Showing posts from November, 2005

F-16 outperformed by Russian aircraft!

Daily Times, November 29 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
F-16 outperformed by Russian aircraft
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: Pakistan may like to think twice about acquiring F-16s following reports that in the recently concluded joint US-Indian air force exercises, the much-vaunted aircraft did not come out the winner in its “encounters” with Indian Sukhoi-30 MKIs.

The exercises had mixed teams of Indian and American pilots on both sides, according to a report on Monday in the Christian Science Monitor, and observers say that in a surprising number of encounters - particularly between the American F-16s and the Indian Sukhoi-30 MKIs - the Indian pilots came out the winners. “Since the cold war, there has been the general assumption that India is a third-world country with Soviet technology, and wherever the Soviet-supported equipment went, it didn’t perform well,” says Jasjit Singh, director of the Centre for Air Power Studies in New Delhi. “That myth has been blown out by the results” o…

Israel's Ambassador to the UN on Pak-Israel Relations

Daily Times, November 28, 2005

HARDtalk: ‘Pakistan will soon take additional steps towards normalisation of relations with Israel’ —Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the UN

* President Pervez Musharraf has shown tremendous courage and foresight in leading Pakistan towards recognition of Israel
* If Palestine can co-operate with us, why can’t Pakistan?
* The Arab world didn’t condemn Iran as clearly as it should have
* Islamabad should be just as worried about Tehran as Jerusalem or London or New York
* It is up to the Palestinians to prove they can really run Gaza
* Israel does not target Palestinian civilians
* All terrorists are Muslims whether in Spain, England, the United States or Iraq
* It is up to the moderate leaders of the Muslim world to ask themselves what went wrong, and how it can be corrected

Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, is one of the most accessible ambassadors at the United Nations.

He listens hard and answers in careful, measured tones q…

Honor Killings in Pakistan: latest figures

The News, November 27, 2005
‘Alarming rise in honour killings in Pakistan’
By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

KARACHI: Pakistan has witnessed an alarming increase in the menace of so-called honour killing cases as 4383 women fell victims to Karo Kari over the last four years.

This was disclosed by Sindh Additional Inspector-General, Police (Investigation), Nayyar H Zaidi, while giving a presentation on "Honour Killing: Analysis, Challenges and Strategies for Victim Support" on the third day of an international conference on "Honour Killing Murder in the name of so-called Honour" being organised by the British Council, Pakistan, at a local hotel on Saturday.

Unfortunately, the province of Sindh has topped the list as a total of 2228 cases of "Karo Kari" were reported officially during January 2001 to December 2004. However, the least number of honour killing cases were reported in Balochistan where only 287 incidents had occurred during the past four years.

According to the d…

Rigged Local Elections in Pakistan: ICG

International Crisis Group
Pakistan's Local Polls: Shoring Up Military Rule
Asia Briefing N°43; 22 November 2005

Pakistan's military government rigged local elections in August and October 2005 to weaken further the mainstream opposition parties and lay the ground for its supporters to dominate forthcoming parliamentary elections. The elections were marred by serious violence, which may well become worse in future polls as ethnic, religious and regional rivalries are stirred up. President Pervez Musharraf's efforts to maintain military control over politics are likely to limit the state's mechanisms for dealing democratically and peacefully with its many internal conflicts -- unless the U.S. and others make clear, as they should, that they will withdraw political, military and financial support in the absence of genuine moves to restore power to civilians.

The government manipulation of the local polls involved gerrymandering of districts to break up support for p…

Interview with Asma Jahangir (Asia Source)

Q & A Asia Source Interview with Asma Jahangir
by Nermeen Shaikh
October 27, 2005

Asma Jahangir is a leading human rights advocate in Pakistan. A prominent lawyer, she has worked both in Pakistan and abroad to prevent the exploitation of religious minorities, women, and children. She is currently UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Commission on Human Rights. She assumed this position after being UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions.

This interview with AsiaSource was conducted while Ms Jahangir was in New York for the Citigroup Series on Asian Women Leaders presented at the Asia Society.

You have recently been appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief. What does this position entail, and how does it compare with your work as UN Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions?

