Showing posts from March, 2005

Are Pakistanis less prejudiced than Indians?

Daily times, April 1, 2005
VIEW: Are Pakistanis less prejudiced than Indians? —Muqtedar Khan
India is a democracy and given its long history of religious pluralism it is surprising that when it comes to respecting the other, India, or at least Bangalore, is found wanting, compared to Pakistan

I read that when Pakistan beat India in a cricket match in Bangalore, they were met with silence, of the thousands of cricket fans in the stadium. I was disappointed. In contrast when India beat Pakistan in Karachi, the crowds roared with approval for the Indian team’s performance. A recurrent theme of India’s tour to Pakistan was the great welcome they received; the hospitality of the local people and the general love and adulation that the Indian team received in Pakistan. The silence in Bangalore in contrast seemed shameful.

India is a democracy and given its long history of religious pluralism it is surprising that when it comes to respecting the other, India, or at least Bangalore, is found want…

US risks fuelling militant Islam: study

Daily Times, April 1, 2005
US risks fuelling militant Islam: study
* ICG says Western and African intelligence considers Tablighi Jamaat a threat

DAKAR: The United States will only fuel a rise in Islamic militancy in countries bordering the Sahara desert if it takes a heavy-handed approach to fighting terrorism in the region, an influential think tank said on Thursday.

Proselytising Pakistani clerics, an Algerian fundamentalist group allied to Al Qaeda and growing resentment of US foreign policy were causes for concern but did not make West Africa a hotbed of terrorism, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said.

“There are enough indicators to justify caution and greater western involvement out of security interests, but it has to be done more carefully than it has been so far,” ICG’s West Africa project director Mike McGovern said in a report.

Mindful of the Al Qaeda training camps that emerged in Afghanistan, some US officials say countries like Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, which are…

What's happening in Gwadar

By Tarique Niazi

The Jamestown Foundation
Volume 5 , Issue 4 (February 15, 2005)

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan's western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.

Although the Gwadar Port project has been under study since May 2001, the U.S. entrée into Kabul provided an added impetus for its speedy execution. Having set up its bases in Central, South, and West Asian countries, the U.S. virtually brought its military forces at the doorstep of China. Beijing was already wary of the strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, which supplies 6…

Pakistan's Military Budget on the rise

Dawn, March 31, 2005
Defence spending may exceed allocation
By Khaleeq Kiani

ISLAMABAD, March 30: Pakistan's defence expenditure, which amounted to more than 52 per cent of the total annual allocation, has outpaced development expenditure which stood at about 40 per cent during the first half (July-December) of the current fiscal year.

At this pace, the defence spending is expected to go up to Rs205-210 billion at the end of the year against a budgetary allocation of Rs194 billion, sources in the finance ministry told Dawn.

Last year, the defence budget had increased by Rs20 billion to Rs180 billion against a budget allocation of Rs160 billion and the increase was regularized through post-facto parliamentary approval as part of the budget 2005-06, they said.

The sources said the defence expenditure during the first six months of the fiscal year amounted to Rs101.237 billion compared with development expenditure of Rs81.6 billion.

The federal government had allocated Rs193.9 billion and R…

Revisiting 1971 tragedy

Dawn, March 31, 2005
'Had Yahya heeded sane advice'
By Raja Tridiv Roy

On December 16, 1971, East Pakistan's Commander Lt. Gen. A.A.K. "Tiger" Niazi surrendered to an overwhelmingly larger invading Indian force under Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Arora. Pakistan was sundered. East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Pakistani forces had been concentrating at various points along the border and were ready to give the Indians a good fight.

However, the Indian army bypassed these pockets of concentrations and seeped through the extensive and porous 2,500 mile (4,000 km) border between East Pakistan and India.

Some strategists are of the view that instead of dispersing our troops so far away from the capital, we should have concentrated on the defence of Dhaka. This stratagem would have given us more time and permitted Pakistan at the United Nations to bring about a cease fire and withdrawal of Indian forces across the international border.

Another disingenuous view is that the Polish res…

Pakistan-Moscow secret channels!

