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The Future of Pakistan – By: Stephen P. Cohen

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

Irrespective of what Mr Cohen predicts, Pakistan needs help of its own intelligentsia in correcting the house… any catastrophe that may hit the country from the Afghanistan-like state collapse to the Bangladesh-like break up, the ultimate sufferers would be the people… there could be mass killings… there could be mass migrations… there could be hunger and diseases in the wake of increasing eating mouths and shrinking economy… it is obvious Pakistan has failed to achieve state cohesion… the degree of discontent is much higher… killings in the name of religion, sects, politics, ethnicity are on the rise… most of the population is ill-equipped for the modern world because of illiteracy… more killings are taking place in Pakistan’s urban centers than in tribal areas because of people living in cities have yet not developed urban and metropolitan culture… intolerance is at the highest peak… the writer blames Pakistan has proved itself an irresponsible state in the community of nations because it harbours militants who then create troubles for other countries… as a result, the country has earned more enemies than friends in the world… why Pakistan has reached this state of affairs…?.. the writer traces the set of symptoms to its birth from a non-Muslim country… since then it revolves its survival to a very narrow-minded ideology of getting national cohesion that one religion (Islam), one language (Urdu), one national identity (Pakistani) and one patriot army is the binding force… the state is not ready to move away from this unnatural oneness… while on the ground natural Pakistan is different… it is home to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Pakistan’s 93 per cent people does not speak Urdu, Sindhis have 10,000-years old national identity of being Sindhi… Pakistani identity is only 64-year old… Punjabi elite hugged this policy of cohesion to get maximum economic benefit… their chauvinistic approach considers others as unpatriotic…

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What American Think-Tank thinkers think about how Pakistan will evolve in future? Part -1

By Khalid Hashmani

As the bitterness continues to rise in the Pakistan-USA relationship so does the interest of American Think-Tankers in the future of Pakistan. Last Monday (December 5, 2011), the Brookings Institution launched a new book about Pakistan titled “The Future of Pakistan”. In this book, 17 experts from Pakistan, India, Europe, and the USA looked at the various scenarios in the context of how Pakistan is likely to evolve and develop in the near future. A well-known scholar and US Policy Advisor Stephen Cohen headed this project. The launch event consisted of two panels who discussed different aspects of the project and some of the conclusions.

Continue reading What American Think-Tank thinkers think about how Pakistan will evolve in future? Part -1

Karachi is the broken heart of Sindh!

By Khalid Hashmani

As relationship between Pakistan and the USA moves downwards, Washington DC is once again seeing a flurry of seminars, discussions and briefings organized by various Think-tank and academic institutions. One such event was focused on astonishing expansion of Karachi. The event was inspired by a recent book called “Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi” written by Steve Inskeep of NPR’s Morning Edition. Using this book as a backdrop, Global Economy and Development and Metropolitan Policy at Brookings Institution organized a discussion on November 29 with Steve Inskeep. Other panelists included Stephen Cohen, Alan Berube, and Shuja Nawaz. Johannes Linn moderated the discussion. One highlight of the discussion was a rebuttal by a Sindhi-American that “Karachi is the heart of Sindh and Sindhis will never allow separation of Karachi from Sindh” when panelist Shuja Nawaz stated that a proposal to make Karachi as a separate province along with creating other provinces. (Full audio and details at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/1129_instant_city.aspx).

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Karachi could lead growth of Pakistan

Steve Inskeep, a reporter for more than twenty years has been a frequent visitor to Karachi and other parts of South Asia. His interest in Karachi intensified after he attended the trial of killers of journalist Daniel Pearl in the city. In 1947, Karachi’s population was only 400,000 lived in Karachi; most of who proudly identified themselves as Sindhis. The UN population figures show Karachi’s population to be around 13.1 million. The population growth has been astonishingly high with migrants coming from other provinces and neighboring countries. Every imaginable problem of instant urbanization can be seen in Karachi. Steve gave an example of person who migrated from Swat some years ago. Originally, he came to Karachi for better education but ended up opening an import-export wholesale business. The rampant corruption touches every aspect of life. A place where already rich politicians, political parties, military and civilian officials, and gangsters become super rich by using their influence to take over large pieces of land including parks, schools, playgrounds, or any land or condemned building and then sell the land in small parcels at huge profits. A city that has become as ungovernable as the central government and sees constant interference from Pakistan’s military and other semi-organized groups. Unlike other mega cities in India like Mumbai where economic growth is impressive, Karachi remains stagnated under the weight of unhealthy competitive interests, ethnic rivalries, and religious differences. In concluding his presentation, Steve said if there is a way that Pakistan could get back to the path of economic growth, Karachi will lead the way that growth. In an answer to a question, Steve talked about Karachi could follow the footsteps of Hong Kong and become a big commercial center in South Asia if Pakistan gets its act together and manages its relationship with India more cooperatively.

In some ways Karachi-Sindh is like Los Angles and New York

Continue reading Karachi is the broken heart of Sindh!

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Altaf Hussain & MQM

Leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Altaf Hussain & MQM.

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Some interesting anecdotes from Mr. Suleyman Schwartz

From San Francisco to Sarajevo – by Michael J. Totten

Stephen Schwartz was raised a communist in the San Francisco Bay Area and once worked for the Cubans. Then he became a Republican and converted to Islam in the Balkans. When he’s not busy with his duties as the director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, he writes books and articles for magazines like The Weekly Standard.

His analysis of the Middle East and the Muslim world generally is more fresh and interesting than that of most. He is the first Westerner to use the word “Islamofascism” to describe the “use of the faith of Islam as a cover for totalitarian ideology,” and he did so not as an “Islamophobe” but as a Muslim believer. Those who yearn to hear from moderate Muslims, and those who have somehow convinced themselves that the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood are the moderates, really need to hear what he has to say.