My work as UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief ent…

Tariq Ali on Amartya Sen

The Nation
Mystic River
(December 5, 2005 issue]

The sage of Bengal has pronounced. Pluralism, we are informed, has an ancient pedigree in Indian history. It is embedded in the oldest known texts of Hinduism and, like a river, has flowed through Indian history (including the Mughal period, when the country was under Muslim rule) till the arrival of the British in the eighteenth century. It is this cultural heritage, ignored and misinterpreted by colonialists and religious fanatics alike, that shapes Indian culture and goes a long way toward explaining the attachment of all social classes to modern democracy. The argumentative tradition "has helped to make heterodoxy the natural state of affairs in India," exerting a profound influence on the country's politics, democracy and "the emergence of its secular priorities." This view informs most of the thought-provoking essays in Amartya Sen's new book, a set of …

American volunteers touched by Pakistan's hospitality

Daily Times, Thursday, November 24, 2005
American volunteers touched by Pakistan’s beauty and hospitality
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: An American woman doctor who thought of Pakistan as a dangerous place is now reluctant to leave because of the “beauty and hospitality” she has experienced.

Dr Mary Burry, an American, now in Pakistan for earthquake relief, told Christian Science Monitor, “Like most Americans, I had the idea that this is a pretty dangerous place to be,” she says, adding that she had never known any Pakistanis. What she discovered, however, is a country whose beauty and hospitality she is now reluctant to leave. “This totally changed my concept of Pakistan.” One of her Pakistani colleagues, Dr Rezwana Ahsan, working with Mercy Corps, a relief organisation, who has never known any Americans, feels the same way, “We had a feeling before that Americans are selfish and too proud. But they are not so. They came here with an open mind and an open heart.” The two doctors and the…

Osama Evaded Pakistan Army - yet again!

Daily Times, Monday, November 21, 2005
‘Osama evaded Pakistani troops’

LONDON: Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden evaded capture by just 30 minutes as Pakistani troops zeroed in on him in a remote village close to the Afghan border earlier this year, reported the Press Trust of India, quoting the British tabloid ‘News of the World’ on Sunday.

The tabloid claimed that data from a cellular phone used by one of Bin Laden’s close aides helped Pakistani troops pinpoint his hideout. But by the time they raided the area Bin Laden had slipped away, it added.

According to PTI, details of the operation were revealed to American interviewer Daphne Barak by President Pervez Musharraf. “It was in the spring. We acted on intelligence reports and were close. Such fleeting opportunities come and either you succeed in a moment or you fail and miss the opportunity for a long time,” the British paper quoted Musharraf as saying in Islamabad. The Pakistani embassy in London confirmed the report this week. “W…

Brave Imam!

Daily Times, Monday, November 21, 2005
Imam faces expulsion over charges of sectarianism
By Mohammad Imran

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) station commander in Wah Cantt issued a show cause notice to Maulana Qazi Zafar, the prayer leader at Jamia Mosque in East Park, for allegedly fanning sectarianism and hatred against the government and the armed forces among residents during Friday sermons. The maulana denied the charges saying public criticism should not be construed as propaganda.

The notice signed by Station Commander Hafiz Muhammad Shafiq states, “You, Maulana Qazi Zafar, D-810, Lane No 19, Lala Rukh, Wah Cantt, are reportedly spreading sectarianism and hatred against the government and the armed forces among army personnel and POF employees during Friday sermons in Jamia Mosque, East Park”. The commander accused the maulana of creating disloyalty, disaffection and breach of peace in Wah Cantt.

The station commander, in the notice, warned the maulana that th…

The Madrassa Controversy...

Daily Times, November 19, 2005
COMMENT: The madrassa controversy and dilemma —William B Milam

For a government that hopes (it says) to guide Pakistan towards “enlightened moderation,” as well as to ensure that Pakistan and its people prosper in the globalised world economy, reforming the curriculum and teaching methods in the madrassas is not an option; it is an imperative

The daily press, both in the US and in Pakistan, brings an unending string of sad and tragic stories about the earthquake and its aftermath. From here in Washington, one can only sympathise with the victims — indeed with all of Pakistan — and try to help through various charities. To get a respite from the inexorable tide of those grim events, I turn to my favourite bi-weekly (as distinct from daily publications like Daily Times), The New York Review of Books, the most recent edition of which arrived by mail at my new abode a few days ago.

