letter to Dawn in response to Dawn editorial “IDPs in Sindh”

This is with reference to your editorial “IDPs in Sindh” dated: May 24th, 2009 wehrein some points are not presented in proper perspective while others need some clarification.

There is a big difference between the stance and attitude of MQM and Sindhi People regarding the issue of so called IDPs. Sindhis are not opposed to their entry and settlement in Sindh because of their being ethic Pakhtoons or because they are coming from some specific places like Malakand and/or FATA as is the case with MQM. Sindhis are against the influx, into Sindh, of people belonging to any ethnicity and coming from any place, either from another province or another country as Sindh is already over-saturated and over-stretched.

You say that “if IDPs are fleeing their homes, they have no choice as their land is now a theater of war. Yes, they have no choice but to flee. But is their no choice and chance for them to settle in a place along the 2000 k.m. route they traverse to reach Karachi and Hyderabad? In between come the places of Pakhtoonkhuwa, the capital Islamabad and the big brother Punjab. If the only justification is that they have their relatives in Sindh, it proves the point of the Sindhi nationalists; those who came yesterday make ground for more to come today and the ones coming today will create reason for many more to come tomorrow.

Continue reading ISSUE OF I.D.Ps AND THE RIGHTS OF SINDH (A nationalist point of view)

Pakistan – Big Brother (Punjab) is not allowing IDP Camps

Nawaz Sharif who visited the camps in Mardan only shed crocodile´s tears but practically playing hypocrite role.


Punjab not to allow IDP camps

By Dilshad Azeem

Courtesy: The News, Thursday, May 21, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government has decided in principle not to allow camps for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the province, The News has learnt.

Continue reading Pakistan – Big Brother (Punjab) is not allowing IDP Camps

Pakistan, Sindh, Sindhis and New Great Game

by: Professor Aftab Kazi, PhD (Pittsburgh)

… The concern about provincial rights, feudalism, civil society and expectations and achievements from the PPP government are justified.

Considering the nature of some conspiratorial mindsets in North America, I must first explain that my current position at NDU was not realized through political connections, but pure merit. Higher Education Commission does not appoint everyone, particularly in social sciences, who applies. It was a complex process and finally the selection committee was convinced that I deserve appointment as HEC foreign professor. .. .I belong to the Faculty of Contemporary Studies, which has recently started functioning as the civilian wing of the university to cater educational services to civilians otherwise in this basically Armed Forces institution. I am very happy being here and the fact that no one interferes with my work. I have been in Islamabad approximately ten months by now, but have never visited any single politician, minister, president, etc. Outside NDU, I only attend some embassy receptions, not governmental ones yet this moment. However, by mid-September I will be initiating such high level meetings for my own research and will also take the opportunity to discuss some Sindhi problems as well. Having explained this, now I turn to the concerns many folks have expressed.

1. In my opinion, most Sindhis based overseas hardly have any idea how politics in Pakistan functions. It is easy for them to pour out with Sindh related concerns, without realizing that sociopolitical circumstances all over Pakistan constantly keep changing, particularly in Sindh being the coastal region. I already know the mindset of some Sindhis in Washington sporting the nationalist/ sub-nationalist perceptions originating from the 1950s, and who keep no secret to receive funding from Indian sources to engage in anti-Pakistan and anti-Sindh activities. Last October, visiting Sindh University for a conference, during a meeting with one of the civil society advocates, I realized that similar perceptions occupied the mindset of some Sindhis, who can only speak loud from comfortable homes, but will never dare to speak about political stratification. My greatest disappointment has been that none of those perceptives demonstrated any understanding of the constantly changing sociopolitical culture in Sindh province and all over Pakistan. Not a single one of the Sindhi groups has had any idea, particularly Washington based pro-Indian Sindhi sub-nationalist propagandists that the concurrent Sindhi problems are not isolated, but a consequence of the geographical location of the Indus River Basin that they exhibit a historical continuity, hence are a part of the larger geopolitical issues now being played under banner of the New Great Game (NGG did not begin with the dissolution of the USSR, but started with the Cold War itself). The breaking point came around 1977 before the start of Anti-Soviet Afghan Mujaheddin war plans initiated with the overthrow of late Z.A. Bhutto and General M. Daud followed by the expulsion of the late Iranian ruler Reza Shah. Things will never be the same again as the post-1977 era has unleashed simultaneously myriad issues combining serious demographic, geopolitical and geoeconomic changes. I can still remember explaining on these lists ten years or so ago about what is coming, only to be a victim by some satanic ‘civility’ mindsets amongst the sub-nationalist and SANA groups who instantly attempted to isolate me in Washington and North America and literally threw my name out of SANAList and SANA (irony is that I happen to be among the few original members and its early vice presidents), echoed by some Washington Sindhis by excluding me from their get togethers. It did not effect me much as I have always driven my strength from my professional strength, not community, and simply stopped attending their functions, unless someone amongst them with a neutral stand insisted. I have cited this because some mails under subject refer to ‘civil society’! Having that explained, now let me explain my perspective over issues under discussion.

