Tag Archives: Western

Afghan Taliban announce start of spring offensive to ‘defeat western invaders’

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced they are launching the annual traditional “Spring Offensive” to defeat “western invaders, completely freeing the nation from the cusps of occupation and establishing an Islamic rule” in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said this year’s offensive would be code-named “Khalid bin Waleed (RA)”.

The ISAF commander in Afghanistan, Gen Joseph F Dunford, said ahead of the fighting season that, “the insurgency will confront a combined ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) and Afghanistan Local Police (ALP) force of over 350,000 personnel who are in the lead for security in areas containing over 87 per cent of Afghanistan’s population”.

The Taliban said that the operations would forge ahead under the direct guidance of the group’s military strategists while keeping in mind new developments of the current year.

“This year’s Khalid bin Waleed operation will be launched by the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate against America, Nato and their backers for the gratification of Allah Almighty, independence of Afghanistan and establishing in it an Islamic government while we humbly raise our hands towards Allah Almighty for its success and hope for a favorable and triumphant end,” the Taliban leadership council said.

“This year’s spring operation, in accordance with its combat nature, will consist of special military tactics quantity and quality wise while successful insider attacks, to eliminate foreign invaders, will be carried out by infiltrating Mujahideen inside enemy bases in a systematic and coordinated manner,” a Taliban statement said. The statement from the Taliban’s powerful leadership council was also sent to The Express Tribune.

Continue reading Afghan Taliban announce start of spring offensive to ‘defeat western invaders’

Sharia law comes to rebel-held areas of Syria. Western powers are facilitating the Jihadi takeover of yet another country.

Islamic law comes to rebel-held Syria

ALEPPO, Syria — The evidence was incontrovertible, captured on video and posted on YouTube for all the world to see. During a demonstration against the Syrian regime, Wael Ibrahim, a veteran activist, had tossed aside a banner inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith.

And that, decreed the officers of the newly established Sharia Authority set up to administer rebel-held Aleppo, constitutes a crime under Islamic law, punishable in this instance by 10 strokes of a metal pipe.

The beating administered last month offered a vivid illustration of the extent to which the Syrian revolution has strayed from its roots as a largely spontaneous uprising against four decades of Assad family rule. After mutating last year into a full-scale war, it is moving toward what appears to be an organized effort to institute Islamic law in areas that have fallen under rebel control.

Building on the reputation they have earned in recent months as the rebellion’s most accomplished fighters, Islamist units are seeking to assert their authority over civilian life, imposing Islamic codes and punishments and administering day-to-day matters such as divorce, marriage and vehicle licensing.

Numerous Islamist groups are involved, representing a wide spectrum of views. But, increasingly, the dominant role is falling to Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. The group has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States for suspected ties to al-Qaeda but is widely respected by many ordinary Syrians for its battlefield prowess and the assistance it has provided to needy civilians.

Across the northeastern provinces of Deir al-Zour and Raqqah, where the rebels have been making rapid advances in recent weeks, Jabhat al-Nusra has taken the lead both in the fighting and in setting out to replace toppled administrations. It has assumed control of bakeries and the distribution of flour and fuel, and in some instances it has sparked tensions with local fighters by trying to stop people from smoking in the streets.

Here in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, more than half of which has been under rebel control since July, Jabhat al-Nusra is also widely identified as the leading force behind the Hayaa al-Sharia, which loosely translates as the Sharia Authority and is known simply as the Hayaa.

Based out of the city’s former Eye Hospital, which was damaged during the fighting and then occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra as its headquarters, the Hayaa is also backed by other rebel units, including the Tawhid Brigade, the city’s biggest fighting force, and the Ahrar al-Sham, a homegrown Islamist force that has played a relatively minor role in Aleppo but is powerful in several other provinces.

Islamic administration

These days, the bomb-scarred former hospital has taken on the semblance of a wartime city hall, with people milling in and out seeking permits to carry a gun or transport fuel through checkpoints, complaining about neighbors, reporting thefts and informing on people suspected to be regime loyalists.

Courtesy: Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/islamic-law-comes-to-rebel-held-syria/2013/03/19/b310532e-90af-11e2-bdea-e32ad90da239_story.html

“Fear not, America, for there is no Muslim Tide”

Chris Selley: Don’t worry people, there is no Muslim Tide

Canadian journalist Doug Saunders’ new book, The Myth of the Muslim Tide (Knopf), promises and delivers an impartial examination of the notion that Muslim immigration urgently threatens Western civilization. Balanced as it is, though, it reads mostly as a thorough, fact-dense and convincing debunking of that notion. For those inclined to be reassured, it does so very efficiently.

Continue reading “Fear not, America, for there is no Muslim Tide”

Hekmatyar as an engineering student in Kabul University, he became known for throwing acid at women dressed in Western clothes

In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method at All

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Excerpts;

…. By the early 1970s Hekmatyar had become radicalized by extremist Islam and joined the Nahzat-e-Jawanane Musalman (Muslim Youth Movement). As an engineering student at Kabul University he became known for throwing acid at women dressed in Western clothes and for murdering a fellow student from a Maoist faction of the PDPA. Imprisoned by King Zahir Shah’s police for the murder, Hekmatyar was freed following a 1973 coup by the King’s cousin Mohammed Daoud and communist PDPA leader Babrak Karmal and fled to Pakistan.

Hekmatyar joined with Ahmad Shah Massoud’s Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) in a Pakistani plan designed by their Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to destabilize Afghanistan with cross border raids. Dissatisfied with the radical Jamaat’s political approach after failing to stir an uprising in Afghanistan, Hekmatyar formed his own more radical party, the Hesb-i-Islami (Islamic Party) and came to the attention of the CIA. In 1979, Hekmatyar helped to precipitate the Soviet invasion by engaging Afghanistan’s desperate Marxist President Hafizullah Amin in a power sharing arrangement. According to the April 1981, (No. 282) edition of British publication The Round Table the Soviets panicked when they realized Amin had set December 29th as the date for dissidents of the regime and their tribal supporters to march on Kabul.

Hekmatyar would go on to become the darling of the agency and receive the bulk of the U.S. and Saudi aid coming in for the war against the Soviet Union, including a monopoly on Stinger missiles. Although an ISI and CIA favorite, Hekmatyar’s legitimacy as a fighter, his effectiveness, his loyalties and even his goals raised doubts in the Peshawar-based American press corps. According to CBS News stringer Kurt Lohbeck in his book, Holy War, Unholy Victory, Hekmatyar’s reputation was an elaborate ruse concocted by the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI to elicit Congressional support for the Mujahideen, and little else.

