See more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/5-quotes-from-Sushma-Swarajs-UNGA-speech/listshow/49188634.cms
See more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/5-quotes-from-Sushma-Swarajs-UNGA-speech/listshow/49188634.cms
by Tyler Durden
Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin’s speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn’t get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion)this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.
In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.
To sum it all up: play-time is over. Children, put away your toys. Now is the time for the adults to make decisions. Russia is ready for this; is the world?
The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows:
Read more » Zerohedge.com
See more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-30/putin-western-elites-play-time-over
In a powerful speech, Chomsky lays out how the majority of US policies are practically opposite of what wide swathes of the public wants.
By Noam Chomsky
I’d like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not – and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they’re framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.
In these comments I’ll focus primarily on the United States for several reasons: One, it’s the most important country in terms of its power and influence. Second, it’s the most advanced – not in its inherent character, but in the sense that because of its power, other societies tend to move in that direction. The third reason is just that I know it better. But I think what I say generalizes much more widely – at least to my knowledge, obviously there are some variations. So I’ll be concerned then with tendencies in American society and what they portend for the world, given American power.
American power is diminishing, as it has been in fact since its peak in 1945, but it’s still incomparable. And it’s dangerous. Obama’s remarkable global terror campaign and the limited, pathetic reaction to it in the West is one shocking example. And it is a campaign of international terrorism – by far the most extreme in the world. Those who harbor any doubts on that should read the report issued by Stanford University and New York University, and actually I’ll return to even more serious examples than international terrorism.
NEW YORK CITY: Pakistan teenager Malala Yousafzai told the United Nations on Friday that she would not be silenced by terrorist threats, in her first public speech since being shot by the Taliban.
“They thought that the bullet would silence us, but they failed,” Malala said on her 16th birthday, which she spent making calls for greater global efforts to get children into schools.
“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervour was born,” she said in a speech given several standing ovations.
The passionate advocate for girls education was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she road on a school bus near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley on October 12 last year.
She was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives, but the attack has given new life to her campaign for greater educational opportunities for girls.
Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as “the bravest girl in the world” as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly.
We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” – President Obama 2013
Hello, I’m Brad Sherman from California’s best named city, Sherman Oaks. It’s a pleasure to be with you. In 1951, my grandfather worked for the United Nations International Labor Commission. He was a specialist in technical education and he arrived in Sindh. And he said the same words I’m going to say to you here tonight, Sindhee Marhun Khay Salahm Ayn Bhaleekahr. I want to thank my friend Sufi Munawar for inviting me here, but also for doing so much in such a short time to bring the issues of Sindh and the Sindhi people to the attention of the United States Congress. These are issues that some of you have followed for decades, but didn’t have traction in Congress. Sufi came, we now have a Sindhi Caucus. We now have a Congresswoman in the Sindhi Caucus. And you will see Congress focusing on these issues. With me here is my foreign policy advisor and chief of staff, Don McDonald. My California chief of staff, Matt Debaumay. And my expert on the Middle East, Siamak Kordestani.
27-Year Old In Greece Arrested For Blaspheming A Monk On Facebook
By: Joe Weisenthal
Evidently in Greece, blaspheming a monk on Facebook is an arrestable offense.
Via @lolgreece and Peter Dimitrakos, here’s the Google Translated version of the arrest announcement for a 27-year old who blasphemed a famous Greek monk (Elder Paisios) using the mocking name Geron Pastitsios.
Pastitsios is a Greek pasta dish (hence the picture from the Facebook page showing the monk with a big plate of pasta)
Unconfirmed, but according to twittererers, his arrest was agitated by Golden Dawn nationalist types, and the government apparently complied.
Minorities under attack: Altaf lines up police, agencies, clerics, judges, army and… fires
By Saba Imtiaz
Karachi: In an impassioned speech that included critiques of clerics and the judiciary, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain asked the Pakistan Army, Inter-Services Intelligence and other agencies to shut up shop if they could not “protect people”.
“Leave them,” Hussain said before turning to his audience, “You have a right to defend yourself by any means.”
Altaf’s speech at an interfaith conference organised by his party in Karachi came after a series of statements by him and other party leaders on the increase in the number of attacks on Shias throughout Pakistan. Several clerics from Karachi as well as other cities of Pakistan such as Quetta, Lahore and Chakwal, were in attendance.
Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that he could only be removed by the Parliament and would accept the decision of the house.
Mr Gilani seemed confident during his speech in the National Assembly on Friday in the absence of Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who on Saturday announced that he would not let the prime minister to enter the house.
Gilani criticized Nawaz-League leadership for what he said their ego and said that Nawaz Sharif could not run the parliament as it was not an easy job.
“I challenge you to bring vote of no confidence against me if you have the courage,” Gilani said.
He said that he was punished for protecting the Constitution of Pakistan. He said that nobody other than National Assembly speaker could de-notify him.
The prime minister said that he would honour the decision of the house but would not accept conspiracies and would not let anyone to derail democracy in the country.
Gilanis said that the PML-N should look into results of Multan by-election in which the PPP won.
More details » BBC urdu
By ERIC PFANNER
PARIS — Many countries censor the Internet, but few spell out their intentions as explicitly as Pakistan.
In an effort to tighten its control over the Internet, the government recently published a public tender for the “development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system.”
Technology companies, academic institutions and other interested parties have until March 16 to submit proposals for the $10 million project, but anger about it has been growing both inside and outside Pakistan.
Censorship of the Web is nothing new in Pakistan, which, like other countries in the region, says it wants to uphold public morality, protect national security or prevent blasphemy. The government has blocked access to pornographic sites, as well as, from time to time, mainstream services like Facebook and YouTube.
Until now, however, Pakistan has done so in a makeshift way, demanding that Internet service providers cut off access to specific sites upon request. With Internet use growing rapidly, the censors are struggling to keep up, so the government wants to build an automatic blocking and filtering system, like the so-called Great Firewall of China.
While China and other governments that sanitize the Internet generally do so with little public disclosure, Pakistan is being surprisingly forthcoming about its censorship needs. It published its request for proposals on the Web site of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry’s Research and Development Fund and even took out newspaper advertisements to publicize the project.
“The system would have a central database of undesirable URL’s that would be loaded on the distributed hardware boxes at each POP and updated on daily basis,” the request for proposals says, referring to uniform resource locators, the unique addresses for specific Web pages, and points of presence, or access points.
“The database would be regularly updated through subscription to an international reputed company maintaining and updating such databases,” according to the request, which was published last month.
The tender details a number of technical specifications, including the fact that the technology “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URL’s (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds.”
Following the Arab Spring, which demonstrated the power of the Internet to help spread political and social change, Pakistan’s move to clamp down has set off a storm of protest among free-speech groups in the country and beyond.
Opponents of censorship say they are doubly appalled because they associated this kind of heavy-handed approach more with the previous regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf than with the current government of President Asif Ali Zardari.
“The authorities here are big fans of China and how it filters the Internet,” said Sana Saleem, chief executive of Bolo Bhi, a group that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet. “They overlook the fact that China is an autocratic regime and we are a democracy.”
I gave a talk called ‘Beyond the sacred’, on the changing character of ideas of the sacred and of blasphemy, at a conference on blasphemy organised this weekend by the Centre for Inquiry at London’s Conway Hall on Saturday. Here is a transcript. To talk about blasphemy is also to talk about the idea of the sacred. To see something as blasphemous is to see it in some way as violating a sacred space. In recent years, both the notion of blasphemy and that of the sacred have transformed. What I want to explore here is the nature of that transformation, and what it means for free speech.
For believers, the idea of the sacred is key to moral life. ….
Read more » Kenan Malik
By Abdul Manan
LAHORE: The Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, on Saturday was prepared to refute allegations that the incumbent Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led coalition government did not respect all institutions. What he did not expect was that his stage, the annual dinner of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA), would be usurped by anti-government slogans from a charged lawyers community. …
…. Shortly after the announcement, Gilani vacated the podium and proceeded to exit the building. When Governor Khosa took the rostrum, the lawyers intensified their chants against him. Khosa tried his level best to deliver his speech despite the ruckus, but slogans of “Chief Tere Jaan Nisar Beshumar, Beshumar” (Chief Justice you have innumerable loyalists) forced him to cut short his speech.
