For those who have been dotting the internet arena for sometime must have bumped across one or more inspirational presentations on TED.com. Only recently Faisal Chohan had been selected as TED Fellow 2009 and it is through his efforts that we extend an open invitation to Pakistanis. The selection to this TED Fellows group is limited to bringing together some brilliant future leaders and doers from this region.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
Dr. Farrukh Saleem writes for The News analyzing the strategic deployments of the Pakistan Army according to his rough estimates a total of 89,568 square kilometers of Pakistani territory is either under complete ‘Taliban control’, ‘contested control’ or ‘Taliban influenced’; that’s roughly 11 per cent of Pakistan’s landmass.
The sickening reality is that having lost control of roughly 11 percent of your land the Pakistan Army is busily deployed facing its guns at the Indian threat - I Corps is in Mangla, II Corps is in Multan, IV Corps in Lahore, V Corps in Karachi, X Corps in Rawalpindi, XI Corps in Peshawar, XII Corps in Quetta, XXX Corps in Gujranwala and XXXI Corps is in Bahawalpur, In effect, some 80 to 90 per cent of our military assets are deployed to counter the threat from India
This is in reference to the article of Colonel Harish Puri – “An Open Letter to Gen Kayani”
A majority of Indian authors including this Col (R) Harish Puri, are always keen to convey their loaded messages from across the border with laden sarcasm. Indian writers have a convincing way to convey the message in a very subtle manner which appeals to the sensibilities of the liberal class and pro-Indian segment in Pakistan and hence cook stories quite well to defame Pakistan internationally.
Even here how tactfully he incited the sentiments of people of Bangladesh by blaming that Bengalis were never considered as Pakistanis and he makes a fake story of how Pak army had inflicted immense atrocities on the Bengalis without any remorse or inhibitions. Pardon me… but what happened in 71 is a published and established fact now. What was done by the Indian army is revealed to the world… Even the best army under best General would not have done any better at that time. The catastrophe was a foregone conclusion since it was an international conspiracy to detach East Pakistan from the rest of Pakistan.
This post was submitted by Ishaal Zehra.
This article appeared in The News yesterday 14th April 2009, a letter from an Indian Colonel to Pakistans COAS General Kiyani, it raises some very valid questions but more importantly the mere fact that the Signal Corps of the Pakistan Army cannot locate the broadcast center of Mullah Umar’s weekly radio transmission, broadcasted on a fixed FM frequency at a well established time. The mere fact that the Pakistan Army allows this broadcast to occur may make us believe that the Pakistan Army has deliberately allowed this insurgency to prosper.
by Col (r) Harish Puri
Published in The News: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Dear Gen Kayani,
Sir, let me begin by recounting that old army quip that did the rounds in the immediate aftermath of World war II: To guarantee victory, an army should ideally have German generals, British officers, Indian soldiers, American equipment and Italian enemies.
Guest blog by Temporal from Baithak Blog
The Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Lahore yesterday by terrorists. SSS terms this a “shift”. I think it is a “deterioration” or “escalation” of lawlessness. If Pakistan is to retain its independence this tide will not be curbed easily by a solitary act (like the restoration of the judiciary) nor by the efforts of one individual or one institution. Both Zardari led government and the Army under Kayani have appeared ineffective to stem this.
More pertinent is to view Tuesday’s attack in the context of the peace deals in the Swat Valley and the tribal areas .. Prior to the signing of the deals, the matter of the release of militants who did not belong to the Swat area was raised, that is, non-Pashtun militants… However, after deciding on the level of compensation packages for the families of militants killed or injured by the security forces and other matters related to Swat and the tribal areas, the matter of non-Pashtun militants was deferred and the peace agreements were signed. In effect, non-Pashtun militants have been ignored and the attack in Lahore could be a bloody message to the government that the “Punjabi militants” have the capacity to cripple urban centers at any time and place of their choosing. Syed Saleem Shezad
So what should the ordinary citizen do? Packing up and leaving is NOT an option. Burying their heads in the sand? More prayers to Allah? Joining the orthodox fringe? Or if not joining, then fighting them for their rights?
Early today morning a number of terrorist people on foot attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team as it was approaching Gaddafi Stadium the bus was brutally attacked by almost twelve gunmen as it passed through the Liberty Roundabout.
The bus was miraculously shielded from about two rocket attacks and serious damage was avoided as Police Security escorts retaliated for about twenty-five minutes with heavy gunfire. This sadly resulted in critical injuries to police forces and about five of these selfless public servants lost their lives protecting the lives of our cricketing guests.