Gulbuddin had no effective fighting organization. He had not a single commander with any military reputation for fighting the Soviets or the Afghan regime. He had made alliances with top regime military figures. And he had killed numerous other Mujahiddin commanders. Yet the United States government and the covert agencies were doing their best to convert that lie into reality.

Read more:  http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/01/27/in-afghanistan-embracing-gulbuddin-hekmatyar-is-no-method-at-all.html#ixzz1q9IgMUmk

Via – Twitter

A case of double standards

By Murtaza Razvi

It’s not only the West, but also Muslims who have double standards, Pakistanis and Arabs more so than others. While the West keeps mum over Israel’s excesses against Palestinians, its Nato ally Turkey’s suppression of Kurds, India’s policy towards Kashmiris, Bahrain’s and Saudi Arabia’s oppression of their Shia citizens, Western leaders cry from the rooftops for the rights of Syrian, Chinese, Iranian and North Korean people living under a tyranny.

The Yemeni president too comes across as an OK guy to Washington regardless of how much blood of his own people he has on his hands, but the Pakistan Army is singled out for assaulting the Baloch. The same army was a special, close ally outside Nato under Gen Musharraf, who had ordered the killing of the octogenarian Baloch leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, and which in the first place sent Baloch nationalists into an open revolt against Islamabad. The US Congress back then did not give two hoots about the large number of Baloch youth who went ‘missing’— a euphemism for extra-judicial confinement or killing, which goes on in Balochistan. Ditto for the Guantanamo Bay inmates, who still languish in Camp X-Ray without trial.

And now about us and our double standards. We want our madressahs and hijabs and missionaries preaching in the UK, which readily obliges because it respects your right to practise your faith (France and even Turkey will not allow half as much freedom to their Muslim populations), but here in Pakistan we won’t have the Ahmadis call themselves Muslim even though they recite the same kalema and pray the same prayer; we won’t allow Christian missionaries either.

According to a thin but a loud minority in Pakistan, anyone who does not believe in the Taliban or the Saudi-like reading of Islam is a heretic, who must be converted or ‘banished to hell’, as the expression in Urdu goes. Farhat Hashmis of the world also go around preaching that even greeting a non-Muslim is akin to heresy.

The Gulf is another story altogether. Most our of brotherly oil-rich people — read very honourable men, for women hardly count — have their rules of engagement listed according to your nationalities, rather the race. A white man from the US, say a doctor, draws a much higher salary than his plebian Bangladeshi counterpart even if both are graduates of the same American medical school! But neither can go to church in the holy kingdom, for no such place exists there.

A friend narrates that whilst he was in Riyadha, a Hindu chap was picked by the religious police along with him because they were found loitering in the marketplace while a muezzin had already called the faithful to the prayer. The Muslim friend says that he went down on his knees and begged forgiveness for his felony from the officer who hit him on the head and let him go with a warning that next time Allah will not forgive him, while the Hindu fellow found himself in a bigger mess. When he, too, was tauntingly asked if he was Muslim, he replied in the negative and prompt came the next question in all its fury: ‘Why are you not Muslim?’ To which the poor chap had no answer. He too was eventually let go with a long and hard kick in the back, but with the warning that next time if he dared say he was a non-Muslim, he’d have to face a bit more than the wrath of Allah. This, my friend says, is not Islam but is definitely quite the Muslim conduct, for which many will, perhaps very wrongly, cite the backing of their religion.

Double standards abound. In the UAE Muslims can drink alcohol in a bar, but taking liquor is a punishable offence for them; in Qatar, it is your nationality, and not your faith, that decides whether you can legally consume alcohol: a Muslim from UAE, Turkey, Indonesia or India can, but a Muslim from Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia or Iran cannot.

Yes, Islam emphasises on equality in social justice, as was enshrined in the de facto constitution which the Prophet of Islam hammered out in consultation with all concerned, and which became the basis of running the first Islamic state at Madina. He declared the neighbouring Jews and Christian tribes with whom he entered into a truce as part of the Ummah, in which each individual was bound by the same set of rules, obligations and privileges regardless of his/her faith. This was a true pluralistic aspect of Islam which its Prophet implemented and enforced by consensus in his own lifetime in the 7th century CE.

Today the word Ummah has been robbed of its original meaning and popularly connotes Muslims only. Muslims who feel free to discriminate against non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries, whilst demanding and enjoying equal rights in Muslim-minority countries. Thus, the modern pluralistic, secular state is more Islamic in its social justice regime than the few Islamic republics which have their minorities on tenterhooks.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

China is not eager to jump in Afpak conflict

– Analysis: China to keep Pakistan embrace at arm’s length

By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING: (Reuters) – Pakistan, facing a crisis with the United States, has leaned closely to longtime partner China, offering its “all-weather friendship” with Beijing as an alternative to Washington.

But Pakistan will be disappointed if it hopes to replace American patronage with the same from China.

While China does not welcome the U.S. presence near its border, it wants stability on its western flank and believes an abrupt withdrawal of Washington’s support for Pakistan could imperil that. It also does not want to upset warming relations with India by getting mired in subcontinent security tension.

Maintaining that delicate balance, China will continue supporting economic cooperation with Pakistan but go slow on defense cooperation. While outwardly all smiles and warm pledges of friendship, China will quietly keep things at arms length.

“I think they see what’s going on in the U.S.-Pakistan front at the moment as reason to tread very carefully,” said Andrew Small, a researcher at the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Brussels who studies China-Pakistan ties and often visits both countries.

“They are taking extra care to make sure that what’s going on in the relationship is correctly understood, not reflecting any willingness to rush in or fill the gap or exploit differences.”

Pakistan’s brittle relationship with the United States, its major donor, has turned openly rancorous. Washington accused Pakistan’s powerful ISI spy agency of directly backing the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network and of providing support for a September 13 attack on the U.S. mission in Kabul. ….

Read more → Reuters

AQ Khan on Pakistan: Bastards first used us and now playing dirty games with us

–  Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: In an angry, bitter, self-exculpatory letter he wrote to his wife, Pakistan’s nuclear architect A Q Khanhas seriously implicated the Pakistani military and the Chinese government in proliferation of nuclear technology and material, and instructed her to take a “tough stand” if Pakistani establishment “plays any mischief with me.””Tell them the bastards first used us and now playing dirty games with us,” Khan concludes in a letter to his Dutch wife Henny, asking her to contact the media, in particular British journalist Simon Henderson, his confidante for many years, in a December 2003 letter.

