By Haris Gazdar
Courtesy: dawn.com, Monday, 13 Apr, 2009
While much of Pakistan’s civil society celebrated a famous victory in the restoration of the judges it continued to display suicidal indifference to the existential threat to itself.
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
Courtesy: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
First, the bottom line: Pakistan will not break up; there will not be another military coup; the Taliban will not seize the presidency; Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will not go astray; and the Islamic sharia will not become the law of the land.
That’s the good news. It conflicts with opinions in the mainstream U.S. press, as well as with some in the Obama administration. For example, in March, David Kilcullen, a top adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, declared that state collapse could occur within six months. This is highly improbable.
Now, the bad news: The clouds hanging over the future of Pakistan’s state and society are getting darker. Collapse isn’t impending, but there is a slow-burning fuse. While timescales cannot be mathematically forecast, the speed of societal decline has surprised many who have long warned that religious extremism is devouring Pakistan.
The Women of Swat and ‘Mullah Radio’
By a group of NWFP women
“Islam started as soon as we fled from Malakand. People outside Swat think we had Islam and Shariat. There is no Islam in Swat. The Taliban have finished it.”
–woman from Mingawera, Swat, in a Sawabai camp
Where does one begin to tell you what they have been saying? It is difficult to explain because it is difficult for some of us to believe, to understand, and at times, even to empathise with. Between their rage and their tears, between giving each other solace and laughing at lighter moments, they opened up to talk to us. They shall not be named but they shall be heard by all of us today.
By Sahar Gul
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.
WASHINGTON DIARY: A united Pakistan
by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA
June 2nd, 2009
Dr. Manzur Ejaz’s note – This column has been written as a student of Political Economy and not from any patriotic inkling. So, please comment from that angle if you want to.
Sri Lanka took more than two decades to suppress Tamil separatists and prevailed. The Pakistani state, with its powerful institutions and military, can get the job done in the northwest in a much shorter period.
For some time now, several elements in the US intelligentsia, military strategists, Indian analysts and even some Pakistani intellectuals have been declaring Pakistan a failed state that will disintegrate in the near future.
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.
by Omar Ali, USA
.. The so-called secret agencies are the root of the problem. The Jihadis are just cannon fodder, used to get even more money from America, threaten India, dominate Afghanistan and (most important) maintain the army’s monopoly of power .. (because in the presence of these “militants”, no one else can possibly govern unless the army stands with them). The average jihadi foot soldier probably thinks he is fighting for Allah, having no idea that he is fighting for GHQ and will be killed when he is worth more dead than alive..
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Why ‘Pakistan’ Doesn’t Exist – And Why Meddling May Not Help
The Obama Administration, by all accounts, is scrambling to fix the crisis in Pakistan.
The United States and Japan have each pledged billions to shore up the country’s doddering economy. Special envoy Richard Holbrooke is busy drumming up international support for what is being described as a “global concern.” Drones continue to pound militant hideouts in the lawless tribal region. And everywhere there’s talk about the impending disaster set to unfold along the badlands bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says
By THOM SHANKER and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: May 17, 2009
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.
WASHINGTON DIARY: Two weeks notice
by Dr Manzur Ejaz, USA
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy- Wichaar.com, May 5th, 2009
The US is clear on the point that the Pakistan Army, and not the civilian government, is the one to decide about the war against the Taliban. If the army can manifest its sincerity, the US will support Pakistan’s security, integrity and viability as a country.
WASHINGTON : Stepping up pressure on Pakistan to take concrete action against the Taliban, the US has given Islamabad two weeks time to eliminate the insurgents from its soil before Washington determines what it will do next.
General David Petraeus, who heads the US Central Command, has told US officials that the coming two weeks would be “critical to determining whether the Pakistani government will survive”, Fox News reported.
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
Taliban in Pak’s Swat arranging ‘love marriages’
Press Trust Of India – Islamabad, April 19, 2009 -Taliban militants in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat valley have set up a special bureau for arranging “love marriages” for couples barred by their families from tying the knot with partners of their choice.
The bureau named ‘Shuba-e-Aroosat´, which is headed by Taliban commander Abu Ammad, has arranged 11 “love marriages” in the past nine days, militant spokesman Muslim Khan was quoted as saying by BBC Urdu service.
Another 300 men and women are waiting for their turn to marry. “The love marriage aspirants contact the bureau on a fixed telephone number. The Taliban collect their particulars and then contact their families to arrange these marriages,” Khan said.
Islam allows every adult to marry according to his own choice, he said. “Most of the girls or their families who contacted us wished to marry militant Taliban,” Khan claimed.
Some analysts said the Taliban were paving the way for militants to marry women of their choice. Some people have also questioned how the militants could allow the flogging of men and women for being seen together in public while at the same time facilitating the youth to marry according to their own choice.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times
Source- Link –
By: Omar Ali
I recently went on a road trip across the North-Eastern United States and at every stop, the Pakistanis I met were talking about the situation in Pakistan. As is usually the case, everyone seemed to have their own pet theory, but for a change ALL theories shared at least two characteristics: they were all pessimistic in the short term and none of them believed the “official version” of events. Since there seems to be no consensus about the matter, a friend suggested that I should summarize the main theories I heard and circulate that document, asking for comments.. So here, in no particular order, are the different theories.
by ARYN BAKER
April 23rd, 2009
The move by Taliban-backed militants into the Buner district of northwestern Pakistan, closer than ever to Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad, have prompted concerns both within the country and abroad that the nuclear-armed nation of 165 million is on the verge of inexorable collapse.