The News
March 31, 2005
Khokhar holds secret meeting with Moscow
Mariana Baabar

ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf's special envoy and former foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar has met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov, reports quoting Russian "sources" said.

Islamabad has kept the visit secret till reports came from Moscow. All attempts failed to reach Jalil Abbas Jilani, spokesman at the Foreign Office Wednesday evening. Other officials at the ministry said they did not want to comment on this visit, but confirmed it took place.

Khokhar, who retired recently, was likely to be given important assignments from time to time given his long and rich experience as country's top diplomat. However, the government is keeping mum over what exact message Pakistan had sent to the leadership in Moscow.

According to reports from Russia, Alexander Saltanov told Pakistan that India is a "deserving candidate" for an expanded UN Security Council on the bas…

Human Rights situation in Pakistan

Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004 - 2005
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

Pakistan is a federal republic. President and Chief of Army Staff Pervez Musharraf, who assumed power following the military's 1999 overthrow of elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly stated his intention to transform Pakistan into a moderate, democratic Muslim state. In December 2003, the National and Provincial Assemblies passed the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which transferred a number of powers from the Office of Prime Minister to the President and exempted Musharraf from a prohibition on holding two offices of state until the end of the year, allowing him to remain as Chief of Army Staff. In October, over opposition protests, parliament passed another bill which extended this exemption until 2007. Local elections in 2000 and 2001 and national and provincial parliamentary elections in 2002 established functioning civilian legi…

Questioning the F-16 deal

Daily Times, March 30, 2005
VIEW: Questioning the F-16 deal —Ahmad Faruqui

Someone with the job of convincing Congress that simultaneously selling F-16s to India and Pakistan is not a bad idea has come up with the argument that no two countries armed with F-16s have ever gone to war. One could use the same logic to sell nuclear weapons to every state

The Bush administration’s decision to sell 25 F-16s to Pakistan was balanced by its decision to offer India 125 upgraded F-16s or F-18s and broader cooperation in systems for military command and control, early-warning detection, and missile defence. Washington said it was creating “a decisively broader strategic relationship” with India that might even encompass the sale of nuclear power plants.

Even then, there was jubilation in Islamabad. In theory, the F-16 can prevent the intrusion of hostile aircraft into Pakistani territory, engage enemy army formations on the ground and carry out long-range offensive missions. It is one of the best m…

Simple facts about Balochistan's state of unrest

The News, March 30, 2005
Simple facts about Balochistan's state of unrest
M B Naqvi

The writer is a well-known journalist and freelance columnist.

Many explanations are being offered for the Balochistan situation, some of them commendable. Most such efforts are, however, partisan and not free from their own spin. A simple political geography of Balochistan, seen objectively, should provide a balanced perspective.

Let's begin with what has been grabbing the headlines first: trouble in Sui and Dera Bugti. The March 17 clash in which 10 soldiers and allegedly as many as 60 civilians died and many more injured was a major tragedy. Damage to property in Dera Bugti was, in view of general poverty of its populace, considerable. That was supposedly the retaliation to what the Bugtis had done in menacingly surrounding the Frontier Constabulary's camp -- housing some 300 soldiers who were being supplied by air. This action and an ambush of LEAs were in retaliation to what the …

'US had detention centres in Pakistan'

Dawn, March 29, 2005
'US had detention centres in Pakistan'
By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, March 28: The United States has secretly operated several detention facilities in Pakistan where suspected terrorists were kept before being transferred to prison camps in Cuba and other places, reports Human Rights First.

Quoting from recently released government documents, the US-based rights group reports that most of these detentions facilities were operated along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

A document summarizing the findings of a US Army criminal investigation, which was provided to Human Rights First under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that US forces were holding suspects at a secret facility in Peshawar through at least July 2002.

Besides Peshawar, the United States also maintained detention facilities at Kohat and Alizai. Although reports in the US media have often mentioned these two facilities, the US administration has never denied their existence.