Henderson, custodian of many of Khan’s secrets revealed to him as an “insurance” against harassment or worse by the Pakistani establishment, has periodically leaked them to the western media each time Islamabad has turned the screws on Khan, who has been under house detention and close watch ever since Pakistan’s proliferation activities were exposed early last decade.

In the latest such expose, Henderson last week provided Fox News with Khan’s letter to his wife in which the nuclear engineer reveals a stunning degree of proliferation between Islamabad and Beijing, evidently with government compliance. Pakistan has insisted that the proliferation was a rogue operation by Khan and the government or the military had nothing to do with it.

But in the letter Khans says “You know we had cooperation with China for 15 years. We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (km250 south-west of Xian). We sent 135 C-130 plane loads of machines, inverters, valves, flow meters, pressure gauges. Our teams stayed there for weeks to help and their teams stayed here for weeks at a time. Late minister Liu We, V. M. [vice minister] Li Chew, Vice Minister Jiang Shengjie used to visit us.”

The C-130 military transport planes were given to Pakistan by the United States under a military aid program; Washington has continued to lavish Islamabad with such aid even after reports of its misuse. In fact, documents relating to Pakistan’s proliferation through much of the 1990s suggest Washington was asleep on the watch through much of the nuclear exchanges involving Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran, and Libya, or simply chose to close its eyes.

Khan also reveals that “the Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us kg50 enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%). Chinese helped PAEC [Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the rival organisation to the Khan Research Laboratories] in setting up UF6 plant, production reactor for plutonium and reprocessing plant.”

Further, Khan discloses that Gen Jehangir Karamat [chief of army staff 1996-8, sent by Musharraf as ambassador to US 2004-2006] “took $3 million through me from the N Koreans and asked me to give them some drawings and machines.” In a separate letter to Fox News, Karamat has denied the allegation.

Many of these disclosures are elaborated in detail during Khan’s “questioning,” under pressure from Washington, by the ISI, which put out a separate 17-page report to mollify the US and its allies when the extent of Pakistan’s proliferation was revealed through Libya in 2003.

Khan’s letter to his wife was evidently meant to warn the Pakistani establishment that no harm should come to him and his family even though the nuclear engineer had by then agreed to be the fall guy and agreed, under orders from them military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, to take the blame for government and military-initiated nuclear proliferation in order to save Pakistan from embarrassment and sanctions.

“They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things (dirty) they got done by me in connection with Iran, Libya & N. Korea,” Khan writes to his wife. “This is just to forewarn you.”

He then instructs her to “Get out quickly to Dubai with Tanya [grand-daughter who lives with them] for a while or leave Tanya with Ayesha [daughter who lives in Islamabad],” signing off the letter with “Love you, Khantje” (diminutive name used between Khan and his wife).
Courtesy: → TOI

via → WICHAAR.COM

Canadians losing faith in religion

– Many link traditional institutions with religious conflict, survey finds

By Teresa Smith

It’s no secret fewer Canadians attend church today than 20 years ago, but what may be surprising is almost half of Canadians believe religion does more harm than good, according to the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid.

Explanations from experts vary – from fear of extremists and anger toward individuals who abuse positions of power, to a national “forgetting” of Canadian history.

“In the past few years, there have been several high-profile international situations involving perceived religious conflicts, as well as the anniversary of 9/11, and I think when people see those, it causes them to fear religion and to see it as a source of conflict,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, associate professor at Trinity Western University in Ottawa.

Religion seems to be a key player in many of today’s top stories, from stand-alone events – such as the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris linked to the French government’s proposed burka ban, and rightwing Christian Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway – to more drawn-out sagas, such as child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the perception that Christians are constantly campaigning against gay marriage and abortion. ….

Read more:→ http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Canadians+losing+faith+religion/5420900/story.html#ixzz1YUqS2IDX

 

MQM in the way of plot against Pakistan: Altaf

– By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

Excerpt;

…. The gist of the press conference was that Western powers were plotting the dismemberment of Pakistan, but the Muttahida had resolved to foil the design.

Repeated assurances were made to the armed forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence as well as the nation that the MQM was against conspiracies being hatched against the country.

Mr Hussain chose not to answer the serious allegations levelled by former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza against him and his party over the past fortnight, parrying a number of questions by reporters.

He concentrated on showing documents, maps and reports from the international media to strengthen his contention that international powers were working for the break-up of Pakistan.

Although he refused to pinpoint the international powers he was referring to, an allusion left no doubt: “The country which has the biggest influence in Pakistan is behind such conspiracies”. The MQM cannot fight such powers alone, Mr Hussain added. “There would have been no super power had the army, the ISI and the MQM got united.”

The MQM supremo accused the leadership of the Awami National Party of “misleading the Pukhtoons living in Karachi and Peshawar”. He even went to the extent of claiming that the United States had given millions of dollars to Asfandyar Wali for contesting the 2008 general election. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

The Bitches!

by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

This is a reply to J. Sahib who keeps calling American women “bitches”. On the beach, we saw these two teenagers wearing shirts; one shirt said bitch no.1, and the other one said bitch #2, we found it hilarious.

It is extremely difficult to understand for a Pakistani man that what kind of self confidence an American (Western) woman has and why.

Europe and America is heaven for women. Myself and my daughter are blessed to be American women.

No one would force us to do anything here. We are free to choose our way of life for ourselves. We do not have to date if we do not want to but if we wanted, no one can stop us. We can wear whatever we want, we can go inside the water (ocean etc) and men do not stand in line staring at us making us feel uncomfortable. No one will force us to go to a bar, we would only go if we wanted to. But no one can kill us here for going to a bar.

We can drive in USA and jog on a street with out being harassed. If our husbands ever hit us, it only takes police to get here in 5 minutes or less. And trust me, they do put a stop to domestic violence, and it works for poor women too. In Pakistan only rich and influential families can protect their daughters from domestic violence.

We can make our own decisions. every single one. Something as simple as if we want to go to a library. I was 25 when internet became a hit in Pakistan. I had just finished my medical school, while my younger brother, 22, was still in medical school. I joined a computer school to learn how to use a computer properly. My brother came to pick me up and saw that there was a video game shop in front of the computer school and about 25 boys were standing there. Although both myself and my brother had studied in co-education all our lives, boys at a video game shops were considered ghunds/lafangas by my brother. So, he decided that since there is a game shop there, I am not allowed to go learn computer. This is what I wanted most at that point in my life; learn how to use a computer.

