Tag Archives: Strong

Why Pakistan is not a failed state – By Michael Kugelman

It’s been about a week since the Connecticut school massacre, and Americans are still grieving.

Yet we’re comforted by the thought that, with time, the bereaved community of Newtown will bounce back. Students will return to school, and victims’ families will somehow get on with their lives. This is because America, as politicians and the US media have intoned repeatedly in recent days, is a strong and resilient society.

For me, such words bring to mind another strong and resilient society — one that endures constant afflictions, tragedies, and privation. I can think of few nations that suffer more misery than Pakistan.

Continue reading Why Pakistan is not a failed state – By Michael Kugelman

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Through the freedom March on 23 March 2012 in Sindh’s capital, Karachi, Sindhis conveyed a strong message to the security establishment of Pakistan/Punjab that even fighting for democratic rights as per the 1940 resolution is now meaningless for Sindhis.

By: M. Memon

We had a discussion session on 1940 resolution on 31 march and consensus was that it is no more, morel or legal binding on Sindhi’s to abide by our decision to join Pakistan in the past. Reviewing the Sindhi Media and listening to people (specially after freedom March on 23 in Sindh’s capital Karachi) conveys strong message that Sindhi people at large are getting convinced that even fighting for democratic rights as per 1940 resolution is meaningless now. Here is the link to one of the video of session in Calgary. please follow the links to watch all the sections of speeches(unfortunately it is in parts on You tube).

Courtesy: SANAList e-group, April 15, 2012.

I.A. Rehman on forced conversions – THE Hindu community, particularly in Sindh, has been in the grip of strong feelings of grief, anger and insecurity Unless its grievances are speedily addressed Pakistan stands to suffer incalculable harm in both material and moral terms

Unwelcome conversions

By I.A Rehman

THE Hindu community, particularly in Sindh, has been in the grip of strong feelings of grief, anger and insecurity for several weeks. Unless its grievances are speedily addressed Pakistan stands to suffer incalculable harm in both material and moral terms.

The issue of Hindu girls’ conversion to Islam and marriage to Muslim men, both transitions alleged to be forced and often after abduction, is not new. Indeed, it has always been high on the Hindu citizens’ list of complaints. What is new is the scale and intensity of their reaction and the large number of their appeals for justice. It seems three recent cases involving Rinkal Kumari, Lata Kumari and Aasha Kumari have unleashed the Hindu community’s long-brewing fears of loss of its religious and cultural identities.

The three cases are not identical in detail. Dr Murli Lal Karira, who belonged to Jacobabad and practised medicine at Suhbatpur, in Jafarabad district, was reported to have been abducted while travelling homeward. Some days later, his niece, Aasha Kumari Karira, who was taking lessons at a Jacobabad beauty parlour, did not return home after her work hours, and was believed to have been abducted. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Dr Lata Kumari, the 29-year old daughter of a medical practitioner from Jacobabad and employed at one of Karachi’s premier medical institutions, was reported to have married a young Muslim man after converting to Islam. Her father alleged that her conversion and marriage took place under coercion after abduction and he moved the high court for redress. The lady denies these allegations. She came to the court when her husband applied for bail before arrest.

The brother of Rinkal Kumari (18) says she was abducted by unknown persons, allegedly backed by an influential MNA. Her family had difficulty in filing an FIR. The next day she and the young man she was said to have married after conversion to Islam were presented in a court at Mirpur Mathelo, while her family had been told to go to a court in Ghotki. The family was not allowed to see her. It is said that she told the magistrate she wanted to go with her family but the latter reportedly expressed his inability to allow a Muslim girl to go to a non-Muslim house and sent her to a Darul Aman. Subsequently she is said to have modified her statement.

One suspects that these cases have provoked an unusual wave of protest because unlike the poor and voiceless victims in earlier cases of forced conversion-marriage affairs, the women now involved come of socially noteworthy families who have some access to electronic means of communication.

Several non-Muslim citizens have argued that these women have been, or are being, forced to accept conversion and marriage under threats of dire consequences to their families if they refuse to surrender.