1. Civil Society: most NGOs worldwide and in Pakistan, particularly Sindh province, often apply the term in a fashionable way on par with civil societies in the advanced industrial societies. Briefly, ‘civil society’ requires certain levels of ‘civility’ in political culture, which in Sindh is minimal; hence applications in Sindh on par with AIS are bound to be ineffective at the gross-root levels, only marginally fashion the mindsets of a few NGO related individuals. The fact that the civil society applications must confirm to the existing levels of sociopolitical culture is missing, thus leaving applied efforts futile.

2. Feudalism is is part of the Sindhi society ever since Milena. The English utilized feudalism like previous rulers did for their own imperial goals. Luckily, since the early 1960s, first the Basic democracy program under General Ayub Khan (Khan hit yet collaborated with feudals for his perceptive order) and second by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto under his PPP actually hit the bottom of feudal phenomena albeit with cat and mouse tactics, but surely with good results. Bhutto certainly gave confidence to every single man of his importance in society. Things started worsening under Zia. That phase continues. Although the local Nazim system introduced by General Musharraf can be ideal for any given ‘civil’ society, its implementation under relatively different circumstances has not only been decadent, but in fact has introduced Neo- Feudalism, worst form that Sindh has ever experienced. Since being declared an outcast by Sindhis in north America, I rarely offer opinion on these lists, but sometime read through mails. Most articles in Sindhi press and viewpoints on these lists lament injustices, I have yet to see a single article or opinion exhibiting practical prescriptive utility. Why? Because the Sindhis partially lack the collective consciousness. Why not? if at least somewhat partial collective consciousness exists? The answer is that earlier feudalism largely consisted land-owners or pir etc., the neofeudalism includes new businesses, related middle classes acting in colonial ways (Some NGOs are offer example of this behavior) and those who seem to be rising from earlier middle to relatively upper class status. Briefly, the so called elite mindset, which loves to talk about sorrows of Sindh, but don’t have any idea of operating environment and possible actions moving with flow and influence under specific political and geopolitical cultures. This is true of Sindhis in Sindh as well as abroad, particularly in UK and NA.

Even mails below with well-expressed concerns lack ideas about practical prescriptive utility that might help address the concurrent issues (I will not go in details, but farther in mail may highlight some issue areas where progress turning negatives into positives might be possible; the art of politics that unfortunately our majority of ordinated inept politicians lack and those who understand remain un-influential) . Organization of a conference is certainly an excellent idea, yet I wonder if the proponents actually know the dissemination processes. I mention this because, many such past conferences have ended up in futility as pieces of propaganda, hurting Sindhi cause more than helping it. Even some senior highly respected political activists still seem to be dominated by their more than half-a-century old articulated jargon; and some NGo oriented Sindhi activists have failed to conceptualize actual realities. How and what different these folks would have done for Sindh under the domestic, regional and international geopolitical circumstances and difficulties that PPP is helplessly facing these days? Critics have nothing to show even in terms of capability. Unfortunately, many political activists in Sindh often have portrayed as politicians, when none seem to have had actual experience in politics and/or policy level (this makes me admire Barrister Abdul Hafiz Pirzado, who despite effective political experience told me fourteen years ago during a London visit that he is a political activist, not a politician, although he is surely one by definition).

3. PPP criticm is justified to a considerable extent, but it is also relatively less-educated. Indeed, PPP have failed Sindhi expectations. Sindhis cannot find jobs or seek opportunities in areas most otherwise would have had. Encountering some Sindhi folks in Islamabad yesterday, I learned that they were here because someone had promised to get them orders for some job with a payment of 15 lack rupees. I did not bother to ask the name of that intermediary, but surely some Sindhi folks are trying to loot other Sindhis. These folks were asked to pay an initial cash deposit of Rs. 5 lacs before the job order could be arranged, which they declined pleading that first the job order and then money. By the evening that Sindhi intermediary disappeared. I am the kind who never believes in sifarash, but under family pressure sent a letter to a Sindh minister whom I thought was an old college days friend, to appoint two of my youngest and certainly talented nephews. He never replied. Nevertheless, I learned through the press about “intermediaries” able to arrange jobs through commission. My nephews are a part of the crowd of thousands of unemployed Sindhis. It doesn’t matter, upon return from my USA-Europe visit in September, I will approach those for the jobs of my nephews and some other capable Sindhis, whom the Minister friend would have three times to think before refusing. It is a small thing.