No matter what a big fight I put up, I was not allowed to go to that computer school again. Society makes it difficult for your brothers. Brothers make it difficult for each others sisters by staring and teasing each others sisters.

Here in USA, we make our own decision. Call us bitches if you want, just know what we have, your women can only dream of. Or perhaps they can not even dream of it, they do not know what it is.

Courtesy: → Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, August 19, 2011.

Fikr-e-G.M. Syed Aur Aaj Ka Pakistan

 

KARACHI – SINDH, Aug 12: Speakers clarified the misconceptions regarding Sindh’s famous politician G.M. Syed and touched on his philosophy of life at the launch of the book Fikr-i-G.M. Syed Aur Aaj Ka Pakistan by Abdul Khaliq Junejo at the PMA House on Friday.

The book is an Urdu translation of three of the politician’s known speeches.

Dr Jaffer Ahmed, who presided over the event, read out a few excerpts from the preface. He said two different behaviours and attitudes vis-à-vis the state’s functioning had existed from the time Pakistan came into being. The first (which had turned into an ideological paradigm) was to do with a strong centralised system, which was usually considered necessary for the country’s unity and progress. Those who held this view often used religion and patriotism to support their standpoint. He said in 1951 no less than 32 religious scholars came up with a programme in favour of that kind of rule, despite the fact that East Pakistan was also part of the country at that time. They were doing so in a country which was multiethnic and multilingual.

Dr Ahmed said the other view that ran parallel to the first one was in favour of provincial and regional autonomy.

The Centre often labelled those who held that view as separatists. He said G.M. Syed was unfortunately one of those politicians who after partition became a victim of the Muslim League’s wrath and was not only ignored in the national discourse but was also dubbed as a ‘negative force’. Such politicians were often accused of something that they never committed or believed in.

He said the book contained some predictions made by G.M. Syed which were now proving true. In the book, he’s seen welcoming those who’d migrated from India to Pakistan and in a speech delivered in Vienna in 1952 he condemned the western powers for adopting the policy of supporting religious forces to counter communism. G.M. Syed had pointed out that if the West continued doing that, the religious extremists and regressive forces would take advantage of the situation and reach the corridors of power — something that later happened.

Prof Dr Tauseef Ahmed said time had proved G.M. Syed right on the things that he disagreed with Mr Jinnah. It was in 1946 that he first took issue with Mr Jinnah and his ‘confederation’ approach was not liked by the Muslim League. He said his address at the formation of the Pakistan People’s Organisation indicated that G.M. Syed wished for a state where there’d be a socialist system, where there’d be protection of everybody’s basic rights.

Continue reading Fikr-e-G.M. Syed Aur Aaj Ka Pakistan

US brings down its dependence on Pakistan supply routes to Afghanistan

by Wichaar Desk

WASHINGTON: The US has halved its reliability on Pakistani supply routes to Afghanistan from over 70 per cent to 35 per cent, given the volatile nature of the border areas where a number of NATO suppliers have come under attack.

America’s reliability on Pakistan for supplying goods and arms and ammunition for its troops in Afghanistan has reduced to just 35 per cent, a top Pentagon official told US lawmakers.

This is a considerable achievement given that till recently it was more than 70 per cent and this was considered to be one of the main bargaining points for Pakistan with the United States.

This figure of 35 per cent is expected to come further down in the coming months as the Pentagon is working to increase its supply to Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution network.

“It’s my understanding that approximately 35 per cent moves through the ground, and the other is moving through the Northern Distribution Network, coupled with also lift as we bring in supplies by air,” General William M Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing to be Commander, United States Transportation Command.

The US officials have stated in recent times that they were working on reducing their dependency on the supply routes in Pakistan after a series of attacks on NATO tankers carrying oil and other goods to western forces and Afghanistan.

Courtesy: → WICHAAR.COM

US, Western diplomats under strict watch in Pakistan

By ANI

Lahore, July 21 (ANI): Pakistan authorities will keep the American and Western diplomats under strict surveillance to prevent them from going to places they are not authorised to, sources have said. The Nation quoted the sources ….

Read more → Yahoo News

North Korea paid Pak generals for nuclear secrets

Pakistan’s nuclear-bomb maker says North Korea paid bribes for know-how

By R. Jeffrey Smith

The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program asserts that the government of North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to obtain access to sensitive nuclear technology in the late 1990s.

Abdul Qadeer Khan has made available documents that he says support his claim that he personally transferred more than $3 million in payments by North Korea to senior officers in the Pakistani military, which he says subsequently approved his sharing of technical know-how and equipment with North Korean scientists.

Khan also has released what he says is a copy of a North Korean official’s 1998 letter to him, written in English, that spells out details of the clandestine deal.

Some Western intelligence officials and other experts have said that they think the letter is authentic and that it offers confirmation of a transaction they have long suspected but could never prove. Pakistani officials, including those named as recipients of the cash, have called the letter a fake. Khan, whom some in his country have hailed as a national hero, is at odds with many Pakistani officials, who have said he acted alone in selling nuclear secrets.

Nevertheless, if the letter is genuine, it would reveal a remarkable instance of corruption related to nuclear weapons. U.S. officials have worried for decades about the potential involvement of elements of Pakistan’s military in illicit nuclear proliferation, partly because terrorist groups in the region and governments of other countries are eager to acquire an atomic bomb or the capacity to build one.

Read more → THE WASHINGTON POST

[See → letter from North Korean official to A.Q. Khan]

G. M. Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

Notes From My Memory, Part VIII: G. M. Laghari, Syed’s Birth Day in Jail, Living With Enemies, Palijo’s Ideology, Life in Jail

By Mir Thebo

Excerpt:

…. Living with ideological enemies: It is very difficult to live with an ideological enemy in one compound especially when there is just no way to avoid or escape him. And what do you do if that ‘ideological enemy’ is Rasool Bux Palijo who is always eager to pinch you with sharp and dreadful remarks? When we were in jail together (1968), as I mentioned in my previous note, R. B. Palijo came with the idea on 17th January to celebrate G. M. Syed’s Birth Day! I thought it was his ploy to criticize and condemn us [Communist Party (CP)] on the national question. Palijo arranged a birthday cake and some refreshments for the day. We all sat together including two muhajir comrades and paid rich tributes to Saaeen G. M. Syed.

