The president of Uruguay has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. According to his advocates, José “Pepe” Mujica’s much talked-about marijuana legalization is in fact “a tool for peace and understanding.”
Smokers’ Corner: Cold Turkey
By Nadeem F. Paracha
I’ve twice been to Turkey in the last three years. My second trip there coincided with the 2011 election. Recently I have come across various conservative and pro-establishment personalities, politicians and media men in Pakistan praising the Turkish model of democracy and economics.
For example, Imran Khan just returned from Turkey and sounded extremely impressed by that country’s people and politics.
The reason why you might now be hearing more and more Pakistanis singing praises of Turkey is due to the fact that a determined political party with an Islamist background has been winning elections and forming governments there ever since 2001.
It is a good sign that to some of our conservatives the Turkish social and political model now seems more charming to emulate than the puritanical authoritarianism of certain oil-rich Arab states. However, the fact is they may really be over-romanticising their Turkish experience. Either they haven’t understood the dynamics of Turkey’s political and social milieus, or they are only seeing what they want to see: i.e. a conservative Islamist party at the helm in what was supposed to be a secular country.
Only recently I heard a TV commentator suggest that Turkish prime minister, Recep Erdogan’s AK Party, has been winning elections due to its popularity among the rural and semi-rural Turks. This is a rather simplistic understanding of what is actually a complex consensus that the AK Party has struck with almost all sections of Turkish society.
Erdogan’s multiple electoral successes have more to do with his emphasis on economic growth, reform and his all-out efforts to help Turkey become part of the European Union (EU) than on the usual stern moralistic and anti-West stances that most Islamist parties are stuck with in most Muslim countries. During my trip to Istanbul when the campaigning for the 2011 elections was in full swing, not even once did I hear Erdogan (whose wife adorns a hijab) mention the word Islam.
By: Jadam Sindhu
“Sister is someone who is caring and sharing. Sister can understand things you never said. She can understand pain which is not visible to anyone. I love my sisters.” Happy Raksha Bandhan to All brothers and Sister 🙂
Courtesy: Adopted from Facebook
By: Tara Beteille, co-authors: Kalpana Kochhar
In our blog post last November, we discussed Pakistan’s decision to grant India most favored nation (MFN) status. We were hopeful about the gains from easier trade between the two, but noted the many stumbling blocks in between. In the past 20 weeks, both countries have made serious efforts to address these blocks. Things are looking good. Here is an update.
Both countries mean business
In addition to the goodwill gesture of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visiting India this April and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh considering visiting Pakistan, important issues addressed include:
- Pakistan issued an order in March 2012 to move from a positive list of 2,000 items for India to a negative list of 1,209 banned items. Pakistan intends to phase out the negative list altogether and formally give India MFN status by the end of 2012.
- India, which formally granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 (but maintained barriers) has agreed to reduce its sensitive list of 865 items by 30% within four months. India has also agreed in principle to allow Pakistani foreign direct investment in the country.
- Both countries recently agreed to allow yearlong multiple-entry visas for business visitors, with visitors allowed to enter and exit through different cities.
- The two countries have agreed to allow each other’s central banks – the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – to open bank branches across borders to facilitate financial transactions and ensure smooth trade.
- A second checkpost gate was inaugurated this March at the Attari-Wagah border to ease road traffic between the two countries. The checkpost, with elaborate security features and capable of accommodating 600 trucks at a time, will provide upgraded infrastructure, including new storage go-downs, wide roads, and a luxurious passenger terminal.
Opportunities and gains
Making borders irrelevant can have far-reaching effects for economic prosperity across sectors in Pakistan and India. Consider a key driver of growth: electricity. South Asia’s recent More and Better Jobs flagship report estimated that industrial load shedding in Pakistan has resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Trade between energy surplus and deficit regions could counter such losses — indeed, Pakistan is already in negotiations with India to import up to 500 MW of electricity.
Discussing the Motives of the Afghan Shooter
by Glenn Greenwald
Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivated U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to allegedly kill 16 Afghans, including 9 children: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty, he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre,” etc.
Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists.