By Selig S. Harrison
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.
BY K.M.KOLACHI, TORONTO, CANADA
The writer can be reached at email@example.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.
by Mansoor Hallaj
“The leader of Pakistan’s main Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, played down the incident [of the Taliban in Swat flogging a young girl].
‘It’s a small thing. We should talk about drone attacks, not minor things,’ said Munawar Hassan, referring to attacks on suspected militants by pilotless US aircraft that have angered many Pakistanis.”
Where was Jamat-e-Islami, Munawar Hasan, Professor Ghafoor, Mian Tufail and Qazi Hussain Ahmed when under their very nose this ‘SAD INCIDENT’ took place during the so-called Islamic General Ziaul Haq??? When Naked Procession of Women was forcibly taken out just for the sake of revenge.
by Aziz Narejo, TX, USA
Sherry Rehman heeds to her conscious, resigns, keeps her word unlike the accidental leader of her party. It was reported a few days back that federal information minister Sherry Rehman had vowed to resign if any action was taken to curb the freedom of media. That was a principled stand by someone who had been associated with journalism in the past. It is reported in a section of the press that she kept her word today unlike the accidental boss of her party and tendered her resignation when government shut down GEO TV in the country.
One must appreciate the decision of Ms Sherry Rehman. It is an honorable and a principled decision. One hopes each major political party in the country has leaders like Sherry Rehman and Raza Rabbani who have the courage to differ with their leadership and could stand for what they think is right.
Continue reading Opinion- Sherry, heeds to her conscious, resigns, keeps her word unlike her party chief
By Prof. Gul Agha, USA
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
So her conscience had no problem providing speaking twaddle and giving absurd excuses while hundreds of thousands of Swatis, including women who bear the brunt of Taliban atrocities, were abandoned by the govt., but is now pricked because her friends in the media are being prevented from fanning the flames of destabilization?
Pakistan is a scorpion’s den. The Sharif’s are masters at the game. The only purpose of their current involvement is to destabilize and displace the Sindhi led govt. This is a power game that has nothing to do with any principal. They know they cannot get a vote of confidence even in the Punjab Assembly so they are taking to the streets, as the anti-Thaksin forces did in Thailand.
Only a fool cannot see through their game. The Sharifs have never been friends of Sindhis, they even campaigned on Punjabi chauvanism. Last time around, they voted to bring Shariah law and even today are catering to the reactionary recidivists. They didn’t speak out for justice when the Swatis are abandoned by Pakistan. Nor did the lawyer’s movement care for the most basic human rights of the Baloch or the Swatis.
Sindhis have to make clear they will not tolerate this kind of blackmail by the minority party in Punjab to destabilize the govt., destroy law and order, and divide the coalition of Sindhis, Pushtuns and Baloch which are trying to establish a small foothold. Recently, the Sindh govt. demanded the rural Sindhi quota in federal jobs. The Sindh Assembly noted the on-going conspiracy against Sindhi Hindus. This is the sort of stuff they fear.
Of course, in the big picture, it won’t matter. Pakistan will still be run by the military. And if they succeed in destabilizing the current govt., they will simply show they cannot tolerate a Sindhi as President with any semblance of a little power, or a Sindh Assembly which is trying to do the right thing on many counts.
by Prof. Gul Agha
It is clear that the real goal of PML-N is to topple the PPP govt., as they did last time they controlled Punjab. PML- N who attacked the Supreme Court have never apologized or even acknowledged their sins. They do not respect this one either and would not respect any other. The only reason they are interested in restoring the most recent past Chief Justice, CJ is to get President Zardari out-of-the-way. After all, they are not demanding restoring Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah…..
March 13, 2009
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups.
By Zar Ali Khan Musazai
The writer can be reached at email@example.com
Some times back J1 Ameer Qazi Hussian Ahmad staged a protest demonstration in Khyber Bazar Peshawar and demanded of the government to halt supply to NATO in Afghanistan. His party men and other activists proudly and foolishly proclaimed that they had started a campaign which would create hindrances for the forces stationed in Afghanistan which have perched there under the resolution of UN. One wonders as to why Jumat-i-Islami got impetus these days to stop supply line though they were the masters of gold and silver only a year time ago in this province of Pashtun but they kept mum by the time and the supply was smoothly going on and there was neither religion involved nor any other harm but now they realized it to be against the religion which they exploit and mislead the innocent souls on the name of religion. There are reports that US military sends 75% of supplies to Afghanistan through, Khyber Pass, includes 40% of the fuel for its troops. NATO and Russia signed a land transit agreement in April last year allowing alliance to use Russian land to deliver non-lethal supplies to troops; in Afghanistan.
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.