When my turn came to speak, I compared Syed with other historical personalities like Dr. Sun Yat Sen, (Chinese nationalist leader, who played a great role in 1911 Chinese nationalist revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty in China), Jawahar Lal Nehru and Khan Ghaffar Khan. When Palijo’s turn came, he brutally attacked my comparison of Syed with those leaders and said, ‘Syed is far above than these leaders. Mir has tried to minimize G. M. Syed’s stature and his role.’ In rhetorical manner, he continued: ‘G. M. Syed is equivalent to Marx, Lenin and Mao’. He said: ‘these people don’t know how great G. M. Syed is’. I was flabbergasted by Palijo’s remarks. We knew how Palijo used Syed’s personality for his own narrow political interests. He himself knew very well the place of Syed. But, alas, that has been Palijo’s style all along.

R. B. Palijo’s political ideology: For political purposes, Palijo used Mao Tse-Tung whose little red book was

compulsory for every Chinese to carry during the cultural revolution (1966 to 1976) otherwise one will be labeled as counter revolutionary or an agent of the enemy. Thousands of people were persecuted especially the writers, intellectuals and middle class people. They were ruthlessly taken from their homes in the cities and were uprooted and sent to far-flung rural areas. They were humiliated under the guidance of the so-called vigilant party committees and people were forced to confess that they were anti-party and reactionary to bring them to shame in the public. Same thing was practiced in the Soviet Union during the Stalin period. They called it ‘The Great Purge’ to purify the party and the society.

Palijo found it easy to convince his workers through this sacred red book that all are enemies except his party people and that he can expel any leader or worker in the name of the great cause or the party. The same practice was common in our party too. It was actually a common practice in 3rd. world countries. Therefore almost all parties were divided in many groups and during that period Euro Communism emerged. The Western European parties denounced the Soviet system of one party rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the concept of democratic socialism and multi-party system emerged. New ideas emerged in 1980s in the Soviet Union too. They were called Glasnost and Perestroika (openness and restructuring) and M. Gorbachev declared a famous quote for the liberals that ‘Man is above the Ideology, the ideology is not above the man’. Those who are still Marxists and glorify the former USSR, consider Gorbachev the traitor and the one who brought down the grand empire of the UNION OF THE SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC.

Palijo brought Mao’s thoughts to his workers and Sindhi peasants and mixed it with Sindhi nationalism and formulated the idea of a Chinese model revolution in Sindh and repeatedly told his innocent workers the famous quote of Mao that “all political power comes from the barrel of the gun”. But Mao’s revolution was typical Chinese revolution. Mao didn’t copy the Russian model and he was against Russia. Both the communist powers even went to a war in 1969 over some piece of land along one of the longest international borders between the two countries although they both believed in the ideology that in future states will wither away and only universal communism will prevail. More funny thing is that it was America, the big capitalist enemy, who stopped Russians from attacking Chinese nuclear installations and Russians backed off (US journalist Harrison Salisbury reported that Soviet sources implied a possible first strike against the Lop Nur basin nuclear test site; and military documents of the time indicate that the USSR had more nuclear-attack plans against China than against the US. The United States warned the USSR against launching a nuclear strike against China. WIKI). Mao didn’t use even Marx very much. He brought the revolution in his own way as he convinced Chinese people how to fulfill difficult task through this old Chinese saying, ‘The foolish old man who moves the mountain’. ….

To read complete article: Indus Herald

Extra! Extra! Mullah Omar arrested in Pakistan

by Nadeem F. Paracha

ISLAMABAD: In a daring raid, Saudi Special Forces arrested renegade Afghan leader, Mullah Omar, from a famous five-star hotel located in one of Pakistan’s most popular vacation spots – Bhurban.

The news spread like wildfire and people were seen cursing the Pakistani government for allowing the Americans to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty – again.

However, when it became clear that the raid was not conducted by the Americans but the Saudis, the frowns turned into smiles and many were heard saying, ‘Jazzakallah!’

Only minutes after the raid, Pakistan’s prime minister and Army Chief appeared on state-owned television and congratulated the nation and thanked the Saudi regime for helping Pakistan in its war against terror.

Interestingly, religious parties like Jamaat-i-Islami, (JI) Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and some banned sectarian organisations, along with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Thereek-i-Insaf (PTI) which had originally called a joint press conference to condemn the raid, changed their stance half-way through the conference when told that the raid was by Saudi forces and not the Americans.

Munawar Hussain, JI, chief, was first heard lambasting Pakistan’s PPP-led civilian government for letting the country’s sovereignty be violated by the Americans, but after a reporter confirmed that the raid was executed by Saudi forces, Munawar turned to Imran Khan and embraced him.

‘Mahshallah!’ he exclaimed. “Today is a glorious day for our Islamic republic!”

Imran Khan and JUI chief Fazalur Rehman had earlier questioned the real identity of the man arrested from the five-star hotel, saying that even if it was Mullah Omar, we should be ashamed because Omar was a freedom fighter, conducting a liberation war against the Americans.

However, after it became clear that the arrest was made by Saudi forces, both Imran and Fazal then claimed that Mullah Omar was no friend of Pakistan and that he was not even a Muslim.

In a joint statement, JI, JUI and PTI, congratulated the nation and said that they had been saying all along that the Taliban were Pakistan’s greatest enemies and should be exterminated.

The statement also said that the PTI and JI will continue to hold sit-ins against American drones which were parachuting evil men like Mullah Omar into Pakistan and violating the sovereignty of the country. For this, the statement suggested, that Ahmad Shah Abdali should be invited to invade Pakistan and defeat the Americans.

When told that Abdali died almost two hundred years ago, PTI and JI termed this to be nothing more than western propaganda.

Imran Khan added, that from now on he should be addressed as Imran of Ghaznavi and that one of Pakistan’s most prominent revolutionary and youngest nuclear physicists, Zohair Toru, was building anti-drone missiles.

Toru, who was also present at the conference, confirmed this while licking a lemon flavoured popsicle. He said it was a very hot day and popsicles helped him concentrate.

Meanwhile, a military spokesman also held a press conference to give the media a briefing on the details of the raid.

He said the raid was executed by Saudi Special Forces who came from Saudi military bases in Riyadh.

The helicopters then landed on Margala Hills in Islamabad. On the lush hills, Saudi soldiers disembarked from the copters, got on camels and rode all the way to Bhurban in broad daylight.