By Pervez Musharraf
There is no doubt that Balochistan is the most backward and most deprived province of Pakistan. Successive governments since our independence are responsible for their share of the neglect suffered by Balochistan. But unfortunately the sardars themselves did not favour development in their areas. Notably Akbar Bugti, who despite having been chief minister and governor of the province, hardly did anything for Balochistan, or even for Dera Bugti. An anti-Pakistan, anti-army and anti-FC sentiment was planted and gradually nourished, especially among the Bugtis, Marris and Mengals, by their sardars. Some efforts made in the 1970s to open up the area through the establishment of a communication infrastructure were strongly opposed and rejected by the Marris.
It seems the founding fathers of Pakistan never really imagined a place for a Bengali speaking, large Hindu minority province. This is because the TNT demanded a full divorce from all that was Hindu. Such was the force of the ideology, there was even an effort to make Bengali arabicized and de-sanskritized!!
Bengali muslims were at the forefront of the partition movement but giving up Bengali was a bridge too far for them.
In the course of the Pakistani government’s occupation of Bangladesh (is there a better word though there were benighted efforts to improve “East Pakistan” it seemed an occupation stroke colonisation) to “Arabify” & “DeSanskritise” Bangla or Bengali (I don’t know which is appropriate to refer to in the English language I prefer using Persian over Farsi, Gypsy over Romany, Eskimo over can’t remember what oh yes Inuit, etc etc) it inadvertently sparked off a global movement to preserve “mother languages” (the usage of the word mother language reminds of me of the elegant song ….
Read more » Brown Pundits
Jonathan Kay: The Pakistan problem isn’t just the government. It’s the people
By Jonathan Kay
Since the Taliban resurgence began gaining force in 2005, a common refrain in the West has been that Pakistan must “do more” to rein in the jihadis who are drawing support from bases in the borderlands of Balochistan and Waziristan. American officials have made countless visits to Pakistan to deliver variations on this message — with nothing to show for it.
Earlier this year, the BBC disclosed a secret NATO report, based on 27,000 interrogations with captured Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees, concluding that jihadis operating in Afghanistan continue to receive support and instruction from Pakistani military handlers. One interrogated al-Qaeda detainee quoted in the report declared: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching.”
The usual Sunday-Morning-talk-show explanation for this is that Pakistan is hedging its strategic bets: Pakistani military leaders doubt the United States military can tame Afghanistan before American combat forces’ scheduled exit in 2013. And rather than see the country degenerate into absolute chaos (as occurred in the early 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet departure), Pakistani military leaders want to be in position to turn Afghanistan into a semi-orderly Pashtun-dominated client state that provides Islamabad with “strategic depth” against India. And the only way for them to do this is to co-opt the Taliban.
Mother Language Day: National Language Conference to be held tomorrow
ISLAMABAD: Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) will hold the `National Language Conference’ tomorrow (Tuesday) to mark International Mother Language Day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.
The national conference is being arranged in collaboration with the National Language Authority (NLA), which will be attended by writers, intellectuals, linguists and leading politicians from across the country.
Talking to APP, SAS Secretary Sarwan Chandio said the national conference was expected to prove a milestone in the promotion of mother language, besides providing an opportunity to intellectuals to sit together and understand each other’s viewpoint.
“The national conference is being arranged for the first time in the history of the country where intellectuals and politicians will highlight the issues related to mother languages,” he added.
Member of the Federal Assembly Nawab Yousaf Talpur will be the chief guest, while the conference will be presided over by Sindhi Adabi Sangat Secretary General Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Phull.
Senators Sabir Baloch and Zahid Khan, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Jami Chandio and senior journalist Ejaz Mehar will be the honorary guests.
Writers from across the country, including Saleem Raz, Dr Shah Muhammad Marri, Abdul Rehman Baitab, Wahid Bozidar and Khalid Majeed, will highlight the importance of mother tongue as a national language on the occasion.
Continue reading 21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.
By Haider Nizamani
PROPRIETORS of media houses dabbling in politics has a long history in South Asia. The power and propaganda nexus is nothing new.
What is somewhat different is the mushrooming of television channels creating new forms of this nexus. Understanding the multifaceted dynamics of this interaction is a relatively unexplored area for the social scientist in Pakistan.
The new kid on Sindh’s political block is Ali Qazi. His family owns the most popular, hence the most powerful, media house of the Sindhi language. Daily Kawish, its flagship newspaper, probably sells more copies than the combined circulation of all its competitors.
Kawish Television Network (KTN) runs a dedicated 24/7 news and current affairs channel and two other channels. Kawish and KTN are household names for the Sindhi reading and viewing public.
