Showing posts from April, 2005

Another Military ruler in Pakistan?

Daily Times
April 30, 2005
Waseem Sajjad sees another military ruler

LAHORE: Former Senate chairman Waseem Sajjad claimed on Friday that one more military ruler would rule the country, BBC Urdu Service reported. Asked what made him think so, Mr Sajjad said that he was experienced enough to make such a comment, the BBC said. According to the report, Mr Sajad said: “You should not marvel at my revelation. He will come and change nothing. Every institution will work as previously. Then, he (the military ruler) will issue a provisional order dismissing his opponents in the judiciary. He will ask the judges of his own choice to take oath accordingly.” daily times monitor

Pakistan's Image in the World - Reasons

Daily times,
April 29, 2005
SECOND OPINION: Our rotten image abroad —Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review

In just one week, the Urdu press has carried enough items of collective intolerance and fanaticism to ban all the clerics from entering Europe. The cruelty is that these items of intolerance appear with the clergy siding with those who spread violence in Pakistan

Islamabad may be getting ready to show righteous anger at the way Europe has treated our religious leaders trying to enter it, but it should be invited to look at just one week’s news in Pakistan to see why we give the creeps to the world outside.

According to Khabrain (February 21, 2005) a pesh imam of Hyderabad collected separated and ragged pages of an old Quran and burnt them to get rid of them. As ill luck would have it, the pages flew up and fell on the surrounding houses while burning. The entire locality came out in protest, took hold of the cleric and beat him till he was unconscious with grievous injuries. The people did gherao …

Freedom of Press in Pakistan!

Daily Times, April 29, 2005
Press not free in Pakistan, says Freedom House

By Khalid Hasan

Washington: Freedom House, which monitors the sate of freedom around the world every year, has placed Pakistan among countries where the press is “Not Free.”

According to Freedom House which released the survey this week, “Pakistan dropped from Partly Free to Not Free because of increased official harassment of journalists and media outlets, in addition to passage of a bill that increased penalties for defamation. The moves followed other aggressive measures taken over the last two years by military authorities to silence critical or investigative voices in the media. A number of journalists have been pressured to resign from prominent publications, charged with sedition, or arrested and intimidated by intelligence officials while in custody.” Only two countries - Pakistan and Kenya - registered a negative category shift in 2004, moving from Partly Free to Not Free. Pakistan was also among countries…

Gilgit Violence

Daily Times
April 29, 2005

EDITORIAL: Take Gilgit violence seriously!

Last Wednesday, Gilgit again saw sectarian violence when four Shias were shot and wounded by unidentified gunmen. The city’s old polo ground area, where the incident happened, immediately erupted in gunfire, forcing the administration to call in army and paramilitary troops to cordon off the area and search for weapons. Thirty-two people have already been arrested in connection with the incident and the city has been placed under Section 144 for two months to avoid further disruption of life.

The Northern Areas as a whole have fallen through a black-hole. Information about violence in the area reaches the rest of the country sporadically. The government has done nothing to enlighten people about what exactly is happening there. The press has made only half-hearted efforts to unearth the dynamics of sectarian tension in the region. The official response to acts of violence typically takes the form of stopgap administrati…

Major obstacles to enlightened moderation

Daily Times, April 25, 2005
VIEW: Major obstacles to enlightened moderation —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi

While addressing the joint session of the Philippines parliament on April 19, President General Pervez Musharraf highlighted the notion of enlightened moderation and called upon Muslim states to “reject extremism and intolerance and promote socio-economic development”. He supported the efforts of the government of Philippines to seek a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and called upon the Moro leaders to give up violence. This advice was coupled with a call to the Philippines government to “respect the rights, tradition and culture of its Muslim minority”.

President Pervez Musharraf’s statement was welcomed in the Philippines because its government is faced with an insurgency in the southern region. Because it was made outside Pakistan, the statement also attracted international attention. The global interest in this statement could be compared with …

An infrastructure of hope —Pervez Hoodbhoy

Daily Times, April 22, 2005
VIEW: An infrastructure of hope —Pervez Hoodbhoy

Pakistan's options have run out. This is not just because Pakistan is militarily incapable of wresting Kashmir from Indian rule. Its assumption - that keeping the world focused on Kashmir was good - has also turned out to be a miscalculation. In fact, once the world fully understood, the reaction was not at all what Pakistan had in mind

Against the wishes of militant Shiv Sena activists and Pakistan’s Islamist parties, Pakistan and India are talking. General Pervez Musharraf said on his recent visit that military force was “not the option anymore” for settling Kashmir. A year-old ceasefire is holding and the artillery remains stubbornly silent along the LOC as well as on the Siachen glacier. The joyous reception given by Kashmiris to the maiden voyage of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad buses was a decisive rejection of extremists who had threatened to bomb the bus from Srinagar and kill its passengers. Agreements …