They were twice stopped at checkpoints by Pakistani Rangers but were allowed to cross when some Saudi soldiers said something to the rangers in Arabic. It is believed that the Saudis promised the Rangers jobs in Saudi Arabia.

An eyewitness claims the Rangers smiled and waved to the departing camels, cheering ‘marhaba, marhaba.’

The camel army reached the five-star hotel in Bhurban at 11:00 am and right away rode their way into the sprawling premises.

The camels were also carrying rocket launchers, sub-machineguns, pistols, grenades and popcorn, all concealed in large ‘Dubai Duty Free’ shopping bags.

The military spokesman added that although the Pakistan Army had no clue about the raid, there were a dozen or so Pakistani military personnel present at the hotel.

When asked whether these men questioned the camel riders, the spokesman said that they did see the armed camels enter the hotel but the military men were at the time more interested in interrogating a 77-year-old Caucasian male whom they had arrested for smoking in a non-smoking area.

“After the Abbottabad incident, we are keeping a firm eye on Europeans and Americans,” the spokesman said.

Even though the white man turned out to be an old Polish tourist, the spokesman praised the military men’s vigilance. “Our country’s sovereignty is sacred,” he added.

According to the Pakistan military, the Saudis then rode their camels into one of the hotel’s kitchens and fired teargas shells.

This way they smoked out the chefs and their staff out into the open. From these, a Saudi commander got hold of a one-eyed chef with an untidy beard.

The Saudi commander looked at the chef and compared his face to a photograph he was carrying. He asked: ‘Al-Mullah-ul-Omar?’ To which the chef was reported to have said: “No, al-chicken jalfrezi. Also make very tasty mutton kebabs.”

The commander then asked, ‘Al-Afghani?’ to which the chef said, “Yes make Afghani tikka too. You want?”

A reporter asked the military spokesman whether the Pakistani military men present at the hotel witnessed the operation. The spokesman answered in affirmative but said they didn’t take any action after confirming that Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being violated.

The reporter then asked how the military men determined that Pakistan’s sovereignty was not being violated. Answering this, the spokesman said that since the camel riders were speaking Arabic there was thus no reason for the military to charge them with violating Pakistan’s sovereignty.

This statement made the media men at the press conference very happy and they consequently began applauding and raising emotional slogans praising Islam, ISI and palm trees.

Soon after the announcement that Mullah Omar was arrested by Saudi forces, the country’s private TV channels became animated. One famous TV talk-show host actually decided to host his show in a Bedouin tent. Instead of a chair, he sat on a camel wearing a Pakistan Army uniform.

Though most of his guests — that included prominent ex-generals, clergymen and strategic analysts — praised the operation and heaped scorn at Mullah Omar, there was one guest, a small-time journalist, who disagreed with the panelists.

He asked how a wanted man like Mullah Omar was able to live in Pakistan undetected and that too while working as a chef in a famous five-star hotel. He also said that Mullah Omar had also been appearing on various cooking shows as a chef on various food channels.

To this, the host snubbed the journalist telling him that he was asking irrelevant questions.

‘But before this operation, everyone was supporting the Taliban and telling us they were fighting a liberation war against the Americans,’ the journalist protested.

‘No,’ said the host, ‘it was the civilian government that was in cahoots with the Taliban. It should resign.’

‘No,’ the journalist replied, ‘it was our agencies!’

This made the host angry and he slapped the journalist. He threatened the journalist by saying that he would lodge a case against him in accordance with the Islamic hudood ordinance.

The journalist responded by saying that the Saudis had violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. Hearing this, the host slapped the journalist again, saying he will get him booked for blasphemy.

At the end of the show the host and the panelists burned an American flag and sang the Pakistani national anthem in Arabic. Then, after handing over the treacherous journalist to the authorities, they proceeded to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj.

However, they were soon deported by the Saudi regime for violating Saudi sovereignty.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com.

Courtesy: http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/13/extra-extra-mullah-omar-arrested-in-pakistan.html

Devolution of HEC: Which model should we follow?

by Azhar Ali Shah

According to some HEC officials and other educationists, though the Western model of devolved higher education system is good but it may not be suitable for us to follow and that we should look at our neighbors China, Saudi, Iran and India for developing our system! One wonders whom our neighboring countries are going to follow? And the answer is the West!

Take for example China’s experience with higher education as described by Xin-Ran Duan [1]. Though initially based on the ideas of Confucius, China’s higher education adopted western (US) model with the establishment of Peiyang University in 1895 (changed its name to Tianjin University in 1951).

On becoming the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China changed its system of higher education from Western to Soviet Union. The difference between these two being that Western model was based on devolution in terms of management and common comprehensive university (one university for all disciplines) in terms of structure; while the Soviet model was based on over centralization of management and discipline specific universities in terms of structure (e.g., University of Engineering, University of Agriculture, University of Art and Literature etc.).

After the fall of Soviet Union in 1990s, China adopted open door-policy and started both devolving the power and management and merging the discipline specific universities into truly comprehensive universities following the advanced Western model again.

In order to describe how China’s over centralized system is going to devolve, I would like to present following excerpt from an article [1]:

One major change in governance has been the introduction of the “two-level education provision system,” in which the central government (Minister of Education) shares responsibility for educational governance with local governments (provincial bureaus of education). The provincial bureaus of education have been assigned greater responsibilities and now directly administer most common universities and colleges. The chief executive officer of a university is the president, who is usually appointed by the government. In the past, appointments were made without public hearings, interviews, or competition among candidates. The introduction of these processes has had a positive effect [1].

So having gone through this are we still going to follow China, India, Saudi and others who are themselves evolving to adopt advanced Western model! Our 1973 constitution placed some subjects on concurrent list only for 10 years (I repeat for 10 year only) so the country develops the resources at center and then devolves to strengthen the provinces. HEC has developed its capacity in 10 years and that is the maximum as per example of 1973 constitution which we need to transfer to provinces so they provide the same services even in a more efficient, fair and democratic way.

It is therefore, HEC officials along with educationists, experts and general public join the hands to start what we believe are good things developed by HEC and evolve it further with the participation of all of us. Why do HEC officials think that they could do this work while only sitting at Islamabad? What is the point? What if sub teams of these persons along some additional persons are provided the same setup and resources at provinces? Why they can’t work there exactly in the same way as they are working in Islamabad?