MJT: So, what are your thoughts on Egypt?

Stephen Schwartz: Well, during the first two weeks most of the usual chatterers had no chattering to do. Everybody was stunned. Nobody had an answer. A lot of what should have been said was considered politically incorrect. Nobody for the first two weeks wanted to say there weren’t just two alternatives in Egypt, Mubarak or the Brotherhood. There were three alternatives—Mubarak, the Brotherhood, and the army which really rules Egypt.

Egypt has been controlled by the army since 1952. In certain kinds of countries the military takes over because it’s the only stable force. But in other countries the army is more ideological. Some of the armies in these latter countries develop a political ideology that I and a few other people have called the concept of the “army-party,” meaning the army acts as though it were a political party. It’s not simply a matter of a military dictatorship or a regime based on a militaristic or fascist party, and it’s not always necessarily an ideological phenomenon, but the army acts as a political party. It acts as a political force, and it acts as a political arbiter.

MJT: Like in Turkey, for instance.

Stephen Schwartz: Turkey is an example. There are lots of examples in Latin America. Argentina was an example. Algeria and Egypt are examples.

MJT: And Pakistan.

Stephen Schwartz: Yes, and Pakistan. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Egypt has an army-party.

MJT: It does.

Stephen Schwartz: So it’s not a question of Mubarak or the Brotherhood. The army will not, I think, permit the Brotherhood to take power, but the army will shuffle things in some ways. There may not be much of a change at all. When Mubarak said he wouldn’t run in the next election, well, the election is seven months away. How do we know there will be an election?

I’m for democracy throughout the world. I want bourgeois democracy everywhere. I’m an activist for it, but I’m also cautious about euphoria. I think a lot of people have been swept away by hope in the Egyptian case. They think this is the beginning of the great Arab transformation, but they don’t notice that there are few political alternatives in Egypt. There’s no labor-based party. There’s no bourgeois party. There are no parties representing particular social and economic interests.

The most important point, in my view, is that Iran and Saudi Arabia are two countries where democratization, or, at least, popular sovereignty, means leaving Islamist ideology behind. The problem with Egypt is that democratization, to a certain extent, represents a leap into the void. The Egyptians haven’t yet learned about Islamist ideology, through experience, what the Saudis and especially the Iranians have learned. We don’t want them to have to learn it.

MJT: But how are they going to learn it without learning it?

Stephen Schwartz: They can learn it by looking at the experiences of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan. They don’t have to suffer it in their flesh. People in the West rejected Communism without having to live under it, thank God.

The other problem is that the weight of corruption and despotism in Egypt is so heavy and has persisted for so long. I often compare Egypt with China in this sense.

Democracy in Iran could lead to social reform in Saudi Arabia and a stiffening of the resistance to radicalism in Pakistan. It could conceivably change the whole Muslim world.

MJT: The Arab world doesn’t look up to Iran or Pakistan.

Stephen Schwartz: No.

MJT: Arabs do look up to Egypt, though, and in different ways to Saudi Arabia.

Stephen Schwartz: If Iran becomes democratic, if the Iranians overthrow the clerical state as we should all hope and pray for every day, there will be a tremendous impact in Saudi Arabia.

MJT: You think?

Stephen Schwartz: Absolutely.

MJT: What kind of impact would you expect?

Stephen Schwartz: If Iranians overthrow the clerical state and put Islamist ideology behind them, they can move quickly along the path of democracy and stability. Iranians are very well educated, very sophisticated.

MJT: The Saudis don’t seem to be so educated and sophisticated about democracy. ….

Read more : http://pajamasmedia.com/michaeltotten/2011/02/14/from-san-francisco-to-sarajevo/

Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration?

Interviewee:
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Interviewer:
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

In the first few days of this year, Pakistan’s coalition government was thrust into crisis after losing a coalition partner, and then a top politician–Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–was assassinated. A leading expert on the country, Stephen P. Cohen, says these incidents are symptoms of the profound problems tugging the country apart. “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China. …
Read more : COUNCIL on FOREIGN RELATIONS

Canada speaks out against Quran burning

Harper condemns Qur’an burning plan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper added his voice to the global outcry against a U.S. church’s plan to burn 200 copies of the Qur’an on Saturday — the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I don’t speak very often about my own religion but let me be very clear: My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that’s what we want to see in this world,” he said.

“I unequivocally condemn it,” he said. “We all enjoy freedom of religion and that freedom of religion comes from a tolerant spirit.”

Read more >> CBCNews

God did not create the universe – Stephen Hawking

By Michael Holden

London : (Reuters) – God did not create the universe and the “Big Bang” was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book.

In “The Grand Design,” co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday.

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking writes.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

Hawking, 68, who won global recognition with his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time,” an account of the origins of the universe, is renowned for his work on black holes, cosmology and quantum gravity.

Since 1974, the scientist has worked on marrying the two cornerstones of modern physics — Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which concerns gravity and large-scale phenomena, and quantum theory, which covers subatomic particles.

Read more >> Reuters

Mankind must abandon earth or face extinction: Hawking

LONDON (AFP) – Mankind’s only chance of long-term survival lies in colonising space, as humans drain Earth of resources and face a terrifying array of new threats, warned British scientist Stephen Hawking on Monday.

“The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet,” the renowned astrophysicist told the website Big Think, a forum which airs ideas on many subjects from experts.

“Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space,” he added.

He warned that the human race was likely to face an increased number of events that threaten its very existence, as the Cuban missile crisis did in 1962.

The Cold War showdown saw the United States and Soviet Union in a confrontation over Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba, near US shores, and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

“We are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history,” said Hawking.

Read more >> YahooNews