The Lahore Bar Association, LBA President Shehzad Hassan Sheikh and Peoples Lawyers Forum Punjab President, Khurram Latif Khan Khosa were also present at the event.
At the end lawyers danced along with a hired dancer to melodies of Sheela Ke Jawani.
Read more » The Express Tribune
via » Facebook
By Javed Ahmed Qazi
The other day I heard Chief Justice of Pakistan, saying in his speech to the Bar in Rawalpindi, that Article 6 of the 1973 Constitution is very clear and it is for military coup which is treason against the state and for doer of such act, death sentence is an award of punishment. Eighteenth Amendment brings even more to it: No Court can validate it. …
Read more » Javed Qazi
By CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
(CNN) — The United States must position itself to lead in a world “where security is shaped in boardrooms and on trading floors — as well as on battlefields,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will say Friday in a major economics and foreign policy speech in New York.
Economic forces, Clinton will say, are transforming foreign policy realities around the globe.
“We have seen governments toppled by economic crisis,” a text of the Secretary’s remarks released by the State Department on the eve of the speech reads. “Revolutions born in a Tunisian marketplace have swept across an entire region. Europe faces its strongest test in a generation, thanks to recession and debt. And everywhere I travel, I see countries gaining influence not because of the size of their armies, but because of the growth of their economies.”
Clinton will say she is updating U.S. foreign policy priorities to include economics “every step of the way,” suggesting the United States should take a cue from the leaders of emerging powers like India and Brazil who put economics at the center of their foreign policies.
“When their leaders approach a foreign policy challenge — just as when they approach a domestic challenge — one of the first questions they ask is, ‘how will this affect our economic growth?'” the text of the speech says. “We need to be asking the same question — not because the answer will dictate our foreign policy choices, but because it must be a significant part of the equation.”
In the address before the Economic Club of New York, the fourth in a series of speeches Secretary Clinton is giving on economics and foreign policy, she will say the world’s “strategic and economic center of gravity is shifting east” and the United States is focusing more on the Asia-Pacific region.
“One of America’s great successes of the past century was to build a strong network of relationships and institutions across the Atlantic,” she says. “One of our great projects in this century will be to do the same across the Pacific.”
The United States should help other countries find economic solutions to strategic challenges, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, she says. “We need a sophisticated effort to integrate the region’s economies, promote investment and assist in economic modernization. The Arab political Awakening must also be an economic awakening.”
Clinton takes aim at Americans who would turn inward, arguing “you can’t call ‘time out’ in the global economy. Our competitors aren’t taking a time out, and neither can we.”
Increasingly, the United States is focusing on “tracking and thwarting” the financiers of terrorism, using sanctions and other economic tools to cut repressive regimes off from insurance, banking and shipping, Clinton says.
Finally, Clinton says, the United States is “modernizing (its) agenda on trade, investment and commercial diplomacy to deliver jobs and growth for the American people.”
But the United States cannot compete, she says, if it is frozen in domestic political fights.
“Washington has to end the culture of political brinksmanship — which, I can tell you, is raising questions around the world about our leadership.”
The language of the speech is Sindhi.
The language of the is Sindhi.
– According to reports, speaking the other day at a SAFMA function, in Lahore, Mian Nawaz Sharif made an important speech. Basically, he said three things, not exactly in these words but to this effect:
1. The Two-Nation theory is irrelevant now. It was needed as a tool to create a separate country, Pakistan, but we don’t need to perpetuate it to remain in a state of war.
2. We need to be friends with India, live as good neighbors, increase mutual trade, give up the arms race while trying to solve our mutual problems peacefully.
3. Culturally, Pakistan has more in common with India and than with any other country, including the use of the word Rab, the Lord.
4. Our Rab (Lord) is Rabbul Alameen (the Lord of the world), not Rabbul Muslimeen (the Lord of Muslims alone).
5. He also added, in a lighter vein, that he never ate “siree-paaye” as is commonly attributed to him. His favorite dish, he said, was “Aloo-gosht”.
All in all, it was a good speech, and Mawaz Sharif sounded more like a statesman and a visionary than a reactionary or a closet-mullah he is generally painted as.
Courtesy: → Internet + Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 17, 2011.