It is in the light of the above that we request HEC officials along with our friends in the academia to kindly help our provinces in setting up the same bodies at provincial level and do away with the centralized HEC. These opportunities for change come once in a generation and should not be lost in the narrow mindedness of bureaucratic hurdles. In order to build a true Pakistan, we have to build our system at local level, which is fair, transparent, democratic, honest and trustworthy. This might require some personnel sacrifices but that is the way to go ahead if we are really sincere with our country as a whole!

PS: BTW, HEC still follows the outdated Soviet Model not only in terms of centralization but

Continue reading Devolution of HEC: Which model should we follow?

Pakistan : A great deal of ruin in a nation

Excerpt:

Why Islam took a violent and intolerant turn in Pakistan, and where it might lead

“TYPICAL Blackwater operative,” says a senior military officer, gesturing towards a muscular Westerner with a shaven head and tattoos, striding through the lobby of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel. Pakistanis believe their country is thick with Americans working for private security companies contracted to the Central Intelligence Agency; and indeed, the physique of some of the guests at the Marriott hardly suggests desk-bound jobs.

Pakistan is not a country for those of a nervous disposition. Even the Marriott lacks the comforting familiarity of the standard international hotel, for the place was blown up in 2008 by a lorry loaded with explosives. The main entrance is no longer accessible from the road; guards check under the bonnets of approaching cars, and guests are dropped off at a screening centre a long walk away.

Some 30,000 people have been killed in the past four years in terrorism, sectarianism and army attacks on the terrorists. The number of attacks in Pakistan’s heartland is on the rise, and Pakistani terrorists have gone global in their ambitions. This year there have been unprecedented displays of fundamentalist religious and anti-Western feeling. All this might be expected in Somalia or Yemen, but not in a country of great sophistication which boasts an elite educated at Oxbridge and the Ivy League, which produces brilliant novelists, artists and scientists, and is armed with nuclear weapons. …

…. The future would look brighter if there were much resistance to the extremists from political leaders. But, because of either fear or opportunism, there isn’t. The failure of virtually the entire political establishment to stand up for Mr Taseer suggests fear; the electioneering tour that the law minister of Punjab took with a leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba last year suggests opportunism. “The Punjab government is hobnobbing with the terrorists,” says the security officer. “This is part of the problem.” A state increasingly under the influence of extremists is not a pleasant idea.

It may come out all right. After all, Pakistan has been in decline for many years, and has not tumbled into the abyss. But countries tend to crumble slowly. As Adam Smith said, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” The process could be reversed; but for that to happen, somebody in power would have to try.

To read full article : Economist

Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state

Failed state or Weimar Republic?

Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state, still committed to American and Gulf Arab alliances

By Omar Ali

A friend recently wrote to me that Pakistan reminded him of the Weimar republic; an anarchic and poorly managed democracy with some real freedoms and an explosion of artistic creativity, but also with a dangerous fascist ideology attracting more and more adherents as people tire of economic hardship and social disorder and yearn for a savior. Others (much more numerous than the single friend who suggested the Weimar comparison) insist that Pakistan is a failed state. So which is it? Is Pakistan the Weimar republic of the day or is it a failed state?

Continue reading Pakistan remains a military-dominated rentier state

Obama’s White House: on-the-fly zone – Dr Mohammad Taqi

The US and the allies may call the military campaign what they want but the no-fly zone, for all practical purposes, is an act of war and the fact of the matter is that Qaddafi himself is the endpoint in this war that cannot be circumvented

Geostrategic planning and global leadership has been likened by the old grandmasters of US foreign policy to a grand chessboard, where the strategy is contemplated several moves in advance, with an eye on the endgame. But the knee-jerk responses of Barack Obama’s administration to the rapidly unravelling situation in the Middle East and North Africa give an impression that he and his team are playing chequers, albeit in a manner as erratic as Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, if not more. From dithering on the US role in Egypt to weeks of waffling about Libya before actually jumping on the no-fly zone bandwagon, it seems like the White House is literally an on-the-fly zone, making up policy as it goes along.

As the western intervention in Libya entered its fourth day, it appears that President Obama may have allowed himself and the US to get sucked into a very messy situation in yet another Muslim country. Mr Obama had stated a couple of weeks ago that Qaddafi must “step down from power and leave”. Just when the Tomahawk missiles were being unleashed on Libya, Vice Admiral William E Gortney said at the Pentagon that Qaddafi himself is not a target, but his safety could not be guaranteed. Speaking on Sunday morning talk shows, Admiral Mike Mullen took the line that the Libyan dictator must “make decisions regarding his future in the country” but reiterated that the goal of the attacks was not to oust him. Taken at face value, these comments appear somewhat innocuous and are designed to placate the war-weary American public but they also reflect the confusion and bickering within the various factions of the Obama administration. …

Read more : Daily Times

Dubai on Empty

By A. A. Gill

Excerpt:

…. You look at this place and you realize not a single thing is indigenous, not one of this culture’s goods and chattels originated here. Even the goats have gone. This was a civilization that was bought wholesale. The Gulf is the proof of Carnegie’s warning about wealth: “There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.” Emiratis are born retired. They waft through this city in their white dishdashas and headscarves and their obsessively tapered humorless faces. They’re out of place in their own country. They have imported and built a city, a fortress of extravagance, that excludes themselves. They have become duplicitous, schizophrenic. They don’t allow their own national dress in the clubs and bars that serve alcohol, the restaurants with the hungry girls sipping champagne. So they slip into Western clothes to go out.

The Gulf Arabs have become the minority in this country they wished out of the desert. They are now less than 20 percent of the total population. Among the other 80-plus percent are the white mercenary workers who come here for tax-free salaries to do managerial and entrepreneurial jobs, parasites and sycophants for cash. For them money is a driving principle and validation. They came to be young, single, greedy, and insincere. None of them are very clever. So they live lives that revolve around drink and porn sex and pool parties and barbecues with a lot of hysterical laughing and theme nights, karaoke, and slobbery, regretful coupling. In fact, as in all cases of embarrassing arrested development, these expats on the short-term make don’t expect to put down roots here, have children here, or grow old here. Everyone’s on a visa dependent on a job.