Ali Qazi’s recent foray into politics climaxed on Jan 22 in a public meeting in Bhit Shah, a small town in central Sindh where the shrine of the venerated Sindhi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai is located.
English-language dailies treated this rally as a page three news item whereas the largest circulated Sindhi daily, Kawish, went into overdrive to cover the event and published plenty of Op-Eds before and after the rally.
The public meeting was preceded by a month-long campaign of 187 smaller meetings Ali Qazi and his associates held all over Sindh. The purpose? To convince the Sindhi masses to seek change on the lines Mr Qazi is proposing.
What does Mr Qazi’s entrance into politics signify and symbolise? Will he be as successful in politics as he has been in establishing a mammoth media house? Will his politics benefit from his media empire or will the latter suffer due to his politics? Is this a case of conflict of interest? His ambitious entry into politics throws up all these questions.
The Qazis of Hyderabad are no strangers to media and politics. Daily Ibrat, owned by this family, for a long time had the lion’s share of the Sindhi newspaper market. Its current owner, Qazi Asad Abid, has been a member of the National Assembly. His sister, Dr Fehmida Mirza, is the speaker of the National Assembly. Their father, Qazi Abid, was a member of the provincial and national legislatures and held various ministerial portfolios.
Ali Qazi is the nephew of Qazi Abid. In the 1990s, Ali Qazi and his brothers started their own daily, Kawish, which over the years not only challenged the dominance of Ibrat but eventually replaced it as the largest circulated Sindhi newspaper. Ali Qazi, until recently, steered clear of party politics and focused on building his media house. For the past few years, he has championed causes such as the celebration of Sindhi cultural days through his popular print and electronic media outlets. He makes regular, some would say excessive, appearances as an expert and anchor on current affairs programmes on his television channel, KTN.
He uses Op-Ed space in daily Kawish with impunity to share his thoughts with the readers. In these columns he started to float the idea that the Sindhi public aspires for change that mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable of providing.
He claims to have become the epitome of the change he has been seeking, thus the name of his group ‘Tabdeeli Pasand’ (change-oriented). The main ill afflicting Sindh, according to Mr Qazi, is the bhotaar culture. Roughly translated it means the politics of patronage. The answer lies in replacing it with a system based on merit, good governance and transparency.
In the prelude to his Bhit Shah show of Jan 22, the Op-Ed write-ups in Kawish went overboard in portraying Ali Qazi as the saviour Sindh has been waiting for. Contrary to the anticipated announcement of launching his own political party at the Bhit Shah public meeting, Ali Qazi chose to defer that move and stuck to criticising the politics of patronage in Sindh.
As he weighs his options, here are some advantages he enjoys and disadvantages he is likely to encounter should he decide to establish a new political party.
Among his three advantages, the most important is of having access to a well-oiled and sophisticated print and electronic media. He has an edge over any other new entrant in this regard as far as Sindh is concerned.
If the current trend is any indication then he has no compunction in using the KTN-Kawish combo to promote his viewpoint.
Secondly, politics in Pakistan is becoming an expensive undertaking and Ali Qazi has deep pockets to sustain his political venture.
Lastly, lack of effective performance by mainstream parties has created widespread anti-politics sentiment amongst various sections of the middle classes. Imran Khan is exploiting it in Punjab and Ali Qazi is attempting to do the same in Sindh.
The launch of a party by Ali Qazi on his suggested lines will face following hurdles. Firstly, since he owns the most powerful media house in Sindh, his competitors will not give the desired coverage to Ali Qazi’s party. In fact, if the KTN-Kawish combo chooses to become blatantly partisan in promoting Ali Qazi this may provide his competitors an opening to create healthy competition for Sindh viewers.
Left-of-centre politics in Sindh has organisations such as the Awami Tehrik of Rasool Bux Palijo with a political history spanning over several decades over which it has created a reasonably organised party cadre. Assorted Sindhi nationalist parties are a divided lot but they have a collective legacy of creating a secular ethos in Sindhi politics.
Above all, Ali Qazi will have to challenge the PPP’s mighty emotional and electoral support base in Sindh. The PPP has jealously guarded its vote-bank in Sindh for four decades and in the process has weathered many challenges. It has unmatched expertise in constituency-based politics backed up by the Bhutto charisma. Ali Qazi has remained careful in not naming the PPP as the culprit.
