By S. Akbar Zaidi
THE country which was considered to be a basket case in 1971, is today offering a mirror to others on how developing countries can become a development state and is being referred to as the `development surprise` of the 21st century.
At the same time, it has also ensured that democracy is developing as a strong and permanent alternative to military rule, under which it has had many years of painful repression.
That this overwhelmingly Muslim country is also constitutionally and increasingly in practice politically secular is also a lesson for other Muslim majoritarian countries to emulate. The Supreme Court struck down a 31-year-old constitutional amendment and restored the country to its founding status as a secular republic, banning the writings of some radical Islamic ideologues.
The country which in the mid-1960s was heralded as a role model for other developing countries, where the international press had praised its military-led development model no end, stating that it might just reach the levels of development achieved only by the United States, has just appeared as the world`s 10th most failed, or failing, state. On the course towards reaching this rather ignominious distinction, this country has also been called “the most dangerous place in the world”, and a “rogue state with a nuclear arsenal”.
Read more : DAWN
By Asif Ali Zardari, The writer is president of Pakistan.
Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: “There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West. It is finding a solution to this internal debate within Islam – about democracy, about human rights, about the role of women in society, about respect for other religions and cultures, about technology and modernity – that shall shape future relations between Islam and the West.”
Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
These assassinations painfully reinforce my wife’s words and serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilized world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.
A small but increasingly belligerent minority is intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance upon which our nation was founded in 1947; principles by which Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived and died; and principles that are repeated over and over in the Koran. The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls’ schools in the Swat Valley.
We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat. Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world.
Read more : The Washington Post
A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don’t think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.”
“Is the man of the house home?”, they asked. “No”, she replied. “He’s out.” “Then we cannot come in”, they replied.
In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. “Go tell them I am home and invite them in!” The woman went out and invited the men in” “We do not go into a House together,” they replied. “Why is that?” she asked.
One of the old men explained:
By Ali Nawaz Memon
1) Can one man/woman make the difference? YES. HOWEVER, A LARGE, WELL ORGANIZED, ENERGETIC AND DEDICATED GROUP HAS A BETTER CHANCE OF SUCCESS. 2) If we were to take just one severe issue and try to improve which one it will/should be?
i) education ii) health iii) economy iv) bring up the moral values again v) or any other
ALL ARE IMPORTANT. I AM PERSONALLY GIVING HIGHER PRIORITY TO EDUCATION BECAUSE IT CAN TAKE INDIVIDUALS TO EMPLOYMENT AND PRODUCTIVE LIVES. IN TURN, THEY CAN HELP THEIR FAMILIES AND THE COMMUNITY.
3) Can we make a real difference from here or any place in the world or we ought to be on the real ground to get better and more effective results?
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE FROM ANYWHERE. HOWEVER, PEOPLE ON THE SCENE HAVE TO PLAY THEIR PART.
Courtesy: Sindh e-lists/ e-groups.
April 27, 2008