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Showing posts from July, 2005

US-India nuclear diplomacy

Daily Times, July 29, 2005
CONTROVERSY:Bush starts to get it right on India’s nuclear status - Jonathan Power

The new policy has all the advantages of jettisoning hypocrisy. The next step, which logically should grow from it, would be to revise the Non-Proliferation Treaty to make India formally one of the established nuclear powers, and thus gain India’s membership of the Treaty

The critics of President George W Bush’s new nuclear deal with India have got it back to front. They appear to have no understanding of the history of US-Indian nuclear relations. They draw their pessimistic and sanctimonious conclusions about how this new policy of relaxing the supply of advanced nuclear materials to India will further undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as if no water had ever flowed under the bridge.

Let’s go back to the head of that river.

The first mistake in dealing with India was for President Richard Nixon to make it unambiguously clear in the early days of his opening-to-China…

Yet another great game in Central Asia!

Daily Times, July 29, 2005
VIEW: Great Game reloaded - Ahmed Rashid

Maintenance of the US bases and political influence will now require closer and constant attention. The Great Game that once preoccupied Czarist Russia and the British Empire has just been revived, and the stakes are higher than ever

In a major twist to the continuing Great Game on Central Asia’s landmass, Russia and China are attempting to reclaim the dominant role in the region that they ceded to the US in the aftermath of 9/11. Though their ham-handed attempt to expel American bases from the region has been foiled for the moment, the jockeying for power, influence and resources in this neuralgic region, put on hold until now, is back in full force. If they can deftly play one against the other, small countries in the region may well be the beneficiaries in the latest phase of the Great Game.

The latest act of the game was played out in the open when US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld flew into Bishkek on July 25…

Is Pakistan global centre for terrorism?

Daily Times, July 29, 2005
Pakistan called ‘global centre for terrorism’

By Khalid Hasan

Washington: “Pakistan remains the global centre for terrorism and for the remnants of Al Qaeda, which is still very strong here,” according to Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid.

In an interview published by the German weekly newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, Rashid is quoted as saying, “The fact is, after September 11, despite the many crackdowns made by the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf, we haven’t effectively shut down the Pakistani militant groups. The reason for that is that these groups are very closely tied into the military’s foreign policy, especially with respect to Kashmir and Afghanistan. The militant groups here have not been crushed and if the madrassas they control - they all control a certain number of such religious schools - are not shut down, we’re not going to see an end to militancy here.”

Asked about the London bombings, the Pakistani journalist who writes for a number of f…

US should support democratic forces in Pakistan: USIP study

Daily times, July 28, 2005

US should support democratic forces in Pakistan: USIP study
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: A new study released by the US Institute of Peace (USIP) calls on the United States to help Pakistan pursue a path that meets its people’s democratic aspirations and socioeconomic needs and is resilient enough to accommodate linguistic, regional, religious, and sectarian differences, as only such a course can help Pakistan become a stable and responsible member of the international community, at peace with itself and with its neighbours.

The study by former Pakistani diplomat and senior USIP fellow Touqir Hussain rules out US sanctions against Pakistan as a policy option, but adds that the United States should put some pressure on Pakistan to keep the country’s reform effort on track and to induce it to act as a responsible nuclear power. Washington would be well advised not to allow Pakistan to feel that it needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs it. A confident and secure…

Concept of Muslims as "victims" - need for re-thinking

Daily Times, July 26, 2005
SECOND OPINION: The Muslims may not be so ‘mazloom’ —Khaled Ahmed’s TV Review

Ayaz Amir was right but Ahmad Javed, whose purism is normally frightening, agreed with him from a defeatism which is equally threatening to normal life. Secularism has to be accepted with sincerity, not because the Muslims are retrograde

The theme of the victimhood of the Muslims has gained currency and, as non-Muslims die at the hands of Muslim terrorists all over the world, the Pakistani TV channels have turned up the rhetoric about mazloom Muslims. In Sudan, Indonesia, Nigeria, etc, Muslims are killing non-Muslims or Muslims. No one talks about it because Muslims feel nothing for non-Muslims in the name of humanity. The OIC may not be active against Britain and the United States, but it is equally supine when it comes to Sudanese Arabs killing Sudan’s non-Arab Muslims.

GEO (9 July 2005) Aniq Ahmad discussed the plight of the Muslims with Maulana Ehtramul Haq Thanvi, Mr Ahmad Javed, …

Good Day for India, Bad for Nonproliferation

Good Day for India, Bad for Nonproliferation
America's short-sighted nuclear deal with India might lead to a breakdown of the nonproliferation regime

Strobe Talbott
YaleGlobal, 21 July 2005

Lending a nuclear hand: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush signed a deal giving India privileges of a nuclear power. (Photo: Whitehouse)

WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received a warm (indeed, as it happened, sweltering) welcome on the South Lawn of the White House, a rare banquet (the equivalent of a state dinner), presidential hospitality for the Indian CEOs who were part of Indian official entourage, a reaffirmation of the two countries' determination to fight terrorism together, and a raft of agreements that should improve the climate for commercial cooperation.