Reports initially emerged that quite a number of Sri Lankan players were injured but as the news filtered through two players received serious wounds one was a grazing wound to the chest and the other to the ankle. Remaining players received minor injuries due to flying debris and shrapnel. As of now the Sri Lankan team has been evacuated via a helicopter to Lahore airport for an onwards journey to Sri Lanka via Dubai aboard an Etihad Airways flight
Watching different channels and looking at the footage of the attack, it is clear that religious fundamentalists may have struck yet again. They were armed with hand grenades, rocket launchers, modern rifles and other sophisticated weapons apparently they were with a small beard and looked to belong to Pushtoon origin [?].
Guest Blog by Vaneet Kundra
THE Partition of India ranks, beyond a doubt, as one of the 10 greatest tragedies in human history. It was not inevitable. India’s independence was inevitable; but preservation of its unity was a prize that, in our plural society, required high statesmanship. That was in short supply. A mix of other reasons deprived us of that prize – personal hubris, miscalculation, and narrowness of outlook.
The bare details of 1947 and its legacy are stark. The territorial partition that created modern India and Pakistan involved the internal division of Punjab and Bengal provinces, which – in unimaginable conditions of collapse of authority, flight, and massacre – resulted in the forced movement of 20 million people (Hindus and Sikhs to India and Muslims to Pakistan) and approximately 1.5 million deaths.
My grandfather used to tell me stories of partition and the emotions attached to it. I was quite interested to know, why the same sons of soil were detached by our founding fathers. He read a small article, which he had preserved.
This article was written by a 14 year old girl who discusses the Mumbai incident, worth a read
Payoshi Roy (Class XI)
Bishop Cottons Girls School (Bangalore).
The siege on Mumbai left the most experienced of us stunned. Even those who have become immune to grief and tragedy stopped for a second. The 48-hour encounter with these extremely sophisticated and trained terrorists of Pakistani origin left India burning in every sense of the word. The versions and accounts are endless. Trying to quantify people’s grief would not only be futile but indeed low down. People who went for their daily evening session of beer and gossip at the Leopold café, that special once a month dinner at the Taj or for the bitter sweet occasion of farewell at CST Station never returned. This isn’t the first time we’re hearing about something like this. These stories have been talked about through out this year and to be honest through out our lives. We have experienced five separate series of bomb blasts across the country in this year alone. The dreadful cries of the Gujarat riots are yet to recede from recent memories. The 2006 and 1993 Bombay blasts and riots haunt their victims even now.
Guest Blog by Azhar Aslam
India today is considered by the world to be an established state. Indians think they are on the brink of acquiring super power status. LeT on the other hand is a banned organization considered to be a terrorist non-state actor. So why is it that the belligerence and jingoism Indian state and media is what would be expected of an organization like LeT. How come Indian state is behaving like a terrorist organization?
Non-state violent actors, until recently have been called mercenaries and have been used, by different powers throughout human history. British imperialism started its life in this shape and form, the most famous being the East India Company. Sir Drake , Sir Raleigh and other such “privateers,” were all non state entrepreneurs who advanced state power. Lawless violence often preceded the rule of law.
More recently after the Second World War United States has employed several non-state forces in various parts of the world to further its foreign policy agenda, often at high human and economic cost to that country and its people. Ironically Afghanistan was one such theatre. The Indian support for Baluchistan insurgency is an open secret. There is a strength of evidence for Indian and US support for ‘Jihadist’ groups operating on Pakistani territories.
Guest Post by Temporal from Baithak Blog
The UN Security Council Committee condemning LeT and its parent JD should be a blessing in disguise for the political leadership of Pakistan.
They could use this powerful international nudge to clamp down on the ISI and the terrorist breeding factories masquerading as madaris and religious charitable organizations.
This is the time to kill two birds with one resolve backed by firm action. The beards and ISI (backed by support from a segment of the occupying army) would thwart and resist every inch of the way.
They should, they could and they won’t.
Because there is a qehhat ul rejaal in the political leadership. There are no statesmen, no giants, no leaders either in the centre or in the provinces.
Self serving pygmies react – they do not act.
I received this email from Fuaad Alawi, who happens to be an email subscriber of this blog where he shares his comments with me probably after reading the Indian Jet incursion post late last night. When I did get around to reading his email, I must admit, I felt in-sync with the sentiments conveyed by Fuaad, he is definitely a patriotic Pakistani who feels frustrated at watching our ineffective bunch of leaders playing a casual game of charades with the dignity and pride of the people of Pakistan. Read the entire article and you too might join Fuaad when he finally pleads to our President and Chief of Army Staff, to Stop taking dictations & Start dictating to the forces who want our Pakistan Destroyed.
Dear Teeth Maestro!!
I have a very burning question or questions which I need to put forth & I want you as well as your readers as well as all who read them give me an answer & lets put these questions as a petition in front of the sitting dummy assembly, the dummy president who is not working for the interests of Pakistan which is very apparent & finally in front of the sitting C.O.A.S. who is supposed to have his men protect our borders & serve the nation which he has failed miserably. If you look at the previous Generals, he is the most stupidest looking General I have ever seen. This General has no balls, no character, no self esteem & no love for the nation. This sitting General is allowing his nation to be raped by outsiders in the name of terrorism. This sitting General is a disgrace to his uniform.