Islamist parties in a democratic context

Daily Times, April 22, 2005
COMMENT: Islamist parties in a democratic context —William B Milam

I hope we are not witnessing in Pakistan the Middle Eastern scenario in which the non-religious parties are so marginalised that the Islamist parties become the only real opposition despite the limited appeal of their agenda. That is easily avoided by a little long-term thinking on the part of the government

It has been over six months since my most recent op-ed in Daily Times. Those few readers who have noticed this gap suspect, no doubt, that the long layoff must have been by popular demand. But it was (I swear) my own choice. Op-ed fatigue is the clinical diagnosis, I think — on the part of the writer, not the readers.

Rested and refreshed after six months respite from op-ed rigors, and recharged with topics that I want to write about, I now venture back into (not below, I hope) the fold of Daily Times. The first of these topics is whether Islamist political parties fit in comfortably with de…

The nuclear sage of Pakistan

The News, April 22, 2005
The nuclear sage of Pakistan
Farhatullah Babar

Six years ago on April 22 Munir Ahmad Khan, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for nearly two decades (1972 - 1991) died. He remained unsung but the events of the past few years have vindicated him, even though full vindication is yet to come.

Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto recalled him to Pakistan from the International Atomic Energy Agency where he worked for thirteen years and made him Chairman of the PAEC Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in 1972. If Bhutto was like Nehru in India in having a nuclear dream, Munir Khan was like Dr. Bhabha, who helped shape the political vision of Nehru for nearly two decades of his stewardship of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission.

As Chairman PAEC Munir Khan created a team which gave Pakistan the mastery of complete nuclear fuel cycle, carried out cold nuclear tests in 1983, and built the tunnels in the Chaghai Mountains of Balochistan for tests 15 years later t…

Settling Kashmir issue By Dr. Mubashir Hasan

Dawn, April 21, 2005
Settling Kashmir issue
By Dr Mubashir Hasan

A win, win, win solution of the issue of Kashmir is feasible - a win each for Pakistan and India and a win for the people of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. Each of the three can settle for more than what they now have in real terms.

The sole mention of Kashmir in the Constitution of Pakistan is: "When the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State".

Pakistan considers the entire territory of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir as an area under dispute. It does not recognize the Indian jurisdiction over any part of the former state.

However, Pakistan has taken the position that any solution of the dispute which is acceptable to the people of the former state is acceptable to Pakistan. It no longer insists on the enforcement of those parts of the resolutio…

A new book on Sardars of Baluchistan

Dawn, April
EXCERPTS: The sardars of Balochistan
By Taj Mohammad Breseeg

James Bill wrote that in the Middle East "the politics of development and modernization is profoundly influenced by the patterns and process that mark group and class relationships". Even in the late 19th century when modernization and urbanization had reduced the importance of tribes and tribal organizations, the influence of tribal patterns was not destroyed. The existing tribal patterns and processes continued to influence development and modernization in the rural areas in the Middle East. The same has been the case with Balochistan where the informal, paternalistic patterns of control through family networks (the tribes) have continued to have relevance - particularly since tribal support or lack of it has been crucial to the success or failure of nationalist movements.

Dr Nek Buzdar, a specialist in international economic development, is of the view that the Baloch society, by and large, adheres to a…

US commander’s remarks highly irresponsible: Lt. Gen. Safdar

The News, April 21, 2005
US commander’s remarks highly irresponsible: Safdar
By Behroz Khan

PESHAWAR: Describing as "highly irresponsible" remarks reportedly made by Lt-Gen David Barno, commander of the American forces in Afghanistan that Pakistan planning a new offensive against militants along the border, Corps Commander Peshawar Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain said on Wednesday it was not true.

"It is only speculation that terrorists are in North Waziristan. We are gathering intelligence but there is no report on the basis of which I can begin an operation," Safdar told reporters. Safdar said the US general had no jurisdiction to interfere in our affairs. "This is an outcome of his own imagination that preparations for military operation are going on in North Waziristan Agency." He said there was no such preparation and there is no need for it because we don’t have any information about the presence of any foreign terrorists in North Waziristan.

Safdar said he condem…

A Sequel for India and Pakistan: Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
April 20, 2005
A Sequel for India and Pakistan
The Monitor's View

One touching scene went largely unnoticed at this week's groundbreaking summit between India and Pakistan.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was born in what is today Pakistan, was given a photo of his home village. And Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf received a painting of his childhood home in Delhi.