However, the headline outcome of the Manmohan Singh visit was not good news for a cause to which both his government and the United States are sincerely committed: nuclear nonproliferation. President Bush ag…

Development of Islamic law in South Asia

The News, July 25, 2005
Development of Islamic law in South Asia
Feuilleton
Prof Khwaja Masud

Shah Waliullah (1703-1762) and his school of thought have been the predominant influence in the Sunni Muslim religions and intellectual life from the mid-18th century. Maulana Maudoodi has described him in Tajdeed-o-Ahya-i-Deen as "an independent-minded thinker and commentator whose thoughts have broken free of the limitations of circumstances and time."

Among Shah Waliullah's main contribution is the fact that he broke the shackles of taqleed (compulsory adherence to any one of the four main schools of Islamic jurisprudence), which has been the single biggest factor in the intellectual stagnation of Islam.

His main point of departure was the attempt to work out the social basis underlying the Qur'aanic injunctions. The Shariah, he pointed out, only aims at the reform of society. But no Shariah takes place in a vacuum. It develops in the context and on the basis of usage and custo…

A Sermon is a Sermon!

Daily Times, July 24, 2005
A sermon is a sermon!
Iqbal Mustafa

As I watched the President’s address to the nation on Thursday, I had mixed feelings of hope and despair. First, his interpretation of history -- the occupation of Afghanistan by Russia and the liberation struggle by Afghan tribes assisted by Jihadis from many Muslim countries, who were "brought in" according to him, trained, armed and then abandoned by the US, for Pakistan to reap the consequences of their militancy -- conveniently omitted the pivotal role of Pakistan army. It did not mention the windfall bonanzas made by key military individuals. Putting all the blame on someone else’s doorstep and asking for more assistance indicated that the military establishment is still in denial.

More than that, before announcing new measures for curbing militant ideologies sprouting from the seminaries, he felt the compulsion to establish his own credentials as a devout Muslim -- a blue-blooded Syed. He talked of a distincti…

Pakistan and London Bombings

Daily Times, July 23, 2005
COMMENT: Pakistan and the London bombings —Suroosh Irfani

We seem to have a paradoxical situation where many Pakistani youngsters seem more at home with a pluralistic ethos of Islam than their counterparts in Britain — the latter seem suspended between a cloistered ethnic world they have outgrown, and a Western world they cannot accept

Of the many comments to have appeared since London’s July 7 suicide bombings, an angry young voice from the British-Pakistani community, and a witness account of the community’s critical anguish, are especially noteworthy.

In “We rock the boat” (The Guardian, July 13), Dilpazier Aslam spotlights the Muslim anger behind the suicide bombers’ action, while Madeleine Bunting’s “Orphans of Islam” (The Guardian, July 18) looks at the history of Britain’s Mirpuris, the Pakistani Muslim community from which three of the four suicide bombers were supposedly drawn. The articles suggest, each in its own way, that besides political factors,…

Can Musharraf close the militant Madrassas?

The Daily Telegraph
July 22, 2005

Nothing will change until Musharraf closes Pakistan's militant madrassas
By Ahmed Rashid

LAHORE, July 23: In her first thriller, At Risk, Stella Rimington, the former head of MI-5, writes about a Pakistani militant who arrives by ferry boat in Britain to blow up the commander of a US-British air force base in the Fens. His main helper is an English girl who has converted to Islam and has been in a training camp in Pakistan, while MI5 misses several signals that an attack is coming.

Not surprisingly, when you are reading a novel by someone who has spent 35 years in the secret service, fact and fiction merge. The suspected Pakistani mastermind of the July 7 bombings is believed to have arrived by boat to trigger the four bombers, then left the country a day before the attack. Yesterday's bungling bombers seemed to lack such foreign expertise.

"There is no way you can deal with this menace [of terrorism] except head-on," said Prime Minister …

Pakistan - A dying country?

Dawn, July 11, 2005
Perceptions of Pakistan

By A.R. Siddiqi

At a select gathering of intellectuals in Karachi recently, one of the speakers said: “Pakistan is a dying country. It is only a question of time.” Absolutely loud and clear: no mincing or garnishing of words. The pronouncement appeared by and large to be well taken by the audience.