"This new informatio…

Betrayal Over and Over Again

Daily Times
March 29, 2005
VIEW: Betrayal over and over again —Arifa Noor

The media wasn’t far behind. In their eagerness to disallow a cover-up they positively identified the victim. In the righteous enthusiasm for the ‘cause’, every one forgot the victim’s rights. We were so busy protesting the attempt at cover-up that we forgot that the public declamations on rape constituted a rape of sorts

A few years ago Hollywood produced a film, The General’s Daughter. It focused on the rape of a woman officer in the US army to highlight discrimination against women in the US military. The gang-rape in the film was brutal but covered up with remarkable ease. The only victim, the raped woman, pretty much becomes a psychological case and — till her murder — an embarrassment for her father and the army.

I remember particularly vividly the scene where the investigator trying to uncover the facts of the crime and the subsequent events asks a close friend of the raped woman. “What could be worse than rap…

Kashmir: The paradise lost

Nation, Lahore
March 28, 2005

The paradise lost
By Ghulam Farooq Lone

For the last five decades, the Kashmiris have been demand-ing their right of self-determination by peaceful means. But in return, the government of India let loose a reign of terror, whereby thousands of people have been killed, injured and tortured. The atrocities like torture, rape, confinement, arson, loot, custodial deaths, inhuman and degrading treatment, killings, etc., committed by Indian forces have not quelled the general uprising in favour of independence from the Indian occupation.
The children of the valley appear to be the most affected class by the ongoing violence. Children constitute about 38 percent of J&K’s population. Out of these six percent children are either orphans, destitute or neglected ones, whose basic needs go unfulfilled. The right to development of such children calls for meeting basic needs for protection, health care, food and education as well as love and affection, security, learnin…

Pakistan – a dream gone sour

Nation, Lahore
March 28, 2005
Pakistan – a dream gone sour
By Roedad Khan

47 years after the first military coup, we are back to square one. The country is under military rule for the fourth time and going down the tubes. When I heard Secretary Rice, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “It is not the Pakistan of September 11, 2001”, she said and, “not even the Pakistan of September 11, 2002”. It is a ghost of its former self. If Pakistan were to look into a mirror, it won’t recognise itself.
Today say: “Pakistan” and what comes to mind: sham democracy, fraudulent referendum, rigged elections, a General in uniform masquerading as the President of this sad country, a rubber stamp parliament, a pliant judiciary and a figurehead Prime Minister. “Pakistan”, Dr Rice said, “Is in transition to a democratic future”. Sadly, our democratic future is not in front of us.
It is far behind us. Democracy in the west means a political system marked not only by free, fair and impartial elections, but a…

Musharraf says:"Kashmir resolution must to avoid Kargil"!!

Nation, Lahore
March 28, 2005
Kashmir resolution must to avoid Kargil

ISLAMABAD (Online) - Pakistan and India should adopt a “positive” attitude toward resolving the Kashmir issue to prevent repetition of Kargil-type incidents, President Musharraf has said.
In a detailed reply to an e-mail query sent by an Indian to his presidential website asking his views on reunification of India and Pakistan as well as his “silence” on the Kargil war, Musharraf said the reunification was not possible but the two countries could establish close ties if the Kashmir issue was resolved.
Denying that he was shy of speaking about Kargil, he said, “I do not want to enter into debate that who won and who lost. Neither your people will accept nor ours, we will end up debating it.”
Claiming that India had “misquoted” the casualty figures, which, according to him, was “very high”, he said the media reports spoke of several “problems” faced by the Indian army during the Kargil conflict.
Musharraf said the two countr…

The debate on madressah enrolment

Dawn, March 27, 2005
Education Edition
The debate on madressah enrolment
By Omar R. Quraishi

A recently released report funded by the World Bank and co-authored by an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government has put a very different perspective on madressah enrolment in Pakistan than the generally prevalent view.

Titled Religious School Enrollment in Pakistan: A Look at the Data, the report by Tahir Andrabi of Pomona College, Jishnu Das of the World Bank and (assistant professor) Asim Ijaz Khwaja and Tristan Zajonc of Harvard University takes a detailed look at the number of students enrolled in Pakistani madressahs, examines their accuracy and comes to the conclusion that the data sharply contradicts the figures quoted in the press on just how many students are enrolled in Pakistan.

It says that articles in various international newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, have quoted figures for madressah enrol…