Considering the heated debate surrounding the Indian Jet ‘inadvertently’ invading Pakistani airspace yesterday afternoon. Saad Abdullah analyses the situation in detail, he believes the Indians deliberately needed to test the preparedness of the PAF which has inferior aircrafts. But considering the quick intercept done within 4km of the intrusion it does go to show that PAF has truly outdone its readiness. The article analyses the controversy from both sides of the argument, what might be the Indian agenda and conversely the poor political response by the Pakistani government which has cowered behind accepting it to be a mere technical error, without so much as issuing a strong condemnation. Bottom line, hats off to the Pakistan Air Force for having stood their ground – Read the entire article on Saad Abdullah’s Blog
It is being widely reported that around 12:40am today December 14, 2008 fully armed Indian fighter jets violated Pakistani airspace at two specific locations, one around Kashmir area and the other near Lahore traveling 4km into the territory. Agile Pakistani fighter jets were scrambled and distracted the Indian encroachment very quickly.
The official response by Indian sources is said to be an inadvertent mistake. But one must seriously question this lame explanation specially in light of the coordinated violation in two separate sectors and within the close proximity of the heated propaganda being waged by the India government.
Guest Blog by Amjad Malik
Recent 26 November Mumbai shoot out which is decaled by some as India’s 9/11 though is condemnable, but this symbolic attack on western outlets of Taj and Oberoi has a double edged consequences. On one hand it unfolds the destruction in the commercial hub of India and on the other an opportunity where India, Pakistan and USA attempting to use this event for their own strategic advantages ignoring the basic fact that the catastrophe has far reaching repercussions for the peace initiative in the region. Indian security failure is floating on the surface and historic rivalry has forced India to deny any lapse and refuse intelligence share and it leveled allegations forthwith on Pakistani home grown LeT which was an easiest target, if one is familiar with Indo Pak relations. India at all times will have a few people set to rock and roll due to LeT’s past presence in Kashmir on the name of ‘struggle for independence.’ Though its pre mature to establish the true perpetrators behind in the absence of joint or UN mission investigation but it’s an eye opener how fragile is the security of India which claims to be the biggest economic cum military power in the region, but has been meagerly kneeled down by around 10 outlawed individuals in few hours which raise eye brows on country’s safety procedures on its nuclear command and control. Their concentration must be to stop any future Mumbai style attacks and the key is to counter the far right activities of RSS and VHP, and move forward towards true emancipation of its people by addressing Muslim & Christian minority treatment concerns and a viable solution to the bone of contention ‘Kashmir’. Unless the situation is improved where Washington plays a role to pave way for an Indo-Pak peace deal where EU, China, Russia are on board to add economic incentives and geographical advantages, these rivalries will continue. These attacks whether it’s at Marriott Islamabad or Taj at Mumbai will continue as both countries since its inauguration in 1947 have locked horns in intelligence warfare and RAW and ISI both are fighting this war to its own strategic advantages.
Guest Post by Hassan Baig
“Mulk khud hi chalta rehay ga” (approximate translation: the country doesn’t need our contribution to thrive) is a sentence many Pakistanis are prone to saying. I confess that till a few years ago, I myself was confident of this misleading notion. Misleading and dangerous – especially in today’s volatile climate. As Pakistanis, it is imperative that we come to terms with the fact that no heavenly Manna will alleviate our country’s plight. The job rests squarely on our own shoulders; with the destiny of a whole nation tethered to our will and to the execution of that will. And so as the clock ticks and the prophets of doom raise a foreboding murmur from East to West, it is high time for us to learn some crucial lessons. Lessons without which our collective slumber will only deepen:
1) Extremism always overcomes moderation. History is fraught with examples of moderate majorities ruled and controlled by extremist minorities. Therefore unless we are extreme in our moderation, our endeavor – any endeavor – is doomed to be highjacked by powers which know more meticulous passion. From the radicalized Islamic cleric who preaches bigotry and hatred to the Neoconservative-backed Christian televangelist who sermonizes the urgency of preparing for an ethnic genocide pithily called Armageddon, we today live in an increasingly polarized world. And since Pakistan exists on the very fault-lines of this burgeoning conflict, our problems are exacerbated. Regardless of what stance we take or which side we pick, our country will remain on the receiving end for the foreseeable future. And regardless of how hastily we disregard conspiracy theories, the extreme forces on all sides will continue to augment their belief systems with hybrid religiopolitical prophecies. Prophecies which have a way of snowballing into self-fulfilment. Therefore it is critical that we take our moderate stance to be more of a proactive doctrine rather than apolitical aloofness. Our very existence depends on it.