“If you’ve become a popular politician, so what?

Even an insecure restless billionaire, so what?

Money and power never help anyone escape Death!

Accomplishments always tell Aftab, so what?”

Criticism of PPP government is justified to a considerable extent. Expectations of many Sindhis and other Pakistanis have not been achieved. However, considering the nature of chaotic politics in Pakistan particularly multi-ethnic one in Sindh can be confusing for any governing group, you name one. It is easy to criticize governance (another neo-con term replacing administration) without actually realizing how it works. I ask every critic in these mails on the subject, what alternative to PPP do they have in mind? The answer is ‘nothing’. I can sympathize with their confusion. Last May, while in Islamabad on a research trip, I encountered a Sindhi from somewhere in Sindh who happened to be one of the vice presidents of Muslim League-N in Sindh, who happen to be staying in the same guesthouse I was staying in. He told me in clear words that he in in ML-N because when PPP won’t be in office he and his other colleagues can represent the interests of Sindh. There are some people in Sindh who think in practical term, unlike many of our friends from NGOs. The PPP government has lots of problems. I cannot cite some incidents because it will be unwise. It is not easy to govern Pakistan these days.

Some folks have discussed IDPs from Swat, but we have in Sindh IDPs from the Kashmir quake as well. Demographic ratios often change constantly in geographically convenient areas through natural disasters, internal wars, internal migrations and trade, etc. The trend will continue. No one can stop is as long as the New Great Game in the region continues. Obviously Sindhis will be increasingly turned into a minority into their own province, like many other kingdoms and civilizations and their races historically did. This is a challenge as well as an opportunity. I will not offer my views how to do it, but I would like to hear from every one on the subject who seem to carry the burden of Sindh’s concerns. Mind you, under the concurrent circumstances talk about autonomy under 1940s resolution is futile. This is an entirely new political scenario that demands concurrent strategies to the resolution of conflict. NGOs and other some groups simply cannot send democracy and human rights down the throats of many Sindhis.

My greatest disappointment from Sindhi politicians and those NGOs who express such concerns is that they are not perceiving Sindh from the concurrent lenses. Perceiving Sindhi issues with the lenses of 1950s or 1960s is in fact a slow poison to the very Sindhi and Pakistani cause. All those concerned need to emphasize upon the concurrent problems on additional IDPs and the processes of their socialization inside Sindh. In my opinion, the most important cause for those who like to cry for Sindh is to force Sindh Education Department and the universities and colleges in Sindh to stratify their education at the highest levels of learning; these NGOs and other concerned must seriously start campaigns forcing Sindh University to upgrade its educational standards at the global level. I mention this because the ongoing problems, including democracy and human rights are a direct consequence of poor education. The system will not change without having a functionally effective educational system. Sindh University is not alone. Most Pakistani public universities are facing similar problems. QAU was indeed a very good federal institution of higher learning in mid and late 1970. Six months spent at QAU made me realize how poor and ineffective education it now offers. My final semester M.Sc students had no idea how to write a research paper. In Central Asia, while at the American University in Bishkek, I taught Bachelor’s degree students (AUCA does not offer Master degree programs other than MBA. Gradually they will). My third and Fourth year students were able o write excellent research term papers, so much so that I was learning from them. In fact, I have brought along with me some term papers of my AUCA students for the information they provide about their societies.

The point is that the existing university educational system is furthering the already existing educated-illiterate culture in Sindh. It is not the same university where I once studied. During various trips o Hyderabad, Karachi, Matiari and Bhit Shah over the last ten months, I came across some enthusiastic talented young minds, who want to be scholars or attain some levels of societal development (not the so-called sustained development many NGOs often cite), but they simply cannot, because the existing ineffective educational system does not equip them with necessary tools to achieve progress.