If Ali Qazi wants to be an alternative to the PPP in Sindh then he will have to confront the most popular party head-on. If not then his dream of being a change-seeker backed up by his media empire will serve as valuable pressure on PPP politicians to pay closer attention to the kind of issues Ali Qazi is raising.
The writer is a Canada-based academic. He can be reached at, firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Asim Riaz Kaghzi, Calgary
… Now days Sindh is a part of the political boundaries of the state of Pakistan, if Sindh is not well and is suffering, then Pakistan is suffering as well or at least a considerable part of Pakistan. Sindh is predominantly inhabited by Muslim population and it is one of the few places where tolerance and religious harmony can be seen at its highest peak, such as, Sunnies take part in Moharram’s first ten days remembering Imam Hussain’s sacrifices with same respect as Shiites, you would hardly able to distinguish between two sects, another example is some saints are equally revered by Muslims and Hindus. Sindhis living in Sindh or any other part of the world, in essence they are very secular people and if any one wants to learn the spirit of secularism then he/she learns from Sindh and Sindhis.
Sindh and Sindhis as an entity are mature and they are fighting against all odds and still stands for universal peace and coexistence. Therefore, if Sindh looses its tolerant character then it will be a blow for the world, I believe Muslims around the world need to learn from Sindh and Sindhis, who value tolerance and mutual understanding.
Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 11 Feb, 2008.
– – – – – –
– The village was small and the entire community was tied together like a family, with common cultural values and traditions evolved over hundreds, if not thousands of years. They were farmers and knew very well as to how to work in the fields and love and sing together, but had poor understanding of the political realities of their times.
One day, they saw the sunset as one community but at the dawn, realized that the village is divided by an invisible line created not by Hindus and Muslims, but by few British advisors called Radcliffe commission. And so was the territory of 88 million people of the subcontinent. ….
Read more » ValueVersity
by Sohail Hashmi
…. Read this book if you want to understand where we went wrong and to see the fault lines, to see how we need a secular state and not sarv dharm sambhav. Read this book also if you want to understand the falsity of the self image that we have created of ourselves and of our nation, but read it most importantly to understand the fragility of the premise upon which is built the idea of India and the need to protect and nurture this premise and to make it real. Because this premise is India and it is people like Anis Kidwai that made it possible.
(First published in The Book Review, Vol XXXV, Number 8-9 August September 2011.)
To read compete article » KAFILA
A new paper shows 18th- and 19th-century Ottoman rulers decriminalised homosexuality and promoted women’s education
by Tehmina Kazi
Hardline Muslim groups often portray the Ottoman empire as a magic template for a global caliphate. This is then used as a springboard for grandiose arguments that paint a caliphate as viable, and deem it as the only credible model of governance for the future. These arguments are based on a belief that the empire adhered to a single interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) for over 600 years, and – crucially – that its success was contingent on this.
But a paper by Ishtiaq Hussain, published by Faith Matters on Saturday displays a very different picture. Ottoman sultans, or caliphs, in the 18th and 19th centuries launched secular schools and promoted the education of women. The period of reformation known as the Tanzimat saw customary and religious laws being replaced in favour of secular European ones. More surprisingly, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1858 (long before many western states took their cue, and over a century before the American Psychiatric Association declassified it as a mental illness in 1973). Contrary to the claims of hardline groups, religious authorities approved many of these measures.
In terms of broader social change, the Ottomans made strong attempts to integrate non-Muslim communities. On the cultural front, it is well known that a minority of people claim that Islam frowns upon artistic expression. However, the last sultan/caliph, Abdulmecid Efendi (1922-1924) has numerous paintings on display in Istanbul’s new museum of modern art; many others were also keen musicians and played a variety of musical instruments. It is therefore clear that the sultan/caliphs enunciated a progressive vision for a secular Muslim society, many years before al-Qaida and similar groups came into existence.
– 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.
– This presence of Osama bin Laden led to an extraordinary event of US SEAL military officers “invading” Pakistan, violating its air space, carrying out a military operation for 40 minutes and killing the most wanted terrorist and flying back to Afghanistan.
