Asher Hasan, CEO of Naya Jeevan who was a TEDIndia Fellow at the TEDIndia conference held in Mysore, Bangalore this November. Asher brilliantly articulated the message of peace from Pakistan within the short 5 minute TED talk, truly Asher did the entire Pakistani delegation proud that afternoon in Mysore.
By: Amjad Malik, MA, LLM
I have been vehemently advocating the need to erect a system of accountability by invoking a new commission and an Act of Parliament to curb mal practice, plundering and looting whilst one is holding a public office. This new Commission can truly ensure compliance with the Clauses of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution too. We are witnessing many names in the list of beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance, and many names which are not in it, are either praying to be in it or cursing the said redemption order of the former military dictator who came to rid corruption on 12 October 99, and left giving this strange gift of ‘hypocrisy’ to the nation.
Mal practice, corruption and mal governance is a common phenomenon of the third world countries as wealth is confined to the elite and institutions are so weak that they do not get roots and are run on the dictat of personalities. Pakistan is amongst those few unfortunate countries where despite abundance of natural resources, talent, passion, capacity of self dependency in edible food products, the country is still rating higher in corruption, suffering from food, electricity, gas, sugar shortages. Who is to be blamed is a long short, and to me, all bear the collective responsibility to bring this country to a stage where each person of any possible public stature is not free from corruption charges, which I will call allegations.
Continue reading “He who is Not a Sinner should Cast the First Stone” »
Guest blog by Ishaal Zehra
The attack which killed the National Deputy Commander of the ground forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (RG), General Noor Ali Shooshtari and the provincial commander for Sistan-Baluchistan, Rajab Ali Mohammadzadeh along with some senior officers and 42 others in a homicide bombing inflicted Iran’s worst military casualties in years.
Quick after the mishap, an Iranian military official went as far as to raise the prospect of a possible military offensive into Pakistan against the group blamed for the attack. “There is even unanimity that these operations (could) take place in Pakistan territory,” the ISNA news agency quoted MP Payman Forouzesh as saying. While the headquarters of Iran’s armed forces blamed the bombing on “terrorists” backed by “the Great Satan America and its ally Britain,” Fars News Agency said Sunday.
Islamabad strongly denied the allegations and said the attack was an attempt to “spoil ties” with Iran. “There are forces which are out to spoil our relations with Iran. But our ties are strong enough to counter these machinations,” said the Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit while dismissing the allegations.
Continue reading “New Iran – New Intentions” »
Allow me to apologize to you for not being able to be present during your address to civil society at the hallowed campus of Government College University in my beloved city of Lahore. Much as I would have wanted to benefit from the wisdom of your analysis and foresight, I could not make the journey quickly enough from the remote town of Chilas where I was in consultation with the proponents of a major dam which shall displace 32,000 people and submerge 32,000 ancient rock carvings if and when built. Allow me to further explain that since flights were cancelled from the nearest airport in Gilgit, a tedious five hour journey on the Karakoram Highway, I was compelled to take the road journey over the Babusar Pass situated at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level, travelling a total of eighteen hours to Islamabad.
Your Excellency, it was during this eighteen hour journey through some of the most desolate yet spectacular landscape of my country that I imagined speaking to you, being unable to join the privileged few who were invited to hear you speak both in Lahore and in Islamabad. As the vehicle carrying us made its way carefully over open culverts fashioned by the able engineers of the China Construction Company, as it slid over six inches of freshly falling snow, as it dipped into crevices swirling with glacial melt, and as it glided smoothly over the bits of tarmac which have survived the devastation of the 2005 earthquake which killed 70,000 people in these remote parts, I spoke to you, imagining that you were truly interested in what I, an ordinary citizen of this, my beloved, blighted country had to say.
Continue reading “Open Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” »
Indians and Pakistanis are discussing the leadership crisis in their respective countries, but for different reasons and with different implications. India’s inability to wield influence on the world stage is being blamed on the lack of good leadership. In Pakistan, people feel that the political leaders have failed to instill confidence and provide direction when the country is consumed by the threat of terrorism. Are these leadership demands signs of widening and maturing democracy in the two countries? Or are the Indians and Pakistanis wanting to re-live the hope and optimism characterizing the era of Nehru and Jinnah? Whatever may be the rationale, the demand for better leadership is showing different traits of the public in India and Pakistan.
Dawn Columnist, Cyril Almedia wrote a timely article, “Where are you, our leaders”, on the October 23, 2009. The opening lines of his column are illustrative of what many Pakistanis are thinking:
As the country burns, parents agonize over whether to send their children to school or not, offices of businesses local and foreign ramp up their security measures, the average citizen thinks twice before venturing into crowded locales or government buildings, a simple question for our leaders: where are you? Where are you, President Zardari? Where are you, Prime Minister Gilani? Where are you, Nawaz Sharif?
Continue reading “Different Flavors of Public Protest in India and Pakistan” »
By Azhar Aslam
Waziristan today has come to symbolize the paradigm in which Pakistan finds itself. An epicentre of ‘terrorism’, a symbol of ‘Talibanization’ and now a field for what has been euphemistically called ‘mother of all battles’. Pakistan and Waziristan were not always like this. How we have come to this pass is crucial to analyse, but even more urgent is to assess that are we prepared enough to win this battle?