Even if the PPP government has not been able to totally satisfy Sindhi expectations, it is certainly releasing huge amounts in budget of various ministries and the universities. Well-wishers of Sindh, if the truly are, should actually be emphasizing the correct use of that money in local educational and social projects. Proper education can solve many problems which are more important than “politicized” demands of provincial autonomy. Those who desire independent Sindh must realize that it will be subservient to India and be exploited more from outside than inside. The point is that geopolitical circumstances are not viable of independent Sindh. Sindhis must learn to accept Pakistan as Greater Sindh, which is a historical reality as well. Mere provincial independence will not lead anywhere, only brand Sindhis further as trouble makers within the political framework of Pakistan which lives.

Briefly, my point to the concerned folks of these emails is that they must start thinking about Sindh as a New Sindh, because the concurrent Sindh does not even resemble with the Sindh of 1948. We have many more new urgent problems. Yes, indeed demand about share of jobs in the center, demand about rights over natural resources within the Federal bounds, demand about serious educational reforms, etc. These are legitimate concerns. Indeed, demand about the educational and political socialization processes for IDPs and other non-Sindhi speaking populations to learn both Urdu and Sindhi; a timely need that is likely to address the long term oriented psychological sensitivities about being converted into a minority. Have the new comer become Sindhis so that the cultural infusion is not felt. But these are cross-generational problems and Sindhis must maintain patience until the cultural fusion is materialized….

Aftab Kazi, PhD (Pittsburgh)

HEC (Higher Education Commission) Foreign Professor

FCS, National Defense University of Pakistan

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Our source for above article- Above article of Professor Aftab Kazi has published at Sindhi e-lists/e-groups on May 24, 2009

Pakistan: Struggling to See a Country of Shards


LAHORE, Pakistan — On a spring night in Lahore, I came face to face with all that is puzzling about Pakistan.

I had just interviewed Mobarak Haidar, a Pakistani author who was confidently predicting the end of the world. Islamic extremism, he said, was a wild animal that would soon gobble up Europe and all of Western civilization. “All the world’s achievements for the past 500 years are at risk,” he said in a gloomy tone, sitting in his living room. Soon there would be no more music, dancing or fun of any kind. The power went out and candles were lit, adding to the spookiness.

And then, as I climbed into a car to go home, a wedding party came out of nowhere, enveloping us in a shower of rose petals. Men playing bagpipes marched toward us, grinning, while dancing guests wriggled and clapped, making strange-shaped silhouettes in our headlights.

So which is the real Pakistan? Collapsing state or crazy party?

The answer is both, which is why this country of 170 million people is so hard to figure out.

Pakistan has several selves. There is rural Pakistan, where two-thirds of the country lives in conditions that approximate the 13th century. There is urban Pakistan, where the British-accented, Princeton-educated elite sip cold drinks in clipped gardens.

The rugged mountains of the west are inhabited by fiercely tribal Pashtuns, many of whom live without running water or electricity; there, an open Taliban insurgency seems beyond the central government’s control. In the lush plains of Punjab in the east, the insurgency is still underground, and the major highways are as smooth as any in the American Midwest.

The place where these two areas meet is the front line of Pakistan’s war — valleys and towns less than 100 miles from the country’s capital, Islamabad. Taliban militants, whose talk is part Marx, part mullah, but whose goal is power, now occupy this area. In recent weeks they pushed into Buner, even closer to the capital, and last week the military, after weeks of inaction, began a drive against them.

The war, in a way, is a telling clash between Pakistan’s competing impulses, so different that they are hard to see together in the same frame.

“It’s like when people try to take snapshots, but the contrast is too sharp,” said Feisal Naqvi, a Lahore-based lawyer. “You only capture a little bit of the real picture.”

Islam is perhaps the only constant in this picture. Pakistan, after all, was established in 1947 so the Muslims of the subcontinent would have their own country after independence from Britain. The rest became India, a multifaith, Hindu-majority constitutional republic.

But Pakistan didn’t declare itself an Islamic republic until 1956. In its early years, Pakistan’s liberals will remind you, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the country’s founder, delivered two speeches in which he said that Pakistan would not be a theocracy and that citizens of other religions would be free to practice.

Nevertheless, Islam became a powerful glue for the new nation; subsequent leaders, civilian and military, relied on it to stick the patchwork of ethnicities and tribes together. Then, like a genie out of a bottle, it took a direction all its own. “Once you bring Islam into politics, it’s hard to handle,” Mr. Naqvi said. “You don’t have the tools to control it.”