The state of the common Hindu citizens’ mind is reflected in the e-mail Rinkal Kumari’s brother addressed to the chief justice of Pakistan (copied to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan). He says that Rinkal’s abductors have told her that “if she wants to save her parents’ life she should choose to convert [change] her religion and marry [an] unknown guy…. And yesterday [the] judge ordered that [the] girl wants to change her religion and want[s] to marry …Naveed…. [The] judge even didn’t allow [the] girl to meet … her parents or anybody from her family. There were 500-700 people in [the] courtroom all with guns and there was nobody from [the] girl’s family…. Now hundred[s] of people will take advantage of [the] 18-year-old girl and after that they will sell her to somebody”. Nobody with a reasonably sound heart will fail to be moved by the feelings of anguish and despair oozing from these words.

These cases raise several questions of a fundamental nature.

Continue reading I.A. Rehman on forced conversions – THE Hindu community, particularly in Sindh, has been in the grip of strong feelings of grief, anger and insecurity Unless its grievances are speedily addressed Pakistan stands to suffer incalculable harm in both material and moral terms

Pakistani politicians start shivering at what ASMA JAHANGIR, the Iron Lady, can say about sacred cows

Beyond the mandate

ASMA Jahangir, legal counsel of Husain Haqqani in the memo hearings in the Supreme Court, may have had in mind a robust defence of her client while making strong statements about the political role of the ISI but her remarks in Courtroom No 1 on Tuesday are worth reflecting on in a wider context. Also, while ‘memogate’ may have pitched the elected government against the powerful army, the hearings in the Supreme Court could become a way of addressing hitherto taboo subjects, such as the responsibilities of the ISI, official and otherwise. The rub of the present matter is that the ISI appears to have ‘investigated’ its own political leadership and determined that the political leadership has grave charges to answer. In fact, from the statements of ISI chief Lt Gen Pasha filed in the Supreme Court, it would appear that the army prima facie believes the allegations of Mansoor Ijaz regarding the role of Husain Haqqani, and someone more senior to him on the civilian side, in the drafting of the now-infamous memo.

Did the ISI itself transgress official boundaries in the present instance? Also, what is the ISI’s legal mandate: is it a counter-intelligence and external-oriented organisation or does it have a more expansive domestic role? Part of the problem is historical. While there is some irony that the PPP’s founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is believed to have given the ISI a larger role and ingress into domestic politics, the real boost for the organisation proved to be the Afghan war in the 1980s. Organising and equipping the Afghan jihadis while serving the domestic needs of dictator Ziaul Haq, the ISI was an infinitely more fearsome institution at the end of the ’80s than it was at the start. By the time the so-called decade of democracy rolled around, the ISI was confident and capable enough to aggressively intervene in the democratic process. As the self-appointed custodians of the national interest, the army and the ISI established their own rules that only as a matter of convenience appeared to fit into the scheme of a constitutional democracy. For the civilians to assert their control over the country’s armed forces and its intelligence apparatus, many years, much sophistication in approach and honesty of purpose will be required. Sadly, none of that has been evident to date on the civilian side.

Inevitably, perhaps, the courts also must shoulder some of the blame. Had the verdict in the Asghar Khan case, which looked into the manipulation of elections by the ISI in the 1990s, been handed down, the hearings into the memo affair may not have become necessary. Having said that, the present hearing could be used to try and establish the mandate and parameters of the ISI.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/29/beyond-the-mandate.html

PAKISTAN: ISI Head must be prosecuted for hatching conspiracy against democracy – AHRC

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – AHRC-UAC-248-2011

19 December 2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Director General of the Inter Services Intelligence Agency, the country’s foremost intelligence agency, has hatched a conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected government and parliament by taking help from some Arab monarchies who have strong influence in the affairs of the country. The Pakistan Army has been trying for two years to overthrow the civilian government and it is alleged that in the month of May 2011, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, the chief of the ISI, visited several Arab monarchies in a personal capacity and sought clearance for the army to take over the country. It is also alleged that he was given the ‘OK’ by these monarchies. He also visited China, without taking permission from the prime minister, but apparently did not get any formal assistance.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: ISI Head must be prosecuted for hatching conspiracy against democracy – AHRC

ISI memogate

Pakistan: Between Memo And Military
By Mohammad Taqi
Excerpt;
Was it the alleged memo or was it the consistent advocacy of civilian supremacy, first as a scholar and then as an envoy, which earned Haqqani the junta’s wrath and cost him his job?