I read the news while exploring the internet on my iPad, sitting at the airport on my way back home from our annual APPNA conference. The news said, “Shadab Qadri, the leader of Sunni Tehreek, said the politician’s daughter, Shehrbano Taseer, 21, must stop speaking out against blasphemy laws.” He said,
”We read the statement of the slain governor’s daughter in a newspaper. She should refrain from issuing such statements and must remember her father’s fate,”
I had just met Sherherbano Taseer a day before I read the news. She was invited to the APPNA conference to speak about the radicalization of Pakistani society. One thing I noticed about her was that she really does not say a word against blasphemy laws. All she keeps on saying is that these laws are being misused to settle personal scores against each other in Pakistan. Many intellectuals living in USA have seen and experienced the freedom of speech, and criticize the law itself. And of course, then we have our real religious scholars who tell you to not kill anyone using our Prophet (pbuh)’s name since it gives the Prophet pbuh a bad name.
One almost want to blame the religion for turning people in to crazy killers. This is what I did initially. But then the Sialkot incident happened in which the whole village got together and tortured two young boys to death. They were shown on TV. Over and over again. Villagers had iron rods. They pushed iron rods in to young boys’ eyes. They removed Mugheez’s pants to hit on his sensitive parts, so it would hurt more. They literally crushed those boys and they made their faces unrecognizable pieces of minced meat.
Then the incident happened in which almost six Pakistani rangers got together and shot a young unarmed boy, and then let him bleed to death. Ah, the site of fresh flowing blood! Nothing better and exciting! And then of course the incident in Multan happened, in which a group of students beat a journalist to death while “protesting” for their rights of some sort.
Religion really was not involved in all these incidents mentioned above. I know what has happened to Pakistan. You would know too if you watched a movie called “The Crazies”.
If you have not seen the movie, please rent it tonight and watch it. In the movie, a virus was dropped over a town as a biochemical weapon. Whoever got infected with that virus became a crazy killer for no reason. People started killing their own families after getting infected with that virus. They loved the sight of fresh flowing red blood. They enjoyed stabbing iron rods through the living humans, just like the village people did to Mugheez and Muneeb.
Seems to me that a virus has infected people of Pakistan too in to being “The Crazies”.
And government and judiciary is incompetent. It’s the lack of rule of law. There is absolute anarchy in Pakistan and no one gets punished for their crimes. Law is unable to punish the killers. Rulers are unable to punish the killers. Shazia Masih’s killer, who tortured her to death, was found “not guilty”.
Muslims who burnt the Christians alive in Gojra were released due to the lack of evidence and witnesses. So, really, there is no reason for people to stop their behavior. I am surprised that killings are limited to only a few a week and people are not looting and killing each other constantly like they did during partition. And like they showed in the movie “The Crazies”
Once Crazies get infected with a virus like that, there is no way to stop them. They have to kill and be killed. It has to happen. Roads have to be red with blood. I would advise my younger Pakistani sister Shehrbano to stay away from the crazies though. Once Taseers and Asias are not there, Qadris would go after each other, and there would be nothing left but fresh flowing blood and shattered pieces of fresh human meat.
Shazia Nawaz MBBS, MD. (Allama Iqbal medical college , Lahore, Session 1998). Practicing medicine in USA now. A blogger, a columnist, a You Tube talk show host. Wants justice and equality for all.
– Though there was nothing against him in the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, Mr Bhutto preferred to keep it firmly under lock and key. Reason: He did not want the report, a comprehensive and devastating indictment of the Pakistan’s armed forces, to come in the way of his grandiose plans to rehabilitate and revive on a grander scale the demoralised and defeated institution. But then, in a matter of five years, he was made to pay with his life for setting up the commission of enquiry.
Next, when Mohammad Khan Junejo set up a commission to enquire into the Ojhri camp scandal, it did not take long for General Ziaul Haq, the then army chief and country’s all-powerful president, to send him home most unceremoniously.
And when, after the Kargil debacle, the talk of subjecting General Musharraf to a court martial started making the rounds in the corridors of power, Musharraf hit back by ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a manner most unbecoming of a soldier.