Young countries have long memories, and Pakistanis have not forgotten (or forgiven) the actions of the United States since the 1980s, when its spy agency, together with Pakistan’s own, backed Islamists fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Soon after the Soviets left, Washington withdrew its aid to Pakistan, and the Islamists were left with their own safe haven.

“The Americans just walked out, and Pakistan became the most sanctioned state in the world,” said Najam Sethi, editor of The Daily Times, a newspaper. “That has now created a powder keg of sympathy for the Taliban.”

Like splinters in fingers, these memories continue to irritate. They came tumbling out in a candle-lit room (again, no power) full of journalists in Muzaffargarh, a town in southern Punjab where militants had recently issued threats. Instead of hearing about those threats, though, I was reminded of grievances against America.

Courtesy: The New York Times


Pakistan must be saved from collapse

by KEVIN Rudd
April 29th, 2009
KEVIN Rudd rightly linked Australia’s increased troop commitment to Afghanistan with a desire to ensure the viability of the Pakistani state. He identified this as a vital interest for Australia. Like US President Barack Obama, Rudd has appointed a special envoy — in this case former Defence Department head Ric Smith — for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

That Rudd questions the viability of the Pakistani state should alert Australians to the perfect storm of trouble in Pakistan today. It is the worst and most dangerous security situation in the world, albeit with strong competition from Iran and with North Korea putting in a serious effort. Don’t think I’m being alarmist. Last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the security situation in Pakistan “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world”. She added: “The Pakistani Government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists … we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan.”

Continue reading Pakistan must be saved from collapse

A thought provoking article on Pakistan politics

by Omar Ali

This is from an army officer who wishes to remain anonymous… ..I would say this represents a version of theory number one (“things fall apart”)…

a. In my view there are various over-lapping layers of motivation that are fueling the insurgency, or vouchsafing, if not active sympathy for its cause, then at least, certainly much benign indifference. In ascending order these are :

1. Religious motivation. 2.Revenge. 3.Military occupation.

4.Anti-Americanism. This sentiment is very strong among all sections of the population, and has grown with each new attack against a Muslim country, whether this was done by the US; or by Israel. After the last attack on Gaza, if there were any doubts about where the US stood vis a vis Muslims, these were flooded over.

5. But the essential glue that unites all of the above together is the feeling of deprivation and injustice among the ‘have nots’ which has been built up over the last 60 years of one more atrocious government succeeding the other. So if the average Pakistani is not sympathetic towards the militants, he is certainly not in favour of the establishment. But in among an amazingly high proportion of people who share this sentiment, it does not seem to be there at the conscious level–one can only reach it and dredge it up by questioning people. But this will not long be the case. It is only a matter of time before one of the militant leaders will openly espouse the cause of the have-not, and give it words. When that happens, it will spread like wild fire.

b.The army is more infected by this have-not sentiment than any other. And the jawan, who must translate the generals’ plans into action, has no enthusiasm for it. When this is combined with poor leadership, and the natural aversion to killing their own people, you have perfected the recipe for inaction. All too often, in case of the army, one mistakes pure incompetence for conspiracy.

The thinking within the army reflects completely the thinking that pervades that of the general population. The few in the army who would like to take on the militants, have their commitment doused by their suspicioin of the real motives of the US. The ISI and MI briefings to the high command, as long ago as 4 years, were quite specific in that, that the insurgency in Baluchistan was being fueled directly by the US, UK, and India. When such is the belief of those who are to fight

the Taliban, it is very difficult for them to invest their effort against the militants with any great degree of commitment and enthusiasm.

c. The army is too bloody incompetent to even think about the slow burn strategy, much less, put it into practice.

d.There is something not quite generally known about the militancy. We know that the roughest and toughest part of our population comes from FATA. Among these the most unreconstructed are the Wazirs and Mahsuds of Waziristan. It may come as news to you that these two latter tribes were terrified of the Uzbeks. And the Uzbeks, in turn were absolutley

terrified of the “Kala” Taliban i.e the Taliban coming from Karachi, and southern and central Punjab. In my view therefore, it is not a question of whether Punjab will eventually fall to religious conglomerations [not necessarily Taliban], but the question is that of


d.Militancy is not the disease. It is the symptom of the disease, which is malignant governance. And of this the ugliest manifestation is corruption in high places. I thought I had already seen the worst face of corruption, till this government took power. They are so bad, I have not the words to do their knavery, justice. Quite literally, the NRO has legalised corruption. I have asked some journalists if they are mindful of how thoroughly corruption rules the roost, and if so, why are so quiet on the issue. In two cases the answer I received was absolutely chilling i.e ‘ in earlier goverments, exposure of corruption could lead to false cases, or roughing up by police goons in civies–but today we are being ruled by a gangsters, and our punishment will be assassination!!”