That all is not well with the state of Pakistan goes without saying. We are a shambles. However, this is not unlike the condition in many other states around. The Soviet Union is dead and so is Yugoslavia; Bosnia stands partitioned; Iraq and Afghanistan stay under foreign rule, ripped off their historical moorings as a proud people even under autocratic regimes. What is so alarming therefore about seeing and calling Pakistan a ‘dying country’? This is not for the first time that Pakistan has been so described. A section of the foreign press, through the closing stages of the 1971 crisis, would invoke the same description for Pakistan. And that came to…

Where is foreign aid going?

Daily Times, July 22, 2005
"50% state-run schools have no basic facilities"
By Irfan Ghauri

ISLAMABAD: Of 135,365 state-run primary schools across the country, 50 percent have no drinking water, lavatories and boundary walls while 73 percent have no electricity, said a study report on the state of children’s education in Pakistan.

Save the Children UK, Pakistan Programme Office conducted the study. The report said that 30 percent middle schools were without water and washrooms while 40 percent were without electricity and boundary walls. Teacher absenteeism was a key factor behind low enrolment and a high dropout rate.

The study suggested that gender disparity in terms of access to basic education was still wide enough and Pakistan was unlikely to meet the millennium development goals. The data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Statistics shows that during 2001-2003, female enrolment increased by nine percent compared to 4.48 male enrolment, female enrolment for middle classes i…

Interview of Indian Prime Minister in the US - clear headed and straight forward

The Washington Post
Interview: Indian Prime Minister Singh
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached an historic accord earlier this week with President Bush that will allow his country to buy billions of dollars worth of military hardware and sensitive nuclear technology long denied because of India's nuclear weapons program.

The broad agreement is a significant victory for the world's largest democracy, which built its nuclear program in secret in the early 1970s, and it cements New Delhi's role as a key strategic U.S. ally in Asia for decades to come.

In a wide-ranging breakfast interview with Washington Post editors and writers Wednesday, Singh discussed the impact of the deal for India and it's nuclear program. He also spoke about other issues facing his country, including relations with rival Pakistan, terrorism, regional security and the India's growing economic prowess.

Here are some excerpts from that interview:

Washington Post: With t…

Without comment -a cartoon from Daily Times (July 19, 2005)

Image

Observer: The Violence that lies in every ideology

Sunday July 17, 2005
The Observer
The violence that lies in every ideology

Like most beliefs, Islam is a religion of peace that has to accept that it can also breed terror

Jason Burke

The two young men, both clean-cut in neat trousers and well-ironed shirts, both studying computer science at a university in Pakistan, their homeland, have, perhaps unsurprisingly, the same views about their religion and its relation to the events of 7 July. 'Islam is a religion of peace and no one who does this is a true Muslim,' they say.
Then they start talking about civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq: 'Every action has a reaction. An action against Muslims causes a reaction by Muslims such as this. This is not unjustified.' There is a pause as we all consider the patent contradiction in their responses. 'Anyway,' they say almost together, 'it was probably the Americans or the Israelis.'

Such ludicrous conspiracy theories surfaced after 11 September and, on the evide…

Jihadi Madrassas still operating.. almost freely

Daily Times, July 18, 2005
Jihadi madrassas alive and well

By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: A World Bank study that found the number of “jihadi” madrassas in Pakistan much smaller than popularly believed has been questioned by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based humanitarian outfit.

In an article in the Sunday edition of Washington Post, Samina Ahmed, the Group’s South Asia project director and Andrew Stroehlein, its media director, claim that “Jihadi extremism is still propagated at radical madrassas in Pakistan” and that “these religious schools still preach an insidious doctrine that foments the sectarian violence that is increasingly a threat to the stability of Pakistan.” In a reference to the London bombings, they observe, “And now, it seems, the hatred these madrassas breed is spilling blood in Western cities as well.”

They maintain that President Pervez Musharraf’s promises “came to nothing” as his government never implemented any programme to register the madrassas, follow…

Human Rights situation in India....

Boston Globe
The legacy of India's counter-terrorism
By Jaskaran Kaur | July 17, 2005

WHEN INDIAN Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets with President Bush in Washington this week on his first official visit, and the first of an Indian head of state since 9/11, he will be reaffirming a strategic partnership. Prime Minister Singh will address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, and terrorism is high on the agenda. An item not likely on the agenda is India's systematic abuse of human rights in the name of counter-terrorism. Despite receiving praise as the world's largest democracy, India's human rights record falls dismally behind countries that have only recently shed their legacy of dictatorships.

From 1984-95, Indian security forces tortured, ''disappeared," killed, and illegally cremated more than 10,000 Punjabi Sikhs in counter-insurgency operations. Many perpetrators of these abuses are now championed as counter-terrorism experts. Most prominent among …