Showing posts from December, 2005

Sipah-e-Sahaba in Japan!

Daily Times, December 31, 2005
Banned SSP man plans base in Japan: report

TOKYO: Police believe a member of an Islamic extremist group based in Pakistan has entered Japan with the aim of setting up a base in Washington’s closest Asian ally, a report said on Friday.

A male member of the Islamic extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) entered Japan in 2003, according to documents from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper said. Police have discovered that this man in his 30s frequented mosques in the Tokyo area and that he told other people that he came to Japan to set up a launch pad for the group, the report said. The police arrested one of the Pakistani men who had contacts with him on suspicion of illegal overstay and has put other suspects under observation, it said. Japanese police are on heightened alert for possible terrorist activities and fear a move by the militant group to recruit members from Japan’s Muslim community and create a support …

"An Out of Box Kashmir Solution": A proposal worth considering seriously...

The News, December 30, 2005
An out-of-box Kashmir solution
M Ismail Khan

Autonomy and demilitarisation -- take it or leave it. This is as simple and straight as any Pakistani government may ever afford to offer on Kashmir. Let us hope that Indian leaders will have the vision and guts to grab the opportunity. If they don't, it is India who will have to regret in the years to come -- just as they are today regretting their decision to climb up the Siachen glacier without knowing how to get down from there. The cost of hanging on to the status quo over Kashmir is too high for South Asia in general and India in particular.

Delhi's 'take it easy' reaction to this 'mother of all proposals' by President Musharraf is unfortunate, to say the least. It is correct that the idea has been shared at a time when Pakistan-controlled Kashmir is in disarray following the earthquake of October 8. It is also right that the level of political autonomy currently available to Azad Kashm…

Plight of health reforms in Pakistan...

The News, December 29, 2005
Tawana Pakistan
Drugs purchased for schoolgirls were meant for pregnant women
By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: The most inhuman aspect of the recently suspended Rs 3.6 billion Tawana Pakistan project was that the substandard micronutrients purchased by the government for 5 to 12-year-old schoolgirls were actually meant for women, particularly having pregnancy, but no head rolled for the lapse.

Almost 100 girls of a school in Pakpattan, one of the 29 poor districts where the project was launched, suffered the side effects. Many even fainted but no action was initiated either against the importer of the medicine or against those who recommended the dose to the innocent girls.

Nuclear Export Controls

Daily Times, December 28, 2005
Nuclear and biological weapons material: Pakistan issues fresh export control lists
By Umer Farooq

ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday issued fresh lists of technologies and material related to nuclear and biological weapons which will be subject to strict export control.

Officials told Daily Times that the relevant government departments had taken several steps to strengthen export controls on nuclear material. The government has also issued a statutory regulatory order (SRO) for the implementation of export controls on goods, technologies, material and equipment related to nuclear and biological weapons and their delivery systems. It has sent a notification to all the departments concerned and law enforcement agencies for effective control at the frontiers. The lists of banned nuclear and biological materials have also been sent to manufacturers in the country. The lists have been notified pursuant to the Export Control Act passed by the parliament in Se…

Being a Christian in Pakistan means...

Dawn, December 25, 2005
Christmas musings By Ardeshir Cowasjee

MOHAMMAD ALI JINNAH came, made a country to suit the genius of his brethren, and died. He told the men who would govern his country that religion would not be the business of the state, that the state would not be ruled by priests with a divine mission. He was clear on this.

He was also clear enough to decree that his official birthday would be commemorated on the day when the world at large joyfully celebrates the birth anniversary of Jesus of Nazareth, the Second in Trinity, and this continues. We wish and hope, though it is extremely difficult to do so, that his soul rests in peace.

Now for the usual Sunday whinge and whine : Rather than getting better and better day by day, year by year, this republic of ours seems to be slipping fast in the wrong direction. Strange things are happening, of which we were previously unaware — they may well have been with us for decades, since the rule of religiosity in the 1980s, but now th…

Men on a Mission from Boston

The Boston Globe
Men on a mission
Their Boston-based nonprofit funds life-changing projects in Pakistan
By Omar Sacirbey, Globe Correspondent | December 26, 2005

For Justin Stone, it's the image of a car running a one-legged beggar off a street in Karachi that sticks in his mind. For Omar Biabani, ''it's a collage of images" -- of malnourished children, illiteracy, and lack of plumbing -- that haunts memories of his native land.

Biabani, 29, and Stone, 32, grew up thousands of miles apart. But spurred by the images of Pakistan's overwhelming poverty and a desire to help humanity, they are leading a Boston-based nonprofit in developing, little by little, one of the poorest countries in the world, which also happens to be a pivot point in the war on terror. Biabani cofounded the Association for the Development of Pakistan in 2003 with a handful of other young Pakistani-Americans, while Stone, a native New Yorker and New England transplant, is its president. Althoug…

Potential US' Arms Sales to South Asia in 2006: An Unwarranted strategy if peace is the goal

China Daily, December 26, 2005
US eyes big Pakistan, India arms sales (Reuters)

The Bush administration is maneuvering to balance possible big new U.S. arms sales to archrivals India and Pakistan in the new year.