From drone attacks to constant admonishing by the Obama administration, to a weak economy, an insurgency and target-killing of the non-Baloch in Balochistan, and a weekly dose of suicide attacks on common people, all support a perception that Pakistan is collapsing. However, this conventional understanding may not be accurate. What these events suggest is that there is a growing crisis and contradiction within and between the institutions of the state in Pakistan and these crises and contradictions, evaluated differently, might offer a completely divergent narrative. What may be collapsing is the political settlement that has existed for many decades and this may be a positive development. Democractic forces have an opportunity now to end the military’s domination of Pakistan. …
Read more: View Point
One thing is certain about Pakistan these days: If you are following all the news coming from Pakistan, you’re not going to have a dull moment in your life. Either they will make you cry by shooting innocent people down, and then letting them bleed to death on the road, or they will have hilarious episodes of different politicians’ melt down.
What Dr. Shireen Mazari did in that restaurant to that American was sad and hilarious at the same time. I would call it a petty revenge.
What else was it?
“You hit my chair you filthy American and did not apologize, I am going to hit your chair back and guess what, I am not going to apologize either.” Dr. Shireen Mazari truly believes in ‘Jo bakray nay mara hay bakree ko seeing / to bakree bhee maray gee bakray ko seeing’.
You send drones to us, what if I can not send drones back, I sure can hit your chair back.
I have no doubt in my mind that Dr. Shireen Mazari and Imran Khan are ultimate patriots. They are. They just don’t know politics. I am not a political analyst, but every political analyst that I know and trust, seem to have the same opinion of both Imran Khan and Dr. Shireen Mazari; They have no understanding of the current situation in Pakistan. …
…. Situation is devastating. Every Pakistani heart weeps when innocent die in drone attacks. Every Pakistani heart weeps when innocent die in Taliban suicide bombing. Imran Khan and Dr. Mazari are convinced that if drones stopped, so would Taliban suicide bombing, since Taliban are actually taking revenge from Americans by killing innocent Pakistanis. Would that not be the best thing in the world if both drones and suicide attacks stopped?
Which Pakistani in his right mind would not want that? But sadly, the majority of country’s political analysts and intellectuals believe that it is not going to happen that way. They feel that Imran Khan’s vision is shallow. Sure Taliban want revenge from USA, but they have another goal, a goal that is a lot bigger than ‘Death to America’, and that goal is to bring their version of Sharia in the whole world, and what better place to start but Pakistan?
Taliban want to bring that kind of Sharia to Pakistan in which girls will be kept in the houses, girls schools will be closed, women would be stoned and flogged, no women would be allowed to leave their houses with out a mahram (chaperone), music will be banned and media will not be free. Taliban want to take Pakistan, and eventually the whole world, back to dark ages. They want to create a society where individual freedom would not exist and personal happiness will have no value.
This is why most Pakistanis have never voted for Imran Khan. He does not understand the consequences of letting Taliban loose. One thing is for sure, if Taliban took over, Dr. Shireen Mazari would not be sitting in that resturant with no hijab picking fights with Na-mehram.
Most intellectuals and analysts in Pakistan believe that once USA leaves, Taliban are not going to get settled in their small village far far away and live happy lives. Taliban’s vision of Islam is a little different than modern Pakistanis’. Once USA leaves, Taliban are going to try to create a state with in the state again, like they did in swat when peace deal was made. They will keep spreading terror and will keep killing Pakistanis until a Sharia state of the kind they made in Afghanistan is created in Pakistan.
So, sure, demand that drones should be stopped, but please also share with us your plan to get rid of Taliban, who have killed 30,000 Pakistanis in suicide attacks so far.
To read complete article: LUBP
By MICHAEL WINES
BEIJING — This is officially the Year of Pakistan-China Friendship, and in a four-day visit to Beijing last week — the third in just 17 months — Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, proclaimed that the two best friends “are like one nation and two countries.” Chinese officials were reported to have presented Mr. Gilani with 50 fighter jets as a welcome gift.
So it raised eyebrows when this week the two nations politely disagreed over whether Mr. Gilani had given the Chinese a gift that would be hard to mislay: an entire naval base, right at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Pakistan’s defense minister, Ahmad Mukhtar, who accompanied Mr. Gilani on the state visit, announced the deal after Mr. Gilani returned home on Saturday.
“We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar,” a deepwater port on Pakistan’s southwest coast, he told journalists.
Moreover, he said, Pakistan had invited China to assume management of the port’s commercial operations, now run by a Singapore firm under a multidecade contract.