“In the foreseeable future, Islam will remain a factor in Pakistan’s politics. Musharraf and his likely successors from the ranks of the military, promising reform, will continue to seek U.S. economic and military assistance; yet the power of such promises is tempered by the strong links between Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus and extremist Islamists”.

Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military— Husain Haqqani

As Ambassador Husain Haqqani landed in a Pakistan caught between the notorious memo and an army posturing for a kill, one felt that there was more to the Memogate than meets the eye. Was it the alleged memo or was it the consistent advocacy of civilian supremacy, first as a scholar and then as an envoy, which earned Haqqani the junta’s wrath and cost him his job? ….
…. Post Script: Ms Sherry Rehman has just been appointed as the new Pakistani ambassador to the US. Her known views on Afghanistan mirror that of the Pakistan Army, especially regarding giving a prominent role to Siraj Haqqani network and Mullah Omar in any future Afghan settlement. The military establishment has clearly prevailed over Asif Zardari in this round. What remains to be seen is whether he will still be around for next .
To read complete article » OUT LOOK » Daily Times (DT)

Go ahead if you want that! Good luck!

Aziz Narejo

By Aziz Narejo

Haqqani-Ijaz-Mullen Memogate: Strong reaction by military establishment & hue & cry by some in politics & media is completely unwarranted. Everyone must know & understand that any attack on democracy at the behest of military establishment will hasten the process of the break up of the country. Go ahead if you want that! Good luck! You will do whatever the so-called enemies of the country couldn’t.

If Supreme Court has to take any action & if politicians want to really strengthen democracy in the country, they must call for action against Junta’s interference in political affairs. They have ruined the country in the past & will do the same in the future.

Source » Facebook

Forced Convergence and Killing of Hindus in Pakistan

– By Zulfiqar Halepoto, on behalf of the entire team of Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF)

We strongly condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in their clinic in Chak town close to district Shikarpur, Sindh, Pakistan. Shikarpur by armed men of Bhayo tribe, a beradari. The head of Bhayo beradari is district president of PPP. First they tried to kidnap Sindhi Hindu girls and tried to forcibly convert them into Islam and when the Sindhi Hindu community took strong notice then the Bhayo tribe people did an ambush at the clinic and Dr Ashok, Dr Naresh, Dr Ajeet and Dr Satia Paul were killed by armed assailants while working in their clinic even on Eid day.

This is an inhuman, immoral and illegal brutality against those who serve the people as doctors and savors. This act is a black dot on the face of secular, progressive and tolerant identity of Sindhi society.

This is not the first time such an incident has taken place where members of Sindhi Hindu community have been targeted. What is of concern is that the law enforcement agencies tend to support the criminals involved in such acts.

Religious minorities, vulnerable groups and women are the victim of an ANTI-HUMAN mindset comprised of local feudals, tribal chief, religious extremists and local agencies. They collaborate with each other to weaken the state writ and to develop their own hegemony.

Their being in power have collapsed the entire law and order and justice systems and paralyzed the administrative institutions to demonstrate their duties. And subsequently there is no state writ in these areas. We appeal to the government, political parties and civil society to take notice of this brutality and religious fascism and specially government to make arrangements to protect the citizens.

First we appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari to immediately suspend PPP district Shikarpur president so-called sardar Bhayo, orders must immediately be issued to arrest him and all other culprits, who are exploiting local administration. We appeal Chief Justice of Pakistan to take Suo Motto of the targeting of Hindus in parts of Sindh.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

Dangerous Minds: Noam Chomsky on the Wall Street protests

Noam Chomsky sends a “strong message of support” to the organizers of the Occupy Wall Streetprotests:

“Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.” …

Read more » Dangerous Minds

Baluchistan is a colony as East Pakistan was!