So, perhaps the present coalition government has advisedly agreed to let the Army conduct its own investigation into the failure of the ISI to track down Osama bin Laden and the violation, for more than an hour, of our air space by US helicopters on May 1-2. One does not know if this seemingly astute approach of the elected government would in the final analysis save it from meeting the fate of its predecessors who acted otherwise. And what was Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani trying to achieve by going on a lecture tour of three garrisons on the same day the prime minister was making a supposed policy speech in the NA? Was he trying to upstage the PM? Was he trying to tell the nation that his institution is a separate entity from the govt? Why did he do it when the need of the hour is to speak with one voice? He should have been there in the parliament galleries listening to the PM’s speech (most probably the handiwork of an ISPR copy writer rather than that of a political speech writer) to convey the impression that everyone in the country is on the same page.
But then, strangely enough, while the chief seemingly tried to distance himself from the government, he sought the help of parliament – help to save the institution from the wrath of the people at large who, no matter what spin one gave to the May 1-2 incidents, have been persuaded by the media that Osama was living untraced right under the nose of our security agencies and that US helicopters violated our airspace undetected and unchallenged. …
Read more : Wichaar
by Murtaza Ali Shah
LONDON: The European Union (EU) accepted a Pakistani demand and cancelled the speech of an eminent Baloch leader to the EU Human Rights sub-committee, The News has learnt.
Mehran Baloch, son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri, a Balochistan representative at the United Nations, European Union and many other international forums, was invited to speak by the EU Sub-Committee on Human Rights to Members of European Parliament (MEPs) on April 13 but, to his shock, he was told by organisers a few minutes before he was scheduled to deliver the speech that Pakistan had demanded to cancel the Baloch’s speech through European External Action Service (EEAS). …
Read more : The News
After Paraguay model Larissa Riquelme, who promised to run naked through the streets if Paraguay won the football World Cup, an Indian model plans to do something alike if India beats Pakistan and goes on to win cricket’s showpiece event.
Cricket-crazy model Poonam Pandey says she will bare-all if the Indian team wins Wednesday’s semi-final against the neighbours at Mohali.
According to reports, the city-based model, has decided to go nude in front of the entire stadium if India ends up winning the World Cup.
Claiming she is just trying to motivate the Men in Blue, Pandey said she even won’t mind giving the team a private show in the dressing room if they win. …
Read more : Rediff.com
Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting. The theory of evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive”. Maybe so, maybe so. But the theory of competition says, “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked”. That’s right. See, what every long shot, come from behind, underdog will tell ya is this: the other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds may be stacked against you. Fair enough. But what the odds don’t know is, this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion, has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clocks start ticking just remember: out here the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off.
Don’t be surprised be if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “Uncle”. And then suddenly as the old saying goes, “WE’VE GOT OURSELVES A GAME”.
“Our (Jews) race is the Master Race. We (Jews) are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”
– Israeli prime Minister Menachem Begin in a speech to the Knesset
[Israeli Parliament] quoted by Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts,” New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
Courtesy: Begin Center Diary
– An excerpt from the Khomeini’s Speech that he delivered after an incident similar to the recent Raymond Davis event took place in Iran in 1964.
– Khomeini’s Speech Excerpts “The Granting of Capitaluatory Rights to the US” – 27 October, 1964
….I cannot express the sorrow I feel in may heart…Iran no longer has any festival to celebrate; they have turned our festival into mourning…They have sold us, they have sold our independence; but still they light up the city and dance…The dignity of the Iranian Army has been trampled underfoot! A law has been put before the Majlis according to which we are to accede to the Vienna Convention, and a provision has been added to it that all American military advisers, together with their families, technical, and administrative officials, and servants – in short, anyone in any way connected to them – are to enjoy legal immunity with respect to any crime they may commit in Iran. If some American’s servant, some American cook, assassinates your marja in the middle of the bazaar, or run over him, the Iranian police do not have the right to apprehend him! Iranian courts do not have the right to judge him! The dossier must be sent to America, so that our master there can decide what is to be done… They have reduced the Iranian people to a level lower than that of the American dog. If someone runs over a dog belonging to an American, he will be persecuted. But if an American cook runs over the Shah, the head of the state, no one will have the right to interfere with him. Why? Because they wanted a loan and American demanded this in return.
Source: Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini, p 181-188.