Is this just a battle or a war? Is the battle confined to South Waziristan? What are the implications beyond Waziristan? What lies beyond the battle? What will happen after South Waziristan has been secured? What are our plans after the area has been secured and captured? How are we going to treat captured combatants? What will be things be like in two, five, ten and twenty years from now?
It is clear that there are no short term measures that can address a problem as complex and deeply embedded as this. The military win will be down to appropriate strategy, superior operational and tactical skills, appropriately trained troops, coordinated intelligence and finally high morale and right motivation. But this battle is about more than just winning in Waziristan. A lot more.
Continue reading “Waziristan Strategy or Pakistan Strategy?” »
Matthew Hoh, A former Marine Corps captain stationed in the Zabul province in Afghanistan tendered his resignation to the US Ambassador Nancy Powel, becoming the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
Continue reading “US official, Resigns in Protest questioning the American agenda in Afghanistan (& Pakistan)” »
Jane Mayer, a political journalist for The New Yorker discusses the ethics and controversies surrounding the CIA’s covert drone program, in which remotely controlled, unmanned planes target terror suspects in Pakistan. A 32 minutes interview on NPR [transcript]
Mayer writes that unlike the military’s publicly acknowledged drone program in Afghanistan and Iraq — both official war zones — the CIA’s campaign doesn’t operate in support of U.S. troops on the ground. Instead it’s a secret program, run partly by private contractors, that amounts to “targeted international killings by the state,” in the words of one human-rights lawyer. Because of its covert status, there’s “no visible system of accountability in place,”
‘Do you know why these suicide attacks are suddenly one the rise again?’ asked my friend. ‘No, but I guess you have a reason to justify them’ I replied in a cold manner, wondering when did the attacks actually slowed down.
‘Yes I know it is because of the Kerry Lugar bill. You know, these people (read: agents) are attacking our institutions and people to prove that we are in such poor condition that we cannot survive without aid’.
No doubt this Kerry-Lugar bill aka Killer-bill has become quite the talk of the town and people are now blaming the bill for our basic problems such as the electricity issue without realizing what the bill actually aims at.
On Sept 24, the US Senate unanimously passed the revised version of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, titled the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009.
On Oct. 15th President Barack Obama signed the bill into law which will triple non-military US aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over the next five years and hence leaving no choice for Pakistan government to request for any amendments in the bill.
Continue reading “K-L Bill – Yes or No?” »
Abdullah Saad discusses the operational assessment of Pakistan Army’s offensive in South Waziristan Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path to Salvation). A definite read to understand the dynamics of this offensive that Pakistan needs to take upon itself to possibly clean up the shit left by the Americans and their disastrous War on Terror
By Azhar Aslam
When someone declares an open war, how must a nation react? How should they defend themselves? Have we forgotten the lessons from war with India? Why should we feel different now when we are being attacked from inside rather than from outside.
By attacking various institutions of Pakistani state (in attacks of more symbolic value than otherwise), Taliban has thrown an open challenge to our nation. But is it really so? Don’t mistake it because it seems more a sign of desperation on their behalf because they clearly are surrounded and trapped.
The recent attacks are more like a reaction of an animal that has been trapped and feels encaged and knows its time has come. These attacks are designed to create more psychological trauma and undermine the resolve of the people and state of Pakistan, than actually inflict any real measurable material damage.
Continue reading “Desperation or Challenge – Pakistan Must Act” »
Aman Ittehad: insaf, adm tashadud aur barabari ki jiddojehad
Representatives of 35 organizations from across Pakistan belonging to trade unions, media, youth organizations, minority groups, NGOs, academia, business, and the legal profession, gathered in Murree from 9 to 11 October to deliberate over the current situation in the country and to discuss pathways to peace. They unanimously agreed on the indivisibility of peace for all citizens, irrespective of gender, class, nationality, religion, occupation, age, etc.
They agreed to work together for peace by redefining the state’s relationship with citizens, making a paradigm shift from a security state to a benevolent state responsive to the needs of all its citizens, especially the socially, politically, and systemically excluded. They rejected all forms of religious extremisms and the use of violence.
Continue reading “Murree Peace Statement: Aman Ittehad” »
Join the revolution – Watch out, we’re the Green and White
Credit Faisal Qureshi
On Aug 14, commenting on Nehru, Patel 'conceded' Pakistan to Jinnah: Jaswant Singh I quoted from the article:
Mohammed Ali Jinnah did not win Pakistan as Congress leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel "conceded" Pakistan to the Quaid-e-Azam with the British acting as an ever helpful midwife, says senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. According to Singh both Jinnah and Nehru wanted special status for Muslims. "It is ironical that among the great constitutionalists of those times, Jinnah and Nehru became the principal promoters of 'special status for Muslims'; Jinnah directly and Nehru indirectly. "…The irony of it is galling when sadly, we observe that both of them, these two great5 Indians of their times were either actually or in effect competing to become the 'spokesman of Muslims' in India."