– Callous indifference – by Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

The states in general are obsessed with their sham ideologies or at times enticed by multi-nationals and lending bodies forget that the people are of primary importance. This obsession is so strong that even parties ideologically committed to peoples’ rights and welfare become anti-people

The Pakistani state’s ‘abduct and dump’ policy in Balochistan continues as viciously as ever and the recent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report was a lot of water off duck’s back. Those who put no premium on human lives exhibit callous indifference and care not a whit for reports. This newspaper reported on the July 5 that bodies Zubair Baloch and Hafeez Baloch abducted a few months back were recovered and one Khalid Haji Hatim abducted by security personnel. On the July 7, it reported that bodies found from Turbat, Khuzdar and Gwadar included that of Hanif Baloch, a former president of BSO-Azad (Pasni zone), kidnapped from Hub two days before, and Azam, Rahim and Qadir Baloch. …

Read more → Daily Times

Pakistan’s Faustian Parliament – by Wajid Ali Syed

It was embarrassing enough for the people of Pakistan to find out that Osama bin Laden was living in their midst for years. Even more shameful was the realization that their politicians are incapable of questioning the security apparatus of the country. The masses rallied and protested and faced hardships for months to kick General Pervez Musharraf out of power. They voted the Pakistan People’s Party, the most widely-based and allegedly liberal party to power, believing that democracy has been restored.

Though the leader of the government, President Asif Ali Zardari has been blamed for everything going wrong in the country and is regarded as a corrupt individual, until now there has been a perceived upside that Pakistan is being led by an elected government and not a military dictatorship.

This illusion of so-called civilian supremacy silently burst like a bubble when the head of the ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani were called before the parliament to answer for their incompetence related to the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The agenda was to inquire about the U.S. attack and why the state security apparatus was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s presence.

But what happened during the closed door meeting revealed once again that the real power in Pakistan still lies with the army and the ISI, not the politicians.

It had been suggested that heads would roll, the foreign aid and the big chunk of national budget that the army receives would be scrutinized. The parliamentarians dropped the ball again and lost another opportunity to exert their authority over other institutions of the state. Once again it became clear who really runs Pakistan.

The last time a civilian government had an opportunity to put the army in its place was in 1971, following the Pakistan army’s defeat in the war that led to the loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s then-president and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, got off to a promising start by placing former dictator General Yahya Khan under house arrest. He re-organized the Pakistan Armed Forces and boosted the military’s morale. But Bhutto also restored their hubris. Years later, his own appointed Army Chief, General Zia ul-Haq, would overthrow Bhutto’s government and send him to the gallows.

During Zia’s 11 year rule, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and withdrew. The army grew so strong that even after Zia’s death in a plane crash, the new chief of the military did not allow the democratically elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, to tour the country’s nuclear facility. She was labelled anti-Pakistan and an American agent.

It is ironic to witness that the opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was created with the support of the army to counter the PPP’s popularity, is now asking the tough questions about covert operations and the finances of the military.

By snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pakistan’s ruling party, Bhutto’s PPP, is losing its chance to demonstrate leadership and moral authority. They failed to hold the army accountable for the thousands of civilians and security officers killed in the war on terror in Pakistan. They did not press the chief of the generously-funded army to explain how OBL could have lived in a military garrison town for six years.

These are the same parliamentarians who extended General Kiyani’s tenure. The same parliamentarians who extended ISI Chief General Pasha’s tenure. The boastful parliamentarians who had promised to leave no stone unturned roared like lions for the cameras but behaved like lambs behind closed doors.

It was reported that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar tried to deliver a speech during the question and answer session, only to be snubbed by General Pasha in front of a full house. Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the opposition leader, alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favor, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend. An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’.

Then the tail furiously wagged the dog. General Pasha reportedly offered to resign. Rather than demanding that the ISI chief step down immediately, apparently the parliamentarians did not accept his resignation.

The state run television channel could have returned to its heyday of running prime time programming that kept the country glued to their sets by recording that “closed door” meeting to broadcast later as a drama — or farce.

Some idealistic Pakistanis hoped that the U.S. would finally question the secretly played “double game.” After all, the U.S. supported extensions of Kiyani’s and Pasha’s tenures, claiming that keeping the chiefs in their positions would help to continue the war on terror in an orderly fashion. The U.S. abandoned the people of Pakistan by siding with the army once again, pledging support and failing to attach any strings or conditions to the military aid it provides.

Cowed by Kiyani’s and Pasha’s brazen displays, Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution that drone attacks should be stopped and that the operations like the one carried out on May 2nd won’t be tolerated in future.

