Tag Archives: sphere

Myths Monsters and Jihad

Myths and monsters – by Nadeem F. Paracha

In spite of the gradual infiltration of ubiquitous religious symbolism and mentality in the social spheres of everyday life, Pakistan has managed to remain afloat as a pluralistic society comprising various ethnicities, religions and Muslim sects.

However, starting in the late 1970s, an anti-pluralistic process was initiated by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship that soon spiralled beyond mere posturing and sloganeering.

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies and parties like the Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly politicised version of Islam. This was done to radicalise large sections of Pakistani Muslims who had historically been part of a more apolitical and tolerant strains of the faith.

Most Pakistanis related to the shrine culture and the sufi traditions of the subcontinent, and thus, were least suitable to fight a ‘jihad’ that Zia was planning to peddle in Afghanistan at the behest of the CIA. Pakistanis’ beliefs were not compatible at all with this new strain of a political Islam. To compensate this ideological ‘deficiency’, the Zia regime (with American and Arab money) helped start indoctrination centres in the shape of thousands of jihadist madrassas.

Almost all of them were run by radical puritans. These were preachers and ‘scholars’ who had become critical of the strains of the faith that most Pakistanis adhered to. Accusing these strains of being ‘adulterated’, they advocated the more assertive charms of ‘political Islam’, of the likes recommended by Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and Khurram Murad. …

Read more : DAWN

Canada’s National Post columnist, Lawrence Solomon advocates the breakup of Pakistan

Lawrence Solomon: Pakistan would work better in pieces

by: Lawrence Solomon

Pakistan would be a more stable and peaceful place if its four component nations were unstitched from one another

Since Osama bin Laden was found living unmolested in a Pakistani military town, debate has raged over how to deal with this duplicitous, faction-ridden country. Should the United States and others in the West continue to provide Pakistan with billions in foreign aid, in the hopes of currying at least some influence among elements of the Pakistani leadership? Or should we get tough, and declare it to be the state sponsor of terrorism that it is, knowing this course of action could cripple our efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and drive Pakistan further into the Chinese sphere of influence?

Neither course would be satisfactory and neither should be adopted. Instead, the West should recognize that the muddle it faces stems from Pakistan’s internal contradictions. This is not one cohesive country but four entirely distinct nations, having little in common save their animosity toward one another, a predominantly Muslim faith and Britain’s decision to confine them within the same borders in partitioning the Indian subcontinent more than a half century ago. The West’s only sensible course of action today is to unstitch the British patchwork, let the major nations within Pakistan choose their future, and negotiate coherently with new national administrations that don’t have impossibly conflicted mandates.

Continue reading Canada’s National Post columnist, Lawrence Solomon advocates the breakup of Pakistan

When Gen. Zia imposed Arabic

by Dr. Masood Ashraf

The role of national languages in defining and articulating national identities is a hackneyed subject, but, somehow, the privileging of learning a sacred language has not been explored much in the debates on nationalism. In this brief article, I intend to draw attention to the rise of Arabic studies in Pakistan and its long-term consequences for the Pakistani public sphere.

In his 1983 book Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson provides three major causes for the waning of the pre-national empires and the rise of modern nation-states. One of the reasons, according to Anderson, was the rise of vernacular languages in place of what were considered the sacred languages, Latin and Arabic included. I have long maintained that Anderson misses the point as he only looks at the official use of these languages and not about the symbolic aspects of their power. In case of Arabic, for example, while it never was the official language of Muslim India, it still remains a language that wields immense symbolic power. …

Read more : ViewPoint

Guardian – US Has Taken Over Pakistan!

WikiLeaks shows America’s imperious attitude to Pakistan

The WikiLeaks US embassy cables reveal just how dangerously involved the Americans are in every aspect of Pakistan’s affairs

by Simon Tisdall

Pakistan was already under the American hammer before the WikiLeaks crisis blew. But leaked US diplomatic cables published by the Guardian show the extraordinary extent to which Pakistan is in danger of becoming a mere satrapy of imperial Washington.

The US assault on Pakistani sovereignty, which is how these developments are widely viewed in the country, is multipronged. At one end of the spectrum, in the sphere of “hard power”, US special forces are increasingly involved, in one way or another, in covert military operations inside Pakistan.

These troops are being used to help hunt down Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the tribal areas and co-ordinate drone attacks, as revealed by the Guardian’s Pakistan correspondent, Declan Walsh. Their activities come in addition to previous air and ground cross-border raids; and to the quasi-permanent basing of American technicians and other personnel at the Pakistani air force base from which drone attacks are launched.

The US hand can be seen at work in Pakistan’s complex politics, with the standing and competence of President Asif Ali Zardari seemingly constantly under harsh review. At one point, the military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, reportedly consults the US ambassador about the possibility of a coup, designed in part to stop the advance of the opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif. …

Read more : Guardian.uk.co

via Siasat

Afghanistan: NATO’s mission impossible – by Shiraz Paracha

…. But in 1991, all that ended abruptly with the smooth and peaceful split of the Soviet Union. The West painted the Soviet demise as its victory. But in fact, it was the biggest shock for the huge Western military and propaganda machine.

The Cold War mindset was not ready to accept the new change. The mysterious attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the subsequent ‘war on terror’ filled the enemy vacuum for the Cold War warriors, but it did not help an organization like NATO that was created on the concept of traditional warfare.

In the post-1945 era, despite their technological superiority and military and economic power, Western countries did not fight directly against powerful states. Proxy wars were the West’s preferred method throughout the Cold War period.

Nevertheless, in the 1990s, the West opted for military interventions and regime changes. Western countries acted as a pack of wolves and attacked small and weak states. The strategy provided an opportunity to lightweights such as Bush and Blair to imitate Churchill and Roosevelt and appear strong and victorious.

But the US defeat in Iraq and the NATO’s failed mission in Afghanistan have proven that military occupations and interventions are counterproductive and expose weaknesses of occupiers and aggressors.

Today, NATO is disillusioned and disoriented. It is demanding from its member states to allocate at least two percent of their GDPs to defense budgets. In a desperate effort to keep its large and bureaucratic structures and huge budget, NATO has been adding vague, unrealistic and ambiguous aims and objectives to its mission. It has committed blunders like Afghanistan but its commanders did not seem to have learned any lessons.

Regardless of the Lisbon rhetoric, not all NATO member states can afford ever increasing military budgets to counter open-ended threats and fight unspecified enemies. Weakening European economies need trade and investment rather than wars. They rely on energy but the energy sources are out of Europe. Skilled labor and markets are beyond the geographical sphere of the most NATO states. And most NATO countries certainly do not have the will and capacity for missions impossible, like the one in Afghanistan.

To read full article : Criticalppp