I moved residence a few months ago which meant that I missed a few editions of …

Why Not Women Ulema?

The News, November 19, 2005
Why not women ulema?
Hafizur Rahman

When Malik Meraj Khalid was the caretaker prime minister, he selected the old President's House in Rawalpindi as the location for a new Islamic University for Women. He went so far as to actually transfer the building and its vast grounds to the International Islamic University of Islamabad (IIU) and on return to his post of rector of the IIU, started planning accordingly. But the new prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, revoked his decision and decided to use the place for what is now the Fatima Jinnah Women University.

This was a disappointment for the authorities of the IIU whose vision had reached the point of materialising, but there was nothing they could do about it. So they began to devote their energies towards improving the conditions of teaching and boarding and lodging for women students in the Madinatul Hujjaj on Peshawar Road which had earlier been secured for them in place of the scattered bungalows in Islama…

Reconciliation with Taliban and Al-Qaeda??

Daily Times, Friday, November 18, 2005

Paracha claims US asked him to help it ‘reconcile’ with Qaeda, Taliban
By Iqbal Khattak

PESHAWAR: The United States has asked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Javed Ibrahim Paracha to facilitate a ‘reconciliation’ with Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.

Paracha, a former MNA from Kohat district, claimed on Thursday that was invited to a meeting with visiting US Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs Karen Hughes and other senior US State Department officials at Serena Hotel in Islamabad on November 14.

“I met Ms Hughes,” he told Daily Times by phone from Kohat. He claimed that the US officials had requested him ‘to help them negotiate a reconciliation with Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders’ in Afghanistan. “We would like you to support the US government on the issue,” he said.

However, the US Embassy spokesman in Islamabad denied Ms Hughes had met Paracha.

“I know she stayed at Serena Hotel, but when I checked her schedule, there …

Blinded by the Bomb

HIMAL South Asian November-December, 2005

Blinded by the Bomb by | Zia Mian

Against all civilisational values, Islamabad and New Delhi proceed to prepare their bombs and missiles – for nuclear war to be fought on our soil.
For decades, leaders of India and Pakistan have been bewitched by the power of the bomb. Regardless of their various other differences, they seem to have believed that the threat of massive destruction represented by nuclear weapons is a force for good, and that the weapons themselves are vital to the well-being of their respective countries. President A P J Abdul Kalam, for instance, has claimed that nuclear weapons are “truly weapons of peace”. For his part, President Pervez Musharraf has declared that his country’s nuclear weapons are as critical and important as national security, the economy and Kashmir.

For those not blinded by the Bomb, however, the pursuit of nuclear weapons has brought nothing but a competition in destructive capabilities and crisis after crisi…

Madrassahs of Pakistan: A study

An excellent report on Madrassahs of Pakistan by Saleem H. Ali (University of Vermont, USA):
Islamic Education and Conflict: Understanding the MAdrassahs of Pakistan

Another aspect of the Mukhtaran Mai case

Daily Times, Monday, November 14, 2005

VIEW: A Maulvi that mattered —Saleem H Ali

Instead of championing a progressive imam such as Maulvi Abdul Razzaq, the secular elite of Pakistan remained quiet. Instead of being applauded, the imam was accused by the village police of being a terrorist — to discredit his support for Mukhtar Mai

Last week in New York’s Lincoln Centre, Glamour magazine gave an award to Mukhtar Mai who valiantly fought against an evil cultural practice and won the hearts of millions. Mukhtar Mai was rightly heralded as Pakistan’s Rosa Parks as she received the award.

Mukhtar Mai lived much of her life in a remote rural part of Punjab and speaks no English. Yet the world recognised her suffering. Her tragic tale of gang-rape on the orders of a village council or panchayat has alarmed human rights activists, journalists and greatly embarrassed the government of Pakistan. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times brought this important story to the world’s attention but in…