Ripe for revolution? – By Mahreen Khan
…. Despite a wave of public protests, Egypt is unlikely to emulate Tunisia, due to factors also present in Pakistan. Egypt has a sharp religious divide between Coptics and Muslims as well as numerous Islamic groups pitted against each other. Arab analysts cite low levels of literacy and a general feeling of apathy and defeatism in the population as further reasons that Egypt will continue to fester rather than revolt. Pakistan has these and additional factors which militate against a revolution: deep and multiple ethnic, linguistic, tribal and sectarian fault lines; a paucity of alternative intellectual narratives, radical leaders or strong unions; and an elected government and freedom of speech. Ironically, democratic elections and free speech help perpetuate the corrupt, unjust stranglehold of the feudal-industrial power elite. Revolutionary forces require a moral impetus that illegitimate dictatorship provides but elected government does not. Secondly, frustration needs to simmer under a repressive regime until it reaches the temperature for mass revolt. Pakistan’s free media allows an outlet for public dissatisfaction. The often harsh treatment of politicians and police officials at the hands of journalists and judges ameliorates public anger. Vocal opposition parties, unhindered street protests and strikes allow a regular release of fury, draining the momentum necessary for the emotional surge that revolutionary zeal requires. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
Jokes about Hosni Mubarak circulating on Facebook
A SPEECH WRITER OF PRESIDENT MUBARAK RUSHED INTO HIS OFFICE AND SAID “MR. PRESIDENT,THIS IS YOUR FAREWELL SPEECH TO THE NATION.”
PRESIDENT MUBARAK REMARKED, “WHY? ARE THE EGYPTIANS LEAVING THE COUNTRY?”
“They’re armed, we’re not. They’ve nothing to lose. They fight for their faith with bullets. We’re not ready to die.”Rehana Hakim, Editor, Newsline
“The liberal-minded people are thinking of leaving the country. The liberal space will shrink even further.”Ayesha Siddiqa
“Should I remain silent or stand up to be counted? I’m struggling to take a decision.”Moneeza Hashmi, Broadcaster
The Flickering Flame
. Pakistan’s liberals are fleeing the country in fear or being forced into silence.
– Mariana Baabar
When Omer announced he had completed his master’s degree from a university in London and wished to return home to Karachi, his father Rahim Khan, a senior government official, should have marvelled at his luck. After all, only a minuscule percentage of boys from the subcontinent ever return to their country from studies abroad. Contrary to expectations, Rahim was dismayed, promptly advising his only son to enrol for another course or grab a job, to do anything he could to extend his visa there. Rahim explained his decision to Outlook, “He will have no future in a city where you can’t be sure of returning home alive in the evening.”
It isn’t just those from the rich, western-educated class who have made it their habit to take a flight out of Pakistan, often for good. Months ago, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, a leading religious scholar, decided to make Dubai his home, so weary was he of the repeated threats from the obscurantists livid at his moderate interpretation of Islam. Marred by continuing ethnic strife, the once-liberal city of Karachi has also undergone rampant Talibanisation, goading the rich to make a beeline for safer climes abroad. This exodus prompted columnist Kamran Shafi to recently write about the “darkened homes in Karachi where the inmates have flown to alternative ‘nests’ in Canada, England and Malaysia”.
For long, Pakistan has seen its people migrate for reasons as varied as better economic prospects to hopes of escaping political discrimination and the state’s inability to provide protection from murderous gangs scouring the land with impunity. Whoever from the minority groups of Hindus and Christians can leave the country, does so at the first opportunity. Joining them in droves in recent times have been those from the Ahmedia sect, which is deemed non-Muslim under law. A significant percentage of the exodus comprises businessmen, often the target of kidnapping and extortion. Pakistanis have always asked themselves: should we leave the country or stay behind?