In the past week, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have made separate visits, not announced in advance, to Pakistan, a key ally in the U.S.-declared war on terrorism.

Islamabad will make up its mind in the coming year on a U.S. offer to resume F-16 fighter aircraft sales after a 16-year break, Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri was quoted by the Associated Press of Pakistan as saying after Cheney left.

Earlier this month, Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, head of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said he expected Pakistan to modify buying plans because of the October 8 earthquake that killed more than 73,000 people.

"I think that what we were ready to do right before the earthquake is probably going to have to chan…

Indians can go home again: Potential lessons for Pakistan

The New York Times, December 26, 2005
Indians Find They Can Go Home Again

BANGALORE, India - Standing amid the rolling lawns outside his four-bedroom villa, Ajay Kela pondered his street in the community of Palm Meadows. One of his neighbors recently returned to India from Cupertino, Calif., to run a technology start-up funded by the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Across the street from Mr. Kela is another Indian executive, this one from Fremont, Calif., who works with the outsourcing firm Infosys Technologies. On the other side is the top executive of Cisco Systems in India, who returned here after decades in the Bay Area and New York.

Also on the block is a returnee from the United Kingdom, who heads the technology operations of Deutsche Bank.

Mr. Kela's neighborhood is just a small sample of a reverse brain drain benefiting India. The gated community of Palm Meadows in the Whitefield suburbs, and many others in the vicinity, with names…

Kashmir 1947: Krishna Mehta's Story

Dawn Book Review, December 24, 2005
Kashmir 1947: A Survivor’s Story
By Krishna Mehta
Penguin India.
For more information log onto
ISBN 0-14-400017-2
168pp. Indian Rs200

It has been nearly 60 years since partition, but never has the environment been more conducive to discuss Kashmir than it is now. Once regarded as dangerous and taboo, the subject dominates most forums today. As hatred turns into understanding, several books on the partition and on Kashmir are seeing the light of the day. Kashmir 1947: A Survivor’s Story is one such book written by Krishna Mehta. Mehta was the wife of a senior civil servant stationed in Muzaffarabad as the Wazir-i-wazarat. Her first-hand account of the conflict in a region which both countries were determined to acquire makes for a chilling read. In no time, the author sets the scene of the problems that her family was faced with.

Mehta belonged to a well-known and well-to-do Kashmiri family. It was in July 1947, a month before partit…

Jinnah between Myth and Reality: Book Review

Dawn, December 25, 2005
Book Review
Between myth and history
This book is a collection of essays and articles on Mohammad Ali Jinnah by some of the most distinguished scholars of South Asian history

Ayesha Jalal sets the record straight about the misconception over Mohammad Ali Jinnah using Pakistan as a mere ruse against the Congress

Pakistan’s impeccable record in commemorating the landmarks in its national struggle has not always been matched by an ability to coherently explain their historical significance. Sixty-five years since its adoption by the All-India Muslim League, the Lahore Resolution remains mired in contentious debates among historians of South Asia as well as the protagonists of provincial versus central rights in Pakistan.

Not surprisingly, most Pakistanis are no nearer to understanding how the would-be Magna Carta of their territorial statehood relates to their citizenship rights, far less squares the circle of the multiple conceptions of nationhood articulated by Musli…

A Solution for Kashmir from Kuldip Nayyar

Dawn, December 24, 2005
No let-up in feudal attitude
By Kuldip Nayar

A FRINGE of liberals is emerging in Pakistan. They need to be supported by India through unilateral steps in the way of liberalizing visas and reducing tariffs on products from across the border. I noticed the change when an audacious questioner from the audience in Lahore asked me after my lecture on political options in Kashmir why Islamabad had not stopped sending jihadis into the Indian side of Kashmir.

Yet another question from the floor was why I had not mentioned Gilgit and the Northern Areas when talking about Kashmir on the Pakistan side. He was from Gilgit and said that miserable conditions had prevailed there since Islamabad took control of the area. I have been going to Pakistan since 1951 but never before had I heard such talk beyond the drawing rooms. I find the distance between government and people increasing. Not only that but it appears both are trying to acquire more space than they occupy at present. …

An idea whose time has come...

The News, December 24, 2005
An American-Muslim hospital?
Mahjabeen Islam

Just as it is downright stupid for Iranian president Ahmedinejad to wish away Israel, it is fantasy to think that America's six to eight million Muslims will convert, simultaneously die or at the minimum, magically disappear. With a total of 1.5 billion across the world, one can understand how overwhelming and coming-out-of-the-woodwork we seem to the non-Muslim.