The parliament has an obligation to explain to the public not only how and why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, but why the Taliban continues to carry out its bloody operations, and why al Qaeda leaders have been given safe haven. The risk of allowing these questions to remain unanswered is that the military will gain more strength over the civilian government.

The parliamentarians who are supposed to represent the people of Pakistan abrogated their responsibility for the sake of staying in office for few more months, while at the same time making it clear who the country’s rulers truly are.

Courtesy: Wichaar

Osama’s Death & Civil-Military Row

Nawaz Answered Government’s SOS & Rushed Back to the Country; Osama’s Death & Civil-Military Row; Who Asked Mark Siegel to Publish Write Up by Zardari?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: The May 2 Abbottabad operation, which resulted in the discovery and murder of world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden at the hands of US Navy SEALs has brought the civil-military relationship in Pakistan to a new low. The mistrust between the two has increased manifold. It is feared that the imbroglio may end up in the pack up of another democratic dispensation.

Observers are unanimous that the country’s civilian leadership was stunned at the news and couldn’t respond quickly to it but they are really surprised at the response or the lack of it by the military leadership. They feel that the military hierarchy’s behavior was quite perplexing. They were remarkably silent and seemed quite oblivious in the first few days after the US operation as if nothing had happened. Later they mishandled the issue in the media and attempted to undermine the political leadership. That raises concerns of the people about junta’s intentions towards the democratic government.

Sources in the power corridors have confided to this scribe that the civilian leadership is taking many questions into account so as to regroup and formulate a counter strategy. Every single move by the army chief and other military top men is being minutely watched and analyzed. The civilian leadership is quite unhappy over the recent statement of top ranking military leadership regarding the government in its post Osama briefing to media and anchorpersons. The address of Army Chief General Kayani to Garrison Officers at three top cantonments has also caused concern amongst the civilian leadership through which an impression was given that the civilians are ineffective and it is they who are making damage control efforts despite a huge understanding on the issue between the President, Prime Minister and the Army Chief, sources maintained.

The civilian leadership sincerely intends to control the damage but for many reasons it is clueless and directionless, sources observed adding that every effort of independent inquiry was thwarted and blocked by the military, thus an inquiry under Adjutant General has been constituted. How come a serving subordinate will be able to conduct an independent inquiry against his immediate bosses, asked a sitting minister however adding that everybody will have to wait for the outcome of the inquiry being conducted by army itself.

On the other hand civilians are trying to get answers of many questions including the one that whether or not they have been ditched by the intelligence networks. The people also want an answer to the question if OBL’s presence in Abbottabad was in the knowledge of the relevant agencies and military leadership.

Meanwhile, sources observed that a sizeable number of the civilians seriously believed that they have been ditched. A serious question is being raised in view of the recent statements by some neighbors pointing out that when they heard the blast after the helicopter crash, they tried to approach OBL’s compound but they were stopped by some guards speaking Urdu.

These statements, in view of some sources, clearly indicate that an earlier report carried by Indus Herald that some soldiers were provided for outer cordon was correct. This also indicates that a section of Pakistani establishment knew about a US strike, but they might not be privy to the details of the proceedings.

A section of media and politicians are also looking for an answer to the question that if the operation was done in total dark and without a prior information of Pakistan, then how come the people who have been arrested after the operation from the compound did not escape although they got at least 15 minutes before the arrival of any Pakistani security personnel? Hamza bin Laden is believed to have taken the advantage of the time gap and ran away from the scene as reported by the British media is quite a good evidence in support of the above argument.

The president and the other PPP leaders wanted an independent inquiry to be held, but they had to accept the decision by military leadership as desired by Army Chief sources said adding that the powers that be asked civilians to stay away from the damage control efforts and they will be the ones who will be responsible to take on the situation and control the damage, but the situation deteriorated with every passing day. However, the military leadership was not happy with the way some TV channels sparked debate and took them to task with strong words and allegations of incompetence and negligence.

It is also said that the president has been advised that besides the inquiry announced by the military leadership, an independent parliamentary inquiry commission with presence of opposition leader Ch. Nisar, and some of the top retired judges must be set up. However, the sources observed that the government would be packed up if such an inquiry were established. It is also believed that the president is willing to set up such an inquiry with Army Chief and other military leadership on board.