The scene was not only a reminder of the wrenching partition of British India in 1947 but a signal that the two nations, which have had five decades of enmity and three wars, are beginning to realize closer ties are inevitable.

The scene was similar to many in recent Indian films - which are popular in Pakistan - that depict a reuniting of Indian and Pakistani families. The impact of those films on the recent warming between these two nuclear-tipped rivals cannot be underestimated.

The power of Indian cinema is just one explanation. The two peoples are seeing the world less thro…

Canada selects Pakistan as key development partner

Daily Times, April 21, 2005
Canada selects Pakistan as key development partner

ISLAMABAD: Canada has selected Pakistan as one of 25 development partners in the country’s first fully integrated International Policy Statement tabled by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew in Ottawa on April 19, a press release said on Wednesday.

“Highlighting Pakistan as a development partner will build upon Canada’s long history of assistance to this country, and will strengthen the impact and effectiveness of future development cooperation,” said Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Huber.

The policy statement sets out a new framework for maximising the effectiveness of Canadian aid. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will concentrate its bilateral assistance in 25 developing countries, including Pakistan. Overall, Canada’s international assistance will double by 2010 from its 2001-2002 level.

Canada’s development partnership with Pakistan will target poverty redu…

Jihadi graffiti gone from walls, but ....

Daily Times, April 21, 2005
Jihadi graffiti gone from walls, but there’s still a fire down below!

By Mohammed Rizwan

LAHORE: The city of Lahore, gradually but surely, has been changing its skin for the last several months as the jihadi slogans and donation appeal campaigns by the right-wing and jihadi parties littered on the walls and thoroughfares have disappeared, making way for corporate ads and city businesses advertisements.

But the government’s anti-jihadi campaign’s message took its time to reach Lahore.

The jihadi organizations claim that the campaigns may have been wiped off the walls of Lahore, but campaigns to collect funds and jihad campaigns continue underground. However, a senior city police official tasked with countering jihadi activities claims the government’s vigorous crackdown on these outfits has managed to rid Lahore of its ‘jihadi face’.

“Still I can’t say that we have a permanent solution at hand as these organizations keep resurfacing again and again. But the major …

Omar Saeed Sheikh Speaks from Jail

April 2005
The Mystery Thickens
Recent arrests and fresh evidence that emerged blow holes in the government's case against Omar Shaikh - the primary accused in Daniel Pearl's murder.
By Massoud Ansari

British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Shaikh, convicted for the kidnap-slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, has admitted to having met Bin Laden twice in Afghanistan, but says he is more committed to the one-eyed Taliban spiritual supremo, Mulla Omar, whom he considers "the overall leader of all mujahideen."

In his first-ever interview given from Adiala jail, which was perforce conducted surreptitiously, with the questionaire being smuggled in and out, Omar said he admires the "grief" Bin Laden maintains in his heart for the "plight of Muslims world-wide" and the sacrifices he has made, but said he doesn't necessarily agree entirely with the methods he has chosen to achieve his ends.

Shaikh Omar, who was arrest…

US access to Dr. AQ Khan?

Daily Times, April 19, 2005
Ending military ties with Pakistan over AQ Khan access: US congress unlikely to pass bill
Staff Report

WASHINGTON: A bill introduced last week in the US House of Representatives, if passed, will prohibit American military assistance and the sale, transfer, or licencing of United States military equipment or technology to Pakistan.

However, given the confidence the Bush administration has reposed in the present government of Pakistan, it is highly unlikely that the bill will become law. The bill can only be seen as a pressure tactic on Pakistan. The sponsors of the bill are all members of the India Caucus, the group that supports Indian causes in Congress.

The bill has been introduced by old Pakistan critic Gary Ackerman with four co-cosponsors, including another long-time critic of Pakistani policies and actions, Frank Pallone.

The bill presents to Congress as established fact that Dr AQ Khan established and operated an illegal international network which sold n…

Extremism threatens foundations of Pakistani state: ICG report

The State of Sectarianism in Pakistan
Asia Report Nº95
18 April 2005

Sectarian conflict in Pakistan is the direct consequence of state policies of Islamisation and marginalisation of secular democratic forces. Co-option and patronage of religious parties by successive military governments have brought Pakistan to a point where religious extremism threatens to erode the foundations of the state and society. As President Pervez Musharraf is praised by the international community for his role in the war against terrorism, the frequency and viciousness of sectarian terrorism continues to increase in his country.

Instead of empowering liberal, democratic voices, the government has co-opted the religious right and continues to rely on it to counter civilian opposition. By depriving democratic forces of an even playing field and continuing to ignore the need for state policies that would encourage and indeed reflect the country's religious diversity, t…