This question has again become a subject of fervent debate from the time Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down and the shocking feting of his assassin, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, who was outraged by his victim’s support for amending the blasphemy law. For someone to be killed for an opinion, an idea, has jolted Pakistanis into reflecting over their journey backward—from liberating progressivism to stifling conservatism. Recalls journalist Adnan Rehmat, “In the ’60s and ’70s, you could even eat at restaurants during Ramadan and see women in saris and bell-bottoms in the bazaars. Burqas and beards were a rare sight.” …
Read more : OUT LOOK
Unless the anti-mullah shahi forces become competitive, the tide of theocracy cannot be stopped. To be competitive, anti-mullah shahi forces have to capture the intellectual discourse in the country and even have the street power to stop the religious madness. If the liberal intelligentsia is hoping that the formal state will reform itself and come to their aid, they are delusionary. The state is nothing but a compromise of interest groups
I am not sure if the state’s official three-day mourning period was for late Governor Salmaan Taseer or for its own paralysis. As it has been reported, Taseer’s martyrdom — that is what it is — was pre-planned and well rehearsed before the day Qadri stole the innocent man’s life, yet no intelligence agency could detect it. If the security agencies are as pervasive and involved in the system as they purport, such a mission could not have gone undetected unless the security apparatus itself is infested with extremists. Either way, the security agencies have proven to be an extension of mullah shahi (rule of the mullahs) and, hence, a fundamentalist party themselves. Indeed, the martyrdom of Salmaan Taseer was foretold by the increasingly fundamentalist security body, which has imposed a toxic ideology amongst the unsuspecting people of Pakistan.
In a way it was a murder foretold, as Garcia Marquez would call it. As every colour and every shade of mullah shahi was issuing fatwas (edicts) against Taseer for supporting Aasia Bibi and branding the blasphemy law as a kala qanoon (black law) — which it is — the state agencies remained silent spectators. How can a private group issue a death sentence when Pakistan is ruled by the constitution and the courts are appointed to protect the people and persecute wrongdoers? And, if mullah shahi can issue death fatwas against citizens, then we should all wonder what the function of the state is. In order to bring Pakistan out of its current state of chaos, fatwa declarations should be banned like they were in Bangladesh and their writers should be put behind bars for sedition.
The anti-Tasser/Aasia Bibi campaign was not limited to fatwas; many mullahs and illiterate and rich politicians and businessmen were offering head money for the death of these two people. A mullah in a Peshawar mosque during a Friday gathering had offered a huge sum of money for Aasia Bibi’s head. Another petty politician in southern Punjab had offered Rs 2 crores for Taseer’s and Aasia’s heads. Were these not extreme cases of blatant hate speech? But the state agencies looked the other way. Even now, the state agencies have no will or intention to bring these criminals to book for their wrongdoings. For example, they arrested the above-mentioned petty politician and released him after his supporters blockaded the highway. So, it is clear that the state’s security agencies lack the will to enforce the law or they are too cowardly to do so. ….
Read more : Wichaar
The word victory has never featured in Mr Obama’s speeches in the Afghan context and is unlikely to pop up now. We will hear a lot from him about the build-hold-clear-stabilise-handover process and the long term US ‘commitment’, but there will be hardly any reference to nation-building or even sustained counterinsurgency
US president Barack Obama will announce his annual review of the Afghan war today (December 16, 2010). A successful legal challenge to Mr Obama’s healthcare plan and hectic congressional activity to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts had pushed this review off the US media radar, but the death of the Special Representative Richard Holbrooke has managed to put it back in the news-cycle, at least for the time being. What was expected to be a low key affair will still remain a whimper but more questions are being asked about the shape of the things to come as a larger-than-life member of Mr Obama’s Pak-Afghan team made his exit from the diplomatic and world stage.
The Washington Post has reported that Mr Holbrooke’s last words, spoken to his surgeon, were: “You have got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Incidentally, Mr Holbrooke’s surgeon happened to be a King Edward Medical College-educated Pakistani. Of course, neither the surgeon nor the common Pakistanis have much to do with the war in Afghanistan but given the Pakistani establishment’s massive involvement in favour of the Taliban, Mr Holbrooke’s last words seem almost surreal.
Mr Holbrooke, however, was not the only one calling for ending the war in Afghanistan. On the eve of the Afghan war review, a 25-member group of experts on Afghanistan, which includes respected names like Ahmed Rashid and Professor Antonio Giustozzi, has published an open letter to Mr Obama, calling on him to authorise a formal negotiation with the Afghan Taliban and seek a political settlement. However, buried in the text of the 1,030-word long plea to talk to the Taliban is the key sentence: “With Pakistan’s active support for the Taliban, it is not realistic to bet on a military solution.” …
Read more : Daily Times