Muslims born in America have ingrained ties; even those of us who are first-generation immigrants have a sense of identity and a deep love for this land. The first wave of Muslim immigration came to America as slaves and soon lost their religious identity to that of their masters. The second wave brought blue-collar workers from the Arab world and Europe and the third wave brought the highly educated from South Asia. We are all done now with getting ourselves the good life, replete with wealth and status.

Mosques dot the American landscape from sea to shi…

Hearts and Minds: Pakistan

Wall Street JournalDecember 19, 2005

Our Friends the Pakistanis
Support for the U.S. is surging in some parts of the Muslim world.

So much for the popularly peddled view that anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is so pervasive and deep-rooted it might take generations to alter. A new poll from Pakistan, a critical front-line in the war on terror, paints a very different picture--by revealing a sea-change in public opinion in recent months.
Long a stronghold for Islamic extremists and the world's second-most populous Muslim nation, Pakistanis now hold a more favorable opinion of the U.S. than at any time since 9/11, while support for al Qaeda in its home base has dropped to its lowest level since then. The direct cause for this dramatic shift in Muslim opinion is clear: American humanitarian assistance for Pakistani victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake that killed 87,000. The U.S. pledged $510 million for earthquake relief in Pakistan a…

JUI Politics: Confusing Signals

Daily Times, December 20, 2005
Sami expelled from JUI-S, says Fazl

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, has said that Maulana Samiul Haq has been expelled from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) and that now the party will take part in MMA activities under the name of JUI-Senior.

Fazl quoted Pir Abdur Rahim Naqshbandi, who represented the JUI-Senior at Monday’s MMA Supreme Council meeting, as saying this. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Fazl said the meeting stressed the need for constructing water reservoirs in Pakistan. He said the meeting was of the view that Kalabagh Dam should be built after consensus between the provinces.

Fazl said, “The Supreme Council is of the opinion that water reservoirs should be constructed, but Kalabagh Dam should be built with the consent of the smaller provinces and the government should not create a situation that might damage the federation.” Fazl, who is also the MMA secretary general, said the…

Iran-India-Pakistan Pipeline: Prospects

Daily Times, December 19, 2005
EDITORIAL: Pipeline contradictions proliferate

There seems to be an aggressive edge to the way India and Pakistan have announced their intention to go ahead with the construction of the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline in 2007 and finish it by 2010 despite a ban on the level of investments in Iran enforced by the US Congress. For one, India’s fears about Pakistan’s “trustworthiness” and the pipeline’s safety in Khuzdar in Balochistan not long ago seem to have evaporated. Also, New Delhi, which appeared to give in to Washington’s pressure at the IAEA (where it did not vote in favour of Iran), seems no longer putty in the hands of the US whose Congress has not so far sanctioned a proposed Indo-US nuclear deal. Are the decks clear for the pipeline at last? Let’s look at the contradictions.

The US wants India and Pakistan to normalise relations. But not too long ago, India had adopted the policy of sitting back and wishing Pakistan would fall apart. It did not…

Indo-US Nuclear Deal: The Next Phase Begins...

The News, December 19, 2005
Taking forward the Indo-US nuclear deal
Jyoti Malhotra

America is back on the Indian radar this week, despite the north Indian obsession with Pakistan which allows public opinion to stray westward from time to time. And so, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran is winding his way to Washington DC for talks with his counterpart, Nicholas Burns — and a "drop in" on the most powerful woman in the world, as well as certainly amongst the most interesting, Condoleezza Rice — for talks on how to take the Indo-US nuclear deal forward.

The world would do well to keep a close eye on the peripatetic Saran. He was in Nepal last week, during which time he said hello to King Gyanendra and to the major Nepalese political figures — even as the Nepalese army chief was at the exact same time shaking hands with Pakistan’s very influential generals in Islamabad. He goes forth from his office in South Block to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament almost every other da…

Human Rights in India: The Sikh Episode

Human Rights Journal
Volume 18, Spring 2005

By Jasmine Marwaha

As my auto rickshaw wound its way through New Delhi one July afternoon, I felt a peculiar sense of familiarity and sadness. While on the streets one can see the poverty associated with India’s large population, what to me represented the greatest threat to the human rights movement in India was the road itself, one of the so-called “flyovers” superimposed on the city. Flyovers are roads that allow vehicles to rise above the narrow streets, beggars, cows, and potholes that swallow tires whole. For years, they have been touted as the answer to the congestion and chaos that plague modern, urban India. Although the flyovers do not hide the persistent problems below, from the perspective up above, the problems seem less urgent and the remedies less imperative. If the traffic keeps moving, the government appears effective. Many of India’s sur…