Unless we get good and dedicated governance in Pakistan, and get it soon, not all the drone attacks are going to save us.

Courtesy: – CRDP, Apr 28, 2009

Columnist’s opinion

By Selig S. Harrison
Courtesy: USATODAY
Unless the Obama administration can get Pakistan’s army to stop supporting the Taliban with weapons and logistical support, the insurgency will continue to threaten the U.S.-supported Kabul government – no matter how many more troops the U.S. sends to Afghanistan.

Continue reading Columnist’s opinion

The Proxy War


The writer can be reached at kmkolachi@yahoo.com

Khalistan was an issue a few years ago but it is not any more. When the lobbies behind it withdrew the support, it came to an end. Similarly MMA suddenly became a political force but in a few years, it also disappeared. Issues are created whenever needed and kept alive until required.
Talibization is also an issue created by powerful lobbies of establishment to gain control of Afghanistan after Soviet unions defeat. Now it is being used as resistance against American advancement and influence. It will remain active till it is required. Due to Talibization, U.S.A. is giving money to the establishment of this country.

Continue reading The Proxy War

The survey was a huge failure;

In Africa they didn’t know what ‘* food*’ meant,
India they didn’t know what ‘*honest*’ meant,
Europe they didn’t know what ‘* shortage*’ meant,
China they didn’t know what ‘*opinion*’ meant,
In the
Middle East they didn’t know what ‘*solution *’
South America they didn’t know what ‘*please*’
And in the
USA they didn’t know what ‘* the rest of the
*’ meant!

Time running out for stable Pakistan

– Ali Gharib and Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON (IPS/GIN) – The United States and its allies must act urgently to prevent Pakistan from descending into a spiral of economic, security, and political crises, according to a new report released here by an influential think tank.

The 27-page report, “Needed: A Comprehensive U.S. Policy Towards Pakistan,” called for at least $4 billion to $5 billion in new aid for Islamabad of which $1 billion should be earmarked for the military and the police, to help ward off the growing threat posed to the central government by Islamic militants based in the frontier regions with Afghanistan and linked to Al-Qaeda.

“Simply put, time is running out for stabilizing Pakistan’s economy and security,” the task force warned. “We cannot stress the magnitude of the dangerous enough nor the need for greater action now,” it stressed, adding that failure to provide needed assistance could well result in “state failure.”

Continue reading Time running out for stable Pakistan

Opinion- MQM: Perspective and Prospective

by: Jami Chandio

1.Executive summary:

There have been different and opposite points of view about the emergence and existence of MQM in political and intellectual circles. MQM has been calling itself the product of the tyranny of circumstances. And the blame for this was first leveled against Sindhis and now apparently the establishment is charged with it. A great bulk of the Urdu speaking intellectuals has been holding a similar point of view. Majority of the Punjabi intellectuals have suffered from a lack of clarity in this regard. And, except for a few of them, they have been keeping away from a categorical expression, in this regard due to political opportunism. Sindh, so far, has not produced political intellectuals with enough and incisive scientific understanding of the circumstances, whereas, some writers and political circles have been there with a stance in this context. I too have been tackling it for the last 18 years on occasions at policy level. In these contexts, I have never been pressurized by the idea as to what conflicts of understanding could germinate from this. I have always considered it my primary duty to write about the major and fundamental issues related to Sindh. And since MQM has also been an important issue concerning Sindh, it has been among my basic intellectual responsibilities to lay before the Sindhi public my readings on it.

Continue reading Opinion- MQM: Perspective and Prospective

Opinion- Chaos and Collapse

by Mumtaz Ali Bhutto
Mind boggling bungling, among other more heinous faults, has come to be the identifying characteristic of the Zardari government. From the inept way administrative matters are handled to the fact that Zardari can not open his mouth without something startling pouring out of it, one gets an overwhelming sense of incompetence all around.

Continue reading Opinion- Chaos and Collapse

Post Mumbai: Conclusions

Gen. Jahangir Karamat ex COAS
February 1st, 2009
By now so much has been said and written and has happened that there is a dire need to draw conclusions. Not just draw conclusions but to evaluate them, prioritize them and act on them.