Then there is a third category of people: the drones. The workers. The Asians: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Filipinos. Early in the morning, before the white mercenaries have negotiated their hangovers, long before the Emiratis have shouted at the maid, buses full of hard-hatted Asians pull into building sites. They have the tough, downtrodden look of Communist posters from the 30s—they are both the slaves of capital and the heroes of labor. Asians man the hotels; they run the civil service and the utilities and commercial businesses; they are the clerks and the secretaries, the lawyers, the doctors, the accountants; there isn’t a single facet of this state that would function if they didn’t maintain it. No one with an Emirati passport could change a fuse. Yet, the workers, who make up roughly 71 percent of the population, have precious few rights here. They can’t become citizens, though some are the third generation of their family to be born here. They can be deported at any time. They have no redress. Many of the Asian laborers are owed back pay they aren’t likely to get. There are reams of anecdotal stories about the abuse of guest workers. I’m told about the Pakistani shop assistant who, picking up an Arab woman’s shopping bags, accidentally passed gas, got arrested, and was jailed.

An Army Without a Country – by Ahmed Rashid

Excerpt:

….. As leaders worldwide—from the Pope to Hillary Clinton to Nicolas Sarkozy—strongly condemn Bhatti’s murder, the reaction of the Pakistani government has been vapid. No action has been taken or promises made to curb the freedom of violent extremist groups, who have hailed both murders and who have meanwhile been staging daily street demonstrations in Lahore to demand the death sentence for Raymond Davis, the American CIA agent who is now in Pakistani custody after killing two Pakistani men believed to be agents for the army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). (Davis was part of a secret team working in the country; the exposure of his activities puts further strain on the uneasy alliance between the US and Pakistan.)

For its part, the army has so far failed to express regret about either Bhatti’s murder or Taseer’s. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani declined to publicly condemn Taseer’s death or even to issue a public condolence to his family. He told Western ambassadors in January in Islamabad that there were too many soldiers in the ranks who sympathize with the killer, and showed them a scrapbook of photographs of Taseer’s killer being hailed as a hero by fellow police officers. Any public statement, he hinted, could endanger the army’s unity.

Behind this silence lies something more sinister. For decades the army and the ISI have controlled the extremist groups, arming and training them in exchange for their continuing to serve as proxy forces in Afghanistan and Kashmir. But in recent years, the army has lost control of them and they are striking targets of their own. Yet the army has refused to help crack down on its rogue protégés—despite the fact that extremists have increasingly attacked the army and the ISI itself, and at least 2,000 military personnel have died at their hands in the past five years. This is all the more ominous in view of the resources the military commands: half a million men, another half a million reserves, 110 nuclear weapons (according to US media estimates) and one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, the ISI, which has an estimated 100,000 employees.

If the army has now surrendered any willingness to take on the extremists, the political establishment had already given up long ago. ….

Read more : The New York Review of Book

In the US, where 45 per cent of young African Americans have no jobs and the top hedge-fund managers are paid $1bn a year on average, mass protests against cuts in services & jobs have spread to heartland states such as Wisconsin

Behind the Arab revolt lurks a word we dare not speak

BY John Pilger

The people of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Libya are rising up not only against their leaders, but also western economic tyranny. …

Read more : NewStatesman

A divided Pakistan buries Salman Taseer and a liberal dream

by Declan Walsh in Lahore

Liberals have long been a minority force in Pakistan, reviled for importing ‘western’ ideas and culture; now they are virtually an endangered species.

There was silence in the ancient city of Lahore yesterday as Salman Taseer, a pugnacious son of the soil who made his name by speaking out, was lowered into an early grave. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

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To read BBC urdu column, click here

BELGIUM and THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

By: Abdul Khalique Junejo.

Holding of general elections and subsequent formation of government, some times coalitions, is just a routine matter and a normal course of life in the countries of Western Europe. But not so in the case of Belgium, the country considered and called to be the ‘Capital of Europe’ since it provides headquarters for European Union and the NATO. The recently held general elections in this tiny country of about 10 millions people made bigger and eye-catching head-lines in the world media; not for any ‘Landside Victory’ but because of a split mandate, a mandate that threatens to split the country. For example the news paper carried the headlines; “Separatists claim victory in Belgian election”. These developments have generated extraordinary interest in this part of the world as many regions /peoples here are encountering the problems of similar nature.

Belgium, being situated between France and Holland, is a bi-lingual country comprising the French-speaking Wallonia people and Flemish-speaking Flanders. For many years the emphasis on the linguistic identity has been on the rise and recently quite vociferous voices have been heard for the dissolution of Belgium and creation of a separate country for the Flemish-speaking people of Dutch origin. New Flemish Alliance, the party advocating for separate country, has emerged as the largest party, not only among the Flanders but in the country as a whole. This has given an exceeding impetus to the demands for the parting of ways between the Flanders and the Wallonia.

Pakistan was created by conjoining of different peoples with their own distinct identity based on history, language and culture. After creation of the new country, these peoples (Bengalis, Sindhis, Balochs etc) started demanding recognition of their identity and asking for the promotion of their culture and language. In response the state-organs used the force of gun and the state-intellectuals used the force of pen to suppress such demands and, instead, promote and impose ‘single identity, single language and single culture’. This ‘strategy’ created strong reaction which manifested itself in the shape of mass movements for the ‘restoration’ of different identities.

One of these movements, Bengali, culminated in the ‘split’ of Pakistan and creation of a new country. Bangladesh while Sindhi and Baloch movements are getting fiercer by the time.

Continue reading BELGIUM and THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

India called itself the “largest democracy” but beyond that it is as rotten as it can be!

Niira Radia is Madam Power

by B. R. GOWANI

The elections, Western style, is the only criteria to be considered for any country to be qualified as a “democracy.” India, of course, has ritually held elections since its independence from Britain in 1947 and has called itself the “largest democracy.” But beyond that, the system is as rotten as it can be. The Transparency International’s 2010 report on corruption ranked India at 87th place out of 178 countries. The people in India don’t need any reports to tell them how corrupt the entire system is because they experience it everyday. On the other hand, corruption in nation’s upper echelon has been confirmed by the recent “Radiagate” scandal–India’s WikiLeaks.

While the United States is busy saving its face in the wake of the WikiLeaks’s release of the cables of US diplomats’ conversations around the world, some Indian politicians (in power and in opposition), industrialists, journalists, ministers, lobbyists, and others are trying to extricate themselves from the mess they’ve been plunged into due to the release of the telephone tapes of conversations between them and Niira Radia–probably the greatest lobbyist India has ever seen. It is alleged that she herself has accumulated a decent amount of money too; Rs.300 crore, i.e., over US$66 million.

Read more : Globeistan