On Tuesday, however, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, disagreed, saying the port had neither been offered nor accepted.
“China and Pakistan are friendly neighbors,” she said at the ministry’s twice-weekly news conference. “Regarding the specific China-Pakistan cooperative project that you raised, I have not heard of it. It’s my understanding that during the visit last week this issue was not touched upon.”
Some analysts were at a loss to explain the discrepancy.
“Maybe there were some discussions between the two sides when Gilani was up in China last week, bearing on some kind of future Chinese stewardship of the port,” said Michael Kugelman, a South Asia scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, in a telephone interview. “Maybe there was some speculative discussion. Perhaps the Defense Ministry simply got its signals wrong.”
“We’re seeing a lot of incompetence in the Pakistani government these days,” he added. ….
Read more : The New York Times
A civilisation of narcissists – By Khaled Ahmed
Muslims seem to be blind to non-Muslim emotions; they are civilisationally inward-looking, but only go into denial when taxed with blame from the outside. If Muslims kill non-Muslims, they seem strangely unconcerned; when Muslims kill Muslims, as in Sudan, they turn their eyes away. It is only when non-Muslims kill Muslims, that they wake up and start complaining and pointing to their general state of victimhood. In his book Tehzeebi Nargisiyat (Sanjh Publications Lahore, 2009), Mobarak Haider goes into the minutiae of collective Muslim narcissism and examines all their overt and hidden postures, and comes up with a key to the understanding of the Muslim mind. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
With the Middle East roiling, the alarming news about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons buildup has gotten far too little attention. The Times recently reported that American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.
Pakistan can’t feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. Yet, with China’s help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel.
Even without that reactor, experts say, it has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons. That means Pakistan — which claims to want a minimal credible deterrent — could soon possess the world’s fifth-largest arsenal, behind the United States, Russia, France and China but ahead of Britain and India. Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.
Washington could threaten to suspend billions of dollars of American aid if Islamabad does not restrain its nuclear appetites. But that would hugely complicate efforts in Afghanistan and could destabilize Pakistan.
The truth is there is no easy way to stop the buildup, or that of India and China. Slowing and reversing that arms race is essential for regional and global security. Washington must look for points of leverage and make this one of its strategic priorities.
The ultimate nightmare, of course, is that the extremists will topple Pakistan’s government and get their hands on the nuclear weapons. We also don’t rest easy contemplating the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian leadership, the power of its army and the bitterness of the country’s rivalry with nuclear-armed India.
The army claims to need more nuclear weapons to deter India’s superior conventional arsenal. It seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from the Taliban and other extremists. …
Read more : The New York Times
– Hamid Hussain
Following was the outcome of random thoughts about a general historical perspective about Afghan dilemma. Many baffling questions about clash between Afghan & non-Afghan worlds, role of religion, exiles, tribes and world view of foreigners dealing with Afghanistan and how historical narratives are constructed are main points. It is essentially a historical narrative with no specific relation to current scenario and focused on power players and not ordinary folks. It is a ‘politically incorrect’ narrative. Many of these questions were raised & discussed with a number of Afghans and non-Afghans with a purpose of understanding a complex scene and not related to any specific policy.
Read more : Conflict Review
– “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding” – Albert Einstein.
Youth make- up one fifth of the South- Asian demography. Most often we see youth as victims or perpetrators of violence. History is witness to the fact that youth as members of an ever changing, dynamic and energetic group in societies play a crucial role in transforming conflict ridden societies into democratic and peaceful societies. This is a critical mass which needs to be involved when it comes to transformation of violent relationships, structures, attitudes and behaviors towards peace building.
Separating Church and Hate: Irrationality and Anti-Muslim Stereotyping
Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding
By Cynthia Boaz
Let’s just be frank. The demonization of Islam as a religion and of its adherents as individuals has reached the level of hysteria within the United States. Although the fear of Muslims is usually cloaked in condescension or indignation, the source of this most recent version of bigotry is transparent and utterly predictable. There must be a nameless, faceless, sinister “other” upon whom we can hang our deepest anxieties and frustrations as a people. This kind of paranoia is not unique, but as its perpetrators on right-wing radio, FOX “News” and the far-right blogosphere can attest, it still works like a charm. …
Continue Reading — Cynthia Boaz