The general consensus is that India and Pakistan need to talk. This is a decision that the political leadership on both sides needs to take. The how, when, where and what can be sorted out once this political decision has been made.

By now it is clear to all except the ostriches that Pakistan faces a serious internal crisis. This crisis is multifaceted and has many interconnected dimensions. It cannot be addressed unless there is an in-depth understanding of its reality. To do this it is necessary to develop a comprehensive picture of the scale and magnitude of the internal threat.

Recent writings, discussions and decisions have made it abundantly clear that Pakistan lacks a national intelligence coordination mechanism and a policy planning and decision making structure. This gap leads to reliance on intelligence agencies for not just intelligence but also the response options. This must change. Coordinated intelligence will produce the threat picture and the policy planning process will develop response options. From these options the decision maker will choose the course of action. This process will also respond to the criticism of intelligence agencies.

Political stability will be one facet of the response to the internal threat but the general conclusion being reached by most Pakistanis is that has to be the first step and it can be a comparatively easy step if personal ambitions and vendettas are shelved and simple decisions taken on restoring the parliamentary system, empowering the judiciary and election commission and removing controversial appointees.

There is a dawning realization that Pakistan should not seek an identity beyond our region in Arab lands. Our identity is in the greater South Asian sub-continent that includes Afghanistan. If we come to terms with this reality our bilateral relations with our neighbors will take on a whole new significance and urgency. For this a process of re-education has to start. Muslim countries and particularly Arab countries will remain our close allies and friends.

Finally it is clear that in a globalized world Pakistan’s foreign policy has to be on a global scale and Pakistan should never be seen as a threat to global peace. To climb out of the economic quagmire Pakistan has to forge relationships on the basis of trade, economic activity, technology transfers, investment, education, health care and support at the international level. This should help in prioritizing relationships and developing public opinion that supports foreign policy rather than opposing it. This is what will redefine and drive our relationship with the West.
Courtesy and Thanks: Wichaar.com


Moving beyond Mumbai

by Sherry Rehman, Islamabad

Like all episodes that trigger trans-national crises, the Mumbai attacks have seemingly altered our world. Not since the 2000-2001 military stand-off between India and Pakistan have relations between the two stood at such a low point as they do today.

We were not always like this, mired in a debilitating tableaux of the cold war. In 1988-89, in fact, on the sidelines of a SAARC conference in Islamabad, the groundwork for peace was laid, and years later, amidst cheering populations on both sides of their border, the two countries had embarked on a historic composite peace dialogue. It was a fragile sapling, but by 2004 the Pakistan-India peace process had begun to spread its roots, beginning what looked like the dismantling of a costly trust deficit.

After Mumbai, though, the vulnerability of the peace process, stood too quickly exposed. Of particular alarm was a recent statement by India’s minister for external affairs, Pranab Mukherjee, who said that the composite dialogue between the two countries was meaningless, and that Pakistan’s position had put a large question mark on the achievements and utility of the peace process. This ame on the heels of Pakistan setting up a tri-member committee to probe in 10 days the Mumbai evidence provided by India, followed by trials of any suspects inside Pakistan.

In fact, one can trace a curious pattern in Pakistan-India relations during the last two odd months. Pakistan’s consistent and steadfast offer to India for cooperation and joint investigations, coupled with appeals not to let Mumbai reverse the peace process have, by and large, been met with a baffling intransigence. The insistence on implicating the Pakistani state’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks is unhelpful, to say the least, and refutes Pakistan’s efforts as meaningless. In this context, India’s questioning of the efficacy of the composite dialogue only ratchets up a war of words that is unhelpful and dangerous.

The questions are not new – but they need to be revisited. Where will this war of words lead to? Does anyone profit from it in any sustainable sense? If not, does Pakistan have to carry the burden of this borderless scourge of terrorism alone?

For a start, Pakistan is now a different country than the one that was engaged in a proxy war in Afghanistan as part of a super power great game in the region. Today, non-state actors make its own citizens victims of a war with no name. There is now a democratic civilian government in place which is challenged by a global financial crisis as well as high food and oil prices at home. The struggle to create a national security consensus is long and hard, but it has found space in a plural arena where democracy co-exists with unprecedented security challenges.

Important shifts are taking place in the perception of Pakistan globally as well. The world does not think that Pakistan alone can fight one of the most critical battles that define the 21st century. While acknowledging its numerous sacrifices made in the fight against terrorism and its ongoing efforts to root out extremism from within its borders, the international community has said unequivocally that terrorism can only be eradicated from South Asia by a closely coordinated and collaborative effort of both Pakistan and India. This vision naturally includes Afghanistan as well.