Meanwhile, a section of media is probing an allegation that the officers in KPK were asked not to leave their station and stay in before the operation and all mobile phones of the uniformed officers were blocked on May 01. However this story has not been confirmed by any reliable source.

On the other hand, sources in the PML-N have confided to this scribe that Mian Nawaz Sharif responded to a May-Day call by the government through unconventional means and rushed to Pakistan. The government wanted to block Ch. Nisar’s cynical criticism. Mian Nawaz Sharif on the first day of his top leadership meeting strongly supported the idea of a demand of resignation of both Army Chief and the ISI Chief, a demand that didn’t get much response earlier. He according to the sources has assured the PPP that any attempt to subvert the Constitution and dislodge the civilian rule will be resisted with full force. At a press conference after the two-day PML-N meeting Mian Nawaz Sharif rejected the inquiry set up by military and demanded a Judicial Commission to look in the matter. He severely criticized the military establishment. ….

Read more : Indus Herald

Afraid of devolution? -by I.A Rehman

WONDERS never cease. In the second decade of the 21st century, the transfer of power to the units of a federation has been made controversial! Efforts are being made to help the centre retain the privileges that rightfully belong to the provinces.

No student of politics will deny that Pakistan broke up in 1971 largely as a result of the policies designed to make the centre strong at the expense of provincial rights and aspirations. Nor can anyone forget that the failure to restore to the provinces what has always been due to them poses the greatest threat to the state’s integrity today.

We are also familiar with the arguments employed while calling for making the hands of one ruler or another strong. It was said the country faced so many threats that a centrally organised security edifice alone could preserve its integrity. The centre alone had the mental and physical wherewithal to achieve economic progress. In an Islamic state there could be only one centre of power and Pakistan had a special reason to crush centrifugal forces and fissiparous tendencies which were being fanned by the enemies of the state — democrats, secularists, advocates of the nationalities’ rights, separatists, et al.

For six decades, the politics of Pakistan revolved around the federal question. Any stratagem that could prevent the state from becoming a federation was in order — the fiction of parity, the abolition of provinces in the western part of the original state, the imposition of martial law and the state’s declaration of war against the majority nationality and the smallest nationality both. No wonder almost all democratic movements in the country have had their origins in the federating units’ struggle for self-government.The central demand was that the centre should keep only three or four subjects such as foreign affairs, external security, currency and communications. All other subjects — internal security, local government, planning, education and social welfare — were to be restored to the provinces.

It is in this context that one should examine the national consensus on re-designing the polity by meeting some of the main demands of the federating units. The endorsement of the 18th Amendment by all shades of opinion in parliament is nothing short of a miracle. It not only marks a giant stride towards realising the promise of the 1973 constitution, in several respects it surpasses the 1973 consensus.

Continue reading Afraid of devolution? -by I.A Rehman

HEC issue to end up in the Supreme Court

By Zubair Shah

KARACHI: It is true that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Pakistani federation is inching towards the constitutional sketch made public in the Muslim League’s famous 1940 Lahore Resolution. However, this journey is not without a tough resistance by the country’s entrenched pro status quo centripetal forces, who would like to see a strong centre at the expense of federating units. Nothing highlights this phenomenon better than the drama around the planned devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced recently.

Soon after the announcement, a smear campaign was launched by centripetal forces, who have been advocating and supporting the status quo based on numerous technical and legal grounds with apocalyptic predictions. …

Read more : Daily Times

‘Strong likelihood’ Mubarak will step down tonight, CIA director says

CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak will meet the demands of protesters, military and ruling party officials, the Associated Press reported Thursday, in the strongest indication yet that Egypt’s longtime president may be about to give up power. …

Read more : WICHAAR DESK

Possibility of “revolution” in Pakistan?

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

Chomsky signs Australian letter of support for Assange

Renowned American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky signed an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Tuesday urging her to make a “strong statement” in support of Julian Assange.

Chomsky, a professor of linguistics at the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a prominent critic of US foreign policy, joined scores of high-profile Australian lawyers, authors and journalists in signing the letter.

Noting the “increasingly violent rhetoric” directed towards Australian-born Assange, the besieged founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, the signatories said there were “grave concerns” for his safety.

via – Gobeistan – Read more : RawStory