This message was carried by several visiting dignitaries from the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, and also from Interpol on their recent visits to the region. The chief of Interpol in particular had said that “any country that has suffered as much at the hands of terrorists as Pakistan” was “in need of international support, not international condemnation”. He had further said that one primary lesson of Sept 11 was that the only way to fight terrorism effectively was by sharing information nationally and internationally and that in this regard India and Pakistan needed to cooperate.

Earlier this month, America’s ambassador to India, David C. Mulford, had said that the evidence given by India to Pakistan was credible but that India should give Pakistan time to act on it. More recently, British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband argued in an article published in The Guardian during the time he was visiting South Asia that the “best antidote to the terrorist threat in the long term” was cooperation.

The world is beginning to recognize that Pakistan is itself a primary victim and target of terror. No country has offered and, in turn, suffered more in the global fight against terrorism since 9/11 than Pakistan. In doing so, it has incurred tremendous loss of life and erosion of social peace, economic stability and political security.

There are no pre-packaged instant solutions, but the world now understands that only a democratic Pakistan can defeat extremism. More importantly, there is a new sense of urgency and local buy-in for policy responses at home. Pakistan’s fledgling democratic government has made a clear policy departure by owning, with the clear stamp of legitimacy, the fight against violent extremism as Pakistan’s own. Having lost its leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to a cowardly terrorist attack, the Pakistan People’s Party-led government is committed fully to the task of tackling this scourge.

There is no equivocation in Pakistan’s democratic government, for instance , that in the knowledge that extremism poses a clear and present existential danger to Pakistan’s own national security. The historic National Security Resolution unanimously passed by the parliament last October was a step in that direction. It was an endorsement of the government’s efforts to build a national political consensus and support for fighting violent extremism as a national battle.

The point here is simple: Pakistan does not need more external pressure for a fight that has stretched its resources and consumed in its fires its own iconic leader, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. Yet, our new democracy cannot fight this borderless enemy alone. We need the international community, particularly our neighbours, to understand and pursue our shared goals of countering extremism and terrorism. Clearly, these are global problems that require global solutions based on cooperation.

A recent RAND corporation report tells us that the Mumbai attacks indicate “an escalating terrorist campaign in South Asia and the rise of a strategic terrorist culture.” It goes on to say that the “focus on Pakistan should not obscure the fact that the terrorists likely had help from inside India” and that “local radicalization is a major goal of the terrorists, and will be a major political and social challenge for India”.

India’s prevarication, and often hostile stance, therefore, is not productive. To shoot down the importance of the peace process as an exercise in futility is a grave miscalculation, the repercussions of which would be disastrous if the composite dialogue is abandoned. For South Asia’s stability and security, there cannot be and must not be an alternative to peace. Not too far from our region, the ongoing developments in the Middle East hold important lessons for both India and Pakistan. Gaza teaches us that a military confrontation only takes human lives, brutalizes the region and earns international renunciation.

Both India and Pakistan need to understand and value this contemporary reality, and look for ways to provide their citizens with economic and human security, so that South Asia does not descend into a spiral of senseless violence sponsored this time by our two nuclear-armed states. India must understand that a military confrontation with Pakistan will only serve to make our populations more vulnerable than they already are. Ending the endangered peace process will only empower the non-state extremists who are challenging both our states.

Putting a premium on tactical military action at the sheer cost of human security is not an answer. This kind of solution flies in the face of the political traditions of any democracy, be it India or Pakistan. Terrorism cannot be eliminated from any region without letting the local democratic political order take ownership of this battle in cooperation with neighbours and international community alike.

In peace, as a general rule, democracies are safer. They thrive more. The democracy-loving people of India and Pakistan have worked too long and too hard to build a strong constituency of peace, which gave birth to the composite dialogue between the two governments. Let not an impulse for muscle-flexing spin events out of control, when one state is compelled to use force against the other out of the sheer cold-war imperative to equate posturing with maturity. No nation-state will leave its borders and its citizens undefended. So let us not throw democratic India and Pakistan into a vortex of claim and counter-claim, action and matching response so that our far larger strategic goal of sustainable peace is jettisoned along the way. The region needs bridges, not more bombs.

January 25th, 2009

Courtesy: The News

Our Source – http://www.wichaar.com/news/294/ARTICLE/11701/2009-01-25.html